When thinking what to write about this week, I realized there were a few aspects about the first person point of view which I hadn’t covered in last week’s post, so it seemed practical to include those points this week.
When you choose to tell a story using the first person point of view your narrator generally knows the entire story, but a writer still has several crucial decisions to make.
One choice you will have to make is who your narrator is telling their story to - another character, the reader or is the narrator remembering past experiences? If the latter is the case, then you will need to consider how much time do you want to leave between the events taking place and the telling? Are the incidents recent or being remembered from a long time ago? What are the narrator’s feelings towards their younger self who experienced the events – and has the narrator come to terms with their past?
Another option is to tell the story as events unfold.
I think one of the most important decisions is the form of your narration. Interior monologue, where the reader knows the thoughts and feelings of the narrator about events, is the most widely used method. Diaries use of this type of narration where the speaker’s voice can be more laid-back and informal – think Bridget Jones’s Diary.
Dramatic monologue – where the protagonist speaks to someone else, or uses letters for the same purpose – allows an intimacy to enter the writing. J. M. Coetzee in Age of Iron has a terminally ill woman write the story in letter form to her daughter.
Detached autobiography, where the narrator is recounting events from the past, has the advantage of enabling the speaker to take a more objective position. Biggest Elvis by P. F. Kluge is a great example of how to use detached autobiography.
In the first two, interior monologue and dramatic monologue, it is as if the reader is overhearing the story, but in detached autobiography the reader is recognised as the audience.
Whichever form you choose for your narrator, you will need to develop one convincing voice telling its own story, in such a manner that you create an authentic reality for the reader.
I pushed myself hard over the last few days and felt rewarded by my progress – that bit of late night editing paid off. I know I’ve said this before, (when I thought it was the final tunnel...silly me) but I can see the end of the tunnel as I start chapter fifteen. Only six more to go.
Of course, I understand more clearly now there are several more tunnels after this one. But to quote – one day (or should I say one word, one sentence, one paragraph, one chapter...) at a time. And I do relish the small satisfaction of knowing that at the end of each chapter, the writing is just that bit tighter, and reads just that bit more smoothly. Sending the manuscript off to a professional editor by mid October is appearing to be a realistic proposition.
curtains of grey mist
spread ethereal fingers -
the earth veils herself
This post has a great upbeat encouraging mood:
A good informative post well worthwhile checking out – including the further links:
http://amzn.to/18SbSaG Gold Dragon Haiku - my first attempt at publishing poetry!
Join me on Twitter at: teagankearney@modhaiku
To all story lovers out there, good reading, and to those of you who write, good writing.
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