AW Amazon Affiliate Store

confused by self-publishing? Find your way to self-publishing success in just 5 easy steps with this free how-to guide!

Editing for authors: because every writer needs a good editor.

If this site is helpful to you,
Please consider a voluntary subscription to defray ongoing expenses.


 

Welcome to the AbsoluteWrite Water Cooler! Please read The Newbie Guide To Absolute Write

Results 1 to 8 of 8

Thread: What are distinct elements that can be part of a novel's narration?

  1. #1
    practical experience, FTW
    Join Date
    Nov 2017
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    391

    What are distinct elements that can be part of a novel's narration?

    Hiya,

    I'm not using my narrator to her full advantage. At the moment she knows to do the following things:

    1. Put in dialog tags appropriately and modify into actions as needed.
    2. Describe setting (physical and other) (actions and reactions)
    3. Reveal POV characters' internal thoughts.
    4. I have recently asked my narrator to try throwing in her own commentary ... to see if that works and adds anything useful.

    So, that is a starter list of the four different types of things that I think can be part of narration. But when I read a successful author that I like, they seem to put in much more, and I can't put my finger on what exactly they are doing. Memories? Contextual people? It's this weird experience of seeing them narrate efficiently and not being able to put a name on what it is they are doing.

    I like lists and compartmentalization. That's why I started a list. What would you add to the list above, of elements/items that can be part of narration? Maybe that's all there is, but I bet there is more. Google wasn't much help.
    Last edited by Patty; 12-18-2017 at 09:20 PM.
    I'm also on twitter where I routinely upset people. at pltavormina

  2. #2
    ....... Harlequin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    The land from whence the shadows fall
    Posts
    1,836
    It sounds like you could be missing internal world, which is separate from internal thoughts.

    The two are often conflated, and exhortations from critters to put more internal world often results in writers adding more thoughts, possibly because that advice is sometimes given without sufficient context.

    Internal world would inform all the things on your list. It modifies how dialogue is spoken and the tags chosen; it seeps into every description; it influences voice; it informs and dictates internal thoughts; etc.

    I'm not sure, though; I don't abstractify writing very well. Trying to look at things as components is counter-intuitive to me (I realise it's not for everyone.) So if I'm off the mark, my apologies.
    Last edited by Harlequin; 12-18-2017 at 09:58 PM.
    Happiness, is just a word to me
    And it might have meant a thing or two
    If I'd known the difference.

  3. #3
    practical experience, FTW
    Join Date
    Nov 2017
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    391
    Hmm. That might be it. Don't feel obliged to answer the following -

    I'm gonna play with Bob again.
    Last edited by Patty; 12-19-2017 at 02:19 AM. Reason: I am not in SYW, i forgot where I was.
    I'm also on twitter where I routinely upset people. at pltavormina

  4. #4
    writer, rider, reader...ex-pat! BethS's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    In the land of cheese and chocolate
    Posts
    10,629
    Patty, I wouldn't mind commenting on your excerpts, but it strikes me as being more appropriate for SYW. Had you considered posting a scene there?

    In general, though, I think you need to think less about ticking off a list of items to include in your narration, and more about climbing inside your character's head and beginning to think, feel, and experience what he does. An exercise that might aid in that would be to temporarily switch to writing in first-person POV. Another exercise would be to write a short scene using stream-of-consciousness. Whatever comes into your character's head, that's what you write. It doesn't need to be organized or controlled in any way. Some writers find that this helps them break through articificial blocks and get comfortable with writing in POV.
    Last edited by BethS; 12-19-2017 at 01:22 AM.

  5. #5
    Back on Track Carrie in PA's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    in my own little world
    Posts
    1,760
    I have a big whiteboard by my desk. On it, I have written at the top: Sight, Smell, Sound, Touch, Taste, Emotion. When I'm in the editing phase, I consciously check each scene to make sure I have enough* sensory detail and emotion. (I'm also making sure I'm 100% in the POV character's head and seeing/feeling things as s/he does.)

    In my first drafts, I'm much more inclined to write without a lot of detail, so I know I have to go back in and get the feeling in.

    *varies according to scene. I don't shoehorn all the senses into every scene, but if we're at Christmas dinner, the reader should be smelling the ham and seeing the twinkling lights on the tree (and probably feeling slightly nauseous with the increasing dread of an endless afternoon with family full of dysfunction...). The point is to get the right senses/emotions into every scene to make it real.
    Officially published! Strange Magic anthology, featuring my creepy story "Little Whirlpools" is now available!


  6. #6
    practical experience, FTW
    Join Date
    Nov 2017
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    391
    Thanks guys!!
    I'm also on twitter where I routinely upset people. at pltavormina

  7. #7
    ....... Harlequin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    The land from whence the shadows fall
    Posts
    1,836
    I missed your example, but will keep an eye out if you post in SYW again
    Happiness, is just a word to me
    And it might have meant a thing or two
    If I'd known the difference.

  8. #8
    Makes useful distinctions Lady Ice's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Posts
    4,753
    Succesful narration isn't really done with a checklist. It might be good practice to try telling a story, either to someone or by writing it down. Just a simple short story or scene- it could be 'What happened to me today at work'. Your reader doesn't work where you work so you need to bring your office and the people who work in it to life. Practising with turning a world which you already know rather than a world of your imagination can really help build your skills and because you're trying to make something which is relatively mundane exciting, it forces you to think about how to captivate a reader.
    "We work in the dark--we do what we can--we give what we have. Our doubt is our passion and our passion is our task. The rest is the madness of art." (Henry James)

    "Either you think--or else others have to think for you and take power from you, pervert and discipline your natural tastes, civilize and sterilize you." (Tender is The Night)

    http://stagebystage.weebly.com/

Bookmarks

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Custom Search