Narration

Advice and thoughts on narrating to best effect.

Earning story events (May AuthorToolBox)

Earning story events means paying attention to three types of context (deep, situational, and immediate) as well as giving the character time to arrive at a response.

To Filter or Not to Filter

What is filtering, what’s the rationale for avoiding it, and in what situations might you want to stick with it?

Writing Character Emotion

Robert Olen Butler describes 5 ways the people express emotions. Writers can use these expressions to help build better character interiority. Here, his 5 expressions and an accompanying journal exercise.

Narrating Deep or Shallow: The Spectrum of Psychic Distance

An expert writer of stories needs to have some mastery of psychic distance—the distance the narrator stands from a character’s emotions, thoughts, and perceptions. No matter what viewpoint or person or verb tense you’re using for your story, your narration will sometimes go very close to character perception and sometimes stay quite distant. 

The True Source of Voice

Guides for voice usually focus on diction and syntax as the main avenues to achieving voice, and it’s certainly true that messing with diction and syntax will get you some unique voice. But the true source of strong voice comes from a different source.

Stretch Tension to Maximize Suspense

Do you take us to a point of conflict and then, rather than allow us to see it play out and get all worried about the outcome, you summarize it or just resolve it quickly? Stretching tension means you lengthen the scene but also make it more gripping. Don’t push the action off-stage or rush through it. Linger on the most tense moments of the story to maximize engagement.

4 Common Failures in Story Cause/Effect

Causality governs story events. You want your story to feel authentic, believable, and seamless. You don’t want any of the events or reactions within the story to draw attention to themselves. They must be earned. This article examines common failures to earn story developments.

Formatting Character Thoughts

Is it better to format character thoughts with quote marks or italics? I say neither.

Is it better to format character thoughts with quote marks or italics? I say neither. No special formatting is necessary to signify character thinking. You just need some solid narration.

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