April 16, 2013

Noteworthy Narrators = N: Blogging from A to Z

Have you ever noticed that most of the N adjectives are negative? I didn't until I searched N adjectives for some help today. (Nutty, noxious, noisy, naughty, nasty, nasal. Eek!)

Then I happened upon noteworthy. 

When writing a story, few things are more noteworthy than narrators.

Narrator is simply the voice that tells the story. Yet, it's a device that is anything but simple. A story in different hands is a different story. An example that jumps to mind, the gospels in the Bible. Told by Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, they each include different details and present a unique feel even with the same basic storyline.

I have written two books, one in first person and one in third. Although each has its own set of challenges, I found first person allowed me to share more of the main character's internal thoughts and feelings. It also helped me get into the character's head more. However, it was limiting when it came to other characters.

A brief overview of the main types of narrators...

First Person 
The "I" narrator who is a participant in the action. Although this is usually the protagonist, it doesn't have to be.

Third Person 
The "he/she/it" narrator. There are two main types. Omniscient (all-knowing) can peek into the lives of many characters while limited only knows what the main character, or characters, knows.

Detached Observer
A detached, third person, narrator tells the story without opinion (emotionally detached). This can be a minor character.

The Commentator
This narrator never enters the story but has plenty to say.

Then there is the Unreliable Narrator. Not to spoil the surprise, but this will be my U literary device. Stay tuned!

What makes a good narrator? 

Ask ten readers, and you could get ten different answers. For me, I want a narrator I can trust to give me the insight I need to understand the story. Usually, I relate more to a female voice, but one of my favorite narrators was Enzo (the dog) in The Art of Racing in the Rain. Not just because a dog's voice was unique, but because Enzo was at the center of the action and could give an in-depth and honest perspective on what was happening. 

Please come back tomorrow for some fun takes on Oxymoron, and don't forget to take a peek at other N posts here.


Kate said...

One of my favorite narrators of all time was the little boy in ROOM. His voice was so distinct, and believable, and heartbreaking.

Jo Michaels said...

I adore reading anything written through the eyes of a child. They struggle so hard with basic things, it makes me so much more invested in their story than that of an adult. I loved A Dog Called Kitty. If you haven't read it, you should. And keep a box of tissues nearby. :(


Trisha said...

I don't really have a preference for narrators.