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Narrative Structure - Independent Study

Examines the concept of narrative structure with several examples.

Stephanie Richardson

on 28 August 2017

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Transcript of Narrative Structure - Independent Study

Narrative Structure
The Building Blocks of a Story
What Makes a Great Story?
What are your thoughts? What makes a story memorable?
The Required Elements of a Great Story
The "who" of a story tells us "who" is involved.

Usually there is at least one PROTAGONIST and one ANTAGONIST.
The PROTAGONIST is our main character.

You can figure out who the PROTAGONIST is because the story is usually told from his/her POINT OF VIEW.
The ANTAGONIST is the opposing force. Whoever or whatever is working against the PROTAGONIST is the ANTAGONIST.

An ANTAGONIST isn't always a person. It is just an opposing force. Sometimes, one can be one's own antagonist.

Philosophical, huh?
Recognize These Two?
Who's the PROTAGONIST and who is the ANTAGONIST?
Where? When?
The "where" and "when" of a story tell us about the SETTING.
The SETTING is the time and place of a story.

It may be as clear-cut as "Tuesday, March 12th at 6:00 p.m. in a dungeon in southwest Austria" or it may be as vague as "once upon a time in a kingdom far, far away."

WHERE = location
WHEN = time

Both are critical in naming a SETTING.
This is the SETTING of many of Harry Potter's adventures. Describe the SETTING thoroughly, using this picture to guide your answers.
The "what" of a story answers the question "What is going on?"

The "what" of a story is the CONFLICT.
The CONFLICT of a story is the problem that actually allows for a story to exist. It is the driving force of a story.
The Seven Basic Conflicts:
1. Man (Humanity) vs. Man
2. Man vs. Nature
3. Man vs. Himself
4. Man vs. Supernatural/Technology
5. Man vs. Society
6. Man vs. Destiny
7. Man vs. Woman (aka romantic conflict)
Let's go back to the first Harry Potter book.
How would you describe the CONFLICT?
Harry learns that someone is trying to steal the Sorceror's Stone, so he and his friends must try to get to the Sorceror's Stone first.
The "how" of a story explains how the story will end.

This is the RESOLUTION of the story.
This is the part of the story in which the CONFLICT is resolved or worked out. This is the end of the story.
How did first book end? What is the RESOLUTION of this story?
Harry gets the Sorcerer's Stone, defeats Professor Quirrel and Lord Voldemort, and the Stone is destroyed. Harry ends his first year at Hogwarts and returns to the Dursleys.
Lets Talk about the PLOT
Sometimes, figuring out the PLOT of a story can be a bit difficult.
The PLOT is the dramatic sequence of events. This is how the story is structured.
This structure is known as the
introduces all of the main characters in the story (1)

It shows how they relate to one another, what their goals and motivations are, and the kind of person they are.

Most importantly, in the exposition
the audience gets to know the main character (2), and the main character gets to know his goal (3)
and what is at stake if he fails to attain his goal.

*This phase ends, and the next begins, with the introduction of conflict.
Generally, in this phase the
protagonist understands his goal and begins to work toward it (1)
. Smaller problems thwart his initial success, and in this phase his progress is directed primarily against these
secondary obstacles (2)
. This phase shows us how he overcomes these obstacles.

at the end of this phase
and at the beginning of the next
he is finally in a position to GO UP AGAINST HIS MAIN GOAL (3)
The point of CLIMAX is the TURNING POINT of the story, where
the main character makes the SINGLE BIG DECISION that defines the outcome (1)
of their story and who they are as a person.

Usually, entering this phase,
both the protagonist and the antagonist have a plan to win (2)
against the other. Now for the first time
we see them going against one another in direct, or nearly direct, conflict (3)
the loose ends are being tied up (1)
. However, it is often the time of
greatest overall tension (2)
in the story, because it is the phase in which everything goes most wrong.

In this phase,
the villain has the upper hand (3)
In the RESOLUTION, there is
a final confrontation between the protagonist and antagonist (1)
, where
one or the other decisively wins (2)

This phase is the story of that confrontation, of what leads up to it, of why it happens the way it happens, what it means, and what its
long-term consequences (3)
Skill 4 Practice

Choose a favorite fictional story. This can be a book, a movie, a short story, etc.

On page 8 in your Smash Book:
Answer WHO, WHERE, WHEN, WHAT, and HOW for this story AND justify your answer (how do you know that's the correct answer?)

Look at the story you chose for the WWWWH activity. Now, analyze the plot. Write a 1-2 sentence summary of each part of the plot.
to know that
moral decisions
, good and evil, etc.
have NOTHING to do with
whether a character is a protagonist or an antagonist.

The only thing that matters is who is telling the story!
The 5 Elements of Setting
1. Time
2. Place
3. Mood
4. Weather
5. Society
Set it up like this!
WHO (Protagonist)
A. Who is it?
B. How do you know?

WHO (Antagonist)
A. Who is it?
B. How do you know?

A. What is the conflict? (man vs. ...)
B. How do you know?

A. What are the time and place?
B. How do you know?

A. How does the conflict resolve?
B. How do you know?
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