So, what I'm writing is a novel where I'm the narrator who describes life events of my another self. The whole story revolves around this character. This page contains the following passage in the First-Person Narration section:

In addition, it also raises the question of how the narrator remembered the events in such detail, down to the exact dialogue, unless they explicitly have photographic memory.

This is called Infalliable Narrator.

My character who accidentally is a writer as well and whose literary work accidentally is written in the same style tries to deal with this issue, but tells that his-my intent is not to convey historicity to the last detail, but only to the main events, while details are only approximations.

But still, will it cause any issues that my narration does not describe all minor events exactly but still involves many of them? Knowing his-my position is essential to understand his-my reasoning of his-my actions, so I can't get rid of them.

  • Why do you think that's an issue? Narration is always just an attempt to represent the actual events in the best detail possible. Reader supposed to take in the narration presuming that it's a fact, and even if it's not, that shouldn't be relevant to the story. The issue is only when alternative narrations are conflicting with each other (and, in fact, telling a different story, like in Rashomon).
    – Alexander
    Sep 24, 2018 at 18:52
  • @Alexander, well, then the quoted passage is not really an issue?
    – rus9384
    Sep 24, 2018 at 19:52
  • In my opinion, this is never an issue unless a conflicting narration (or reality outside of narration) is introduced. The bigger issue with first-person narration is account of the events that the narrator couldn't witness.
    – Alexander
    Sep 24, 2018 at 19:59

1 Answer 1


Humor would be a great way to address this kind of challenge. Have your narrator directly address the accuracy of his own memory, either self-deprecatingly writing off the inaccuracies or blustering unconvincingly that his intentions and motivations were always above reproach. The trick here is to no have an Infallible Narrator, but rather an Unreliable Narrator. "On issues of my own virtue in any of my recollections, I will report it as I choose to remember it. If you want more earnest facts, find another narrator!"

You might also point out to your reader, that you, your narrator and the character in your book are all fiction writers, i.e. professional liars. It is every fiction writer's obligation to embellish the truth with just enough fiction to keep it interesting to the reader.

Make the issue of reliability a tongue-in-cheek certainty, and then have the narrator get flustered when his "misrememberings" come out later in the telling. If you are embracing the idea of having an active narrator in your story, have some fun at his (your) expense.

Keep Writing!

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