Narration is the use of a written or spoken commentary to convey a story to an audience. Narration is conveyed by a narrator: a specific person, or unspecified literary voice, developed by the creator of the story to deliver information to the audience, particularly about the plot: the series of events. Narration is a required element of all written stories (novels, short stories, poems, memoirs, etc.), presenting the story in its entirety. However, narration is merely optional in most other storytelling formats, such as films, plays, television shows, and video games, in which the story can be conveyed through other means, like dialogue between characters or visual action.
The narrative mode encompasses the set of choices through which the creator of the story develops their narrator and narration:
Thus, narration includes both who tells the story and how the story is told (for example, by using stream of consciousness or unreliable narration). The narrator may be anonymous and unspecified, or a character appearing and participating within their own story (whether fictitious or factual), or the author themself as a character. The narrator may merely relate the story to the audience without being involved in the plot and may have varied awareness of characters' thoughts and distant events. Some stories have multiple narrators to illustrate the storylines of various characters at various times, creating a story with a complex perspective.