A two-part worksheet about the narrator and narrative choices for my WIP. It is a series, so these choices will be important as they carry over between novels. Feel free to grab the questions and write your own answers if you like. Tomorrow I will share Part 2.
Story: Shadow Guild Book One: The Court of Night
Narrator: Internal protagonist
Person & Tense: 1st or 3rd (haven’t fully decided; still exploring the stylistic choice)
Why did you choose this narrator?
I have chosen the narrator to be the protagonist, whether or not I write from the 1st or 3rd person perspective. The reason behind this is because she will have the most ‘screen time’, her actions and decisions guide most of the plot, and her internal thoughts show the development of her character along the way. I want the readers to be limited in their information to what the protagonist knows and feels, instead of knowing before her what’s going to happen.
Is the narrator a character in the story?
Yes, she is the protagonist: Synren Willows.
What is the narrator’s purpose in telling the story?
The story arcs around her involvement in a rebellion, and the betrayals that come with it. She wishes to tell the story, from her perspective, of what happened during the White Hand Rebellion vs. the Tyrant King, and the ensuing civil war that quickly followed.
Which characters’ thoughts can the narrator access?
The narrator will be limited to the protagonist’s thoughts, as the reader will be limited to knowing only what she does. They will discover secrets and betrayals as the protagonist lives them, and share in her emotional journey as her life is turned upside-down and she has to begin anew.
Does the narrator have access to information that the characters don’t?
Technically yes and no. The narrator, as the protagonist, knows everything about herself and therefore the readers will know much about her personality, thoughts, feelings, and backstory. However, she – and in extension the readers – will not know how other characters are thinking or feeling. This perpetuates the mystery surrounding allegiances throughout the rebellion and coup.
Does the narrator affect or interact with the characters?
Yes, she will be active within her own story, and her decisions will play a key role in how the other characters develop throughout the course of the series (a trilogy).
What is the narrator’s relationship to the protagonist?
She is the protagonist’s inner voice.
Who is the narrator addressing?
She is addressing the readers; in this case, I may write this as a memory in past tense as though it were being recounted to others after the fact. However, I have yet to decide the best way to present the story and need to write a couple test scenes in order to gauge my preference.
How does the narrator feel towards the addressee?
If it is being written as a flashback from a future protagonist, then it is likely being recounted to someone the protagonist likes and trusts, but who wasn’t present during the events of the series. Perhaps her future children?
How does the narrator’s character emerge?
Through both action and internal dialogue, the character will emerge bit-by-bit. The readers will share her journey as she learns and grows as a person, and hopefully the readers will come to care about her trials with her.
How do the narrator’s opinions and judgments emerge?
The protagonist starts off as a very judgmental person and this will be apparent through her thoughts about other characters she meets along the way. However, as she develops, I hope for her judgmental nature to soften as she realizes that not everyone is as they seem at first appearances.
Are there any factors that make the narrator unreliable?
Technically, the fact that everything is happening from the protagonist’s perspective means that the readers are only privy to the information as seen through her eyes. Therefore, there could be mistakes or misunderstandings that result in false information for the reader. Only time will tell as that is my secret to keep – for now.