DIAMONDS OF THE NARRATOR
“The peasant girl watched the raindrops drip off the tree leaf. She cupped her hands to catch the falling diamonds that sparkled in the sunlight.”
Is anything wrong with the above example? Assuming the scene is in the peasant girl’s point of view, why would she compare the raindrops to diamonds? She has probably never seen a diamond. She might compare the raindrops to stars, something she is familiar with.
On the other hand, what if the scene is in the point of view of a princess watching her from a carriage? The princess might compare the raindrops to diamonds.
When using descriptions, keep in mind whose point of view you are in. A peasant girl has a different view of the world than a princess. The imagery you choose gives insight into the narrator’s character.
By Cait Collins
I love writing dialogue, but I’m not as enamored with writing narration. You see, my background is in journalism. When writing the news, you’re limited by time. Let’s face it; each story might get 15 seconds. And unless it’s a major event, 30 seconds would be the maximum for a story. A good journalist learns to get the who, what, where, and why covered quickly and efficiently. There’s just no time for excess words.
And that’s where I have problems. I try to tightly edit my stories so that I’m not using too many words in a scene. After all, is the sky color that important? While I’m working hard to keep the novel or short story clean, I under write the piece. Believe me, editing out can be easier that adding in. Adding in is a risk as the additional words could overpower the story. And then you have to rewrite the scene.
I’ve come to realize that writing is a study in balance. It takes time and practice to master the narration of a work and the verbal action. I’m still working on it.
POST CARDS FROM THE MUSE
By Nandy Ekle
I’m obsessed with stories. I read every minute that I can, and I’ve recently discovered a new time and place I can read. I’ve learned all about audio books and I listen to them while I drive to and from work. And I’m SO hooked. As a matter of fact, as much as I love music, I have not listened to the radio or my playlist in a long time because I’m “reading” instead.
This past week I was listening to a book while driving to work one morning and the narrator read something very interesting. He read, (paraphrased) “Imagine you are walking in the woods and you see yourself running toward you and the face on the running you is contorted with fear.”
So guess what my writer’s mind started doing. Yep. I know it’s someone else’s idea, but ideas are not copyrighted. I could take that idea and write a completely, absolutely totally different story from the one this idea came from (and you can look for something like this from me sometime in the future).
This subject sort of fits with the blog Cait wrote last week about Braylan’s miner. If you don’t remember what I’m talking about, go to Cait Collins’ blog and read Outtakes 103, Braylan’s Contest. She writes about a photo of her young friend, “Braylan” and his new friend, The Miner. She challenged readers of the blog to write a synopsis of a story about what would happen if Braylan’s miner came to life. This is an example of many different versions of the same idea.
By the way, you really SHOULD go check out Cait’s contest. Sounds like a great writing exercise, and tons of fun.
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