The Different Story Narrator Types…

When writing your story its a good idea to know roughly from the start which narrative voice you plan to use to tell it, if you leave it till later on after writing some of it in one voice but actually want it in a different voice its a lot of re-writing you may have to do. From 1st person to 3rd person, its essentially the voice of your characters / Main character which will pull the readers in but not every type of voice will suit every type of story, you have to get the feel for how you want it to sound and a good way to do this is to jot down some of the character ‘Voices’ you hear and listen to how they say it. Some may want to tell it their way in 1st person, others may want you to tell it for them, for this you can use 3rd person.

Here are the different narrative voices, see which one stands out for you and you new story idea:


~ First Person…

This is the one I tend to use quite a lot, just out of personal preference I like hearing the first person voice, to me it is just more personal, it throws you into the story, like you are actually the main character and you are experiencing all that they are going through. The first person voice is pretty much a character recounting the story / journey they have been through using the words, ‘Me, I, Myself, We’, amongst many others but these ones tend to stand out a lot to show people it is ‘Them’ telling it. When I write using this one I tend to use it for the main character only, if for some reason (E.G. Character is unconscious but the story needs to move on without them for a while) I will let another character come in but they usually speak in third person, just so as not to confuse my reader too much, plus with them I will normally start the first sentence of their part with their name so the reader knows its them speaking. E.G. Monique ran from the thunderous crash behind her, she couldn’t believe her eyes… (Instead of) I ran from the loud thunderous crash behind me, I couldn’t believe my eyes. (Monique’s version is the third person and the other one is first person). The only downside to using first person is that it can be quite limiting, for example you do not know what the other characters are thinking or feeling unless they actually tell the main character whose telling the story.

~ Second Person…

I personally have never used this one, just because to me I think it is a more difficult narrator voice to write in. This type of narrator voice uses the second-person pronoun of ‘You’. Which isn’t actually that commonly used but has been known to have been used in books where you as the reader personally choose your own adventures. I remember as a child having a Goosebumps book that done this and at the end of the page or chapter, ‘You’ as the reader had to choose what happened next and depending on your choice would determine the next page you went to and essentially the outcome of the whole story. (I think it was written in second I could be wrong here, I am getting on a bit now, like nearly 28 this year, so I probably read the book like 18 years ago… Wow… but I remember choosing the way the story went… So kind of like it… Forgive me if not, maybe a bad example so don’t quote me on it haha).

~Third Person…

This one is sometimes called Limited First Person, my guess is because you know less than with first person but also with others characters thoughts and feelings you can be told them but they are told through the narrators impressions which can be ‘Limited’. This one is slightly similar to first person but instead of using, ‘I, Me, We, Myself’, you use , ‘He, She, They’. I sometimes think I’m using this one but end up getting it confused with Omniscient Author which is what I actually use but with third person wording.

~ Third Person Omniscient Author…

This type of narrative voice has access to multiple characters thoughts and feelings and can describe all of them throughout the book or within a chapter. (This is the one I am using on my current W.I.P but I actually had no idea what it was until now). Third person omniscient author is where the narrator knows all the thoughts, feelings, beliefs and actions all the characters make. The author can skip from one character to another character to show each ones perception of the story. I skip from one to another by either giving them their own chapter or by using this symbol ‘ ~  ‘ half way through a chapter to show a new character. The way I do it all depends on how the story is moving and whether it needs a long chapter for each character or whether a certain part needs small, short and sharp point of views by each of them.

~ Unreliable Narrator…

The narrator of this can be seen as biased due to assumptions or false information told by the narrator. Maybe the narrator can be perceived as a nasty person or deceitful and will willingly tell the story wrong and their way. Reasons for deceitfulness could be due to: Insanity, Lying, Mental Health or Delusion. Therefore their story should be taken with a pinch of salt but could make for a good read.

~ Witness / Observer Narrator…

Normally tells the story in first or third but they are not one of the major characters, they are someone who simply watches or observes the story unfolding before them and watching what the main character does. E.G. They observe (Watch) the protagonist but they are (Not) the protagonist them-self!!!

Hope this helps you to understand the different types of narrator a little more. 😉





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