Of course, there aren't any rules in writing. But when something is used in exaggeration (or even Isn't used at all!) without prudence, it can ruins everything.

A voice is like a guide to see the story and/or the world as he views it through his opinions, points of view and vocabulary, like feeling and knowing something new. But it can also be a neutral one that allows the reader to understand the story with his own vision, like flying free.

From neutral voices to opinative ones, how to use them in moderation and how do we know we are using them too much or too little?

The "neutral narrator" can make the story sound boring. Just like as an eye that looks but don't see. An ear that litsens but don't hear. So instead of flying somehwere, you dont fly to anywhere.

This can be a real problem if you are trying, for example, make some comedy book and your narrator is cold and neutral. Imagine if Douglas Adam's Hitchiker's Guide narrator were a neutral one? All his jokes about the vogons and many other things could be ruined!

The so-called "intruder narrator" can make the story sound like a moral lesson or a dogma being teached. It can point out to a truth that is absurd and strange for the reader. Rather than learning something cool, you learn something "cool" you learn something that "burns" more than a volcano!

I guess I dont even need to give examples of that one. You want read a fantasy book and the guy writes some political book with many moral lessons.

PS: I would also like to remember a thing about that: the narrator's voice isn't necessarily the writer's voice.

  • Sympathizing narrator and moralizing narrator are two different things.
    – Alexander
    Commented Dec 8, 2017 at 0:37
  • 2
    Never thought the neutral narrator was bad. Characters drive story. Narrator should be invisible. < my opinion.
    – SFWriter
    Commented Dec 8, 2017 at 3:32
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    @DPT DirectDoggo had a tendency to make the narrator a character, and it did generate some funny moments. Commented Dec 8, 2017 at 21:13
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    A neutral narrator could be bad in certain circumstances depending on the preminse of your story. Imagine if the narrator in the Hitchhiker's guide was neutral without his sarcasm and irony? Like I said, the narrator guides the reader into a conclusion. But if you want the reader to interpret the story totally on his own, for example, you can leave the narrator totally neutral.
    – Hanilucas
    Commented Dec 8, 2017 at 21:17
  • Does my question looks too broad?
    – Hanilucas
    Commented Dec 8, 2017 at 21:22

1 Answer 1


It does not sound to me like you are trying to be an entertaining author, it sounds to me like you want to blog and have decided the only way you can be heard and get paid for expressing your opinions is to disguise them as entertaining fiction.

I think that is a bad idea. It will lead to a story filled with prop characters, cardboard and shallow, not realistic at all. It will lead to a formulaic and boring plot, because you put your "message" above the story.

A story is about characters and some reflection of real life choices, sacrifices, and problems to deal with.

The narrator is not the way for you to sneak in your philosophy and opinions. If a neutral narrator makes your story boring, then your story really is boring, your characters are boring, your plot is boring, your settings are boring. I am not saying that to be mean, but to help you judge your own writing objectively.

If the narrator and their opinions are all you find interesting, that is probably because you are mostly interested in yourself and your own opinions and not really interested in your characters or their problems.

That is what blogs and FB are for, if you cannot get traction providing your opinions for free, a blog disguised as fiction people have to pay for won't get any traction either.

  • Not really. I don't want be some sort of political blogger. Tough I like your idea, it isn't exactly what I'm looking for. Neutral and characteristic narrator can have their own advantages and disadvantages. If you want your story to have an open conclusion, you can have a neutral narrator. Totally ok. But if you want guide the reader into some idea or conclusion, you want a more vocal narrator. Like I said above, "the narrator's voice isn't necessarily the writer's voice."
    – Hanilucas
    Commented Dec 8, 2017 at 21:21
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    @Hanilucas Alright, I tried to warn you. I suppose some things just have to be learned in the school of failure. As the saying goes, The most dangerous things are not the things you don't know, but the things you know that ain't so.
    – Amadeus
    Commented Dec 8, 2017 at 21:27

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