Narrative for Business and Professional Use Dr. Stephen
Narrative for Business and Professional Use Dr. Stephen Ogden LIBS 7001 1 Narrative: Many Non-Literary Applications Work, School, Personal: Reports lab repots inspection reports work trial reports project reports shift reports research reports work history problem reports
Phone calls & social media minutes of meetings Politics: narrative is now an essential tool Create a partisan story about society, selves & opponents Journalism: news stories just are narrative Reality TV, e.g. Courts of Law 2 NARRATIVE: Overview
Presents a series of real or imagined events Events = Action : Action = drama (Gr. Dramto do) Deliberate series of actions = (lit.) PLOT. Aristotle: "plot is the origin and as it were the soul of tragedy Narration: a reportmere recitation of sequence of eventsis bare-metal narrative. Story: a sequence of events with an inner logic; with causality; with shape; with direction; with moral; with drama. framehighlight or diminishevents in accordance with .. .audience and purpose. has types of agent, types of setting; types of event, 3 NARRATIVE: Types REPORT: the Queen died and the King died
NARRATIVE: the Queen died and the King died of grief STORY [mystery story and love story] the Queen died of old age, but when the King died no-one knew why; but it was suspected that he died of grief. 4 NARRATIVE: PLOT Narrative proper has three natural components: 1. Beginning: in medias res, ab initio, or ab ovo 2. Middle: organised sequence of action 3. End: clear, final, suitablenot episodic: closure the end of all human endeavor is to be happy at home
Two Kinds: 1. Tragedy: of magnitude & complete in itself, effecting catharsis (right ordering of emotions) 2. Comedy: begins in harshness ends in happiness, in negligent & humble form. 5 NARRATIVE: Elements Hero; Epic Hero; Villain; Anti-Hero; Sage, Squire, Minion, Fool, Seducer; Victim Rising action; Falling Action Deus ex machina: God in a machinea device to solve story problems MacGuffin: a deviceusually an object--with no intrinsic purpose but which carries the plot along Mise en abyme: put into the abyssa framing device that allows an infinity of sub-stories. 6
Elements of Narration Six elements together produce strong narration: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. purpose action conflict point of view key events dialogue 7
1. Purpose = audience (obviously) Stated or unstated, always shapes the writing Examples: tell what happened establish a useful fact delve into motives condemn or exculpate create doubt and suspicion offer lessons or insights
create memory (narrative is a fundamental mnemonic technology) 8 1. Purpose, cont MYTHOPOEIA: the creation of myth Myths are the underlying stories that define, unite, and direct civilistations Western Civilisation myths 1. 2. Eden and the Fall of Man The Heros Journey: the Epic Quest 3. humble origin>discovery of gifts>tasks & trials>conquest>return with boon
Sin -> Redemption -> Salvation (Condemnation then Evangelisation) Frame narrative according to the master myths POLITICS: environmentalism; multiculturalism; capitalism; etc. PERSONAL-PROFESSIONAL: victim (incl, victim of circumstance); hero; ally; etc. 9 2. Action Aristotle: plot [= sequence of action=narrative] is the originas it were, the soulof [drama]. Sequence can be organised in a choice of ways:
Chronological Emotional Nostalgical Memorable Moral (as they should have happened) Planned (as they would have happened) Lawyerly or Political (as they might have happened) Polemical (as the reader can be convinced they happened) 10
Action, cont. Use Devices (Yorke What Makes a Great Screenplay?) Foreshadow Create Expectation and Hope Create suspense Fear + Delay Create Excitement Spectacle Climax Deliver Emotional Reward connect the reader-listener to the action (allow him to identify) Think visually (cinematically) when writing a narrative. Many experiences are action: e.g. thinking, feeling, deciding, etc. Pekars A Hypothetical Quandary. 11
3. Conflict Real, imagined, anticipated conflicts shape our lives; see Gk. agon meaning struggle, contest Protagonist: actor who plays the first part Deuteragonist: The second actor or person in a drama Tritagonist: the third actor Antagonist: opponent, rival Some varieties of conflict: 1. 2.
3. 4. 5. between an individual and outside circumstances: between group members between__________________________ between__________________________ within____________________________ 12 4. Point of View - types 1. First person: one of the participants tells what happened. uses I, me, mine, we, ours limited to what that person knows; narrator can be unreliable because of incomplete knowledge
2. Second-person: less often used you is used or understood imperative & directive; or conversational 3. Third-person: distanced narrator recalls. uses he, she, it, they narrator can be omniscient, intrusive, or limited in knowledge, deliberately misleading 13 5. Key Events Strong narratives are built around key events bearing directly on purpose. Memorable: emotional, universal, spectacular Be economical: Less is More Chekovs Gun: never put a loaded gun on stage in Act One that you wont fire during the drama 14
6. Dialogue Conversation animates narrative: Indirect: reported - narrator strongly controls presentation and mood; reader is distanced from the scene ..called me up to tell me how busy she was. direct - generally more vivid; leaves scope for interpretation: narrator in strong control: the days when Lets have lunch meant something other than Ive got more important things to do than to talk to you now (E,9) integrated into narrative: and then she said, Its like and I said Im allyou know like 15
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