Writing Books/Narrative


Hi, narrative writing is causing me a head ache. I am over 60,000 words into a novel but I seem to work backwards. Snippets of dialogue and story ideas come into my head at random and I peice tham together like a patchwork quilt until a plot line emerges. But then the bit I don't like - the narrative, the filling in the gaps. I want to persevere with the novel (not write screen plays as was once sugested) so I would like to ask you if you have any advice to make narrative writing, if not easier, then more enjoyable.  


The narrative part of a novel is, in fact, that part of the novel that makes it something of wonder.  The prose is where the writer has her chance to shine.  Dialogue is all well and good, but dialogue does not tell the story (in the vast majority of cases), nor should it (in the vast majority of cases).

The narrative is where you get to do the really interesting stuff: go inside your characters.  Think of this... with human beings in general, how often do we tell other people how we're really feeling, what we're really thinking, etc.?  Almost never.  Same way with your characters.  The real emotive stuff is happening inside them.  They're not going to be blabbing about their most private thoughts, their most intimate feelings, with others.  No, that's for you to share with the reader through narrative.  The narrative (or part of it) is the interior, rather than the exterior.  The narrative is the facial expressions, the body language of the actor, rather than the words that come out of his mouth.  We often say one thing when we mean another, and in fiction, this makes for good storytelling.

Obviously, narrative has other functions, too, but this is a major one.  It's exciting stuff, narrative!  Honest!  It's the meat of your story... dialogue is just gravy.

Now, I can't really make writing narrative EASIER for you.  But I hope by looking at narrative this way, it makes it more exciting and more ENJOYABLE for you.

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Vincent M. Wales


I am a speculative fiction novelist (fantasy, science fiction, and so on). While I may be able to answer questions on non-fiction, my specialty is fiction. Please keep that in mind when asking questions.


For four years, I taught a series of fiction writing classes in Sacramento, CA.

BA in fiction writing.

Awards and Honors
My 2004 novel, ONE NATION UNDER GOD, won BEST FICTION in Fresh Voices 2006, BEST FICTION and BEST YA FICTION in the NCPA Book Awards, and placed as a finalist in BEST BOOKS 2005. In 2002, my novel WISH YOU WERE HERE won awards for Best Fantasy and Best Fiction/Drama in the 8th Annual SPA Awards. My latest work is a trilogy titled THE MANY DEATHS OF DYNAMISTRESS (a superhero memoir). The first book, RECKONING, was released in 2013 and won the SF category in the 2014 San Francisco Book Festival, took second place in the 2013 Royal Dragonfly Book Awards for the SF/Fantasy/Paranormal category, second place in the SF category of the 2013 Reader Views Reviewers Choice Awards, and was finalist in Foreword's 2013 Book of the Year Awards, Fantasy category. The second book, REDEMPTION, will be released in early 2015 and the final book, RENAISSANCE, is scheduled for release in late 2016.

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