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  1. #1
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    thoughts on unconventional narrative style?

    Below is the first page of what I've been working on lately. Is the narrative style too unconventional? Close friends have remarked that it is "refreshing"... but close friends are like that sometimes...

    Down the steps, through the doorway, and into the basement bar. Walking quickly past the regulars seated at the corner hoping not to be noticed and greeted. The smoke hangs low in this rotten dive and Miller ducks to avoid it as he maneuvers his way to the far end against the wall of mirrors. Bar keep is dutifully trailing right behind, on his end of the bar, so that when Miller is seated he can promptly ask,

    “What’ll it be?”

    “Yuengling, please.”

    He spins around on his nimble feet and places the pint glass below the draft. Grabbing a chilled glass to do so. Too tired to discipline him. The lager pushes the air out of the empty glass and triumphantly foams to the top. Another quick spin and the glass is in front of Miller.

    “Thank you.”

    “No problem, Fritz.”

    A scan of the bar notices familiar faces. Nodding with kindness at Fritz, wondering how he made it to the other end of the bar without exchanging greetings. I sit here wondering how I am going to make it out without exchanging greetings. Beckon Brad over and request a shot of Wild Turkey. Need a bit of rocket fuel to thaw-out my frozen limbs. He places it down and retrieves the empty pint glass. Yes my day has been fine. Yours has too? Great. Just great. Oh sure, a little slow lately, but it should pick up again in another month or two. Ahh yes. Agree completely. Another pint. Another shot. How to get out undetected. Sorry, no conversation desired today. To the bathroom then slip out, hugging the back wall. Gallop quickly once past the pool table.

    Skipping down the street merrily whistling to self. A group of older women on the corner and Fritz gives a quick bow. Across the street, train tracks, and down a sidewalk. Through the door of O’Connell’s and onto a barstool.



  2. #2
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    It's not unconventional to me. I take it you're referring to the sentence fragments?

  3. #3
    Senior Member Lea Zalas's Avatar
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    Hi relco and welcome.

    Okay, now that we've gotten the nicieties out of the way, I can comment on your writing.

    Your POV shifts all over the place. Your tenses don't agree with the POV. Your paragraphs are structured wrong, and you need to learn how to write dialogue. Your sentences are disjointed and incorrect. Let me give you an example:

    I sit here wondering how I am going to make it out without exchanging greetings. Beckon Brad over and request a shot of Wild Turkey. Need a bit of rocket fuel to thaw-out my frozen limbs. He places it down and retrieves the empty pint glass.

    You start this out in first person. To continue in first person, I would rewrite this as such: How am I going to make it out without exchanging greetings? I see Brad two tables over and wave him over. Before he sits down, I order a shot of Wild Turkey, hoping it'll warm me up. The bartender sets it down in front of me, whisking the empty pint glass away.

    Even when writing in sentence fragments (which is fine), the reader still has to be able to make sense of them, and the POV and tenses still have to agree.

    Hope this helps.
    Last edited by Lea Zalas; 03-19-2012 at 02:47 PM.

  4. #4
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    I agree with Jena. I'm not sure I would call it unconventional. But I would also say that you have to know the rules before you break the rules, so if the sentence fragments and POV shifts are unintentional, then you have a problem.

    You should probably read some short stories in literary magazines, preferably those that lean toward experimental narratives. This will give you a better idea of what is out there.

    Jeanne

  5. #5
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    Lea: curious what you mean by "tenses don't agree with the POV".

  6. #6
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    The POV shifts are indeed intentional. I intend to continue jumping from first to third person. I want to kind of mimic the way our thoughts form and develop, how we skip around, if you will, with the 3rd person providing a sort of guidance, or an adult's voice in the room. What was your point about the dialogue?
    Last edited by relco; 03-19-2012 at 03:05 PM.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Lea Zalas's Avatar
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    relco,

    Yes, it was.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lea Zalas View Post
    relco,

    Yes, it was.
    I do not understand your post... did you mean to use a colon instead of a comma? Maybe you made a typo.

  9. #9
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    I sit here wondering how I am going to make it out without exchanging greetings. Beckon Brad over and request a shot of Wild Turkey. Need a bit of rocket fuel to thaw-out my frozen limbs. He places it down and retrieves the empty pint glass.

    You start this out in first person. To continue in first person . . .


    I interpreted it differently, which shows why hopping from first to third person and back does not work. To me, it was all first person, just clumsily written, as in . . .

    I sit here wondering how I am going to make it out without exchanging greetings. [1st] Beckon Brad over and request a shot of Wild Turkey. [still 1st, but would benefit from a question mark.] Need a bit of rocket fuel to thaw-out my frozen limbs. [As in I need . . . in which case these last two sentences should be in italics to indicate direct thought.] He [still first, just referring to Brad.] places it down and retrieves the empty pint glass.

    Kalaedoscopic - how do you spell that? - POVs do not work. The mind of the reader rejects them.

  10. #10
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    Well, I can take sentence fragments, but definitely not POV switches.

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