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Metaphorical fiddling can embellish serious narrative.

Here’s one example from “The Secret of Zareba” novela (found in Knapp’s Earth Is Not Alone–see right).

Place: Exoplanet Emryss; People: Fallen Humans, created there in the image of God (similar in DNA and appearance to humans on Earth); Time: Years earlier than “Now”; Circumstances: The great army of an evil coalition of kings from the “South” are headed to unwalled Zareba Village famous for its guild of weavers, and so Lord Fairold must quickly evacuate everyone and save as much as possible, leaving his young son behind for only a day with a buckboard to attempt to save and carry away an Emperor’s daughter who hasn’t arrived yet. P.O.V.: We see what’s happening with the son’s eyes. The Village Escape Route: an east-west highway a mile north connected by a one-half mile road perpendicular to it. Dividing the village into two groups would increase the chances of some villagers surviving…

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Got it?

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    Off due north sped…two caravans side by side. A few even tried to touch or join hands in adjacent wagons, and some of the younger men, to lighten the wagons for a faster start, began running alongside. One-half mile ahead the northern road ran into the great road that connected east and west. There, Lord Fairold turned sharply west, while Sir Kerky, without pause, headed the opposite way. It was as if the caravan were a piece of twisted cord, beginning at a point, only to grow longer and longer until it suddenly began to unravel into equal pieces and pull more and more apart until the pieces separated and disappeared into opposite directions…

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   Narration is the telling of what happens in a story. Point of View (POV) is the usually unspoken observation site of where the teller’s feet rest (or speed about going from brain to brain). The teller’s language may be “formal” (as here) or more friendly or “folksy.” We will probably be told what he thinks about what’s happening. That’s called 3rd-person limited omniscient. We will be told what the “teller” and others say and do and, perhaps hear what others say they think. But we are never told directly what they think. (Of course, you can’t tell that from what’s said here. If we’re told what more than one character actually thinks, we have a “God-like” narrator and the POV is 3rd-person omniscient. If the teller, or narrator, uses the personal pronouns “I,” “me,” “my,” “we,” “our,” or “us,” then the POV is called 1st-person (and that’s automatically limited-omnsicient–unless the character is clairvoyant, and that doesn’t happen here.)

   All three POVs have strengths and weaknesses, and are used by good writers. However, when a story starts, it should keep the POV the teller chooses all the way to the end.

   Here a metaphor is selected to tell partly what Fairold’s sees and thinks–as he begins to lead the action that follows. He sees his people leave and disappear like a cord forming, unraveling, and disappearing forever, though he’d probably never say it quite that way. For the the moment he’s dependent on his (story) creator–and that’s neither obvious or important. Metaphors can sometimes say it better than plain old facts…