Often when we talk about narrative perspective, we think about the distance between the text and the reader: are we reading in first, second, or third person? What is the distance in time from story to narrator? How close or distant is the narrator from the scene? These are all questions that can be addressed from the reader’s perspective. But before we can read a text, as writers, we must consider how to represent our characters’ closeness or distance through time and space: a nexus of the physical, temporal, and emotional. Does the story require immediacy, thus little to no retrospection? Or does the story need the perspective of character distance—or even historical distance? Or does the story’s needs land somewhere in between? What we will find is that some of the most compelling fiction results from a consideration of characters’ bodily experience, ultimately to bring the reader as close to the palpable and atmospheric experience of the characters as possible. This is our goal as writers: to draw the reader fully within. Readings will include examples from contemporary writers, and participants can either come ready to draft a new work or with a piece ready to be workshopped.
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