#EdenLit - Lessons: First Person Narrative

Airen Wolf Airen Wolf
First Person Storytelling- In a first person narrative the narrator is telling the story from their personal perspective. Usually they are recounting a memory or account of a previous happening, though they could also be telling the story in real time.
The trick for the author is to remember to use the proper tense and to describe the events as they unfold rather than glossing over important details. Remember that your audience cannot see, smell, hear or taste what your character is seeing, smelling, hearing or tasting.
To be really effective the author must remember that actions should be described in a logical fashion. As we discussed before, when awakening groggy from being abducted, it is illogical to assume that the person "Suddenly" notices they are bound. The process is gradual but the reaction can be sudden and violent. So I would become aware with a series of small tugs and flexings that I am bound and then suddenly begin thrashing around. The point being that the logical reaction is that, unless the character is distracted by something else like someone nibbling on his/her toes, he/she won't 'suddenly' realize something as monumental as being bound hand and foot.

The narrator in a first person narration may or may not be the primary focus of the story. They may or may not be privy to the thoughts and motivations of the other characters. If you decide that your character does know intimate thoughts of other characters in the story you need to make the audience understand how and why this character knows this information. Are they guessing based on previous experience or are they truly omniscient?

When writing in the first person narrative the author should use language that reflects personal perspective: 'I, or we' when referring to his or herself plus others.

It is generally a mistake to switch perspectives in the middle of a story without an acknowledged break in the story. For example, when using the alternating perspective the author should fully explore interaction between the characters from each of the narrator's point of view before switching to present another perspective. The author should be very careful to establish just exactly who is the focal character...unless the story demands that this information be withheld from the reader. This is done with the use of chapters or simple paragraphs.
If you change focal points with spoken sentences then you must begin a new paragraph beginning with the quoted work. Then you can proceed to share the perspective of this character in the first person. This is often tricky and can read as choppy and disconnected. Generally this shifting focus style of writing is coupled with the Omniscient Narrator style where the second and even the third person language is used throughout the story.
08/27/2012
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