We believed - and I personally still believe - that the so called Voice of God narration, ubiquitous in documentaries destined for PBS, is insulting to the audience. If you believe in the intelligence of your audience, you don't need to tell them what to think and how to process the material they're seeing.
The journalistic 'I' is an overreliable narrator, a functionary to whom crucial tasks of narration and argument and tone have been entrusted, an ad hoc creation, like the chorus of Greek tragedy. He is an emblematic figure, an embodiment of the idea of the dispassionate observer of life.
I was desperately unhappy with it [Blade Runner]. I was compelled by contract to record five or six different versions of the narration, each of which was found wanting on a storytelling basis. The final version was something that I was completely unhappy with. The movie obviously has a very strong following, but it could have been more than a cult picture.
Literature is not exhaustible, for the sufficient and simple reason that a single book is not. A book is not an isolated entity: it is a narration, an axis of innumerable narrations. One literature differs from another, either before or after it, not so much because of the text as for the manner in which it is read.
Jorge Luis Borges
[The approach: Main character Earl matter-of-factly provides commentary and a little history on events in his life and his effort to reform.] We use (narration) as he's just telling us a story, ... He could be in a bar somewhere telling the story to somebody. We just happen to be seeing it.
Narration is as much a part of human nature as breath and the circulation of the blood.... storytelling is intrinsic to biological time, which we cannot escape. Life, Pascal said, is like living in a prison from which every day fellow prisoners are taken away to be executed. We are all, like Scheherazade, under sentence of death, and we all think of our lives as narratives, with beginnings, middles and ends.
A. S. Byatt
So it became in my mind a nine-carol service; an oratorio and orchestral concert all in one, but with narration. That's something I've learned about, because it's the story that keeps you in there. I wrote a libretto and I gave it to John [Du Prez, Idle's co-writer of many years]. We normally don't work in this fashion but I said off you go, and he went off for about three months. He brought me back this demo which blew my mind.
But would we know, whether the pretended prophet had really attained a just sentiment of morals? Let us attend to his narration; and we shall soon find, that he bestows praise on such instances of treachery, inhumanity, cruelty, revenge, bigotry, as are utterly incompatible with civilized society. No steady rule of right seems there to be attended to; and every action is blamed or praised, so far only as it is beneficial or hurtful to the true believers.
In 'Labor Day Hurricane, 1935,' Douglas Trevor vividly recreates a historical event. While that is the only story in A THIN TEAR IN THE FABRIC OF SPACE in the historical past, many of the other stories juxtapose fact-both historical and scientific-with narration to an engaging effect, one that distinguishes the voice of this new writer.
This progressive effacement of human relationships is not without certain problems for the novel. How, in point of fact, would one handle the narration of those unbridled passions, stretching over many years, and at times making their effect felt on several generations? We're a long way from Wuthering Heights, to say the least. The novel form is not conceived for depicting indifference or nothingness; a flatter, more terse, and dreary discourse would need to be invented.
Should a traveler, returning from a far country, bring us an account of men wholly different from any with whom we were ever acquainted, men who were entirely divested of avarice, ambition, or revenge, who knew no pleasure but friendship, generosity, and public spirit, we should immediately, from these circumstances, detect the falsehood and prove him a liar with the same certainty as if he had stuffed his narration with stories of centaurs and dragons, miracles and prodigies.
Look at a football field. It looks like a big movie screen. This is theatre. Football combines the strategy of chess. It's part ballet. It's part battleground, part playground. We clarify, amplify and glorify the game with our footage, the narration and that music, and in the end create an inspirational piece of footage.
There was still a bit of sunshine in the sky, not that it mattered. High treetops and reaching branches entombed us from above in a dark coffin. It was still in the afternoon. We had time to gather things together for camp, but the choked rays that permeated the living casket were sputtering their last bits of life. - Tyrus Savage narration from ORRLETH, Volume One of the Orrleth Young Adult Fantasy Paranormal Series
There are, occasionally, writers who are able to combine both story and style. They are, of course, the best. You get a spectacular view and you also get to look at it from the backseat of a chauffeur-driven Cadillac. In the field of fantasy, those writers able to combine story-as-narration with story-as-style are even rarer. But there are a few...the late Theodore Sturgeon, the early Ray Bradbury...and Richard Christian Matheson. A brilliant chip off the old block.
The 'I' character in journalism is almost pure invention. Unlike the 'I' of autobiography, who is meant to be seen as a representation of the writer, the 'I' of journalism is connected to the writer only in a tenuous way""the way, say, that Superman is connected to Clark Kent. The journalistic 'I' is an overreliable narrator, a functionary to whom crucial tasks of narration and argument and tone have been entrusted, an ad hoc creation, like the chorus of Greek tragedy. He is an emblematic figure, an embodiment of the idea of the dispassionate observer of life.
When writers are self-conscious about themselves as writers they often keep a great distance from their characters, sounding as if they were writing encyclopedia entries instead of stories. Their hesitancy about physical and psychological intimacy can be a barrier to vital fiction. Conversely, a narration that makes readers hear the characters' heavy breathing and smell their emotional anguish diminishes distance. Readers feel so close to the characters that, for those magical moments, they become those characters.
It is commonly supposed that the uniformity of a studious life affords no matter for narration: but the truth is, that of the most studious life a great part passes without study. An author partakes of the common condition of humanity; he is born and married like another man; he has hopes and fears, expectations and disappointments, griefs and joys, and friends and enemies, like a courtier or a statesman; nor can I conceive why his affairs shuld not excite curiosity as much as the whisper of a drawing-room, or the factions of a camp.
When Veronica Mars was canceled, the following season of pilots for The CW had been announced, and one was Gossip Girl. I read it, and I knew I was sort of old to play any of the kids. I called Dawn Ostroff -- who was the head of The CW at the time -- and said, 'Hey, I did so much narration on Veronica Mars, can I narrate this show? And she said, 'Hey, that's a very good idea.' They knew I had a younger voice, they liked me and they knew I'd show up for work, and I guess that was all I really needed. It was so clear to me how sassy and catty she needed to be.
To write is to forget. Literature is the most agreeable way of ignoring life. Music soothes, the visual arts exhilarates, the performing arts (such as acting and dance) entertain. Literature, however, retreats from life by turning in into slumber. The other arts make no such retreat- some because they use visible and hence vital formulas, others because they live from human life itself. This isn't the case with literature. Literature stimulates life. A novel is a story of what never was, a play is a novel without narration. A poem is the expression of ideas or feelings a language no one uses, because no one talks in verse.
[Referring to passage by Alice Munro] Finally, the passage contradicts a form of bad advice often given young writers - namely, that the job of the author is to show, not tell. Needless to say, many great novelists combine "dramatic" showing with long sections of the flat-out authorial narration that is, I guess, what is meant by telling. And the warning against telling leads to a confusion that causes novice writers to think that everything should be acted out - don't tell us a character is happy, show us how she screams "yay" and jumps up and down for joy - when in fact the responsibility of showing should be assumed by the energetic and specific use of language.
People, they think that animation is a style. Animation is just a technique. It's like, people, they think that comics is a style, like comics is a superhero story. Comic is just a narration, and is a medium, you can say any kind of story in comics and you can say of any kind of story in animation.
I don't know', ' he said. 'Those three words from a willing soul are the start of a grand and magnificent voyage.' And with that he began a discourse that lasted for several weeks, covering scene-setting, establishing conflict, plot twists, and first- and third-person narration. [ I learned in these rapid-fire mini-dissertations that like most literature lovers I would come to know, Henry was a book snob. He assumed that if a current author was popular and widely enjoyed, then he or she had no merit. He made a few exceptions, such as Kurt Vonnegut, although that was mostly because Vonnegut lived on Cape Cod and so he probably had some merits as a human being, if not as a writer. I think that the way Henry saw it was that he was not being a snob. In fact I would venture that in his view of things, snobbery had nothing to do with it. Rather, it was a matter of standards. It was bout quality in the author's craftsmanship.
John William Tuohy
The novels of Daniel Defoe are fundamental to eighteenth-century ways of thinking. They range from the quasi-factual A Journal of the Plague Year, an almost journalistic (but fictional) account of London between 1664 and 1665 (when the author was a very young child), to Robinson Crusoe, one of the most enduring fables of Western culture. If the philosophy of the time asserted that life was, in Hobbes's words, 'solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short', novels showed ways of coping with 'brutish' reality (the plague; solitude on a desert island) and making the best of it. There was no questioning of authority as there had been throughout the Renaissance. Instead, there was an interest in establishing and accepting authority, and in the ways of 'society' as a newly ordered whole. Thus, Defoe's best-known heroine, Moll Flanders, can titillate her readers with her first-person narration of a dissolute life as thief, prostitute, and incestuous wife, all the time telling her story from the vantage point of one who has been accepted back into society and improved her behaviour.
I ran across an excerpt today (in English translation) of some dialogue/narration from the modern popular writer, Paulo Coelho in his book: Aleph.(Note: bracketed text is mine.)... 'I spoke to three scholars, ' [the character says 'at last.']... two of them said that, after death, the [sic (misprint, fault of the publisher)] just go to Paradise. The third one, though, told me to consult some verses from the Koran. [end quote]'... I can see that he's excited. [narrator]'... Now I have many positive things to say about Coelho: He is respectable, inspiring as a man, a truth-seeker, and an appealing writer; but one should hesitate to call him a 'literary' writer based on this quote. A 'literary' author knows that a character's excitement should be 'shown' in his or her dialogue and not in the narrator's commentary on it. Advice for Coelho: Remove the 'I can see that he's excited' sentence and show his excitement in the phrasing of his quote.(Now, in defense of Coelho, I am firmly of the opinion, having myself written plenty of prose that is flawed, that a novelist should be forgiven for slipping here and there.)Lastly, it appears that a belief in reincarnation is of great interest to Mr. Coelho... Just think! He is a man who has achieved, (as Leonard Cohen would call it), 'a remote human possibility.' He has won lots of fame and tons of money. And yet, how his preoccupation with reincarnation-none other than an interest in being born again as somebody else-suggests that he is not happy!
Natural philosophy is the genius that has regulated my fate; I desire, therefore, in this narration, to state those facts which led to my predilection for that science. When I was thirteen years of age, we all went on a party of pleasure to the baths near Thonon: the inclemency of the weather obliged us to remain a day confined to the inn. In this house I chanced to find a volume of the works of Cornelius Agrippa. I opened it with apathy; the theory which he attempts to demonstrate, and the wonderful facts which he relates, soon changed this feeling into enthusiasm. A new light seemed to dawn upon my mind; and, bounding with joy, I communicated my discovery to my father. My father looked carelessly at the title page of my book, and said, "Ah! Cornelius Agrippa! My dear Victor, do not waste your time upon this; it is sad trash." If, instead of this remark, my father had taken the pains to explain to me that the principles of Agrippa had been entirely exploded, and that a modern system of science had been introduced, which possessed much greater powers than the ancient, because the powers of the latter were chimerical, while those of the former were real and practical; under such circumstances, I should certainly have thrown Agrippa aside, and have contented my imagination, warmed as it was, by returning with greater ardour to my former studies. It is even possible that the train of my ideas would never have received the fatal impulse that led to my ruin. But the cursory glance my father had taken of my volume by no means assured me that he was acquainted with its contents; and I continued to read with the greatest avidity.