For the sake of compression, some of the characters that appear are composites of people I’ve known, and some events appear out of precise chronology.
Devices such as composite characters and shifting times to compress the narrative do not belong to the world of biography and autobiography. Such books are expected to be as long as they need be to tell the author’s entire story. With a serious academic work, that can mean thick multiple volumes.
Narrative compression is used when adapting a book for the stage or in a film. There it is both vital to hold the audience’s attention and to keep the overall length within the capacity of the average bladder. Readers can skip a section of a book they find uninteresting. An audience falls asleep or exits the theater at intermission. Thus, a writer adapting a book for a play or screenplay will combine salient parts of two or more characters or multiple episodes from the print source into composites in order to compress the narrative for dramatic effect. A classic example is how the suspense novel Six Days of the Condor became Three Days of the Condor when adapted to film.
The political left has a long history of using plays, movies, and TV series to push their agenda because dramatic media showcase their agenda items to good effect. Many audience members get so wrapped up in the images, characters, and action that they don’t stop to think about the huge dose of political propaganda being served on the side. This is one reason why the left talks so much of narratives. The political right, on the other hand, completely dominates the emotionally cooler medium of talk radio, where words alone have to carry the message. On radio, one does not compress words for dramatic effect. Words are amended or abridged to tighten arguments. If the argument isn’t cogent, the radio audience turns the dial.
Read more at American Thinker. By Rosslyn Smith.
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