narrative (narratology) The narration of a story produces a narrative. A story as it is conceived is based on knowledge of events, on lived experience, is a process of memory, imagination, and in order to share and communicate this story it requires narration in some form, speech, writing, performance. A narrative presents a story to the listener, the reader, the audience and is subject to cognition, comprehension and interpretation, which produces both an individual and a shared understanding and meaning. This is the dissemination of the narrative as a story.
A writer, a filmmaker, is focused on the narration of a story in a particular medium and form and produces a narrative. However, in everyday conversation there is little usage of the term narration to indicate the telling of a story, and the terms story and narrative are often used interchangeably with narrative being understood as a more formal, perhaps academic, analytical, structural term and story having a greater sense of a social, everyday informal usage: few people will ask another person what the narrative is, but they will ask what the story is.
When story is used as a term to identify a particular narrative, a story, the story, this usage effectively conflates story, narrative, narration setting aside, or failing to describe and define story as a creative and social process. Storytelling can be used to encompass the creation and production of a story, but is more often used to imply oral storytelling and even when the term storytelling is used, this does not clarify what narration is or what constitutes a narrative.
The only term that encompasses story in full, conception, narrative, comprehension is one that is almost entirely unfamiliar, but is part of narratology, and this is fabula. The use of this term is as the raw material of a story, so that the fabula can be thought of as the stage before story elements are developed into a narrative form, but extending this understanding of fabula and accepting that a story will be told in many different ways, through many different narratives, narrated across a range of mediums, so that there is no effectively no single place where a story exists, there is no, the story, then all these elements, versions, ideas, conceptions, narratives, understandings, stories, are a fabula. This term is helpful because it means that a story is not just a single entity, and a fabula is gathered, developed, changed, reworked, retold, reformed and this encompasses both the creative and social process. The concept of a fabula can seem vague, but we do recognise that for a story there is the book, the film, the graphic novel, the tv series, the remake, the re-boot, the versions, the drafts, the t-shirts, the fan-fiction, the reviews, the conversations, the individual viewpoint and these are a fabula. There is no single location or static story and a narrative is one articulation of a fabula.
Copyright: Eugene Doyen 2019