As of last week, I have also become a sort of unofficial active representative of the Deakin Writer's club. I have volunteered to spread the word about the Deakin Writer's Club to people in my Writing Craft tutorial, including to my tutor. While I haven't had anything published in it myself (mostly because I haven't really submitted anything), I am looking forward to introducing more writers to the circle.
|The Gardiner's Creek track between res and the campus. |
You honestly wouldn't know that I live near the city...
I love going for walks along the creek. Very relaxing.
First of all, on Australianisms: our lecturer and tutors etc. are trying to encourage us to not use American spelling, because, well, we're not American. That means they are actually taking marks off us if they find 'colour' spelled 'color' or 'realise' spelled 'realize' in our work. Because that's just the Australian way, so there. I actually didn't realise that the 'z' instead of an 's' was a thing until they started pointing it out. Doesn't that just go to show how infected by American culture Australia is becoming? So I spell it 'focalisation' with an 's' and those of you who aren't in Australia can spell it 'focalization' with a 'z'.
When we think of focalisation, my lecturer says we should think of who is seeing (similar to point of view), but also, that we should think of who knows. Our lecturer told us about this guy called Genette who described focalisation as "a selection or restriction of narrative information in relation to experience and knowledge of the narrator, character or other, more hypothetical entities in the story world." Genette distinguishes between three different degrees of focalisation:
- Zero focalisation: a narrative with an omniscient narrator, who knows more than the characters do. This is also described by some narratologists as 'vision from behind'. It's really only relevant if you're writing in third person.
- Internal focalisation: when the main character(s) and the narrator know the same amount. This is also called 'vision within', 'narrative with point of view', or with 'restricted field' because we are restricted to what the character knows. This can be relevant for both third person and first person, because in first person, the main character is the narrator.
- External focalisation: when the narrator knows less than the character, also known as 'vision from without'. This style is more objective and behaviourist. It works well if you want an unreliable narrator, who cannot clue the reader in on what a character's silent motivations are, etc. Relevant for first and third person.
But is this really an definite definition of what focalisation is? Nope! Congratulations, my dear readers; you have fallen into the same trap as me, thinking that education will answer questions, when it really has an awful tendency of creating more. According to our lecturer, the definition and explanation of focalisation is one that is often debated and lots of modifications, counter-theories and extensions have been made to what Genette originally proposed as a framing. It's a confusing area of writing and now a whole lecture theatre full of students have joined in the chaos, and so have you!
Personally, I am happy to stick with Genette's framing of it.
What would you consider focalisation to be?