Once all the hard work of completing the very first draft of your novel is complete (yay!), and you’ve had the time to give it a look-over and fix all the spelling errors, typos, and other general first-draft inconsistencies and issues, the next thing you’ll likely want to do before you send the book off to editors/agents/publishers is to have a fresh pair of eyes look over the book and give you feedback.
My last post on this topic covered worldbuilding with a purpose, so now I'd like to explore the opposite approach. The truth is that not all stories need extensive worldbuilding, especially when they take place in familiar settings and not on imaginary worlds or some high-flying epic environment. But sometimes you want to do it anyway.
Genre is a literary term used to describe categories of fiction. You'll recognize the popular ones, which turn up as special sections at your favorite bookstore: science fiction, fantasy, romance, mystery, and horror. It's is a handy way to group similar types of stories, but genre is often misunderstood.
Fiction writers often strive to draw readers deep into the pages of their works. We know the best stories are the ones that make time seem to stop. So what makes a fictional world seem so real readers forget where they are? It’s in the details.
In most stories, your protagonist wants something—to change a law or the government itself, to avenge a death, to hook up with the cutie, to dispel a curse—and your antagonist usually wants something that is in direct opposition of whatever the protagonist wants.
From those opposing wants come the narrative conflict and thus plot.
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 way your scenes are woven together, both your narrative and your readers may benefit from being able to experience your story through multiple different narrators.