promotion image of download ymail app
Promoted
? asked in Arts & HumanitiesBooks & Authors · 2 months ago

When writing a book, is there ever a such thing as over-narration?

I'm asking because I've always enjoyed books in which the writer takes time and care to paint a scene and fill in details that dialogue cannot. I'm writing a story in 3rd person omniscient and I want to make sure that its okay to have little chunks of narration sprinkled throughout. 

11 Answers

Relevance
  • 2 months ago

    Little chunks of narrative is okay, just make sure it is relevant to the story at that moment. Sometimes, the color of the wallpaper just isn't important.

    • Commenter avatarLogin to reply the answers
  • 2 months ago

    That's been done more in books published prior to 1950, not seen very much in today's writing.

    • Commenter avatarLogin to reply the answers
  • 2 months ago

    You say you've enjoyed books in which the writer does exactly what you're asking about. So why are you asking? Obviously these writers got it right: the only question is not whether you should 'fill in details' but whether you can do it well enough.

    • Commenter avatarLogin to reply the answers
  • 2 months ago

    Yes, it's fine to narrate heavily to paint the scene--if you're quite brilliant at it.

    Most of us are not.

    Here's a trick that works well for the non-brilliant. (Raises hand.) For each setting or character you want to describe in excruciating detail so the reader envisions it exactly the way you do, find a single item that lets the reader imagine the whole in a way that's close enough.

    Maybe you see a rusting yellow trailer sitting crooked on gray cinderblocks, weeds sprouting around them, the ground to one side rutted where the tenant drove through the mud to park over and over, empty beer bottles surrounding a battered trash can missing its lid, cigarette butts littering the ground near the cracked wooden step to its dented door, which has a torn screen, the smell of an overwhelmed septic system, the sound of an ignored baby crying endlessly...

    You could literally select almost any one of those details and trust your reader to get the rest, not with the same detail you imagine but comprehending the squalor well enough. If that's what they need to "see," then it's of no importance whether they have the same details you do.

    • Commenter avatarLogin to reply the answers
  • How do you think about the answers? You can sign in to vote the answer.
  • Tina
    Lv 7
    2 months ago

    Of course you have to have narration. If you write entirely in dialogue, it's a play.

    • Commenter avatarLogin to reply the answers
  • Pearl
    Lv 7
    2 months ago

    there might be such a thing as that

    • Commenter avatarLogin to reply the answers
  • 2 months ago

    That should be ok. However much you want to use, just do it.

    • Commenter avatarLogin to reply the answers
  • 2 months ago

    Yes you paint the frame word and whatever details that are important to the story line and let the reader fill in the rest

    • Commenter avatarLogin to reply the answers
  • Andrew
    Lv 7
    2 months ago

    Instead of asking, go read ten books. Anyone who has any experience with this forum knows that there are a handful of people who know what they're talking about when it comes to books and writing, but the wide majority of people who post here are total and complete buffoons who give terrible advice. If you're writing a book, then you should be looking to gain the widest breadth of experience possible. If you're unfamiliar with narrative techniques then you ought to familiarise yourself with them before attempting to write a book, don't you think? 

    • Commenter avatarLogin to reply the answers
  • 2 months ago

    If it works, it works.

    The trick is to recognize when you do TMI -- it kills the story. 

    The basic editing questions:

    is there enough for the reader to follow the events?

    is there enough for the reader to imagine what is there and happening?

    does the exposition interfere with the narrative?

    Is there a better way to ensure the reader knows enough?

    • Commenter avatarLogin to reply the answers
Still have questions? Get your answers by asking now.