Who Says? Mastering Point of View in Fiction

Lisa Zeidner
Published in 2021
by W. W. Norton

An in-depth examination of one of the most critical choices facing writers of fiction, novelist Lisa Zeidner’s craft manual includes hundreds of examples from both classic and contemporary fiction—from Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights to Lorrie Moore’s “Two Boys”— to explore how plot, characters, descriptions, and even distinctions between literary and commercial fiction are tied to point of view. In chapters devoted to different perspectives, from omniscient and first-person to second-person and child narrators, Zeidner offers the reader a variety of factors to consider before choosing a point of view for their next story or novel. “Deciding about point of view requires an assessment about whether you’re moving toward your subject, or whether you’re moving away,” she writes. “Whether you’re going to encourage the reader to bathe in the character’s view of the world, or offer a complementary or even competing one.”