Story Arc - INCITING INCIDENT - The Point of Attack - gets the plot into action TRANSFORMATION - the main character goes through a significant change - then resumes their core qualities BACK STORY FOR NARRATIVE
A chain of events in a cause-effect relationship occurring in time and space. A radio play narrative is made up of all the events that we hear, plus all those that we infer or assume to have occurred, arranged in their presumed causal relations, chronological order, duration, frequency, and spatial locations.
Opposed to narration, which is the radio play's actual presentation of certain events in the narrative.
The process through which a radio play conveys or withholds narrative information, the way a story is told. Narration concerns the actual arrangement and presentation of the story, the way in which the radio play distributes story information in order to achieve specific effects.
CONTINUING THROUGH THE SITE: protagonist-dominated
Definition of narrative and narrative deep structures
Narrative is the storyline in a play, the sequence of plot events. There is usually the main plot and subplots. Narrative can be set out in a "storyboard" of a play, as is used for filming. It is both story and structure.
The study of narrative structure and story is narratology or narrativity. These are the elements of storytelling, so important for radio plays and its traditions. There is a pattern, or series of interlocking patterns, or an architecture to a play narrative. These are the deep structures of the play.
Discussion of narrative
It is useful to separate out the deep structures of a play from the separate scenes and segments. It enables one to relate the part to the whole. Another aspect of this three-dimensional view is that one can analyse possible deep structure symbolism.
Dramatic narrative is cause and effect set in a temporal sequence: beginning, middle and end. Narrative is to looked at both sequentially, that is through the story, the sequencing itself, and also in terms of the whole, the story itself.
The audience engages with, that is it reads, narrative simultaneously at the levels both of structure and story content.
Discussion on narrative deep structures
There are a number of traditions of discussion in this area. The Russian formalist tradition, especially Vladimir Propp, emphasised simple narratives: folk tales, myths, thrillers. (Propp's work was on Russian fairy tales which are not typical of modern narratives.) Recent work has tended to investigate the complexity of structure.
German semiologists approached narrative as "text grammar", attempting to extend the procedures of modern linguistics beyond the sentence to the larger units of discourse. (See discourse analysis for another applied approach in this textbook.)
Audiences read the narrative at the levels of structure and story content. They anticipate its climaxes, recognise its pace and closure. They follow its story or plot, see how it organises the particular story elements as love, crime, horror. They see how these have their points of origin in other stories, that is genre, and in the real world, that is ideologies.
Quotes on narrative deep structures:
Steve Gooch , Writing a Play 79
The sense of one action following another like temporal building blocks, of cause and effect, of logical
In order to convey an aspect of the inner life of a character or describe an event in the past, the audience needs to know about through a lengthy monologue or duologue, the dramatist needs to have 'bought' the time that such a break in the forward momentum of the play represents.
A tension needs to have been built up, a head of steam, so that when it comes, the explanation of past events, inner feelings or simple musing, is seen to have a cause, an urgency of its own, and above all, is justified within the pressing demands of the here and now. This comes to be increasingly relevant towards the end of a play and is perhaps a measure of how successful the dramatic impetus of the piece has built to the point where it occurs.
Bibliography on narrative deep structures
Seymour Chatman, Story and Discourse. Narrative structure in fiction and film (Cornell 1978)
L Crawford, "Action nameability and filmic narrativity: from inner speech to identification"
Quarterly Review of Film Studies 6 (1981) 265-
Jim Cook, "Narrative, comedy, character and performance"
in Television Sitcom (BFI Dossier 17) pp 13-.
Assignments on narrative and narrative deep structure
Make a storyboard of a radio play, preferably a thirty-minute afternoon play.
Sketch a storyboard for a possible radio play, paying special attention to the structures outlined in this section.
The study of narrative structures and the activity of narrative comprehension is the subject of NARRATIVE ANALYSIS. Narrative analysis focuses on the interaction of the various strata of the narrative work, distinguishing such elements as story outline and plot structure, the spheres of action commanded by different characters, the way narrative information is channeled and controlled through point?of?view, and the relationship of the narrator to the inhabitants and events of the story?world.
The canonical versions of narrative analysis deal with the structural characteristics or regularities that all narrative forms have in common, regardless of medium. Narrative analysis also specifies the ways in which actual narratives differ from one another. The term NARRATOLOGY, introduced by Tzvetan Todorov, has in recent years become the formal name for narrative analysis, although for some writers it has a more specific meaning, relating strictly to the structuralist study of narrative or to the subcategories of tense, mood and voice (defined later in Part III).
CONTINUING THROUGH THE SITE: protagonist-dominated
Structuring the plot
protagonist-dominated Narrator closure (ending) use a 'mystery' Realism To index
To Analysing radio drama
To Radio Drama Theory Lesson Plan
World Wide view of
narrative and story
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