One of the most important decisions you have to make when considering writing a novel is choosing the narrator. In the vast majority of occasions, the same story can be told by different narrators. The result will depend on this choice.
The narrator determines the tone of the novel, but also what it may or may not tell. The intention you have when explaining this story and how you want to explain it has a lot to do with this choice.
All storytellers have their advantages and their limitations. According to Nonfiction Ghostwriting, taking into account the limitations of the narrator will help you decide which narrator to use to tell your story.
Today I want to recommend three storytellers who are very common, very effective and very easy to use. If you consider yourself an amateur writer, make it your goal to master these three storytellers before complicating your life with more complex options.
The easiest thing, in addition, is to limit yourself to a single narrator per novel. Although you can combine the first or second with the third in a very simple way, you just have to follow their rules.
3 easy storytellers for your first novel
Keep in mind that you have to design the voice of your narrator and be true to his style throughout the novel.
If you have two storytellers, each one will have their own style, they must be recognizable and always comply with their rules, which are the limits mentioned before.
First-person narrator: protagonist narrator
Not all first-person narrators are the main narrator, but for a first novel I do not recommend entering more complex narrators.
The narrator coincides, in this case, with the main character.
Tell your own story.
Speak in the first person.
You can use the present or the past. It will depend on whether you want me to tell the story at the rate it is happening or when it is finished. Both options have advantages and disadvantages. And it also depends a lot on the intention you have, what you want to achieve.
Keep in mind that there is usually not a perfect option. If you choose to tell it in the past because it is more comfortable and easier than narrating in the present, you will have the handicap that you will not be able to play with the unknown of whether the protagonist survives, for example.
Advantages of using a protagonist narrator:
• It matches the protagonist, so you have already designed it. His voice is the same. Unless time has passed and it has evolved.
• Has access to the protagonist’s thoughts and emotions. You can explain them to the public. If that’s what you want, using a lead narrator doesn’t force you to get into his head or strip him emotionally.
• You know his past: as in the previous case, knowing his past does not mean that you have to use it or that you have to explain everything. But you won’t need justification for a main narrator to have knowledge of the character’s past.
• You will know their plans and intentions: because as you have access to their thoughts, you will be able to share with the readers what the protagonist plans to do or what their plans are. You don’t have to tell everything, you can play your cards for tension and intrigue.
• Know the story first-hand. You will not need, even in this case, to justify that he knows what happens to him.
Limitations of a protagonist narrator
• Does not have access to the thoughts and emotions of other characters.
• Does not know the plans of other characters.
• You cannot know what is happening in a place where you are not present.
The first-person narrator may seem the simplest of all, but bear in mind its limitations, it can only speak for one of the characters, with the rest it is a simple observer. This can limit you when it comes to telling your story.
It is for this reason that the first person narrator is often combined with some other type of narrator.
Third person narrator: False third person
The false third person is a disguised main narrator. He talks about the protagonist in the third person, but has access to his thoughts, emotions and past.
As with the main narrator, he does not have access to the rest of the characters, he sees them as an observer.
This type of narrator is very common if you need to tell a story from the knowledge and point of view of a first person but you cannot do it or do not want to do it from there. For example, with a protagonist who ends up dead, you could not use a first person, in that case you would use a false third person.
You would also use it in those cases in which you want to know the protagonist perfectly but you don’t want him to give him the feeling of broadcasting his own life because of the feeling of unreality it generates.
Its limits coincide with those of the main narrator. Its advantages I have already mentioned: disconnect emotionally, add credibility to the story, avoid spoilers.
Third person narrator: camera narrator
The camera narrator is the one I recommend using if you want to have multiple points of view.
The point of view, to explain it quickly, coincides with the protagonist of a scene.
If, for example, you want to show what several characters that are not together are doing, you need a narrator who can jump to different spaces and times.
The easiest narrator to use is the camera narrator, which combines perfectly with any of the others that I have told you before.
The particularity of this third-person narrator is that he acts as an observer. He stands at a medium distance from the characters and tells what he sees.
It is ideal to tell a story of intrigue in which you are not interested in revealing the thoughts of the characters, because you can only tell what a camera placed at a strategic point would see.
Because it does not enter the heads of the characters and acts as a spectator, or a camera, you can put your focus on any character in the novel.
The advantages of using a camera narrator
• Allows to use multiple points of view
• Helps build tension and intrigue because only what you see counts
• Involves the reader, who also feels an observer
The limits of the camera narrator
• Does not have access to the thoughts and emotions of the characters.
• You don’t know, unless you see how you plan, what the character will do.
The camera narrator works equally well in the past or present and is an excellent option when you need to tell what happens to various characters.
The steps prior to choosing the narrator:
• 3 steps to develop an idea
• The three pillars of building an argument
• The two types of plot
• The 3 main functions of sub frames.
It’s your turn! Tell me, do you have a favorite narrator? Are there any of these three that you did not know or have never used?