Narration: Time

or When a Story is Told

PAST:

The Past Tense is the most common in storytelling. It describes the story and the events from a point in the past.

The past tense is simple yet complicated. It can cause problems with writers that can’t use all the past tenses.

On the other hand, it is something the reader expects to see in a story, which makes it invisible. Sometimes when a story has a format that is too weird, it can take the reader out of it. So Past Tense Narration is a safe bet, because it is what readers are used to, what they have seen time and time again.

Great with character backstories and building tension and conflict, the past tense is an easy go-to for most writers, no matter the Point of View or the Voice.

PRESENT:

The second most common tense in storytelling, the Present Tense is simple and uncomplicated. Everything that happens, happens now, in the moment and the Narrator is the vessel through which the reader experiences everything. It is spontaneous, and most times it’s used with the First Person PoV. It is intimate and can be fast-paced.

But the Present Tense can be tricky because it doesn’t fall back on other tenses, so sometimes it can be difficult to convey conflict and tension. Many writers fall into the trap of adding trivial little details and happenings in their story, just because the Present Tense allows it.

FUTURE:

The least used tenses for Narration, are the Future Tenses. The events are happening at some point in the future and the story takes an almost prophetic tone.

~Harris

Intro | View | Voice | Time

Narration: Voice

Or How The Story Is Told.

It is really no surprise that View and Voice and intertwined a lot, since voice is how the story itself is told. Apart from the similarities though, there are some different formats.

A STREAM OF CONSCIOUSNESS:

In contrast with the other narrative formats, SoC doesn’t follow the typical style and instead it has a unique way of telling events and actions as they happen. SoC is filled with inner monologues in an attempt to replicate the thought process. SoC is full of personal desires and motivations and the occasional, inconvenient incomplete thoughts.
SoC is best expressed in First Person and it is an easy way to show the audience thoughts and motivations that the rest of characters in the story don’t hear or get to know.

A CHARACTER’S VOICE:

One of the most common formats, when the voice of the Narrator and the Voice of a character are one and the same. Either in first person or third, it creates a nice atmosphere for a relatable, realistic character/narrator that the reader can follow around.
But it can also be a biased, unreliable narrator that can lead the reader astray. Or it can be a detached narrator that is just retelling the events taking place.

AN UNRELIABLE NARRATOR:

An untrustworthy narrator aims to give a sense of mystery and suspicion to every bit of information given. There are many reasons why a narrator can be untrustworthy. Mental disorders, drugs, naivete and simple innocence.
Usually done in First Person, for that something extra.

A 3RD PERSON OMNISCIENT NARRATOR:

A narrator that is good for epics and big cast of characters, the Omniscient Narrator knows all, sees all, hears all. It is the most reliable of the Voices because of the knowledge he holds and sometimes he can offer judgement and his opinion on matters, or even foreshadow events that are to happen in a more outspoken manner.

A 3RD PERSON OBJECTIVE NARRATOR:

The Objective Narrator is very good with Drama. He is unbiased and objective and conveys only the events and the actions, while he leaves out the thoughts, the opinions and the feelings of the characters,
He is the perfect Narrator to display all sides in any story in a way that allows the audience to decide who is the good and who is the bad guy, what is right and wrong. It also gives the characters the chance to act out their feelings, instead of just keeping them in their thoughts, where the audience can’t know about them.

A 3RD PERSON SUBJECTIVE NARRATOR:

Unlike the Objective Narrator, the Subjective Narrator is all about the feelings and the thoughts and the personal, inner opinions of the characters. The Narrator can jump between characters and present all different sides in a matter. Most commonly, it is used with main characters, or the Narrator can even jump between characters.

What is your favourite Voice to use? What are you most comfortable with? What would you like to experiment with?

~Harris

Intro | View | Voice | Time

Guest post: How to write in a foreign language — eternal scribbler

This week’s guest poster is the wonderful M S Harris who discusses writing manuscripts in a language that is not your native one. How To Write In A Foreign Language by M.S. Harris I have been writing for a long time and I’ve been making stories in my head for as long as I can remember. Not […]

via Guest post: How to write in a foreign language — eternal scribbler

Narration: Point of View

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Point of view, simply put, is the narrator. Who is the person telling the story? Who is he in relation to the story? Is he a character? Is he some detached entity that has nothing to do with the story and does he just narrate the events and what is happening?

There are three different types of PoV: First Person, Second Person and Third. Each different type, of course, has it’s merits and it’s disadvantages.

First Person PoV :

I woke up to rain and wind howling outside my window.

One of the most common PoVs, the narrator is usually a character in the story and most times, he is the protagonist, or at least a character that has a crucial role in the story, even if he is in the sidelines.

First Person allows the reader a glimpse inside the mind of the character/narrator. It is an internal and personal PoV, where all events are filtered through the opinions and the views of the narrator.

It is also one of the PoVs that allows for easy character development as well. With this PoV though, there are three choices to keep in mind:

A) If the character doesn’t know he is narrating a story

B) If he is a conscious narrator

And

C) if they are an unreliable narrator, where his personal traits and experience might influence what he sees and how he acts and the way he colours the story.

The problem with the First Person PoV is that the reader, the audience, can only see what the narrator is seeing and experiencing. If the narrator is not included in some big event, the reader is not included either.

Second Person PoV :

You woke up to rain and wind howling outside your window.

The least common PoV of them all, it is meant to make the reader feel like he is the protagonist, like he is part of the story himself.
The problem with this PoV though is in the fact that it creates an alienation from the events and emotional distance from what is happening.

Third Person PoV :

He woke up to rain and wind howling outside his window.

The Third Person PoV is well – known and very common. It is also flexible. It allows for a variety of narrators and narrations.

Firstly, the narrator can be a character in the story, as in the First Person PoV or he can be an unspecified entity, or an uninvolved character who is simply there to tell the tale.

Subjective VS Objective

A subjective narrator is one that describes the feelings, opinions and thoughts of the protagonist, while an objective narrator only puts forth the events as they happen, untainted by the feelings and thoughts of any character.

Omniscient VS Limited

The difference between the two is simply a difference in the knowledge they have and is available to them. An Omniscient narrator knows it all, sees it all, hears it all. A Limited Narrator only knows what the character knows and sees and hears what the character sees and hears.

Alternating PoV:

Of course all different PoVs are tools and nothing more. A writer can mix and match what he likes, change between different styles of PoV and even change between PoV characters or even from First to Second to Third person PoV.

My personal favorite is Third Person Limited and Subjective but with a couple of PoV Characters to give the whole scope of the story.
What is your favorite PoV to use?

~Harris

Intro | View | Voice | Time

Every Artist is a Child

Life is hard. Life is difficult and as we grow up and we grow old, life likes to slap us and know us down, dedicated in teaching us important “lessons”.

Ever so slowly, we lose our fearlessness, our passion and our wonder. We no longer see the world as a child does, with pure joy at every little discovery, with the need to explore, create and satisfy our thirsty curiosity.

Life teaches us to be afraid, to stay put and mind our business. Life, experience and knowledge help bury that child inside each of us.

But an artist needs those qualities. An artist needs to be a child, to look at the world with wonder and joy, to feel no fear, or anything that can hinder or block the creativity and the curiosity that powers his work.

In his heart, every artist remains a child and every child is born an artist. It’s just a matter of whether or not he will let life and growing old and weary stop him in any way.

All about Narration : Introduction

What is Narration?

Narration is the writing of a story. It is the way the words come together. It is all the little choices a writer makes. The narrator, the tense, the person.
There are a lot of different combinations a writer can use to get the best result for the story. A narrator who is also a character and tells the story in first person and present tense? An omniscient narrator in third person and past tense?

There are a many different combinations and it all comes down to the writer and what his story wants to tell.

What makes up Narration though?

First, it’s the Point of View (PoV) or the Narrator. The person telling the story.

Secondly, it’s Voice. Or, How the story is conveyed to the audience?
And Lastly, it’s Time. Past, Present and Future tenses can give a completely different feel to a story.

~ Harris

Intro | View | Voice | Time

"People will never forget how you made them feel" ~ Maya Angelou

“People will never forget how you made them feel” ~ Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou has talked about the importance of emotions. And that holds true for stories and storytelling.

Stories in their core are about feelings. What the reader feels, how invested he is in the story and the characters, how immersed he is, how close to home their troubles, and fears, and hopes hit. Stories are for the sleepless nights, when you can’t put down a big because you have to find out what happens next. Stories are for the people you meet between the lines; the people you carry with you for the rest of your life. Maya Angelou was right after all :”People will never forget how you made them feel”, and a reader that has cried and laughed with your story will always come back for more.

Stories are feelings.

Even a story in a fantasy setting has those same feelings. Even though it has knights, and princesses, and dragons who couldn’t be further from reality. Yet, a good story will have the reader worrying. Will the hero succeed? Or, will he be with the one he loves? Will he fail?

Good writing makes the reader feel.

It makes the characters feel alive and as real as the people outside the book. The book made the reader angry, happy, sad, anxious. It gave him a whole spectrum of emotions to experience. Emotions that blew up in his mind and his heart like fireworks. If a story made him cry, laugh out lour, or even hurl the book half way across the room, that’s the story that’s going to stay with him.

Stories tag at heartstrings.

Stories are feelings.

~Harris