Multiple Narrators, One Story, No Sweat!

Filed in Ask the Editor, Writing Tips by on May 22, 2017 0 Comments

You can find it in fiction, non-fiction, even in cookbooks: more than one person narrating different portions of the book to offer various perspectives, beliefs and even manners of speaking (or writing in this case).

If an author were interested in utilizing multiple narrators in his/her story, there needs to be considerations made to display the differences between the narrators. You don’t want many people supposedly narrating the story, but it appear only one person is describing the events of the story.

As you craft your narration, think about the ages of the narrators. One example I came across while reading one manuscript was siblings of various ages narrating. The author’s writing should center most on the experience levels of the siblings: the older sibling would be more articulate in statement and recall more in memory than the younger sibling, who seemed more focused on personal emotion and simpler aspects of life.

In the same mindset of age, gender can also be a factor of difference between narrators. Boys/men may concentrate on the action within their circumstances or how they would solve a problem, while girls/women tend to focus on their emotional connections to things/people.

If your narrators are from different time periods, such as in a flashback, the author needs to make sure that what is discussed by each narrator caters to what they have experienced at that point in time. Let these characters’ backgrounds shape how they interpret events and feelings about who they are.

Outside of narration styles, it is important to designate in content when narrators change so there isn’t any confusion as to who is talking at different times. On the flip side, you also wouldn’t want to add multiple narrators if only one narrator would suffice in giving a logical perspective to the story.

So, now what?

Pondering on these qualities of multiple narrators will benefit your manuscript as the similarities and differences can bring out certain events within the story and allow them to be more realistic to readers. Getting into the mentalities of these characters will keep the story moving forward if there are any lulls in action or suspense, while also connecting to readers on an intimate level.

Tags: , , ,


About the Author ()

Blair Townley joined the Xulon Press family as a Staff Editor in May 2013, helping first-time authors prepare their treasured manuscripts for publication. Prior to Xulon Press, she previously worked as a staff writer/editor for several Central Florida-based magazines over the past decade. What Blair enjoys most about writing and editing is getting to help others share their stories, helping others see themselves as the unique individuals God created them to be.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *