Narrative Techniques by Trafford Publishing

Trafford Publishing on the Art of Narration

Trafford Publishing on the Art of Narration

Trafford Publishing can tell you that a unique book draws substantially more readers for obvious reasons. A reader is going to spend 100,000 words with you. In effect, they are giving hours of their own life to you – embrace this by offering something other than the banal content produced by the masses. No one is going to give you hours and hours of their life if you don’t set yourself apart from the pack.

Your story might be rounded, encompassing all components of engaging fiction, but to distinguish your work, there still might be something lacking. One way to manufacture exclusivity is to tell a story in a way other than the traditional linear first or third person narrative, or from a different standpoint. From whose perspective will the story best be told? How should this perspective be placed?

Self-publishing a book that will succeed is not easy. For those who are struggling to tell their story in a way that provides distinction, the following is a short list of storytelling techniques that offer different angles for composing your stories.



This storytelling technique has a few variations, however typically there are two methods. The story will either be a collection of objects or ideas pertaining to the one concept, or the story will consist of numbered chapters or segments.

For example, a shopping receipt might contain a list of items – these items can be run through the story one by one, but these item may add up to reveal something very ominous. Or these items might all serve their individual purpose for the protagonist, revealing the motivations or actions of the protagonist that hold the key to the outcome of the story.

Furthermore, how should this story be told? Should the clerk at the store where the items were bought be the narrator? Does this clerk work out the meaning of these items and take action? Should the character who purchased the items narrate the story? Or should a partner or family member of the purchaser stumble across the receipt and determine something sinister, but in fact these items serve a benevolent purpose?



Epistolary form, by definition, is a story that is conveyed through a series of letters. In saying this, variations exist such as diary entries, emails, Facebook posts or other forms of modern communication. We Need to Talk about Kevin is an example, as is Rant by Chuck Palahniuk.

You can write a complete story this way conveying detailed sentiment; however you can also use this method scattered throughout your story, whilst incorporating another storytelling technique. Letters back and forth between two characters is a nice way to portray two different perspectives concerning the events in your story.


Fractured Chronology

This technique is often used in children’s books; however there is nothing to say it can’t be used in a full length novel. Can you remember sitting on your mom’s lap as a child with a book and at the end of the chapter you had choices? If you want to wait for ‘Bonnie’ the dog to return, go to page 7, if you want to search yourself, go to page 10, if you want to call the lost dogs home, go to page 19.

If you put a lot of time and effort into working out several scenes that can be worked into several timelines of the one story, this idea would definitely be engaging for your reader. Whether or not there is the same outcome at the end  is entirely up to you aswell. The possibilities are endless.


Second Person

Writing in the second person addresses the reader. The pronouns ‘you,’ ‘your,’ and ‘yours’ are used. Although writing in the second person is commonly used in letters, emails and speeches, when used in fiction books it can often have a hypnotic effect for the reader. A well known example is certain chapters in Palahniuk’s Fight Club.

This technique is by no means easy, but if you can pull it off, your readers will connect with you as the writer in a way that is mesmerizing.


Evidently there are several techniques that can be tweaked in countless ways to convey your story in a completely different light. Remember that certain techniques may not work for your particular story. It has to enhance your narrative, whilst not weakening the essential elements or events of your story. Trafford Publishing Author’s Corner will return soon!  

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