What is the difference between a story and a narrative?

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What is the difference between a story and a narrative? When is a story not a narrative? The key difference between a narrative and a story is simple enough: A story is only ever in mind. Information or knowledge?

Narrative occurs continuously all over the cosmos. Wherever there is change over time that is a narrative. Somewhere a cheetah is taking down a gazelle. Some kids are playing football in the street. A moon is orbiting a planet. All of these are narrative, but none is necessarily a story. For it to become a story there must be a human there to perceive it and turn it from information into knowledge. This is a process called interpretation.

Knowledge is in mind. There is no knowledge ‘out there’ in the material world. Knowledge is what something means when we think about it, so knowledge requires a thinking mind before it can exist.

Table of contents
  • Narrative occurs continuously
  • Knowledge is in mind
  • Narration
  • A story is made of knowledge
  • The source of the magic of story
  • A story is ALWAYS a narrative
  • What is Story? FAQs

When information stimulates the senses of a person, they interpret the information into what it means for them. What it means is knowledge. It may not be true or reliable, but for the human being who is doing the interpreting, it is knowledge for them. A lie, for example, still has meaning because it is logical narrative. The story of Santa Claus is not true, but it has meaning and becomes knowledge in the mind of the receiver.

Narration

So, for a narration to have any meaning there must be a human being present to receive and interpret it. To answer one of the great philosophical questions: If a tree falls in the forest and there is nobody there to hear it, does it make a sound?

The answer is: yes, it does make a sound, but unless there is a human being there to hear it, it does not make a meaningful sound.

So, a narrative is made from information. The delivery of a narrative to a human receiver is called a narration. A narration is an information stream that stimulates the senses of a receiver who interprets it into knowledge in mind. That knowledge in mind will be a human logical representation of an event of change over time. A narrative in mind is called a story.

A story is made of knowledge and is only ever in mind.

  • Material World Only in Mind
  • Information Knowledge
  • Narrative/Narration Story
  • Material things What they mean
  • Change over time human logical sense
  • Why does this matter?

The source of the magic of story

Traditionally, we have searched for the source of the magic of story in the texts that deliver the narration. We look for the relationship between the text and the reader. We go through a classic text and we analyse the arrangement of information to try to identify common mechanisms and structures that make it special. The outcome is a set of structures that we hope might be magically powerful if re-used in the same way in other narrations. We document these structures and rules into formulae and peddle them in ‘How to Write’ books and seminars. This is rather like searching for the source of genius through in-depth study of the skeleton. After all, every genius has a skeleton, and a genius doesn’t seem half so clever any more if you take his skeleton away. It’s proof! The skeleton is the source and substance of story. However, we all know that the real source of genius – and the magical wonder of story – is in the mind, not the structures that support it.

Returning to the question in the title, the answer is ‘NEVER’! A story is ALWAYS a narrative, but a narrative is only a story if there is a human receiver present to interpret it into one.

A story is a collaboration, a joint production, a knowledge transfer between an author and a receiver. And THAT is why The Primary Colours of Story (Out late 2019) is changing the world and massively improve the way we think about and understand STORY!!

You’re very welcome…

  • Narrative

Narrative occurs continuously all over the cosmos

  • Narration

For a narration to have any meaning there must be a human being present to receive and interpret it.

  • The source of the magic of story

We look for the relationship between the text and the reader. We go through a classic text and we analyse the arrangement of information to try to identify common mechanisms and structures that make it special.

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What Writers say about David

"David Baboulene’s insights into storytelling have been hugely helpful to our production. His in-depth understanding of plot, character motivation, and his theory of the ‘knowledge gap’ are both illuminating and valuable."
Gillan Williams Producer: Hosts (2020), Exit Plan (2016), Feed Me (2022)
"David has a unique approach to writing that includes the vital ingredient – marketing. Gone is the traditional do-it-yourself attitude. David shows you how to be complete, step-by-step, from the outset. I now have a contract for my thriller trilogy. Success is unlocked when David turns the key."
Ray C. Doyle Author: Lara's Secret
"We cannot recommend David Baboulene highly enough. His insights and expertise on story creation have been invaluable, helping us get the script of Hallo Joe to the point where we’ve sold the option and look forward to full production”
Mark Halliley Scriptwriter: Hello Joe
"David's research can benefit every writer on the planet. Once you have learnt David's revolutionary approach, you will find the proof of it in every single story you ever hear, read or watch, ever again, and you will never write in quite the same way again. David’s discoveries are a game changer for writers."
Kris Mole Author : Gatecrashing Europe
David’s love and understanding of story has elevated many of my scripts which have subsequently gone on to be produced and win awards. He’s a fantastic story consultant – encouraging and full of good ideas. I can’t imagine ever writing a script without asking David to read it."
Carolyn Goodyear: Multi-Award Winning Scriptwriter
"David has been invaluable in my story development. He has improved my screenwriting immensely, and has given me the tools I need to write the best possible stories."
Cheryl Neve: Writer/Director
"Meeting David was an epiphany for me. It did take me a month or two to fully grasp his advice, but when it did sink in and I started to write again, I just felt so much freer and infinitely more creative. My book is now complete, and I am so, so proud of it. I am now sitting here looking at two contracts to publish."
Steve Askham: Author: Life's a Peach! (2022)
"Uncertain Kingdom (2020) The insight that David brought to our project was invaluable. David was able to turn our script that was a compelling story attracting initial interest into a page turner of a screenplay. He is creatively inspiring while maintaining a kind, collaborative humility that should not be underestimated. Thank you so much David."
Hannah Stevenson Producer - Eaten by Lions (2019)
"Writer Story is based on the psychology in the conversation between an author and an audience. David brings the world genuinely new tools and methods that give you an objective and measurable understanding of how good your story is and clarity in how to improve it. Highly recommended."
Alex Marx:
"Author Every session provided another ‘eureka moment’ for me; another sudden insight into ways to improve my stories and find direction for me as a writer."
Lauraine Faulkner
"David's work can benefit every writer on the planet. A game changer for writers."
Kris Mole: Author Gatecrashing Europe
"Everyone who works in story industries needs to know what David Baboulene knows."
Alex Marx: Actor/Writer

What Writers say about David

"David Baboulene’s insights into storytelling have been hugely helpful to our production. His in-depth understanding of plot, character motivation, and his theory of the ‘knowledge gap’ are both illuminating and valuable."
Gillan Williams Producer: Hosts (2020), Exit Plan (2016), Feed Me (2022)
"David has a unique approach to writing that includes the vital ingredient – marketing. Gone is the traditional do-it-yourself attitude. David shows you how to be complete, step-by-step, from the outset. I now have a contract for my thriller trilogy. Success is unlocked when David turns the key."
Ray C. Doyle Author: Lara's Secret
"We cannot recommend David Baboulene highly enough. His insights and expertise on story creation have been invaluable, helping us get the script of Hallo Joe to the point where we’ve sold the option and look forward to full production”
Mark Halliley Scriptwriter: Hello Joe
"David's research can benefit every writer on the planet. Once you have learnt David's revolutionary approach, you will find the proof of it in every single story you ever hear, read or watch, ever again, and you will never write in quite the same way again. David’s discoveries are a game changer for writers."
Kris Mole Author : Gatecrashing Europe
David’s love and understanding of story has elevated many of my scripts which have subsequently gone on to be produced and win awards. He’s a fantastic story consultant – encouraging and full of good ideas. I can’t imagine ever writing a script without asking David to read it."
Carolyn Goodyear: Multi-Award Winning Scriptwriter
"Meeting David was an epiphany for me. It did take me a month or two to fully grasp his advice, but when it did sink in and I started to write again, I just felt so much freer and infinitely more creative. My book is now complete, and I am so, so proud of it. I am now sitting here looking at two contracts to publish."
Steve Askham: Author: Life's a Peach! (2022)

What Writers say about David

"David is truly a master when it comes to the science behind storytelling."
Craig Hinde: Producer/Director
"David is truly a master when it comes to the science behind storytelling."
Craig Hinde: Producer/Director
"Everyone who works in story industries needs to know what David Baboulene knows."
Alex Marx: Actor/Writer
"David's work can benefit every writer on the planet. A game changer for writers."
Kris Mole: Author Gatecrashing Europe
"Author Every session provided another ‘eureka moment’ for me; another sudden insight into ways to improve my stories and find direction for me as a writer."
Lauraine Faulkner
"Receiving a publishing deal was a dream turned reality. In my acknowledgement page is written: David Baboulene: I did it, and you are a heck of a teacher!"
Kerri Cuevas Author

"David Baboulene is a genius!"

Marc Zammit: Writer/Producer/Director

"David is The Story Ninja!"

Nick Wild: Writer/Producer/Director

"David is The New Aristotle."

Craig Hinde: Writer/Producer/Director

What is Story? FAQs

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