Okay, cross-posting this from the latest Antilibraries newsletter — I wanted to take a look at some books around the theme of narrative design/structure!
I’m fascinated by the many approaches and patterns that can be used to construct a story. All kinds of interesting possibilities that go beyond the traditional story arc, or linear unfolding of narrative, to shape stories in creative, playful, experimental, unorthodox ways.
A few books I found that seem relevant:
Meander, Spiral, Explode: Design and Pattern in Narrative — a cool taxonomic approach similar to some thoughts I’ve had about storytelling and time. Very interested in this exploration of “literary strategies” that propel and shape a text — not just arcs but natural and geometric shapes and more.
Counternarratives — something like a dozen shorts that “draw upon memoirs, newspaper accounts, detective stories, interrogation transcripts, and speculative fiction to create new and strange perspectives on our past and present”.
Relating Narratives: Storytelling and Selfhood — A short book exploring narration, selfhood, feminism, and philosophy. One part that struck me as interesting: that “…a great deal of the book consists in trying to elucidate what she calls ‘the paradox of Ulysses’: the situation in which, like Ulysses at the court of the Phaeacians, we hear and come to know our own stories only from the narrations of others.”
Third Person: Authoring and Exploring Vast Narratives — Third Person “explores strategies of vast narrative across a variety of media, including video games, television, literature, comic books, tabletop games, and digital art.” I love the idea not only of critically engaging storytelling strategies, but of using the lens of vastness — extremes of size, scale, length, duration, immersiveness — as a tool for narrative creativity.
Question for y’all:
What books have you found interesting in this regard — either stories that demonstrate creative approaches to narrative, or (as with some of those below) any books, articles, etc. that go meta and talk about the narrative designs/patterns themselves?