Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Narrative Vis-a-Vis

I am so glad to be back!

I am a bit ashamed to tell you why I have been away, because it happened not too long ago (and I blogged a bout it), but it will be silly not to. Well, I got in ANOTHER ATV accident and broke ANOTHER part of my body. Last time I broke my right wrist; this time I broke my left hand. Somewhere in there is a virtuous tale about the dude who never learns. I fear if I continue this sport I'll end up in the hospital wing in a coffin. So, at the behest of my mother, who not only scolded me with a pot spoon, but shed a tear on my regard, I am giving up the sport for a while; at least until my body has healed fully from all the injury I've sustained trying to pull off CRAZY stunts.

While I was at the hospital, which I've now come to revere as my "second apartment" - if not for the free bed and cable, but breakfast too -- a very wise friend of mine came to visit. He is a rather dignified old chap who wears bowler hats and is always in a tuxedo. I met him while in college, when I helped him solve a rather complex theorem, and since then he has taken a fancy to my endeavors - more recently to my writing. Anywho, he inquired about my novel and I told him all was well - I'll be done with revisions and then it will be time to find an agent.

"Simply marvelous!" he had said. "And do you have a snippet for me to partake?"

Sir, I thought you'd never ask.

So I gave him my flash drive, which I always carry, and he stuck it into his laptop. He began to read and at once his bushy gray eyebrows jumped. Then he turned to me and said what might have been gibberish had I not remembered it only a second later.

"Your narrative is quite extraordinary, and I love the use of the Scenic Technique."


Yes. How could I forget.

Narrative Technique is the style of telling the story and concentrates on the order of events and their detail.

I learned this a long time ago and forgot. What's more, I wrote my novel without knowing which technique I used.

To be frank, it doesn't make or break a story. It's invisible like Theme, unless you're specifically looking to determine what technique is used.

Today I would like to share two prominent Narrative Techniques in Literature.


Scenic Technique

Resembles a movie or play in its manner of presentation.

We are close to the actions in both a spatial and temporal sense.

The author presents actions that take a few seconds to perform in a passage that takes a few seconds to read.

Scenic techniques used at the beginning of a novel are more likely to capture a reader's attention at once because they are concrete and vivid.

Panoramic technique

Physical setting is highly generalized; narrative summary of events of a long period of time compressed into a single paragraph

Panoramic technique at the beginning of a novel often has the advantage of clarity; the reader knows where he/she is in time and space and has a definite point of departure for action that will follow.

Panoramic technique is economical; the author can get necessary exposition out of the way and concentrate on the story's dramatic events.

Both scenic and panoramic techniques are combined in most novels.

Shifting techniques can prevent monotony in the structure of the story.

Author must emphasize certain things (scenic technique) and de-emphasize other things (panoramic technique).

Panorama can serve a transitional function between more important scenes.


It's nice to reflect on the stuff we already know, and if you didn't, you're very welcome!

I am nearing the finish line on my revisions and I can't wait to get started with querying. Others find it nerve wracking, but I've done it before and it's rather thrilling. Yes, you read that right, THRILLING, with a capital 'T.' This coming from the guy who breaks his ass every other week!


CBame13 said...

I did not know about these specific techniques and am very glad you decided to share. Also, I would love to read a snippet or two of your work if you so choose to send some of it my way.

Jo Schaffer said...

Thanks for sharing. And best of luck with your revisions. I'm revising and querying right now. Not sure if it is THRILLING but it is at least proactive. (=

Thanks for stopping by my blog.
"Cougar bait" (;

Have a great day!

Michael Offutt said...

Happy to see you are doing well. I wish you a speedy recovery. Thanks for all the writing tips on today's entry.

S.B.Niccum said...

Good to know! I just published my first novel not knowing either of those techniques! In fact, I don't know anything, other than I wrote a book and it was fun.
Now I have to start learng about techniques and stuff so I can sound like I know what I was doing.

T.D. McFrost said...

Carter - These techniques are taught at University-Level literature, and my sister is doing an exam which contains these questions as we speak.


I am constantly revising my first chapter and it is so rough you can poke your eyes out simply by looking at it. The writing is solid but the formatting is haywire. If you like, I can still send it to you? I'm desperate for someone's POV.

Jo - You are so pretty, and I do hope you decide to become an actress. If not for vanity, do it for all us fanboys who adore your beauty! :D

Have a great day!

Michael - Thanks for the kind words Michael. You are the most awesome guy ever! I hope we can meet someday.

I would love to meet you, Carter and Roland.

S.B. - A new friend; a new Alterhero in my League. Hello and how are you? Super-duper CONGRATS on your novel. WOW that's a HUGE accomplishment; and by the looks of it, you're as young as me.

I'll most def. stop by your haven daily.

Thanks everyone!

CBame13 said...

Ah. Unfortunately, I am a business major so I will likely never have formal education in the matter

If you ever make is as far east as Boston, feel free to look me up

By all means, send me whatever you would like me to look at. I'm always happy to give feedback of any kind.

Andrew Leon said...

I broke my left wrist recently on my bike. Well, actually, off my bike, but I was supposed to be on it, which was the problem. I think bikes are almost ATVs. Right?

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting about these techniques!

I'm sorry about your accidents. :(

Good luck revising and querying.

Barbara Kloss said...

Thanks for the post! I guess I didn't realize there were "technical" names for those perspectives (though I should've expected them). You're right, always great to be reminded!

Um, if anything be careful on the ATV so it doesn't inhibit you're writing career :) It'd be difficult conjuring a virtuous tale if that was the outcome!

Hope you're feeling fabulous!...and best of luck with the "thrilling" queries (I tend to think of querying more as thrillER...as in I have nightmares...)

T.D. McFrost said...

Medeia - Thanks so much for stopping by!

Thanks Barbara! You're so funny and witty!

Blogger ate most of the comments on this post when it shut down, so my apologies.

Barbara Kloss said...

Ha...just trying to keep up with you ;D

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