Using Structure and Point of View to Engage Readers (Afternoon)

with Mary Beth Keane


If you have tried writing fiction then you know that having a good idea is only the very first step in writing a good novel. Once you have your great idea for a story, you immediately have a much bigger problem: how to tell it?

So much of writing fiction comes down to making decisions about structure and point of view. Will the novel cover forty years or four days? Will you tell it linearly? Or will you jump back and forth in time? And from which character’s perspective should a story be told? Even within those choices there are more choices! First person or third person? Should it be told from a distant bird’s eye view or is the story you want to tell more resonant from an interior stream-of-consciousness perspective? And if you think it should be a combination of these strategies, how do you choose when to move back and forth between?

This is a class that looks at different ways to plot and structure a novel. You don’t need to have a draft of a novel to attend. Rather, the course is a combination of lectures and generative writing time.

Each participant should bring a short excerpt from their own fiction and/or a brief synopsis of their novel-in-progress (up to 4 pages.) I will ask you to share these with our workshop so that we’re all familiar with the baseline story and the stakes. We will also be creating new work in class that will then be discussed together.

4 Afternoons:  Monday 11/11–Thursday 11/14 | 1:30-4:30pm


In stock

Mary Beth Keane attended Barnard College and the University of Virginia, where she received an MFA. She was awarded a John S. Guggenheim fellowship for fiction writing, and has received citations from the National Book Foundation, PEN America, and the Hemingway Society. She is the author of The Half Moon, The Walking PeopleFever, and Ask Again, Yes, which spent eight weeks on the New York Times Best Seller List. To date, Mary Beth’s novels have been translated into twenty-two languages.