Last week, we spoke about Settings in Fiction, how important setting is in sucking a reader into a story, and heard from Denise Covey and Yolanda Renée on their event: Spectacular Settings.
For this event, you needed to:
- SUBMIT your name to the Inlinkz list NOW if you wish to participate
- CREATE your entry according to the theme – August – Spectacular Settings. More info here
- EDIT until your entry sparkles
- PUBLISH on your blog August 19 – 26 – state feedback preferences (full critique to general)
- DELETE your former link & add the new direct link with the URL of your entry.
- READ & COMMENT
Basically, we needed to add a setting excerpt that inspired us (Part A), and post something of our own (Part B).
Part A : My excerpt is from a remarkable book, Perfume, by Patrick Süskind: I love this because it shows us Paris through the sense of smell alone, and sets the stage not just for the murder and putrescence to follow in the novel, but also the ‘perfume’ theme.
“In the period of which we speak, there reigned in the cities a stench barely conceivable to us modern men and women. The streets stank of manure, the courtyards of urine, the stairwells stank of moldering wood and rat droppings, the kitchen of spoiled cabbage and mutton fat; the unaired parlors stank of stale dust, the bedrooms of greasy sheets, damp featherbeds, and the pungently sweet aroma of chamberpots. The stench of sulfur rose from the chimneys, the stench of caustic lyes from the tanneries, and from the slaughterhouses came the stench of congealed blood. People stank of sweat and unwashed clothes; from their mouths came the stench of rotting teeth, from their bellies that of onions, and from their bodies, if they were no longer young, came the stench of rancid cheese and sour milk and tumorous disease. The rivers stank, the marketplaces stank, the churches stank, it stank beneath the bridges and in the palaces…And of course the stench was foulest in Paris, for Paris was the largest city of France.”
Part B: Mine is a scene from Chapter 7 of my novel WIP, tentatively titled Underneath the Skin: (This is an unpolished draft, and I’m hoping to use your suggestions to tweak it further. The text contains italicized Hindi words and ‘Indian English’ dialogues, and I’m hoping they add to the atmosphere without taking away from the reader’s understanding: I need to know if this is not so. This is the first time I’m putting it out there. Would love to do beta exchanges for anyone else with a WIP. I have posted it as a picture to prevent content scraping: please click on it twice (not double-click) to get a large font size.)
WORD COUNT : 868
FCA : This is an absolutely unpolished draft, so I’m more than happy to do a crit in exchange for anyone who posts a detailed crit. I usually never put out anything this raw, but this time, I’m going to try it as an experiment. I have every faith in Denise and Yolanda, and this community they’ve created, to help hone my writing in the piece. I trust this blog’s readers, as well– I’ve never regretted being vulnerable in this space.
While this post is for a writers’ event, I also invite readers (who’re not writers or publishing professionals) to share their thoughts.
Would love to know your impression on both excerpts.
Want to join in Spectacular Settings? You can still sign up.
Have you read the book Perfume? Would you read it, based on the excerpt? Why, why not?
Based on the excerpt from my WIP, would you like to know more about the character and how she fits into this setting? What did you like about the descriptions? What can be done better? How can the setting show off the character better?
As a reader, how important is setting to you when you read a piece of fiction?
Excuse the delayed response! I started a comment and never finished it ’til now, but I will “anyhow” as setting is king to me.
My first novel was set in a Colombian cloud forest and it was almost a character in itself. I lived there, but long ago, so I really enjoyed researching it. Readers who enjoyed it commented on learning about cloud forests, biota, coffee,culture, politics etc. – however a couple of reviewers just wanted a quick read and a fast paced plot. Now I’m working on a setting in Hawaii – and I think I will be writing for the first group because setting is what inspires me.
Hi Damyanti, and I apologise for the delay in getting here. My erotic novel was already in the 9th draft when this challenge was set up, so I had to enter and then keep pushing.
Your choice from ‘Perfume’ is an unusual, but excellent choice for a challenge like this. Too many writers fail to use all the available senses, and it’s not often when smell is the primary.
I particulalry like the dialogue in your excerpt and it gives a real sense of ‘being there’. I have to say I loved this: ‘… following the red eyes of the traffic ahead.’ Absolutely first class imagery.
I’m not going to make an empty promise to read ‘Perfume’, but only because I’ve got a TBR of around 50 titles, and I’m working on three projects at the moment.
I like the general use of descriptives in your excerpt, and as I mentioned before, I like your style with the dialogue.
Is imagery important to me as a reader? Absolutely. I have to feel as if I’m with the characters.
Great entry. Until later.
My earlier comment got gobbled up by the net monsters. The excerpt from Perfume is a superb piece of writing, it shocks and amazes at the same time.
Your flash did not feel raw to me. I am familiar with both Delhi and Safdarjung, and your writing was effortless and smoothly captured the atmosphere. Loved the ending particularly – the red eyes of the traffic watching her. The tension is skillfully built. The only place I stumbled a bit was when three characters were introduced within a few lines of each other (Sujni, Sakhi and Sujal) but that could be because it’s part of a larger work and they’ve been introduced prior.You are the best judge of whether 1) that could benefit from elaboration and pacing it out and 2) the somewhat similar sounding names might prove hard to differentiate for non-subcontinental audiences, if that forms your target readership.
Enjoyed both the excerpt and your piece immensely. Thanks.
Sorry to have got here so late. I have come across ‘Perfume’ before (on your blog? somewhere else?) and have loved the richness and detail of the imagery. All medieval cities must have been the same, but Paris being so stinky shocks and shakes up one with the contrast to what it is today. Superb writing.
Your flash doesn’t feel raw to me. And I relate to the dialogue and the descriptions with an insider perspective, being familiar with both Delhi and Safdarjung. It’s smooth and evocative, the atmosphere is very well portrayed, the tension built skillfully. The only point where I stumbled a bit was when three characters were introduced close to each other – Sakhi, Sujni and Sujal, had to reread that to separate the strands/characters, but that might be because this flash is part of a larger work and they have already been introduced prior. Loved the ending especially – the red eyes of the lights watching her. Enjoyed the flash immensely!
As a work in progress, I was looking at the overall feel of the story, and you really set the mood for wherever you’re going, All the comments about men and the predatory, threatening atmosphere made me wonder, maybe the protagonist is going to encounter a man who breaks this mold? Love interest or just a friend, it intrigued me as a possibility. Also, I was wondering if you’re setting up things for more distinct, particular threats to start coming after the protagonist (as if this were the beginning of a thriller, or something along those lines).
I liked how there were security guards out there but they weren’t doing anything productive: not guarding her car, not escorting her to her vehicle, nothing. I thought perhaps there would be an exchange between her and at least one of them, or a memory of hers on how she looked to them for help and they turned away…something that indicates why they aren’t a source of real security for her, and why her assistant is safe when so many others aren’t.
Also, the “teeth stained with paan” almost made me wonder if we weren’t supposed to trust her assistant, since he has red teeth, like a predator would, or a vampire, for that matter. It’s a little detail, and it may be more unnerving because, in American culture, we don’t usually eat anything that stains one’s teeth red (brown and yellow, yes, but red is usually saved for those dying on stage, or for Halloween).
I’m very curious to read more of your story. Great job, and thanks for sharing it with the rest of us!
Patrick’s sensory detail is impressive, composing layers of scent to pull the reader into his
character’s obsession. As someone with a nose of a bloodhound, I wouldn’t make it five
minutes in his Paris.
The strain of your character is cleverly manifested in her surroundings, from the frigid
air mirroring the cold predatory nature of the men, to the fog representing a
suffocating element she can’t escape. Really well done!
Funny, just today I heard on the radio that Paris has, on some days, more smog than Beijing. So if you can’t see anything… at least you can follow the smells. …:-) your first draft was captivating… so much so that I ended up reading a few different pages on your blog. Very impressive! I’ll be following you.
A lovely excerpt from Perfume.
I can’t believe this is your first draft. My first draft hardly makes sense. I can visualise the hospital, and the lobby from your vivid description. Loved it.
Perfume, by Patrick Süskind, had my attention that way it described Paris. Underneath the Skin was very well-written, as well as your excerpt from Perfume, because it is strange and intriguing in its complexity, I felt. I would be interested in reading your characterization seeing here Underneath the Skin. It might become a very good novel! I haven’t read the book Perfume but I wonder if I would like it. I might read it to get to know more about the city Paris. Your descriptions in Underneath the Skin worked wonders to convey that part of India to me, and I think I would like to know more about what the outcome will be when I am reading an excerpt like that. The setting probably does adequately show off the character, but how, I might ask, is the setting affecting the character’s behaviour on a narrative level (in terms of the character’s action)? Thanks so much and all the best to you with the rest of your novel!
Thanks for your comments! The setting affects the character in restricting her, making her feel trapped in the atmosphere of threat exacerbated by the fog that limits visibility. In any other private hospital in India, a woman would feel more secure walking to the car park, because the profile of people around would be different, and she would feel less insecure. Thankyou for taking the time to read and to ask questions. Really appreciate it.
This is a great excerpt, I really felt like I was there at the hospital. I particularly liked the paragraph about the boundaries between worlds being blurred.
Thanks, this excerpt still needs a lot of work and will become better thanks to all the feedback it is receiving.
I love your draft, and will definitely read the finished work. Just to weigh in, I’ve read many books set in foreign locales, and I’ve never had a problem with “native” words here and there. Many have their meanings revealed in context; occasionally, I’ve had to look them up. Rather than a nuisance, I find learning new words and terms one of the more pleasurable aspects of reading.
“The tang of air freshener, disinfectant…” Yep, I’d recognize that “hospital” smell anywhere. I can even smell it on people’s clothes and hair when they’ve been in there visiting or working. 🙂
Also, nice detail about the stares of the men. Most guys in the US (in my experience) seem to be predominantly puppyish rather than malevolent in their eye contact whn it comes to women.
I love the idea of focusing on smell in a novel. I often consider setting as a character in my writing. This takes it to a new level. Now, I need to think of senses as that antagonist, confident–maybe even protagonist.
Yes, setting as antagonist has been used to very good effect in fiction. Thanks for dropping by, Jacqui. I love your blog, and your wisdom.
I haven’t read or watched Perfume, though it’s one I had meant to check out when I first heard of it. Also, the film adaptation has Alan Rickman, which elevates it to ‘must watch’ status.
The excerpt actually had me wrinkling my nose in disgust. Such a powerful description, and such a vivid painting of a vast, unwashed city.
Your excerpt is intriguing, providing some good insight into Anjali’s mind, and a look at the world she inhabits. Having been to a hospital in India a little over two years ago, it was easier for me to visualize.
I’ve noticed in the comments that some people stumbled over the word ‘waise’. While I know exactly what it means and what context it’s used in, I can see how a non-Indian audience would be confused by it. I thought the same of ‘arrey’ earlier in the dialogue, but it doesn’t seem like anyone had trouble with it. Similarly, are things like ‘paan’ and ‘beedi’ explained earlier in the novel? I’m not sure if teeth stained red with paan might be a grotesque image for someone that doesn’t know what it is.
Pandeyji seems to be speaking quite typical broken Indian English, which had me scratching my head a bit. If the main character is a foreigner interacting with an Indian man, the use of ‘Indian English’ to differentiate the speech pattern makes sense. But if both characters are Indian, wouldn’t the exchange between them be much smoother? I’m working under the assumption that they’re both speaking Hindi, and we’re looking at a translation of their actual words. In that case, it seems the English should be normal in both cases; Pandeyji would just have a more informal or colloquial voice.
Just a few thoughts I had. But, sticking with the theme, you’ve created a very rich setting, and I’m curious to see how Anjali’s tale turns out!
Thankyou for taking the time to comment. Earlier in the novel, we know that Anjali is Indian-American– though her name is Indian, she in fact speaks almost no Hindi– but I can see how the excerpt is confusing in that regard, since we don’t have context. The feedback on Waise has been very eye-opening– I’ll have to check on other instances. I’ve been advised not to italicise Hindi words– and just make them clear in context without over-explaining– that’s a tough call to make about the extent of explanation.
I’m hoping to weave in words to give atmosphere, and in some ways I’m okay with the reader not understanding a few words. But they should nvere affect the suspension of disbelief– to many jerks out of the immersive experience can be detrimental.
Thanks once again– appreciate your comments.
Ah, given that context, Pandeyji’s dialogue makes much more sense.
Managing the use of Indian words is a tough one. From my perspective, it’s not confusing at all, and really does add to the atmosphere.
I’ve read a few books that had a glossary of terms at the back to explain some of the terms and phrases used. I’m not sure if that’s something you’d want to consider.
I’m averse to all such glossaries. When I read an Irish or Scottish novel, I come across many terms that are unfamiliar to me, and no one provides me a glossary. I have to look them up, if I’m interested.
A part of me balks at the very idea of having to explain everything– but who knows. This might be in the hands of a publisher— and they know best what works. It is too early for me to think of stuff like glossaries, and while I want to finish the book, I’m terrified of hawking it, pre and post publication.
Thanks for taking the time to engage with my work.
You’re very welcome. I’m always fascinated by the process that writers follow. It helps to inform my own writing in many respects, as I’m still taking baby steps with that.
I’m wary of over-explaining myself, actually. It’s difficult, because I like working in metaphors, and it’s hard for me to tell if I’m being too obtuse or just way too transparent.
The piece you have written from your WIP is full of phrases which emphasize the differences between those who live in a less crowded area and those who must make do with what is available. It tears at the heart, and makes me wonder at the poverty. I noticed a few words and one part where you say she entered her car,yet I thought she was already in the car, so that might a confusing part that could be made more clear. The part about the men acting as wolves, looking for prey was well done. That brought to mind news articles about such attacks. Good luck with your writing, I enjoyed reading your words, but didn’t like the images it evoked. That makes it powerful.
Your choice of an excerpt from Perfume was excellent. So evocative of that eighteenth century city, and perfect for setting up the extraordinary capacity for smell that is central to the story.
I know this part of the challenge was to be about settings, but I was so taken by your ability to capture the rhythm of the dialog that I focused on that. It was so well done. I did stumble on “Waise” and figured it was a title. If this is the first time you use it, you might consider explaining it simply with her reaction to it.
I loved the excerpt from Perfume – and strongly suspect it was true of other big cities too. London for one.
And your own work? This greedy reader wants more. I am fascinated with India, and love that in this small segment you captured smells, culture, compassion and despair. And it was hard to leave, and a part of my head is still there.
Thank you so much.
Reblogged this on Books and More.
it is ok
Süskind’s The Perfume is one of my all-time favorite books. The first time I read it (I must’ve been around 22) I remember all of a sudden beginning to smell everything around me. Scent is too often underused in setting, and Süskind was the first author I read that used it to such an extent, with such success. For days afterwards — and, since, whenever I’m reminded of the book — my sense of smell kicks in with a vengeance 🙂
Loved the excerpt from your WIP. Sounds like a fascinating story, and will be looking forward to reading it when it’s out. The sense of menace you convey is all too real, although I didn’t know that it was more marked in Northern India. I felt it during my months in Bangalore, and it marked me. I’d never been looked at quite in that way, with quite that undercurrent of aggression. It’s… an experience. How much more intense must it be in Delhi for Anjali, a native, to feel it the way she does. (That bit at the close about the kid close to her car makes me think her fear isn’t just generic; there really is something out to get her.)
Yes, it’s a rough draft, but — aside from a typo (nameplate sin instead of nameplates in), a few improvable word choices (grabbing at life, for instance, conveys to me a sense of greed, which I find hard to reconcile with the desperation of the people you’re describing), and a few commas too many (and this might well be a matter of taste and of voice) — your talent shines through and will carry it to excellence. Thank you for sharing.
Damyanti, your fragment has so much tension and pain in it, and so much compassion, the technical details went right over my head. Good job.
I haven’t read Perfume, but maybe I should. Enjoyed reading this today.
I loved the book Perfume and the film did it credit too …
Your excerpt B is excellent Damyanti in terms of setting and sense … and I agree with one or two previous comments re some tightening up .. I too won’t copy and paste but e.g. line 6 re the security guards – I would add ‘were warming’
That part A is a wonderful, but disgusting, offering. Great selection. I can see why it took your breath away, as I didn’t much want to breathe while reading it. Ha.
Your part B- I liked. Good hook at the end with the watching. I didn’t find anything distracting.
Setting is key, I write within a world of space stations and space ships so I have to make that clear, but another thing I do is make character key
If you write in sci-fi you have to make the idea of futuristic settings and technology sound mundane, a holographic comm unit is just used like a phone, a space station is a floating building and a spaceship is as casually regarded as a car. That way you make the environment relatable, the reader feels comfortable in your litary world, in sci-fi this is key. If you can’t make the setting something your reader identifies with nothing else will make sense.
Hi Damyati. Awesome entry for Spectacular Settings. First, Patrick Süskind’s Perfume. I swear my eyes were stinging, so strong was his imagery. I find it hard to imagine a Paris so decrepit and slovenly compared to today’s rather pristine city. But of course, the Middle Ages was hardly a time of hygiene and perfumed beauty. Thanks for sharing this. I’ve read a lot on the history of Paris, but nothing quite portrayed this ‘smelly’ picture.
Your story extract was amazing and you indicate it’s quite raw. Not at all. Everything can always be improved, sentences tightened up, but I concentrated on the story, which had me riveted from the start to the finish. Not being able to cut and paste from the text makes it more difficult to pull out various sections here, but several passages of excellent imagery intrigued me. There was so much of an exotic culture shown–who expected the ‘cold’ of Delhi, as most of us see this city as a sweltering metropolis–who wasn’t stunned by the almost-casual reference to the burn victim who failed in the dowry stakes–who wasn’t nodding at the feeling of despair that we think would be common living in such a difficult place.
Setting is so important to me, which is why I’ve been thinking about doing a blog hop on it for years. It’s been so wonderful to read the shared settings that have been posted for the challenge. How many new authors/books have we been exposed to?
And if you think I could offer you critique Damyanti, I’d be more than happy to exchange WIPs with you. I’m currently working on, well, about 5 projects, but my hottest, about to be finished one is a paranormal romance. If you’re not into classic vampire stories that’s okay.
Thanks so much for your support in the WEP project. Yolanda and I have been touched by your tireless promotion for the challenge and it’s paid off in spades.
I’ll be back again for another, more considered read.
I marvel at the ability some writers have to describe in minute detail place, time, smell, feeling and taste. It does transport you to the imaginations or experience of the writer and you want to travel with them as they describe.
Damyanti – i found both excerpts of very high quality in evoking a sense if respective settings and moods. They both make me want to read more. A couple of earlier commenters mentioned what I would have – really I saw only minor questions or sentence structure that will be corrected through your rewrites. Overall the tone and specificity of description are very well done.
The excerpt from Patrick Süskind’s book is a wonderful olfactory onslaught!
I need to check it out.
You know I love your writing… 🙂
The setting is very atmospheric.
“low hum of desperation, anxiety, grief” – I loved this.
Just a few things:
Line 33 – I’ll drop you to the Metro? Is this part of the ‘Indian English’ dialogue you mentioned above?
I’m assuming that Sujni is Sakhi’s mother? It wasn’t clear enough.
Line 36 – I’m confused by ‘the nameplate sin the lobby’…
Is Waise the boy’s name?
Thanks for stopping by my place, Damyanti!
Very useful. Thanks for writing this. I think setting in fiction is vital, especially in fantasy, but mustn’t replace the plot.
Hi Damyanti. This looks like such fun. I wish I could join but we have a mani couple of weeks with friends visiting from out of country and then my son is coming after that. What a great idea!
Love, you’re going to make a fan-boy out of me.
On the matter of Perfume, it’s an excellent excerpt and I’m inclined to pull it apart for inspiration in some of my own work. Thank you.
Based on the excerpt from your WIP, would I like to know more about the character and how she fits into this setting? Yes, I’d be interested to learn more about her and the culture that makes her so insecure and dependent, despite what seems a high-level of education. The passage regarding the burn victim who failed to bring in sufficient dowry is horrifying, but not quite detailed enough for me to understand how the dowry failed to materialize. Surely there are contracts in place to handle such exigencies? I’m curious to know more.
What did I like about the descriptions? There is excellent work done here marrying concrete details to abstract concepts (“a tang of air-freshener, disinfectant and the low hum of desperation, anxiety, grief.”)
What can be done better? There are some awkward sentences and images here and there, as I’d expect from an unpolished first-draft. No doubt your own ear will find them for you, but in particular, the opening sentence comparing the hospital to a market or a rail-station is unnecessarily unclear (Safdarjung is the name of the hospital, but this didn’t register with me on the first and second reading, so the “it” holding Safdarjung and hospital was unnecessarily vague). There are a few other spots like this throughout.
How can the setting show off the character better? The setting and character development display a sense of despair and claustrophobia, a notion that the character feels trapped or bound within invisible restraints of culture and propriety. These notions and hints could be strengthened: subtle changes in the behavior of the guards as she comes through the area, maybe? Description of her clothing, compared to the clothing of men?
As a reader, how important is setting to you when you read a piece of fiction? As in life, setting, background, culture, language, economics, all of these things work together to create the flavor of the worldly experience. A city street in Mogadishu is a vastly different place from the street outside my window in the rural northeastern United States, and this colors my world-view. Likewise, well-crafted settings in fiction will enhance the “flavor” of characters and events in the worlds of the imagination.
Keep up the good work.
Michael, I’m glad I could introduce you to Perfume. It is a fine piece of writing, and storytelling.
Thankyou for the pointers for my excerpt. This is exactly the kind of feedback I’m looking for– all your suggestions will work their way into my next draft!
Setting provides context, and stories lose their life and charm without context– great example re US and Mogadishu.
Wrote to you today 🙂
Glad the feedback was helpful. 🙂 Got your message, will get back to you shortly.
Hi Damyanti. I saw the film Perfume and it was interesting. It is hard to think about living in such a squalid environment but back in those times people did not know any different. I have read of women carrying scented handkerchiefs or little perfume rings to sniff when traveling through the cities. Your story is very well written. I definitely want to know this woman (doctor or therapist?) better. The description of the “hunting” men really creates an ominous feeling. There is a slight undercurrent of threat with the description of her assistant having to get her car and the red tail lights always watching. It would be overwhelming to the senses like the stench of Paris to have to face so much human misery and the terrible injustice of some of the old ignorant and oppressive practices like wife burning. How horrible. I want to burn up that husband and his mother. When we see so much suffering and injustice in the world it is overwhelming at times. I have read another book by an Indian author Rohinton Mistry “A Fine Balance” about India, which was pretty tough to read about, but very well written. Have you read it?
Yes, Deborah, A Fine Balance is one of Mistry’s finest, and I read it many moons ago.
I try not to exoticise the orient in my writing, especially not the suffering of a populace, but sometimes a truthful portrayal can be overwhelming, as you’ve said.
Thankyou for stopping by, and for commenting on my work.
Reblogged this on oshriradhekrishnabole.
Part A: Wow, so much stink, but what a setting, and yes all via the sense of smell, and not the flowers or the perfume. Reading this I couldn’t help but wrinkle my nose. Perfume by Patrick Süskind is not a book I’m familiar with, but now, I definitely want to read his work. Startling!
Part B: I’d love to read your contribution Underneath the Skin, but as you’ve posted as a photo, my eyes will not allow it. You might want to consider copying and pasting. The font will be larger and bad eyes like mine will find it much easier to read. Otherwise send it via email to email@example.com and I’ll critique it as you’ve requested.
Thank you, for all your help in getting the first WEP challenge of 2015 off the ground, we wouldn’t have had as many participants had you not gotten involved.
Hi Yolanda, Thanks for organizing this event, I love the concept of it.
I did what I could given that I’m running around a lot these days. Will try better next time, and I’m sure we’ll have more participants the next time anyway 🙂 .
For the fiction entry, if you click it twice, it should show a normal-sized font. Click once to open in new window, and click the second time for a bigger size. I’ll also email it to you.
And definitely read Perfume– I read it so long ago, but have never forgotten it.
Thank you for adding the information about how to increase the font size by two clicks – my eyes appreciates the difference.
This is excellent; you’ve achieved the settings challenge through amazing descriptive details. I had no problem seeing the throng in front of the hospital, or the men eyeing Anjali and her car.
A few things I had to go back and read because it took me out of the story was the paragraph about her patient and then she mentions Sakhi the girl she took in, and a brief mention of the girl’s mother, Sujni. You may want to expand this paragraph to add a bit more on Sakhi, and her mother, or end the paragraph with her final thoughts about her patient, and put in a new paragraph about Sakhi.
Also in her discussion with Pandeyji, he uses the word ‘Waise’ I was stopped again because I’m not familiar with that word.
Loved your glimpse of Delhi, and your determination to allow vulnerability to take you on to the excellence you desire in your writing. It’s why the WEP was formed, we all want to be better, and through each other, we achieve that goal!
I haven’t read the book but I think it’s where the movie “Perfume: The Story of a Murderer” was adapted. The description of the setting you have given was actually used as a voice over in the film.