List of narrative forms

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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]

Narrative forms include:

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  • Captivity narrative — the protagonist is captured and describes his experience with the other culture
  • Epic - is a long narrative poem, often written about a hero or heroines.
  • Epic poem – a lengthy story of heroic exploits in the form of a poem
  • Fable – a story that teaches a lesson, often using animal characters that behave like people
  • Fantasy – a story about characters that may not be realistic and about events that could not really happen
  • Folk tale – an old story that reveals the customs of a culture
  • Historical fiction – stories about characters who might have lived in the past and about events that might have really happened in history, with some made up details and events
  • Legend – a story that is based on fact but often includes exaggerations about the hero e.g. the East African legend of Fumo Liyongo in the coast of Kenya
  • Myth – an ancient story often meant to explain the mysteries of life or nature
  • Nonlinear narrative – where the narrative does not follow the direct causality pattern of the events featured
  • Novel - is a long narrative that is normally in prose, which describes fictional characters and events, usually in the form of a sequential story.
  • Novella - is a written, fictional, prose narrative normally longer than a short story but shorter than a novel.
  • Play – a story that is told mostly through dialogue and is meant to be performed on stage
  • Quest narrative — the characters must achieve a goal. This includes some illness narratives
  • Realistic fiction – stories that portray characters and settings that could exist in real life, as well as events that could happen in real life
  • 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 accomplishment of the hero
  • News - an information on current events which is presented by print, broadcast, Internet, or word of mouth to a third party or mass audience
  • Biography - a detailed description or account of someone's life
  • Autobiography - a detailed description or account of the storyteller's own life.
  • Parable - A parable is a succinct, didactic story, in prose or verse, which illustrates one or more instructive lessons or principles

See also



  1. Stanzel, F. K. (1984). A theory of narrative. Cambridge University Press. p. 1. ISBN 978-0-521-31063-5.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>