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When it comes to an understanding of what constitutes a narrative, people rely on a set of norms and guidelines. One way to describe narrative is to think of it as telling a story. The difference between narrative and fiction is vital because narrative norms presuppose that the content delivered to an audience is accurate, even if it is not necessarily true in the real world.
Because of the norms of storytelling, we can all comprehend stories when we hear them. Allow us to create our interpretations and offer us an internal consistency that makes the story convincing and realistic or fantastic for science fiction or fantasy works. Narrative norms govern everything from the sequence in which a story is told to the characters and the plot.
Setting the scene, introducing the characters, and revealing what happens next through exposition or discussion between the characters are all common narrative patterns. The protagonist is also often faced with adversarial forces during the story. Conventions like these assist us to understand what we’re looking at. Narrative conventions assist us in following along with a character’s journey in a film or television show by, for example, identifying the protagonist and what they want to connect with them.
What Kinds of Narrative Conventions Are There?
Several distinct sorts of narrative conventions are available for usage in a piece of literature. Among these are the omniscient perspective, where the narrator knows everything about all characters and events in a story; limited third-person perspective, in which narration is only from one character’s point of view; and third-person omniscient, in which multiple narrators are telling the story from different perspectives. You can categorise narrative conventions according to whether they are realistic or fantastic to distinguish between works with real-world norms and those based on imaginary rules or rules derived from science fiction.
Narratives can be classified as episodic, linear, or cyclical.
Because each incident stands alone, they are frequently used in short stories. In an episodic narrative, there is no link between the several events that make up the story as a whole. There is no development of the protagonist’s character or shift in their principles or ideas.
A story that proceeds in a straight line
In other words, it proceeds chronologically through the events of a story. The story revolves around the protagonist’s journey, in which they undergo inward transformation as a result of the events that take place. As a result, their core values and worldview will shift over time.
Because the events are arranged sequentially, they resemble linear models. Internal consistency means that each event reinforces or refers to the previous one. On the other hand, Circular narratives portray occurrences as part of a bigger pattern, which includes references to earlier events and how they relate to the present one. Rather than focusing on a single character or their journey, numerous characters may take part in various plots that ultimately lead to the same event after the novel. For example, in The Lord of the Rings, a slew of people are impacted by the One Ring’s presence.
The following are merely suggestions for common narrative conventions, so take them with a grain of salt. Authors are free to use any or all of these as the basis for their stories or even combine elements from many of them. It all boils down to what you hope to accomplish as a writer.
Narrative Conventions and Their Importance
For a story to be understood by its target audience, it must adhere to certain narrative norms. Regardless of the genre or number of characters, they help writers get their point out and establish a connection with their audience. People may have difficulty following a story if certain narrative norms are not followed. For example, readers accustomed to only viewing events through the eyes of one character’s point of view may find it difficult to follow the plot when it is delivered from a different point of view. There are no hard and fast rules for writing a story; the author can do anything with the conventions.
Narrative conventions in academic writing: how do they affect the work?
Similarly, writing assignments might benefit from using narrative conventions to tell a story. Scholars who write about history or literature often include tales in their works. On the other hand, academic writers must adhere to the standards established by their institutions to deliver their work on time. For example, an English professor might ask students to write a tale about their experience in an English-speaking country and score them based on how well they follow narrative standards of writing. It’s likely that if they don’t, the work won’t count toward their final grade.
Narrative conventions may be flouted. Don’t utilise the rules if you don’t want your narrative to be judged by them. The most important thing is to get your point over clearly to your readers as a writer. The only exception to this rule is writing an academic paper on anything that happened in history or literature. This implies researching the author or event you’re writing about and using their work as a point of reference to shape your thoughts.
In the classroom, students can learn a lot by telling stories. However, when it comes time for them to write about those stories, they encounter an interesting challenge. The answer is found in the norms of storytelling.
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