Don’t dribble out morsels of information within a scene – by Nathan Bransford…

The narrative voice in a novel is a strange beast indeed. It blends a character’s conscious thoughts, their observations and physical surroundings (which a person in real life might not stop and think about), and contextualizing detail that helps orient the reader.

It’s weird. It’s not like anything else that exists in the world.

When you’re honing the narrative voice within your novel, you will likely get into all sorts of trouble if you try too hard to faithfully recreate a character’s contemporaneous thoughts. You probably won’t give the reader the context they need and you’ll risk disorienting the reader with inadequate physical description.

Remember, the narrative voice is storytelling to a reader. You are not transcribing the literal thoughts of someone in an alternate world (unless you’re writing something very experimental). It weaves in a character’s contemporaneous thoughts, but you have to make sure the elements the reader needs are present.

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