7 junio, 2024

Structure of a story: what it is, beginning, middle and end

What is the structure of a story?

The structure of a storyas well as other literary genres, is made up of three parts, namely: beginning or approach (where the story begins), middle (where the conflict develops) and outcome (the resolution of the conflict).

In stories, these three parts are usually well differentiated, but the same order is not always maintained. For example, the story of «The Three Little Pigs» begins by telling where each little pig lives, continues with the events of each one, and ends with the resolution between the wolf and the little pigs.

Each writer can vary the story to their liking. The important thing is to keep the readers in suspense so that they enjoy the story.

In children’s stories, as a general rule, a standard structure of beginning, middle and end is maintained.

structure of a story

1. Introduction, beginning or approach

It is located at the beginning of the story. In the introduction the story begins, the stage and a small presentation of the characters are raised.

In this, the time of the narration is specified and at the same time it reveals the position of the narrator with respect to the story told. The event can be subsequent, if the event has already happened, simultaneous, if it is being narrated at the same time that the story happens, or earlier, if the event has not yet occurred.

It must be clarified that simultaneous time in a story is almost impossible and is used theoretically, since to narrate it it is necessary to have seen it.

The introduction to the story also establishes the perspective from which the story is told.

In the approach of the story the speed or temporal duration is also established. The story can be very short and detailed, or, on the contrary, it can happen over the years, and narrate it briefly.

The introduction contextualizes the story to be told in the story, lays the foundations for the knot to make sense. It poses a normal situation that will be altered for some reason, thus establishing the bases of the knot.

Here the characters and all their particularities are presented, since during the knot we will not have time to stop at character explanations, because the facts of the story that occurred will be raised.

Once the introduction is set out and the normal situation of the story reaches a point of tension, we move on to the core of the story.

2. knot

This is the central part of the story, where the conflict of the story unfolds. It arises from a break in the introduction. When an element of tension breaks the proposed introduction, it is when the knot of the story begins.

To complete the structure of the story, something alters reality in the introduction. This point is of vital importance for a text to be considered a story. Otherwise, it could be a longer narrative, like a novel.

The facts that the story raises are facts intertwined in an action-consequence manner, with a single plot line that develops in the knot.

Although there may be more than one protagonist, in stories there is usually only one, and their adventures are narrated throughout the story. At the knot we set the pace of the narrative so that the reader is entertained and remains interested throughout the story.

The knot is always directed towards the end or denouement. The tension that breaks the introduction poses a problem where the protagonist must fully immerse himself in the situation.

Although the presentation of the characters in the introduction of the story is important, here it will be shown what they are made of, who they really are and how they act.

3. Denouement or ending

This part is when the conflict is resolved. The ending can be happy or sad, but it always has to be a closed ending. In this sense, we are talking about traditional and children’s tales, because contemporary tales have other characteristics.

So, in the children’s and traditional story, this is an essential characteristic, that the story is closed when it comes to an end. You should always solve the doubts that the reader may have raised.

On the other hand, the ending has to be surprising and unexpected. So that a traditional or children’s story is structured in an initial situation that becomes more complicated and then resolved.

In children’s stories it is not always necessary for the ending to be surprising, but they do have a moral.

References

ANDERSON, N. (2006). Elementary children’s literature: The basics for teachers and parents. Allyn & Bacon.
BAUMAN, R. (1986). Story, performance, and event: Contextual studies of oral narrative. Cambridge University Press.
CURTIUS, E., ALATORRE, M. and ALATORRE, A. (1955). European Literature and Latin Middle Ages.

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