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The Boyhood of Raleigh by Sir John Everett Millais
The Boyhood of Raleigh by Sir John Everett Millais, oil on canvas, 1870. A seafarer tells the young Sir Walter Raleigh and his brother the story of what happened out at sea. Wikimedia

The role of narrative

Narrative is the representation of events, experiences, or ideas that are arranged in a specific sequence to create a story. In storytelling, narrative plays a crucial role in engaging and entertaining the audience.

A well-crafted narrative has a beginning, middle, and end and takes the audience on a journey through the story. The narrative structure includes setting the scene, introducing characters, building tension and conflict, and resolving the story. The way in which the story is told, the pacing, and the order in which events are presented can all affect the impact of the narrative.

Narrative can also be used to convey a message, theme, or moral. A story can be a powerful tool for exploring complex issues, conveying emotions, and provoking thought in the audience. It can be a means of connecting with the audience on a personal and emotional level, creating empathy and understanding.

In short, narrative is the backbone of storytelling, providing the structure, pacing, and emotional impact that draws the audience into the story and keeps them engaged until the end.

The relation between narrative and plot

Although narrative and plot are related concepts in storytelling, but they are not the same thing.

Narrative refers to the way a story is told, including the point of view, the setting, the characters, the style, the themes, and the overall structure. It is the broader framework that encompasses all the elements of a story and gives it meaning.

Plot, on the other hand, refers specifically to the sequence of events that make up the story. It is the series of actions and events that move the story forward, and that create tension, conflict, and resolution. Plot is often driven by the goals, desires, and conflicts of the characters, and is usually structured in a way that builds suspense and creates a satisfying resolution.

So while plot is an important part of narrative, it is only one element among many. A well-crafted narrative also needs to consider other factors, such as the characters, the setting, the themes, and the overall style and tone of the story. Together, these elements work to create a rich and engaging narrative that captures the reader's imagination and draws them into the story world.

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Page by M Alan Kazlev, 2023