Give your story oomph! with narrative drive

Ever read a story before bed and find it so gripping that you stay up far later than you should just to find out what is going to happen? If so, you’ve been a “victim” of narrative drive.

Narrative drive is the force that makes a reader feel that something is about to happen. The more powerful your narrative drive, the less likely the reader is to put down the story.

All of the great works of literature have powerful narrative drives.

But creating a powerful narrative drive involves a lot more than devising interesting worlds as does Frank Herbert in “Dune,” an intriguing main character as does Orson Scott Card in “Ender’s Game” or a fascinating premise as does Isaac Asimov in “Foundation.” It is all of these things and more: good plotting, mesmerizing settings, captivating characters, proper point of view selection, an absorbing theme and an artists’ handling of stylistic issues. So, while we can discuss elements of a story in isolation, as occurs on this blog, always remember that a good story is the sum of these elements.

To obtain narrative drive then requires a full sense of a story’s various elements. Still, there are a couple of things to keep in mind to improve your story’s narrative drive:
• Link description with action – Whenever you opt to describe a landscape or character, ensure that it serves the dual purpose of moving forward the story’s plot.
• Avoid stiff writing by using repetitious and superfluous wording – Poor writing follows a “He did this then this happened” pattern while quality writing takes an “As he did this, this happened” approach.