"A cat has absolute emotional honesty: human beings, for one reason or another, may hide their feelings but a cat does not." -Ernest Hemingway

Sunday, February 6, 2011

How Does The Narrator of Your Story Speak?

In other words, what does the voice of your narrator sound like?  

Last week we spoke about whose viewpoint should tell your Protagonist’s story (click here).  After determining the viewpoint which best tells your story the next important thing you can do to help clearly tell it is to discover the voice of your narrator.

What is voice?  The best way to describe voice is it’s the words, intentions and ideas of your narrator. So if your narrator is a modern day eleven year old girl from the south does she sound as if she’s a modern day eleven year old girl from the south or does she sound as if she’s a grown woman from the eighteenth century?  Perhaps your narrator is an elderly man reflecting back upon his childhood, does he talk like an old man throughout or does his voice change as the story follows him through the stages of his life?

How does an author discover voice?  By spending hours or even days getting to know who the narrator is.  Whether it’s the protagonist, a third person, or you the author telling the story knowing and understanding their characteristics, personality and flaws helps to develop voice.  So when you sit down to write it’s as if the narrator themselves is spewing out the words.

The next time you are plotting and planning out a story try telling it from different viewpoints.  Get to know them and you might be amazed how each one has a unique voice!

Next week we’ll discuss tense and how it can affect the mood of your narrator.

Until next time,

Keep on thriving, keep on striving and keep on writing!

T.K. Millin
The Unknown Author      

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