Top Narrative Quotes

Browse top 419 famous quotes and sayings about Narrative by most favorite authors.

Favorite Narrative Quotes

1. "...we have, each of us, a story that is uniquely ours, a narrative arc that we can walk with purpose once we figure out what it is. It's the opposite to living our lives episodically, where each day is only tangentially connected to the next, where we are ourselves the only constants linking yesterday to tomorrow. There is nothing wrong with that, and I don't want to imply that there is by saying how much this shocked me -- just that it felt so suddenly, painfully right to think that I have tapped into my Long Tale, that I have set my feet on the path I want to walk the rest of my life, and that it is a path of stories and writing and that no matter how many oceans I cross or how transient I feel in any given place, I am still on my Tale's Road, because having tapped it, having found it, the following is inevitable...."
Author: Amal El Mohtar
2. "Jung Chang was the first person to tell a grand historical, political story through a personal narrative."
Author: Aminatta Forna
3. "I always tend to think, even in residential projects, about what a space is being asked to do - where is it located, what are the circumstances, where can I attack the problem, so to speak. How can you create a narrative for people moving through it? How can you convey its character?"
Author: Annabelle Selldorf
4. "I think from an early age I was aware of how a camera can tell a story, how a movie camera can affect how the narrative is told."
Author: Brian Selznick
5. "Another grave limitation of language is that it cannot, like music or gesture, do more than one thing at once. However the words in a great poet's phrase interinanimate one another and strike the mind as a quasi-instantaneous chord, yet, strictly speaking, each word must be read or heard before the next. That way, language is as unilinear as time. Hence, in narrative, the great difficulty of presenting a very complicated change which happens suddenly. If we do justice to the complexity, the time the reader must take over the passage will destroy the feeling of suddenness. If we get the suddenness we shall not be able to get in the complexity. I am not saying that genius will not find its own way of palliating this defect in the instrument; only that the instrument is in this way defective."
Author: C.S. Lewis
6. "I have nothing else to tell; unless, indeed, I were to confess that no one can ever believe this narrative, in the reading, more than I have believed it in the writing."
Author: Charles Dickens
7. "Leadership is life-oriented in scope and transferable from one environment to another. Mainly, the goal for any leader should be to move past obstacles – to claim a triumph. Being in tune with the landscape of people, processes, and priorities can guarantee such an accomplishment. From this experience, a personal victory narrative can take shape, one that becomes solid and surefire."
Author: Deborah L. Parker
8. "But Robin: their dear little Robs. More than ten years later, his death remained an agony; there was no glossing any detail; its horror was not subject to repair or permutation by any of the narrative devices that the Cleves knew. And—since this willful amnesia had kept Robin's death from being translated into that sweet old family vernacular which smoothed even the bitterest mysteries into comfortable, comprehensible form—the memory of that day's events had a chaotic, fragmented quality, bright mirrorshards of nightmare which flared at the smell of wisteria, the creaking of a clothes-line, a certain stormy cast of spring light."
Author: Donna Tartt
9. "I have often told people that they need to evaluate their lives by the video, and not by the snapshot. That is, they should not just look at one moment in time, but rather consider trajectories, tendencies, and narrative arc as well."
Author: Douglas Wilson
10. "The journey and excursions in Mexico which have originated the narrative and remarks contained in this volume were made in the months of March, April, May, and June of 1856, for the most part on horseback."
Author: Edward Burnett Tylor
11. "Hardy's astonishing technical versatility has won the admiration of major poets from Ezra Pound and Cecil Day Lewis to Philip Larkin. Among other genres he employs the lyric, narrative, ballads, and the sonnet. He also moves easily between the amplitude of dramatic monologue and the compression of imagism. He experiments continually with an ingenious variety of stanza forms and rhyme schemes, rejecting the fluidity of contemporary poetry for his own idiosyncratic style, based on a real understanding of the variety of speech rhythms and registers. Each individual poem is designed to express in its language and form, and with utter honesty, Hardy's impressions of life."
Author: Geoffrey Harvey
12. "Magazine stories, the best ones anyway, are generally a combination of three elements: access, narrative, and disclosure."
Author: Graydon Carter
13. "Certainly as an actor, half of your work is not going to end up on the screen anyway, because in the editorial process, they need to cut to the other actor in the scene. Very often, your best work ends up on the cutting room floor, because it just doesn't work with the overall narrative drive of the story."
Author: Hart Bochner
14. "Writing children's books gives a writer a very strong sense of narrative drive."
Author: Helen Dunmore
15. "[I]f the name of wife appears more sacred and more valid, sweeter to me is ever the word friend, or, if thou be not ashamed, concubine ... And thou thyself wert not wholly unmindful of that ... [as in the narrative of thy misfortunes] thou hast not disdained to set forth sundry reasons by which I tried to dissuade thee from our marriage, from an ill-starred bed; but wert silent as to many, in which I preferred love to wedlock, freedom to a bond. I call God to witness, if Augustus, ruling over the whole world, were to deem me worthy of the honour of marriage, and to confirm the whole world to me, to be ruled by me forever, dearer to me and of greater dignity would it seem to be called thy concubine than his empress."
Author: Héloïse D'Argenteuil
16. "Novelists have to be adept at controlling the flow of information, and, most crucially, they have to be in charge of the narrative."
Author: Ian McEwan
17. "History is the narrative of people searching for a place to go."
Author: J.R. Moehringer
18. "I prefer to bring these to the service of story rather than to let them replace narrative."
Author: James Gunn
19. "Whenever science attempts to legitimate itself, it is no longer scientific but narrative, appealing to an orienting myth that is not susceptible to scientific legitimation."
Author: James K.A. Smith
20. "...a fundamental rule of journalism, which is to tell a story and stick to it. The narratives of journalism (significantly called "stories"), like those of mythology and folklore, derive their power from their firm, undeviating sympathies and antipathies. Cinderella must remain good and the stepsisters bad. "Second stepsister not so bad after all" is not a good story."
Author: Janet Malcolm
21. "There it is; the light across the water. Your story. Mine. His. It has to be seen to be believed. And it has to be heard. In the endless babble of narrative, in spite of the daily noise, the story waits to be heard.Some people say that the best stories have no words. They weren't brought up to Lighthousekeeping. It is true that words drop away, and that the important things are often left unsaid. The important things are learned in faces, in gestures, not in our locked tongues. The true things are too big or too small, or in any case is always the wrong size to fit in the template called language."
Author: Jeanette Winterson
22. "Some people's lives seem to flow in a narrative; mine had many stops and starts. That's what trauma does. It interrupts the plot. You can't process it because it doesn't fit with what came before or what comes afterward. A friend of mine, a soldier, put it this way. In most of our lives, most of the time, you have a sense of what is to come. There is a steady narrative, a feeling of "lights, camera, action" when big events are imminent. But trauma isn't like that. It just happens, and then life goes on. No one prepares you for it."
Author: Jessica Stern
23. "There is a reason history has, at its heart, the narrative of one's life."
Author: Jodi Picoult
24. "And the narrative for the Taliban that they can wait us out is a flawed narrative. I think that the unambiguous international support for Afghanistan has been a very powerful message. You know, that was the message that came out of the NATO summit. We will not abandon Afghanistan."
Author: John R. Allen
25. "There is no narrative now, no "And then," only a disjointed series of images. A pile of photographs I've flipped through so many times that I don't even need to look at them anymore to know what's there, to see it, to cover my face with my hands and cry."
Author: Kat Rosenfield
26. "Because I write fiction, I don't write autobiography, and to me they are very different things. The first-person narrative is a very intimate thing, but you are not addressing other people as 'I' - you are inhabiting that 'I.'"
Author: Kate Atkinson
27. "This time it was the sentence opening the last part of a story I had worked on for months: a sentence as is often worked off paper first. The pace of narrative and interest in character do not readily help the writer's hand to set down a sentence of that order. For though characters must take things in their own stride – somewhere in his story the writer cannot hold back this sentence that judges them. He wants it unobtrusive to his pace and the characters that caused him to write. The difficulty is to judge without seeming to be there, with a finality in the words that will make them casual and part of the story itself, except perhaps to another age."
Author: Louis Zukofsky
28. "I think that to be a good writer, you have to put yourself on the line, you have to think deeply about what is meaningful to you and you have to make a good-faith effort to speak from the integrity of your own deep experience.... People don't think about assessing what is the deepest narrative for them. I think that that's about 99 percent of the subject of literature.... Write from it."
Author: Marilynne Robinson
29. "As far as what I do, my value as a writer is certainly not to try to recapitulate a 19th century form. Certain styles of narrative don't conform to my style of experiencing the world."
Author: Mark Leyner
30. "Persons attempting to find a motive in this narrative will be prosecuted; persons  attempting to find a moral in it will be banished; persons attempting to find a plot in it will be shot."
Author: Mark Twain
31. "A turning point in the public's perception of the building art came with the publication of Frank Lloyd Wright's 'An Autobiography' of 1932, a picaresque narrative that captivated many who hadn't the slightest inkling of what architects actually did."
Author: Martin Filler
32. "The disobedience if Eve in the Genesis story has been used to justify women's inequality and suffering in many Christian traditions. Thus, what is understood as women's complicity in evil leads much traditional theological reflection on suffering to offer the "consequent admonition to 'grin and bear it' because such is the deserved place of women." Similarly, when Jesus is seen as a divine co-sufferer, the potentially liberating narratives of Jesus as a revolutionary leader who takes the side of the poor and dispossessed can be ignored in favor of religious beliefs more interested in Jesus as a stoic victim. Christ's suffering is inverted and used to justify women's continued suffering in systems of injustice by framing it as redemptive."
Author: Melissa V. Harris Perry
33. "Without the witty, potent dialogue and the puzzling shape of the story, the movie would have been merely an American version of the kind of brooding, shadow-filled, Ufa-style expressionist stuff that Joe had grown up watching in Prague. Without the brooding shadows and cold adventurings of the camera, without the theatrical lighting and queasy angles, it would have been merely a clever movie about a rich bastard. It was much, much more, than any movie really needed to be. In this one crucial regard--its inextricable braiding of image and narrative--Citizen Kane was like a comic book."
Author: Michael Chabon
34. "Once we truly grasp the message of the 'New Testament', it is impossible to read the 'Old Testament' again without seeing Christ on every page, in every story, foreshadowed or anticipated in every event and narrative."
Author: Michael Horton
35. "...empathy is the driving force behind the experience of emotions in narratives (Keen, 2006; Mar et al., 2006; Oatley, 2011)."
Author: Mikkel Wallentin
36. "Your life will contribute to a grand and wonderful story no matter what you do. You have been spoken. You are here, existing, choosing, living, shaping the future and carving the past. Your physical matter and your soul exist, not out of necessity, not voluntarily, and not under their own strength. There is absolutely nothing that you or I can do to guarantee that we will continue to exist. You aren't doing anything that makes you be. We aren't the Author. You and I are spoken. We have been called into this art as characters, born into this thread of occurrence tumbling downstream in the long Niagara of loss set in motion by the trouble that faced our first father and first mother. We will contribute to this narrative. But how?"
Author: N.D. Wilson
37. "Author discussed what he calls the "narrative fallacy." This refers to our "limited ability" to look at a sequence of facts "without weaving an explanation into them."
Author: Nicholas Nassim Taleb
38. "Historically, dust jackets are a new concern for authors; you don't see them much before the 1920s. And dust jacket is a strange name for this contrivance, as if books had anything to fear from dust. If you store a book properly, standing up, then the jacket doesn't cover the one part of the book that is actually exposed to dust, which is the top of the pages. So a dust jacket is no such thing at all; it is really a sort of advertising wrapper, like the brown paper sheath on a Hershey's bar. On this wrapper goes the manufacturer's name, the ingredients--some blithering about unforgettable characters or gemlike prose or gripping narrative--and a brief summation of who does what to whom in our gripping, unforgettable, gemlike object."
Author: Paul Collins
39. "Most of the Bible is a history told by people living in lands occupied by conquering superpowers. It is a book written from the underside of power. It's an oppression narrative. The majority of the Bible was written by a minority people living under the rule and reign of massive, mighty empires, from the Egyptian Empire to the Babylonian Empire to the Persian Empire to the Assyrian Empire to the Roman Empire.This can make the Bible a very difficult book to understand if you are reading it as a citizen of the the most powerful empire the world has ever seen. Without careful study and reflection, and humility, it may even be possible to miss central themes of the Scriptures."
Author: Rob Bell
40. "Flannery O'Connor's writing is quite dark, but it is so because she believes in the Devil, and in the Fall, and in humanity as it is. Novels that avoid the horror of human existence in this time between Eden and New Jerusalem can reinforce a Christian's tendency to Pelagianism. The Christian gospel isn't "clean" and "safe" and "family-friendly." It comes to its narrative climax at a bloody Place of the Skull and in a borrowed grave.(http://bit.ly/KZS8Zh)"
Author: Russell Moore
41. "They lived in a great city, a metropolis of many narratives that converged briefly and then separated for ever, discovering their different dooms in that crowd of stories through which all of us, following our own destinies, had to push and shove to find our way through, or out."
Author: Salman Rushdie
42. "I look back at the thousands of days through which I have lived, and feel awed by their inconsequentiality. My life resembles the writing in my diary (or perhaps it's the other way around): the days, like the sentences, each making a kind of superficial sense of their own, but in the context of the surrounding sentences and days, creating not a narrative or a meaning, but the very opposite: a riddle without solutions, a labyrinth without exits. A chaos."
Author: Sam Taylor Mullens
43. "For as long as she can remember, telling stories has been her momma's gift to those around her, fables filled with rich, detailed accounts of gods and monsters, of love and curses. She can weave a tale from Spanish moss and moonlight that will make a young girl's heart resonate with yearning or weep with anguish. Her coastal Georgia roots add a dark sweetness to all her narratives, one that stains her stories with sorrow like a drop of molasses dissolving in warm butter."
Author: Sara Stark
44. "An action movie should, like any other, follow the narrative traditions of literature. That means there should be subtlety, a slow build and a gradual bringing together of all the separate threads of the plot. To see all of it coming together slowly is very rewarding for the audience."
Author: Shane Black
45. "I have loved football as an almost mythic game since I was in the fourth grade. To me, the game wasn't even grounded in reality. The uniform turned you into a warrior. Being on a team, the mythology of physical combat, the struggle against the elements, the narrative of the game."
Author: Steve Sabol
46. "In the pragmatist, streetwise climate of advanced postmodern capitalism, with its scepticism of big pictures and grand narratives, its hard-nosed disenchantment with the metaphysical, 'life' is one among a whole series of discredited totalities. We are invited to think small rather than big – ironically, at just the point when some of those out to destroy Western civilization are doing exactly the opposite. In the conflict between Western capitalism and radical Islam, a paucity of belief squares up to an excess of it. The West finds itself faced with a full-blooded metaphysical onslaught at just the historical point that it has, so to speak, philosophically disarmed. As far as belief goes, postmodernism prefers to travel light: it has beliefs, to be sure, but it does not have faith."
Author: Terry Eagleton
47. "[...]all men are writers, journalists scribbling within their skulls the narrative of what they see and hear[...]"
Author: Terry Pratchett
48. "She even tried the one which every romantic nerve in her body insisted should work, which consisted of theatrically giving up, sitting down, and letting her glance fall naturally on a patch of earth which, if she had been in any decent narrative, should have contained the book.It didn't."
Author: Terry Pratchett
49. "But then what is the alternative to trying to tell the truth about the Holocaust, the Famine, the Armenian genocide, the injustice of dispossession in the Americas and Australia? That everyone should be reduced to silence? To pretend that the Holocaust was the work merely of a well-armed minority who didn't do as much harm as is claimed-and likewise, to argue that the Irish Famine was either an inevitability or the fault of the Irish-is to say that both were mere unreliable rumors, and not the great motors of history they so obviously proved to be. It suited me to think so at the time, but still I believe it to be true, that if there are going to be areas of history which are off-bounds, then in principle we are reduced to fudging, to cosmetic narrative."
Author: Thomas Keneally
50. "One of underestimated tasks in nonfiction writing is to impose narrative shape on an unwieldy mass of material."
Author: William Zinsser

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Do people choose the art that inspires them — do they think it over, decide they might prefer the fabulous to the real? For me, it was those early readings of fairy tales that made me who I was as a reader and, later on, as a storyteller."
Author: Alice Hoffman

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