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Narrator as Cinematographer:
Camera Shifts in the Third Person

with Joshua Mohr


Joshua Mohr

Two Saturdays
11:00 am to 1:00 pm (Pacific)
October 20 and 27, 2018

Writers figuring out how to work in the third person point of view face a common challenge: How do I make the work more emotional, more intimate, more immediate? We know how to forge these bonds in the first person, and yet the third person can feel distant, obfuscating. This seminar will unpack our various options in the third person POV. We will ponder how style, diction, syntax, and ultimately, the protagonists' preoccupations can take work that feels unemotional and transition it into something nimble, vibrant, and vital. Writers ranging from Chris Offutt to Colson Whitehead to Susan Steinberg will supply techniques and examples that we'll examine and thoughtfully poach. The third person POV can read every bit as close as the first—it just takes some skill to manufacture that ever important camaraderie between the reader and main character.

This class will meet online in real time using the Zoom platform. We will contact you with details.


Enrollment limit: 8 students
$130 new; $120 returning

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Joshua Mohr is the author of five novels, including Damascus, which The New York Times called “Beat-poet cool.” He’s also written Fight Song and Some Things that Meant the World to Me, one of O Magazine’s Top 10 reads of 2009 and a San Francisco Chronicle best-seller, as well as Termite Parade, an Editors’ Choice in The New York Times. His novel All This Life won the Northern California Book Award. His first book of nonfiction, a memoir called Sirens, came out in 2017.


"By turns raw and tender, [Sirens] not only chronicles a man's literary coming-of-age. It also celebrates the power of love while offering an uncensored look at the frailties that can define—and sometimes overwhelm—people and their lives. An entirely candid, compelling memoir of addiction and the long, fraught road of recovery." Kirkus Reviews

"All This Life shifts deftly between dark comedy and pathos, often holding both within a single moment. The ingeniousness of the book is that its form follows its content: The novel is structured on the big and small connections between people, just like the social networks it discusses... Rendered with a colorful intricacy and subversive spirit, All This Life shows us San Francisco as it vanishes under the spell of social media. Mohr is a perceptive chronicler of how we live, feel—and avoid feeling—this very minute." —San Francisco Chronicle

“Not many authors can shift from satire to sentiment so easily, but Mohr is a clever enough writer that he manages to pull this off. His ear for comic dialogue rescues his scenes and lifts up his novel again and again. As the plot in Fight Song becomes increasingly surreal, it gets funnier, and the emotional veins it taps into grow more real and textured. The novel becomes a kind of parable, a story of man searching for redemption.” —Hector Tobar, Los Angeles Times

"The author's jaunty voice [is] Beat-poet cool . . . [Damascus] nails the atmosphere of a San Francisco still breathing in the smoke that lingers from the days of Jim Jones and Dan White, a time when passionate ideologies and personal dysfunction intermingled and combusted." —New York Times Book Review