Writing Advice

United States
December 4, 2008 3:00pm CST
I recently started writing a novel, often experienced writers suggest having a neutral, non-vocal narrator. I want my narrator to be part of the story does anyone have any advice on creating a very active narrator? The narrator in A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens has a very strong voice and I like how it is written. There are other books out there with strong voices aren't there?
4 people like this
8 responses
@kkthom3 (279)
• United States
4 Dec 08
My current favorite author is Suzanne Brockmann and one of the reasons I love her is because of her characters. She writes her books with many different characters telling the story from their point of veiw and she does an amazing job by making all the characters sound different and unique. You can immediately tell which character is talking by what words and phrases they use. If I were you I would read some of her books, especially her troubleshooters series, to get some great ideas. If you go to her website I think that there is also a place where she gives tips on how to write from different characters perspectives. Good luck with your book and I hope this helped!
• United States
4 Dec 08
I can't think of any books, off hand, that have a strong narrator's voice, but I know there are plenty.I don't read a lot of fiction these days, so my memory is weak in that area. Don't let yourself be limited by advice like that. There are an infinite number of ways to write a novel, and some of the greatest have broken all the supposed "rules." Do what's right for the novel. What's important is your skill in doing in, not in following some arbitrary rule.
@xParanoiax (6997)
• United States
19 Dec 08
Are you sure you don't mean to write it in first person? There are plenty of first-person novels that're pretty good, even if it's not as common as third person. I switch back and forth myself. But most of this style that you sound like you're describing tends to be in old fashioned fiction, the wonderful classics
@sierras236 (2740)
• United States
5 Dec 08
Make the narrator a key part of the story. A side observer whose life is affected by others but has no real control over their actions. The narrator should be a strong character as well. Perhaps, try creating the person you want to tell this story first. Then step into his head and write the story as he is sees it. I think the magic of Charles Dickens is that the narrator does have an opinion on the people he is writing about.
@underdogtoo (9589)
• Philippines
5 Dec 08
I have always wanted to write something but unfortunately, I never had either the talent nor the stamina to do it. I hope you find your voice and write your novel. Cheers!!.
@Keola12 (717)
• United States
5 Dec 08
You can write a novel by either using the third person voice or the first person voice. Either of these kinds of narrations works beautifully. It just depends on the writer's preference. Just don't limit yourself to only one way of narrating. If you want your narrator to be vocal and a part of the story, then that's fine too. It's even done in movies where a character within a given story will talk to the audience in addition to interacting with the rest of the characters within the given story. Use your instincts. If there a certain style that feels right to you then use it. And don't be afraid top experiment with your stories. Be as creative as you want. The sky is the limit. And most importantly, don't forget to have fun with your writing project as you embark on your journey of writing your novel or with whatever project you happen to be working on.
@MissAMB (16)
• United States
5 Dec 08
Hello, Well, you could consider making the narrator one of the main characters in the story. It depends on the type of novel you are writing. The narrator does not necessarily need to be an active participant in the story, but could be written in as a main character. For example, in a romance novel, the narrator voice could be the thoughts of the woman/man in the story of how they are involved, thinking, reasoning, etc. about the romance. In a mystery novel, the narrator voice could be the actions of the villain/hero in the story like how they are going to find the villain or kill the hero, etc. If you need more help on how to use the narrator voice in the story consider watching the movie Stranger Than Fiction. It does exactly what you are talking about. The author in the movie is writing a novel, and is also the narrator voice in the story. It is a very good movie, and you will enjoy watching it if you haven't seen it already. Also, you could search for tips on writing on the web for more information.
• United States
4 Dec 08
I have to agree with unusualsuspect on this one. Let your natural voice flow. Write out your rough draft, then you can tweak it to sound the way you think it ought to sound. The narrator's voice will come through much more naturally that way and it won't seem forced or contrived. I know when I am working on a novel, the first thing I do is get the rough (and I mean really rough) draft out of the way first, before I start worrying about narration, voice, pov, and the other details that come with revision.