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Friday, June 5, 2009

The Expressions Of Fiction

In Basic what you see when you pick up your favorite novel is a dance in creative awareness composed of seven distinct parts, modes, or expressions. They are Narration, Description, Dialogue, Action, Thoughts and Exposition.

Part A Narration:

Narration carries the story. It moves the story from point A to Point B. It defines for the reader tense and voice. It moves your character or sets your character into a certain place and time. It functions to change the same for your character. Narration is the legs, feet and shoes of the prose.

Part B Description:

The very best fiction draws the reader into a state I like to call autopilot. Description causes a sensory experience for the reader. Good fiction causes a movie in the reader's head. This brings me to a vital point. Movies give us what? Sight and sound. that is all you get. However a gifted writer can take the reader to much deeper level. The reader can see, hear, smell, taste and touch. They can feel the gritty texture of sandpaper, taste the tangy sweetness of a Mango and smell sulfur from the smoke of an extinquished match.

Part C Dialogue:

Dialogue brings your character to life. We can tell the character's mood, intellect, ethnicity, mental status, and many other things. "Quid Pro Quo, Clarice, you tell me things and I tell you things. Enthrall me with your Acumen." Recognize it? What does it tell you about Dr. Hannibal Lector?

Part D Action:

The action that takes place can also help to define the character's mood and further our visualization. There is a couple golden rules to writing good fiction. 1. Write what you know, and for the purposes of part C, SHOW DON'T TELL. If I combine dalogue with action, I never have to say James was furious.

"Dammit Heather, I told you once already but I guess I have to repeat myself. We - are - through!" Throwing up his hands James stomped across the floor. His hands fought with the doorknob. The small glass unicorn given to Heather by her mother fell from the shelf as he slammed the door shut behind him.

Part E Thoughts:

Thoughts give readers extra sensory insight into the character's mind. Stuff we always wanted to know concerning our wives, husbands, or significant others - penney for your thoughts - Ok bad cliche.
In the case of furthering our character, thoughts are essential in some places because it gives personality to our character and insight to the reader. Thoughts sometimes contradict actions. In Stephen King's The Shining, King opens the story with the interview, and while his character Jack Torrence is putting his "PR smile" forth his thoughts give him away when King puts in italics Jack's thoughts of the hotel manager. "Officious prick!"

Part F Exposition:

In good fiction, you will find very little of this. Exposition is the systematic explanation of a subject. Think textbook type stuff. Occasionally the story has something in it that warrants a little exposition. In addition, while the literary and film world have avoided this because of the preset notion that readers and moviegoers alike want who dunnit not how dunnit the course of expostion changed with the CSI shows. But we don't want to let that carry us away in writing pages or even paragraphs of lengthy boring exposition just because we are afraid that our readers might not know a particular, say, psychological condition. In my story The Gemination Of Benjamin Lore, I have a protagonist, Benjamin Lore, whose mind is being possessed by his brother Dewey who suffers from some extreme kind of Akinesia or something. In other words Dewey is non-responsive and bedridden. Just lays there and drools. When Mr. Lore takes counselling sessions with his Psych Dr. Normer, the good doc thinks it is a psychological condition on Ben's part. An altered state of consciousness (ASC) subscale called dissociation in which the sufferer can actually experience alterations of identity, memory, and includes auditory hallucinations and sensations or impressions that some outside forces are acting on the person forcing or causing them to commit actions for which their own personality is not responsible.

You see the problem with presenting this important fact to the reader without boring them. So I worked it into the dialogue were Dr. Normer is explaining to Ben the condition. Of course, Ben is actually getting possessed by his brother who merely wants to experience life.

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