How Does Narrative Structure Affect A Story?

The narrative is a structure in which an event is told and described in order or through conflict. Elements like characters, actions, and events, the most important parts of a plot-driven movie, get in the way of the story. The most important part of a film script is the narrative structure, which keeps a story going. So, the structure of a good film story must be fully built into the story.

The Origin Of The Concept Of Narrative Structure

But what exactly do we mean when we talk about narrative structure or narrative text structure? The concept originated with the ancient Greeks, specifically with Aristotle in 321 BC, who established the principles of dramatic structure in his Poetic work. According to Aristotle, LIFE ALSO HAS A DRAMATIC STRUCTURE IN THE THEATRICAL SENSE, which means there is a causal logic through which an identification occurs. The Greek philosopher divided a story's narration into three acts: beginning, middle, and end, which we now call beginning, middle, and end.

Although this is the most commonly recognized structure, we will see IN THE ARTISTIC AVANT-GARDE that THE NARRATIVE STRUCTURE OF CINEMA CAN PRESENT MULTIPLE VARIATIONS. Jean-Luc Godard, one of the most representative directors of the Nouvelle Vague—a fundamental critical current in cinema history—said that "a story must have a beginning, a middle, and an end, but not necessarily in that order."

A film's narrative structure follows this premise: a particular type of person pursues a specific goal, which changes as they encounter obstacles to achieving (or failing to achieve) that goal. A NARRATIVE TEXT STRUCTURE EXAMPLE: IN ACT I, a famous botanist and his two assistants set out on a journey to explore and catalog the plants that grow in a specific area of the Amazon. In Act II, the boat they are traveling in capsizes during a storm, severely injuring the botanist. In Act III, one of the assistants goes on foot for assistance and returns safely. The essence of cinema's narrative structure is based on the fact that someone wants something and faces various obstacles in achieving his goal.

The Syd Field Paradigm

The Screenwriter's Manual author SYD FIELD has outlined a paradigm that most screenplays follow. The author believes that the script's structure is the most essential element that sustains a story and allows it to develop, stating that a script without structure has no plot line, direction, or development line. According to Syd Field, a good script must always have a solid line of dramatic action and progress progressively towards a resolution.

In this sense, the narrative structure is a tool that allows you to shape and mold the script while keeping all of the elements together: the action, the characters, the plot, the incidents, episodes, and events that comprise the story. THE STRUCTURE, according to American novelist, screenwriter, and playwright William Goldman, "IS THE BACKBONE THAT SUPPORTS THE WHOLE STORY," the formation of a "whole" from the relationship between its parts: the characters, plot, action, etc. the dialogue, scenes, sequences, incidents, and events, which are ordered under the classic division: beginning, middle, and end.

According to Field, this division is what all stories in the film have in common, regardless of length; a movie is about two hours long, meaning that one written page of the script equals one minute of screen time. Thus, act I, or the beginning, is a thirty-page-long half or block of dramatic or comic action that begins on the first page and continues until the plot point or turning point at the end of act I. It is set in the dramatic setting of "EXPOSITION."

Act II is a unit or block of action that runs from page thirty to ninety or from the plot point at the end of Act I to the plot point at the end of Act II. It's called "CONFRONTATION." Finally, act III is a unit of action that runs from page 90 to page 120 or from the plot point at the end of act II to the end of the script. A "RESOLUTION" is what it is.

Despite variations, the critical aspect of Syd Field's paradigm is that it establishes dramatic relationships between the whole and its parts.

Here are resources I recommend to get more in-depth knowledge

Storytelling 101 teaches you how to write compelling stories worthy of commercial success. This is best for screenwriters, novelists, filmmakers, videogame writers and storytellers.

Children’s Books 101 teaches you how to write stories that children will love. This is best for aspiring children’s book authors and storytellers.

Owl AI is the revolutionary AI-powered content production platform that helps storytellers, writers, and bloggers of all subject matter easily create highly-polished content.

Success, Money & Mindset Subliminal is a self-hypnosis recording that we recommend to new writers to help with focus, concentration, creativity, and motivation.

Shadow Work Journal: 240 Daily Prompts contains inner work exercises related to relationships, anger, anxiety, self-love, healing trauma, abandonment issues, depression, forgiveness, etc.


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