Once upon a time, I was working on a draft and I wasn’t sure if I should add a second narrator. I tried to think through it, but I just didn’t know what to do. One day the professor of my writing class had us do a prompt where we had to write our story from another character’s perspective. I chose to write from the perspective of the character I was debating adding as a second narrator.
This prompt was exactly what I needed and I learned a lot from the exercise.
3 Reasons Why Writing from Another Character’s Perspective Will Improve Your Novel
1. Writing from Another Character’s Perspective Will Help You Decide if You Should Have Two Narrators
I’ve read some amazing books where the two main characters take turn narrating every other chapter. Flipped, by Wendelin Van Draanen, is a great example of this idea. If you are entertaining the idea of writing your story with different narrators, the best way to make that decision is to try it. Start with a scene or a chapter. If it flows and helps you tell the story you are trying to tell, keep it up! If you feel like you are forcing something that’s not meant to be, then you will know that one narrator is enough for your story.
If you aren’t thinking about the idea of having different characters narrate, should you? Ask yourself what might be added to the story if there is more than one narrator. What doors might that open? Try it and see what happens. How sad would it be if your story needs to be told from two perspectives and you miss the chance because you never tried it out?
2.Writing from Another Character’s Perspective Will Teach You More About that Character
Even if you absolutely know your novel only needs one narrator, this is still a useful exercise. Pick a character you feel like you don’t know very well or one whose development is crucial to the story. Writing from their perspective will teach you so much about them. In my opinion, this may be the best way to get to know a character. Writing from their perspective allows you to get inside their head at a level that questionnaires about them can’t quite reach.
3.Writing from Another Character’s Perspective Will Reveal New Possibilities in the Plot
If this exercise helps you decide to have multiple narrators it will definitely open new possibilities in the plot. It will allow you to describe the same event from different perspectives. Or it will allow you to describe the life events of each narrator.
If this exercise helps you decide to have only one narrator, it will still expose new ideas for the plot. Exploring your novel through another character’s perspective can lead you to discover events that you want to include or avoid in your novel.