Character Entrance 3: Addressing The Reader

This method of character introduction is pretty simple – the character is the narrator of the story. So, your readers can only see the story (or that portion of the story) unfold from the narrating character’s viewpoint. In other words, you’re choosing to write your story from the first-person point of view.

Meanwhile, this creative writing key is about introducing the character (narrator) and not about story writing in general. In trying to explore this method of character introduction, the first thing you will notice is that from the very first word you will ever write in the story, you have relinquished your right to tell the story to this character. By extension, the character introduces themself into the story with the first-person narrative pronoun, I.

The common challenge most writers face with this character introduction method, especially amateur writers, is giving the character a distinctive voice. Your character should have his own words and his manner about them. He should speak like someone possessing his level of intelligence.

One major letdown you would give your readers by choosing to introduce a character through this method is to have the character speak like you (except you’re writing a memoir or autobiography. In which case, it wouldn’t be fiction anymore). To pull this method off involves a lot of unbecoming of yourself, and more of the assumption of the voice, quirks and mannerisms of the phantom you want your readers to see as reality with flesh and blood.

In this method, you don’t get to enjoy telling the story from a detached distance. You will find the dominant pronouns would be I, My, Our. If the character’s wife just died, it would be your wife who died. If he’s getting married, it’d be you at the altar. And pray he hasn’t found himself at gunpoint. Or at a divorce court, about to lose 50% of his assets. In all these cases, it would be you, and you must represent the character the way he would react in such situations for your readers to appreciate your storytelling.

We would love to hear your views on this creative writing key in the comments. See you next Monday for the creative writing key on Character Entrance 4.

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