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Saturday, March 18, 2017

Two Practical Ways to Tell a Story

There are only two practical ways to tell a story - third-person narration and first-person singular narration. In the first method, the writer keeps himself out of the picture and tells the reader impersonally about what happens to his characters. In the second method, the writer assumes the personality of one character and tells the story as if it were his own personal experience.

Journalism/Short Story Writing Diploma
Of course there are other methods to use to tell a story - for example, one person can write a story in the form of a letter or a series of letters; or as a series of extracts from a diary. But these are cumbersome methods that present special difficulties and are not appreciated or favored by modern editors on print media and on digital media.

If a story, when written, is a good story, any way of telling it is good. The important point is that the two methods first mentioned are much easier than the others; they can be successfully applied to any type of story and they are always effective. The third-person form is usually the easiest to use and is certainly the most flexible. The first-person singular form is more difficult, although it is very effective when well handled.

Sample of third-person narration

Said Ms. Wings: "It must be teeming. And me with a new hat, naturally. We might as well wait here as anywhere."

"All right, let's," said Mrs. Flaming. "I could do with another drink."

Most short stories are written in this form because it is the easiest to use and is also flexible and effective. It is certainly the best narrative method for the ordinary writer. The above example of third-person narration clearly shows the advantages of the method. The few lines quoted give a very clear picture of the two women.

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Sample of first-person singular narration

"A very good cocktail," I said. "Well, there are plenty more where that came from and if you've got any friends on board, you tell them you've got a pal who's got all the liquor in the world."

Stories in the first-person form are often told by the principal character. If that character is to be human and natural, as he must be, the author must not endow the character with superhuman powers of observation and divination. The character must not be made to know what an ordinary human being, in the circumstances of the story, could not know. Yet through the mouth of that one person, the thoughts, motives, actions, hopes and fears of all the other characters must be made clear to the reader.

Source of idea: From my creative writing course lessons when I took up my Journalism and Short Story Writing by mail with the ICS (International Correspondence Schools) in 2000-2001.

Paul is a Web content creator, online marketer, products and services promoter, online writer and a Filipino blogger. He has no specific areas where his writing will focus on. He writes any subject that interests him under the merciless sun. He loves Internetting and Face-booking. His favorite saying: "Dream big and don't stop without giving it a chance to come true."

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