AuthorsDen.com  Join (free) | Login 

     Popular! Books, Stories, Articles, Poetry
   Services MarketPlace (Free to post!)
Where Authors and Readers come together!

Signed Bookstore | Authors | eBooks | Books | Stories | Articles | Poetry | Blogs | News | Events | Reviews | Videos | Success | Gold Members | Testimonials

Featured Authors: David Seaburn, iWilliam Guy, iMichael Wayne, iCraig Nagasugi, iJ. Allen Wilson, iAlfred Schwab, iPeter Oszmann, i
  Home > Action/Thriller > Articles
Popular: Books, Stories, Articles, Poetry     

Ken Brosky

· Become a Fan
  Notify me of new titles
  added by this author.

· 34 titles
· 7 Reviews
· Share with Friends!
· Save to My Library
·
Member Since: Before 2003

   Sitemap
   My Blog
   Contact Author
   Message Board
   Read Reviews

Books
· The Orphanage of Doom

· Abandon: Stories

· Desolation: Stories

· The Grimm Chronicles, Vol. 1

· Revenge of the Castle Cats

· Happily Never After

· Prince Charming Must Die!

· The King of Blades


Articles
· Five places to find a plot for your novel

· Creating a realistic setting in your fiction novel

· How to build your author web site

· 4 tips for beating writer's block

· A beginner's guide to writing a novel

· Places to find an agent or publisher

· Tips for re-writing and editing your writing

· How to give your narrator a voice

· Zooming in and out of your story

· Writing about family for fiction and non-fiction


News
· The Fiction Blog! is featuring free fiction

Ken Brosky, click here to update your web pages on AuthorsDen.

An Intro to Narrator Reliability
By Ken Brosky
Last edited: Saturday, December 29, 2007
Posted: Saturday, December 29, 2007



Share    Print   Save  Become a Fan
Recent articles by
Ken Brosky

• Five places to find a plot for your novel
• Creating a realistic setting in your fiction novel
• How to build your author web site
• 4 tips for beating writer's block
• A beginner's guide to writing a novel
• Places to find an agent or publisher
• Tips for re-writing and editing your writing
           >> View all 26
A beginner's guide to a very complex literary theory that can help improve your story.

There's a very easy way to gain an edge on 99 percent of the writing competition. It's a simple thing, really, one that any writer no matter how experienced or inexperienced can take advantage of and use to his or her advantage. It can be used over and over, but it doesn't have to necessarily be repetitious.

It's called literary theory, and it's been around for a long time. Anyone who's read "The Communist Manifesto" or any of Salman Rushdie's non-fiction essays has been exposed to it. Literary theory often appears in the form of critical texts, most often written in response to a work (or multiple works) of fiction. The authors dissect and examine the themes and attitudes of the works of fiction and create theories based on those.

What is an unreliable narrator? It's not just a narrator who outright lies to us, the reader. It's a narrator whose values and beliefs sharply contrast with the writer's. Typically, the narrator's psychological instability or biases are what make him/her most unreliable. Take Huck Finn. Huck Finn tells us in his story that he's probably going to Hell because he's going to free Jim. Freeing a slave, in Huck's eyes, is a sin. Did Mark Twain believe Huck was going to Hell? Of course not.

An unreliable narrator lies to the reader (also called, on a much more complicated level, the "narratee"). An unreliable narrator will be caught lying by the reader. This can be something simple, like in Sandra Cisneros's Caramelo, or it can be much more cleverly concealed, like in Moby Dick. In the latter, our narrator, Ishmael, also has a problem concerning his sphere of authority. Ishmael talks about things, events, etc. that he had no participation in and/or couldn't possibly have known.

More information about narrator reliability can be found in Susan Lanser’s The Narrative Act, in which Lanser outlines three aspects that define mimetic authority: “(1) The narrator is honest and sincere, will mean what she says and not omit any info crucial to the meaning of the story. (2) The narrator is intellectually and morally trustworthy. (3) The narrator is competent enough to present the story in a ‘tellable’ way” (Lanser 170-171). The consciencious reader will take all three of these things into consideration whenever faced with a first-person narrator.

Can you create an unreliable narrator? Can you trust someone who isn't like you to lead your readers somewhere you may not necessarily go? It's a concept that's been looked at often throughout literary history, but it's something very few writers actually have any knowledge about. Truly, it wouldn't be ridiculous to suggest that at least 95 percent of the authors today realize they may have created unreliable narrators.

Why is your narrator unreliable? Look closely at what you're trying to say in your writing. Your narrator should be unreliable for a reason. He/she should have a purpose for not being believable. When your narrator has a reason, you become consciously aware of him/her as a character. Take a look at Caramelo, and examine how the narrator uses "Healthy Lies" in order to tell the story of her family. It's a complicated issue, because if your narrator is unreliable for a specific reason, then it's up to your reader to determine your narrator's intentions.

There are a thousand other critical theories you can look at and use. Narrative Theory is only the tip of the iceberg, and it's a great starting point for writers who are looking to add more depth to their work.

Web Site Learn more at Final Draft Literary
f

Reader Reviews for "An Intro to Narrator Reliability"


Want to review or comment on this article?
Click here to login!


Need a FREE Reader Membership?
Click here for your Membership!


Reviewed by H.G. Potter 2/24/2008
helpful...Thank you

Books by
Ken Brosky



Revenge of the Castle Cats

Buy Options
Kindle, more..




The Grimm Chronicles, Vol. 1

Buy Options
Kindle, Amazon, more..




Desolation: Stories

Buy Options
Kindle, more..




Prince Charming Must Die!

Buy Options
Kindle, more..




Happily Never After

Buy Options
Kindle, more..




The King of Blades

Buy Options
Kindle, Amazon, more..


Popular
Action/Thriller Articles
  1. Star Trek's Unknown Episode
  2. John Carradine and Me
  3. Bonnie and Clyde, c. 2016
  4. Narcissists, Social Media, and Porn
  5. Sandra Bullock Goes Dog Crazy for Dogs wit
  6. SPECTRE James Bond Info Revealed
  7. State of Writing Today!
  8. Why Jimmy Fallon Lost Nicole Kidman
  9. Gambler Returns Million Dollar Win
  10. If You Don't Like How I Write, PLEASE DON'
  11. The Right Novel Length
  12. Timepieces Masterpieces of Chronometry
  13. Obama: It's now 'hard to find path' on Mid
  14. Hidden Impact book review
  15. Justifiable Homicide
  16. Writing the Other Gender in Fiction
  17. Deep in December
  18. Jewish Exponent Interview
  19. A Conversation
  20. Not Guilty

You can also search authors by alphabetical listing: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z



Featured Authors | New to AuthorsDen? | Add AuthorsDen to your Site
Share AD with your friends | Need Help? | About us


Problem with this page?   Report it to AuthorsDen

© AuthorsDen, Inc. All rights reserved.