Storytelling with Narrators

#manuscriptmonday #storytelling

I wrote my first novel. It’s getting published. Yay me. I guess that makes me an author now. A published one. Cool.

But before I was ever a writer, I was a reader. It was reading that made me into a storyteller, whether I told verbal stories, drew cartoons or painted pictures, wrote poems and short stories or took pictures. And like most readers, I like stories told well and even have preferences as to how I like to “hear” them.

Personally, I enjoy the stories from the narrator’s perspective. There is a cliche that says “there are three sides to every story: his, hers, the truth.” There is another one that says: “The truth lies somewhere in the middle.” The totality of any story is told when you hear all perspectives of the truth. Cliche: “Perception is reality.”

In my first novel, I decided to tell a long story through the lenses of several narrators. I believe this to be an important way to present each character as well. How does the narrator see herself? How does the narrator see another character? How does the narrator view the other narrator? How does the narrator experience the same scene as an other narrator? How are they the same…how are the different?

In a criminal court room, you have a prosecutor and a defendant. They present to you two different narrations of a crime. Some things may be the same…some are not. The “finders of fact” is the Jury. The Jury is “truth” – even if what they find is not actually the truth, in a court of law…it is. This is why lawyers are so important – they need to tell a strong narration of their side. This is why juries are so important. What they say, goes. What they determine is true, is therefore true.  Mind bent around yet?

10 different kids doing the same thing, 10 different narrations of the same event!.

When telling a story with multiple narrators, like I have with Scout’s Honor, it is important to let the reader be the jury or the “finder of fact” in order to determine the truth. This engages the reader actively in the story, rather than just serving as an outside observer.

Happy Manuscripting,

-Dori
         

  


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