How Far is Too Far? How Narrative Distance Affects Telling By Janice Hardy…

on Fiction University:

There can be a fine line between a far narrative distance and telling.

Not all points of view use the same narrative distance. A first-person point of view pulls readers in close, while an omniscient point of view keeps them at a distance. Both are valid narrative distances, but the farther away you get from the reader, the riskier it is you’ll slip up and start telling instead of showing.

Maybe you pull away from the narrative for style, or because you want to show more than just what the point of view character knows. Maybe you aren’t comfortable inside a character’s head and don’t yet know what’s going on in there. Or maybe your point-of-view-skills are still a little shaky and you don’t even realize you’re doing it—until your get feedback with comments such as “this feels told” or “I felt detached from the character.”

I see this most often in third person point of view novels, where there’s already a layer of distance between reader and character. If you’re not solid in the point of view character’s head, it’s easy to forget who’s narrating the story and start explaining why characters act as they do, or what a character knows. If a distant omniscient narrator is your goal, that’s fine, but if you want a tighter perspective—that’s a problem.

Continue reading HERE

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