Published Authors

A place for budding and experienced authors to share ideas about publishing and marketing books
 
HomeHome  GalleryGallery  RegisterRegister  Log in  Featured MembersFeatured Members  ArticlesArticles  

Share
 

 Fragments of narrative

Go down 
AuthorMessage
Al Stevens
Five Star Member
Five Star Member
Al Stevens

Number of posts : 1727
Registration date : 2010-05-11
Location : Florida

Fragments of narrative Empty
PostSubject: Fragments of narrative   Fragments of narrative EmptySun Aug 15, 2010 12:18 pm

My writing coach says you should not do this. Some writing texts discourage it, too. Yet I see it all the time in fiction

From my manuscript: (The practice in question is in boldface that I added for this discussion.)
_____________________________________________________________

Harold turned away from the window and toward Mac. “So why wouldn’t they use me? Why didn’t I get a field assignment?”
“You went to Florida in ‘61. I sent you.”
Mac referred to the Bay of Pigs. The CIA had promoted an overthrow of the Castro regime by fielding expatriated Cuban exiles as insurgent anti-Castro invasion forces. The Company expected the Cuban citizenry to rise up against Castro and help the insurgents. That didn’t happen. The Cuban military quelled the invasion, and the Company and the Kennedy administration had egg on their faces because of the incident.
“Yeah, I went there,” said Harold. “And sat on the beach and listened on a radio. Why wasn’t I sent in? I could have made a difference.”
____________________________________________________________

The POV in this scene is Harold. The narrative (in boldface) explains what happened in Florida in 1961. The explanation is for the benefit of the reader who might not know. My writing coach says that such explanations should be done with dialogue. I disagree because the only two characters in the scene already know what it means.

It would be like saying, "I wrote a letter to your mother, Marsha Jones."

A popular writing text says you never insert a POV change inside a scene, except that you can begin a scene with 3rd person POV to set the scene. In this example, there is a brief and temporary change to 3rd person POV just to explain something to the reader.

My coach says, "But who is saying it?" My answer is, "The narrator. The same nameless, faceless entity that says, "Harold turned away from the window..."

I think it works. What do you think? How do you handle it?


Last edited by Al Stevens on Mon Aug 16, 2010 9:13 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Somehow the boldface got disemboldended)
Back to top Go down
http://alstevens.blogspot.com
Shelagh
Admin
Admin
Shelagh

Number of posts : 12624
Registration date : 2008-01-11
Location : UK

Fragments of narrative Empty
PostSubject: Re: Fragments of narrative   Fragments of narrative EmptySun Aug 15, 2010 2:57 pm

Harold turned away from the window toward Mac. “So why wouldn’t they use me? Why didn’t I get a field assignment?”

“You went to Florida in ‘61. I sent you.” Mac said, in reference to the Bay of Pigs: the CIA had promoted an overthrow of the Castro regime by fielding expatriated Cuban exiles as insurgent anti-Castro invasion forces (the Company expected the Cuban citizenry to rise up against Castro and help the insurgents. That didn’t happen. The Cuban military quelled the invasion, and the Company and the Kennedy administration had egg on their faces because of the incident).

“Yeah, I went there and sat on the beach and listened on a radio. Why wasn’t I sent in? I could have made a difference.”

_________________
Fragments of narrative 81KU-cLOw3L._SX110_ Fragments of narrative 41C9GeFDNWL._SX110_ Fragments of narrative 41%2BmGkZJdOL._SX110_ Fragments of narrative 51eDGllZXhL._SX115_ Fragments of narrative 41y7VHKoszL._SX115_ Fragments of narrative 51Zs4N4T4eL._SX115_
Amazon Author Central: Shelagh Watkins
I shall never be old. It doesn't suit me -- ©️Shelagh Watkins
Back to top Go down
http://shelaghwatkins.co.uk
Abe F. March
Five Star Member
Five Star Member
Abe F. March

Number of posts : 10720
Registration date : 2008-01-26
Age : 80
Location : Germany

Fragments of narrative Empty
PostSubject: Re: Fragments of narrative   Fragments of narrative EmptySun Aug 15, 2010 10:06 pm

I agree with Shelagh. Inserting an explanation is disruptive to the flow. I hate commercial breaks.
Back to top Go down
Al Stevens
Five Star Member
Five Star Member
Al Stevens

Number of posts : 1727
Registration date : 2010-05-11
Location : Florida

Fragments of narrative Empty
PostSubject: Re: Fragments of narrative   Fragments of narrative EmptyMon Aug 16, 2010 7:46 am

Shelagh wrote:
“You went to Florida in ‘61. I sent you.” Mac said, in reference to the Bay of Pigs:...

It is not clear to me how this differs from what I wrote. I'm not arguing about it. I like it better, too. But I don't understand why. In both cases, the narrator (3rd person) is providing an explanation for the reader. The only difference is structural--pulling the explanation into the same paragraph with Mac's answer. Why do we like that better? Is the semi-colon significant?
Back to top Go down
http://alstevens.blogspot.com
Shelagh
Admin
Admin
Shelagh

Number of posts : 12624
Registration date : 2008-01-11
Location : UK

Fragments of narrative Empty
PostSubject: Re: Fragments of narrative   Fragments of narrative EmptyMon Aug 16, 2010 8:37 am

The colon is used to signify an explanation. It alters the meaning of a sentence.

A woman without her man is nothing.

A woman: without her, man is nothing.

_________________
Fragments of narrative 81KU-cLOw3L._SX110_ Fragments of narrative 41C9GeFDNWL._SX110_ Fragments of narrative 41%2BmGkZJdOL._SX110_ Fragments of narrative 51eDGllZXhL._SX115_ Fragments of narrative 41y7VHKoszL._SX115_ Fragments of narrative 51Zs4N4T4eL._SX115_
Amazon Author Central: Shelagh Watkins
I shall never be old. It doesn't suit me -- ©️Shelagh Watkins
Back to top Go down
http://shelaghwatkins.co.uk
Al Stevens
Five Star Member
Five Star Member
Al Stevens

Number of posts : 1727
Registration date : 2010-05-11
Location : Florida

Fragments of narrative Empty
PostSubject: Re: Fragments of narrative   Fragments of narrative EmptyMon Aug 16, 2010 9:15 am

Understood. Thank you. So, again, how is the embedded 3rd person narrative explanation more acceptable in your version than it is in mine?
Back to top Go down
http://alstevens.blogspot.com
Al Stevens
Five Star Member
Five Star Member
Al Stevens

Number of posts : 1727
Registration date : 2010-05-11
Location : Florida

Fragments of narrative Empty
PostSubject: Re: Fragments of narrative   Fragments of narrative EmptyMon Aug 16, 2010 9:24 am

Although I'd still like to understand the difference, this discussion made me look again at the chapter.

There is a 3rd person scene earlier in the chapter that describes the protagonist's association with the CIA. I moved that explanation and several others (Bay of Pigs, building names, etc.) into that scene and then just let the characters have their conversations assuming the reader now knows enough. It strengthened the chapter. Thanks.
Back to top Go down
http://alstevens.blogspot.com
Shelagh
Admin
Admin
Shelagh

Number of posts : 12624
Registration date : 2008-01-11
Location : UK

Fragments of narrative Empty
PostSubject: Re: Fragments of narrative   Fragments of narrative EmptyMon Aug 16, 2010 9:25 am

You're welcome. That's why we are here.

_________________
Fragments of narrative 81KU-cLOw3L._SX110_ Fragments of narrative 41C9GeFDNWL._SX110_ Fragments of narrative 41%2BmGkZJdOL._SX110_ Fragments of narrative 51eDGllZXhL._SX115_ Fragments of narrative 41y7VHKoszL._SX115_ Fragments of narrative 51Zs4N4T4eL._SX115_
Amazon Author Central: Shelagh Watkins
I shall never be old. It doesn't suit me -- ©️Shelagh Watkins
Back to top Go down
http://shelaghwatkins.co.uk
Sponsored content




Fragments of narrative Empty
PostSubject: Re: Fragments of narrative   Fragments of narrative Empty

Back to top Go down
 
Fragments of narrative
Back to top 
Page 1 of 1

Permissions in this forum:You cannot reply to topics in this forum
Published Authors :: Writing and Publishing :: Articles-
Jump to: