Finally we're going to go so close to a character that we merge with their consciousness:
Shawn's watching me like I'm an injured tern flying too close to the rocks. What does he think I am? A loser? Anyone can windsurf. Now kite surfing – that would be so cool – sailing through the sky. Flying and water, what more could you want? No use thinking about it though – Gran would never let me.
This is a Highlighting exercise - please apply these tags to this snippet.
This is another trigger-response snippet, except the response is more elaborate and internalised.
At the closest narrative distance, we are essentially inside the character's head experiencing what they experience.
One of the key features of this distance is interior speech. We hear the character talking to themselves:
Also notice how "watching me" reinforces that we are inside the character's point of view. Does that mean this internal distance only works in first person narration?
Here's the same snippet but rewritten in third person. It has a slightly different flavour, but we are still essentially eavesdropping inside the character's mind:
She sees Shawn watching her like she's an injured tern flying too close to the rocks. What does he think she is? A loser? Anyone can windsurf. Now kite surfing – that would be so cool – sailing through the sky. Flying and water, what more could you want? No use thinking about it though – Gran would never let her.
Which of the internal distance devices (self-talk, fragments, questions, metaphors, judging) do you see in this orc siege example?
He dived into the fight. This was living! Axe handle rough in your palm, iron head heavy-but-light as you swing freely, the satisfying snap of men's limbs as you carve them clean off. Look at them, worms in metal shells. Smash them to a paste! Nothing better than war. Cold you might be, hungry too, and bored with waiting, but then—ah! These sounds and smells of battle!
What do you see in the military dolphin story?
There was the other half, lodged in the sand like a corn chip in a dip. Crazy. No way. She hefted it out and put the two pieces together. What could have done that? Maybe she’d fallen. Maybe the board snapped itself inside the wave. No, not with that jolt. Something had hit her. It couldn’t have been the military dolphin, could it? That thing was supposed to hunt subs, not surfers.
And that's a tour through 5 levels of narrative distance!
Let's look at all of your responses and see if they feel like they are moving closer each time.
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