Following that Narrative Thought

My writing pace has slowed down a bit in recent days, and for once, I don’t mean in pure word count.

Maybe a week ago I completed a longer chapter centered on one’s character’s POV. I knew how I wanted the chapter to go, it just took a lot of writing time and words to get there.

I’ve since moved on to the next chapter with my favorite character–Arden–and I think my writing style has shifted a bit.

Arden being my favorite character may surprise some who have read my first novel. I definitely have emotional connections with all of my characters–even the bad eggs–but Arden is the one who has stuck with me, despite the fact that I have very little in common with her upbringing or life experience.

So I have a tendency to get lost in my own writing when she’s the POV character. I enjoy viewing the world of Everfeld through her eyes, and I think my narrative pacing slows down when I’m with her. As both a hunter and an inquisitive teenager, Arden is very observant, so it’s easy to follow her wandering mind as she takes in her surroundings.

And I’m here to advocate for following those little narrative paths.

Follow Your Narrative Path!

It’s often very easy to gloss over the world-building details and just get to the bones of a story. I’ve been guilty of doing exactly this very recently with other characters.

But with Arden, I always want to stop and smell the roses. In this most recent section, she takes note of some other patrons of the tavern she’s in. One man in particular sticks out to her, and she notices a small knife on his belt. Maybe he’s a craftsman carrying his tool, as Arden presumes. Maybe leaving that little breadcrumb will lead her down a different path later on, or in a revised version of the story.

Or maybe the man’s presence in the scene is ultimately unnecessary and will be trimmed during the editing process.

I honestly don’t know at this point. I “noticed” him in my writing because it felt like the kind of thing Arden would notice Even if nothing comes of it, I can use it as a way of demonstrating Arden’s ability to pick out the little details about a person, rather than just telling the reader she’s observant.

The point is, you never know where a train of thought will lead you in a story. So follow it with your characters and find out.

Steve D

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