Characters are interesting when they’re made up of contradictions. It’s those contradictions and the writers who recognize them that create the most memorable characters in works of fiction and nonfiction. If we give our characters’ free will—if we don’t fully know them too soon—they can take us to some interesting places that can either illuminate…

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I’ve been posting the last couple of weeks about the reflective first-person narrator who looks back upon experience from a greater and wiser perspective. Today, I’d like to talk about the first-person narrator who isn’t very wise or perceptive through most of the story. These sorts of narrators find themselves so deeply immersed in the…

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Last week, I made a post about the reflective first-person narrator’s attempt to make meaning from a past experience. I talked specifically about the art of fiction. The reflective narrator has always been essential to writers of memoir, and that’s where I’d like to put my focus now. Writers of memoir simultaneously serve as players…

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I’ve been thinking a bit about first-person narration lately, particularly the sort that uses what I’ll call a reflective narrator. In this type of first-person narration, the narrator speaks at a remove in time and space from the events being narrated. “This is not a happy story,” the narrator of Richard Ford’s “Great Falls,” tells…

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