• Janice Brantle

Who’s telling your story?


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If you’re a new writer, the question who’s telling the story may baffle you because before you answer, you may need to know what voice to tell the story. You may ask is it first person, second person, or third. This, in turn, takes you back to who’s telling the story. I know it can be a little confusing, but keep writing, and it will start to make sense.

For me, I’m a non-traditionalist or technically, an untrained, non-MFA holding writer. I typically, I start writing the story. I let the characters emerge, and then I go back and deal with the issue of a first, second, or third person narrative. However, for all, you traditionalist out there here’s some advice from by Jewell Parker Rhodes in her book “Free Within Ourselves – Fiction Lessons For Black Authors.”


1. Never select voice by default or simply because it’s easier. Always consider who will tell your story best.

2. First-person, the character speaks, and the focus is on the “I.” The “I” is the protagonist or central character and typically employ a single voice.

3. Third-person is usually written with the pronouns “He” or “She” and is an unidentified narrator of the story who describes the action. There’s a third-person omniscient point of view and a limited third-person point of view.


Each voice is compelling if done right. You can also switch between the two for a more dramatic effect; however, do this only when you are very familiar with your story and comfortable with your characters. The right voice sets the pace for your story and conveys all the nuances of the tale. Whatever view you use, have fun, that’s my one tried and true rule.




Until next time – Enjoy the journey!


Please contact me at admin@poetryinmotionii.com if you are interested in going on the writing retreat with me or looking to enroll in the Novel Finishing School course.


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