Mary Otis

Whose Story Is This? — On Point of View: Hosted by Mary Otis

April 27, 2024
11:00 am – 2:00 pm PST

Ticket sales end: April 25, 2024

About this workshop

The person who tells the story controls the narrative, and so it is with fictional characters. Point of view, which is used to express the emotions, thoughts, motivations, and experiences of one narrator or many, is one of your story’s crucial strategic choices and can deeply affect your reader’s perceptions of and connection to your book.  In this workshop, we’ll discuss distance as it relates to authorial stance, the differences between first and third person as well as other less frequently used points of view such as second person and the “royal we,” aka Pluralis Magestatis. Also to be covered: POV leaks, head hoppers, and unreliable narrators. We’ll look at the writing of Joy Williams, George Saunders, Zadie Smith, Rick Moody, Sarah Shun-lien Bynum, and others to see how point of view supports their storytelling. (This is a lecture and close-read workshop with in-class exercises.)

Mary Otis is the author of Burst (Zibby Books), which was longlisted for the Joyce Carol Oates Prize and won the Silver Medal in Literary Fiction from the Independent Publishers Book Awards. She has also published the short story collection Yes, Yes, Cherries (Tin House). Her stories, essays, and poetry have been published in Best New American Voices, Zyzzyva, Electric Literature, McSweeney’s, Bennington Review, Los Angeles Times and many other literary journals and numerous anthologies. Her story “Pilgrim Girl” received an Honorable Mention for the Pushcart Prize, and her story “Unstruck” was a Distinguished Story of the Year in Best American Short Stories. Mary has taught at UCLA and was a founding fiction professor in the UCR Low-Residency MFA Program. She lives in Los Angeles.

Ticket details

Tickets to attend this workshop are $150. Cancellations or refunds are only honored until one week before the workshop date; after that date, all ticket sales are final.