I've set up my 1st person narrator as a particular type of character. She's the type of person who sits next you on a bus or a train. You make the mistake of being polite and exchange pleasantries. She then believes you and her are new 'besties' and proceeds to tell you her entire life story (including all the inappropriate bits).

This technique lends itself to the (do, while) method. e.g the character can be telling you the story whilst getting dressed for work. The getting dressed can take several chapters.

The fourth aspect is highlighted in a particular scene.

The character is having sex with her boyfriend. At the same time she's telling you (the reader)about her visit to the dermatologist. Her boyfriend notices she's distracted (because she's talking to you). He accuses her seeing somebody else - a huge argument ensues.

  • Does this style of story-telling off-putting?
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    Well, for what it's worth. I like the sound of this. I've read stuff like it before, and it can be brilliant if done well (thought it has to be done well, I think, if it isn't to be jarring). That said, this question is way, way too subjective, and I don't think it's on-topic for this site. See: writers.stackexchange.com/help/on-topic. May 19 '17 at 10:47
  • I had a quick look . . . and whilst the the question may not be run-of-the-mill I believe it to be within the range. I agree the question is aimed more at readers and is more of a poll than a question. Some readers cannot abide to be taken out of the story.
    – Surtsey
    May 19 '17 at 10:57
  • Yeah, unfortunately this is a Your Mileage May Vary question. It might work, it might not, but there's no blanket rule, and no Official Answer we could give. May 19 '17 at 11:10
  • Yeah, my issue is that this is a poll rather than a directly answerable question. I say I like it, someone else says 'no, never do that', another person says 'well you can, but you'll alienate such and such group of readers and is it really worth it?', etc. No one of these answers is any better (at least, as a direct answer to your question) than any other. May 19 '17 at 11:22
  • If you ask how to avoid alienating readers while writing something like this, there might be an answerable question in there. Asking about existing fourth-wall-breaking fiction and the techniques it uses to keep readers engaged might also be on topic. Like I said, I like your concept, so I want this question to stay, I just think it needs to change emphasis a little. May 19 '17 at 11:28

Is this style of storytelling offputting? Yes. All styles of storytelling are offputting to somebody. For a given technique, there will be people who just plain don't like it, and won't be swayed. If you're planning to use the technique regardless, there's little point worrying about these people. If you want to please these people (i.e. attract these people as readers) and use this technique, you'll have to decide what you care about more, and make a choice.

A lot of people, however, keep a somewhat open mind about such things. They'll be willing to accept an unusual technique as long as it's worth their while, and especially if it feels like there's a reason for it. If the technique you use feels integral to the story, and helps to communicate things which would be less efficiently communicated without it, then it will feel in-some-way natural regardless of whether the reader is used to it. Even if it isn't integral to the story, if it's enough fun to read, that might not matter for a lot of people.

As for whether you should use it, that's up to you. It depends on your personal goals, preferences and preoccupations.

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