Meaning of Narration

Narration is the form of expression used to tell some fact or event. Narrating is, for example, telling a friend what we did during the day, or, in a meeting, talking about what happened on a trip, or, still, reporting an extraordinary fact, the fruit of imagination.

Whenever a person speaks or writes with the intention of telling something that happened to him or to other people, a narrative text is constructed. The facts told can be real, as in news in newspapers, historical reports and sports broadcasts, or fictional, as in myths, legends, short stories and novels. Narrating is, therefore, telling real or fictitious facts that are carried out by different characters.

The structure of the narration

According to ETAIZHOU, a narration is an account of real or imagined facts. When you tell something that happened or was imagined, you must do it according to a structure or “skeleton” on which everything that occurs in the narrative is built.

Good narrations usually present the facts in such a way that the attention of the recipients is captured and maintained. In their most common form, narrations are structured in a very simple way.

  • The narrative framework is the first part of the story. In it, the facts are spatially and temporally located, the characters who will be the protagonists of the story are presented and the initial situation , usually of balance, is exposed.
  • The initial event is the fact that it disrupts the initial balance and triggers the conflict that will give rise to the action.
  • The actions are the actions that the characters carry out to solve the conflict installed.
  • The solution determines the final situation , that is, a new situation that is reached as a result of the actions of the characters.

A good narration must be dynamic and maintain the reader’s interest. For that, it is necessary to perform several tasks: select the facts that will be narrated – it is not necessary to tell everything -; adequately characterize the characters who intervene, paying close attention to the dialogues; set the facts in time and space so that they are credible; and present the actions in an orderly and progressive way.

In order to elaborate a narration, it is necessary, first of all, to have a clear theme: the story of a murder, the conquest of the North Pole, a trip to the future and so on. From there, the author draws the characters, chooses the scenarios and traces the general plan of the work: he imagines the most important facts and circumstances and creates a “skeleton” of the plot, which will be completed throughout the writing process.

The beginning is fundamental to all narration, because it is what makes the reader continue to read and be interested in the whole work and because the different episodes that form the plot develop from it.

The ending is also very important, since the outcome of the action occurs in that part. It can be open or closed, predictable or surprising, but it must always be credible.

How to write a narration

In order to build a good narrative text, the following recommendations should be taken into account:

Try to make the events counted capture the interest of the recipients. This is easily achieved when the events themselves are interesting because they are unusual or extraordinary. You can also achieve the same goal by presenting common facts in an attractive way, creating mystery, suspense or introducing surprising elements, for example.

Always follow an established order that allows the receiver to easily understand the report. At the beginning, until you acquire narrative dexterity, you should try to adjust it to the linear order: beginning, development and outcome.

The verb must be the most important element of the narration. The main narrative time is the past tense (perfect or imperfect), although the present can also be used. One must avoid abusing verbs of inaccurate meaning, such as how to do it. It is good to remember that each action of the characters can be explained by a specific verb: to manufacture, prepare, cook, among others.

The main elements of a narration are:

1- the plot or plot – formed by the facts that unfold during the narrative. Every story has an introduction, in which the author presents the main idea, the characters and the setting; a development, in which the author details the main idea and there are two distinct moments in the development: the complication (conflicts between the characters begin) and the climax (culmination) and an outcome, which is the conclusion of the narration.


The boy spent the entire night talking with friends over the Internet. The father, when he woke up at 6 am, noticed the office door closed and the light on. The son was still at the computer and had not gone to sleep. Without his realizing it, he locked the door from the outside. Half an hour later, the son wanted to leave and had to call his father, who opened the door.

2- time – chronological or exterior – is marked by the clock. It is the space of time in which events unfold and the characters carry out their actions; psychological or interior, it cannot be measured as chronological time, as it refers to the characters’ experience, to their inner world.

3- the space – where the events unfold.


The sky closed with black clouds, lightning lit up everything. It started to rain hard.

4- the characters – are the beings involved in the facts and that form the plot of the story. They talk, think, act, feel, have emotions. Anything can be transformed into a character in a narrative. The characters can be people, animals, inanimate beings, beings that only exist in popular belief, abstract beings or ideas and others. The protagonist is the main character, the one on which the narrative is centered. There may be more than one in the narration. The antagonist is the character who opposes the main. There are also the secondary characters, who are the ones who participate in the facts, but do not constitute the center of interest of the narration.

The characters’ speech can be done in direct speech (with dialogues and utterances – the character himself speaks) and in indirect speech (the author has in his own words what the character would say.).

Direct speech example:

Do you know that your brother has arrived?

Example of indirect speech:

He asked if he knew that his brother had arrived.

There is also free indirect speech, which mixes direct and indirect speech, giving the impression that the narrator and the character speak in unison. There is no presence of utterances, dashes, colons, or substantive subordinate clauses typical of indirect speech.

Example of free indirect speech:

“If I could save for a few months, I would raise my head. He had forged plans. Nonsense, whoever is on the ground does not climb ”. (Graciliano Ramos)

5- the narrator – is the one who reports the facts. The narrator can take two positions:

a – observer narrator (third person narrator – the narrative focus is third person) – reports the events as an observer. Someone is watching the fact and tells what happens or has happened. This observer can participate in the story or be out of it. The narration takes place in the third person.


“He lived in a small country town. He had been born there, known to everyone. It was too much, too much for the taste of the woman, who always kept an eye on the Salamaleks he was always making for the local ladies. “Pure kindness,” he said. After all, I’m a gentleman …

b – character narrator (first person narrator – the narrative focus is first person) – a character participating in the story narrates the facts. See the facts from the inside out and the narration unfolds in the first person.


“A guide in Buenos Aires told me that when it is said that this city is the most European in the Americas, many people wrinkle their noses. Pure elbow pain! Anyone who knows Buenos Aires like me, knows that this is true. ”

According to the concept of narration, one can narrate so many real facts, which is the report of actions taken by people (scientific books, history books, newspaper news), as fictitious facts, with characters that may even be real, but that is not necessarily committed to reality. In the latter case, the fact can be totally invented or even based on reality, but enriched by the imagination of the person who reports it.