What is narrative?

When setting up the site I realised when a child passed by and asked, “What is narrative?” that I had beat around the bush. Since adults tend to make things more complicated than they are, and before me I saw a ten pages report about narrative as a not media specific and thought-based system, the child´s question was a disturbing reminder that it was time to grab the bull by the horns.

“Remember when you wrote a story?”
The child nodded.
“You had a grandmother, a girl, a magic mirror, a book, a mother, brother, a fantasy world, a real world, a journey, red hair, blue eyes…?
The child nodded.
“And then you put all the pieces together how the girl travelled through the magic mirror to find the book she had thrown through the mirror and where she found her deceased grandmother…?
The child nodded.
“All the pieces of information that you put together like building bricks, the girl, grand…”
The child nodded impatiently.
“… are narratives
Then I did the mistake that most adults do. I continued.
“When you are building and decide what brick to come first, the girl, mirror, book…that is called plotting, and when you have put all the pieces together and feel happy about the result, then you have a story.
The child was already halfway through the room.

How hard can it be?

Katarina Gyllenbäck

See also Why there is no perfect narrative

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