Narrative Drive

Or Narrative Thrust.

This term generally refers to the rhythm and flow in a work of fiction.  I knew one writer who even named one of his characters Flo, a worn woman who is put upon by everyone else.  It’s perfect. 

But the term can equally apply to your work of non-fiction.  You want your essays to have verve, conviction, and be morally compelling to your reader, so that your reader will get excited from this as much as the excellent reasoning in your essay. 

In the final editing process of your story or non-fiction, you’ll want to make sure that the story or the essay reads logically from point to point or from scene to scene or action to action so that whatever it is that you are developing does not run aground.

If you don’t know yet or you don’t know by now, you’ll need to read these here, here, here, and here.

I hate references to Beatles’ songs. This blogger doesn’t disappoint. Bleh.

Precisely when your narrative lacks drive, luster, conviction, compulsion is when your reader will stop reading it or be interested in it.  Jane Friedman writes

As a reader, a writer, and an agent, I read thousands of stories a year—or at least the opening pages of thousands of stories. And, all other things being equal, the reason I most often stop reading is a lack of narrative thrust.

Her description of what a broken narrative drive is is pretty good

Narrative thrust is the taut building of story, beat by beat, scene by scene, chapter by chapter, using the complexities of plot and character to propel the story forward in a dramatic arc that peaks at the climax. You must write each scene so that it leads logically to the next, as if you were connecting a model train, car by car, presenting story questions as you proceed down the track, pushing the action forward to its inevitable, if unpredictable, ending.

A lack of narrative thrust occurs when one scene does not logically lead to another.

 

 

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