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List of narrative forms

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Narrative forms have been subject to classification by literary theorists, in particular during the 1950s, a period which has been described metaphorically as the Linnaean period in the study of narrative.[1]

  • Epistolary - a story usually in a letter written form with a section of dialogue

Narrative forms include:

  • Autobiography – a detailed description or account of the storyteller's own life.
  • Biography – a detailed description or account of someone's life.
  • Captivity narrative – a story in which the protagonist is captured and describes their experience with the culture of their captors.
  • Epic – a very long narrative poem, often written about a hero or heroine and their exploits.
  • Epic poem – a lengthy story of heroic exploits in the form of a poem.
  • Essay - a short literary composition that reflects the author's outlook or point
  • Fable – a didactic story, often using animal characters who behave like people.
  • Fantasy – a story about characters that may not be realistic and about events that could not really happen.
  • Flash fiction – a fictional work of extreme brevity that still offers character and plot development.
  • Folk tale – an old story which has been passed down orally and which reveals the customs of a culture.
  • Historical fiction – stories which take place in real historical settings and which often feature real historical figures and events, but which center on fictional characters or events.
  • Legend – a story that is based on fact but often includes exaggerations about the hero.
  • Memoir – similar to an autobiography, except that memoirs generally deal with specific events in the life of the author.
  • Myth – an ancient story often meant to explain the mysteries of life or nature.
  • News – information on current events which is presented by print, broadcast, Internet, or word of mouth to a third party or mass audience.
  • Nonlinear narrative – a story whose plot does not conform to conventional chronology, causality, and/or perspective.
  • Novel – a long, written narrative, normally in prose, which describes fictional characters and events, usually in the form of a sequential story.
  • Novella – a written, fictional, prose narrative normally longer than a short story but shorter than a novel.
  • Parable – a succinct, didactic story, in prose or verse, which illustrates one or more instructive lessons or principles.
  • Play – a story that is told mostly through dialogue and is meant to be performed on stage.
  • Poem - a form of literature that uses aesthetic and often rhythmic qualities of language—such as phonaesthetics, sound symbolism, and metre—to evoke meaning
  • Quest narrative – a story in which the characters must achieve a goal. This includes some illness narratives.
  • Realistic fiction – stories which portray fictional characters, settings, and events that could exist in real life.
  • Screenplay – a story that is told through dialogue and character action that is meant to be performed for a motion picture and exhibited on a screen.
  • Short story – a brief story that usually focuses on one character and one event.
  • Tall tale – a humorous story that tells about impossible happenings, exaggerating the hero's accomplishments.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Stanzel, F. K. (1984). A theory of narrative. Cambridge University Press. p. 1. ISBN 978-0-521-31063-5.