Managing Viewpoint in a Mystery Novel
Friday, August 5th | 9:00 - 11:30am
Mystery and thriller writers are in the business of misdirection, surprising the reader with plot twists, revealing secrets, and creating tension with unanswered questions, all the while playing fair. In this workshop we'll talk about how POV relates to story (the sequence of events that actually took place in your fictional world) and plot (the order in which it's revealed to the reader). Careful management of viewpoint is key to making it all work.
Topics will include figuring out whose story it is. Deciding which character(s) will get to narrate. First person or third? Single or multiple narrators? Handling narrator-to-narrator shifts. Shifting from near to far. What about omniscience? The problem with “head hopping” and how to avoid it. How to manipulate viewpoint to reveal (or hide) backstory. How to write an "unreliable narrator" and still “play fair." How to deepen viewpoint.
Participants are encouraged (not required) to bring a chapter from their work in progress for in-class exercises.
New York Times bestselling author Hallie Ephron, Edgar Award finalist and five-time finalist for the Mary Higgins Clark Award, writes books she hopes readers can’t put down. Her newest suspense novel, Careful What You Wish For (August, 2019), with its echoes of Marie Kondo life-changing decluttering tips, explores the relationships built by professional organizers and their clients — showing just how easily the lines between professional and personal can be blurred. In it, Emily Harlow is a professional organizer who helps people declutter their lives; she’s married to man who can’t drive past a yard sale without stopping. Sometimes she find herself wondering if he sparks joy.