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It is vital that there is a narrator figure whom people believe. That's why I never do commercials. If I started saying that margarine was the same as motherhood, people would think I was a liar.
Lionel Essrog, the twitching, barking, gabbling narrator of Jonathan Lethem's new novel, 'Motherless Brooklyn,' is no movie-of-the-week novelty grafted onto a noir mystery. Maybe his Tourette's is a gimmick, but it's a gimmick with depth, with soul.
If you feel that there's the author and then the character, then the book is not working. People have a habit of identifying the author with the narrator, and you can't, obviously, be all of the narrators in all of your books, or else you'd be a very strange person indeed.
You could tell 'The Handmaid's Tale' from a male point of view. People have mistakenly felt that the women are oppressed, but power tends to organise itself in a pyramid. I could pick a male narrator from somewhere in that pyramid. It would interesting.
Francis Ford Coppola did this early on. You tape a movie, like a radio show, and you have the narrator read all the stage directions. And then you go back like a few days later and then you listen to the movie. And it sort of plays in your mind like a film, like a first rough cut of a movie.
I'm never a reliable narrator, unbiased or objective.
When you pick up a book, everyone knows it's imaginary. You don't have to pretend it's not a book. We don't have to pretend that people don't write books. That omniscient third-person narration isn't the only way to do it. Once you're writing in the first person, then the narrator is a writer.
By definition, memoir demands a certain degree of introspection and self-disclosure: In order to fully engage a reader, the narrator has to make herself known, has to allow her own self-awareness to inform the events she describes.
There has always been this narrator in me - I loved ideas, and part of the great love affair I would have with ideas consisted of talking about them.
When the reader and one narrator know something the other narrator does not, the opportunities for suspense and plot development and the shifting of reader sympathies get really interesting.
The universal narrator knows all and can enter a character's head any time he chooses.
Using a dog as a narrator has limitations and it has advantages. The limitations are that a dog cannot speak. A dog has no thumbs. A dog can't communicate his thoughts except with gestures.
The narrator of a documentary often comes in at the last minute and takes some of the glory they don't deserve.
Using a first-person narrator is simply a matter of hearing the voice inside yourself.
James Lee Burke
Hitchcock makes it very clear to us. There's an objective and a subjective camera, like there's a third- and a first-person narrator in literature.
There's always a version of me who is the narrator. And I make myself look better than other people.
The third person narrator, instead of being omniscient, is like a constantly running surveillance tape.
Quite often my narrator or protagonist may be a man, but I'm not sure he's the more interesting character, or if the more complex character isn't the woman.
I go straight from thinking about my narrator to being him.
S. E. Hinton
I am interested in levels of brain discourse. How articulate are the voices in your head? You know, there's a different voice for the phone, and a different voice if you're talking in bed. When you're starting off with a narrator, it's interesting to think, where is their voice coming from, what part of their brain?
When I was writing 'You Suck,' in 2006, I constructed the diction of the book's narrator, perky Goth girl Abby Normal, from what I read on Goth blog sites.
I've always felt that the traditional novel doesn't give you enough information about the narrator, and I think it's important to know the point of view from which these tales are told: the moral makeup of the teller.
W. G. Sebald
One of the strategies for doing first-person is to make the narrator very knowing, so that the reader is with somebody who has a take on everything they observe.
I think every first-person narrator in a novel should be compromised. I prefer that word to 'unreliable.'
What is most important to me is that my narrator's voice is believable, and that, though it is clearly an absolute fiction, it has the emotional resonance of memoir.
John F. Kennedy
Martin Luther King, Jr.
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