01/15/18 Storytelling




I don’t know why I love the narrator-as-framing-device in Spacetrawler, but it seems so integral to the story. Although I am wondering who will become narrator in book 3 of this 2nd series (although I do have a few suspects, depending on which way I veer the story, which is generally planned, but which continues to surprise me).

Cedra leaves today for a couple weeks. Ten miles from the nearest town, I’ll be staying at home. My plan is to work on the inks for the “Glens Falls” from when I open my eyes, to when I drop at day’s end. As Voltaire put it, “we must cultivate our garden,” it’s “the best of all possible worlds.” Labor brings distraction and satisfaction. Within reason. Maybe. πŸ™‚


  1. War Pig

    Cedra has mad freaking skills. When I looked at the picture of the bird, I at first thought it was a B&W photo she’d taken to base her sketch upon. Then I had to look closely to see it was actually a drawing. She has amazing talent. Any of her work you care to show (that she would allow, naturally) would be greatly appreciated. People who can do things I cannot impress me. Especially fine artists (and comic artists/cartoonists) as I am a poor at drawing things which are not drafting plans. A four-year-old’s stick figures would shame my drawing skill.

  2. andreas

    Nogg, besides being placed in the venerable if unenviable position of a storyteller in the template of Scheherezade, is also quite literally a fish out of water. This makes mocking his breathing habits a very low, yet strangely effective, blow.

    While it may actually offer a rich resource for inspiration and story ideas – if I remember Candide accurately – the best of all possible worlds includes cutting off and eating someone’s buttocks to get through a famine spell. That would seem to be a pity, considering the buttocks are quite foundational in the production of art…

    Seeing that the part is up for grabs, I vote for Jabby as the (unreliable) narrator. It would certainly not stand for being interrupted πŸ˜‰

  3. Peter Rogan

    I use different narrators to emphasize the distinction between the ways they view the same story. It’s very much a present-tense method. But you’re using narrators as foreshadowing, Chris, which doesn’t just lead the reader on, but makes them contemplate the gap between the story told and the story the new narrator has yet to tell. Interesting device.

    I admit I worry about the accidental introduction of irony, or predestination with this method. ‘Well, HE/SHE survived, so I know how it’s going to end up.’ But done well, it changes the entire narrative flow before the reader can find their feet. There’s a reason Reepicheep got to tell his own version of his voyage.

    1. Well, one of the original inspirations for Spacetrawler was Macbeth, where basically he is told at the very beginning “you’re going to be screwed” and then the story is of how.

      Not sure if it’s good or bad, but for some reason I love it with Spacetrawler. Possibly partially because of the juxtaposition of “futuristic” story with such an old, some consider outdated, form of storytelling. πŸ™‚

      1. Peter Rogan

        Not so old, nor so outdated:

        It is an ancient Mariner,
        And he stoppeth one of three.
        ‘By thy long grey beard and glittering eye,
        Now wherefore stopp’st thou me?

        The Bridegroom’s doors are opened wide,
        And I am next of kin;
        The guests are met, the feast is set:
        May’st hear the merry din.’

        He holds him with his skinny hand,
        ‘There was a ship,’ quoth he.
        ‘Hold off! unhand me, grey-beard loon!’
        Eftsoons his hand dropt he.

  4. Night-Gaunt49

    “Roshomo” is a template for the same story told by different people and how they perceived the same happening. You get to see what is remembered, how they remember it and see how it conforms to their personality. Why eye witnesses usually aren’t considered good evidence unless there are many.

    That drawing of the bird was not only incredibly detailed, it has such fantastically rendered I had a hard time discerning it was a drawing and not some photograph.
    I am in awe of someone with such skill.

  5. Tobias

    Interesting- my theory had been that Book 2 would end with the narrative catching up to the present, and Book 3 would break the storytelling framing device to get told in “real time” (maybe with Mauricio’s dad finally along for the ride?).

  6. Muzhik

    I concur — EXCELLENT work! I’m reminded of the work of Maria Sibylla Merian, who is now being recognized for her work documenting the life cycle of butterflies, and whom David Attenborough considers to be one of the founders of the field of entomology.

    Check out her Wikipedia page for examples of her work.

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