re: Integrating the POV and Narrative

in Narrative Voice/Point of View/Submissions/Teen/Middle Grade Fiction by

Dear Editor…

Please explain this comment from an agent on my midgrade historical fiction ms told in first person: “your POV and narrative are not integrated enough.”

Thank you,

Carrie

Dear Carrie…

Sure, I’ll take a stab at translating. Two guesses, which aren’t mutually exclusive:  1) The agent thinks the narrative voice sounds too old for a story told by a tween. Perhaps the words are too fancy for a kid, or the sentence structure too complex, or the insights too sophisticated. Give each of those a look. 2) The agent thinks some of the things mentioned in the narrative were things that your POV character could not know. Make sure your first person narrator only mentions things she can know first-hand.

Happy writing!

The Editor

5 Comments

  1. Hm. When I first read the question, I thought the agent might mean there wasn’t enough “voice” in the ms. Sometimes I have trouble with this in my MG novels when I write all the action taking place, but not my MC’s reactions to it; I forget to insert enough of her feelings into the ms. Luckily, my crit group gives me a smack! Ha-ha!

  2. Good post and comment; seems any or all of these reasons could set up a feeling of distance between the main character and the narration. Interesting, as recently I got response from an agent saying she felt the story was TOO deep into the character’s thoughts at times. (Just the opposite!) All about finding the correct balance, I guess.

      • Indeed, self-reflection is something we adults do naturally while teens and tweens do not. Or not much, anyway. It’s a maturity thing, more likely to show up at the end of an MG/YA novel than at the beginning, as the protagonist matures through his/her experiences. It’s a common revision item.

  3. All good points. Only wish implementation was easier!! :>) Often, what I know I should do and what I do aren’t always the same. Practice makes perfect, right?

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