Fiction-writing modes


Fiction-writing modes

A fiction-writing mode is a manner of writing with its own set of conventions regarding how, when, and where it should be used.

Fiction is a form of narrative, one of the four rhetorical modes of discourse. Fiction-writing also has distinct forms of expression, or modes, each with its own purposes and conventions. Agent and author Evan Marshall identifies five fiction-writing modes: action, summary, dialogue, feelings/thoughts, and background Harvard citation | Marshall | 1998 | pp = 143-165. Author and writing-instructor Jessica Page Morrell lists six delivery modes for fiction-writing: action, exposition, description, dialogue, summary, and transition Harvard citation | Morrell | 2006 | p = 127. Author Peter Selgin refers to "methods", including action, dialogue, thoughts, summary, scene, and description Harvard citation | Selgin | 2007 | p = 38. Currently, there is no consensus within the writing community regarding the number and composition of fiction-writing modes and their uses. [http://www.helium.com/tm/197336/fiction-writing-modes-tools]

Narration

As do so many words in the English language, "narration" has more than one meaning. In its broadest context, narration encompasses all written fiction. More narrowly, narration is the fiction-writing mode whereby the narrator communicates directly to the reader. Along with exposition, argumentation, and description, narration (broadly defined) is one of four rhetorical modes of discourse. In the context of rhetorical modes, the purpose of narration is to tell a story or to narrate an event or series of events. Narrative may exist in a variety of forms: biographies, anecdotes, short stories, novels. In this context, all written fiction may be viewed as narration. Narrowly defined, narration is the fiction-writing mode whereby the narrator is communicating directly to the reader. But if the broad definition of narration includes all written fiction, and the narrow definition is limited merely to that which is directly communicated to the reader, then what comprises the rest of written fiction? The remainder of written fiction would be in the form of any of the other fiction-writing modes. Narration, as a fiction-writing mode, is a matter for discussion among fiction writers and writing coaches. [http://www.helium.com/tm/865120/narration-fiction-writing-narration] ]

ummarization

Summarization (also referred to as summary or narrative summary) is the fiction-writing mode whereby story events are condensed. The reader is told what happens, rather that having it shown Harvard citation | Marshall | 1998 | pp = 144-146. In the axiom "Show, don't tell" the "tell" is often in the form of summarization.

Summarization has important uses:
* To connect one part of a story to another
* To report events whose details aren't important
* To telescope time
* To convey an emotional state over an extended period of time Harvard citation | Marshall | 1998 | p = 145
* To vary the rhythm and texture of the writing Harvard citation | Browne and King |2004| p =12

The main advantage of summary is that it takes up less space Harvard citation|Selgin|2007|p=31. According to author Orson Scott Card, either action or summarization could be right, either could be wrong. Factors such as rhythm, pace, and tone come into play. The objective is to get the right balance between telling versus showing, action versus summarization Harvard citation | Card | 1988 | pp = 140-142. The appropriate use of summarization is a matter of ongoing discussion among fiction writers and writing coaches. [http://www.helium.com/tm/637519/summarization-unfairly-maligned-fiction]

Introspection

Introspection (also referred to as internal dialogue, interior monologue, self-talk) is the fiction-writing mode used to convey a character's thoughts. As explained by Renni Browne and Dave King, "One of the great gifts of literature is that it allows for the expression of unexpressed thoughts . . ." Harvard citation | Browne and King | 2004 | p = 117. According to Nancy Kress, a character's thoughts can greatly enhance a story: deepening characterization, increasing tension, and widening the scope of a story Harvard citation | Kress| 2003 | p = 38. As outlined by Jack M. Bickham, thought plays a critical role in both scene and sequel Harvard citation | Bickham |1993 | pp = 12-22, 50-58. Among authors and writing coaches, there appears to be little consensus regarding the importance of introspection [http://www.helium.com/tm/624520/introspection-thinking-fiction-writing] and how it is best presented. [http://www.helium.com/tm/614947/mechanics-introspection-fiction-writing]

ensation

Sensation is the fiction-writing mode for portraying a character's perception of the senses. According to Ron Rozelle, “. . .the success of your story or novel will depend on many things, but the most crucial is your ability to bring your reader into it. And that reader will be most completely in when you deliver the actual sensations of the many things that comprise your story” Harvard citation | Rozelle | 2005 | p =76 . As stated by Jessica Page Morrell, “You breathe life into fiction by translating the senses onto the page, producing stories rooted in the physical world . . . that creates a tapestry, a galaxy of interwoven sensory ingredients.” Harvard citation | Morrell | 2006 | p = 172

Also according to Rozelle, “The sensation of what something feels like is used to describe everything from sensual pleasure to pain and torture. It’s a wide range, and your readers have actually experienced only some of those feelings. So your job is to either make them recall exactly what it feels like when something occurs in your story or, if they haven’t experienced it, what it would feel like if they did” Harvard citation | Rozelle | 2005 | p = 86. Morrell describes a “sensory surround,” which when “coupled with drama tugs the reader into [the] story and forces him to keep reading.” Harvard citation | Morrell | 2006 | p = 173

The importance of conveying sensation in fiction is widely accepted. However, recognition of sensation as a distinct fiction-writing mode is a matter of discussion. [http://www.helium.com/tm/773895/sensation-fiction-writing-portraying]

Emotion

Emotion is the fiction-writing mode whereby a character’s feelings are portrayed. According to Mildred I. Reid, there is only one must in creative writing: the author must transfer an emotional experience to the reader Harvard citation | Reid | p = 105. Gloria Kempton provides an avenue for transferring that emotion when she observes that “The only way to connect with our reader on an emotional level is to first connect with our characters.” And, “The way we do this is to make sure our characters connect with themselves.” Harvard citation | Kempton | p = 148

Orson Scott Card notes that “You can’t control everything the reader feels, and no two members of your audience will ever be emotionally involved in your story exactly to the same degree. Still, there are some things you "can" control, and if you use them deftly, without letting them get out of hand, you can lead most of your audience to intense emotional involvement with your characters.” Harvard citation | Card | p = 74

The importance of portraying emotion in fiction is widely accepted. However, recognition of emotion as a distinct fiction-writing mode is a matter of discussion. [http://www.helium.com/items/1093579-emotion-as-a-fiction-writing-mode]

Description

Description is the fiction-writing mode for transmitting a mental image of the particulars of a story. Together with dialogue, narration, exposition, and summarization, description is one of the most widely recognized of the fiction-writing modes. As stated in "Writing from A to Z", edited by Kirk Polking, description is more than the amassing of details; it is bringing something to life by carefully choosing and arranging words and phrases to produce the desired effect. Harvard citation | Polking | p = 106 The most appropriate and effective techniques for presenting description are a matter of ongoing discussion among writers and writing coaches. [http://www.helium.com/items/1196722-description-as-a-fiction-writing-mode]

References

*cite book
last = Bickham
first = Jack M.
title = Scene & Structure
pp = 12-22, 50-58
publisher = Writer's Digest Books
year = 1993
id = ISBN 0-89879-551-6

* cite book
title = Self-Editing for Fiction Writers: How to Edit Yourself into Print
last = Browne & King
publisher = Harper Resource
location = New York
year = 2004
pp = 12, 117
id= ISBN 0-06-054569-0

*cite book
title = Character & Viewpoint
first = Orson Scott
last = Card
publisher = Writer's Digest Books
location = Cincinnati, OH
year = 1988
id= ISBN 0-89879-307-6

*cite book
title = Write Great Fiction: Dialogue
first = Gloria
last = Kempton
publisher = Writer’s Digest Books
location = Cincinnati, OH
year = 2004
id = ISBN 1582972893

*citation
first = Nancy
last = Kress
periodical = Writer's Digest
date = August 2003
p = 38

*cite book
title = The Marshall Plan for Novel Writing
first = Evan
last = Marshall
publisher = Writer's Digest Books
location = Cincinnati, OH
year = 1998
pp = 143-165
id = ISBN 1-58297-062-9

*cite book
title = Between the Lines: Master the Subtle Elements of Fiction Writing
first = Jessica Page
last = Morrell
publisher = Writer's Digest Books
location = Cincinnati, OH
year = 2006
p = 127
id = ISBN 978-1-58297-393-7

*cite book
title = Writing A to Z
first = Kirk
last = Polking
publisher = Writer’s Digest Books
location = Cincinnati, OH
year = 1990
id = ISBN 0898794358

*cite book
first = Mildred I.
last = Reid
title = The Writer’s Digest Guide to Good Writing
publisher = Writer’s Digest Books
location = Cincinnati, OH
year = 1994
id = ISBN 0898796407

* cite book
title = Write Great Fiction: Description & Setting
first = Ron
last = Rozelle
publisher = Writer's Digest Books
location = Cincinnati, OH
year = 2005
id = ISBN 1-58297-327-X

*cite book
first = Peter
last = Selgin
title = By Cunning & Craft: Sound Advice and Practical Wisdom for fiction writers
publisher = Writer's Digest Books
location = Cincinnati, OH
year = 2007
p = 38
id = ISBN 978-1-58297-491-0

ee also

*Writing
*Rhetorical modes
*Style (fiction)
*Fiction
*Exposition (literary technique)
*Show, don't tell
*Narrative

External links

*Fiction-Writing Modes: [http://www.helium.com/tm/197336/fiction-writing-modes-tools]


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