is that portion of the Story in which the Main Narrative Problem is set out
(Part 2). Some Story Situations are so fraught, they need no set-up in the Reader's mind, but in all stories, the plausibility must be justified This is the Explanatory
"Let me e'splain. No, it would take too long."
- Importance of the Story Situation,
- Intrinsically or
- Synthetically through foreshadowing,
Something unusual in
- the Story Situation or
- the Character of the Chief Actor
3. Explanatory Matter.
What’s the Matter Wit' You, Baby?
- Overcome a Difficulty;
- Engaged in Conflict with Opposing Forces; and/or
- Averted a Disaster.
The man who slipped into the Second Dog that day was thin and pinch-faced and crossed the room with a half-scared, furtive look. Willy cut off in the middle of a sentence and said, “I wonder what that Gof wants?” The rest of us at the table turned to watch. An Authority cop at the next table, busy not noticing how strong the near-beer was, slipped his hand into his pocket, and VJ loosened the knife in his ankle scabbard. Robbery was rare in Panic Town – making the getaway being a major hurdle – but it was not unknown.That the bar is semi-illegal, why it's supposed to serve near-beer, what the Authority is, and even who are the guys sitting around the table can be presented later,
- Biographical details
- Special quality in the background or atmosphere
- Prior happenings; especially those that suggest the likelihood of failure and the probability of opposition.
The Earnestness of Being Important
The Explanatory Matter comes first in “The Darfsteller,” by Walter Miller, Astounding (Jan 1955), because the Story Situation as such – an out of work actor wants to be in a play – is not intrinsically interesting, or at least not very. But Miller takes care of that with the very first sentence, now almost legendary as a “hook.”
"Judas, Judas" was playing at the Universal on Fifth Street, and the cast was entirely human.
“Barkeep, I’ll Have the Unusual”
In Ancient Shores, April Cannon, a fairly usual character type, learns that the yacht unearthed on a Dakota farm is made of a stable transuranic element, which by current knowledge should be impossible. (As if a yacht buried in the North Dakota prairie were not unusual enough!)
- An unusual interpretation of a usual phenomenon
- An unusual adaptation of a usual incident
Best of Times; Worst of Times
Yea, Though We Walk Through the Valley of the Foreshadowing of Death
- Difficulty to be overcome
- Coming conflict
- Disaster to be avoided
|Allayo of the
Gariniki, "Let the Word |
Take Me" (art by Jared Fiori)