This is a mystery novel meant for young adults – something like an Indian Nancy Drew but in an Agatha Christie kind of setting.
Here's the kindle version :http://www.amazon.com/The-Gypsies-Noelles-Retreat-ebook/dp/B00DRBAH7A
“Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again. . . .” This is the famous opening line of the novel ‘Rebecca’ written by the great writer Daphne Du Maurier. Rebecca is an excellent example of writing with the first person narration. As are her other novels like ‘My Cousin Rachel’ and ‘The Scapegoat.’
Writing in the first person narration can be difficult but very interesting. And certainly not to be avoided. Usually, the first person singular is the ‘voice’ of the main character in the novel. It is a style which immediately brings the reader in contact with the thoughts, ideas of the character and the situations in his or her life. It is a little like writing a diary, but not your own of course. It is your character’s diary. And you have to be careful that when you write in your character’s voice, you should think like him, talk like him and feel like him! The whole point of writing in first person narration is to establish a conspiratorial bonding with the reader, taking him into confidence to reveal the character’s tale of endurance. At no point should the reader feel that the writer has taken over the character. As such, this is a difficult part of the narration. But if you stick to the character’s point of view and background, the first person can be most rewarding in style.
Sometimes a second important character can be the voice of the book. For example Arthur Conan Doyle used Watson’s voice to narrate Sherlock Holmes’ cases. This helped to create the suspense and intrigue in Holmes’ crime solving technique.
While writing in first person is interesting, it has its problems. One most important limitation is that the character or narrator has to have witnessed the main situations. How could he possibly describe, for example, what happened at dinner in the neighbor’s house, if he wasn’t present for dinner? Events taking place outside the character’s orbit, have to be incorporated expertly and without sounding contrived.
Another limitation is writing about the thoughts of other characters. How is it possible to convey what others are thinking? You can speculate in a first person narration – ‘He looked sad. . .’ But you cannot for sure describe the thoughts in his head – ‘ “if only” he thought wistfully’. Of course, sometimes, the uncertainty of the thinking patterns of the other characters can add to the mystery element of your story!
And lastly it can be a little difficult to describe the first person narrator’s looks. Again this can be done by using ploys like mirrors. Or using the comments of other characters to describe the looks.
In short, a first person narrative can be a heart–to-heart talk with the reader, with the character leading him through the story; provided it comes across as effortless and smooth.
So you have done research and you have a plot and you are now ready to write out the story. But what narrative style are you going to use? From whose point of view will you write the story? Who is actually telling the story? Is it the chief protagonist? Or are several characters taking over from time to time. Or is it the author narrating the events?
First, let’s understand what Style actually means. Style is a question of approaching the story, either in first person singular, third person singular or plural or as the omniscient narrator.
The most commonly used narrative styles are the first person singular and third person singular or plural. We shall only consider these two popular styles of narration.
To put it very simply – a first person narration is the voice of a particular character, usually the chief protagonist. Let me cite an example here:
I am wondering where I should begin my story. Should it be on the day when I saw Napier and Edith being married in the little church at Lovat Mill? Or when I was sitting in the train starting out on my journey to discover the truth behind the disappearance of my sister Roma? So much of importance happened before either of these significant events: yet perhaps I should choose the second alternative because it was then that I became inescapably involved.
The third person singular is the narration of the author but from the viewpoint of a single character, usually the hero or the heroine. The narrator in a way has a bird’s eye view of the whole story, but restricts himself to the viewpoint of the protagonist, thus becoming his ‘voice’. Here’s an example:
Sonia watched in admiration as Nimisha, the famous actress and her friend danced with perfect tempo and grace to the music, before a huge ornate set of a temple. The camera whirred. The light men trained reflectors and the lights on the beautiful actress. There was no doubt, Nimisha was a star – in the real sense of the word. Attired in a sequined, traditional blue and gold Bharat Natyam dance sari, her tall willowy body showed off perfect curves. Her personality emanated magic, poise and vitality. In front of the camera, she positively glowed like a star.
And the third person plural, is the author using his bird’s eye view and becoming the ‘voice’ of several characters, telling the story from their viewpoints. Either shifting focus from one character to the other alternately or devoting a certain amount of time to each character.
Next time, we shall try to understand these narrative styles individually, a little more in detail.
My Dearest Brownie,
I have to write this letter to you – now. Before you move on forever. Now, while you are still around me in spirit and are trying to help me cope with my grief.
There are so many things I want you to know and understand.
You came into our house a tiny weak pup, straight off the street. You and Tuggy. But you stormed into our hearts with all the strength of a hurricane. You entered every part of our being and existence and left a lasting impact. And it was not just your unique features – the glistening chocolate brown coat on a spectacular small frame, and those light brown eyes which spoke the knowledge of the world.
Whether it was your shy nature, your forever seeking, probing eyes asking for permission for even a little thing;
Or your excitement at going out for a drive; barking joyously at Bipin's arrival from the office every evening; running in the woods and chasing the birds; interacting with the other street dogs and inviting them generously to share the circle of your warmth and loved ones:
Whether it was your pleasure at eating your food and only diving into it after I kissed you on the nose;
Or it was rocking your head fondly and rushing to me at the mention of the word 'brushing';
Whether it was your playfulness at midnight when you and Tuggy chased around the house or in the parking;
Or just sitting quietly and patiently, looking out for me and my needs and expectations, hanging on to my words, actions and subtle reactions;
Or whether it was your insistence at snuggling between the sheets with us at night, or laying your head in the crook of my arm or leg and staring at me with those innocent eyes;
They are all endless memories of your sweet, unselfish love and bonding. . .
I want to tell you how important and significant each moment with you was. . .your every gaze, mischievous when you played, or bewildered when you couldn't find us; soothing when you waited and frightened when you didn't want to leave the house; beseeching for water and filled with puzzlement in the last days. . .every single blink of your eyes, wag of your tail, crook of your straight long ears, feel of your warm firm body is a precious part of me and will remain with me forever. . .I love you Brownie, I love you so much and miss you so much that I feel that the world has stopped with your heart beats. My grief knows no outlet.
You were only four when you passed away but you gave us a lifetime of joy, love, tolerance, learning and wisdom. . .perhaps that's why you left us. . .we were the luckiest and the most privileged people in the world to have you with us. . .even for such a short time. . .Thank you for your unconditional love, sensitivity and support, for your thoughtfulness, obedience and caring, and for making us feel special and wanted.
I always called you my Angel and my reindeer sent by Santa Claus. Now I know that you really were one.
I adore you and hope that God will take special care of you and that you are happy and in good health wherever you are. . .
God Bless You my dearest Brownie. . .
You are in my heart for several lifetimes now. . .
Brownie : Born on 20th March 2005
Departed on 8th August 2009