Here’s the eighth installment of my series on How to Write a Good Romance (or any story really) based on what not to do:
8: Look who’s talking !?!?!
If you’re writing in first person and have multiple narrators, make this OBVIOUS! I just read a book that had two narrators. The names of the narrators are the chapter names as well.
Chapter 1 is titled “Grace” which I had no idea was the name of the character. In the 10 pages that make up chapter one, the author never mentions her name, and let’s face it, “Grace” could have meant something was full of grace, which in this case is what I unconsciously assumed. Plus, I never pay too much attention to chapter titles. Sorry, but I don’t.
Chapter 2 was titled “Sam.” I’ll be honest; this 4 page chapter confused me. I wondered why the unnamed narrator was suddenly stalking some unknown person for fun, but hey, the writing was really good and I figured it would go somewhere eventually. From the back of the book I vaguely remembered that the female protagonist was killing a series of men. I think I was assuming the first fellow to bite it was going to be Sam.
Chapter 3 was titled “Grace” which again, I didn’t really think about.
It’s not till Chapter 4, “Sam,” that I started to realize something was truly amiss, and going back, realized there were two narrators. Talk about a light bulb moment.
The lesson here is to firmly establish your main narrator (by name) before you hand the story off to a second narrator. Remember to make that transition somewhat obvious to even a knucklehead like myself.
Jennifer Geoghan, author of:
- The Purity of Blood novel series
- If Love is a Lie: A Partly True Love Story
- The Family History Quick Start Guide: Genealogy Made Easy
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