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Fictional
Narrative
Basics
Getting &
Giving Help
Managing
Fictional
Narrative
Flow
Dialogue
Scene
Epiphany
Style
Fiction
& the Real
World


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Managing Fictional Narrative Flow - Scene/Narrative Summary
Unit Completion Date: End of Week 9
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I might have chosen to title this section "Pacing" rather than the more awkward title it has. Pacing is certainly an important element of the management of narrative flow, and the development of scenes and the use of narrative summary greatly influence the pacing of a story. An understanding of both scene and narrative summary also depend on an understanding narrative pace.

But the skills required to employ and develop scenes and narrative summary go far beyond simple questions of pace. It is easy enough to increase the pace of a story, or slow it down, but it is much trickier to decide what parts of a story deserve scenic treatment, and what parts are best dealt with in summary. Knowing not just that a scene is needed but how to craft that scene to provide the maximum impact on your reader is also important.

I also think that abstract discussions of pace are somewhat less useful to a fiction writer than the more practical issues of scene and summary. Literary critics such as Gerard Genette have developed elaborate schemas for distinguishing different narrative pacings, and we will touch on some of this, but much of this type of theory is probably more useful to a literary scholar than a writer. In addressing more concrete issues such as scene and summary, I hope to provide tools more appropriate to the working fiction writer.

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