Monday, November 28, 2022

Avoiding Narration in a First-Person Story

Few things take me out of a story -- any tale, but especially those told in first person -- more than a full stop so some hidden narrator can relay details about a setting or person.

To my way of thinking, readers need to get descriptions through the eyes of the character whose head is telling the story.

I've been told I don't explain enough about a room or the clothes a character wears. In a critique group, another member once complimented me on how I described a room the sleuth entered and asked why I didn't have that kind of detail all the time.

Because the sleuth was taking in the room herself. She had a reason to notice colors and kinds of furniture. If she walked into her own living room, she might notice the dog had left hair on the new beige sofa or an open window had caused a vase of daffodils to crash to the floor. But she wouldn't tell herself details about a room in her house. 

On the other hand, I write two series in third person. That allows more ways to relay information. Still, I don't like paragraphs of background or explanation. Why not let the sleuth think about or discover the particulars?

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