The Questions

Story Narration – How Important is it in Storytelling?

Story Narration – The Most Important Foundation of Storytelling

Story Narration is the most fundamental part of storytelling. Without narration, there is just dialogue and no substance, kind of like a hamburger without the meat paddy or spaghetti without the sauce.

A few years ago one of the writing committees I belong to ran a contest – tell a story using only dialogue and dialogue tags. Even with writers of high calibre attempting to portray as much description as possible there is only so much you can do without the supporting structure of narration. It holds your story together and thus elevates the written word.

Keeping that in mind, you can easily tell a story only using narration. A stories narrative is a fundamental tool when used properly, can convey all that is needed to entertain.

An Offering

For your entertainment, I’ll share one of my flash fiction pieces with you. Disposal was written several years ago for the Mash Stories Flash Fiction Challenge that happens quarterly each year. If you’re not aware of the challenge, take the time to visit and support them. They have little to no advertising on their page and award writers for amazing stories. You can even listen to and audio presentation of the winning work.

My piece, Disposal, received finalist status one quarter in 2014. The site sadly does not appear to be active any more for there are no updates since last year.

For your entertainment, I offer you this work of fiction that is only narrative to show how the foundation of such makes a story worth reading.


Disposal - Pintrest

The woman had been stunning, with long golden hair glistening on diminutive shoulders. Her angular face and high cheek bones more elfish than normal. I surmise that’s why he tried.

I’d been convinced by the honesty of Jacob’s testimonial that he would no longer feed on humans. But today’s call told me it was a lie. I’m disappointed in him. I’ll just charge extra.

Jacob informed me he had a date yesterday night. He’d encountered a woman, and escorted her to dinner. She’d given him all the signals that sex was in the cards, and he was prepared with this motel room. She did not expect what would happen when they were alone. No one could have.

The once quaint room was now in a shambles. A broken lamp, strewn sheets, bloody bathroom floor, and a heavy odour of spoiled meat. The two large bites on the woman’s neck could be identified by anyone, so why did he put her in the bathtub with a blow-dryer but not run the water? Did he think it hide the violence of her death?

With a shake of my head, I make my way to the truck. The job is not the most rewarding, but the pay is outstanding. Each client needs a professional to clean up after their dinner – otherwise, they’d be discovered. So my services are always in demand, and I am busy these days. I glance at my watch: just after 3 AM. It’s been over 24 hours.

The hydrofluoric acid will liquefy the body as well as the tub. I will need the plastic barrel. Dissolving will have to be off site, and at a premium.

I realize the electric chainsaw will make fast work of the corpse, but today I decide to grab a handsaw to cut the limbs in silence. I place the tool in the barrel, whistling a soft tune as the morning’s work begins. First, I drape plastic around the walls of the bathroom to make clean-up that much easier.

Dismemberment is not difficult. Cutting at the joints is the most sensible approach and since the body is already exsanguinated, there is little splatter. I place the parts into the plastic barrel: arms, legs, torso and finally the head. I stare into the vacant eyes. She’s packed tighter than a fighter pilot in a cockpit. I secure the lid in place. Little room is left; that means less acid and more profit. It is all about the numbers.

I roll the barrel out of the room and into the back of my van. With the lamp replaced, the clean-up can begin. I work methodically, removing the plastic and washing down the bathroom. I use ammonia to clean the surface and replace the sheets to prepare the room for the next occupant. Finally, I vacuum to suck the last remnants of evidence away.

Satisfied, I lock the room, close the van doors, and buckle up.

The story Disposal appears in the book “Inside My Mind: Volume II“, published by Science Fiction and Fantasy Publications in 2017 and available for free through Amazon’s KDP(you can also order a copy through your local bookstore).

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