Today I would like to write about the various types of narrators that you can find in fiction. At the end of this essay, you can pick one of these narrators and write something in his/her/its voice.
Don sent me a snippet from Characters and Viewpoint by Orson Scott Card. Card writes the following:
"Your decision whether to use 1st person or 3rd person is not so much a grammatical choice as a narrative strategy. If you want the narrator to be a character who takes part in the events of the story, you'll use first person. If you either want the narrator to be a character who did not take part in the events, or want the narrator not to be identified as a character at all, you'll use third person."
And in only a few lines, Card shows the importance of the narrator and POV to fiction. One thing to remember is that the narrator is within the story.
Here are a list of narrators that you can find when reading literature.
First Person Narrators
- Reliable narrator: This narrator can be a major or minor character that knows or lives the story. The reader knows that this narrator would never lead him/her astray knowingly. But of course, this narrator is in first person POV so he/she/it does not always know what is going on in other characters.
- Unreliable narrator: This narrator is also a first person phenomenon except he/she/it is leading the reader to wrong conclusions--maybe because of psychological problems. An example of an unreliable narrator is Benji in the Sound and the Fury. More information on unreliable narrators
Third Person Narrators
- Unreliable narrator in third person (limited): This narrator is more of a trickster. He/she/it is a clown and many want to present the material in a different light.
- Reliable narrator in third person (limited) (Spectator): Normal mode. As a reader you trust the narrator as soon as you start reading.
Other ideas for narrators could follow the next formats:
- First person Royal We narrative: Sometimes couples who have been married a long time use this POV. They do not use single pronouns. (It was called the royal we because royalty would use it to signify their status.)
- Third person historian narrative: Writing a story as a history. This strategy really distances the writer from what is happening.
- Journalistic narrative: Most of the story is happening behind the scenes. The sentences are short and snappy. Use the five W's--who, when, where, why and how.
Good information on narrative strategies can be found at Basics of English Studies.
Write a story, essay, or poem using one of these strategies. Minimum 500 words for story or essay.