Found myself in a bit of a logical pickle in regard to the below piece:

The number nine growled sleepily from around the corner that morning, the night’s virgin snow crunching beneath its multitude of rubber feet.

  • Say the narrator is not omnipotent, telling the story as if he were a bystander on the bus stop.

  • There is only one line passing through that particular stop i.e. our narrator knowing the number of the bus while it is still behind the corner is believable enough.

  • The distance to the corner is close enough for everyone at the stop to be able to hear the bus's engine sounds, yet far enough for the crunching of the snow beneath the bus's wheels to be, normally, unintelligible to bystanders and the narrator alike.

What rules of logic and/or style would the narrator be breaking (if any) if he were to choose to describe the snow's sound, for the sake of extra detail, as depicted in the above quote? How would such a choice affect the description's plausibility?

  • Is your narrator a real POV character or your POV is more like a bus stop itself, with or without people? If former, then you already see a problem, if latter, I see no problem at all. – Alexander Jun 14 '17 at 16:39
  • I was aiming for the latter @Alexander. At least in that scene's description. Now that I reread the first bullet point, I see I've misinterpreted my narrator's role. Thanks for pitching in. – Yavor Voynov Jun 15 '17 at 13:40

The first thing to understand is that there are no rules of logic that must be applied a story. There is only the set of rules (narrative style) that you apply to your story.

Personally, I generally use two styles. Transition narrative conforms to a different set of rules to scene narrative.

Transition narrative is the text between scenes where the story is literally TOLD (usually in past tense). Anything in past tense does not require real-time facts. i.e. Your narrator knows the sound of tyres on snow and assumes the bus is making that sound - even he can't hear it. Within a transition things can be foreshadowed or foretold et.

Scene narrative is delivered in real time and may not include speculation.

[Transition] That morning Sophie awoke with a smile on her face ready to face whatever the day could throw at her. By the time she reached the breakfast table that smile was gone.

  • Unless the narrator was in Sophie's bedroom how could they know she had a smile on her face.

The story then goes into a scene.


"Sophie, what's wrong?" asked her mother.

"I just got fired," replied Sophie, staring at her phone.


"Just now, they fired me by TEXT."

[Transition] Today was the worst day of young Sophie's adult life. Tomorrow would be a better day, probably the best ever.

  • Thanks a bunch @Surtsey. Between yours and Lauren's answers I think I now know how to approach this. – Yavor Voynov Jun 15 '17 at 14:06

for the sake of extra detail

There's your problem.

Don't add extra detail which your POV character can't perceive. Find someplace else to put the pretty phrase or leave it in your slush file.


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