Literary Devices Plot Devices A Literary Device is a technique that shapes narrative to produce an effect on the reader A plot device is an object, a character or a concept introduced into the story by the author to advance its plot. A Plot Twist is any unexpected turn of the story that gives a new view on its entire topic. A plot twist at the end of the story is called a twist ending. A Flashing Arrow is a technique used to focus the reader’s, but not the characters’, attention on an object or a location that will be important later in the story.Order now
A Red Herring is a plot device that distracts the reader’s attention from the plot twists that are important for the story. It is used to maintain tension and uncertainty. A Deathtrap is a plot device that the villain uses to try to kill the protagonist and satisfy his own sadistic desires. A Comic Book Death is a technique makes a major character die or disappears ‘for forever’, but character re-appears later in the story. A Dark and Stormy Night is a cliche-like opening that usually includes darkness, violent lightning and a general mood of solitude. s a cliche-like opening that usually includes darkness, violent lightning and a general mood of solitude. Reverse Chronology is technique where begins at the end and works back toward the beginning. In medias res is a literary technique where the narrative starts in the middle of the story instead of from its beginning. The characters, setting, and conflict are often introduced through a series of flashbacks. Items Devices Some items and objects in the story may have a special significance for the plot.
These can be divided into several categories: Chekhov’s Gun is an item that is introduced early in the story and plays a crucial role later on. MacGuffin is an item whose nature is never quite explained to the reader but is a prime motivation for the characters. A Plot Coupon is an object that is crucial for resolving the conflict and completing the story. Commonly, it is a supernatural artefact divided into several parts and scattered all over the world. A Plot Voucher is an object similar to both plot coupon and Chekhov’s gun: it is usually presented to the protagonist at the beginning f the story and plays an important role in the resolving of the conflict. Visions Characters share with the reader visions of the past or the future in order to explain a character’s motives or certain plot twists. A Dream Sequence is a series of dreams which allow a character to see events that occur or have occurred in another time. Analepsis (flashback) presents events previous to the current time frame. Flashbacks are usually presented as characters’ memories and are used to explain their backgrounds and the back-story.
Racconto is very much like a flashback but is usually somewhat longer and more gradual. Prolepsis (flash-forward) presents events that will occur in the future. Prophecy is often used science fiction to underline their futuristic structure. Foreshadowing is a premonition, much like a flash-forward, but only hints at the future. Had-I-Known is a form of foreshadowing that describes the consequences of a mistake a character is about to make. Finales There are several patterns for story endings: A Cliff-hanger is an abrupt ending that leaves the plot incomplete , without denouement.
It often leaves characters in a precarious or difficult situation which hint at the possibility of a sequel. A Twist Ending is an unexpected finale that gives an entirely new vision on the entire plot. It is a powerful technique but it can leave the reader dissatisfied and frustrated. A Happy Ending is a finale when everything ends in the best way for the hero. Poetic Justice is a type of a happy ending where the virtue is rewarded and the vice is punished. Deus ex machina a plot device dating back to ancient Greek theatre, where the conflict is resolved through a means (by god, deus) that seem unrelated to the story.
This allows the author to end the story as desired without following the logic and continuity of the story. Literary Devices Character Devices NARRATIVE What is Narrative ? Development of Narrative Certain character devices refer to the identity of the author related to characters in a story. Self-insertion is a literary technique used to intentionally introduce the author into the story as a character. An Author Surrogate is a character who expresses the ideas, questions, personality and morality of the author and acts as the author’s spokesman.
Mary Sue or Gary Stu is a character who can be seen as an idealized self-insertion by the author. The introduction of a Mary Sue or Gary Stu is generally unintentional. An Audience surrogate is a character who expresses the questions and confusion of the reader. This technique is frequently used in detective fiction and science fiction. Other character devices refer to special traits of a character. Christ figure is an extended metaphor where a character is strongly associated with the religious figure of Jesus Christ. Often, the Christ figure is represented as conspicuously moral, and may sacrifice himself.
Sometimes, such a character is then resurrected. Setting NARRATIVE What is Narrative ? Development of Narrative Setting refers to the set of locations where the story takes place as well as the history, geography and the laws of nature of the world in which the story takes place. A Ficton is an imaginary world that serves as the setting or backdrop for a story. A ficton can be identical to our world or different as the author can imagine. A Fictional Universe is an imaginary world that serves as the setting or backdrop for science fiction and fantasy.
Other terms related to Fictional Universe are Canon, Expanded Universe, Fanon, Multiverse and Linking Room. A Back-story is the history of the characters and the world where the story takes place. The back-story provides extra depth to the story by anchoring it to external events, real or imagined. Incluing is a literary technique that is used to make the uncovering of the back-story less straightforward and more intriguing. Instead of explaining directly the narrator (or the characters) constantly refers to various events, assuming that everyone knows what they are talking about.
Retcon is an acronym for retroactive continuity, describes alteration of the back-story that contradicts the previously accepted vision. It is used to fix continuity errors is particularly in episodic media. A Fictional Crossover is a technique where otherwise separated fictional characters, stories, settings or universes meet and interact with each other. Shared Universe is a technique in which several different authors share settings and characters which appear in their respective works of fiction, often referring to events taking place in the other writers’ stories.
Continuity NARRATIVE What is Narrative ? Development of Narrative Continuity binds a story together through consistency of the plot, the characteristics of characters, objects, places and events. It maintains the laws of nature and rational order of the facts, history, and the universe where the story takes place. Sometimes errors and inconsistencies in the continuity appear in a story. Breaks in continuity that are deliberate are plot devices. A Plot Hole is a gap in the storyline when the plot contradicts itself or simply leaves unanswered questions.
A Plot Dump is a technique used when a lot of information necessary for understanding the story is given at once, typically in a dialogue between characters. Sunnydale Syndrome is a common challenge to the suspension of disbelief when the minor characters fail to notice unusual and even paranormal things going right in front of them. Stormtrooper Effect is a reference to the apparent incapability of minor characters (see also Redshirts) to seriously injure major ones even when having all advantages on their side.
Chuck Cunningham Syndrome is a term that refers to plot twist (usually, in episodic media) when a major character is removed without satisfactory explanation or no explanation at all. Rhetoric NARRATIVE What is Narrative ? Development of Narrative Authors also manipulate the language of their works to create a desired response from the reader. Rhetorical devices draw the reader’s attention to the text and to make the characters’ conversations more realistic. Some rhetorical devices are: An Anacoluthon is an abrupt change of syntax in sentence structure.
For example: a sentence sets up a subject and verb, but then the sentence changes its structure so that no direct object is given. An Analogy is a comparison based on similarity; a form of logical inference. Assonance is the repetition of vowel sounds within a short passage . A Chiastic Structure is a figure of speech based on inverted parallelism; a rhetorical figure in which two clauses are related to each another through a reversal of terms in order to make a larger meaning. Conceit is an extended metaphor, associated with metaphysical poetry.
Images and ideas are juxtaposed in surprising ways to provoke the reader into a more sophisticated understanding of an object of comparison. Constrained Writing is a form of writing in which artificial constraints are imposed, such as a story told in one syllable words. Diction refers the precise choice of words based on their connotation and meaning. Epithet is a descriptive word or phrase often metaphoric that are frequently attached to names. Juxtaposition is the placing together two elements for comparison or contrast. A Metaphor is a direct comparison between two or more seemingly unrelated subjects.
An Oxymoron combines two normally contradictory terms; for example “falsely true” A Parade of Horribles is a rhetorical device used by the speaker who argues something by listing a number of extremely undesirable consequences. Parallelism is a balance of two or more similar words, phrases, or clauses; to give two or more parts of the sentences a similar form so as to give the whole a definite pattern. Parody is ridicule by imitation, usually humorous. Personification is a figure of speech which involves directly speaking of an inanimate object, or an abstract concept, as if were a living entity. A
Rhetorical Question is a figure of speech in the form of a question posed for rhetorical effect rather than for the purpose of getting an answer. A Simile is a figure of speech in which the object is compared to another object using the words “like” or “as”. Symbolism is the creative use of arbitrary symbols as abstract representations of concepts or objects or of attribution of symbolic meanings or significance to objects, events, or relationships. Writer’s voice describes the individual writing style of an author, writer’s use of syntax, diction, punctuation, character development, dialogue, etc.
Word Play is a literary technique in which the nature of the words used themselves become part of the work. Puns, phonetic mix-ups, rhetorical excursions, oddly formed sentences are common examples of word play Nursery Rhyme Charades I use this activity with my really little ones–Pre-Kindergarten–when they are learning about nursery rhymes and Mother Goose. It is very simple, and a lot of fun for my students. We begin by discussing nursery rhymes in general, and by naming as many of them as we can. Then we play the game. Each student in turn goes to the center of the circle and pantomimes an element from a nursery rhyme. For instance, he might pantomime someone sleeping for “Little Boy Blue. “) The rest of the class tries to guess what nursery rhyme is meant. When dealing with very young students–although I suppose this activity would work with older kids as well–it is very important for the teacher to carefully guide the acting and guessing, and to make positive comments about the performances (“Wow! that’s a really interesting way to act out Bo Peep! “) and about the guesses (“Well, no, that isn’t what he’s doing, but I can see what you mean. He does sort of look like he’s jumping over a candlestick, doesn’t he! ) so that everyone feels a part of the learning. My Pre-Kindergarten class is my most difficult, and this activity works extremely well with them. Newspaper Puppets This is a great project for older elementary through adult. In addition to exploring characterization and puppet manipulation skills, it builds teamwork and can bring a cast to a closer collaboration. You Will Need: • A whole lot of old newspapers. Figure a stack 6-12 inches tall for each group of three or four students. • Tons of masking tape. Figure four or five rolls per group. (Masking tape is fortunately really cheap. Making the Puppets • Divide the class or cast into groups of three or four, and give each some newspapers and some tape. • Each group must build a giant figure–it can be a person or an animal, real or fantastic–out of rolled up, folded or wadded newspaper and masking tape. Generally limbs are made by rolling paper into long, stiff tubes held together by tape, while solid masses, such as torsos are made by loosely wadding paper and wrapping it thoroughly with tape. There is no such thing as using too much tape! I usually allow no scissors, but paper may be torn to shape.
In general the figures should be about the size of the students themselves (altough they are of course much lighter) and the more flexible joints and movable limbs the better. (I once made a marvelous spider. ) • Even as they are building the figure, the group should be thinking about how it will move. This is not the kind of puppet one puts hands inside, but rather the kind one manipulates from the outside. All team members should have a role in manipulating the finished puppet. (For instance, one might operate the feet, one the hands, one the head, etc. ) Manipulating the Puppets When the puppets are finished, including whatever changes have to be made to accomodate movement, the groups rehearse manipulation. They must focus on working together so that their creature moves as a unified whole rather than a collection of independent parts. They may experiment with the sound their creation might make. They rehearse until they can smoothy operate the puppet. • Finally, in a controlled way, bring two or more puppets into interaction. Do they fight? Fall in love with one another? Fear one another? Cooperate on some task? Coach the students to explore all the possibilities. When the project is over, I usually end up just tossing the puppets in the trash. That’s the beauty of a rough-and-ready puppet project like this. (Naturally if someone really wants to take a puppet home I allow them to do so. ) • With older students I compare the process of manipulating our Newspaper Puppets to other puppet techniques they may have seen, such as the huge, multi-puppeteer creations in The Lion King, Spanish Muerte puppets, Bunraku, etc. We also discuss the level of concentration and cooperation necessary to make the puppets work. My students always love this project. Narrative Structure Plot Structure pic]NARRATIVE What is Narrative ? Development of Narrative Plot is the basic structure of any story but narrative can have a variety of internal structures related to style, temporal elements and codification of the message. Plot describes a series of events that happens to the characters in a described setting. Ideally, all events should follow logically in order to maintain the continuity of the story. Larger texts often have subplots that run simultaneously with the main one. A-Plot is the term used for the main plot that binds all the subplots. The A-plot is not necessarily the most important one.
A Subplot or Side Story is a plot that has no direct connection to the A-Plot, but is important for understanding various aspects of the characters’ personalities and the world created by the author. There are several kinds of subplots: A Character Arc describes the events happening to a (secondary) character and allows the reader to learn more about his background. A Story Arc is a partial plot that is typical for episodic storytelling media such as TV series. It describes events that happen to the characters over several episodes, but is not crucial for understanding the events that occur in various episodes.
Story-within-a-story is a technique used to tell a story during the action of another one. This is more properly called a Frame Narrative. Other possible plot patterns include: A Quest is a journey toward a goal typically used as a plot in mythology. In literature, the quest requires great exertion on the part of the hero, typically including much travel, which allows the storyteller to introduce exotic locations and cultures. Side-quests are often used to develop character depth by give opportunity for a seemingly perfect character to have flaws that can possibility provoke his downfall.
Often side-quests are stepping stones to the completion of a final goal. The Monomyth (often referred to as the Hero’s Journey) is a cyclical journey found in myths as discussed by Joseph Campbell in his book The Hero with a Thousand Faces. Conflict Every story evolves around a conflict or several conflicts that follow seven basic patterns: Man vs. Himself : a hero is challenged by his own will, confusion, or fears. This is a struggle of the hero who must to come to a decision. Man vs. Man: a hero faces challenges by antagonists. Man vs.
Society: a hero must confront social traditions, moral principles and edicts. Man vs. Nature: a hero is challenged by forces of nature. Man vs. the Supernatural: a hero is challenged by supernatural forces or the unknown. Man vs. God: a hero is challenged by divine forces or religious or spiritual conviction or belief. Man vs. Technology: a hero is challenged by the machine, technology or science; this is a common theme in science fiction. Thirty-Six Dramatic Situations All plots follow some basic patterns. Georges Polti summarized plots types in his book The Thirty-Six Dramatic Situations.
Supplication: Elements – a Persecutor; a Supplicant; and a Power in authority, whose decision is doubtful. Deliverance: Elements – an Unfortunate, a Threatener, a Rescuer. Crime Pursued by Vengeance: Elements – an Avenger and a Criminal Vengeance Taken for Kindred Upon Kindred: Elements – Avenging Kinsman; Guilty Kinsman; Remembrance of the Victim, a Relative of Both Pursuit: Elements – Punishment and Fugitive Disaster: Elements – a Vanquished Power; a Victorious Enemy or a Messenger Falling Prey to Cruelty or Misfortune: Elements – an Unfortunate; a Master or a Misfortune Revolt: Elements – Tyrant and Conspirator
Daring Enterprise: Elements – a Bold Leader; an Object; an Adversary Abduction: Elements – the Abductor; the Abducted; the Guardian The Enigma: Elements – Interrogator, Seeker and Problem Obtaining: Elements – a Solicitor and an Adversary Who is Refusing, or an Arbitrator and Opposing Parties Enmity of Kinsmen: Elements – a Malevolent Kinsman; a Hatred or Reciprocally Hating Kinsman Rivalry of Kinsmen: Elements – the Preferred Kinsman; the Rejected Kinsman; the Object Murderous Adultery: Elements – Two Adulterers; a Betrayed Husband or Wife Madness: Elements – Madman and Victim
Fatal Imprudence: Elements – The Imprudent; the Victim or the Object Lost Involuntary Crimes of Love: Elements – the Lover, the Beloved; the Revealer Slaying of a Kinsman Unrecognized: Elements – the Slayer, the Unrecognized Victim Self-Sacrifice for an Ideal: Elements – the Hero; the Ideal; the ‘Creditor’ or the Person or Thing Sacrificed Self-Sacrifice for Kindred: Elements – the Hero; the Kinsman; the ‘Creditor’ or the Person or Thing Sacrificed All Sacrificed for Passion: Elements – the Lover, the Object of the Fatal Passion; the Person or Thing Sacrificed Necessity of Sacrificing Loved Ones: Elements – the Hero; the Beloved Victim; the Necessity for the Sacrifice Rivalry of Superior and Inferior: Elements – the Superior Rival; the Inferior Rival; the Object Adultery: Elements – a Deceived Husband or Wife; Two Adulterers Crimes of Love: Elements – The Lover, the Beloved Discovery of the Dishonour of a Loved One: Elements – the Discoverer; the Guilty One Obstacles to Love: Elements – Two Lovers, an Obstacle
An Enemy Loved: Elements – The Beloved Enemy; the Lover; the Hater Ambition: Elements – an Ambitious Person; a Thing Coveted; an Adversary Conflict With a God: Elements – a Mortal, an Immortal Mistaken Jealousy: Elements – the Jealous One; the Object of Jealousy; the Supposed Accomplice; the Cause or the Author of the Mistake Erroneous Judgement: Elements – The Mistaken One; the Victim of the Mistake; the Cause or Author of the Mistake; the Guilty Person Remorse: Elements – the Culprit; the Victim or the Sin; the Interrogator Recovery of a Lost One: Elements – The Seeker; the One Found Loss of Loved Ones: Elements – A Kinsman Slain; a Kinsman Spectator; an Executioner Suspense
Roland Barthes developed a concept that every narrative is interwoven with five codes that drive one to maintain interest in a story. The first two codes involve ways of creating suspense in narrative. The Hermeneutic Code The hermeneutic code refers to plot elements of a story that, because they are not explained, the reader wishes to be resolved. For example, in a detective story a crime is exposed or postulated and the remainder of the narrative is devoted to answering questions raised by the initial event. The Proairetic Code The proairetic code refers to plot events that imply further narrative action. For example, a story character confronts an adversary and the reader wonders what will be the consequence of this action.
Suspense is created by action rather than by a reader’s wish to have mysteries explained. Dramatic Structure Dramatic structure refers to the parts of a plot that define the progression of the story from the introduction to the conclusion. Exposition The Exposition provides background information that situates the story Rising Action Rising action refers to the period after the exposition, when conflict has been introduced. Generally the protagonist faces more conflict or obstruction until a climax is reached and the conflict is resolved. Rising action very often comprises the majority of a story. Climax The Climax is its point of highest tension or drama in a story.
It is the critical point where the protagonist reaches a point of no return; he must make decisions and take action that fix the outcome of the story. Peripeteia Peripeteia is the turning point where the circumstances of the protagonist are reversed and it become evident that the protagonist will succeed. This is the point of passage from evil to good, from dark to light, from ignorance to knowledge, from doubt to clarity. Falling Action Falling action that follows the climax and turning point gradually leads to the denouement or catastrophe. In tragedies, the hero’s fortunes are decline. Denouement Denouement are events that conclude the story.
Conflicts are resolved, the characters situation return to a perceived normal state. There is a sense of catharsis, or release of tension and anxiety, for the reader. A denouement is the unravelling, or untying, of the complexities of a plot. The Development of Narrative Folklore Folklore is narrative typically concerned with the mundane traditions of everyday life but it evolves as an enunciation of the dominant beliefs of the time. As the beliefs became more entrenched in the collective psyche, certain folklore stories gained importance for their moral message. Storytellers passed on stories learned from others creating a distance between the person who actually witnessed the story and the teller.
Certain stories became distinguished from a chronicle as the telling became more formal and structured. The transformation gave stories a moral definition that lifted them above the banality of average human life and a universality that made them worth repeating through many generations as legends. Legends A legend (from Latin, legenda, ‘things to be read ‘) is a narrative of human actions perceived both by teller and listeners to take place within human history and to possess certain qualities that give the tale verisimilitude. No events occur outside the realm of the possible – anything perceived to actually have happened. This may include unexplainable events such as miracles.
Although a legend has some historical or geographical connection, it may attach imaginary events to real persons. Fables Legends that exceed these boundaries of ‘realism’ are called fables. Fable comes from Latin, fabula, meaning ‘conversation’, ‘narrative’, ‘tale’. Although fables originate in the narrative of human history and are presented in a conversational tone, they have become figurative or fictional stories. In a rigorous sense, a fable is a folk tale embodying a moral, which may be expressed explicitly at the end as a maxim. Human characters are often transformed metaphorically as animals that personify humans and interact with humans as equals. Inanimate objects may also be personified. Myth
As societies evolved, they developed moral and ethical concepts as guides to acceptable behaviour. Storytelling became an essential vehicle for transmission of these moral and ethical concepts, particularly in oral, non-literate societies. As stories were passed down through generations, the concept of sacred developed and myths evolved. Myths (from Greek mythos, meaning ‘story, legend’ ) are stories arranged in a coherent system (a mythos) that express spiritual or religious concepts through the adventures of supernatural, divine or heroic beings. These characters appear less interwoven with remembered history than those of legends. Often the forces of nature and of the soul are personified as in fables.
Persons may also be transformed metaphorically as animals or inanimate objects. Myths have existed in all cultures since before recorded history. Mythic stories often begin by explaining creation, inexplicable natural phenomena, cultural conventions and anything else for which there is no simple explanation. Although myths have been considered to be fabulations, modern research had discovered many correlations between mythological accounts and actual historical events. In fact a method of interpretation, known as euhemerism, treats mythological accounts as a reflection of historical events shaped by retelling and transformation that give natural events supernatural characteristics.
Myths are considered to be sacred because they are believed to be true by people who attach religious or spiritual significance to them. As societies became literate, moral and ethical concepts of became codified and recorded in the written narrative of sacred texts such as the Bible, the Koran and the Vedic texts. Fiction The ability to create fiction is frequently cited as one of the defining characteristics of humanity. Fiction (from the Latin fingere, ‘to form, to create’) is a story of imagined events that make no claims about reality. The appeal of fiction is its ability to evoke the entire spectrum of human emotions through imagined narrative.
The source material for imagination can be as superficial as current memories and as deep rooted a Freudian archetypes and Jungian symbolism. Fiction is created in large part as entertainment, although not all fiction is necessarily created for divertissement. Fiction may be created for the purpose of educating or as propaganda and advertising. Urban Legends Fiction, may over time, blend with factual accounts and develop into legends and myths. Contemporary folklore includes fictional stories often thought to be factual by those circulating them. People frequently recite these urban legends saying that they happened to a ‘friend of a friend’. This apparent accountability adds force to the narrative by personalization.
The way these stories are propagate demonstrates that people take urban legends to be true instead of recognizing them as tall tales or unsubstantiated rumours. Urban legends are framed as stories, with plots and characters. They are often just extended jokes, told as if they were true events. The events are not necessarily untrue, but they are often distorted, exaggerated, or sensationalized. Urban legends are often born of fears and insecurities and many are presented as warnings or cautionary tales. Like traditional legends, some urban legends also concern unexplained phenomena. The compelling nature of theses stories and their mystery, horror, or humour are what makes them so attractive. Narrative Structure 1. Narrative Codes
Roland Barthes developed a concept that every narrative is interwoven with five codes that drive one to maintain interest in a story. The first two codes involve ways of creating suspense in narrative, the first by unanswered questions, the second by anticipation of an action’s resolution. These two codes are essentially connected to the temporal order of the narrative. The Hermeneutic Code The hermeneutic code refers to plot elements of a story that are not explained. They exist as enigmas that the reader wishes to be resolved. A detective story, for example, is a narrative that operates primarily by the hermeneutic code. A crime is exposed or postulated and the rest of the narrative is devoted to answering questions raised by the initial event. The Proairetic Code
The proairetic code refers to plot events that imply further narrative action. For example, a story character confronts an adversary and the reader wonders what the resolution of this action will be. Suspense is created by action rather than by a reader’s wish to have mysteries explained. The final three codes are related to how the reader comprehends and interprets the narrative discourse. The Semic Code A seme is a unit of meaning or a sign that express cultural stereotypes. These signs allow the author to describe characters, settings and events. The semic code focuses upon information that the narration provides in order to suggest abstract concepts.
Any element in a narrative can suggest a particular, often additional, meaning by way of connotation through a correlation found in the narrative. The semic code allows the text to ‘show’ instead of ‘tell’ by describing material things. The Symbolic Code The symbolic code refers to a structural structure that organizes meanings by way of antitheses, binary oppositions or sexual and psychological conflicts. These oppositions can be expressed through action, character and setting. The Cultural Code The cultural code designates any element in a narrative that refers to common bodies of knowledge such as historical, mythological or scientific. The cultural codes point to knowledge about the way the world works as shared by a community or culture.
Together, these five codes function like a ‘weaving of voices’. Barthes assigns to the hermeneutic the Voice of Truth; to the proairetic code the voice of Empirics ; to the semic the Voice of the Person; to the cultural the Voice of Science; and to the symbolic the Voice of Symbol. According to Barthes, they allowing the reader to see a work not just as a single narrative line but as a braiding of meanings that give a story its complexity and richness. 2. Temporal Environment A story can be presented in several parts. Although this is often done for marketing purposes, it is also a literary device used to create specific narrative structures. Some common forms are: Serial or Episodic Stories
Serial stories are divided into a number of smaller episodes that form a single plot. This structure is rather uncommon in literature but is often used in television and subscription publications. Duology, Trilogy, Tetralogy, etc. Several individual stories may be connected through common characters, geography and history and can be perceived as a single work composed of a set of stories. Frame Stories Segmented stories can be knit together by a frame story, a main story that serves as a framework for a set of shorter stories. Extradiegetic Narrative An extradiegetic narrative is a story that frames the primary story. Frame Narrative A frame narrative is a story within a story.
In stories such as Chaucer’s Canterbury Tails different individuals narrate the events of a story in each frame. Unlike an omniscient narrative, the teller of the story is an actual character with particular traits, prejudices, and motives. This structure can also resemble the psychoanalytic process of uncovering the unconscious behind various obfuscating narratives put in place by the conscious mind. The following terms are commonly used to identify different types of split stories: Sequel: a story set in the same fictional universe but later in time. It usually continues the original storyline. Prequel: a story that happens in the same universe as some previous story.
It is provided to explain the original story context. Interquel: a story chronologically set during the interval between two previous stories. Midquel: a story set in the same time and universe as a previous story. In episodic media such TV series and serialized publications stories are composed of episodes, short segments of a main story connected to a story arc, a frame narrative or a side story. Filler: an episode that has no connection to the ongoing storylines. Fillers are used to give background information about the characters or present the back-story. Temporal Order Fabula refers to the chronological sequence of events in a narrative.
Simple narratives follow the chronology of history but this is not always the most effective manner to present events when the narrator wishes to provoke high emotional response through suspense. For example, anticipation can be created by presenting certain events in an inverted order. A couple of ways for changing the fabula of a story are: Analepsis (flashback) presents events previous to the current time frame. Prolepsis (flash-forward) presents events that will occur in the future. A classic example of prolepsis is prophecy. In medias res refers to a story that begins ‘in the middle of things’ rather than at the chronological origin of the story. This reordering of events engages the reader immediately in the action of the story. 3. Literary Style Syntagmatic Structure
Syntagmatic structure refers the mode of time-awareness in which listeners are placed by the surface structure (syntax) of the narrative discourse. Simple Narrative A simple narrative is a story that is historically and culturally grounded and shaped by human personality. It organizes a particular stretch of time into a conscious experience. Epic Narrative Epic narratives are prolonged stories of the life of heroic or mythological persons. They create a cyclical state of recurrence. See Monomyth. Lyrical Narrative Lyrical narratives are stories conveyed in verses that are to be accompanied by music. The discourse uses elements of metre and symmetry and a relatively short time period. Literary Genres
The development of written narrative has produced a number of distinct fashions or literary styles of narrative discourse. Some common styles are: An Autobiographical Novel is the fictionalized story of an author’s life as seen by the author. An Epistolary Novel is a story presented as an exchange of letters between characters. A Historical Novel is a story set within the context of historical events. Protagonists may be fictional or historical personages, or a combination. Hysterical Realism is a literary genre characterized by chronic length, manic characters, madding action, and frequent digressions on topics secondary to the story. Magic Realism is a form of story that realistically describes events set in a magical haze of strange local customs and beliefs.
Gabriel Garcia Marquez is a master of this style. A Pastiche is a literary form that openly imitates previous works of another artist, often with satirical intent. A Picaresque Novel is an episodic narrative of the adventures of a rogue on the road. Tom Jones is a classic example. Roman a clef is a story that describes real-life events behind a facade of fiction. Satire is literary style in which human weakness is attacked through irony, derision, or wit. Stream of Consciousness is a narrative discourse that proposes to reveal a character’s inner thought processes. The Narrator Corporal Form Physical Position Narrator’s Bias Grammatical Position 1. Corporal Form
Three entities are necessary for storytelling of any kind, an author, a narrator and a reader. The author creates the characters, and events within the story. The narrator presents the story in a way the reader can comprehend. The reader’s function is to understand and interpret the story. The author and narrator can one if they share the same entity relative to the story. The narrator has definite attributes and limitations that are crucial for the way the story is perceived by the reader. The most important aspect of the narrator is the point-of-view from which the story is told. Point-of-view consists of corporal form, physical position, bias and grammatical stance.
There are two basic forms of narrative according to the corporal form of the narrator: Diegesis: a personified narrator describes events in the narrative, addressing the audience directly describing what is in the character’s mind and emotions. To enter the world of the story, the reader must suspend disbelief and accept the story’s diegesis. Mimesis: the story is told by an omniscient incorporeal entity; what is going on in a character’s inner thoughts and emotions are shown through external actions rather than through description of the character’s state of mind and emotions. 2. Physical Position The physical position of the narrator determines what the narrator can see and therefore what the reader can see.
This has particular relevance when a narrative is presented as a film. The position of the camera lens, the focalization, is critical for the viewers’ interpretation of a scene. Focalization Focalization is the presentation of a scene through the subjective perception of a character. The term can refer to the focalizer, the person doing the seeing or to the object that is being perceived. In literature focalization is established through narration in the grammatical first-person. In film, camera positions such as point-of-view shots, subjective shots and over-the-shoulder shots are combined with presentation of shots in specific sequences. Point-of-view Shot
A point-of-view shot is a scene in a film that shows what a character is looking at. It is usually ‘established’ by positioning the point-of-view shot between a shot of a character looking at something, and a shot showing the character’s reaction (a reverse shot). Subjective Treatment In film, subjective treatment shots show events as if we see through the ‘mind’s eye’ of the character. Such as shot may be used to portray a vision, a memory, or a hallucination. Objective Treatment An objective treatment of a scene presents what is before the camera in the diegesis of the narrative. ‘Objective treatment’ corresponds to ‘third-person narration’ in literature. Over-the-shoulder
An over-the-shoulder shot includes part of that character’s shoulder or the side of the character’s head while showing the scene from the character’s point-of-view. 3. Narrator’s Bias In order to be credible, a narrator, like any person, must have a ‘cultural background ‘. This cultural baggage filters and influences the character’s perception and therefore the character’s narrative discourse. Gaze Gaze is a term that usually refers to the predominantly male gaze of Hollywood cinema in which camera angles and film editing tend to depict women as objects perceived by voyeuristic men. Gaze can refer to any biased, filtered, point-of-view such as racist, anarchist, humanist, etc. Scopophilia
Scopophilia which means ‘the love of looking ‘ refers to a voyeuristic gaze. This is a narrative point-of-view that is often used to portray intimate first-person discourse. Unreliable Narrator A narrator tells the story from his or her personal point-of-view. It is important for the reader to determine the motivation and psychology of the character assumed by the narrator in order to decide what is the veracity of the narrative. Why is this narrator telling the story in this way? Can we trust his narrative? Certain narrators withhold or distort a story according to their personal interests. The character flaws and incongruencies can reduce credibility.
Unreliable narrators display traits that render themselves untrustworthy and their rendition of events must be taken with a grain of salt. Unreliable narrators usually speak in the first-person, since this form of narration tends to underline the motives for telling a story. Consequently, the narrators of memoirs and autobiographies should probably be considered unreliable. 4. Grammatical Position There are five grammatical stances or voices that a narrator can adopt: first-person, second-person, third-person limited, third-person omniscient and third-person objective. First-person and third-person points-of-view are most common. The second-person points-of-view is very rarely used. First-person Narrative
A first-person narrator tells a story in the grammatical first-person referring to himself as ‘I’ or ‘We’. He must witness and experience events with his senses, or be told about events. This voice brings greater focus on the feelings, opinions, and perceptions of a particular character in a story, and on how that character views the world and other characters. This technique constitutes diegesis. First-person – As if spoken There are several variations of first-person narrative. The first is expressed as ‘listen while I tell you ‘. This stance is favoured for short stories. Although the narrator can be a character who is a mere observer, usually a main character tells the story.
Interest can be sustained for a long period by a narrator’s colourful and colloquial language as in Huckleberry Finn. In film this form of narration can be achieved through use of voice-over narration and judicious use of point-of-view and over-the-shoulder shots. First-person – As if written The second form of first-person narrative is presented as written personal memoir or report such as in Robinson Crusoe. The narrator can interject reflections and comments on the action and characters with an appreciation matured by time. This form also allows the author to move smoothly from place to place and period to period with little confusion. An epistolary narrative is presented as a series of lettres.
It can reveal a great deal about the characters, the correspondents, but the action may be somewhat distant and it may take some time for audience to connect with a story. Yet another form of ‘as if written’ narrative is a diary that records, over a long period, the variegation of events in the diarist’s life. A diary may also introduce fiction of a personal nature as the individual speculates on the denouement of events. Stream of Consciousness An even more intimate first-person narrative is a stream of consciousness or an ‘interior monologue’. This form of narration presents a story through thoughts, impressions and sensations that flow through the mind of the narrator-character.
The audience is made to feel that their thoughts are flowing directly through the characters brain, that the character’s senses are those of the audience. First-person Multiple Narration First-person multiple narration uses several first-person narrators, alternating among them with each new phase of the story. This allows the diversity of presentation of an omniscient narrator with the advantage of varied voices. Different characters can present the same story elements from their particular bias providing a rich explanation of the events. Second-person Narration Second-person narration is a stance in which the narrator is telling the story to another character through that character’s point-of -view. The listener is referred as ‘You’. This technique also constitutes diegesis.
Second-person narrative is common in interactive fiction and role-playing computer games. The reader can associate with the listener and imagine being within the action of the story. Third-person Narration Third-person narration is a story told in the grammatical third-person; the voice of the narrator describes what ‘He’ or ‘They’ did. The voice of the narrator appears as that of the author. This is perhaps the most common sort of narration. Third-person Limited Narration In third-person limited narration, the narrator is disembodied. The narrator does nothing, expresses no opinions and has no physical form in or out of the story. There is no implied fictional intermediary between the reader and the story.
Events are observed from the outside through the senses and thoughts of a single character. The narrative is limited to the thoughts, feelings, and memories of the single character, but of no other characters. Third-person Omniscient Narration An omniscient (all-knowing) narrator is also disembodied and takes no actions, casts no judgments, expresses no opinions and has no physical form in or out of the story. The narrator dissolves and ceases to exist as a detectable entity (mimesis). The omniscient narrator speaks with the voice of the author who is a witness to all events. Any element, secret, hidden, past or present as well as any thoughts of all characters can be told by the omniscient narrator.
The chronological of the story can be re-ordered in any manner and important elements of a story can be withheld until the moment of greatest effect. The third-person omniscient narrator is usually considered to be the most reliable narrator. Third-person Objective Narration In a third-person objective narration, the author records what can be seen and heard. There is not presentation of the thoughts, feelings, memories or reflections of characters. This type of narration is like the view of ‘a fly on the wall’. Literary Devices Plot Character Setting Continuity Rhetoric Characters Characterization Stock Characters