How would you like your fiction served?

I love fiction! I enjoy reading fiction; I love writing fiction.

Why?

Fiction, grants freedom! You are provided with an empty canvas to paint on; voids to grow colosseums from. There’s so much of everything to fiddle with! Both the imaginable and the unimaginable find a level pegging here.

I love fiction!

I take pride in my ability to experiment with different styles of story-telling, whether the readers get the meaning I wished to convey is a different matter altogether.  After all fiction is never supposed to have just one gist. Each person is free to look at the picture with his own set of glasses, find his own meaning, paint his own picture. So, yes even though many a times I have to poke my head out and tell them, “I meant this! You’re seeing it the wrong way!” At others I’m, quite frankly taken aback (and happily so) by the interpretations received.

There are many modes of narrative, characterization, description, introspection, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. Here’s a brief description of the styles I’ve messed with.

P. S. I’ve studied English literature only up till my 12th standard, and hence there may/may not be the use of proper names for the styles!

  • Linear mode: The story is narrated as it happens, in real time; with introspection and retrospection at times to make the reader aware of the background details. The thing with this mode is that the reader feels like he’s part of the action! I don’t really like this method that much; though it gives the clearest idea of plot, and hence is easily understood.   
  • The Mash Up: Different time lines, places, narrators are all put in, at one go. The latest example would be that of Barfi! This is a fun way to write a story but it gets challenging to make sure that the reader is able to keep track!

There may also be messing up of timelines but same narrator and other combinations, I’m leaving them out here, for space’s sake.

Based on who’s narrating, there can be a few modes, though I’ve used only three of them.

  • 1st person (I/We): The story is narrated from the view-point of a central character. Examples would be Chetan Bhagat’s novels. Feelings and in-mind dialogues are utilized with aplomb!
  •  3rd person (He/She): The story is narrated from a neutral point of view. It is one of the most commonly used forms and provides a lot of freedom. Description of surroundings, timeline, etc. is favored.
  • The Mash Up: Alternating narrators are utilized to take the reader through the story. There’s a movie named ‘Vantage Point’, which utilizes this mode quite nicely.

I understand there exist many, many more modes and narrative styles. I also appreciate that many of these overlap each other as in there are no hard-drawn lines.

I look to continuing my affair with these styles and modes!

A question: Which one of these styles do you enjoy working in most? It’d be nice to know of new modes to experiment with, hence, if you’ve got something to share, please do! As for me, I enjoy The Mash Up! 😀

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4 thoughts on “How would you like your fiction served?”

  1. I don’t like mash-ups — not to write, not to read. For me linear is good enough unless the mash-up is really good and doesn’t tax my poor old brains 😀 As for the narration, both first and third person are fine, again no mash ups please! Told you, didn’t I that I am a simple old woman who likes her life to be simple? 🙂

    1. Yes you did! 😀
      And it’s fine if mash-ups aren’t your thing, they can at times be taxing after all!
      Would you like to share your ‘process’ i.e. whether you think of the whole story and then get writing or it all just flows during the writing??

      1. I usually have it all in my head before my fingers start typing. The words might change a bit and I might reorganise the order ot the paras, but the entire thing flows in one gush. Which is why I find long fiction and treatises hard to write. Whether it is a humour piece or a researched article or even a rant, it has to coalesce in my brain first.

  2. That is the case with me too! I mean, not in entirety, but happens quite often!
    In recent times only has it happened that a word, or a single thought has led to a fiction piece!

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