Openings

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Watcher55
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Re: Openings

Post by Watcher55 » December 21st, 2010, 9:46 am

Guardian wrote:My first novel opens with the storyteller who is going to tell the life of the MC.
I'm at the pre-final-revision stage and changed the opening to a prologue with the narrator claiming he was there when. . . . I just wonder how long that's going to last.

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Re: Openings

Post by Guardian » December 21st, 2010, 10:07 am

Watcher55 wrote:
Guardian wrote:My first novel opens with the storyteller who is going to tell the life of the MC.
I'm at the pre-final-revision stage and changed the opening to a prologue with the narrator claiming he was there when. . . . I just wonder how long that's going to last.
In my WIP I use the following setup for chapters... 1. storyteller, 2. MC's life, 3. storyteller (1-3 is always a full chapter.), then next chapter and I repeat the process from step 1. Here, this was the only way to solve what I wanted to achieve.

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Re: Openings

Post by Cookie » December 21st, 2010, 10:23 am

My opening start with one if the characters narrating, kind of like Fenris's opening. I just added it and before that it opened with the MC as he arrives for an important event.
One of my WIPs starts with the MC narrating. The book is written like a memoir where the MC is retelling the story. I was thinking of changing it to her telling her tale to someone in the story itself, but I don't know. I'm going to have to play around with it to see which works best.
The second opens with the MC waking up and reflecting on the events that led to that moment in time, before launching into the action of the story.
Another opens with one of the MCs traveling to meet the rest of the MCs.

I have like 7 going. I know, I'm all over the place.

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Re: Openings

Post by Watcher55 » December 21st, 2010, 10:38 am

Guardian wrote:
Watcher55 wrote:
Guardian wrote:My first novel opens with the storyteller who is going to tell the life of the MC.
I'm at the pre-final-revision stage and changed the opening to a prologue with the narrator claiming he was there when. . . . I just wonder how long that's going to last.
In my WIP I use the following setup for chapters... 1. storyteller, 2. MC's life, 3. storyteller (1-3 is always a full chapter.), then next chapter and I repeat the process from step 1. Here, this was the only way to solve what I wanted to achieve.
I considered switching back and forth that way to give the storyteller the opportunity to inject philosophic interludes, but abandoned it early on. It just didn't fit the story and clashed with the voice. Perhaps in some of the sequels or "spin-offs".

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Re: Openings

Post by Guardian » December 21st, 2010, 10:44 am

Watcher55 wrote:I considered switching back and forth that way to give the storyteller the opportunity to inject philosophic interludes, but abandoned it early on. It just didn't fit the story and clashed with the voice. Perhaps in some of the sequels or "spin-offs".
I directly kept this approach, because of the mentioned philosophic interludes what is necessary all over the story to have a chance to understand why the MC did what she did and also to understand that world itself. So these philosophic interludes are helping the storyteller to present the story much deeper.

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Re: Openings

Post by Watcher55 » December 21st, 2010, 10:51 am

Sort of the plunge head first approach as opposed to wading in until the bottom drops off?

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Re: Openings

Post by Fenris » December 21st, 2010, 10:54 am

Guardian wrote:
Watcher55 wrote:I considered switching back and forth that way to give the storyteller the opportunity to inject philosophic interludes, but abandoned it early on. It just didn't fit the story and clashed with the voice. Perhaps in some of the sequels or "spin-offs".
I directly kept this approach, because of the mentioned philosophic interludes what is necessary all over the story to have a chance to understand why the MC did what she did and also to understand that world itself. So these philosophic interludes are helping the storyteller to present the story much deeper.
I do think it depends on the voice. If I remember correctly, a few of Brian Jacques' Redwall books used this setup (though the only "narrator" parts were the very beginning and end of the books rather than each chapter), and it worked well because those books were written like a storyteller would tell them. If the book's voice is akin to that of a hidden narrator or someone remembering the tale, then a narrator can be used to great effect.
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Re: Openings

Post by Guardian » December 21st, 2010, 10:59 am

Fenris wrote:I do think it depends on the voice. If I remember correctly, a few of Brian Jacques' Redwall books used this setup (though the only "narrator" parts were the very beginning and end of the books rather than each chapter), and it worked well because those books were written like a storyteller would tell them. If the book's voice is akin to that of a hidden narrator or someone remembering the tale, then a narrator can be used to great effect.
In CSA I directly use an unnamed little girl and boy as listeners as they're also representing the readers (Regardless if they're adult, there is a child in everyone's soul. Well, at least that's my theory.). I just hope it's going to work out well in the end.
If the book's voice is akin to that of a hidden narrator or someone remembering the tale, then a narrator can be used to great effect.
Personally I don't really like hidden narrators as they're distant. But you're right. The right voice is the key.

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Re: Openings

Post by polymath » December 21st, 2010, 12:11 pm

Narrative distance is a function of narrative point of view related to how close in time, place, event, and person a narrator is to the action. By default, first person narration has the closest potential narrative distance; however, with author surrogacy risks and challenges from self-efficacy and self-idealization and subjective-objective attitude and reliableness-bias risks and challenges.

A storytelling narrator is an overt narrator, not necessarily a remote narrative distance narrator. As long as readers engage through the narrator's meaning space, close narrative distance isn't jeapordized. Though the narrator might be by degree somewhat removed from the time, place, and person of the action, expressing commentary about the action closes gaps.

A covert third person narrator substitutes third person reporting for first person reporting. Narrative distance can be as close as first person with the narrator taking second fiddle and favoring a viewpoint character's self-report of the action from the time, place, event, and person of the action, albeit secondhand. Yet the secondhand report is a substitutional metaphor that disappears if a narrator is mostly or fully covert. Third person's advantage over first person is greater potential reliability and objectiveness.

Of the main needs of an opening are, introducing the narrative point of view, the persona of a narrator's meaning space; the main dramatic complication; the time, place, and situation of a pivotal setting; the pivotal persons, the events, and the ideas related to the main dramatic complication.

A storyteller yarn, a folklore-like tale, traditionally opens with a first person narrator situating the exposition act (opening act), the outset of the action, the setup of time, place, etc., traditionally a backstory account necessary to understand the main action. In some cases, the narrator's backstory report merely provides his or her relationship to the narrative for purposes of informing readers of his standing for reliability's sake.

However, a bystander first person narrator is not a requirement. The Book of the Thousand Nights and One Night, also known as Arabian Nights' overt over-narrator opens and remains in third person throughout while introducing the internal narrators, first for the introduction Schahriar then Scheherazade. Basically, the internal narrators participate in a frame story gathering together a traditional Arabian folktale assortment into a novel. At some point there were real authors of the tales, but in the novel the tales are reported as from implied authors, then the overt over-narrator and internal narrators were wrapped onto a framing story. Also, there are over-narratees (readers) and internal narratees (listeners). And yet, narrative distance isn't as remote as might be imagined with such a complex narrative meaning space.

Real author >> implied author >> over-narrator >> internal narrator >> viewpoint << internal narratee << narratee << implied reader << real reader

The novel at Project Gutenberg, first European publication circa 1704;
http://www.gutenberg.org/files/19860/19 ... 9860-h.htm
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Re: Openings

Post by sierramcconnell » December 21st, 2010, 4:19 pm

I like action.

Chasing Miracles started with a sand worm fight.
Chasing Destiny has (so far) started with the final battle in Sariel's dream prophecy.

Eden Underground starts with Bradley thinking back to 'It all started with being shoved into a car.'

Because I was told unless it catches you on the first page, it's going back onto the shelf. So I want a snappy starting sequence. :3
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