Direct [not long-winded] Narrative

Hopper, Gale, Foote & Griffith on narrative:

 

“In narrating an incident the writer should begin with the circumstances in which it occurred and the events immediately preceding it. Do not begin with unnecessary explanations or remote and inconsequential events.

An indirect or long-winded approach bores the reader and destroys the impact of the story.

Furthermore, you may get lost in a maze of inconsequential details or exhaust yourself before you have narrated the climax of your story.

Suppose Susan is telling how she and Steve were nearly drowned when they rowed into the ship’s channel at Gloucester, Massachusetts, and their boat was swamped by a passing freighter.

This story should probably begin with their taking the boat out. The writer can then concentrate on how, unthinkingly, they rowed into the channel and on the ensuing events together with their emotional reactions to them. The story should not begin with an explanation of why the couple decided to vacation in Gloucester. Nor is it necessary to say that on the preceding evening a guest at their hotel suggested the excursion, or even that they were eager to get out on the water because they had been kept indoors for three days by a northeaster.”

 

Hopper, Gale, Foote, and Griffith‘s book, Essentials of English, is an excellent resource for writers of all kinds. You can find it here.

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