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Basic Elements and Features of Narrative have characters with delineate personalities and/or identities, dialogue often included (tenses do changes), and descriptive language is used.. While the common elements are the setting, character, plot, conflict, climax, resolution, and comprise the theme and the atmosphere.

Elements of Narrative

One of the starting points for interpreting and writing about imaginative works is to analyze the elements of narration. Here are some questions that may lead you to consider how the various elements are working in a particular text.

Themes--the central meaning of a text

What is this work about? What evidence can you provide to reveal this is so? How is theme expressed through character or action, scenes or language, the social and material conditions within the text? What issues or ideas are raised? About individuals and their emotional, private or political lives? About social or racial justice? Are the ideas limited to members of the group represented by the characters (age, class, race, nationality, dominant culture)? Are these ideas applicable to general conditions of life? What values are embodied in the idea?


How are ideas in the work expressed by character? What actions bring out important traits of the character? Is this character realistically depicted? If not, is the character supposed to represent an idea, belief, or value system? How is the character described? Why is this important? To what extent do the traits and the character's actions permit you to judge him/her? Is the character consistent or inconsistent? Believable or not? Dimensional or stereotypical? Has the character changed in any way from the beginning of the narrative? How?

Plot and Structure--selection and arrangement of incidents that give a story focus. How and why do certain events happen.

PLOT: Are there characters that come into conflict with each other? Or is the plot driven by internal motivation and/or outward circumstances? If the conflict stems from contrasting values or idea, what are these and how are they brought out? What dilemma does the protagonist deal with? How does she deal with it? What obstacles do the characters overcome? Do they realize their goals? Is there resolution in the end?

Structure: Is the work told in flashback or does it proceed chronologically? What effect do flashbacks have? Are there different narrative threads or interlocking narratives used? Are there stories within stories? How do they reverberate, highlight, respond to themes in the main narrative? Is there a climax, a high point of the story, that leads to resolution? Where does the tension lie in the story? Between characters? Between conflicting perspectives? Between contrasting values? Does the work withhold any crucial details until the end? How does the work end? Open-ended or closed?

Setting--cultural, social, physical context of story's action.

Types of settings: natural world: weather and climate, geography, animal life, seasons and conditions. Objects of human construction and manufacture: personal effects, interiors and exteriors, possessions, buildings. Historical and cultural conditions: perceptions and values of society, assumptions, prevalent ideas or trends. How does setting influence character? Create mood? What cultural, religious, and political conditions are assumed? How do objects take on importance and symbolic meaning? How important are sound or silences? How do weather conditions highlight themes?

Features and elements of narratives

Characters with defined personalities/identities

Dialogue often included tense may change to the present or the future

Descriptive language to create images in the reader's mind and enhance the story

common elements:










Basic Features of a Narrative

  • Quotations- Make quotes part of the dialogue.
  • Details- Use sensory detail to place the reader within the story-this is sort of covered by language i.e. using figurative language such as metaphors/similes etc.
  • Structure- Make sure you have a basic structure- a story with a solid beginning, middle and end, where action flows through time.-this includes whether it's linear/non-linear. Whether it's written 1st/2nd/3rd person.
  • Context-this would include the social background of the characters, the time period it's set in, the culture of the setting.
  • Language: see above 'Details'.

Journalists tend to think in terms of the basics of journalism: Who, what, when, where, why, how. Narrative journalists must think in terms of story elements: setting, character, plot, conflict, climax, resolution, dialogue, theme, action, scenes.

1. Characters with defined personalities/identities

2. Dialogue often included tense may change to the present or the future

3. Descriptive language to create images in the readers mind and enhance the story

narrative, a telling of some true or fictitious event or connected sequence of events, recounted by a narrator 2 to a narratee (although there may be more than one of each). Narratives are to be distinguished from descriptions of qualities, states, or situations, and also from dramatic enactments of events (although a dramatic work may also include narrative speeches). A narrative will consist of a set of events (the story) recounted in a process of narration (or ), in which the events are selected and arranged in a particular order (the. The category of narratives includes both the shortest accounts of events (e.g. the cat sat on the mat, or a brief news item) and the longest historical or biographical works, diaries, travelogues, etc., as well as novels, ballads, epics, short stories, and other fictional forms. In the study of fiction, it is usual to divide novels and shorter stories into. As an adjective, 'narrative' means 'characterized by or relating to story-telling: thus narrative technique is the method of telling stories, and narrative poetry is the class of poems (including ballads, epics, and verse romances) that tell stories, as distinct from dramatic and lyrics poetry. Some theorists of have attempted to isolate the quality or set of properties that distinguishes narrative from non-narrative writings: this is called narrativity. For a fuller account, consult Michael J. Toolan, Narrative (1988).

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12y ago

Fiction is:

  • something that never actually happened
  • often told in the form of a story
  • can be any length, from a short story to a novel
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12y ago

animals or things talk

setting in a magical world

magical things happen

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Q: What are some characteristics of a fantasy narrative?
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