3 Best Practices to Keep Story Narration Tight


How much did you know about Voldemort and Snape until you reached that point in the story where you HAD to know about them? You didn’t have to learn about Tom‘s thieving habits and his sly nature from the day one. It was revealed eventually… when it was required in the story. If Rowling hadn’t written about Umbridge recently, or be it about Draco Malfoy, I don’t think I would have ever known more about them…at least not more than what was necessary to make them hateable. Unless you are writing GoT (Game of Thrones) where every character is likely to die and you want readers to root for these characters before you disappoint them, don’t write too much about your every character. Let the readers use their imagination while reading. You don’t have to spoon-feed them. I understand that you love all your characters equally but readers aren’t your information dump. They aren’t at a social gathering, you know. They are only reading a story. So, develop your characters gradually instead of revealing all the details at once.

It is not just characters, even other details like settings and characters’ actions and reactions in/to certain situations – let’s not overdo them please. And trust me when I say you don’t have to describe the sunset and sunrise every morning and every evening in your story, because I really don’t want to read that. I want the story that I am reading to flow smoothly, and that is all you need to keep in mind when you are writing. I don’t want to know the colours of the clothes your characters wear everyday. I don’t want to know whether they brushed their teeth before they left to college/office. Because, as a reader, I will just assume that they did. You don’t have to write about their businesses in the toilet, unless you are writing PIKU and the story revolves around pooping. And I definitely don’t want to know the curtains and the bedsheets’ colours. Do I have to even tell you how I feel about what your characters eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner every day? Oh, these things may be necessary at times. Just figure out when they are needed and when they aren’t. Avoid unnecessary details!

First, understand the genre of your story. It will help you decide the pace of the narration, and also what exactly you need to emphasise on in your narration. Example: If it is fantasy fiction, you may want to describe the magic part to acquaint your readers with the magical world your story is set in. If it is a thriller, actions and reactions in/to the various situations throughout the story may become important. If it is romance, stress on the love or the feelings of the people in the story.

There is no rule etched in stone when it comes to writing. However, these are some best practices to keep the narration precise and concise.