When cultivating your plot from start to finish, it takes a lot more than “Once upon a time” and “The End.” That’s why sometimes as a writer you’ll have to rely on certain narrative techniques to develop your plot.
Before we dive in to today’s topic let’s start with the basics. Narrative techniques are the methods that authors use to give a certain artistic and emotional flare to a storyline. These methods help guide how you’ll present your story in a language that best translates into the “narrative.”
Today, we’re going to show you three narrative techniques that can be incorporated into your plot and fill the space between the first and last pages of your novel.
Three techniques to enrich your plot:
Backstory – This type of narrative technique is used when you want your readers to know about a character’s past in order to understand their present. You’ve likely read stories where the author will provide you with background context that makes what you’re reading make sense. Though you weren’t actually experiencing the past story in full detail, providing a backstory helped you as the reader connect the dots of the current situation. The same technique can be used to help your readers better connect with a character’s current situation as well.
Flashback – Let’s pretend we’re watching a movie. In this movie, you’re watching a scene where a couple is in an argument. As the couple sits there in silence, the camera pans over to the girl who is staring out the window with a faraway look. From there, a scene pops up that shows the couple laughing and walking hand-in-hand down the street – the good times. Finally, the camera then cuts back to the girl still staring out the window, mid-argument. In this movie, two scenes were used – one to show the current state of affairs and one to show the good times of the past. This is an example of a flashback. Flashbacks are commonly used to prove a point. This technique acts as a transition and interrupts the present to recollect the past.
Flash-forward – On the other side of the coin, the flash-forward is in fact the exact opposite of a flashback in that it flashes to the future – hence, flash-forward! This narrative technique is commonly used by authors to show events in the future as imagined by a character. Just as a flashback interjects a scene from the past into the current narrative, a flash-forward interjects a scene from the future into the present.
Remember, when working on your plot, if you feel stumped, consider using one or all three of these narrative techniques to help enrich your story and keep your readers turning the pages for more!
But, if you still feel like you need some help, our Dorrance Writing Coaches can help you develop your narrative writing techniques!