What is narrative structure? In creative nonfiction, the narrative structure is the sequence of events and the way in which the writer tells the story. The narrative structure can also refer to how the ideas are presented to the reader.
The writer has many ways to tell his true story. For instance, the writer can tell the story from beginning to end. He can use flashbacks. Or the writer can contrast two different stories.
This article discusses the various types of narrative structures that a writer can use to write a personal essay, memoir, autobiography, and so forth.
In the Art of Creative Nonfiction, author Lee Gutkind discusses the “frame”, which is a way of ordering and controlling the writer’s narrative so that the story is presented in an orderly and interesting way.
GULLIVER’S WIFE is an imaginative and rich retelling of Jonathan Swift’s classic Gulliver’s Travels from his long-suffering wife’s perspective with a strong feminist flavour.
In London 1702 Mary Burton Gulliver is forced to raise her son and daughter alone while her husband is at sea. He is often gone for years, rarely keeping in contact, and each time he returns his stories become increasingly fanciful. Mary has no choice but to work as a midwife to make ends meet, even though that she is judged harshly for having to work as a married woman.
When her husband returns home from his long stint at sea feverish and making the most ridiculous claims yet, Mary has no choice but to take him in and to care for him. Even though it was difficult to survive while her husband was at sea, in many ways Mary found it easier to manage her household on her own. Her life without Lemuel was spent managing her household, working in her garden, and caring for the local women in her role as a midwife was mostly calm and orderly. Even before his outlandish ravings began Lemuel brought chaos and deception wherever he went, and his light fingers meant that Mary needed to try to hide whatever meagre money and valuables she possessed.
I particularly liked the character of Bess, Mary’s daughter. Bess is 14 years old and infatuated with her father. She believes his tall tales and false promises that he will take her sailing with him one day until his selfish behaviour puts her in danger this time. Mary hopes that she will train to become a midwife like herself and her mother before her. I think that the relationship between Mary and Bess perfectly captured the difficulties often found in the mother/daughter relationship during the tumultuous teen years when the daughter is trying to figure things out for herself and is desperate for her independence.
I thoroughly enjoyed GULLIVER’S WIFE and would highly recommend it to lovers of historical fiction with a strong feminist bent and touches of magic and wonder. The story is engrossing and skilfully weaved together.
In 2018 she was awarded a grant by the Neilma Sidney Literary Fund to travel to the Netherlands to research her third novel The Winter Dress, inspired by a real 17th century gown found off the Dutch coast in 2014. She has made appearances at the Brisbane Writers Festival, Storyfest, the Southern Highlands Writers’ Festival and the Tamar Valley Writers’ Festival, as well as many others. She is currently completing her Masters of Cultural Heritage through Deakin University.
Today’s the day The Codebreakers is released in Australia and New Zealand in print and e-book! It’s a story very close to my heart as it’s inspired by the real-life codebreaking women in Brisbane in WWII.
When I first learned about the Garage Girls and Central Bureau, it felt like a treasure trove of endless stories had been unearthed. Female codebreakers in Australia in World War II? Who were they? What did they do? Why had we not heard about them before? My investigating led me into an amazing world and I’ve met and interviewed many fascinating and courageous people who worked for Central Bureau and other signals intelligence departments and outposts. They generously shared stories not only about the work, but their personal experiences of living with secrets and how it affected their lives during and after the war.
People who worked top-secret jobs during the war often felt…
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