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Narrative structure

The meaning of «narrative structure»

Narrative structure is a literary element generally described as the structural framework that underlies the order and manner in which a narrative is presented to a reader, listener, or viewer. The narrative text structures are the plot and the setting.

Narrative structure is about story and plot: the content of a story and the form used to tell the story. Story refers to the dramatic action as it might be described in chronological order. Plot refers to how the story is told. Story is about trying to determine the key conflicts, main characters, setting and events. Plot is about how, and at what stages, the key conflicts are set up and resolved.[1]

The three-act structure is a common structure in classical film and other narrative forms in or associated with the West.

The first act begins with setup, where all of the main characters and their basic situations are introduced, as well as the setting, and contains the primary level of characterization for both (exploring the character's backgrounds and personalities, the relationships between them, and the dynamics of the world they live in).

Later in the first act, a dynamic event occurs known as the inciting incident (or catalyst), that involves the protagonist. His or her initial attempts to deal with this event lead to the first plot point, where the first act ends and a dramatic question is raised; for example, "Will X disable the bomb?" or "Will Y get the girl?"

The second act, or confrontation, is considered by this structure to be the bulk of the story. This is the part of the story where the characters' conflict is most developed (particularly between the protagonist and antagonist) as well as any changes in values and personality one or more characters may undergo (known as character development, or a character arc). This leads to the second plot point, where the second act ends and the protagonist returns to his or her ordinary world.

The third act, or resolution, is when the problem in the story boils over, forcing the characters to confront it, allowing all the elements of the story to come together, leading to the climax, the answer to the dramatic question, and the end of the conflict.

Kishōtenketsu is a structure mainly found in classic Chinese, Korean, and Japanese narratives.

Kishōtenketsu is divided up into four sections, which have been defined and used differently by narratives from each of the three cultures where the form is most commonly found in. The first section is generally considered an introduction of sorts across all three interpretations, albeit understood by each in a different way. The second may refer to the development, or to a beginning of an action related to self-realization. The third section is based around a turning point, change in direction, reversal, or twist. The fourth and final section concerns itself with a result or conclusion, a consequence thereof, or a 'coming to fruition'.

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