Two Basics to maintain continuity in your narrative

“What I wanted was to be one with her, with nothing coming between us.”

Last month, I read the book, ‘Desire’ by Haruki Murakami. I was thoroughly impressed.  He has redefined romance in my eyes. It was a great mix of old-world charm with the wit of an emerging metro-sexual. The book was a collection of five short stories, entailing love in its many forms, from – desire to lust to love, and then the most painful form – longing.  It started off simple, and ended off simple, with waves of roaring emotions and rhythmic sensations. Short stories can often seem very compact but suited for today’s times because it has the boost of a strong, Columbian cuppa. Instant, but impactful.  As opposed to long-drawn sagas, every word has to be meaningful in order to maintain continuity. Thus, the one dampening factor that can make you turn off from a book are charred phrases and unjustified logic. Just like flying a plane, when you begin to write, you have to have your conclusion, i.e. your destination, in mind.

Here are two factors to maintain continuity in a narrative:

  • Focus:  Always keep the crux of your argument in mind. It’s what drives your plot, the way your characters are etched out and the way you lead your narrative towards its intended conclusion. For obvious reasons, your crux is the element that will ignite your narrative and make your characters come alive. One tip to do so is to define your constraints, where you can cut-out your deviating points and align your plot with your crux.
  • Consistency: Once you’ve established your crux, you can weed out the places in your story where you will become inconsistent. A tip to maintain consistency is to have an ongoing list of your characters or a brief chapter outline. This also helps in strengthening your inferences – perspectives about your characters or plotlines that can truly test the reading abilities of your target-readers. It will also give you more confidence as a writer because if you can sum-up your narrative in one page and then do the same in 500 pages, then you are sure about your resolutions or convictions.  

Thus, connecting it back to Haruki’s novel, that one quote mentioned on top of the post is pretty much his crux, his convictions, his observation and his conclusion, elaborated in more words/pages.

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