Narrative voice is one of those things editors and agents look out for as a sign of raw talent. It’s something people say can’t be taught. Either you have it or you don’t.
This may be true, partly, but it doesn’t mean that you can’t make any conscious decisions about your narrative voice.
I love playing around with my voice in different pieces that I write, and I thought I would share some advice on how you could have some fun with your own narrative voice as well.
I would argue that in most novels, about 50% of voice comes from the author’s own voice and natural storytelling abilities. This may change overtime, but mostly it’s just you. Writing as you write. The other 50%, I’d say comes down to writing like your narrator is telling a story to an audience. This means asking yourself two questions.
1. WHO IS TELLING THE STORY?
This is pretty simple in 1st person point of view: know who your character is and let them tell the story. Know what their opinions are. What interests them. The things they like and dislike. If they’re angry or optimistic or scared. If they use slang or speak like a professor. A voice should grow naturally out of that information.
In 3rd person, when your narrator is a non-participant, there are two options:
The first is to tell the story strictly as yourself, in 100% your own voice, and let it change naturally as you suit it to fit your story. This means being confident in your abilities as a storyteller and just telling the story.
The other option is to put on a costume. This narrator is you, but perhaps it is you as a grandfather, or you as a historian, or simply of yourself as someone funnier or wittier than you think you actually are. It’s still your voice. It’s still you telling the story, but you’re drawing out a particular aspect of your voice that enhances the story you’re telling.
This option is more complicated than the others. This is consciously changing your voice. I believe it can be done: that grandfather might help you get into a certain mindset if you want your story to have that kindly touch of “Mr. and Mrs. Dursley of Number 4 Privet Drive were proud to say…” Thinking of yourself as a historian might add a formal sort of flare to your high fantasy novel. Believing you’re hilarious may give you the confidence to put sillier elements into your story.
2. WHO ARE THEY TELLING IT TO?
I don’t mean this in terms of who you imagine is going to read your book. That’s a different matter entirely. What I’m talking about here is the narrator’s audience. This is usually just an audience imagined by the author, unless the format of the novel is epistolary or journal entry, or the narrator references them outright. Even so, it can be helpful to remember, however, that every story is told to someone. This can be intentional or unintentional, but it drastically changes how the story is told.
Here are some types of audiences:
Afriend, which means they’re telling the story in an honest and casual manner, as though the reader is someone they trust with their innermost thoughts. I would say this is the most common “audience” for a novel told in the 1st person.
ex. The Shades of London series by Maureen Johnson
Someone they want to persuade, which depending on their character could mean being unreliable and defensive, or confessional and apologetic. They might be keeping a few secrets about their thoughts and feelings from the reader, and maybe even lying to the reader and/or themselves.
ex. The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga
Historical record, which is not actually for historical record, but a more formal 3rd person that doesn’t focus on interacting with the reader so much as honestly reporting thoughts and events as they occur. I would say that this is one of the most common “audiences” for a novel written in 3rd person.
ex. A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin
An audience referenced in the text itself. This is a book in full story-telling mode, where a 3rd person narrator both refers to the imagined audience and the fact that they are telling a story directly on the page. This is an older style of storytelling used to be more common than it is today. The imagined audience can be a certain type of reader (children in many classic children’s books). It can also be an audience that only exists in the word of the story itself, like prospective dragon naturalists.
ex. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
ex. A Natural History of Dragons by Marie Brennan
Once you’ve settled these two matters, you have a structure for your narrative voice in place. The rest, depends on your voice as an author, and for that I can only give the following advice:
Read. Pay close attention to the voices of the books you admire, the way the narrative interacts with you as a reader and with the events of the text. Consider why you admire certain storytelling features and how you might implement similar features in your own writing.
Write and write a lot. Every word you put on the page is a choice you’ve made. Every choice you make will hone your voice, completely subconsciously.
Have fun telling your story. Don’t worry about the voice being polished or “good,” just tell the story in a way that’s enjoyable for you. If you’d like, experiment with different styles. Practice telling stories in the voices of people who don’t sound exactly like you. Try on ridiculous costumes. When you have fun telling a story, your reader will have fun listening to it.
1. Harry Potter by J. K. Rowling
2. Berenstain Bears by Stan & Jan Berenstain
3. Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis
4. The Giver by Lois Lowry
5. Bailey School Kids by Debbie Dadey & Marcia Jones
6. Goin’ Someplace Special by Patricia McKissack
7. Matilda by Roald Dahl
8. BFG by Roald Dahl
9. Madeline by Ludwig & John Bemelmans
10. 1984 by George Orwell
11. The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien
12. Arthur series by Marc Brown
13. Twilight series by Stephanie Meyer
15. Dr. Seuss books
16. The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams
17. Froggy series by Jonathan London
18. Black Lagoon series by Mike Thaler
19. Flat Stanley series by Jeff Brown
20. The Magic School Bus series by J. C., N. E. K., L. N., J. P., & R. C.
21. Little Miss Spider series by David Kirk
22. Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren
23. The Watsons Go To Birmingham -1963 by Christopher Paul Curtis
24. A Bad Case of Stripes
25. Friendle by Andrew Clements
I loved him so much. He introduced me to Tolkien. When “The Hobbit” came on TV, he would let me know, because he knew how much I loved Thorin. He adored his children and went above and beyond for us, his job, extended family and friends.
We are devastated.
I just wanted to let you know that I will probably not finish my Drabble games, write fic requests or post anything much on the blog for a while. I had only written a few of the Drabble games stories anyway, due to a new workload and writing my book. My apologies for not fulfilling all of them.
I feel so broken. My family and I could use your prayers and love.
The boy is hella touchy feely. Had a bad day? Hug it out. Had a good day? Treat yo self to hours of cuddling in bed. Encounter a minor inconvenience? It’ll all be better after a couple kisses. He dotes on the people he loves, clings to them like they’re his very life. You will never be able to convince me he won’t be stuck like glue to his partner.
He’ll never admit to it (being a dark hearted crime overlord and whatnot) but he seriously wants to have kids one day. He thinks they’re adorable… until they learn to speak, but that’s a bridge he’ll cross when he gets to it.
There are always lilies in his bedroom. Always.
His favorite food is strawberry toast because his mother would make it for him whenever other children had been particularly nasty to him.
His favorite book is The Hobbit and he cried when he saw a copy in his father’s library.
No one can convince him too much sugar is a bad thing. No one.
He has a lot of difficulty going to sleep and staying asleep, so he takes melatonin pills.
Hell will freeze over before you ever, ever catch him in a doctor’s office. If he goes it’s because he’s convinced himself he’s dying.
Summary: You and your boyfriend, Sirius, are both disgraced from your pureblood obsessed families, meaning you get to spend the holidays at Hogwarts with no one else getting in the way
Warnings: Extreme fluff? Also swearing and innuendos because it’s Sirius
A/N: I found this a while ago, it’s sound effects associated with the Gryffindor common room, I was listening to it while writing this so I thought it would be good for listening to while you read it
It was the unspoken truth that anyone who stayed at Hogwarts over Christmas either had no home to go to, or wasn’t wanted at home. The latter was the case for both you and Sirius Black. Both of you “belonged” to pureblood crazy families, which you had both been disgraced from upon being sorted into Gryffindor house six years ago. It wasn’t all bad, it meant you didn’t have to see them anymore, but it also meant that you had to stay at school most holidays.
The common room was barely lit, the heavy velvet curtains and the roaring fire casting a warm glow over the otherwise dark room. The curtains muffled the sound of the thunderstorm outside, the most noticeable sounds being the crackle of the flames and occasionally the turning of a page, as you were curled up in the armchair reading one of the books you’d brought from home.
It was a muggle book, entitled The Hobbit. When you’d seen it in the shop, it hadn’t immediately struck your fancy, but upon learning that it was a muggle book about magic, you had to buy it. You never missed a chance to disgust your family.
Today, the third of January 2017, John Ronald Reuel Tolkien would have been celebrating his 125th birthday! Happy birthday Mr. Tolkien! I love your books, you were one of the greatest authors in the upcoming fantasy genre of literature. Thank you for everything. You are missed!
First, you were captured by trolls and
spent the night wide awake, tied in a sack. When you had finally gotten free,
you were then forced to run away from orcs and wargs and had somehow found
yourself in an underground cave. You just wanted to sleep.
You trudge through the path that
Dwalin had found, accidently stepping on Frerin’s heel.
Frerin curses as he trips up and
he turns to glare at you.
Frerin. I’m just so tired,” you groan, thumping your head on his shoulder. You
continue to rest it there as you make your way down the path. He just shakes
his head, turning to watch the path and trying to make sure you were as
comfortable as possible.
that Thorin was glaring holes through his head, but he didn’t care. He hadn’t
got to be this close to you in years and he wasn’t going to pass up this opportunity.
stops, but you continue walking almost knocking him over in the process.
little fer,” you apologize, straightening out.
Frerin, when you were children, had also
insisted on a nickname since you always called Thorin, Rin. Little Fer was the
best you could do and you were disappointed in it, but Frerin ate it up.
“I haven’t heard
that in so long,” Frerin mumbles as you move to stand beside him.
many things that I haven’t heard in so long that I miss every single day of my
life,” you tell him, look around at the valley of Imladris. It was absolutely
to ignore Gandalf as you walk to the ledge. You look down and wonder how this
is all possible. How can this place be hidden so well?
gorgeous waterfalls streaming down off to the side and you were pretty sure
there were littler ones decorating the path. The water falls were meeting at
the river below and you were sure that the river stretched on for miles and
miles. The trees were still starting to come back to life and they made the
most amazing greens you had ever seen. You close your eyes for a bit, taking in
the calming aura it was sending off.
your plan all along-,” you hear Thorin grumble and that interrupts your calm
realized he would turn out to be such a grump, you would’ve never left. You
turn your body to look at him, but you panic as you feel something bump into
you. You let out a little scream as you find yourself falling over the ledge. A
hand reaches out to grab you and you clutch onto that hand for dear life. You
are pulled back up and you bend over to rest on your knees, wondering who saved
woman! You know you are afraid of heights and yet you stand next to the ledge
as if you are not!” Ah. That would be Thorin.
fast brother,” you say, straightening out and ignoring the insult. Playing it
off like it didn’t hurt seemed to always be the best option these days. You try
to dust off imaginary dirt as Thorin’s glare intensifies.
lucky I have my eye on you at all times! You would’ve died if I hadn’t been
here,” Thorin exclaims, voice cold Your heart soars just a little bit. It shows
that he still cares about you even if it was a very, tiny bit.
nothing, but a burden.”
And there goes
your heart once again.
should’ve just let me die, Thorin. Like you should’ve all those years back,”
you retort, stepping away from him and following the rocky path downwards.
that was like a slap in the face, but he schools his features and follows after
everyone except for Frerin. Frerin waits patiently for his brother to catch up
before also following the rest of the company.
whatever – between the two of you is getting old, Thorin. Don’t you think it’s
time to get over it?” Frerin asks.
it? I will never get over it, Frerin. Erebor was betrayed, twice, that day.
Once by the elves and the other by it’s own princess. Do not think that I will
forget so easily,” Thorin warns.
obvious that she still cares about you. About us, but you cannot see it because
you’ve got your head stuck up your-“
never forgive her, Frerin! She betrayed our people, she betrayed our family.
She left me! And I will never forgive her,” Thorin responds angrily, voice carrying
over the entire company, including you and it hurt. So. Much.
You try to
ignore the ache in your heart as the company comes to a halt on a landing.
around and you can see elves in the distance, watching you all. Some are
whispering to each other while most are continuing their previous journey. The
elf that catches your eye the most, however, is the one that was making his way
down the stairs now.
the elf says, holding his hand to his heart and extending it to gesture towards
Lindir,” Gandalf replies and that is when you lose track of the conversation.
You decide to just look around and you contemplate on whether or not you should
stay here. Sure, you had promised to help reclaim Erebor, but you did not know
if you could handle Thorin hating you.
speak to Lord Elrond,” Gandalf states and that gains your attention once again.
“My Lord Elrond is not here,” Lindir replies and Gandalf looks at him confused.
Linidr can answer, you hear a horn sound in the distance. That must’ve answered
the question because Gandalf doesn’t ask anymore.
around as you hear horses coming towards you. There is a murmur going through
the dwarves and suddenly, after hearing Thorin’s shout to close ranks, you are
being thrust in the middle of a circle of dwarves.
over the heads of the dwarves and look at Gandalf, confused. He just shrugs as
the horses come to a slow stop.
You look at
the elves as they dismount. You realize that one is three heads shorter than
the rest and you tilt your head to the side as you see his knees moving in the
back of the horse.
supposed to be taller than that?
another elf says and your attention is drawn from the peculiar elf to the other
one as he draws Gandalf into a conversation. He turns to you all and Gandalf
suggests that it might have been the company’s fault for driving the orcs so
close. He looks you over first and then his eyes move over to Frerin and Thorin
as the horses are led out.
Thorin and Frerin the children of Thrain. I was not expecting to by greeted by
the house of Durin,” Lord Elrond states.
You hear a curse in Khuzdul, but it’s
not from your group of dwarves. You all turn towards the source and you see a
very familiar dwarf looking back at you. A dwarf that you had not seen since
the Battle of Azanulbizar. The one who had
stolen your heart and broken it without even knowing it.
They were first in line to see The Force Awakens, and also
were some of the first to buy advance tickets.
They are AVID World of Warcraft fans.
Both would own iPhones, but Mike is a bit more phobic of
technology than Will. He believes that one day, technology is gonna turn on us
and the result won’t be a pretty one, and Will always has to tell him that he’s
On the iPhone note: Will’s phone background is of Mike
holding one of their dogs, and Mike’s is one of Will on their wedding day.
Both have Tumblrs. Will’s is very aesthetically-pleasing,
with photography, art, musicals, floral, etc. Mike’s is more of a fandom blog,
primarily Star Wars and Doctor Who.
On the Doctor Who note, both of them are HUGE fans of the
show. Will’s favorite new Doctor is Eleven and favorite old Doctor is Five,
while Mike’s favorite new Doctor is Ten and old Doctor is Four. Their favorite
companions are Rose, Amy, Sarah Jane, and Rory.
Both were big Pokemon fans as kids, and totally had the
trading cards, Nintendo games (they always competed to see who could take the
better pictures on Pokemon Snap), the Pokemon Gameboy, the merchandise, and both
watched the show constantly. If you think that they didn’t get on the Pokemon Go
bandwagon when it came out, you are DEAD WRONG.
Both are huge Game of Thrones fans. Mike is totally in love
with Daenerys and how badass she is, and Will loves Tyrion and Jon.
Will uses Instagram RELIGIOUSLY. He will take pictures of
pretty much ANYTHING and post them to his account with (what he thinks are)
witty captions. Most of the time, those captions are nothing but emojis.
Both use Snapchat. Will uses it mostly to annoy Mike by
sending him snaps of his own various selfies with captions like “Do you still
love me, Mike?” and then following up five minutes later with, “How about now?”
and another, two minutes after that: “How about NOOOW?” Mike has to finally
tell him to stop, and then Will begins sending him snaps of their dogs—while both men are in the same house, in different rooms.
Mike rarely uses his Snapchat, and only uses it for the cool
filters. Will uses every single filter more than once, but Mike only uses
filters if he likes them.
Will watches cooking shows all the time, most specifically
Cake Boss and Hell’s Kitchen.
Mike watches and loves true crime shows, and watches the
Investigation Discovery (ID) channel a lot.
They both try to go to San Diego Comicon every year, and
they cosplay every single time they attend. Their cosplays range from Star Wars
to Doctor Who to Marvel or DC characters.
They both love the Marvel and DC films, but both have a huge
preference for Marvel comics and films.
Both are massive Harry Potter fans. Mike has read all seven
books at least twenty times, and Will has read them all at least forty. It’s
their obsession, and sometimes they’ll even read the books to each other. Later
on, when they adopt a couple of children, they introduce them to Harry Potter
and read the books to them every night.
They both marveled over The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit
films. They were totally in awe of the special effects and how beautifully it
came to life on screen.
Will uses Uber so much, but Mike is totally paranoid about
him doing that. He’s always afraid that they’re unsafe, and that “they could be
a serial killer, Will!” Will just assures Mike that he’s being paranoid and watches
too many true crime shows.
They Skype and FaceTime all the time when they have to be
apart. It’s mostly just Will holding their dogs and telling Mike all about what
they did that day (“Toto took a dump in the house today, Mikey! ALL OVER MY
BRAND NEW RUG!!!!!!” “Hermione went to the vet today and got her teeth cleaned!
Her breath smells fresh!” “Hagrid had to go get spayed today. I don’t think he’s
ever gonna trust me AGAIN!” and the list just goes on and on and ON). Will
Byers is a total Dog Dad and no one is ever gonna convince me otherwise.
Mike’s username on pretty much all of his social media is thecoolestwheeler90,
while Will’s is thecutestwheeler91 (after he marries Mike; before marrying
Mike, it’s hufflepuffcutie2010, because he was pretty sure he was a Hufflepuff and
wouldn’t accept anything or anyone telling him otherwise).
Hi! How you? I really wanna know the answer to this, so, if you know, I would really appreciate your response ❤hat it's and how you make a character arc?
Hello! I’m good, thanks for asking - I’ve got a lot of work in this period, but it’s very interesting stuff.
So, a character arc is a narrative term which identifies the main bit of a novel or a movie or whatever: the character’s journey from beginning to end and how he or she changes and is changed by the story. Even if you start your novel with a completely random idea, such as, I want to write about flying whales or I want to write a gritty sci-fi story with robots, what defines your story are the characters - mostly the main character - and what makes a character real, convincing and a joy to read (or watch) is the fact that he or she changes and matures. In fact, this is so important that in a well-written story, mostly everything that happens is about the main character, and will either make them better, or will be an obstacle and force them to take a step back.
Here is what it looks like for ‘classical’ heroes - characters in myths or fairy tales.
(You may recognizeThe Hobbit in there as well, since Tolkien wrote it to resemble a classic ‘quest’ tale.)
For instance, many YA stories tend to be ‘coming of age’ stories (something that’s usually described with a German term, Bildungsroman) - that means the characters start out as children and by the end of the story they start to understand what it’s like to be an adult. A good example is Harry Potter, who (among other things) starts out as a child who doesn’t trust any adult in his life and by the end of the books is forced to make a choice and chooses to trust Dumbledore with all his heart, even if Dumbledore is dead and Harry has lowkey and highkey hated him and resented him for months and months. If you’ve read the books, you may have noticed that this moment - Harry digging Dobby’s grave while he tries to decide what to do next - is truly what defines and changes Harry for good, and what turns him from a reckless, brave, stubborn child into someone wiser and more adult and even braver - but in a different way.
Since I’m guessing you’re a Supernaturalfan, I can give you another clear example of character arc by watching what happens to Sam Winchester over the first five seasons (the ones that were mapped out most coherently, that is). Sam starts out as a sort of brat, someone who’s left his family’s world and has complicated feelings for his brother (and his father). His main ‘sin’ is pride, which makes sense because Sam is Lucifer’s vessel and that’s what Lucifer’s famous for. After five seasons of adventures, some of them beneficial and helpful, and others painful and wrong, Sam is completely transformed in the season finale of S5. After all that happened, he now realizes he loves his brother so much that the memories of their shared childhood are enough to give him control over Lucifer (remember, this is the same childhood he rejected and escaped from as soon as possible, and the same family he left behind and never contacted again); and as for the pride thing, Sam is now so selfless that he’s willing to condemn himself to an eternity of suffering to save his brother and the entire world. So, you see, his position is completely reversed from what it was in the beginning: rejection for his family > deep affection for his family; pride > selflessness. This is a powerful arc, and also the most common in coming of age stories (think about a random Dickens novel, for instance) - a sort of, spoiled child sees the world, travels, has experiences, and becomes gentle and kind.
It’s uncomplicated and nice, see? What we want from a true hero. Someone who wasn’t perfect, just like we are not perfect, but by the end of the book (or the movie) has learned from their mistakes and is now a better person - just like we may do, one day. It’s a simple story, and it gives the audience hope. It’s ‘shades of grey’ thief Han Solo falling in love and becoming a martyr for the Rebellion, and Edmund Pevensie betraying his siblings and then redeeming himself and becoming Kind Edmund the Just; it’s Merida learning to love her mother and find her place in the world; and also Jamie Lannister, bastard extraordinaire, who goes through a series of humbling and humiliating experiences, and comes out of the other side as a likeable, or at least understandable, character.
As tohow youcreate a character arc - it depends on the kind of story you want to write and who your main character is. There are several ready-made narrative arcs which can help you frame your story (is it a quest? is it a romance?) and once you’re clear about that, then you can define who your characters are and what they want.
If you’re interested in the subject, here are some links: