Monday, August 30, 2010

Narrative o' Narrative

Narrative...

Character voice...

First, Second and Third persons... then there is omniscient voice.

You can actually have mixed elements of voices. I never realized the amount of schizophrenia that is a latent presence on the pages of a book. All these voices come from one head, transposed to hopefully lucent pages to form a great story.

To speak as the narrator in a novel, you need to establish distance from a character. The closer you are, the more the character drives the novel and the plot drives the theme less.

I look at the great novelist who mastered the character driven novel. People like Hemingway, who made you feel a part of the character, walking the streets of Spain...

The main character in my manuscript is not held by the narrative voice. The narrator follows him, an after action reporting - My narrator has no prescience, the little man on a my character's shoulder pointing out what Devin Briar does.

The narrator also precedes Devin, a before action reporting of what lies ahead or around a corner.

The trick here is balance, or the reader gets lost. Have you ever read a book and found a place that seemed confused? More often than not, it was a slip in narration. The little guy on the shoulder nodded off for an ill timed nap (A writer never writes in slapping the little shoulder guy awake... maybe the Editor should write that part in?)

The narrative is the make or break of any story. The best plot in the world would sound like a list of things done without a great narrative voice.

The next time you read a book, if you loved the main character, tip your hat to the narrator. Without him, I GUARANTEE you would have closed the book at page one.


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