Talking Shapes: The ‘Thumbnail’



In this second "talking shapes" essay, Chuck explores a basic paradox of storytelling, while revealing what you can do about it. The Thumbnail opening foreshadows major plot points in advance and creates authority, without giving too much away.

This content is for Workshop Members only. But don't despair! Click Here to upgrade your Membership and get these exclusive Craft Essays, not found anywhere else online!


CassandreKris's picture
CassandreKris May 27, 2022 - 12:42pm

This is really an amazing and interesting topic to learn and discuss. I just feel happy to get this here while looking for blogs. I would really love to get an upgrade to my account and get access.

Phil Sykora's picture
Phil Sykora from Stow, OH is reading Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck October 2, 2014 - 10:14am

To Bradley, I don't think that you avoid the narrator knowing the end of the story just because he's a "different being."  The narrator still knows how the story is going to end.  The present tense offers a whole new dimension to the question, but I don't think the third-person does.

Either way, it's something to think about.

Bradley Sands's picture
Bradley Sands from Boston is reading Greil Marcus's The History of Rock 'N' Roll in Ten Songs November 12, 2011 - 11:39pm

This is a really good point and I've never thought of it before...but I usually write in third person rather than first, so I don't feel like doing this is so necessary considering the "narrator" and the protagonist are two entirely different "beings." Plus I usually write in present tense. So...

But if I ever write in first person and in past tense, it's definitely something that needs to be addressed, although I may never write a book like that.