Google Answers http://answers.google.com/answers/threadview?id=342479
"Complex narrative structure is used by authors
to add interest by
complicating the story.
There are several authorial methods of achieving this.
It can occur when the author uses causally unrelated narratives
work together to build thematic unity. This usually involves
three or more clearly defined narratives each with their
own sets of
characters. There is often little or no intermingling
of characters or
narrative events, simply two or three narratives existing
One of the problems this causes authors involves not letting
reader lose track of what's going on. Since there are
so many stories
happening at once, a lot more reader activity is required
track of the various narratives. Therefore time and place
clearly defined: events often occur within a very specific
in a specific locale to keep the reader focussed. In order
a form of formal closure, there is usually an event at
the end of the
story that brings all characters to one location or at
them all in some way.
Another way an author can use complex narrative structure
interlayering many flashbacks, or introducing fantasy
stories within stories to make the story diverge from
a central plot
line while maintaining thematic unity . Don Quixote is
considered the first of the "complex" narrative
To quote from "Narrative Structure and Metafiction"
The narrative structure of Don Quixote is highly complex.
the reader feels unsure what is real and what has been
Cervantes. This is because the story is metafictive.
It is a story
within a story within a story within a story again.
"meta" is Greek for "again" meaning
literally, "fiction again.")
Another example is the use of a complex time structure.
Heights by Emily Bronte begins in 1801, towards the
end of the
sequence of events that forms the plot and the story
moves back and
forward in time as the story unfolds.
To quote from
"A BRIEF INTRODUCTION TO EMILY BRONTE AND WUTHERING
"Whilst this narrative structure may, at first,
it is necessary because in the world of the novel and
the lives and
concerns of the characters, ordinary chronological time
the events of twenty-five years ago are as much part
of the present as
those in which Lockwood himself is involved in 1801."
By using the complex narrative structure, Bronte was
able to show how
the past and the present are intermingled, and was able
the common theme of the story while adding interest
So in summary, complex narratives are
used by authors to tell stories
in interesting ways and may involve one or more of the
- dream sequences
- different characters' point of view
- multiple plot lines converging at the end
- flash forwards
- different time frames
- pre-figuring of events that have not yet taken place
- circular plotting where we are led back to the beginning
- backwards story telling, where the denoument is shown
explained through the plot
The use of these is done with the intent of providing
a deeper, more
satisfying experience for the reader.
See Also :
How a story is shaped
Google search used
"narrative structure" theory
complex "narrative structure" literature