What Is The Framework Of A Frame Story?

In this article, we look into what is the framework of a frame story.

What is a Frame Story?

Writers frequently employ a variety of literary devices to captivate the reader and produce a compelling and otherwise fascinating narrative. The use of a frame story is one such method.

When the frame story technique is used, the author will start by telling a story that will turn out not to be the main subject of the narrative. Instead, the second story, which typically has more emphasis or importance, will be set up or framed by the first story.

The frame story has been used for centuries and is still widely used in various literary genres and other media, including television and film.

A character, or a narrator, starting to tell a story about himself in the present is an example instance of a frame story. This character frequently speaks directly to the audience or describes his function as narrative in the story, not necessarily as action.

Following the introduction of this narrator or character, he will typically start telling another story, essentially inviting the reader to accompany him on this narrative journey. Before diving into the main story, the author can introduce the reader to the setting using the framework story structure.


By preparing the reader for several short stories, the narrator can also be utilized as a tool for a frame story. Throughout the text, the narrator may appear to make references, explain events, or provide expository information to prepare the reader for the following tale. Although the technique's origins can be found in several historical texts, it is frequently used in film and television.

Example of a Frame Story

"Rip Van Winkle," a short story by Washington Irving, is an excellent example of the frame story.

The narrative is narrated by a character named Geoffrey Crayon, but the story's primary focus is on the character Rip Van Winkle and his adventures in the Catskill Mountains. Crayon's creation informs the reader of this character that Geoffrey Crayon, not Irving, is the one telling the Rip Van Winkle tale.

By doing so, Crayon completely obscures the identity of the author of the narrative, almost imploring the reader to consider the real stories, which are more credible. Instead, the reader hears Rip Van Winkle's tale through Geoffrey Crayon's framework or perspective.

5 Reasons to Use a Frame Story

In the art of storytelling, frame stories can accomplish several different goals, including the following:

  • Momentum

Frame stories can provide momentum by establishing an emotion and igniting interest in the main story before the main story has even begun. This enables the frame story to connect fluidly with its inner story, as opposed to the flow having to start again each time a new story is presented in the narrative.

This is most obvious in cyclical frame stories, in which the feelings you invested in one story are quickly transferred to the next story in the cycle. With each new tale, your interest is piqued further, and you are increasingly hesitant to put the book down.

  • Varied Points of View

The best thing a frame story can do for you is to give you access to multiple perspectives within the confines of a single narrative. The story is enhanced by the inclusion of a variety of perspectives provided by the various characters.

When characters have different perspectives on the same situation, it can make subtle or complicated details easier to discover and comprehend. However, it also adds another layer of complexity to the story, mimicking the reality that no two people think, act, or feel the same way in the same way in the same way.

  • External Voice

The primary advantage of using a frame story is the ability to tell a story through the perspective of a character established in the real world. Their viewpoint is independent and can provide further context and different points of view. This may lead to a revelation about the story or a particular emotional response from you as the reader.

In the movie "The Princess Bride," the grandson isn't all that interested in the parts of the book that involve love and romance. Instead of glossing over these specifics or avoiding the topic entirely, the grandfather chooses to impart wisdom to his grandson through the medium of witty commentary. You, the reader, can draw parallels between your own life and the lesson.

  • Context

The context of the stories contained within frames can sometimes be expanded upon. Within the inner narratives, pertinent details can be introduced without overwhelming the reader with an overwhelming amount of information.

It is also possible to use them to introduce characters from the frame story that will appear in the inner stories. Before getting into the specifics of the exploits, for instance, an aging adventurer can begin by providing an overview of who he is and the accomplishments for which he is best known.

  • Layering of Meaning

Whether they contain only one primary narrative or several interconnected ones, frame stories always allow for multiple levels of interpretation. It is possible to emphasize, imply, or remove significant themes or messages, thereby creating varying depths of meaning that influence your perspective of a single story or the overall narrative.

In the movie Citizen Kane, the narrative of Charles Foster Kane's life is set within the context of a reporter's investigation into the identity of Rosebud. Unfortunately, he is unsuccessful in solving the mystery, but the audience is provided with an explanation. By doing so, Rosebud becomes the first layer to the themes of isolation, materialism, and aging explored throughout the film.

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.


Next Read:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *