Narrative forms have been subject to classification by literary theorists, in particular during the 1950s, a period which has been described metaphorically as the Linnaean period in the study of narrative.[1]

Narrative forms include:

  • Epic poem – a lengthy story of heroic exploits in the form of a poem
  • Fable – a story that teaches a lesson, often using animal characters that behave like people
  • Fantasy – a story about characters that may not be realistic and about events that could not really happen
  • Folk tale – an old story that reveals the customs of a culture
  • Historical fiction – stories about characters who might have lived in the past and about events that might have really happened in history, with some made up details and events
  • Legend – a story that is based on fact but often includes exaggerations about the hero
  • Myth – an ancient story often meant to explain the mysteries of life or nature
  • Play – a story that is told mostly through dialogue and is meant to be performed on stage
  • Realistic fiction – stories that portray characters and settings that could exist in real life, as well as events that could happen in real life
  • Short story – a brief story that usually focuses on one character and one event
  • Tall tale – a humorous story that tells about impossible happenings, exaggerating the accomplishment of the hero

See alsoEdit



  1. Stanzel, F. K. (1984). A theory of narrative. Cambridge University Press. p. 1. ISBN 9780521310635. 
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