1. smackrabbits
    Offline

    smackrabbits New Member

    Joined:
    May 7, 2012
    Messages:
    8
    Likes Received:
    0

    First person narrator giving context to the wider plot.

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by smackrabbits, May 9, 2012.

    Hi all!,

    I've just started on my scifi/fantasy novel series and could do with a bit of input regarding surrounding context and internal history.
    The novels are set in a completely fictional universe, and I'm telling the majority of the story through several characters with interwoven plot-lines in the third person.

    I'm trying to allude to events and places within the universe to engage the readers imagination without starving them of too much detail (I think the film adaptation of 'Children of Men' is the perfect example of this technique). To this end, I'm using one character in a first person narrative, musing on his own life and talking about current events, places, and significant historical context which I'm hoping will flesh out the rest of my plot-lines but still engage the imagination of the reader.

    My question is, essentially, if anyone would take issue with this technique. Would anyone consider it a cliche? Or does has anyone tried the same thing and are consequently able to comment on how well it did/did not work?

    Thanks in advance
     
  2. Cogito
    Offline

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 19, 2007
    Messages:
    35,935
    Likes Received:
    2,043
    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    It can work, if the narrator is appealing to the reader. The personality of the narrator is going to be the make-or-break focal point, in my opinion.

    Is your POV character also the main character? if so, consider making the main character someone else. The close observer who's just a scoach removed from the point of the storm is very effective - consider Dr. Watson. For the observer NOT to be privy to the inner ruminations of the main character can be a great narrative tool.
     
  3. thecoopertempleclause
    Offline

    thecoopertempleclause Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2012
    Messages:
    206
    Likes Received:
    12
    Location:
    Cornwall, UK
    Yes, Children of Men handled the introduction of the future magnificently. Just make sure that every P.O.V. character you have is absolutely essential, and I would never recommend having more than one first-person voice, it's extremely hard to pull off (Rules of Attraction is one of the rare examples I can think of) since you have to have a completely different style of writing, different grammar, different vocabulary for each first-person voice.

    As you mentioned, CoM worked because it only told us the context which was essential for the current plot, and even then it was deliberately vague (we were never told what caused the infertility). While you as the author need to know a fair bit about the world you are creating, only the tip of that iceberg has to appear in your story. So before you include any piece of information, ask yourself whether it would make a difference to the plot or characters if it was left out, if not, leave it out.
     
  4. smackrabbits
    Offline

    smackrabbits New Member

    Joined:
    May 7, 2012
    Messages:
    8
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thanks for the advice guys,
    The POV character is the only one in the book, he's the main philosophical voice and I'm envisioning him talking about events unfolding in other plotlines from a removed perspective, though he'll become central towards the end.
    My main hurdle with creating the world is all the names and stuff I have for things which might not immediately carry over to the reader. 'Clatters', for example are a general term for the primary mode of airbourne transport in the book. The problem is making that clear to the reader in the least intrusive way possible, which I think I've managed for 'clatters' but certainly isn't as easy for similar terms. It's about 12 days until I can put work up for critique so I guess I'll be able to get more direct feedback then.

    Cheers again
     

Share This Page