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Writing Forum | WritersDigest.com • Is Alice Munro an example of what NOT to do? : Conversation question • Writing Forum | WritersDigest.com
Page 1 of 3

Is Alice Munro an example of what NOT to do?

PostPosted: Tue Dec 16, 2014 10:27 pm
by DrG2
Alice Munro is a nobel-prize-winning author of mostly short stories (a few novels), and the big-name magazines (The New Yorker, Harpers, etc.) snarf up everything she writes.

She might tell a character's life story in a twenty-page story. Her classic structure includes blocks of exposition interspersed with extremely short scenes of dialogue (1-4 lines of dialogue). She's the opposite of the "show, don't tell" axiom.

When she writes third person narration, she sometimes delves into any head that seems interesting regardless of whether the character is the focus of the story.

Here are a few examples of her writing:
http://harpers.org/archive/2012/04/train/
http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2012/ ... ntPage=all
http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2011/ ... ntPage=all

While I like her stories, I wonder if they would be easily published if she wasn't Alice Munro.

Re: Is Alice Munro an example of what NOT to do?

PostPosted: Wed Dec 17, 2014 12:38 am
by updog

Re: Is Alice Munro an example of what NOT to do?

PostPosted: Wed Dec 17, 2014 10:02 am
by James A. Ritchie

Re: Is Alice Munro an example of what NOT to do?

PostPosted: Wed Dec 17, 2014 12:37 pm
by LRosa
[quote=" What you call exposition, I call really good narrative, and narrative is story. There is no other way of telling a story except through narrative, Exposition is something entirely different. Far too many writers leave out narrative because they confuse it with exposition. They are not the same thing.[/quote]

Would you mind providing an example of exposition vs. narrative?

A Wikipedia search of these words left me confused.

Re: Is Alice Munro an example of what NOT to do?

PostPosted: Wed Dec 17, 2014 12:41 pm
by pls
Very simply, exposition is telling. Narration is showing.

Re: Is Alice Munro an example of what NOT to do?

PostPosted: Wed Dec 17, 2014 2:09 pm
by Oldtimer

Re: Is Alice Munro an example of what NOT to do?

PostPosted: Wed Dec 17, 2014 2:16 pm
by updog
This is really hard for me to explain, so I'll probably mess it up, but to me, exposition is a flat telling of basic information, and it stalls the story. Narrative is more personal. It's descriptive information that gives you insight into the character. It moves the story at least a little, because it reveals something personal about the character or setting, which helps to bring the character to life. Narrative doesn't just tell you it's snowing, it shows you how the snowstorm affects this particular character. There's more emotion in it. Narrative brings you into the story.

Re: Is Alice Munro an example of what NOT to do?

PostPosted: Wed Dec 17, 2014 3:58 pm
by James A. Ritchie

Re: Is Alice Munro an example of what NOT to do?

PostPosted: Wed Dec 17, 2014 4:08 pm
by James A. Ritchie

Re: Is Alice Munro an example of what NOT to do?

PostPosted: Wed Dec 17, 2014 4:55 pm
by updog
You nailed it, James. That's exactly what I meant but didn't know how to say. Thanks.