Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Personal Narrative is personal and First-person Narrative is fictionally so

There is a need to clear up any confusion about the difference between a personal narrative and a first-person narrative.
     Personal narrative usually refers to a true story or recounting of events, giving form and interpretation about one's personal experience and perspectives on it. Personal narratives are nonfiction, also called memoir or autobiography (when the story covers the life, not one central time of life).  The one who experienced the events is telling the story, a personal story of immense personal proportions, enough to push the writer to tell it. One of my favorites is the very experienced and illustrious writer, now deceased, Eudora Welty, whose works are a remarkable legacy. Her personal narrative is her memoir, One Writer's Beginnings.

     First-person narrative usually refers to the perspective of the teller of a story told as fiction. The observer and/or participant of the novel, for example, is telling the story. The Sense of an Ending is fiction written in first person. I cannot comment further, not having read it. Maybe I will soon. You can read about in on, where there are numerous reviews. 
     Otherwise, fiction requires a straight narrative told by  the "hidden" speaker, the writer. One follows words to follow multiple characters and events. Unlike the first-person, there are few limitations on time and place and characters involved.
     Some fiction writers show the main character's perspective in straight narrative, telling the character's thoughts and impressions. After all, the writer knows the character. Other character perspectives can be shown, in one book or story, usually in separate chapters or sections.

Copyright (c)2011 Jean Purcell and Opinari Writers. Permission to quote or use with attribution.

Copyright (c)2011 Opinari Writers Network
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