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Dan Goodman's prediction and politics journal.

Monday, February 02, 2004

Monday February 2, 2004. I've worked out something about myself which I hadn't realized before, thanks to a discussion on rec.arts.sf.composition.

"Patricia C. Wrede" wrote: 'See, that's the thing. For people for whom the words *are* the story, "She sat down" and "The girl seated herself" are two completely different things, not the same at all.

'But I'd venture to guess that Elizabeth is one of those folks for whom "the story" is the movie that plays in her head, not the words on the page. For her, "She sat down" and "The girl seated herself" are exactly the same, because the movie they trigger in her head is the same. The words are important only as they allow creation of the right movie/image in the mind of the reader.'

My comment was: 'Add a third category.

'For me, "the story" is _the movie the narrator sees_. Both as a reader and as a writer.'

To elaborate on that: For me, every story has a narrator. In a first person story, the narrator is the viewpoint character. In third person stories with frame stories, the narrator is the character who's telling the story. In other third person stories, it's the implied narrator [technical term], who presumably is a character in the implied frame story.

The implied narrator is likely to be an authorial persona [technical term]. The authorial persona may or may not be close to the writer's self-perception, personas used in other situations, or the writer's real personality.

In practical terms: this means that when I write fiction, I need to know who/what the narrator is.

And, of course, the narrator has to tell a story which interests the implied reader.

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