Writing Exercise #5: Threading the Narrative

Capturing the essence of the narrative requires you present the details and events into a format that the reader can understand and digest.  Story happens in the mind of the audience.

What happens if you think you have all of the pieces together, but you just can’t figure out how to assemble the pieces into something that feels like a story?

legosEvery hear a writer say that they have a story just bursting to get out of them?  It looks a lot like this.

Close your eyes for a moment and imagine that every detail, every planned event, every crazy concept is a single lego.  Your job is to build a narrative with all of those pieces into the story trying to escape your head.

legos2I can’t help myself.  I love tentacles.

This exercise requires that you have completed the following Creative Writing Exercises:

Objective: Spark your imagination by writing the same scene from different perspectives.

Exercise

  1. Review the material generated from the previous exercises and select a common theme that excites you.
  2. Plan a basic series of events for a single scene within that story.  This outline doesn’t need to be detailed, just enough to have a solid idea of what you want the scene to become when you are finished.
  3. Set the timer for 15 minutes and write that scene.
  4. Afterwards, reset the timer for 15 minutes and write that scene again, as closely as you can, but from a different narrative perspective.  If you wrote the first scene from the point of view of the first-person Narrative, then switch out to third-person narrative.  Consider altering the voice between the drafts.

Example

A story changes dramatically depending upon the perspective in which it is told.  I ran through this exercise for a body-horror story that I wrote years ago.

“Recovery” was eventually published in IN SITU (Dagan Books, August 2012).

I wrote this story from the first-person and then second-person perceptive.  I’ve included both here so you can see how much the narrative changes depending upon how the story is told.

Review

I loved the weirdness of “Recovery” written from the second-person perspective.  It felt properly alien to me.  My editor disagreed and in the end I rewrote this story twice.  However, the details I considered when writing from second-person allowed me to twist certain expectations when I rewrote this story from the first-person perspective.

I needed this to figure out where I needed the story to go in order for it to reach the audience.

Did you enjoy this exercise?  Trying another one on the Creative Writing Exercises page.

If you would like to read “Recover” or some of my other short horror fiction, then I’d recommend checking out the following megapack.

1dreaming

Darkly Dreaming in Black Waters: A Collection of Lovecraftian Horror
The immortal H. P. Lovecraft might have had a limited readership during his lifetime, but his shadow stretches long to modern nights and beyond. Darkly Dreaming in Black Waters is a collection of horror stories inspired by the great and terrifying themes of Lovecraft’s fiction.

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