Terms and Concepts
Granthika allows you write your manuscript, to structure it, and also keep track of many elements of the world you are creating within your text.
We can group these structural segments and story elements into two parts. The literary critic Seymour Chatman observed that any narrative has two aspects: “a story (histoire), the content or chain of events (actions, happenings), plus what may be called the existents (characters, items of setting); and a discourse (discours), that is, the expression, the means by which the content is communicated. In simple terms, the story is the what in a narrative that is depicted, discourse the how.”
Don't worry, you really don’t need to know any literary theory to use Granthika!
In Granthika, the discourse elements, which structure your manuscript, are as follows:
- PARTS: A part is the largest element in a manuscript, and it can contain chapters, sections, and scenes. Parts were widely used in long 19th century novels, such as Charles Dickens‘ Our Mutual Friend, which has parts with titles like “BOOK THE FIRST. THE CUP AND THE LIP.”
- CHAPTERS: Contemporary writers and readers are of course much more familiar with chapters, “a subdivison of a written work; usually numbered and titled.” A chapter can contain sections and scenes.
- SECTIONS: A section is a “self-contained part of a larger composition.” Sections can contain other sections or scenes.
- SCENES: A scene is a direct depiction of an event. Scenes are the most granular element of the discourse structure, and cannot contain any other discourse elements.
Note that sections are the only discourse elements that can be nested within each other. So a section can contain another section, which in turn can contain another section, and so forth.
Granthika doesn’t impose any structuring of your manuscript on you. So if you want, you could write your entire manuscript as one long piece of text. Or you could structure it as a series of scenes.
The people, locations, etc., that exist in the world that you are creating and describing in your discourse are the existents. These are:
- CHARACTERS: A character is usually defined as “an imaginary person represented in a work of fiction, such as a play, film, or narrative.” In fiction, the definition of character is very flexible; for example, the English novel Chrysal, or the Adventures of a Guinea (1760 CE) is told from the point of view a mind-reading coin. In general, if you’re telling any part of a story from an object’s point of view, you should treat that object as a character. A character can participate in an event.
- LOCATIONS: A location is any point or extent in space which is referred to in your fiction. A location can contain other locations. Events occur in locations.
- OBJECTS: An object is any non-animate item that you refer to in your text. An object can be associated with an event.
An event can be defined as “something that happens at a given place and time.”
Events can of course contain other events. For example, Watson’s life contains his many adventures with Holmes.
An event can be associated with a chronological span—an event can be defined as occurring on a certain date and time, or between certain periods, or from a moment in time.
Events can also have constraints associated with them. For instance, you could say that an inquest must come after a murder, or that a character’s birth must come before her death.
Events can be associated with locations, and have characters as participants.
Together, your existents and events are your story elements.
An easy way to think about discourse elements and story elements is to consider the phrase, “You tell the story.”
The telling of the story is the discourse. What is communicated through the telling is the story.
The same story can be told a thousand different ways, using exactly the same story elements.
Granthika allows you to create relationships between several kinds of elements.
A mention is an inline reference within the manuscript to a story element. Granthika’s mentions are similar to those you might be familiar with in Twitter and Facebook. A mention in the manuscript allows you to move swiftly between the manuscript and the details of the story element it connects to.
- Depictions: Any discourse element (a Chapter, a Scene, etc.) can depict a number of events. In fiction and other kinds of narrative writing, depiction usually means the dramatic showing or imitation of an event or events. This kind of depiction is often contrasted with summary.
- Point of View: The simplest definition of point of view is “the perspective from which a narrative or a part of a narrative is told.” The point of view can be a character’s, or a narrator’s (omniscient, limited, etc.). Granthika allows you to track the points of view for any discourse element.
You can also create relationships between story elements and events. A character can participate in an event, and an event can occur in a location.
An event can be a sub-event of another event. A location can be a sub-location of another location.
From the Editor, you can mention a story element or event, creating a connection from your manuscript to these elements.
All relationships allow viewing of connected story elements or events from multiple vantage points. For instance, you can see where a particular character is mentioned through your entire manuscript. Or you can see which discourse elements depict an event.