Generally my Ramblings are rather….well general!
I do not tend to write in a scholarly constructive fashion, because I do not consider myself a teacher or an authority of literary genius.
I prefer to allow indefinite abstract descriptions to suggest and evoke the readers own perceptions and introspection to convey the message of each Rambling.
There are however certain aspects of writing I find myself trying to explain, to those who ask, on a frequent basis.
It can be rather difficult to clarify the particular methods and the reasons I utilise certain styles and narrative form when writing for an assortment of diverse projects and various fictional works.
So, unlike many of my previous Ramblings this one addresses the topic with a little more directness.
I say a little more, because in my heart of hearts I believe that the soul of the writer, the artist that lays within, is the greatest asset of all. No one can learn to write unwillingly; the writer must have love and passion above teaching and education. The writer must want to write above all else.
As mentioned above this Rambling touches on the subjective matter of literary techniques, in particular, style and narration. So firstly I think I should try and define these two separate, but closely related subjects.
I will not, in this Rambling, do more than skim the surface of this issue as I do not want to become too bogged down in technicalities.
Ok then, Narrative. Sometimes this is referred to as ‘the writer’s voice’. I do not like this term as it can be very misleading.
Narrative is the voice that the reader ‘hears’ in their mind when reading. This is NOT the writers voice, (which is why I dislike that term), yet it is created by the writer. To explain it better, it is like an actor speaking the words of the scriptwriter in a film or play rather than the writer speaking his words directly.
The effect in a drama is that the actor(ress) uses their skills of timing and intonation to convey the words in a meaningful and powerful way. This is pretty much what happens in the readers own mind when they read your written word. The reader will ‘hear’ the various voices of the characters and the general narrative as if being spoken by a third party.
A good writer can have many of these voices, according to the type of story or article being written, or the writer can keep one consistent form of narration to establish his/her own unique and recognisable narrative voice.
Narrative techniques are employed to provide deeper meaning, it helps the reader to use imagination and to visualise events and situations.
The literary elements in narrative include settings, plots, theme, and characters and so on. The literary techniques used in the application are best understood as being metaphors, personifications, imagery, backstory, flash-forwards, similes, foreshadowing, perspective, and hyperbole; Basically figurative language.
Now a little about Style.
Style has a broader sweep than narrative. Some writers have a comprehensive style, one which is ornate, long, and complex. These are packed with metaphors and imagery. Others have a more direct, straightforward style, they tend to be constructed of simple sentences and spares prose.
A good exercise to clarify this is to read two newspapers or high quality magazines. These usually have a determined style, a house style if you like. Yet throughout, each article and report will be written by a different author whose own narration is evident to that particular piece. This way the newspaper or magazine’s continuity stays together.
I will not, at this time delve any deeper into this subject, but leave you to consider the above. For those of you who are hardened and experienced hacks I apologise for this Rambling as it is less of a Ramble that is my usual want. (You will no doubt have noticed that the above narrations is far from my norm)!
However not all who read this are trained, tutored or as experienced as you may be.
I love writing, it is my hobby as well as my work and I am happy to share whatever knowledge I have; which is really very little.
I shall end this not very Rambling Ramble with an apology once again for being quite direct and not wandering off track and into the back alleys of randomness. I promise that the next Rambling will be back to my normal irrational narrative style.
Note….’Narrative style’….now does that confuse you?
Catch you next time, Paul.
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© Paul White 2014