Question & AnswersCategory: WritingQuestion for Polly on Mixing Narrative Forms in Middle Grade Fiction
Nadine asked 2 years ago

Dear Polly
What are your thoughts on mixing first person and third person narration in the same book?
Can mixing narrative form be effective if it is used for showing different character viewpoints or for distinguishing between different plot threads? Can it be used just to add variety to the storytelling?
Do you support it or do you find it jarring for the reader – specifically in Middle Grade fiction?
Thank you for reply

1 Answers
Polly Nolan Staff answered 2 years ago

Hello Nadine
Thanks for your question.
I like mixed narrative voices – or, indeed, any form of storytelling that mixes things up and/or feels different or fresh or innovative. BUT (yes, there is always a ‘But’), it’s crucial that the author is in control of the various strands and can make them work convincingly. One of the common pitfalls I see, especially amongst debut authors, is an attempt to write in two distinct voices and the two voices sound exactly the same.
If an author can pull it off, it can be a compelling and taut way of telling a story. If an author can’t, it’s likely to be a wince-inducing mess.
Does that help?  Definitely give it a go if you’re thinking about it. You won’t know until you try it out.
Polly