Beyond Show Don’t Tell: Creating Complex Child Narrators in Adult Fiction
Destin, Sarah Jacqueline
MetadataShow full item record
There is no one way to create a compelling child narrator, but attempting to write a novel-length piece from the purest “child voice” presents numerous complications. We can think of every word that a child does not know as another restraint on the writer’s prose- one less image, one less concept, one less explanation. If a writer chooses to reject the restraint of childlike language, they then face a different limitation- the loss of an authentic, childlike voice. Between these two extremes, there are numerous novels that try to find a balance in their diction, imagery, point of view and narrative tense and fall somewhere in between the language and perspective of an adult or child, and create complicated child narrators, halfway between the world of childhood and adulthood. Essentially, what craft elements can be used to combat the limitations of a child’s narrative voice? How can poetic language and adult descriptions remain rooted in childhood? What are instances when it is worthwhile to forfeit adult language in order to create an authentic, age appropriate narrative voice? Is it possible to combine the elements of a retrospective adult narrator and immediate child narrator without pulling the audience out of the narrative dream?
- English