Who is the narrator?
Are they a character?
Are they a specific viewpoint?
Are we using their senses to get information on the current scene?
Can they see and report beyond that?
Are they telling us things from one character’s perspective but not ‘theirs’?
The narrator is telling the story. They have access to whatever information we need them to have to tell the story in the voice we want.
We can use the story-teller to highlight a character, give us information as that character would see and know it. Give us a glimpse in to that character’s thought-process.
We can hop about, skip from character to character as the scene and story needs it.
We can be the aloof story-teller, relating detail and incidents in a voice separate from the story. We can have all the information, tell what we want in any scene as we see fit to serve the story.
Who is the narrator?
We talk a lot about our ‘voice’ as a writer.
Depending upon the story or the piece, we use the narrator to reflect that don’t we?
I never write in a straight-forward ‘reporting’ style. There is always some character view-point, some stress to the narration, a point of view for the scene.
It depends on the piece.
Do you have a preference?
Is the narrator ultimately just you talking to the reader, telling them the story as if you were cosied up by a fire?
With poetry it seems like a question that never gets asked. And I think it should.
Poetry is telling us things, showing us things, asking questions, offering ideas. Poetry is not just about the words and images. There is more. Who is telling us this ‘more’? Who are we listening to?
The first thing that jars me out of being immersed in a piece is a wonky narrator.
There may be other things, but the first that I notice is the narration going off.
It’s usually the second or third edit of my own stuff where it hits me how bad I am at sticking to the ‘rules’ I like to see observed in other writing.
So that’s my focus on the next few pieces.
Make sure I know who the narrator is. What is their voice, their perspective, how much do they know and can they reveal to make the story better? Focus!
It’s #NaNoWriMo and I’m using it as a kick in the butt to get a novel moving, so maybe focus on the shorter pieces for the writing group… always an excuse!
But I am determined to pay more attention to the narrator.
Maybe in the fourth edit…