Search Results for: first-person

3 Ways You Can Use a First-Person Narrator to Tell a Better Story

3 Ways You Can Use a First-Person Narrator to Tell a Better Story

Using a first-person narrator is tricky and should be attempted only by the most experienced hand. In-house editors know this, which is why they no doubt cringed when they saw the opening chapter of my new release The Cat Lady’s Secret. Not only is it in first-person, it’s in present tense. To make matters worse (to make […]

Don’t Even Think About Using First-Person Unless…

First-person is a popular narrative perspective, among both authors and readers, since it allows the narrating character to directly address readers by funneling the entire story through the narrator’s head, using the pronoun “I”—as in, “I went dragon slaying that fateful day”—versus the third-person pronouns—as in, “she went dragon slaying that fateful day.” First-person POVs […]

Most Common Writing Mistakes: Overpowering First-Person Narrator

Stories told by a first-person narrator are increasingly popular these days. First-Person: “I went to school today.” Third-Person: “She went to school today.” First-person is often a narrative perspective that’s tricky to get right. The first-person narrator, more than any other type of narrator, is inclined to lapse into self-centered telling, in which the narrating […]

evoke reader emotions header

How to Evoke Reader Emotions With “Surprisingness”

Have you ever read a book for a second, third, even tenth time—just to experience the emotion the story evokes? Clearly the elements of the story aren’t a surprise. You know exactly what to expect. If so, you were benefiting from an author who knew how to evoke reader emotions. Literary agent Donald Maass says […]

internal narrative

Critique: 4 Ways to Write Gripping Internal Narrative

The old joke about how “the book was better than the movie” is a reflection of several attributes written fiction offers over visual fiction. One of the main ones is the ability to get inside characters’ heads via internal narrative. Narrative, by its very nature, is narrated by someone. Usually, that someone is the protagonist. […]

4 Ways for Writers to Become Better Readers

4 Ways for Writers to Become Better Readers

Anyone can read a book, right? We all become better readers just by reading, right? Learning to put letters together into words and understand what they say—learning to read—that’s a learned skill. But once you’ve pretty much mastered that by fourth grade, you can read anything. There’s no skill to reading a novel. What is there […]

How to Amplify Your Characters' Subtext:

4 Ways to Amplify Your Characters’ Subtext

The magic ingredient in fiction is subtext. In part, it is magic because of the dynamic reaction it creates in readers: their sudden ability to become an intelligent participant in interpreting the story. But also, it is magic because, like any good trick, it can be difficult for authors to interpret exactly how to execute it. Nowhere […]

Most Common Writing Mistakes, Pt. 62: Head-Hopping POV

You know you’ve moved beyond recreational storytelling to serious writing the moment you discover you’re hopelessly confused about POV. Other than perhaps show vs. tell, no fundamental principle of fiction dogs writers more than creating a solid narrative—which often begins by understanding how to avoid head-hopping. It happens to all of us: we energetically send […]

6 Questions to Help You Choose the Right POV

6 Questions to Help You Choose the Right POV

Stories are defined by their narrators. Narrating characters implicitly tell us whose story this is. More than that, they determine which facets of plot and theme will be emphasized. How do they do this?  By also determining which elements will be eliminated or sidelined. In short, figuring out how to choose the right POV for your […]

June 2011 | Podcast Episode Archive

Subscribe to the Helping Writers Become Authors podcast on iTunes. June 2011 Why There’s No Such Thing as a Writing Expert – And Why That’s a Good Thing: The more time we spend studying our craft and the more we learn, the easier it is to lose sight of our own fallibility. Save Your Readers From […]