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How could I best do a piece told by a character? I've read things like Catcher in the Rye, where the narrator is a character in the story, retelling it in their own way, but I'd like to take it a little further: make some changes to the narrator as the story progresses. Is there any way I can do this without it being incredibly clunky?
Well, the question in itself is clunky. Can you be more specific?
"It fits like clothes made out of wasps!"
Sorry about that. I'll try.
I'm writing in the first person, but I want the narrator to be acting at various points during the story. Making it all direct speech dialogue is tiresome to look at and confusing when converstaion happens, is there another way that I differentiate between his speech & his actions?
I'd advocate a 'suspension of disbelief' approach..
Someone describing an event to you wouldn't really tell you a great deal about the situation. They wouldn't intentionally build suspense, describe things in great detail, or do all the other things which make good writing. You have to draw a balance between the fact that the guy is telling the story, and the fact that you want to write something with literary merit.
As a general tip, I'd avoid frequent reference to the narrator in the present, as this disrupts the narrative (the one being related.)