Tag: narration

  • What Is Autofictionalisation?

    What Is Autofictionalisation?

    Autofiction is a little similar to free indirect discourse but is suited to stories which deal with themes around truth.

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  • Whimsy: What does it mean for a book to be whimsical?

    Whimsy: What does it mean for a book to be whimsical?

    What are the common features of popular works commonly described as ‘whimsical’? A long while ago I swapped a middle grade critique with someone who had used ‘whimsical’ in the title of their work, yet the story itself did not feel whimsical. I started to wonder about the unspoken rules of ‘whimsical’. But could I be wrong about ‘whimsical’? What…

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  • The Difference Between Story and Discourse

    The Difference Between Story and Discourse

    What Is Discourse? ‘Discourse’ is a conveniently loose term, and can refer to: 1. Linguistic Discourse — generally refers to specific discourse types such as the discourse of parent-child conversations, boss-employee conversations, dinner table conversations versus schoolyard conversations… 2. Narratological Discourse — the means by which a story and its significance are communicated. Aspects such as temporal sequencing, focalization, narrator’s…

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  • Choric Figures In Contemporary Storytelling

    Choric Figures In Contemporary Storytelling

    WHAT IS A CHORIC FIGURE? CHORIC FIGURE: Any character in any type of narrative literature that serves the same purpose as a chorus in drama by remaining detached from the main action and commenting upon or explaining this action to the audience. I’ve also seen ‘choral commentator’ and guess it means the same thing. It may be useful to think…

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  • What Is Psycho Narration?

    What Is Psycho Narration?

    Psycho-narration describes how writers make use of omniscient narrators to reflect their characters’ consciousness. Sometimes, authors use an unseen narrator, but use the language of the character they describe. In other words, psycho narration is an ‘outside’ commentary of a character’s consciousness, but in the character’s own ‘words’. Because there’s no actual talking going on, some people say in the…

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  • Writing Without Backstory: In statu nascendi

    Writing Without Backstory: In statu nascendi

    In statu nascendi is a Latin phrase and means “in a state of being born”. When a story begins in medias res (in the middle of things) and the character is given no backstory, we may say the character is presented to us in statu nascendi. Modernist writers started this trend. You’ll see it in Katherine Mansfield’s short stories. A…

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  • What is parallax in literature?

    What is parallax in literature?

    How do you create a parallax effect in writing? There are two standout techniques.

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  • What is narrated monologue?

    What is narrated monologue?

    There are many, many words and phrases used by different commentators to catalogue the many ways of narrating fiction. The terms overlap. Some have called the writing style of modernists such as Mansfield, Lawrence and Woolf ‘narrated monologue’. What is that, exactly? And what does it look like on the page? Narrated monologue presents the character’s mental discourse in the…

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  • How To Write Like Alice Munro

    How To Write Like Alice Munro

    Of course, no one but Alice Munro can write like Alice Munro. That is my disclaimer on each of my sporadic series of ‘How To Write Like…’ posts. GENERAL NOTES ON ALICE MUNRO’S SHORT FICTION Munro’s stories have grown more complex as she has grown older. Later stories are sometimes a more complex take on an earlier one. Munro’s stories…

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  • Trespasses by Alice Munro Short Story Analysis

    Trespasses by Alice Munro Short Story Analysis

    “Trespasses” is a short story by Canadian author Alice Munro, included in the collection Runaway, published 2006. This piece might challenge everything you’ve learned about how to structure a story. All the parts are there, but not as you’d expect. If Alice Munro had anonymously joined one of my writing critique groups over the years, she may well have been…

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  • How To Write Like Paul Jennings

    How To Write Like Paul Jennings

    Paul Jennings mastered the tall tale hi-lo children’s story in the 1980s. 30 years on, writers can still learn from his techniques. Other Paul Jennings tropes need to go the way of the dodo.

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  • Stone City by Annie Proulx Short Story Analysis

    Stone City by Annie Proulx Short Story Analysis

    “Stone City” is a short story by Annie Proulx, first published 1979, collected 20 years later in Heart Songs. Some of Proulx’s short stories are like compacted novels, and “Stone City” is one of those. The story of the humans is wrapped by the story of a fox, looking in from a slight distance. “Stone City” is a good example…

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  • Cameras In Storytelling

    Cameras In Storytelling

    The invention of cameras was a boon for storytellers. Writers and film directors have this new narrative tool — in the shape of a camera — which allows them to play around with perspective, to use as a metaphor and as a way to explore death. (No kidding. Read on!)

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  • Narration and Storytelling: Focalisation vs Head Hopping

    Narration and Storytelling: Focalisation vs Head Hopping

    Every narratologist has their own set of terminology. It gets a bit overwhelming. Pick and choose the terms that are useful; discard the rest. Here’s one way of looking at narration in stories. Focalisation comes courtesy of French narrative theorist, Gérard Genette. When thinking about focalisation, we consider the following: Who speaks (narrative voice) Who sees (focalisation) Who is seen…

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  • Narration and Storytelling: Diegetic Levels

    Narration and Storytelling: Diegetic Levels

    When discussing ‘diegetic levels’ of a story, imagine a ground floor. Level zero. All events and characters featured on this level are part of the story. Level zero is the normal, basic narrative level in a text. A story may not have any other levels, but it will at least have a ground floor. This happened, that happened, the end.

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