Narrator | Writing| First Person Narrator | Creative Writing | Writing
‘The first person narrator speaks from a position in the actual world of the text’ – Magrs (2001)
In your creative writing piece one of the first things you should decide is who you want to tell the story. This is your narrator. A first person narrator is a character within the story, who is speaking for themselves and from their point of view. They will refer to themselves as ‘I’ or ‘we’ and will look at life from their standing in the world. As a result the views expressed by the first person narrator are somewhat unreliable and biased towards that particular person. The reader will be placed inside the head of the narrator.
Where and why is a first person narrator used?
First person narrator is a strategy used in creative writing and stories to captivate the audience. You as a reader feel like you are part of the character and you warm to them extremely quickly. You are the fortunate ’all knowing’ reader, however the person narrating is not so lucky; thats why you start walking their journey with them. For example: In the story of ‘American Psycho’ by Bret Easton Ellis – the first person narrator is Patrick Bateman who is also the main character. His thoughts and feelings are known to you, but not to the other characters in the story; which in this case makes your imagination run wild. Looking from the point of view of other characters in the story, the protagonist (Patrick Bateman) appears to be a smart, well-educated and respectable man. This ‘wolf in sheep’s clothing’ character captivates the audience. By the other characters in the story not knowing what Patrick Bateman is thinking this builds suspense, encouraging the reader to predict what’s going to happen (which undoubtedly is crucial in a story).
Caution: If you have not read this book, it can be extremely disturbing and graphic so before having a look perhaps read a synopsis of the film.
Example of how to write creatively in the first person
“Life is a draped curtain of luck and splendour for some people, but for others a cruelty of coldness. Do you remember- Of course you do, you’re the fortunate one, having something within your life to remember; significance, a change maybe even an alternation. As for me
my life today wears the jacket of yesterday, the trousers of tomorrow, with a complacent expression to match. How did I get this outfit? One day, not too long ago, I just gave up.”
As I have highlighted within the creative writing piece the characters is speaking from their point of view using the words, ‘I, me, and my’.
Drawbacks of first person narrator
1. They only know, what they know at that moment in time. They can guess what will happen or assume but they can not know what other people are thinking or other events happening out of their sight. This limits the informtion given to the reader. They must be a really facinating character.
2. Your reader will know everything about what the character is thinking including dark secrets – therefore it is difficult for this character to surprise the reader. A good way of surprising the reader is by giving little hints in reoccuring thoughts.