Today’s discourse in this fantastic place is going to be about what I do to find a narrative style. This is kind of a similar technique to show don’t tell in a way but it expands the concept. Narrative style is all about how you present the story to your readers. Just as there are an almost endless amount of stories you can tell, the way you present that story is just about as unlimited.
When we are learning a new technique it’s great to have an example to work with. The only issue is people tend to have a first person point of view with just about everything… or do we? The observant person can watch someone else play through their life. Granted it becomes a game of stalking if you follow someone around watching them. So I do not advise this. However, when you are in public you can watch how others interact in short bursts. A lot of authors will sit in public places in order to watch how people interact. This is great but none of this is what I am talking about. No matter how much of this you do you will not gain a style.
Where does style come from? Style is hard to define but it’s the how and not the what. Style is how you present your subject and not your subject itself. In a live action movie, it may be the film tones, the framing, and lighting, the camera angle. In a cartoon or comic it’s the level of distortion from reality, the exaggeration of features, the width and flex of the lines, the artistic hand that made the work. Writing too has style and it is all about how the writer presents the story to their readers.
In order to develop your style, I suggest reading other people. That is perhaps the best way to develop style. This will give you a good look at how people choose their words. This is important but once again I am talking about narrative style rather than writing style.
However, I am going to make a weird suggestion to you. Try watching movies and not paying attention to the movie but rather study the choices the director chose and what they did not. It may help to pause the movie and look at shots for each scene to look at the colors in the shot, the framing once again, these details. Another good choice is looking at Manga. I know weeaboo territory. Manga is always interesting. Each frame feels more like a paragraph to me. It’s interesting to notice what is omitted in a single panel. At times even a background is forgotten. This is much like writing a novel. Details are details only for the sake of painting the image. If details are layered when details are not needed then you can lose your reader.
Depending on how you present these topics to your reader you will develop a narrative style. It is important to use a narrative style that fits with the genre of writing you are writing. So sometimes when you are struggling with a scene it helps to sit down with some other kind of media related to your story to gain some style choices. Try it for yourself and see what happens. All I know is it helps improve my writing and I am sure it will yours too.