While the majority of my novels are narrated by my main character, Sara, every so often, I toss the narration over to a different character for a chapter. One reason I like to do this is because I like for the reader to know things that Sara doesn’t. It creates tension and suspense. Plus it also adds depth to these other characters when you’re able to briefly examine the world through their eyes.
In my novels I clearly identify who is narrating the next chapter by having their name in bold lettering under the Chapter Number. I do this for every chapter in my books. I really like this narrations style, but haven’t come across it in many other books. I think I was inspired to write my books like this after I read ‘Midnight Sun,’ by Stephanie Meyer. For those who don’t know, ‘Midnight Sun’ was meant to be a retelling of the first book in the Twilight series, but this book is told from Edwards’s point of view. Twilight is completely told from Bella’s point of view, so this glimpse into how Edward saw the events in book one is truly fascinating to read. Unfortunately you can’t read the whole book. The first two-thirds of the book are available to read on Stephanie’s Meyers website, but since a copy of this much of the book was leaked to the public before it was ready for publication, she never published it. Still, it was what inspired me to write in the style I did. I guess I wanted the best of both worlds, to be able to see things from both the heroine and hero’s point of view.
What got me thinking about this was ‘Captivated by You’ by Sylvia Day. You know, the book I was complaining about the ending of a few days ago. The reason why is that in all three previous books in the series, Eva narrates the books. Then we come to ‘Captivated by You’ and all of a sudden a few chapters into the book, you’re a little confused because it takes you a few minutes to realize that Eva is no longer the narrator, her hero Gideon is. No warning in the chapter heading, you’re just on your own to figure it out. After that she tosses the narration between them for the entire book, but it’s up to you to figure out who’s narrating each chapter. Is it just me, or do you lose something in the experience of reading when I have to figure out who’s the narrator? It was a bit on the annoying side for me.
So what do you think? If you change narrators, do you think it’s just polite to indicate that somewhere in advance??? Or is it somehow an artful way to write your story and I’m just missing it?? I’d really like to hear some opinions on this. Hit the comment button and send me your thoughts.