|The Family by Neel 1970|
A narrative is a telling of story, whether in fiction or another creative form. In fiction, it's most often narrated by the main player, in either 1st person (I did this), or 3rd person (she or he did this). Sometimes a story is told in omniscient point of view, but this is not often the case in YA or children's fiction, with the exception of some fairytales. In fact, the YA "police" have a derogatory term for omniscient POV when it's done badly. They call it "head-hopping", which makes one think of head lice or some equally creepy-crawly critter.
|Girl in Red by Neel 1967|
Books aren't the only things containing narrative. Paintings tell stories too! Look at these stunning modernist portraits by painter Alice Neel, and imagine the tales behind them. It's not hard to do, as she put so much raw emotion into them. They have a touch of Diane Arbus to them, but humanity wins out over the macabre in Neel's work. By the way, click here to see a new and amazing documentary about this artist created by her son, Andrew! Now isn't that the perfect homage from a son to his mother? Alice Neel was born near Philadelphia in 1900, and grew to be one of the most celebrated portrait artists of the twentieth century, despite her disregard for the limelight and disinterest in being part of a rarified clique.
|Two Girls, Spanish Harlem 1959|
What do you think about "loud" vs "quiet" narratives? Does a character always have to be a hero or heroine to make a story great? What piece of art that you know of, feels most engaging to you in terms of telling a story?