Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing, and Publishing ~

How Many Ways Can You Tell A Story?


Have you ever considered that there are many ways to tell a story?

Some folks know about 3rd person and 1st person point-of-view.

For example:

“John walked down the path thinking about his sweetheart.”, is 3rd person.

1st person might be, “Man, I wish Sheila was here. She’s my missing half!”

Not high literature but you get the idea :-)

There are many other approaches to storytelling

I saw a post on Google Plus by Karen Woodward that linked to a blog post titled 15 Ways To Write A Story.

Karen actually lists only 7 ways but references a post by Richard Thomas on LitReactor that does list all 15.

Still, there are many other ways to tell a story and I’m hoping some of the writers that read this blog will talk about a few in the Comments :-)

I’ll list those 15 here but direct you to Richard’s post for his descriptions.

1. VIGNETTE

2. SLICE OF LIFE

3. LIST

4. EPISTOLARY

5. ALL DIALOGUE

6. CHOOSE YOUR OWN PATH

7. METAFICTION

8. SECOND PERSON

9. UNUSUAL POINT OF VIEW

10. LENGTH

11. RASHOMON

12. UNRELIABLE NARRATOR

13. REVERSE CHRONOLOGY

14. FOOTNOTES

15. STREAM OF CONSCIOUSNESS

Now, I’ll put part of Richard’s Conclusion here but, do, go over to that link at LitReactor and read his descriptions

“IN CONCLUSION

“The bottom line is that you don’t want whatever form you use to come off as a gimmick. It has to serve the story, and in a way that adds to the narrative, and still fulfills the job of a traditional linear or modular story.”

Do, please, check out Richard’s post :-)
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6 responses to “How Many Ways Can You Tell A Story?

  1. Andy Shackcloth July 24, 2013 at 4:52 am

    The first book that came to mind whilst reading this was “Salmon Fishing in the Yemen” which was done in an epistolary style.
    It almost didn’t work for me, it kept on pulling me out from the story as I had to adjust one or more mental gears. In the end I adjusted and enjoyed the romp, but I wonder if I would have enjoyed it more without the unusual style.

    Like this

    • Alexander M Zoltai July 24, 2013 at 1:00 pm

      Good question, Andy, whether you would have enjoyed it if written in another form—then, I wonder if you could have actually called it the “same” story?

      To me, radically changing the structure of a story changes it so much you have a New Creation that, in spite of similarities, is Some-Other-Story

      Like this

  2. Jane Watson July 24, 2013 at 8:08 am

    I’d like to add – Discontinuous Narrative (that’s when you link up a series of short stories to make a loosely held together narrative – an Australian writer, Frank Moorhouse, coined this term;-). His best example of this is seen in his book: ‘The Americans, baby : a discontinuous narrative of stories and fragments’.

    I linked up a segmented narrative in my first novel, ‘Hindustan Contessa’, but I was inspired by the Pancatantra, which according to Wikipedia is: ‘is an ancient Indian inter-related collection of animal fables’:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panchatantra.

    One of my kinder reviewers described my own novel as a book which uses ‘sparkling short sequences like a string of the gemstones that are one of the novel’s motifs’- so perhaps I’ll call this the Gemstones Technique, lol – :-))).

    Like this

    • Alexander M Zoltai July 24, 2013 at 1:05 pm

      Excellent, Jane !!:-)

      Your book, Hindustan Contessa, is not only written with the GemstoneTechnique, the Grandfather has a marvelous role as teller of Gemstone stories :-)

      Like this

  3. Tomas Karkalas July 24, 2013 at 8:56 am

    It’s interesting, yet as a reader, I know just one way to open a book. It is diving in its subtext and becoming the fellows with the main character.
    http://arthiker.wordpress.com/2013/07/23/art-prompt-cry-for-color/

    Like this

    • Alexander M Zoltai July 24, 2013 at 1:07 pm

      Thank you, Tomas, for shifting the perspective from Writer to Reader :-)

      Like this

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