Story and Narrative

After reading some more articles and papers written, concerning the nonlinear narrative, and also speaking to a few friends explaining what I am going to write about, for my master thesis, I figured out that nonlinear narrative isn’t a 100% clear idea, also not for me. As a matter of fact, I found out that also in the professional world of writing the issue can be somehow confusing.

The mix up between a story and a narrative is a common one though the difference is very significant. In a very simple way one could explain the difference by saying: A story is “what is being told” and the narrative is “how it is being told”. 

A nonlinear narrative is a way of telling a story by reordering the story events to a non chronological one. So basically, the story is chronological, while the narrative isn’t, and it will jump on the timeline of the story in order to tell the plot as the storyteller would like. This new order of the events creates a new relation between them, and can be used to manipulate the viewer or in order to explain a situation better than if it would have been told in a linear narrative.

It does get to complicated situations of defining if a story/movie is actually a linear or not in fea different situations, such as: flashbacks during a chronological story. The claim is, that using flashbacks doesn’t fracture the story, but is just a memory point that comes back to the chronological way of telling the story.

In a paper I am reading now “visualizing Nonlinear narratives with story curves” there’s a typology that has been written by Gerard explains the relationship between story order and the narrative order. I believe that would be a very insightful piece to read. Reading that paper and creating for myself a small dictionary regarding this theme are my next steps.