sherlock_excerpt‘Sherlock. The TV Show: A Tutorial’ Hague, D. (2012)

In this session we learnt all about narrative. So for instance we learnt all about different types of narrative and different narrative techniques. We even studied narrative flow, the origins of narrative flow and what it means.

The narrative is the story, mainly ‘how the story is being told.’

Different ways of story telling:

Linear Narrative:

Linear narrative means in order. The beginning, middle and end. It is the classic and traditional way of telling a story, commonly used in classic fairy tales.


Non Linear Narrative:

Non linear narrative breaks the traditional order of story telling. By this mean (for example) the end of the story is told at the beginning. Gus-Van-Sant is extremely famous for these types of stories. Some of the most iconic examples of his work include ‘Drugstore Cowboy’ (1989) and ‘To Die For’ (1995).


Single Standard Narrative:

Single standard narrative is something that I didn’t quite understand at first. But now I understand that they can have some plot simple for character development, but it only really follows one story. Fro example, will the boy the get the girl or will they rob the bank.


Multi Stranded Narrative:

Multi stranded narrative is something that covers multiple storylines. One example of this is the movie ‘Crash’ (Paul Haggis 2004). Things like Soaps are have multi stranded narrative, as there are lots of different storylines, and the show is not constantly based round one person, but a group of individuals.


Open Narrative:

Open narratives usually have a variety of characters, and the ending is left open. Soaps are famously known for this. This is to keep the audience hooked, and to keep them coming back to the show, as otherwise they would not be able to carry on for so long without losing popularity.


Closed Narrative:

A closed narrative is more the ‘and they all lived happily ever after’ storyline. Basically the story is completely closed, all of the loose ends have been tied up, and everything is finished. There is no ‘to be continued.’


Realist Narrative:

Realist narrative is how the story is being told to you. It is about the story telling and no the actual story itself. Realist narrative is where it aims to tell the viewer a story in a  ‘real life’ type of way. They are used to make the audience feel as if what they are seeing is slightly realistic and somewhat believable. The story is shown how it would be seen in real life.


Non Realist Narrative:

This is where the story is being told in a non realistic way. So for example you are not getting all of the information the first time around.


Narrative Techniques:

Here are some examples of some different narrative techniques that help tell a story to the audience in the most effective way possible.



A voice over is a voice that talks over the film, usually explaining what is going on in a scene. Voiceovers are a really effective way of conveying information quickly to an audience. Voiceovers are quite commonly used in short films, simply because they are such a quick way of being told information.



Idents are texts on a screen. In film and TV they are often used to show a location, or a train of thought. One example of where this is used extremely frequently is in BBC’s Sherlock  (Paul McGuigan 2010) Here is an example of when idents were used to show everyone in a conference receiving the same message at the same time:

 sherlock_excerpt ‘Sherlock. The TV Show: A Tutorial’ Hague, D. (2012)


Diegetic Sound:

Diegetic sound is sound that is in the scene. By this I mean if these was a scene in which two individuals were sitting in a car and one character was to turn on the radio, and they could hear the sound of the radio, this would be diegetic sound. It is within the scene and the people within the scene can hear this.


Non-Diegetic Sound:

Non-diegetic sounds are sounds that are not written into the dialogue. The characters within the scene cannot hear the music that is playing. Music can change the mood of the whole scene, creating anything from tension to hilarious, side splitting comedy.


Technology used when creating an effective narrative:

  • Lighting
  • Sound
  • Camera
  • Editing


Narrative Flow:

Todorov said that all stories have a flow. Here is what I mean by this:

Noshib, B. (2015) ‘Research: Narrative Theory – Miss Begum’ Image result for todorov narrative equilibrium disequilibriumNoshib, B. (2015) ‘Research: Narrative Theory – Miss Begum’

Todorov said that the start of the story would begin with equilibrium. This can for any amount of time, but there is some sort of ‘normal’ at the beginning of the Film. Everything here should be level and balanced. The next step in the cycle is ‘disequilibrium’, by this I mean the main event would take place and efverything would change from balanced and level, to out of control or different to how it was before. This is usually where the main action will take place in the movie. The final part is the ‘New Equilibrium’, this mostly happens at the end of the story, as it is the ‘new normal’. It is what happens due to the main event.

A short story to represent narrative flow:

It’s a day like any other: rain is trickling down the glass panels of the conservatory; the wind is whistling like an owner calling a dog; Mum left for work hours ago and I am late. Yep. Normal.

I grab my bag, stuffing in a bag of own brand crisps and running out of the door. My lanyard is hung loosely around my neck, sweat disgustingly coating it. It’s looks like I’ve ran a half marathon, whereas in reality I’ve half jogged for about a minute and a half. Tripping over my shoelaces, I stumble over through the train station car park, glowing a deep shade of red as I make a fool of myself trying to do up the top button of my suit. I have to make this train. I have to.

As I run into the station my eyes search for an available ticket machine, a single bead of sweat seeping down my cheek. Broken, out of order, in use. None. Glaring at the machines like it’s their fault, I resort to human interaction. I run up to the desk, huffing and puffing, I ask for a ticket to sunny London.

“You will have to run to catch the 8;34 train son” the women said from behind the counter. I smile weakly, internally screaming at her, grabbing the tickets from her hand and running for my life. Tripping up the stairs I hear it, the train’s wheels squeaking to a start. I attempt to mumble swear words under my breathe but they come out as full blown talking as the train leaves the station. Without me.

I turn and sigh, people are staring at me with disgusted looks. I can read them, they want to know: why I was late; why I was swearing; why I missed my train and what is wrong with me. I have no answer.

Turning round slowly I attempt to block out their stares but as I did my eyes met with someone else. Her brown hair was cascading down her back in a stunning waterfall, her deep green captured me, putting me in a trance. This felt so different. Different to anything before now. Her cheeks were flushed red, I’m not sure whether it was the cold air or whether it was this prolonged eye contact.

“what do I have to lose?” I whispered to myself.

“hey.” I said timidly, walking up to her slowly.

“hey.” she replied, her smile giving me butterflies.

This is the start of something new.


waking up and trying to get the train.


missing the train and seeing the girl.

New Equilibrium:

this new experience with the girl.

Harvard Referencing:

Bean, C (2013) ‘Find your narrative flow’ Available at: ( Last Accessed: 12th October 2016 )

Hague, D. (2012) ‘Sherlock. The TV Show: A Tutorial’ Available at: ( Last Accessed: 12th October 2016 )

Noshib, B. (2015) ‘Research: Narrative Theory – Miss Begum’ Available at: (Last Accessed: 12th October 2016)