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A narrative thread, or plot thread (or, more ambiguously, a storyline), refers to particular elements and techniques of writing to center the story in the action or experience of characters rather than to relate a matter in a dry "all-knowing" sort of narration. Thus the narrative threads experienced by different but specific characters or sets of characters are those seen in the eyes of those characters that together form a
plot Plot or Plotting may refer to: Art, media and entertainment * Plot (narrative), the story of a piece of fiction Music * ''The Plot'' (album), a 1976 album by jazz trumpeter Enrico Rava * The Plot (band), a band formed in 2003 Other * ''Plot'' (f ...
element or
subplotIn fiction, a subplot is a secondary strand of the plot that is a supporting side story for any story or the main plot. Subplots may connect to main plots, in either time and place or in thematic significance. Subplots often involve supporting chara ...
in the work of fiction. In this sense, each narrative thread is the
narrative A narrative, story or tale is any account of a series of related events or experiences, whether nonfictional (memoir, biography, news report, documentary, travelogue, etc.) or fictional (fairy tale, fable, legend, thriller, novel, etc.). Narrative ...
portion of a work that pertains to the world view of the participating characters cognizant of their piece of the whole, and they may be the villains, the protagonists, a supporting character, or a relatively disinterested official utilized by the author, each thread of which is woven together by the writer to create a work. By utilizing different threads, the writer enables the reader to get pieces of the overall plot while positioning them to identify with the characters or experience the situation as if the reader were part of or eavesdropping upon the action the writer is divulging. This aids in the
suspension of disbelief Suspension or suspended may refer to: Science and engineering * Suspension (topology), in mathematics * Suspension (dynamical systems), in mathematics * Suspension of a ring, in mathematics * Suspension (chemistry), small solid particles suspended ...
and engages the reader into the story as it develops. A classic structure of narrative thread often used in both fiction and non-fiction writing is the
monomyth In narratology and comparative mythology, the hero's journey, or the monomyth, is the common template of stories that involve a hero who goes on an adventure, is victorious in a decisive crisis, and comes home changed or transformed. Earlier fi ...
, or
hero's journey In narratology and comparative mythology, the hero's journey, or the monomyth, is the common template of stories that involve a hero who goes on an adventure, is victorious in a decisive crisis, and comes home changed or transformed. Earlier fi ...
, with a beginning, a middle, and an end. First, typically the harmony of daily life is broken by a particularly dramatic event that leads into the main story. Then, second, the plot builds to a point of no return, from where the protagonist – who need not be a person but may be an organization or a community – has no choice but to deal with matters, and thus is tested. At this point, characteristically, there is conflict and the conflict intensifies. Third, and finally, harmony is reestablished by the conflict being solved, or at least explained in the case of non-fiction.


See also

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Story arc A story arc (also narrative arc) is an extended or continuing storyline in episodic storytelling media such as television, comic books, comic strips, boardgames, video games, and films with each episode following a dramatic arc. On a television pr ...
Fiction {{Lit-stub