Choosing a narrative voice

WritingWide

Whenever you write a story, you have to choose who you’re writing as, how the story will be narrated, and in what tense. I’d like to focus on narrative voice in this one: first, second, and third person. Of course, narrative tense is also important, as is which character you choose as a viewpoint, but in this post I’m focusing on the voice.
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Broken Characters: to thine own self be true

by rahego under Creative Commons
by rahego under Creative Commons

In a previous post, I identified broken plot and broken characters as reasons that I feel stories often fail. Last time I talked about plot, so today, I’ll talk about broken characters.

By broken characters, I mean characters that are not internally consistent. That doesn’t mean that all stories should focus on character. Read Characters & Viewpoints by Orson Scott Card for more about his famous MICE quotient.

You can have characters that do not grow or change, and do not even have a big role. However, they can still be broken, and they can still ruin a story.

By internally consistent I mean, given the situation that a character is in, and their background, they should act in a plausible way. It doesn’t mean they have to be rational, but it does mean their actions flow logically from who they are and what happens to them. For instance, if an armed police officer witnesses a crime, they will call it in, or try to stop it. Of course, the officer can cower in fear, but then you’ll have to give an explanation for this at some point in the story. Characters can be completely irrational, but you have to establish them as such. Continue reading “Broken Characters: to thine own self be true”