@Stargazer54 started a good discussion thread about the use of narrations in Episode stories, so I’m gonna post it here as well.
Full discussion is here.
Use of narration. Good, bad and worst.
This is a kinda hot topic for me, because like less then a week ago I decided to adapt my story for Wattpad, and yesterday already published first chapters. It’s an interesting experience, and the difference between writing narrations for Episode and for Wattpad is drastic.
Basically, to show the difference in amount of narration - numbers. I have approx. 1800 lines in my first episode, out of which dialogue lines (including occasional narration) takes around 320 lines (or sentences), and the length is around 10 minutes. To write this chapter in Wattpad it took me 4 chapters, in overall reading time of around 35 minutes. Huh? That difference.
Anyway, we don’t need this amount of narration in Episode stories because we have a lot of visuals - backgrounds, animations, characters movements, overlays etc. Basically, I think the meaning of good directing is to maximally eliminate narration. The better you direct - the less narration is needed. And it makes sense because Episode isn’t really a book. When I describe Episode to someone I usually say - it’s like a cartoon or a movie. So I would say when writing in Episode we should try our best to restrain from using narrations when describing actions. Now feelings and stuff are a different story.
What’s a bad way to use narration?
OK. One of the very bad ways to use narration, that I actually saw in a few stories - is to use narration in 3rd person. IMO, this way works in books, and, sometimes in fairy-tale-type of Episode stories, but they should be used consistently all the time. You don’t see the use of 3rd person narration in movies mostly, except for some examples, like Grinch movies with J. Carrey etc., and I think you should use this principle when writing for Episode as well. So if you don’t use some kind of specific approach for your story, I’d say always go with the first person POV narration.
Also, excessive narration. Now, this is kinda hard to explain and measure.
A lot of authors use 1st person narrations for story introductions, and nothing wrong with that, if it used in the right way and amount. One of the things I hate seeing in Episode stories, that instantly makes me wanna exit the story right away, is when writer basically describes literally everything about the character, her life, her family and friends. This one of the ways to make your story not interesting.
I also don’t enjoy when writers use long narrations in conversations. These narrations basically stop the conversation and characters just stand there. This in-conversation narration with thoughts and feelings of MC/POV work in books, but not in Episode stories.
Narration without visuals. Like one-two sentences is fine, but when you write a damn paragraph with the black screen or any other static background- you are just lazy.
What’s a good way to use narration?
So I said about in-conversation narrations above. I’d say that a fitting use of narrations could be using them after these conversations, to describe MC emotions and thoughts during that conversation, if you want the reader to know something you consider important.
The common way is to narrate your character thoughts while some kind of exposition, like showing surroundings, or MC daily activities.
What is your preferred style of narration?
I’d say first person Point Of View. You want your reader to feel like he is playing MC - use this type of narration. I think it is one of the things to make the reader more attached to the character.
For Wattpad, that is more like a book, I feel comfortable using first person POV as well + occasional third person omniscient.
What’s the difference between a well-narrated story, and a bad narrated story?
You narration becomes bad when you decide to use narration instead of animating this part. This is one of the things that makes an Episode story bad.
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