Saturday, February 28, 2009

Narrative Voice

Today I attended a workshop on the Narrative Voice taught by Susan Van Metre, a kind, intelligent, and adorable editor at Abrams book. It was a very concise refresher course in the variety of options available to an author when considering how or who is going to tell the story. We read excerpts from four books, each with a very specific and engaging narrator The Curious Incident of the Dog at Night-Time, The Life/ Murder of Bindy Mackenzie, The Secret of Platform 13, and Clementine.

The idea of the third person limited narrator is something that I have been struggling to perfect in my WIP (work in progress). I want to keep it in third person (becuase I get tired of books written in first) but still give the reader some acess into Matthew's thoughts, without having to repeatedly say Matthew thought or he wondered or he said to himself or some other silly signifier.

I would hate, hate, HATE to write this whole thing out only to have somebody tell me to re-do it in first person. But, I have to have a better reason for keeping it in third than simply that I just don't like the first person. I like some mystery as a reader. I want to see some things described from a neutral point of view so that when I dip into the characters head it is a refeshing treat. What do you think about third person limited? Any opinions out there?


  1. I'm writing my WIP in third person as well. Although I have started writing something in first, it is a totally new story and so far I'm not sure how well i like it in first person.

    I'm a big fan of the third, but as you said, if in the end it's better in first you might find the change liberating. Just ask Alex. She is changing all of her current WIP's pages to first person. about 60 pages i think.

    sometimes we are too close to a piece and we might not see how it's working and not. hence workshop. I'm sure your group can help loads with the concern.

    and you can always change it over and over again. until you publish.


  2. I like the fact that your WIP is in 3rd person and I think it's working for the story so far! It's refreshing to read something in 3rd person after reading so much in 1st. I find it harder to write in that POV but it's something I would like to do at some point. Anywho, off to read your submission ;o)