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Old 11-05-2017, 12:11 AM   #1
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Talking to the reader?????

So how many of you talk to the reader in your narrative?

I have been reading a lot lately and have encountered this several times. And it hasn't just been one writer that I found doing this. And when it happens, it stops me cold...with the question, "Why is he talking to me?"

It just jolts me right out of the story. How about you?
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Old 11-05-2017, 12:17 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zeb_Carter View Post
So how many of you talk to the reader in your narrative?
Maybe. I'm not quite clear - are you asking about the author breaking out of the narrative to speak to the reader? Or are you talking about the "narrator" breaking the fourth wall to address the reader?
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Old 11-05-2017, 12:25 AM   #3
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"The Third Ring" and the story I'm writing now, "Yellow Mountain," are both told by a storyteller who relates the story to a room of listeners. The reader is in the the room. She breaks now and then to instruct her audience on the meaning or context of the story.
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Old 11-05-2017, 12:34 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by LoquiSordidaAdMe View Post
Maybe. I'm not quite clear - are you asking about the author breaking out of the narrative to speak to the reader? Or are you talking about the "narrator" breaking the fourth wall to address the reader?
I'm talking about the narrator telling the story and suddenly telling you, the reader, that if want to find out what happen, then read on.

Or a different way, the start sometime in the future, then tell the reader, I better start back about 3 months and tell you how we got here.
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Old 11-05-2017, 12:39 AM   #5
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It has to be a certain type of narrator for me to do it even once or twice in a story, for planned shock value. A very rare occurrence, though.
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Old 11-05-2017, 01:08 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zeb_Carter View Post
I'm talking about the narrator telling the story and suddenly telling you, the reader, that if want to find out what happen, then read on.

Or a different way, the start sometime in the future, then tell the reader, I better start back about 3 months and tell you how we got here.
Ah. I think I see what you mean. I don't believe I ever used that kind of device intentionally. All of my stories so far have been in first-person, so I may have a few minor fourth-wall breaks here or there, but not the sort of thing you're talking about.
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Old 11-05-2017, 01:38 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by LoquiSordidaAdMe View Post
Ah. I think I see what you mean. I don't believe I ever used that kind of device intentionally. All of my stories so far have been in first-person, so I may have a few minor fourth-wall breaks here or there, but not the sort of thing you're talking about.
Where I see it is in 3rd person stories. But I have also seen it in 1st person stories.

It just jarred me right out of the story.
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Old 11-05-2017, 01:41 AM   #8
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Ayup. I'll break through the fourth wall on occasion.

Don't know that I know how to do it RIGHT, mind you. But, my perception has been that if it's "crystal ball reading", there is no point. The narrative will get there eventually without me trying to prompt the reader to keep going to see the moon pie I was working up to get out to 'em later.

On the other hand, I think it can be a handy tool to throw in a small exposition blurb about some backstory. IF, that is, it fits the characterization of the first person narrator I'm trying to build. Sort of like you're bellied up to the bar with this guy (or gal) who is telling you about some "real, no shit, story" that happened to them, but realize they hadn't told you why it hit them that way.

Any road, I've seen it done so I didn't mind it, and I've seen it so I slammed my windows so hard the DOS shook. Some of that might be (probably is) subjective. But, I think it's imperative it fits the voice or shouldn't be done.
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Old 11-05-2017, 02:13 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by sr71plt View Post
It has to be a certain type of narrator for me to do it even once or twice in a story, for planned shock value. A very rare occurrence, though.

Agree.
I never do it. I don't like it at all. When a "Dear reader " or similar appears in a book I don't continue. I think it reflects an inadequate plot and a certain arrogance of the writer. It destroys the pace of the story and the confidence of the reader. Every time I come across it I think about it and realise it could have been incorporated into the story with very little difficulty. I reflect that it demonstrates a certain obsessiveness on the part of the writer to get control. I also wonder if I'm reading the kind of writer who would use both sides of toilet paper. It simply makes me angry- all that money spent for this...
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Old 11-05-2017, 02:21 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by weftandwarp View Post
Agree.
I never do it. I don't like it at all. When a "Dear reader " or similar appears in a book I don't continue. I think it reflects an inadequate plot and a certain arrogance of the writer. It destroys the pace of the story and the confidence of the reader. Every time I come across it I think about it and realise it could have been incorporated into the story with very little difficulty. I reflect that it demonstrates a certain obsessiveness on the part of the writer to get control. I also wonder if I'm reading the kind of writer who would use both sides of toilet paper. It simply makes me angry- all that money spent for this...
Holy shit, you've got some strong feelings there.

If it's first person I don't even notice, because the entire story feels like I'm being talked to.

The only story in third person I remember right now is Steve Erickson's Toll the Hounds and in between chapters he'd throw in a page and talk to the me/reader about things to come, what to look out for, how wondrous his world was. I didn't like it at all, but it was just one best selling book in series of best selling novels, so what do I know? It didn't take me out of the novel, I just skipped over them when they came.

Edit: I really have no preference as long I like the story and I can't tell you if I'll like the story until I start reading it.

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Old 11-05-2017, 06:11 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Zeb_Carter View Post
I'm talking about the narrator telling the story and suddenly telling you, the reader, that if want to find out what happen, then read on.

Or a different way, the start sometime in the future, then tell the reader, I better start back about 3 months and tell you how we got here.
Dear Reader,
I think this used to be a trick of the 'Victorian' writers.
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Old 11-05-2017, 06:42 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zeb_Carter View Post
So how many of you talk to the reader in your narrative?

I have been reading a lot lately and have encountered this several times. And it hasn't just been one writer that I found doing this. And when it happens, it stops me cold...with the question, "Why is he talking to me?"

It just jolts me right out of the story. How about you?
The only time it bothers me is when the aside is totally unrelated to the story:

Quote:
Thomas lives to be six hundred, has seven hundred children and seventy thousand grand-children. By the time he dies, he can claim some relation to the entire planet. Eighty thousand years later, his journals are found and form the basis of a new religion. But that's another story.
Simply breaking the fourth wall doesn't bother me. Just the synopses of the future when a characters make a final appearance in the story.
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Old 11-05-2017, 07:50 AM   #13
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I did it in The Worst Chain Story Ever Ch. 01

It was part of being 'the worst'

https://www.literotica.com/s/the-wor...ory-ever-ch-01

One example:

(Note to reader: I had to get this and the next story in somehow so I have used a cunning plan to get John the Dong to tell them while his wife is in her special walk-in wardrobe. They have nothing to do with the story but I'm the author so I can do what I like. So there! Sticks out tongue at reader. If you don't like it you should have been deterred by the title of this story.)
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Old 11-05-2017, 08:29 AM   #14
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So I took the bottle back to the dressing room to heat it up in the microwave but I don't know why they call it that ''cause it doesn't really wave and the plate inside doesn't even spin on ours. I put the bottle in there but I took the cap off first ''cause I learned the hard way that the bottle will blow up all over the place if you don't. If you didn't know that don't feel bad 'cause I blew up a few before someone told me.
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It's kinda like Dukes of Hazzard with that guy tellin' you what's going and stuff cause some people don't get it but you don't want to bare ass them so I like to make them feel like they're smarter than me and stuff so by tellin' 'em things like that they can say they knew all along and don't look dumb and stuff.

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Old 11-05-2017, 09:37 AM   #15
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Dear Reader,
I think this used to be a trick of the 'Victorian' writers.
I did it in "The Third Ring" because I was borrowing the style of a late 'Victorian' writer.
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Old 11-05-2017, 10:46 AM   #16
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I get annoyed every time an author tries to involve me in the narrative. The worst is the explicit case, involving second person... "You walk into the dark alley." No I fucking don't.

But even just addressing me is disturbing for me. "Imagine a dark alley." Don't tell me what to do. If you do your job as a story teller, I'm sure I will imagine it eventually. I can't think of a story I read where this approach worked for me. It just takes me out of the story.
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Old 11-05-2017, 11:12 AM   #17
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I used to make the mistake of speaking to the reader by using “You” in the narratives until it was pointed out to me. I can understand how an author would like to have the reader relate to certain points in the story, but isn’t that what the story is supposed to do anyway? Like most people, it pulls me out of the story with adverse feelings - almost like the author is trying too hard to have me relate. It reaches a point that I can’t enjoy the story🙀
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Old 11-05-2017, 11:47 AM   #18
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I did an entire story like that, addressing "you". It was a bit of an experiment all round but it got some good reader feedback. "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow." It was a bit of a challenge to keep it consistent but I think it went okay. Not sure if I'd do it again though.
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Old 11-05-2017, 12:11 PM   #19
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I'm glad to know I'm not the only one this annoys.

I don't do it, like I said it annoys me. If the narrative and dialog doesn't draw the reader in to continue, then I haven't done my job as a writer.

As for second person, I used to write technical manuals, they are always in second person. Now you're talking to the reader, instructing them one on one.
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Old 11-05-2017, 01:01 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zeb_Carter View Post
I'm glad to know I'm not the only one this annoys.

I don't do it, like I said it annoys me. If the narrative and dialog doesn't draw the reader in to continue, then I haven't done my job as a writer.
I think it can be done for a good effect, so maybe the examples you're reading don't do it right. I worked hard on the storyteller in my story, and the few comments I've received are complimentary of the narrative style. The story is generally well-accepted despite its lack of sex, but it's in SciFi.
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Old 11-05-2017, 02:47 PM   #21
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Old 11-05-2017, 04:06 PM   #22
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I can't say I've done it much, or at all, but I tend to enjoy it when an author does. I guess it depends on how well it's done.
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Old 11-05-2017, 04:32 PM   #23
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I give you two words: Tristram Shandy
Not the best known shag writer on the planet though, Sam. Still, a useful reminder to wind the clock first...
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Old 11-05-2017, 04:45 PM   #24
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Can you give an example or two? I'm not clear exactly what narrative technique you are referring to. An example would help.

It's not something I've done, or plan to do. I like to keep POV clear and simple, and free of distractions.

One of the greatest works in American fiction, Huckleberry Finn, does this, to some degree. The opening line addresses the reader: "You don't know me . . . " It worked O.K. in that case.
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Old 11-05-2017, 05:08 PM   #25
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Not the best known shag writer on the planet though, Sam. Still, a useful reminder to wind the clock first...
My memory may be playing tricks, Blue, but I think I recall young Mr Shandy discoursing at length on sexual behaviour - although perhaps with rather more waffle than would be appreciated by a reader seeking stroke material.
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