TELLING THE FACTUAL STORY: NARRATION 101
“If you don’t understand, ask before it’s too late.” –Anon.
Once upon a time, as the story goes, there were three bears, a Lorax, and seven dwarfs. They all planned to sit down on the forest lawn one late spring morning for a leisurely brunch, complete with honey, biscuits, green eggs and ham (this was a typical New Orleans Brennan’s-style meal), and some good apple pies baked by the old hag who also built gingerbread houses. Well, because of the whims of Thor and the other gods, the brunch party was called on account of rain. But they all lived happily ever after, for they knew behind every rain cloud there was a silver lining.
SO IT GOES.
Narration is to entertain, by storytelling, with a beginning, a middle, and an end. Mostly. There is FACTUAL narration and FICTIONAL narration. (Some get them mixed up.)
FACTUAL presents a sequence of events (and people involved) as they are, CONCERNED WITH TIME AND ACTION. The events have significance or meaning to the teller of the tale, even though he or she may not have been directly involved in the event (what I might know from a historical happening).
(Sometimes, though, narration or storytelling is used to make a point, or even to make an argument, as in a parable, a fable, or in a sermon [or at a political rally]). In telling, tellers capture and use DETAILS and organize and present with FEELINGS and EMOTIONS, yet ordering with reason-ableness. (A reader or listener wants to hear or read details that emotionally involve–“Yeah! That happened to me!”; details that are understandable; details that present a sense of time and past-ness to make it all ring true–memoriesofatime)
TELL A GOOD STORY. BE HONEST AND TRUE. PUT IT ALL IN GOOD ORDER: incidents, anecdotes, memories, nostalgics, milestones, autobiography, biography, family history.
Jean Piaget told some teachers once upon a time that most people usually do not reflect upon their lives–and maybe cannot–until they are 18 or 19. (He said some writers need to be taught how to reflect.)
Finally, once upon a time, the author Flannery O’Connor remarked that anybody who has survived childhood (the 18 or 19 mentioned by Piaget?) has enough information about life to last (to write about?) the rest of his or her days.
Kids say the darndest things, too.
Good advice for any storyteller. Thanks!
I feel it would behoove me to print this out and read it to the child next door. Her “stories” are not up to par. Of course, she is only four years old. Maybe I should just wait until she grows a bit.