Distinct Narrators

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I’m trying to figure out how to make my three first-person narrators sound like three different people. Maybe typing out some of my thoughts will help:

What do they each sound like when they talk? Who uses more long, rambling sentences or more short ones?

Who are they each telling this story to and why?

Which of them tends to look beneath the surface of his or her own motivations? What about others’ motivations?

What things interest each of them most? How does this govern what details they notice in the world?

What sense(s) do they each rely on most? Or rather, what stimulants are they each most sensitive to?

Who/what do they each believe is or should be in control of the world (God, nature, herself/himself, other people)?

How would they each define themselves? How does this color their perceptions of others?

How do any or all of the above answers change as they mature in the course of the story?

What markers (themes, repeated words, etc.) can I use for each narrator to clue readers in quickly when I switch? Sometimes a chapter break doesn’t seem to be enough on its own.

I think if I can answer these questions for each narrator, I’ll be a lot further toward distinct voices than I am now.

What are your thoughts? How do you deal with multiple narrators within the same story?

Happy Yarning!

 

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2 thoughts on “Distinct Narrators

  1. I think essentially I do the same thing – some of the main questions I asked about Tristan was “what catches his attention, what does he pay attention to” and “how educated is he, what’s his grammar and vocabulary like?” but I think pretty much a lot of the questions you asked sum it up.

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