I’m going through some notes for a talk I’m giving on writing… and one of the things that people new to writing don’t properly think about is who is actually telling the story. I know when I write a story I sometimes go back and change the narrator or the narrative for various reasons, and I know I have preferred ways of using a narrator – maybe most writers do!
The narrator is an important and vital aspect of your story and quite often who’s telling the story is established in the first few pages.
So, who is telling the story?
- is it you? The unknown all-seeing narrator, who knows what is going on in every character’s mind and who can see it from everyone’s point of view?
- is it from a single character’s perspective and if so is the character a main player or an observer? is the story told in the first person? Is the story told as if looking over a single character’s shoulder and seeing inside their head?
- do several characters tell the story in the first person?
- is the story told from several different points of view? If an incident occurs the different characters would understand different things, feel different things, maybe even see different things.
- stories can even be told in the second person – this often happens in songs
Even in a short story, and more especially perhaps in a short story, all these aspects are really important so the reader can properly understand and see what the writer wants them to see.
If you want to find out more of my thoughts on writing, here is a link to my little book So You Want To Write: