Ethos Lounge

Narration
farlightsaga at 7:55AM, June 27, 2007
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posts: 16
joined: 4-29-2007
So for better or for worst, I chose to use a past-tense memoirs style narration for Ethos. That is, both Tal and Quinn are looking back after the events of Ethos have already come to pass and speaking of them now as if they were sitting in front of us and telling this story.

When I original started out, the narration was nothing like what it is now.

Originally I knew I wanted a narrator to the story. But I wanted it to be personal. So just a generic third person narrator wasn't going to work. So Quinn got nominated for the position.

And then there was a problem. If Quinn was narrating his story as it was happening, that didn't solve the problem of then having a second story of Aminta out there. So I decided I would have Tal be there to narrate Aminta's half of the story and slowly begin mixing their narrations as it progressed.

Now at the time, these narrations were all in the present-tense.

Well, then I got to chapter three. And the opening of chapter three had a big narration with Quinn. Only problem. The things I needed Quinn to talk about he didn't yet know about. He needed to be the one to explain what was happening, even though he wouldn't fully understand himself until later when Nemesio explained a lot of it off panel.

So…my solution was to switch it to a first person past-tense. Now that Quinn (and Tal) were speaking from the past-tense I could have them know things that they didn't know at the time. Give explanations and foreshadows that would have been difficult or impossible before.

It's a narrative style I am still growing use to. I love it, but still can cause problems now and then (like mixing tense forms by accident).

So what are your folks thoughts? Do you love the narrations? Hate them? Like them but not the style they are being done in?

I'm opening the floor here because I'd love to hear what you guys think. I really do hear Quinn and Tal in my head all the time, so it is easy for me to know what they are trying to say. But that doesn't always mean as a writer that I am able to give it the best form in the story (hence why I recently rewrote a lot of Quinn's narrations to some degree which haven't made it back up onto the web as of yet).
last edited on July 18, 2011 10:26AM
warofwinds at 12:37PM, June 27, 2007
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As I've said before, I really like your narration and your commentary. It's well thought-out, certainly thought-provoking and flows nicely—but can be a little intimidating in its length. But you've gotta say what you've gotta say, especially in this kind of story.

Bottom line is the narration is fine with me because usually it's pretty light. Introspection isn't all the time, just when you want to draw attention to something going on. 3rd person past tense…present tense…they both have their strengths. And you've just now fully intertwined these two different stories, so you're pulling things together. I like it. It's a grand tale.
last edited on July 18, 2011 10:26AM
Zaulche at 8:40AM, Aug. 1, 2007
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I would have to agree that the narration you use works really well for the way you have set up the story. I personally never minded lengthy thoughts or discussions in comics, but then again I also read more books then comics, which is all text, so maybe it is just something I am used to as a norm.

Regardless, using past tense like you have I think also adds to the mysteriousness of what is going on. If the character is recalling past events then we know that he has survived until further in the story, and that eventually our questions will be answered, but we still don't know how or when everything will come together.
last edited on July 18, 2011 10:26AM
Evil Emperor Nick at 10:12AM, Aug. 24, 2007
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posts: 395
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I've got to break with the crowd here and said I really dislike the narration for several reasons.

First I feel you over use it. A lot of times you cover pages in them which hurts flow, and secondly a lot of the information in your narration often times doesn't add to the story. I know at point stuff has been told in narration only to be covered shortly there after in dialog.

While narration is a great tool I think you need cut back on just how much you use it. Additionally it would help a lot if you developed Quinn more. Honestly his character seems kind of generic and I'm not endeared to him so consiquently I'm not overly interested in hearing what he has to say unless it is moving the story along.

I think your narration for Tal is much better though I still have similar complaints.

By far your best narration is the third person present you do with that little cat boy who's name escapes me.

last edited on July 18, 2011 10:26AM

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