Narrative Techniques Essay

1017 WordsMar 16, 20145 Pages
Literary definition of ‘narrative techniques’: Narrative techniques are the methods that writers use to give certain artistic and emotional effects to a story. Although the term gets used loosely in everyday speech to talk about narrative, a “story” is just a sequence of events in time. Not until a writer chooses how to present that story in language does it become a “narrative.” Some of the most common narrative techniques[1]: Plot / Composition When writers put a story, or sequence of events, into language, it’s called a narrative. However, writers aren’t bound to tell the story chronologically. The “plot” is the meaningfully organized structure in which the writer presents the story. According to Aristotle’s “Poetics,” good plots should have a beginning that draws readers into the main action and makes them want to know what’s next, a middle that follows from the beginning and needs further action to satisfy readers and an end that leaves readers with a sense of completion. Aristotle writes that plots should also be unified -- readers shouldn’t be able to remove any part of the text without losing crucial meaning Authors also use shifts in time within novels as a narrative technique. A flashback is when the storyline jumps backward to show something that has happened before the main events of the novel and that has relevance to the present story. Foreshadowing is when the narration hints at things that will happen but have not happened yet. Authors might also use a frame story, a secondary story that is not the main story of the novel but through which the main story is told. Characters Most narratives center on one or more characters. Characters are shaped by what readers see them do and say, and so narrative techniques surrounding characters are related to those surrounding plot, point of view and style. In most narratives, characters are well
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