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THE WRITERS STUDIO:  ELEMENTS OF CRAFT

 
NARRATIVE TECHNIQUE: How the writer keeps the story or poem moving; the strategy that shapes it so it is as interesting to the reader as it is to the writer.

PERSONA: The distance between the writer and the story or poem’s narrator; the personality of the first, second or third person narrator and its narrative distance from the characters. Also the guise or stance that distance creates; the intimacy of focus it demands of the writer. Perspective and freedom of emotion the persona narrator gives both the writer and the reader.

POINT OF VIEW: Who tells the story or poem, and why? Why one persona narrator is chosen over another (how would The Great Gatsby be different if Gatsby told his own story?). In third person, should the point of view be limited to one or more characters, or omniscient? In first person, why is the story or poem most effectively told from one particular point of view? Has the writer used letters, diary form, multiple points of view – and why? Who is the story ostensibly being told to? What is the difference between what the persona narrator says or reveals and what is really being said by the writer (such as with an unreliable narrator)?

DESCRIPTION: How the writer sets the scene and introduces characters: how it is used to establish tone and mood and suggest the narrator’s personality; lyrical, decorative, narrative, metaphorical, imagistic, etc.

MOOD/TONE: The emotional atmosphere of the story or poem: the primary emotion or purpose of narrative (fear, love, sadness, hate, jealousy, etc.) and the real subject of the story or poem is the mood. Tone is the tone of voice of the persona narrator (not the writer). How do description, time and place, action and dialogue, rhythm and music evoke mood and/or tone?

ACTION: How it is used by the persona narrator to reveal character, define persona, move the story along, seduce the reader’s interest, develop narrative flow.

DIALOGUE: How it is used to reveal character and the persona narrator.

SENSE OF TIME/PLACE: How they support narrative flow and reveal character, etc.; become characters themselves.

LINE & STANZA FORMAT: Line breaks, structure of stanzaic units; how they’re developed and used to convey idea and narrative, image and music; controlling logic of poem and how it determines length and mood, etc.

MUSIC: Lyrical, litany, formal or natural rhythm of speech




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