1. pippin1710
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    pippin1710 Member

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    Story Introduction

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by pippin1710, Nov 9, 2008.

    Many novels use a technique where from the perspective of the narrator tells a bit of the story if its a bit of the ending or the mood of the story. e.g. is in lemony snickets book the bad beginning where the narrator in a paragraph in chapter one tells the reader to put the book down if you like a story of happiness and friendship. Similar in a clockwork orange where alex sort of jokes with the reader about his death and how would he possibly tell the story if i your brilliant narrator were to die. Just wondering if anyone knew a little more about this and if it was a good idea for me to add to my first person hero/light fantasy series?
     
  2. Emerald
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    Emerald Contributing Member

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    Sure. Engaging with your readers is one of the benefits of having a non-omniscient narrator (probably a better word for that but I'm tired)

    Third person omniscient narrators wont, however -- they relate the story exactly how it happens (or appears to happen) like a camera filming a movie. A camera which is able to read minds.

    Slipping from a non-omniscient narrator to an omniscient might work, depending how it's done (like a storyteller telling a story, right?)
     
  3. captain kate
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    captain kate Active Member

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    I tend to start mine in the present, and then jump back a certain distance into the MC's past, work my way to the present and then I finish the novel in the present until conclusion.
     
  4. tehuti88
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    tehuti88 Contributing Member

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    "Authorial intrusion" is sometimes cited here, though if the narrator is the same as the main character (i. e., usually first person), it obviously wouldn't be "authorial" intrusion. You might want to look into the concept though. I don't think the writer "Lemony Snicket" is supposed to be a character in the story so much as the uninvolved narrator so that's an example, though I haven't read the books so I couldn't say for certain.

    Omniscient POV is also something to look into, where the otherwise uninvolved narrator knows everything that's going to happen, knows every character's thoughts, and sometimes brings this up in the text. Be aware that this could easily lead to "headhopping," which is highly frowned upon in writing.

    Some readers and writers dislike these techniques (I don't care for things like the Lemony Snicket books for this reason, and I detest headhopping), but others apparently like them. It's all in how well the writer pulls it off.
     
  5. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Authorial intrusion is a particularly disruptive form of headhopping, It can occur from any POV/ When the narrator steps out of thge scene and begins talking directly to the reader, that's authotial intrusion.

    An obvious example is that the narration is describing a street thug in a feudal society, and includes a sentence like:
    This is not an observation the POV character would make. It'd purely an author POV dropped unceremonioulsy into the narrative.

    Even more obvious is where the reader is expressly addressed:
     
  6. pippin1710
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    pippin1710 Member

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    Thanks for you answers

    For what cognito was saying I was only planning on using this at the start of a book not at various times throughout the story. Also it would not be my voice but the main characters voice. I will look in to the hitchhikers guide book next time im at a store or libary thanks.
     
  7. Triggerhippie
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    Triggerhippie Active Member

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    Pippin, I tend to start off my stories in the past and work towards the future where the narrator already knows what will happen but doesn't allude to that fact. Instead he just tells the story in the past tense.

    I prefer to write with a narrator that has no connection to the MC or any other character in the story. His only job is narrator, and that is to tell the story, not give his opinion or address the reader in any way other than to tell the story.

    As for story beginnings. I personally start my novels with a waking scene or something of that nature, to symbolize the beginning of the book with the beginning of the day.

    I find it's best to introduce your MC immediately and then slowly filter in the other characters and scenery, don't dive into plot and character names, let the reader breath in the new story first, then let the plot trickle in.
     
  8. pippin1710
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    pippin1710 Member

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    I like all the posts im getting but I feel we are getting away from my orginal idea. I am wondering your opinions on a narrative paragraph at the start of a book which could tell the reader the mood of the story e.g. This is the story of my life, it is not a happy one and i would advise you do not get attached to myself for you will not read this book again because the endings just to hard to take...

    In that general idea just an average paragraph where i would end of saying it all started in so and so on my 6th birthday when after a terrific collision my father died ect..

    I have always loved when an author did this but i was just wondering other peoples opinions
     
  9. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Personally, I usually don't like it when the ariter or narrator addresses me directly (authorial intrusion). It's not inherently bad, I just find it annoying.
     
  10. Dcoin
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    Dcoin Contributing Member

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    Instead of using this piece as part of the narrative, maybe you can include it as an introduction or a prologue. I have heard some opinions that do not like to set the scene outside of the narrative, but I never minded it.
     
  11. Triggerhippie
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    Triggerhippie Active Member

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    Instead of directly addressing the reader, (I'm with Cogito on that.) You could try another type of paragraph that sets the same mood for the story.

    "My life hasn't been a great one. I lived among lies as my parents marriage fell apart and I constantly found myself between them in a struggle to find acceptance. I speak of my life as if I regret having lived it, but it's just the opposite, I wouldn't have wanted to live anyone's life but my own, no matter how terrible a life it was."

    That doesn't necessarily pull the reader from the story by directly addressing them but it also sets the tone for the story in a simple paragraph with a first person or MC narrator.
     
  12. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Or better yet, leave it out completely. It won't take long for the reader to figure out what the character's life has been like. Show, don't tell! :)
     
  13. Triggerhippie
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    Triggerhippie Active Member

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    Exactly! Show, don't tell :)
     
  14. pippin1710
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    ok I understand you now. Which leads to another idea of putting it at the end of the series obviously this is years away but it just flew through my mind so what would your opinion on addressing the reader directly?
     
  15. Triggerhippie
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    Triggerhippie Active Member

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    Addressing the reader directly would be a turn-off for me, but some people like it.

    The Lemony Snicket series has many readers, so it just depends.
     
  16. TheFedoraPirate
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    TheFedoraPirate Contributing Member

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    I personally enjoy/don't mind being addressed as long as the work isn't meant to be taken seriously ... like the Lemony Snicket books, I haven't read them myself but I get the impression they're meant to be (darkly) humorous.
     
  17. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Yep, Fedora, I agree with you there. Like any guideline, there are good times and reasons to break it.

    But if I were to do so, it would be a departure from my usual choices, and for a specific purpose. It isn't something I would keep in the top tray of my writer's toolbox.
     
  18. Ennui
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    I am acclimatized to commence my story with correspondence,that is to say,writing epistles.Then,I went on to a philosophical topic,conversations and subsequently revert to correspondence ultimately.It is a novel strategy and the story is in your hands.
     

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