How To Structure A Narrative Story (5 Steps)

In this post, we discuss ideas surrounding a reader's question: How to structure a narrative story?

What is a Narrative Story Structure

A narrative structure is the skeleton of our story from a technical standpoint. It tells us what elements to use, when, and where to use them to elicit the most emotion from the audience.

This is because if our audience feels empathy for the characters in your story, their reactions will be genuine and the message we want to convey will be clear.

How Narrative Structures Work

To begin, the narrative structures were created by industry experts. Each piece that the structures suggest for your story has a reason and has been tried thousands of times with positive results. In turn, they contribute to the coherence of your story, the connection of ideas, and the generation of a change in your protagonist. They can even help you overcome the dreaded writer's block by clarifying your plot and the path your characters must take.

How To Structure A Narrative Story

A narrative is a piece of writing that tells a story from the author's point of view. You can tell a story, make an argument, or provide a description of what happened. Whatever type of story you're writing, it's critical to organize your work in a way that makes sense to you and allows your writing to flow.

5 Steps to Take:

  1. Begin your essay with a unique idea or quote that explains what you're discussing. Then, begin your narrative with a short story or an idea.
  2. Write the order in which the events occur. A clear narrative is a story told in the order in which it occurred. This means it must have a start, a middle, and an end.
  3. Keep the main flow of the story in mind so that your writing is clear. Concise writing will benefit your story and allow the main point to shine.
  4. Finish your story with a nod to the beginning. Return to the quote or main idea that you started with. If you begin with a story fragment, return to it and complete it.
  5. You can also provide a central idea or lesson learned at the end of the story.

The Importance of Narrative Structure

The plot of a story is not the only consideration. A good story must have distinct, empathetic characters who elicit a reaction from the audience, or else the path they take will be unappealing to us.

Your audience must root for your protagonist to succeed and effect change. As a result, the structures propose a type of protagonist that has been used for centuries.

An example of this can be found in the structure Save The Cat. Blake Snyder developed that method after realizing that movies are more than just a story; they are also about how the public reacts to them.

According to his research, the protagonists should be either the best, the good, the funny, the one who suffers, or the one who is at a disadvantage. Therefore, if your protagonist possesses at least one of these qualities, the likelihood that your audience will support and want to meet him increases significantly.

In conclusion, it is a reality that a story proposes the path a protagonist must take, which may appear to be limiting, but it is the opposite. The structures exist to assist us in making our stories clear and our characters more empathetic.

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It should be noted that if you want to produce something commercial, it is most likely that following one of these structures will be required to sell a story. This does not imply that we have lost our creative ability or that our history must necessarily become predictable.

When one understands the essence of the structures, it is entirely possible and advised to give them our voice and style and ensure that they are used to tell what we genuinely want to mean.

We need to think of them as skeletons rather than maps. They are not something that we should follow step by step without understanding them, they are what make our story work and move, but they are never intended to make it lose its essence.

In conclusion, while structures are the foundation of our story and must be used to give it coherence, we cannot allow the essence of what we want to tell to disappear by following them, which is why we must know them far beyond the surface. We can adapt it to what we want to say only after understanding why each beat exists and what it serves.

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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