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Part 3: The Components of Narrative Storytelling

Why Show, Don't Tell Advice Might Be Holding You Back

Part 3: Components of Narrative Storytelling, Why Show, Don't Tell Advice Might Be Holding You Back Series - The Writer's Cabin

Level 2: The Plumbing & Electrical of Show, Don't Tell—The Components of Narrative Storytelling

In the last part, we talked about how POV sets the stage for everything that is to come and how to get your story to hit the right primal emotional cord from the very first paragraph.

That was the foundation, but now we move onto the plumbing and electrical. Things that every building needs, but few people rarely consider once the walls are up.

So, on here on level two, be make sure that our basic necessities are properly functioning before we start putting the "walls" up over our story.

This time we discuss:

The Components of Narrative Storytelling

Or if you prefer, the components of fiction. I will be using the terms interchangeably.

Once you've nailed your POV, it's time to start thinking about how you are going to write your scenes. You have hopefully structured and outlined your story, and now you've begun plucking away at the scenes you planned.

As you're writing them, whether you are aware of it or not, you are constantly making decisions about the components of narrative storytelling—namely, whether to write in immediate scene, narrative summary, or description.

Let's break down some definition so we can all get on the same page.

What is a component of fiction?

The components of fiction are not to be confused with the elements of fiction often described in books and blogs. The elements of fiction (depending on who you ask) are usually 5-7 aspects of a story, such as character, plot, setting, and so on.

That's what is in a story.

The components of fiction involve how a narrative is formed. For instance, if we were discussing poetry, these might be rhythm, sound, or density (or maybe not, I'm no poet). In fiction, and on the most basic level, these are:

Immediate scene, narrative summary, and description.

Immediate Scene

Sol Stein, in Stein on Writinga great resource for any writer or editor—explains immediate scene as what happens "on stage." We are moved along through the story with the characters.