What Is a Framing Narrative?

Framing narrative is a writing technique that can be used in works of fiction, such as short stories and novels. Learn about the definition of framing narrative and discover how you can apply this to your own creative writing. Find out which famous authors have practiced the technique of framing narrative in their novels to further increase your understanding.

What is a Framing Narrative?

A framing narrative is a story within a story. that uses one story to frame the other. For this to work, it must be one of the characters in the framing narrative who tells the story. When using this technique in fiction writing, the author may include a single built-in story or may incorporate several.

Importance of Character and Plot

Using a framing narrative affects the plot of your story; there must be a credible reason for the character in question to begin telling the story. Because of this, the story should be related to the character telling it in some way. One example of relating the two is a character telling a story of something that happened to him in the past. The writer must also create a scenario in which the character will have an opportunity to tell the story.


Rather than using a single character to narrate the story, a plot can incorporate a number of different characters, each telling either a part of the story or their own separate stories. Another way in which the framing narrative can vary is to make either the framing narrative or the story the main focus of the short story or novel. The framing narrative can be used to make up most of the work, or it can be used to introduce or frame the story.

Novels that include a framing narrative.

A number of well-known authors have used the framing narrative technique in their works of fiction. The International Society for the Study of Narrative recommends reading "Wuthering Heights" by Emily Bronte, in which the story is told by a single character and makes up most of the book. Chaucer's "The Canterbury Tales" is another example of a story that incorporates framing narrative, although this uses several characters, each narrating their own story.

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