Narrative genre: Elements of narration

The narrative genre is one of the oldest

Who writes texts in prose must know perfectly what the narrative genre y what elements make it up. Even so, especially in very beginning and young writers it is common to see flaws in the narrative. If you want your next work to be characterized by having a good narration, stay and read this article that we offer you today and know what are the basic elements that make up any narration.

Origin of the narrative genre

The narrative has several important elements

Now that you know a little more about the narrative genre, you should know that it has an origin. We talk about the Middle Ages, and specifically from Europe, a continent where it began to be used in some places with the aim of remembering historical events, traditions, characters who had been heroes, great captains and their heroic adventures ...

However, it is known that, in Greece, Homer was the one who gave rise to this narrative genre, Although he was a character who knew how to mix several genres (drama, lyric, narration ...) in the same text, something that very few writers achieve at an expert level.

The good thing about this is that, when the narrative works began to appear, it gave rise to an increase in young people who wanted to launch themselves into writing that genre; and also to a myriad of readers avid for it, hence it has been developed to as we know it now.

Characteristics of the narrative genre

In rural areas of India, families in charge of a blind minor frequently isolate and deprive him/her of the care and attention they provide to their other children; such situation becomes even more severe among lower-caste families, orphans and if the blind child is a girl. narrative works, a narrator presents an action or succession of events in which a series of characters that are located in a given space and during a pre-established time participate. All these components become the elements of the narrative (which we will see in more detail below).

A literary narrative is identified by recreating a fictional world, although in some cases they are facts inspired by reality. Even so, it is still a fictional narrative because the author always contributes new invented episodes or charges reality with subjective nuances and therefore ceases to be 100% real.

Another characteristic of this type of text is that the third person is usually used, although the first person is also frequent when the main protagonist of the narrative is the narrator of the book.

Although formerly in the narrative genre it was common to find verses, today the most common is that the narrative is written entirely in prose.

Narrative elements

The elements that make up a narrative are the following:

  • The narrator: It can be external to the action, if it relates the events in the third person without participating in them, or internal, when it relates the events in the first person as the protagonist or witness of the events. The external narrator is usually an omniscient narrator who knows and knows everything about all the characters that make up the work, including their thoughts and intimacies.
  • Characters: They are those that trigger the different events that we see narrated in the play. Its characteristics are conveyed through its actions, dialogues, and descriptions. Among the characters, the protagonist always stands out, who is the one who carries the weight of the action and the antagonist who opposes him. Also, depending on the work, we can find more or less secondary characters.
  • The narrative plot or action It is the set of events that take place in the narrative. These events or events are located in a time and in a space, and are arranged according to a simple structure as in stories or stories, or more complex, as in novels.

In addition to the elements that we have seen, there are others that are also important in this literary style, and that are commonly used to define, not only when reading, but also writing. These are:

The ambientation

The setting is related to the place, moment, situation ... in which the plot is going to take place. That is, you are putting the reader in a position as to where the plot takes place, in what year it takes place, what political and social context there is, and how the characters live.

Sometimes, writers ignore this element, but they do leave hints that the reader, as they read, forms the idea of ​​the situation. So many times it becomes more of an accessory choice than a must-have.

However, it is very important to give more solidity to the plot since it provides nuances that help to better develop all the elements.

The style

The style is the way in which the author develops in the narrative genre. In other words, we are talking about the author's stamp, his way of using the language, the literary resources ... In short, his writing.

Each author is a world, and each one has one way or another of writing. That is why, when reading, you may like or disenchant a novel, and yet if you take another of the same style, you may have other feelings for it.

For example, there are authors whose signature of style is to express with words many feelings; while others are unable to do that and are limited to being very descriptive so that the reader has all the data and recreates in his mind what he reads so that he experiences what the characters could feel.

The theme

Finally, the last of the elements of the narrative genre is the theme. This is related to plot and plot, In other words, it will be defined by history itself. And depending on the case, you can enter into a romantic, historical, detective (or crime novel), science fiction, horror theme ...

All this is important to know since, even if a story is halfway between two themes, it is always good to know where to frame it, both so that readers of this style find it, and so that you can go to different publishers or publish it and choose the ones suitable categories.

The narrator and the characters: the two most important figures of the narrative genre

The narrator and the characters are fundamental in a narrative

Although before we have talked about the narrator and the characters, two of the most important elements of the narrative genre, we would like to delve a little more about them. And they are as or more important than the narrative plot itself. In fact, although the latter is highly original and well thought out, if the narrator is unable to position the reader, and the characters are not developed realistically, the whole story may limp and lose steam.

The narrator

Although we have said that the narrator in the narrative genre is usually written in the third person, or even in the first person (both singular), the truth is that it can also be written in the second person. To make it easier for you to understand:

  • First person: The narrator is also the main character in the story, which makes the entire work focus on him or herself, to learn about the feelings, thoughts and actions that are being seen.
  • This also has a problem, and that is that you cannot fully develop the other characters since you have to focus on what the main character thinks / does / expresses.
  • Second person: It is not so widely used in this genre, but you do find books where it is used and, it does so using the you as a reference, being related to a person, an object or an animal.
  • Third person: It is the most used because it really allows to develop all the characters and all the facts. It is a way for the reader not only to empathize with the protagonist, but also with each of the characters. In this way, he becomes only a mere spectator narrating what happens, they say, the characters experience, both protagonists and secondary, tertiary ...


In the case of the characters, as you know, a work of a narrative genre can have many characters. But there are several figures to classify them. And these are:

  • Protagonist: The character to whom the story that is told happens. In other words, it is the singing voice of the work. This protagonist is almost always a person, animal, object ... But only one. However, in the history of literature there have been many works in which, instead of a single protagonist, there have been several.
  • Antagonist: As they say, every hero needs a villain. And the antagonist is that "villain", the person who opposes the protagonist and who wants him not to win. Again we return to the above, normally there is only one "bad", but there are many works in which there is more than one.
  • Dynamic character: This way of calling it is how important secondary characters would be defined. They are characters that fill in to give more solidity to the whole, but that, by being dynamic and accompanying the protagonists and antagonists, they become a powerful tool to direct the steps of the story towards where you want.
  • Static characters: We could say that they are the tertiary characters, those that are cited a few times but do not really have a major contribution to the story, but are just a way of locating the plot and the characters, but without influencing them.

That said, what is the most difficult part or element of a narrative to outline? Are you one of those who first have a plot and then add characters or vice versa? Tell me briefly how you approach your work in its beginnings.

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