Creative Writers, free yourselves! Alternatives to the cinematic mode of narration (tip 62) 4

In the beginning, cinema took its inspiration from older forms of narrative including literature. But even in the 19th-century, realist writers were comparing their work to photography, and during the 20th-century many prose authors, including Wyndham Lewis and Christopher Isherwood, took inspiration from film. Published in 1960, John Updike’s present-tense novel Rabbit, Run was subtitled originally, “A Movie”, and he was explicit that “The present tense was in part meant to be an equivalent of the cinematic mode of narration.” From what I’ve seen, the cinematic mode of narration often dominates Creative Writing classrooms. But what is it? What are its limitations? And what are our alternatives?

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The montage technique: writing better summaries (tip 46) Reply

In film-making, montage refers to the technique in which a series of clips are edited into a sequence in order to convey succinctly what happens over a longer time or a wider space. It’s a form of summary in which, rather than providing a general overview, the director gives an impression of everything that happens through a few examples. Strangely, nobody ever discusses how prose writers use this technique, even though novelists have been writing montages for hundreds of years. Here’s how!

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Controlling pace: different modes of storytelling (tip 44) Reply

In this video we identify four possible relationships between narrative time and story time. You will probably use them all, and how wisely you move between them will in part determine the strength of your writing. As an example, we look at how Zoe Heller paces Barbara’s first encounter with Sheba in Notes on a Scandal.

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Story time versus narrative time (tip 43) Reply

Time in life is inflexible – if you’re stuck in a traffic jam, there’s no way to fast forward to the excitement of your destination. But in writing, time is infinitely malleable. Good writers are able to vary the relationship between narrative time and story time to highlight key incidents.

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The topics we’ll be covering in 2015 Reply

online writing tips logoWant to know the sort of thing we’ll be covering in 2015? Well, our posts will be grouped into the 25 topics listed below. We won’t be doing these strictly in order, but selecting from the topics menu on the right will bring up the videos we’ve done so far in any chosen category (thus far, we haven’t done any, so save yourself a click!).

  1. Getting started
  2. Writing as communication
  3. Selecting your material
  4. Story and plot
  5. Elements of style
  6. Specific concrete detail
  7. Tense and Point of View
  8. Dialogue
  9. Characterisation
  10. Setting
  11. Description
  12. Story time and narrative time
  13. Common problems
  14. Pet hates
  15. Metaphor
  16. Subject and theme
  17. Endings
  18. Entertaining your readers
  19. Short fiction
  20. Novel writing – mastering the narrative
  21. Advanced stylistics
  22. Editing
  23. Grammar
  24. Punctuation
  25. Getting published