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Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/newsletters/action/archives/id/9256-A-Deceptive-Perspective.html
Drama: December 26, 2018 Issue [#9256]




 This week: A Deceptive Perspective
  Edited by: Warped Sanity
                             More Newsletters By This Editor  

Table of Contents

1. About this Newsletter
2. A Word from our Sponsor
3. Letter from the Editor
4. Editor's Picks
5. A Word from Writing.Com
6. Ask & Answer
7. Removal instructions

About This Newsletter

“The mentalis, the corrugator, all those little muscles of the face, those are the first things you learn in art school anatomy. After that, you can tell a fake smile because the risorius and platysma muscles pull the lower lip down and out, squaring it and exposing the lower teeth. Just for the record, knowing when people are only pretending to like you isn't such a great skill to have.”
― Chuck Palahniuk, Diary


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Letter from the editor

One way to enhance the drama aspects of a story, keeping the reader at the edge of their seat, is using an unreliable narrator to tell your story. From the very first sentence, the reader is forced to do the work, piecing together an alternative version of the story to the one he or she is being told. If executed well, we experience a variety of emotions – pity, amusement, fear, sympathy, and even empathy.

From my evaluation, there are five different types of unreliable narrators commonly used in fictional writing.

1. The Criminal
The narrator may be lying to save himself, trying to persuade you into believing what he or she has done is not wrong, or attempting to blame one of the other characters out of revenge. Nick and Amy from Gone Girl  are a great example of this. The reader is introduced to unremorseful Nick, whose wife is missing. In fact, he appears to be relieved with her absence, even with knowing she might be dead. All the evidence left behind, which includes a diary from Amy, points to Nick being in the wrong. The reader is left filling in the blanks, wondering who is being deceptive. Once the plot unravels, the reader too feels victimized by the character doing the deceiving.

2. The Delusional
Often times when reading a story told from the perspective of an individual who may be suffering from delusions, the reader is left wondering whether what is being seen is real or not. The book Gerald's Game   is a perfect example of this. Jessie's husband has had a heart attack, leaving her handcuffed to a bed in an isolated cabin. She has hallucinations which are based on childhood trauma, so when a creepy man comes into her room showing her a box full of fingers, we don't know whether he is real or just another delusion.

In other cases, the delusions of the main character deceive the reader. We are taken into the character's version of reality and tricked into believing what they see is real. Most reading this newsletter probably have watched the movie Fight Club   if they have not read the book. In this story we the reader (or watcher if your watching the movie) become aware of the truth as the narrator becomes aware.

3. The Innocent
Sometimes the narrator is naive, whether due to mental delays or immaturity. One example would be Forest Gump   . Being an innocent due to mental delays, he sees some accomplishments in an exaggerated sense. Then in other circumstances, he tends to miss deceptions, seeing only the good in others. Forest Gump's simplistic views of life are endearing, but at the same time, those of us watching know that he does not see the whole picture in many instances.

The most interesting work of fiction I have read, which is told through the perceptions of an immature mind is a book titled Nutshell  . The thriller-like plot is a page-turner told through the perceptions of a fetus. the fetus evolves mentally through podcasts his mother listens to and even learns to appreciate a good glass of wine via the placenta. As he grows and learns, the reader pieces together the outside world through the fetus' thoughts. Of course, his newness to anything worldly makes his narrative unreliable and the reader must read between the lines.

4. The Ghost
Movies such as The Sixth Sense   and The Others   have successfully used a ghost or ghosts as an unreliable narrator. In both plots, we are shown the world through an individual or individuals who do not realize they are dead. In The Others, we are tricked into believing a mother and children are being haunted, when in fact they are the haunters. In Sixth Sense, a deceased doctor helps a young man, who sees dead people. In the process of helping the young man, the doctor comes to the realization of his own death and finds the healing to move on. In both stories, we come to realization along with the characters. Then, of course, we remember little hints and have an "aha" moment when we realize we should have seen it coming.

5. First Person Narative
More often than not, first-person narratives are told through the perceptions of an unreliable narrator. A well-rounded character will have a unique perception of reality, which would likely differ from other characters in the story. In some cases, the individual will miss important clues. In other cases, the narrator of the story has a warped sense of morality. They tend to justify their actions in an attempt at swaying the reader to their point of view.

The latter is evident in the cult classic Lolita  , where we have a man who rationalizes his seduction of an underage young girl. He paints her as the seducer and manipulative. Most likely, if the story were told from the young girl's or her mother's point of view, the story would be written quite differently.


Do you have a favorite unreliable narrator or a story you have written using one? If so, share them with me in the comment section.


Editor's Picks

Check out these excellent stories from our WdC community!

STATIC
Gift for Natalie  (13+)
It's Natalie and Paul's tenth anniversary, so why doesn't she want her gift?
#1973640 by Charlie ~


The Death of Tucker Ray  (18+)
2nd Place winner (March 2012 Short Shots Contest).
#1858415 by Shannon


 
STATIC
A Version Of Truth  (18+)
Written for Whatever reason. Journalist caught in the story. My last fiction offering.
#2172282 by BK Compton 52.8k review words


 Invalid Item 
This item number is not valid.
#2171711 by Not Available.


 Invalid Item 
This item number is not valid.
#2170900 by Not Available.


 
STATIC
Jolene  (13+)
Could you forgive?
#2169458 by Author Ed Anderson


 
STATIC
The Good Shepherd  (18+)
Thomas Malbourne is a superhero with an important choice to make.
#2167523 by Than Pence

 
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