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Narrative Techniques

Sep 5, 2022
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Narrative techniques are methods that are used to give an artistic and emotional effect to a story.

Many key narrative techniques are:

  • Plot
  • Character
  • Point of View
  • Style

Plot 

When writers present a story or events, it’s called a narrative. However, writers aren’t required to tell the story chronologically or in a sequential manner. The “plot” is an organized pattern in which the writer narrates the story. In Aristotle’s “Poetics,” he states that good plots should have a beginning that draws readers into the action and makes them want to know what will happen afterward, followed by a middle and needs further action to entertain the readers and an end that would leave the readers with a sense of completion. Aristotle states that plots should be unified, which means that the readers should not decipher or remove any part of the text without losing crucial meaning.  

Characters 

Most narratives or stories depend on one or more characters. Characters are understood by the readers by what they do and say, and so narrative techniques surrounding characters are related to the plot, point of view, and style. In most narratives, characters are well developed. It is easier to understand their motivations and can think of them as complex, real people. Other characters may be more two-dimensional or “linear.” 

Point of View 

The point of view presents the perspective from which a writer tells the story. The types of narrative point of view vary from first-person limited, where a single character who refers to himself/herself as “I,” tells the story without presenting most of the information, to third-person omniscient, where the narrator tells the story about the characters and knows every detail about them. Point of view affects characterization by describing whether the author shows or tells readers about a character. A concept of “Showing” occurs when readers learn about characters mainly through their speech or actions. 

Style 

Style is the kind of language a writer uses to tell a story, and it contains several elements. The narrative is determined by the writer’s word choice. The narrative’s structure refers to its sentence structures, usually presented on a scale from complex to simple; a text that deviates or switches narrators from chapter to chapter, for instance, might have one narrator speak in complex phrases while another thinks in simple language. Finally, the amount of figurative language, which says one thing while implying another, is another characteristic of the style. 

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