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History Into Fiction: The Writer's Art of Recreating the Past

A Marvelous New Guide to POV

I have to admit that point of view was the one element that mystified me most when I first began writing fiction. I received so much contradictory advice from instructors and writing workshops on the subject that I all but gave up trying to understand its arcane and ever-shifting rules.

If only I had been armed with “The Power of Point of View,” a new handbook written by Alicia Rasley and published by Writer’s Digest Books.

Alicia and her husband Jeff are long-time friends from Indiana. I knew Alicia to be a fine novelist, having won the coveted RITA award from the Romance Writers of America. But had I also known that she was such an expert on POV, I would have thrown myself to the mercy of her adeptship years ago. She first became intrigued with POV while writing her master’s thesis on the stories of Edgar Allen Poe and his experimentation with the first-person “unreliable narrator” technique.

Without a doubt, the 265 pages of this impressive work offer the most comprehensive and understandable treatment of POV that I’ve had the pleasure to encounter. In addition to her in-depth analysis of the various persons and their permutations, Alicia provides exercises and suggested readings to demonstrate what she teaches.

My favorite aphorism from the book: “You don’t choose POV; it chooses you.”

For those who want more of Alicia’s wisdom, check out her website and blog about editing.

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