Helping you to connect with the writer within
On 4th June, Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction announced Eimear McBride as the winner for her debut novel “A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing” and rightly so; it is one of the best books I have read in a long time and if you haven’t read it already, I suggest you add this innovative masterpiece to your reading list!
What makes McBride’s novel unique is the language structure, it completely abandons all rules – although some are calling it Joycean, named after James Joyce who pioneered the ‘Stream of Consciousness‘ style, others are giving it the term ‘Pre-consciousness’ – either way, it is like squatting in the brain of the narrator and recieving live play by play thoughts; some sentences break, some only contain two words; it is powerful and very affecting. What’s more is that the novel is written in second person, the ‘you’ narrative.
When we write in second person, we as the writer or the character as the narrator, is addressing another person, or a group of people – imagine a novel written like a very detailed letter – but the receiver(s) aren’t necessarily named. This is probably the least used narrative in fiction, so try it out! When we write, we are usually more comfortable writing in first person (I) or third (he/she/they) – but what happens when you turn one of your stories into a completely different narrative style? Sometimes the whole story could twist, new and exciting elements can present themselves and refresh the whole piece.
So take an idea and play with the narrative, try it in first person, second and third. Try it in the Stream of Consciousness (a run of thoughts) style or try an omnicient narrator (a ‘know all’ narrator who tells the tale from all perspectives and has access to information that some characters may not know). Once you’ve got a few versions of the same piece, see what stands out to you – which version do you prefer and why?