Tap into the power of an unreliable narrator and learn how it can add nuance and complexity to any story world you create. Check out this guide and see how it could change your writing!
Have you ever read a story and wondered who or what to believe? Enter the unreliable narrator — a powerful literary device that can add nuance, complexity, and even suspense to any story world. This guide will help you understand the basics of this vital tool and how it can change your writing!
Understand what an unreliable narrator is.
An unreliable narrator is a point-of-view character that the reader cannot completely trust. This can be done in numerous ways, such as by a character withholding critical information or having limited perception. An author can challenge the reader to look beyond the text and interpret it for themselves, creating unique and exciting literature.
Analyze your characters and their motivations.
Before diving into writing, taking a step back and analyzing your characters and what motivates them is essential. Knowing this information will help you determine how an unreliable narrator will impact the dynamics of your story. Once you know these factors, decide which character should be unpredictable and exactly how they will distort their role or withhold relevant details from the story. This forethought and effort can pay off when the effective execution of literary techniques is achieved.
Be mindful of inconsistencies in the narrative.
With an unreliable narrator, there will be inconsistencies within the narrative. This is particularly true if you plan to have your character not only withhold details from readers but also distort events or roles. As you construct your story, consider how readers receive previous statements. Focusing on these discrepancies can create great tension in a story’s plot and increase engagement with readers as they discover what happened.
Consider different methods for weaving doubt into the story.
One way to use an unreliable narrator is by making the narrator’s voice inconsistent with the story they are telling. Think of subtle ways to add doubt and show the character may be hiding something from readers. For instance, have them carve out information from stories, mention details that lead to more questions than answers, or protest when asked a direct question. By adding these parts to your story, you can make a unique and exciting unreliable narrator that readers will want to know more about.
Plot unexpected twists that challenge the reader’s expectations.
Challenging reader expectations is key to creating an unreliable narrator. One way to do this is by adding unexpected plot twists. Throw in events that make people question what they think they know about your character and help them change as the story goes on. This will keep your narrative unpredictable and exciting for your readers, making them return for more.
Unreliable narrators can add depth and complexity to a story by showing the reader different points of view and making them question their assumptions. By having a narrator who can’t be trusted, writers can make their stories uncertain and tense, keeping readers interested and guessing until the end. Unreliable narrators can also be a great way to explore big ideas like memory, perception, and the truth. Overall, stories with unreliable narrators can have more depth and be more enjoyable.