The 7am Novelist
The 7am Novelist
Day 9: What's a Narrator Good For? with Steve Almond & Kate Racculia

Day 9: What's a Narrator Good For? with Steve Almond & Kate Racculia

Our First Fifty-Day Writing Challenge

Writers Steve Almond and Kate Racculia discuss observer vs. participant characters, being too nice to your character, the role of the narrator, and the dreaded Author/Narrator/Character merge.

Steve Almond of a dozen books, including “Candyfreak” and “Against Football,” which were NYT Bestsellers for about four seconds. His new novel, All the Secrets of the World, has been optioned by 20th Century Fox. He’s the recipient of an NEA grant for 2022 and teaches at Harvard and Wesleyan. His work has been published in the Best American Short Stories, the Best American Mysteries, and the New York Times Magazine.

Kate Racculia is a novelist living in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. She is the author of the novels This Must Be the Place and Bellweather Rhapsody, winner of the American Library Association’s Alex Award. Her third novel, Tuesday Mooney Talks to Ghosts, was published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in October 2019. She is currently a communications writer in the development office at Lehigh University and sings in the Bach Choir of Bethlehem, the oldest Bach choir in America.

Here is Steve Almond’s essay on narrators:

And Frederick Reiken’s essay “The Author-Narrator-Character Merge: Why Many First-Time Novelists Wind up with Flat, Uninteresting Protagonists” can be found here if you’re an AWP member (sorry if not!):

Reiken’s essay is also part of this excellent collection of craft essays:

Novel’s mentioned during our discussion: The Great Gatsby, James McBride’s Deacon King Kong, and The Royal Physician’s Visit by Per Olov Enqvist

And check out Brandon Taylor’s amazing SubStack Channel sweater weather where he discusses the narrator voice musings about his characters internal world (something that Taylor always resisted):


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