Difference Wiki

Narrative vs. Story: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Harlon Moss || Updated on November 11, 2023
A narrative is how a story is told, while a story is the content being told.

Key Differences

A narrative refers to the structured format or manner in which a story is presented or told, focusing on the sequence and method of delivery. A story, on the other hand, is the actual content or series of events, including characters, plot, and setting.
In terms of creation, the narrative involves the art of weaving elements together to make the story engaging. A story is the raw material, the series of events and character developments that occur.
From a reader's perspective, the narrative is how they receive and interpret the story, influenced by the storyteller's style and structure. The story itself is the message or the series of events that the reader is trying to understand or connect with.
In literary discussions, the narrative is often analyzed for its effectiveness in conveying the story. The story is evaluated based on its plot, characters, and thematic depth.
In terms of creation, the narrative is the technique and craft, often reflecting the author's intentions and creativity. The story is the foundation, the sequence of events that the narrative is built upon.

Comparison Chart


Method of telling
Content being told


Structure, sequence, perspective
Plot, characters, events

Role in Literature

Delivery and presentation style
Core elements and themes

Reader's Interaction

Interpretation and engagement
Understanding and emotional connection


Craft and technique of storytelling
Development of plot and characters

Narrative and Story Definitions


A narrative is the technique of telling a story.
The narrative of the novel unfolds through letters and diary entries.


A story is an account of imaginary or real events.
She told a story about her adventures in Spain.


A narrative often includes the storyteller's perspective or voice.
The narrative in her autobiography is deeply personal and introspective.


A story can be a report or news item.
The journalist wrote a story covering the recent elections.


A narrative can be a recount of real or fictional events.
His narrative of the journey was both entertaining and enlightening.


A story is sometimes used to teach a moral or lesson.
Each fable in the book contains a story with a moral.


A narrative can refer to a genre of writing or storytelling.
Narrative poetry uses storytelling to convey its message.


A story often includes a plot, characters, and a setting.
The story revolves around a young detective solving a mystery.


A narrative is the structured order of events in a story.
The nonlinear narrative of the movie keeps the audience guessing.


A story can be a narrative, particularly in literature or film.
The story of the film explores complex themes of identity.


A narrated account; a story.


An account or report regarding the facts of an event or group of events
The witness changed her story under questioning.


The art, technique, or process of narrating
The highest form of narrative.


An anecdote
Came back from the trip with some good stories.


A presentation of real-world events that connects them in a storylike way
"There has been less of a coherent, connected media narrative and more of a kind of episodic focus on events, controversies and gaffes" (Mark Jurkowitz).


A lie
Told us a story about the dog eating the cookies.


What is a story?

A story is the content or series of events, including characters and plot.

Can a story exist without a narrative?

No, every story has a narrative, as it's the method of telling the story.

Is narrative more important than story?

Both are important; narrative for delivery and story for content.

Can the same story have different narratives?

Yes, the same story can be told in multiple ways, altering the narrative.

What is a narrative?

A narrative is the way a story is told, focusing on structure and technique.

Is narrative style important in storytelling?

Yes, narrative style greatly affects the engagement and understanding of the story.

Do all narratives follow a chronological order?

No, narratives can be linear or non-linear, depending on how the story is structured.

How does narrative influence a story?

Narrative influences how the story is perceived, its pacing, and its emotional impact.

What makes a good narrative?

A good narrative effectively conveys the story in an engaging and coherent manner.

How important is setting in a story?

Setting is crucial as it provides context and backdrop to the events and characters.

Does changing the narrator change the narrative?

Yes, changing the narrator can alter the perspective and style of the narrative.

Are narrative and story the same in movies and books?

Yes, in both mediums, narrative is how the story is told, and story is the content.

Can a narrative change the meaning of a story?

Yes, the way a story is told can influence its interpretation and meaning.

Can a narrative be objective?

While it can aim for objectivity, most narratives have some level of subjectivity due to the narrator's perspective.

What makes a good story?

A good story has compelling content, including interesting characters and a cohesive plot.

Can a story be factual?

Yes, stories can be based on real events or fictional.

How does perspective affect narrative?

Perspective in narrative influences how the story is interpreted and related to.

Can there be multiple narratives in one story?

Yes, especially in complex stories, there can be multiple narratives.

Is storytelling an art?

Yes, storytelling is an art form that combines narrative skill and creative story development.

Is every account of real events considered a story?

Yes, as long as it includes a sequence of events and characters, it can be a story.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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