Jan. 18th, 2016

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At one point, I thought that one function of summaries was to allow for presenting events out of order, or thematically.

(Patterns and summaries are really hard to do in an immersive sensory scene, the more detail and immersiveness in a moment in time you want to present, the less you can skip around to a different point in time without it being distracting or jarring and without losing some degree of sensory immersive experience. Which may be the point, in some cases. I think some styles actually court the effect of jumping around and reorienting the reader slowly, either as a form of tension or because the jarring effect fits the story. But more generally, if you're not actually going for that, then you can have the character think about other times, you can do flashbacks, but if you have the character think, the actual moment fades, and if you do a flashback, then the moment is gone until you actually jump back to it.)

It occurs to me that if this is the case, then another function of summaries could be to present a clearer point of view about events. The closer the writing is to completeness, the more "raw data" is included, the less the character's perspective shows in what is presented. It's all presented. But if you summarize, then what and how it is presented is all about character (whether the narrator, the pov character, whatever) and their long term perspective.

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