So, sometimes, when you are a teacher and you are a writer, a strange thing occurs. You are able to say and think something by accident. This happens a large amount when I’m teaching. I come up with an interesting way to describe and understand the narrative when I’m trying to come up with interesting ways to explain a simple essay style. This was in my Trinity class, where we had to work on our Compare/Contrast writing styles. When does the “Cause” begin and the “Effect” begin? How can you just write an essay about the “Causes” and not the “Effects”? These were hard questions that deserved to be answered by a dry-erase board. So I drew a diagram. “Bob” is in the middle of a line. On the right is his death. On the left is his birth. Then, I put the “Cause” in the middle between him and his birth. After him, I put different marks on the line, showing the effects of the his situation. Something caused his situation and there are effects of his situation, but his situation is central. I also explained that you could write a “Process” essay, detailing the Cause of his situation, or you could write a “Narrative”. You could also write a “Compare and Contrast” essay, detailing how the “Effects” are different for different people.
Looking at this as a writer, the idea of the central narrative character comes into play. There is always a main situation, no matter the story. There is something that caused the main situation and there are the effects of the situation. Whether you write the cause or the effect or both is entirely up to you. The reader, however, is constantly trying to make the connection between the main situation and the effects or the main situation and the cause. That is why I don’t really give a damn about plot and never will. If you focus on this, on how the Main situation exists and the creation of the Main situation or the effects of the creation of the Main situation, the the story will be compelling. Narratives lose their focus once the writer tries and veers away from this, or feels that he or she has explained this enough. That’s what I did today.