Those Pesky Side Characters

This week we're looking at ways of revealing or suggesting the motives of characters around a first-person/subjective narrator. Monday - Finding the Evidence, What does the narrator observe about the characters? Tuesday - Gathering the Goods, Picking up hints from other characters. Wednesday - Dropping Hints, Using asides to imply backstory. Thursday - Whoa! Wait a … Continue reading Those Pesky Side Characters

Filling in the Blanks

In stories the protagonist is always in need of some knowledge whether it’s self-knowledge, or external knowledge, or something physical like blueprints. There’s always something the character knows at the end that they didn’t know before, even if it’s that they were right all along. Something that is noticeably important in first-person/subjective narration is the … Continue reading Filling in the Blanks

What Do They Think They Know?

If we assume that what characters see and hear are facts, they may not always be but we’re keeping it simple, then how they interpret the ‘facts’ is what they think they know. When we’re writing a first-person/subjective narrative then we have to remember that the ‘truth’ and what the character thinks is the truth … Continue reading What Do They Think They Know?

What Do They Know?

The depiction of the other characters and the environment all depend on what the narrator knows, or think they know but we’ll come to that. What they know depends largely on what they see and what they’ve been told by other characters. While I’ve discussed the idea that what every character tells them depends on … Continue reading What Do They Know?

What’s Their Motive?

A first-person/subjective narrator always has a motive. As we discussed when a narrator learns things from other characters the story they are told affects what they learn. The same is true of the protagonist to reader dynamic. How a narrator wants to be perceived affects what they tell the reader and how they tell it, … Continue reading What’s Their Motive?

Finding Their Voice

A first-person/subjective narrator needs their own voice. The easiest way to approach this can be to think about it the same way you would think about a character’s speech because that is essentially what they’re doing. Either they are speaking to the reader, or another character as we’ve discussed, or they’re writing it down. Whichever … Continue reading Finding Their Voice

Assembling a Narrator

Now we've looked at different ways to structure a first-person/subjective story and some important points now we've got to look at building our narrator (or any character for that matter): Monday - Finding Their Voice, A first-person narrator needs their own voice, they're speaking to the reader. Tuesday - What's Their Motive? Their motives will affect … Continue reading Assembling a Narrator

A Shift of Perspective

As I said in the previous article a first-person narrative is affected by the motivations of the characters but those motivations don’t have to be good, the first-person narrator is often used to create empathy for anti-heroes. Allowing readers to see everything through the perspective of the character can be used to persuade them of … Continue reading A Shift of Perspective

I Tell a Lie

The main reason the first-person narrator is also known as the subjective narrator is because we’re never entirely sure if they’re telling us the truth. This may not be an outright lie, it could be an omission, a flexing of the truth or a mistake. If we can’t see into the other characters heads then … Continue reading I Tell a Lie

Multiple Narrators

We’ve looked at stories that are told by subjective narrators within the narration of other narrators, which I referred to as ‘framed narratives’, but there are other types of narrative which I wouldn’t class as ‘framed narratives’. In these third-person, or even another first-person narrator, is used to show events or aspects of characters, that … Continue reading Multiple Narrators