I'm looking for a word that describes written word that is not monologue or dialog. For example, I understand monologue to describe this type of writing:

`I wish I hadn't cried so much!' said Alice, as she swam about, trying to find her way out. `I shall be punished for it now, I suppose, by being drowned in my own tears! That will be a queer thing, to be sure! However, everything is queer to-day.'

What word describes this type of writing?

Just then she heard something splashing about in the pool a little way off, and she swam nearer to make out what it was: at first she thought it must be a walrus or hippopotamus, but then she remembered how small she was now, and she soon made out that it was only a mouse that had slipped in like herself.

Edit: The two most accurate (but still incorrect I think) words or phrases proposed are narrative and descriptive writing. Reading through the definitions of both of those I believe there's still the possibility that speaking is permitted. For example, if both of the above paragraphs were combined, I believe that could be called a narrative. The linked sources for descriptive writing permit unqualified sounds to be used in the description of a scene, which would include speaking.

I'm looking for a word that describes only the second paragraph and the words "as she swam about, trying to find her way out." in the first paragraph and excludes the part of the first paragraph spoken by Alice.

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    Have you done any research on names for parts of writing? Please share that information in your question. Commented Jun 24, 2015 at 18:03
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    Unfortunately the only answerer deleted their answer but there was some discussion on whether the 2nd paragraph is an example of descriptive or narrative writing. Check out this website that compares the two styles: classroom.synonym.com/… Commented Jun 24, 2015 at 18:24
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    This doesn't cover everything in the second paragraph, but a type of writing that can be contrasted with dialogue is reported speech. For example, "I'm hungry," said Sam is dialogue, while Sam said that he was hungry is reported speech.
    – Nicole
    Commented Jun 24, 2015 at 18:30
  • If I understand your edit you are looking for a word that explicitly excludes dialogue or monologue. Is that correct?
    – GetzelR
    Commented Jun 24, 2015 at 22:27
  • @GetzelR Yes, any kind of speaking.
    – cheecheeo
    Commented Jun 25, 2015 at 5:20

1 Answer 1


Only half tongue-in-cheek, written, non-spoken word is described as writing. Other generic terms include text and copy.

The specific example you gave in the second paragraph is "narrative" or "narration."

Google defines narrative as "a spoken or written account of connected events; a story."

Merriam Webster defines narrative as "the representation in art of an event or story" and narration as "the act or process of telling a story or describing what happens."

  • I need a stackexchange for asking questions about how to properly compose my questions :)
    – cheecheeo
    Commented Jun 24, 2015 at 21:26

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