In this episode, Leslie and Clark critique the first chapter of Kill Screen, a literary science fiction thriller by Benjamin Reeves. They discuss unreliable narrators and the ways characters are dishonest, revealing facts to the reader, setting, and tension.
Editorial Mission—UNRELIABLE CHARACTERS
In what ways is your protagonist unreliable or dishonest with himself and others? Even if you don’t have a character like Holden Caulfield or Humbert Humbert, there are things your character can’t see about himself and the world around him. Do a timed writing session for 10–20 minutes exploring where he is less than sincere. Consider what the positive and negative story-relevant consequences are for him and the people around him. Then spend the same amount of time writing about the ways in which your character is completely aware and trustworthy. Do any consequences flow from this? Then review your manuscript to see if your understanding of the character is showing up in your character’s thoughts and behaviors and the reactions that other characters have to him.
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