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You could have the most artfully crafted characters and it wouldn’t matter if your narrative voice isn’t on point. This tremendously undervalued literary tool is more than just the faceless storyteller; it is your reader’s gateway to your world and the minds and motivations of your characters. It’s important that you understand the types of narrative voices in your toolbox and the effect they can have on the reader and story.
Understanding Point of View
Let’s start with the basics. You probably remember these terms from your high school English class, but we’ll take a moment to review them as they are the core building blocks of the narrative voice.
- First Person – This popular narrative point of view involves a narrator speaking directly to a reader. This narrator could be an active participant in the story (Twilight) or a somewhat more passive observer (The Great Gatsby). Typically, first person is singular (I, me), but some authors have experimented with the first person collective (we). Look to Joshua Ferris’ And Then We Came to the End for more examples of first person collective.
- Second Person – This is a less common narrative point of view. It also involves a narrator speaking directly to a reader. However, in this case, the reader is a participant in the story. The pronoun “you” brings them in to the fold and implies that they are part of the action. This is not to be confused with the “you” that might occur casually in first person speech.
- Third Person – This is another common narrative point of view. The third person tends to be omniscient (all-knowing) and provide the reader with samplings from a variety of points of view or from a single one. This point of view involves “they,” “them,” “he,” “she,” and “it.”
What You Want the Audience to Know
Choosing a narrator is about more than just what pronouns you select. It’s about the kind of information you want to give your reader and how. Do you want them to have knowledge that the character’s don’t? Do you want them to only experience the story through the character’s eyes? Here’s where you answer those questions.
- Omniscient – As we already briefly stated, the omniscient narrator is all-knowing. He or she knows what the character is doing at all times and why. The reader can trust the omniscient narrator to always tell the truth, making the story easier to follow. This can be helpful for complex plot lines, but is by no means necessary.
- Limited – A limited narrator doesn’t tell you everything because he or she doesn’t know everything. The limited narrator can only speak of what he or she is experiencing. This is most commonly done with first person point of view, but can be accomplished with other points of view. George R. R. Martin accomplishes this with third person point of view that focuses heavily on one character’s perspective at a time.
Other Types to Consider
The categories discussed above cover the basics of narration. However, there are some more specific types of narrative that might come in handy. Consider the following narrative styles for your next project.
- The Unreliable Narrator – This is a limited narrator. However, it doesn’t stop there. An unreliable narrator provides the reader not only with incomplete information, but also with incorrect information. The unreliable narrator is unreliable because he or she is a victim of his or her own prejudices and perceptions. The reader must learn to separate fact from exaggeration or misconception.
- Rotating Narrators – This is quintessentially George R. R. Martin. However, he didn’t invent this style. Rotating narrators can be an effective way of telling a complex story by showing different perspectives. When paired with unreliable narrators, rotating narrators can also help readers piece together multiple biased points of view in order to understand a larger story.
When developing your next story, don’t let the narrator be an afterthought. Consider tone, language, and perspective. Give your narrative voice the same care you’d give any of your other characters. Most of all, make sure it’s one you feel comfortable with. You’ll be using it for a while.
Studio 3 Hollywood Interviews Winterwolf Press at BEA 2017: Insight into New Publisher & Upcoming Books
Studio 3 Hollywood, a studio and lounge for entertainment news, interviews Winterwolf Press team members, including Arleen Barreiros, Director of Operations and Acquisitions, Laura Cantu, Founder of Winterwolf Press and author of BETWIXTERS: ONCE UPON A TIME, and Christine Contini, author of DEATH: AWAKENING TO LIFE, on the show floor of 2017’s NYC Book Expo America.
Check out the below video where Andy Mizrahi, Host of The Andy Mizrahi Show/Segment Producer, interviews Winterwolf Press.
To view Studio 3 Hollywood’s full article, click here.
So you’ve written a book. That is a huge accomplishment. You must feel ready to kick back on a sandy beach somewhere with a Mai Tai in one hand and the latest season of Game of Thrones on your tablet. But wait, don’t book those tickets to Tahiti just yet, because your work is far from over.
A book isn’t finished when the last word is written. A book isn’t even finished when it’s formatted and edited. A book is finished when it is tightly bound in a unique cover, something far easier said than done. Luckily for you, we’ve got a few ideas about how to make a cover that does your story justice.
Do Hire a Professional
It may feel tempting to tackle the job alone. After all, nobody knows your book better than you. But unless you have some serious chops as a graphic designer and artist, you might want to think again.
This is no simple task and hiring someone who has done it several times over will make your life a lot easier and increase your book’s chances of success. Make sure the graphic design artist has completed work on book covers before and is willing to work closely with you on the project.
Do Cultivate a Mood
Book covers are as much about feeling as they are about content. They can feel whimsical, sad, funny, frightening, etc. Bookstore browsers should be able to glance at your book and get a sense for the mood and tone of the novel. The feeling should draw them in and give them a broad view of the kind of story they can expect.
Don’t Be Too Literal
Obviously, you want your cover to accurately reflect the content of your story. But it doesn’t need to cover everything (no pun intended). Basically, we’re telling you to keep an open mind about what your cover could be.
Some covers can be a little more literal while still leaving space for a little mystery and imagination. Erin Morgenstern’s Night Circus does this with a black and white circus tent and human figures. Other covers can be highly symbolic but still accurately portraying the mood and themes of the story. Stephanie Meyers’ Twilight does this with the simple apple in the hands, symbolic of the temptation of Eve.
Don’t Ignore Font
Your font can speak to the mood and themes of the story as well. It is, in fact, part of the artwork of the cover and should be treated as such. Choose a font that is easy to read and in keeping with the tone of the rest of the cover. Vikram Chandra’s Sacred Games is an excellent example of this. The banner script is as elegant and pulp as the novel it represents.
Do Make It Pop
This doesn’t have to mean bright colors and bold text unless that’s what your novel calls for. Really, this means creating a cover that draws the eye and cultivates interest. Highly stylized covers that view easily from a distance are best for this.
If you need more inspiration, think of Yann Martel’s Beatrice and Virgil or Ruth Ozeki’s Tale for the Time Being. They’re covers are both stark, appealing, and beautiful. What’s more, they are informative without losing any of their mystery.
Live from BookCon 2017: Inspire the Muse Interviews Christine Contini, Inside Look at Death: Awakening to Life
‘What happens after we die’ has been a question that has haunted humanity since the dawn of abstract thought. Many theories have been offered, but finding evidence has seemed impossible. In Death: Awakening to Life, Christine Contini takes us on a journey through life, death, healing, and rebirth.
At thirty-one years old, Christine was diagnosed with Relapsing Remitting Multiple Sclerosis. A newfound spirituality gave her the power to overcome the habitual belief systems that had sanctioned her body to become so unwell. Through a daily practice of meditation, she began learning how to change her habits and thought patterns, but it wasn’t until seven years later when she experienced a sudden cardiac death that the real changes began to occur. The contact she had with the recently deceased led to her concept called ‘energetics’ – a system that could be used to bring balance and health to the living. Without her experiences in working alongside the deceased, her concept would not have been fully developed.
In Death: Awakening to Life, the journey Christine will lead you through is one you will never forget; hopefully, the accounts will inspire you to start asking questions about your own views of the world and your place in it. The proof we’ve all been seeking for what really exists after death is here in this book. Once it’s realized, the possibilities for healing and living can also be fully grasped. Christine reminds us that we have a responsibility to live our lives to their fullest potentials, and she presents the wisdom that can help us do it. This book is a gift that we’ve all been waiting for. Go on, don’t wait any longer. Find yourself, find your health, and find your truth.
The video below features Charles Muir of Inspire the Muse as he interviews our very own Christine Contini.
For more information about Christine, visit her website or follow her on social media.
The Empire of Lucent has stood for centuries as a beacon of strength and light. But now an otherworldly realm has unleashed an army of nightmarish creatures upon the peaceful empire, spreading a lethal plague called The Decay which consumes its victims mercilessly from the inside out.
The king of the Empire of Lucent calls upon “Lady of Death” Zephera Travelle—an infamous assassin with a weakness for braided cinnamon bread and a striking aptitude for murder and mayhem. He sends her on an impossible quest to find the one person who can concoct a cure and save the realm from total annihilation. Together with her best friend Zadkiel, mage extraordinaire Brenner, girly city-guard Oriana, and broody warrior Daegan, she embarks on a journey that will test her wits, will, and sanity. Along the way, she discovers that no one—and nothing—is as it seems, including herself.
The video below features Charles Muir of Inspire the Muse as he interviews our very own Aubrie Nixon.
For more information about Aubrie, visit her website or follow her on social media.
A mysterious forest near the cozy town of Herogate is more than what it seems. The Gnarled trees appear to breathe, gloomy storms follow you around, and prowling shadows come to life before your very eyes. The forest is guarded by a strange old man and creatures not of this world. Even the locals never set foot in the bewitched woodlands, and trespassers have a way of turning up dead.
When Noah Walters moves to town with his parents, his father makes Noah promise to never enter those woods; but fate has other plans.
Noah and his new best friends, Ethan and Skye, are chased into the woods by Grucker, a schoolyard bully, and their lives are changed forever. They are forced into the heart of the forest, where they discover a lost fairy who needs their help to find her way back home before it’s too late.
Join Noah and his friends on an epic adventure as they race against time and plunge headfirst into the unknown. They are challenged with secrets to keep, a dangerous mission to accomplish, and a test of courage that will bring them face-to-face with magical creatures they thought only existed in fairy tales.
The video below features Charles Muir of Inspire the Muse as he interviews our very own Laura Cantu.
For more information about Laura, visit her website or follow her on social media.