In books and movies, it’s rare to know the entire history of a character before the actual plot begins. In fact, in many books and movies, the only backstory you ever get occurs in flashbacks, after you’re familiar with the character on a more pedestrian level.
It has been pointed out that writers and sociologists have different definitions of the word "narrative". But the differences are not as great as we might think, and in the last installment of this series I promised to square that circle. Here we go.
From the writerly camp we get several definitions for the word "narrative" (leaving aside those which simply use it as a synonym for the word "story"):
A Narrative (common noun) is an arcless, themeless retelling or reporting of events.
Narrative (abstract noun) is a direction or theme which guides or gives purpose to retold events.
The Narrative (common noun) is the form taken by the events of a character undergoing change.
From the sociological camp we have the definition in which a Narrative (common noun) is an open-ended network of stories or statements that a group of people tell themselves about themselves, about their history, about their values, or about their place in the grand scheme.
In the first installment of this series, we looked at the differences between Story, Narrative, and Narrative Structure. A Narrative Structure is the shape and purpose of a Story, absent the mundane, non-archetypal details. As for "Narrative" vs "Story", some banal but substantiating links I found were this and this.
But for my money (and politics aside), the most interesting one by far was this
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