Sunday, March 16, 2014
The unreliable male hero
AN UNRELIABLE MALE NARRATOR
The term, unreliable narrator can be confusing. It should mean a character’s thoughts or actions don’t reflect reality, at times. Writing a character like this can be unsuccessful because the reader may think they've learned something about your fictional world and may become unhappy (with the writer) when later they find out the truth.
Here's a couple male point-of-view examples, but note, sometimes human errors in thought can apply to the female point of view. But don't admit this, guys.
Many guys misinterpret female attention as an invitation for sex.
Suppose a guy is being pushed on his arm by a gal who is reacting to something he said, or a guy is hugged by a relative stranger (welcoming or congratulating him). Many guys will immediately assume the gal wants him sexually. There may be some innocent attraction here, but that is way different from the female prospective as wanting to have relations.
Let’s say in the hug, the guy notices the gal’s nipples become erect or popped out afterwards or her eyes dilate, etc. Again, even in this case, he may have read too much into it. It may just be physiological (the way God made us). So blame the Almighty, guys, and then run like hell. It may also be that the attraction is buried under the weight of what is right and worng (for a woman).
People often take as fact the correctness of the religion or political party they chose. Many of those untrained in logic and deduction will hold onto a ‘fact’ no matter what. “Are you crazy, sir? The Titanic will not sink.”
One way of telling the reader your character is unreliable is through author intrusion. Not recommended. A better way is to, at some point, shift point of view to another character who observes the other character’s strange views or actions and comments and/or thinks about them. The third way is to show some measure of doubt, via interior monologue, in the unreliable character.
Alternatively, writing fiction can be so fun when you twist reality/story to conform to the unreliable character.
Enjoy the Trailer for The Secret Life of Walter Mitty 2013, starring Ben Stiller.