Narrative Analysis 201

Intermediate Concepts, Skills, and Ideas


Now that you’ve mastered the basics of Narrative Analysis, you’re ready to dive into higher level concepts. Level up your reading, writing, and critique skills with intermediate literary techniques like Tone, Pacing, and Exposition. 

Intermediate Techniques

Devil May Cry: Backstory


The prior events that make up a backstory can inform plot points, character motivations, and setting details.


How characters express themselves, using spoken or written words.


Different ways to dispense must-know information without losing the audience’s attention.


Every character should want something. The story shows whether they get it, and how.

What Remains of Edith Finch: The House


How the speed of a story changes from line to line and scene to scene.

Setup and Payoff

Using foreshadowing to plant questions, then answering them at the opportune time.

Showing and Telling

Despite the oft-repeated axiom, ‘show, don’t tell,’ both showing and telling have a place in storytelling. 


What happens if a character doesn’t achieve their goal? What happens if they do? 

Subplots and Side Stories

Subplots and side stories add depth to narratives by expanding the world while emphasizing themes and playing with tone. 

Prototype: Alex Mercer


The imbalance of information between the characters and the audience keeps the story interesting.


Tone is the emotional expression of a story’s theme, as well as the source of mood and atmosphere. 


 Commonly-used narrative devices, also known as tropes, are an essential tool in all forms of storytelling. 


Plot points that subvert the audience’s expectations work best when they integrate other elements of the narrative.


Ticking clocks and time bombs: the classic narrative devices that keep stories moving.

Advanced Topics

If you think you’ve mastered the intermediate techniques in Narrative Analysis 201: Next Steps, you’re ready to move up to the next level: Narrative Analysis 301: Advanced Topics