Studies: Creative Writing: You, Me, Us: Point of View in Fiction


Point of view (aka: POV) is one of the first decisions that prose writers make when beginning a story. Often we default to telling via the “I” (first person POV) or he/she/they (third person subjective), but a world of additional options exists—including first person plural, second person, and omniscience. Each of these points of view then influences how we employ other creative writing techniques, such as voice, plot, characterization, and form.

This rigorous capstone course will blend creative and critical writing and thinking. Creatively, you’ll get to experiment with writing in different points of view and perspectives as you work toward a final portfolio that features polished short fiction, nonfiction, or a novel excerpt. Critically, you’ll consider how narratorial choices can underline (or undermine) cultural norms, gendered spaces, and national and ethnic identities. Via reader responses, discussion questions posted to Laulima, and a midterm research portfolio, you’ll develop a sense of the personal, craft, and ethical considerations of writing from various points of view.

Pre-requisite: ENG 313. Creative nonfiction writers and poets are welcome! This is a rigorous course so come ready to read closely and write copiously.


The plan is to meet in person, M/W 10:30 -11:45AM.


We will read up to four novels, which will need to be purchased for the course. They are listed below. The rest of the readings will be made available for free on our Laulima course site and include a mix of short stories and critical essays.

  • Egan, Jennifer. A Visit from the Goon Squad. Knopf, 2010.
  • Grace, Patricia. Dogside Story. Penguin, 2001.
  • Morrison, Toni. Jazz. Vintage, 2004.
  • Otsuka, Julie. The Buddha in the Attic. Anchor, 2012.


Your assignments will include a mix of critical and creative writing. 

Critical Writing Assignments

  • (15%) Reader Responses & Discussion Questions
  • (15%) A Midterm Research Portfolio & Annotated Bibliography
  • (15%) Editorial Letters to offer observational feedback to your peers

Creative Writing Assignments

  • (25%) Free-Writes & Workshop Submissions to develop a completed short story, creative nonfiction essay, or novel excerpt
  • (20%) Final Portfolio consisting of a polished story/novel excerpt and an analysis of the techniques you used in your creative writing.


  • (10%) Participation