Friday, June 12, 2009

Using Narration

I was talking to one of my authors yesterday about narration and it got me thinking about how it is used in different styles of stories - primarily how it is used to add depth to a story.

When I read stories of many writers the narration is simply that material used to advance the plot of the story. While this is indeed necessary at times, this, in no way adds depth to a story. So what do people do? They start adding more "stuff" that simply gives the reader more of the same. For example, an author has the characters sitting in an Italian restaurant. The narration of something plot driven simply talks about how the heroine smelled the oregano and licked the marinara off his finger. This is just action. There is nothing more here to get us knowing our understanding the characters.

So here comes the second flaw that again leads us to a plot driven story. The writers simply uses the narration to unload a pile of backstory for the readers. Knowing about his troubled past still doesn't get us anywhere. It is just giving us more of the same.

Now, let's talk about adding it for depth. Let's say a character is angry. There are tons of different types of angry. There is a whole range of emotion. So use the narration to show it. In this case, as the hero is sitting there having his fingers licked of the marinara, have him fume at how he really hates when she does this. What is he feeling? How does the slurping of the pasta noodles from the kid behind him grate on his nerves like fingers on a chalkboard. How does he want to just strangle her with is pasta? Build on that emotion and really work with it.

Remember, we don't have to rush the story. We can simply enjoy the moment. Relish the emotion and the feeling. That is depth.

Now, I am off for a great weekend. See you Monday.

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