Tag: narrative techniques

Perspective Series: #9 Author surrogate

Perspective Series: #9 Author surrogate

Only the last perspective is missing to complete the author/narrator Perspectives Series overview: Author surrogate. The surrogate author is a substitute for the author within the narrative. Let’s take a look at its characteristics and how best to use this technique.

What is the Author surrogate?

As the term itself suggests, the surrogate author is a surrogate of the author. It is a character inserted within the narrative who takes on the author’s characteristics.
It is possible to create a character with a different name, physical characteristics, and personality but who in some way has a direct link with the author of the narrative.

The aim is to allow the author to write their own opinion or make this surrogate character react as they would if they were inside their own story. However, the reader can not understand that this is a character unless the author does not want to reveal it.

Some examples of Author surrogate

In fiction, there are many examples of this perspective. As already mentioned, the reader is often surprised when they learn of the link between one of the characters in the story and the author themself. This is because there is no explicit element linking one to the other.

For example, in Jurassic Park, author Michael Crichton thought of creating the eccentric character Ian Malcolm to express through him his ideas about cloning and the failure of the whole project.

Similarly, going further back in time, Plato, in his writings and in particular in his “Apology of Socrates“, uses the character of Socrates to express his thoughts and concepts.

Stephen King has also often used this technique. Think of the many characters in his novels, such as The Shining, Misery, or The Dark Half. The main characters are all writers, just like their author.

What is the aim of an Author surrogate?

An author may choose to use this Perspective for different reasons.
Firstly, to express ideas and opinions that they have never expressed before as an author. An author of novels cannot express their opinions in the same way as a columnist. One of the ways to do this is to create an Author surrogate.
Secondly, the link between author and character is something that can strike the reader and serve as a twist, especially when revealed at the end of the story. In this way, even after finishing the reading, the reader will be pleasantly impressed by what they have learned.

Use bibisco to choose the best Perspective

With this Perspective on the author’s figure, we have explained all the techniques related to the narrator. In this way, you can choose which method of writing best suits you and your narrative.
bibisco can help you with this choice. Thanks to its novel writing software, bibisco can help you decide whether to create an Author surrogate or rely on a Third-person narration, for example.

Perspective-Author surrogate- bibisco's Timeline - bibisco blog | useful resources by your novel writing software
bibisco’s main character section


The Author surrogate technique can be very useful in several respects.
It allows the author to express something more of themself while disguising themself in the guise of a character. The technique also allows the author to leave the reader with a feeling of a twist if they detect that the author is hiding under the narrative’s main character.

Perspective Series: #5 Second-person narration

Perspective Series: #5 Second-person narration

Among the various perspective techniques we presented in our Perspective Series, there is one called Second-person narration. The Second-person narration is one of those perspective techniques that characterize the writing of a story.
It involves using the second person as the subject of the narrative.

What is the Second-person narration?

The Second-person narration is a narrative technique that concerns the narrator. As we have already seen in previous articles, the narrator can have different points of view. There is, in fact, first-person narration rather than second-person narration.
It is a little-used perspective technique, but it can create a strong involvement for the reader, who finds himself conditioning the plot of the narration with his own decisions.

Its characteristic is that it addresses the reader directly without presenting itself overtly as the ‘narrative self’.

The narrator can be a character, an external narrator, or even an object that witnesses the protagonist’s life.

The story is told using ‘you‘.

Simply put, the reader stays in the background and puts the reader in the foreground.

When Second-person narration is used?

Second-person narration is widely used in advertising and in those stories where the reader conditions the narrative’s ending.

An example you might not have thought of is role-playing or board games in general, where cards give the player directions on how to proceed in the game. An example: ‘Skip a turn!’ or ‘Back to the start’.

In the field of advertising, we think of Nike‘s slogan ‘Just do it’. This is also an example of second-person narration.

Why using the Second-person narration?

This technique allows the reader to identify with the story, experiencing the events more closely. Furthermore, using the second person explicitly (‘you’) increases the sense of urgency of the plot.

However, there are risks in using this technique.

The first risk is the colloquial and informal tone.

Secondly, writing a series of actions, almost as if it were a shopping list, boring the reader. It can be helpful to break up the descriptions in these cases, lightening the sentences.

A final risk is to disorientate the reader who, when reading the actions identified with ‘you‘, cannot identify with the character. Sometimes, the reader has a different nature and character than the character, which would lead them to act in an entirely different way from what is described in the story.

What are you doing, moon, in heaven? Tell me, what are you doing? Silent moon?

Giacomo Leopardi – Night Song of a Wandering Shepherd of Asia

First-person or Second-person narration?

There are several aspects to pay attention to before writing a story. And, at the same time, there are different perspectives to choose from.
bibisco helps you with this. Besides consulting the blog to learn more about narrative techniques and different ways of telling a story, you can use its innovative novel writing software.
You can decide how to describe your characters, what characteristics they will have, and what tone to give your story.

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bibisco character’s events


In Second-person narration, the narrative perspective is the narrator addressing the reader or a particular character directly. The story is told in the second-person singular (‘you’). The effect is to engage the reader with great emphasis.

Narrative Techniques Series: #20 Red herring

Narrative Techniques Series: #20 Red herring

We have come to the end of the journey in our Narrative Technique Series. We conclude with a very special technique, the Red herring, which has nothing to do with herring.

However, you may have frequently come across this red herring in books or films. What is it? We explain it below.

What is the Narrative Technique of Red herring?

Red herring occurs when a clue or information is inserted into the narrative deliberately to distract attention from other elements. For example, in a mystery book, an innocent person is presented as guilty, using wrong clues and ambiguous words.

The term was popularised in 1807 by the English polemicist William Cobbett. It seems that the expression “Red herring” derives from the custom of English hunters. Cobbett told a story about using a strong-smelling smoked fish to divert and distract dogs from chasing a rabbit.

Red herring: purpose and uses

The purpose of red herring is to mislead the reader or viewer to what is really going on. In this way, it allows the culprit to pass as innocent. At least for a few moments until they are unmasked.

It is hard to use this technique. The author has to be able to play it cleverly with the perception of the plot and the characters.

They have to lead the reader to believe that the truth is another. This inevitably leads to a final twist, when the reader realizes what really happened and that the author has only diverted his attention during the narrative.

It is, therefore, a challenging technique to use but very useful. It manages to complicate the plot of the story and at the same time create that climax that turns into the final twist.

Examples of the Red herring Narrative Technique

Agatha Christie‘s books often use a red herring to distract the reader from the real culprit.
In The Mysterious Affair at Styles, the reader is led to believe that the two main characters hate each other, but this turns out to be a way of hiding the fact that they have conspired to kill someone.

In cinema, we can find this element in Alfred Hitchcock’s films, where characters and things turn out to be anything but what the viewer expects them to be.

One of the most modern examples of red herring found in books and, consequently, in films is Harry Potter. Particularly about the character of Snape. It is only at the end of the Harry Potter saga that we learn that all along, Snape has been doing nothing but trying to watch over Harry, protecting him on more than one occasion.

From the tip of his wand emerged the silver doe: it landed on the office floor, made a leap and dived out of the window. Dumbledore watched it fly away and when its silver glow faded he turned to Snape, his eyes filled with tears. “After all this time?” “Always,” Snape replied.”

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

The innovative software of bibisco to write your story

bibisco is the tool that helps you write a story.

Thanks to its novel writing software and valuable tips in the blog section, you will know what structure to give your story. You will also find it easy to create characters and use the narrative techniques discussed in our articles. Try it now, and you’ll love it!

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bibisco chapters’ section


The Red herring is that element that misleads the reader, making them believe that things are different from how they are presented. This technique is as difficult to use as it is useful. It distracts the reader and creates the perfect environment for the final twist. Only there, you discover that you have only been misled all along.

Perspective Series: #4 Breaking the fourth wall

Perspective Series: #4 Breaking the fourth wall

Have you ever had one of the main characters address you directly in a book or a film?

The Breaking the Fourth Wall technique, in addition to others of our “Perspective series“, is used by authors and directors to engage and surprise the audience.

What does “Breaking the Fourth Wall” mean?

The concept of Breaking the Fourth Wall was first mentioned in Denis Diderot’s essay ‘De la poésie dramatique’ in 1758. Diderot explains that this technique was used in the theatre. It aimed to make the actors act more realistically, forgetting the audience’s presence.

In other words, the Fourth Wall is an expression indicating an “imaginary wall” through which the audience observes the action taking place in the narrative. This wall is usually the element that separates the reader, or the spectator, from the story. In some cases, however, this wall can be broken down.

The audience follows a narrative involved but knows that everything they are reading is pure invention until one of the characters starts to address the readers directly with reflections or considerations about what is happening.

At this point, the audience is thus directly involved in the narrative.

Breaking the Fourth Wall: what is the purpose?

When a character addresses the audience directly creates The Breaking of the Fourth Wall. This reminds the audience that what they are seeing or reading is fiction. At the same time makes them feel more involved in the story.

Many authors have used this perspective. This technique forces the audience to see the narrative in a different light and to watch actively.

Among these authors, we can mention Bertold Brecht. He deliberately broke the Fourth Wall to make the audience think more critically.

Luigi Pirandello also used this particular technique in ‘Six Characters in Search of an Author‘. The characters move beyond the stage space and act in the middle of the stall.

Some examples of Breaking the Fourth Wall from the world of cinema

A relatively recent example of a film using this perspective is Martin Scorsese‘s ‘The Wolf of Wall Street‘.
Leonardo DiCaprio plays Jordan Belfort. He often addresses the audience while looking at the camera to comment on the unfolding events.

The same technique is used in another Scorsese film, ‘The Goodfellas‘. Ray Liotta, plays a character who provides the narration of the story. In the meantime, he explains to the audience how he feels, what is happening, and his thoughts.

A fourth wall break inside a fourth wall break? That’s like… sixteen walls

Wade Wilson- Deadpool

Where to start when writing a novel?

To write a story, you first need to have the plot and the characters in mind.

But this is not enough to create a compelling story.

You need to know what elements to include, what techniques to use, and what tone to write in.

bibisco gives you lots of advice on storytelling techniques and the elements to use in a story. Moreover, its innovative novel writing software helps you write the story effortlessly, guiding you step by step.

Perspective Series: #4 Breaking the Fourth Wall - bibisco's project explorer - bibisco blog | useful resources by your novel writing software
bibisco’s project explorer


Breaking the Fourth Wall is a technique used in various fields, from television to novels and plays.

The aim is to surprise the audience, who suddenly find themselves directly involved and challenged by one of the characters.

Usually, a narrator inside the story addresses the reader to comment and express their emotions and thoughts.

Narrative Techniques: #19 Poetic Justice

Narrative Techniques: #19 Poetic Justice

The journey in our series of narrative techniques continues. This time we are talking about “Poetic Justice“. It is a narrative technique that has to do with what is right to happen and that carries with it a moral lesson.

What is the Narrative Technique of Poetic Justice?

In every story, there is a good and a bad character. Often readers become attached to the good character. They would like the bad character to be given a just punishment. On the contrary, the good character is rewarded for his good actions. Simply put, the reader typically likes the story to end with a happy ending.
Poetic Justice is just that when good triumphs over evil.

Thomas Rymer coined the term ‘Poetic Justice’. He was a theater critic who wrote the essay ‘The Tragedies of the Last Age Consider’d’ in 1678.
According to Rymer, a narrative should tell of the triumph of good over evil to give readers an example of social morality.

What is the aim of Poetic Justice?

Many stories, like fairy tales, contain a final message or moral lesson.
Nowadays, however, there are several novels about ‘bad’ characters who sometimes win out over good.

The purpose of Poetic Justice is to celebrate justice and the concept of morality. It teaches readers that correct and just behavior is rewarded. Bad and incorrect behavior, on the other hand, is punished.

Narrative Technique of Poetic Justice: some examples

There are several examples of this narrative technique.

Oliver Twist, by Charles Dickens, the bad character, is represented by Mr. Bumble, the orphanage director. Mr. Bumble enjoys punishing the orphans. At the end of the novel, it turns out that Mr. Bumble becomes poor, just like the poor orphans he had always persecuted.

Another example of Poetic Justice, in more recent literature, is Harry Potter in books written by J.K.Rowling. At the end of the saga, Harry Potter succeeds in defeating Voldemort, a dark character against whom he has been fighting for years.

Finally, think of fairy tales. All Disney cartoons end with a happy ending.
For example, in the Little Mermaid, Ariel defeats Ursula, the evil sea witch. Ariel gets married to Prince Eric and lives happily ever after.

I’m going to kill you, Harry Potter. I’m going to destroy you. After tonight, no one will question my powers. After tonight, if they speak of you, they will speak only of how you begged to die and how I, as a merciful Lord, favored you.

Voldemort- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

The innovative novel writing software of bibisco: an important help!

To write a story, you have to know where to start. Even if you have a good plot in mind, it is not always easy to write the words on paper and make the story compelling.

That is why there are narrative techniques that the author can use. You can clarify the characters, plot, ending, and narrative techniques that will capture your reader’s attention. Moreover, there is innovative novel writing software from bibisco. You can use it to put your ideas in order.

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bibisco’s chapters section


The narrative technique Poetic Justice celebrates morality and the ending that everyone wants: good triumphing over evil.
It is more than a narrative technique. It is a lesson in life, where the good character is rewarded, and the bad character is punished.

Narrative Techniques Series: #18 MacGuffin

Narrative Techniques Series: #18 MacGuffin

Have you ever heard of the MacGuffin? MacGuffin is one of the most interesting and complex Narrative Techniques.
Indeed, you have noticed this Narrative Technique in some books or films.

We will explain in detail what it is and the characteristics of the MacGuffin Narrative Technique.

What is the Narrative Technique of MacGuffin?

It is the narrative device around which the characters’ attention is focused, although it has no definite or relevant meaning for the viewer. It is just a pretext, an element that gives the beginning to the story.

The master of thrills, Alfred Hitchcock, coined this term. Even if some believe that his screenwriter friend, Angus MacPhail, is the authentic father of this term.

What is the aim of the MacGuffin?

In many thriller novels and films appears the MacGuffin technique. It is something that appears at the beginning of the story. Also, sometimes reappear at the climax of the story. Before the end, however, the reader forgets it because it is never the essential element of the narrative.

The MacGuffin is an element capable of attracting the audience’s attention. It forces them to ask questions, thus making them an active part of the narrative.

On the other hand, a story is defined as exciting when it succeeds in provoking strong emotions in the reader or viewer.

This is what the MacGuffin is for. Its goal is to insert an element into your story with the sole purpose of provoking a reaction in the audience. In this way, it will be forced to go to the end of the story to understand why it is there.

MacGuffin: some examples

As a first example, let us take a film by Alfred Hitchcock, Psycho.
The film starts with a girl who steals an envelope with 40,000 dollars. Then, she takes it with her, fleeing the city. Several times we see images of this envelope, almost as if it were the focus of the narrative.
In reality, the envelope is completely forgotten as the scenes go by. The money is merely a narrative device.

MacGuffin allows the story to begin and then disappears from the scene without the viewer noticing.

In Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction, we see a briefcase. Everyone wants it, and this object allows the story to have a beginning, an end, and a development. However, the contents of the briefcase are never revealed.
This is one of the most striking examples of the use of MacGuffin. This technique is used to give an opening to the narrative. Spectators will never know what is in the case, and they won’t wonder about its contents.

The reason is that this object is only marginal. In fact, at the end of the film, the spectator will not remember the case but other details.

One can imagine a conversation between two men on a train.
One says to the other: “What’s that package you put on the luggage rack?”
The other guy says, “Oh that’s a MacGuffin.”
So the guy says, “What’s a MacGuffin?”
The other guy: “It’s a device for catching lions in the Adirondacks.”
First guy: “But there are no lions in the Adirondacks.”
So the other guy goes, “Well, then it’s not a MacGuffin!”

As you can see, a MacGuffin is nothing.

Alfred Hitchcock- interviewed by François Truffaut

The novel planning software of bibisco

Why should one rely on novel planning software to write a story with all these narrative techniques to be used?
As we are seeing in our narrative techniques series, the narrative techniques are many and are hard to put into practice.
Thanks to bibisco and its novel planning software, it will be easier for you to understand which narrative technique is best suited to your narrative. You can also know how to capture the reader’s attention and develop your story.

bibisco's architecture of the novel. Narrative Techniques Series: MacGuffin
bibisco’s architecture of the novel


The narrative technique of the MacGuffin is as effective as it is difficult to use. Of all narrative techniques, it is the one that requires the most attention.

It is essential to avoid inserting an element that is then taken out of context, which puts the reader off track, disorienting them or confusing him.

Perspective Series: #2 Unreliable Narrator

Perspective Series: #2 Unreliable Narrator

In our previous article of the Perspective Series, we talk about the topic of the First-person Narrator. We know that the first-person narrator tells the story in their voice. They are not always aware of all the facts. But should we always believe the narrator and everything they say? This is the case of the Unreliable Narrator.

What is the Unreliable Narrator?

An unreliable narrator in literature, film, theatre, etc., deceives the reader by giving him a false perspective on the story. Thus, the readers remain trapped in this view of events until they gradually discover that the narrator is not credible. The unreliable perspective occurs mainly with the personal narrative method.

Wayne C. Booth coined this term in his book “The Rhetoric of Fiction“, explained how an unreliable narrator is. It has a narrative function, such as misleading the reader/viewer or putting the character in question in a negative light. Narrative characters can be unreliable if they have psychological flaws, show strong prejudices, lack experience, or even consciously mislead the audience.

Who is the Unreliable Narrator?

It is important to remember that the narrator is not the author. The narrator is directly involved in the story and is not always aware of the facts.

Generally, having a narrator who tells the story as it happens, with his emotions, has a particular goal. The readers are more involved because they know that the narrator does not know what will happen.

The narrative perspective of the Unreliable Narrator is often used in crime and thriller novels. However, it is a rather complex technique to use. The Unreliable Narrator is a narrator who does not report the facts as they happened.

The three actions of an Unreliable Narrator

Three actions define and make it clear that we are dealing with an unreliable narrator:

  • Omission
  • Alteration
  • Distortion

In the first situation, the Unreliable Narrator omits facts or causal links of fundamental importance. The omission of certain events prevents the reader from really understanding the situation and guessing how it will develop. The reader is thus left groping in the dark.

However, an Unreliable Narrator also alters the reality of the facts by reporting events inaccurately. In essence, the narrator presents their point of view to the reader without revealing that it does not correspond to reality.

Finally, the Unreliable Narrator applies the ‘distortion of judgment‘. This is the judgment alteration of themself and the other characters.

The Unreliable Narrator in books

A clear example of the Unreliable Narrator is Italo Svevo‘s Zeno’s Conscience.
Zeno Cosini is the unreliable narrator of this story. To appear better than he is in the eyes of Doctor S., Zeno distorts the facts of the past and constantly alters his judgments.

In the book’s first chapter, Doctor S. himself explains this characteristic very well. He decides, in revenge, to publish Zeno’s autobiography, warning the reader of the mountain of lies he will find written in it.

In addition, Agatha Christie used it extensively in her mystery books. In ‘The Murder of Roger Ackroyd‘, she did it where the reader finds out that the narrator is the story’s culprit.

“We commonly do not remember that it is … always the first person that is speaking.”

Henry David Thoreau, Walden

Write your story with the Perspective of the Unreliable Narrator

As we have seen, the Unreliable Narrator Perspective confuses the reader. At a certain point, the readers undergo a twist, realizing that they have been dealing with an Unreliable Narrator.

bibisco and its novel planning software can help you figure out which perspective to give your narrator, depending on your writing story.

Perspective Series- Unrealiable Narrator- bibisco's project explorer - bibisco blog | useful resources by your novel writing software
bibisco’s project explorer


An Unreliable Narrator exalts himself and his ethics by blaming other characters for his own mistakes.

Why is this used? The primary function is providing the reader with a distorted view of the facts, told from the point of view of the unreliable narrator. This generates continuous uncertainty, which produces truly exciting twists and turns!

Narrative Techniques Series: #17 Eucatastrophe

Narrative Techniques Series: #17 Eucatastrophe

During our Narrative Technique Series, we have explained some well-known techniques and some lesser-known ones.
However, the one in this article you may have heard of a few times or perhaps never even heard of. We are talking about the Narrative Technique of Eucatastrophe.

What is the Narrative Technique of Eucatastrophe?

It is a very particular Narrative Technique invented and used by Tolkien in “The Lord of the Rings“. It describes a series of unfortunate events that the protagonist faces, foreshadowing that their destiny is already fulfilled and will not have a positive turn.

Suddenly, however, these events lead to an unexpected end, preventing the protagonist from falling into disgrace.
It has a little to do with the concept of the happy ending, so much used in fairy tales. Tolkien, however, loved fairy tales, and probably, Eucatastrophe is also part of Tolkien’s defense of writing and reading fairy tales.

J.R.R Tolkien invented this word starting from the Greek prefix “-eu” which means “good” and “catastrophe” which reveal a drama.

According to Tolkien, there is something divine about including a sudden and unexpected positive breakthrough in a tale that seems to take an entirely different turn.

The fairy tale form, which implies the use of the Happy Ending, is a literary structure that mainly allows authors to express their personal experiences of Eucatastrophe in fiction.

Eucatastrophe and the Deus Ex Machina Narrative Techniques

We may also compare the Eucatastrophe to the Deus Ex Machina Narrative Technique. This Technique is used in fiction to indicate that unexpected turn during the plot. Usually, it appears at the end, but not always. This surprising event solves one or more problems in a ‘fortuitous’ way without a genuine cause and effect correlation.

There is a slight difference between these two techniques. The Eucatastrophe seems to be the worst thing ever, but, in the end, it reveals to be the element that solves the situation and the main character.

On the opposite, the Deus Ex Machina is something that we assume to have significant importance, and that reveals to be precisely how we think, without any explanation or expectation.

Eucatastrophe and some examples

We can find one first example of Eucatastrophe in The Lord of the Rings, towards the conclusion. The series of events makes the reader think that the supreme catastrophe is imminent: Frodo finally arrived at Sammath Naur, the Pit of Fire where he was supposed to throw the Ring. Frodo claims the evil object for himself by slipping it on his finger. It seems that the venture is over; the Ring-bearer has succumbed to his power.

But immediately, the most unexpected event occurs: Gollum, who has entered by stealth, throws himself at Frodo and fights against him for possession of the Ring. He bites off his finger and takes the Ring from Frodo, but rejoicing at his lucky find, he loses his balance and falls into the Abyss.

Another example from The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis is when Prince Peter is about to be defeated by the White Witch. She seems to take the power again until, unexpectedly, it appears Aslan, who everyone believed as dead.

The Birth of Christ is the eucatastrophe of Man’s history. The Resurrection is the eucatastrophe of the story of the Incarnation. This story begins and ends in joy. It has pre-eminently the ‘inner consistency of reality’.

J.R.R Tolkien- Tolkien On Fairy Stories

Create your story with an innovative novel writing software

Have you ever used the novel writing software of bibisco? It may help you create a story full of action, twists, exciting dialogues, and complex characters so that your reader will want to know immediately how the narrative ends!

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bibisco’s timeline


J.R.R. Tolkien coined anew narrative term, theEucatastrophe,to define a series of actions that lead to an unexpected ending, a happy ending despite the bad events faced by the characters in the story.

It is a kind of happy ending reminiscent of fairy tale narration.

Narrative Techniques Series: #16 Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

Narrative Techniques Series: #16 Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

Let’s move on our journey between the Narrative Techniques Series.

Whether you believe in destiny or not, it seems evident that there is a common thread in everyone’s life. As in reality, so it is in narration. In particular, there is a Narrative Technique called Self-Fulfilling Prophecy. It leads the protagonist to discover the inevitability of their destiny.

What is the Narrative Technique of Self-Fulfilling Prophecy?

This Narrative Technique of Self-Fulfilling Prophecy is not always a prophecy with a negative meaning. It can be a happy event that is foretold and then actually happens.
Similarly, the prophecy can be announced by a human character and not necessarily divine or magical. It can also be foretold in a funny, sympathetic way.

What is the function of the Narrative Technique of Self-Fulfilling Prophecy?

The purpose of using the Narrative Technique of Self-Fulfilling Prophecy is twofold. First, it allows the reader to have a defined plot already. Secondly, to follow the narrative’s events carefully to see whether the prophecy finally comes true.

Most likely, it provides a few more details about the protagonist’s character. Are they a character who reacts to events or who suffers them? Will they be able to change their destiny despite the prophecy? These questions allow the reader to get a better idea of the protagonist and become engrossed in the story.

Self-Fulfilling Prophecy: some examples

An early example of the Narrative Technique of the Self-Fulfilling Prophecy is the one used in ‘Sleeping Beauty‘.
At the beginning of the story, the witch Maleficent appears at the court of the King and Queen. She wants to welcome little Aurora into the world. As a gift, she gives her a prophecy that she will die from a yarn needle on her sixteenth birthday.

Aurora’s three fairy godmothers turn the prediction curse from death to deep sleep as a precaution. Only a kiss of real love can wake her up. Needless to say, the prophecy comes true on Aurora’s birthday. She falls into a deep sleep, but the kiss of true love awakes her.

In the same way, in the ‘Matrix‘, there is also a prophecy and even the figure of the Oracle. When Neo goes to her to find out what his destiny will be, he immediately realizes the potential of the Oracle. Before Neo hits a vase, he says, “Don’t worry about the vase”, which will fall a few seconds later.

What the Oracle reveals to Neo is secret and has a hidden meaning. He thinks he is not the right person for the mission, the Chosen One. Thanks to these doubts and his personality, however, Neo will manage to find the strength and the right path to fulfill his destiny.

The princess shall indeed grow in grace and beauty, beloved by all who know her. But, before the sun sets on her sixteenth birthday, she shall prick her finger on the spindle of a spinning wheel and die.

Maleficent- The Sleeping Beauty

bibisco and the novel planning software

The narrative technique of the Self-Fulfilling Prophecy is significant to set up the plot of a story.
It allows building an imaginary bridge between the beginning and the end of the narrative. It gives the starting to the series of events leading towards the final prophecy.
To find out how and which narrative technique to use, you can use the novel planning software of bibisco.

Narrative Techniques Series: #16 Self-Fulfilling Prophecy - bibisco's chapter section
bibisco’s chapter section


This is one of the most ancient of our Narrative Techniques Series.

The Self-Fulfilling Prophecy aims to predict the protagonist’s fate at the end of the narrative. On the one hand, it makes it possible for the protagonist to follow the story prudently because they already have an idea of what might happen in the ending and want to check if this is really the case.

On the other hand, it allows the readers to know the protagonist better and see their temperament: will they react to events? Will they be able to change his destiny or not?

Narrative Techniques Series: #15 Predestination paradox

Narrative Techniques Series: #15 Predestination paradox

In the Narrative Techniques Series, the technique we address in this article is that of the Predestination paradox.
This is a technique especially typical of science fiction stories and involves a return to the past.

What is the Narrative Technique of the Predestination paradox?

The predestination paradox is a situation in which a person travels back in time. The intent is to change the outcome and becomes a part of past events.

In addition, they are more likely to have the ability to cause the initial events that inspired the person to travel back in time in the first place.

History is meant to be predestined in this case. No matter if someone tries to alter the past event, the event will eventually be fulfilled.

We speak, in fact, of the Predestination paradox because the traveler will find themself involved in a series of events that force them to face a journey through time. This is travel into the unknown. The character has to pay a lot of attention not to change the course of things in the present time.

In other words, history is predetermined. Any interaction with past events will only have the choice to function consistently so that established past events will remain preserved.

How to apply the Narrative Technique of the Predestination paradox?

Often this narrative technique involves the presence of a particular object. How can one return to the past?
The introduction of an object, large or small, will take the protagonist on a journey back in time.

We can find some famous examples of objects used to go back in time and create the predestination paradox in movies and fiction.

Let’s think about Marty McFly, the protagonist of “Back to the Future” by Robert Zemeckis. To travel through time, Marty and Doc use the well-known car “DeLorean”.

Similarly, in “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban“, Dumbledore gives Hermione a curious object, a time-wheel. The girl can use it to attend multiple school classes on the same day. But also to help Harry save the hippogriff Buckbeak and his godfather, Sirius Black.

Three turns should do it.

J.K. Rowling – Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

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Narrative Techniques Series #15: Predestination paradox- bibisco's Timeline - bibisco blog | useful resources by your novel writing software
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Time travel is the dream of many. It’s something that’s allowed in books and movies, with fantasy, and allows for the movement of action.

The Predestination paradox technique implies that the protagonist, or the time traveler, is faced with a series of events that will inevitably cause them to have to travel into the past.

However, time travel brings inevitable consequences, to which the protagonist must pay attention in order not to change the course of events.