A refresher course on narrative voice

A good narrative keeps readers’ attention, provides clarity to complicated subjects and makes the mundane memorable.

A good narrative keeps readers’ attention, provides clarity to complicated subjects and makes the mundane memorable

Cool wind beats against his jacket and the ocean roars in the Gulf of Mexico. Billy Swor, operator, is happy to begin another day aboard the Kerr-McGee Global Producer VI in the Boomvang field, especially when he thinks back to a day in November 2001.

“Hi, Mr. Hardie. This is Samantha Smith, Bill’s daughter. He asked me to phone you. He wondered whether it was possible for you to visit him this evening. Also, would you please bring a red felt marker and bacon-flavoured dog treats?” This was the message waiting for me on Monday morning. I was intrigued, as I believed Bill currently was schloozing—or whatever it is one does with skis—in Whistler. I immediately cancelled my regular Monday evening poetry reading session. My confirmation of attendance to Samantha was left on their voicemail system, thus I was still in the dark as to the purpose of the visit. Samantha greeted me at the door. She is a young woman who favours a stream-of-consciousness style of speaking, joining seemingly random thoughts with interjections of the word “cool.” So, it wasn’t until we reached the family room that I finally understood what she was telling me. I found Bill sitting in a recliner chair, with his right leg proudly propped up on an ottoman and displaying a full leg cast. Resting at the foot of his chair was a seven-week-old St. Bernard puppy.”

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