Narrative Takes Control

16 Oct

I Want To Be A Writer Series

Remove yourself and embrace the “Narrative Mode”.

This is perhaps my most favorite and at the same time, the most challenging portion of writing. This is when you decide what position you, as the narrator or storyteller, are going to assume. The easiest way for me to describe this is to compare it to an actor portraying a character. The quality of their acting depends on how deeply they embody the character. They must quite literally remove their own personal traits and take on the traits of the character.  Their behavior, appearance, body movement, accent, quirks, everything that makes the character unique must be clearly portrayed or all you will see is the actor rather than the character. Believe it or not, people are not reading your books to hear what you have to say, they want to hear what your characters have to say. So, when you take on this role as the narrator, you must do as actors do and place yourself into the mindset of the narrator. In other words, you get to pretend to be someone else.

Unlike a child pretending, you must understand everything that makes the person you are portraying click. If you don’t understand your own character then there is no way your readers will be able to. There are three main categories in what is called the “Narrative Mode”:

Narrative View Point

The narrator’s affiliation to the story. You must learn and understand the differences between First Person Point of View, Second Person Point of View, and Third Person Point of View.

Narrative Voice

The narrator’s method in which the story is told.  You must decide if you are going to tell the story, read the story from a series of letters or a journal, or even as a news anchor reporting on a juicy bit of news you are revealing to the world.

Narrative Timing

The narrator’s reflections, observations, or predictions.  You must decide if you are going to tell the story as if it has already happened, is happening now, or an event that will happen in the future.

The best resource I have found is from Wikipedia.  Study this and then take a few moments to write a paragraph or two using the view point, voice, and timing of each category.  You will find which mode is the most natural for you to write in and what best suits your idea for the story.

Once you decide what narrative mode you will venture down, you must always remain on that same path. Consistency is extremely important. You do not want to confuse your readers and flipping narrative modes can do that quicker than any other technique you must master as a writer. Always remember that the narrator is the conductor that drives the story train from start to finish.

Previous Post of the Series – “It’s Elemental, And You Need Them All”

Next Post of the Series – “Organizing Your Story Components”

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Posted by on October 16, 2012 in IWTBAW Series


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