Allegory = Extreme Metaphor

What Does Allegory Mean? Allegorical means, among many other things, that the characters, worlds, actions and objects are, of necessity, highly metaphorical. That doesn’t mean they aren’t unique or created by the writer. It means the symbols have references that echo against previous symbols, often deep in the audience’s mind. Allegorical also means ‘applicable to …

What’s The Difference Between Allegory and Symbolism?

Here’s the problem with symbols: people expect them to mean something. Not just any something, but one something in particular…It doesn’t work like that. Oh, sure, there are some symbols that work straightforwardly: a white flag means, I give up, don’t shoot. Or it means, We come in peace. See? Even in a fairly clear-cut …

Fairytales and Modern Storytelling

This is my collection of fairytale links. I’m interested in fairytales from a writing perspective — how do fairytales help us to create new, contemporary stories? TWO OF THE MOST IMPORTANT ELEMENTS OF FAIRYTALES the “serene, anonymous” voice in which it’s told the “conventional, stock figures” who inhabit it. This is according to American poet …

Tips For Writing Melodrama

Melodrama is often used as an insult but, used properly, has its place in good storytelling. Here are some tips for writing melodrama. What Is Melodrama? Melodrama is the technique of revealing reality by concentrating on the ends of the spectrum rather than the middle: the remarkable rather than the ordinary. Melodrama is about extremes …

Unreliable Narration In Storytelling

This post more than any other contains spoilers. Sometimes it’s a spoiler just to know that you’re dealing with an unreliable narrator. Unreliable narration is a storytelling technique which requires some work on the part of the reader, trying to work out how much of the story is true and how much is subjective, or …

Fabulism In Children’s Literature

FABULISM: WHAT IS IT? In fabulism, fantastical elements are placed in an everyday setting. It’s called ‘fabulism’ because authors are playing with realism by making use of elements of fable. For the definition of a fable, see here. COMMON FEATURES OF FABULIST FICTION ornate Gothic subjective dream-like surreal emphasis on idea or theme settings in …

The Rabbits by John Marsden and Shaun Tan

I can’t add anything that hasn’t already been said about The Rabbits elsewhere. Except, perhaps, for a closer look at the story structure. John Marsden has done a couple of interesting things with the traditional story structure, especially in the final two steps. Shaun Tan writes about his work on his own blog. I highly …

The Dark by Lemony Snicket and Jon Klassen

The Dark is a picture book written by Daniel Handler, illustrated by Jon Klassen. A boy faces his fear of the dark in an archetypal dream house. WHAT HAPPENS IN THE DARK? As usual I’ll break the narrative down according to John Truby’s seven essential elements, which seem to apply to everything from advertisements to …

Blackdog by Levi Pinfold

Throughout history, folklore has included stories of dogs who roam towns at night, especially in Britain. There’s Wiltshire’s Wilton dog or the fierce mastiff that roamed the streets of Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Anyone who has ever seen a huge unfriendly dog standing right outside their glass door will know how frightening it can be. Pinfold takes that fear …