Narrating Your Life as Practice

In the movie Wonder Boys, based on the Michael Chabon novel, literary Wunderkind James Leer is drunk, about to vomit, so his agent, Terry Crabtree, carries him out of the auditorium and to the bathroom. James Leer mumbles to himself,

The doors made so much noise. It was embarrassing. They had to carry them out.

GRADY

Is he all right?

CRABTREE

He’s fine. He’s narrating.

JAMES LEER

They were going to the men’s room, but would they make it in time?

I’m not suggesting that young James Leer got to be such a great and successful writer because, as his drunkenness reveals, he occasionally narrates his own life in his head–but I’m also not not suggesting it.

When you practice forming sentences to describe your own real life actions, it makes forming sentences to describe your characters’ fictional actions a little more natural.

And nothing reads half so well as natural prose.

So if you’re keen on developing your narrative powers, consider narrating your own life.

I leave you now in the angsty hands (and mind) of Angela Chase, a master of the art of narrating your own life:

About Dante Rasera

Originally from Upstate New York, I live in Brooklyn, New York, where I work in development at a nonprofit organization that provides arts education for New York City public school students. I graduated with a degree in creative writing from Hamilton College in Clinton, New York. During my time there, I studied literature at the University of Edinburgh and was awarded the Thomas E. Meehan Prize in Creative Writing.
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