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Narrative Voice: What is an Unreliable Narrator?
January 22, 2021
Now that we’ve established what a point-of-view (POV) and a Narrative Voice are, let’s talk about Unreliable Narrators. These are narrators who, either because of the way they interpret the world, omissions in their story, or outright falsehoods and manipulation, lie to the reader.
Once you’ve chosen your narrator, your next job is to figure out how they speak. Have a good long think about how their upbringing, social class, race, gender, sexuality, education, job, family home life, nation, etc. interconnect and serve to shape their morals, choices, preferences, and understanding of the world.
Depending on how your plot is structured and the are scenes woven together, both your narrative and your readers may benefit from being able to experience your story through multiple different narrators.
Welcome to the first of five articles about creating a narrative voice.
Deciding who your narrator is going to be is not only vital for you as a creator —because without someone to tell the story on your behalf, you can’t tell it at all—but it will also effect how and why your story is exists at all. This makes narrative voice the most important decision you can make before plunging into the actual writing itself,
"Exposition" can be a scary word. In some writing circles, "experts" will warn you to exercise extreme caution when using it, or they'll make it out to be a difficult but necessary evil. But ultimately, exposition is just another writing tool, and it's used in all sorts of writing, even beyond fiction. Think of it this way: no matter what you're writing, you want your readers to understand and follow your train of thought.