Story Structure 2

Admin’s belief when it comes to story structure and story-telling in general is this: keep the writer out of the limelight. The problem for Admin with metafiction is that the subtext is often the cleverness of the writer. Admin’s old fashioned that way, was brought up differently. On the other hand, he knows a bit about open, ambiguous endings. Some examples? Oblivion and End of Story, by Peter Abrahams. (Some meta stuff even gets snuck into End of Story, also into Their Wildest Dreams.)

But enough of this! Tomorrow – back to fun!


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This entry was posted on Thursday, October 29th, 2009 at 7:52 am and is filed under Chet The Dog. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

9 Responses to “Story Structure 2”

  1. B. Stover
    3:13 am on October 29th, 2009

    Traditional story structure (linear) is great also. It's preferred by most readers, especially readers of mystery novels. I'll look at those novels listed in the blog. I'm currently reading Down the Rabbit Hole….on my Kindle.

  2. Diane
    4:04 am on October 29th, 2009

    I just finished reading Henning Mankell's The Pyramid: and four other Kurt Wallander mysteries…

  3. Rebecca Rice
    7:53 am on October 29th, 2009

    I've been (re)reading all of the Ramona books (Beverly Cleary) in preparation for reading them aloud to my kids. I had never read the last two before, but the others were a wonderful trip down memory lane.

    I can see Admin's point about post-post-modern style deconstruction… But most people reading that type of fiction are nursing cynical chips on their shoulders and are after darker, biting, sardonic humor. It's a form popular with misanthrops and curmugeonly types who enjoy the subtle undermining of tradition, or of deliberately annoying characters. Very Ambrose Bierce. It's also big with people who have to work with The Public.

    I think this comes from the jaded feeling many readers have that they've been there, read that. "There is nothing new under the sun, all _____ novels are structurally the same, predictable, boring…" You get the idea. But undermining the cause of that boredom is very satisfying. That's why that self-conscious, "scaffolding of the writing still in place" style works so well for writers like Milan Kundera. Dark, funny, ultimately pretty depressing, but you have to admire the way he simultaneously constructs and deconstructs his story, his characters, the underlying moral fabric of society… It's kind of fun if you're tired of "beginning, middle, end."

    That said, when the speaker for a given piece is someone who cannot traditionally tell a story, such as a child too young to write, or a dog, or a rabbit, or whatever– when the speaker is a non-traditional first-person narrator already, there is an inherent turning-on-its-side of the traditional structure implied in that very action. After all, apart from Harold in the Bunnicula books, dogs can't type. At that point, even following a strict structural narrative is kind of "meta," potentially imbued with humor, irony, and subtle commentary just as any other post-post-modern work would be.

    The lovely difference is that when the writer can take you to "the meta place" with a nontraditional narrator, it frees him or her from the necessity of that otherwise darker point of view. That single structural choice is a revolutionary act without having to go any further.

    And the end result is that we, the readers, have this wonderful, real person in Chet, who lives and breathes and jumps through our kitchen windows to go and get– whatever that was that Bernie threw out the window. We don't have to enter that dark place to enjoy the use of our brains, or to be surprised, for a change.

    I have to go get Wojo– he's having a meet-and-greet with Freckles at the doggie daycare so I can take my guys on a walk together. Forest preserve, here we come!

  4. Gus & BooBear
    9:42 am on October 29th, 2009

    Whoa!!! We're just loving Chet telling the story in Chet's special way!! Y'all are getting way to deep for us.

  5. Lady Doodle Dog
    5:55 am on October 30th, 2009

    Wow. First I'm profound and now my friends are deep. What do you know about that. Deep how exactly? Deep as in the water is deep enough to swim? I love to swim. Before our yard flooded and I tried to swim in it, but mom wouldn't let me.

  6. Diane
    6:14 am on October 30th, 2009

    Deep, as in sometimes I wonder about my daughter Rebecca. I don't think I dropped her on her head when she was a baby.

    Wouldn't I remember doing such a thing?

  7. Jenifer
    8:15 am on October 30th, 2009



  8. Rebecca Rice
    1:13 pm on October 30th, 2009

    *sheepish* Sorry!!!

    I think way too much.

  9. Ivy
    7:40 pm on November 6th, 2009

    You guys are way too much fun. I will read on, with delight.


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