Many novels consist of dialog - and the other part, the part that is not dialog. What do you call the part of a novel that is not dialog?

  • For what it's worth, dialogue isn't necessary in a novel and 'narrative'—despite being the correct answer for what you're looking for—can also be understood as meaning the entire account, dialogue and all.
    – lly
    Apr 24 '19 at 14:06
  • Thanks, @lly, I rephrased the question to take into account that not all novels have dialog.
    – MartinW
    Apr 24 '19 at 14:11
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    @lly For some reason, HTML character entities work in questions and answers, but not in comments. Apr 24 '19 at 17:09
  • @lly use alt 0150 : "–" , and alt 0151 : "—"
    – Mazura
    Apr 25 '19 at 4:52
  • @Mazura Those don't work for people without a keypad. The coders here should just support the standard HTML code.
    – lly
    Apr 26 '19 at 16:37

I think the most general term is narrative:

1 A spoken or written account of connected events; a story.

a gripping narrative

1.1 [mass noun] The narrated part of a literary work, as distinct from dialogue.

the dialogue and the narrative suffer from awkward syntax

Oxford Dictionary

Narrative includes exposition, which describes events that take place, and description, which describes people and places.

  • Yeah, I was thinking 'narration' but that is better restricted to narratives where the narrator's voice is more pronounced. This is probably understood more generally.
    – lly
    Apr 24 '19 at 14:04
  • I think narration and narrative are quite different things.
    – user323578
    Apr 25 '19 at 8:28
  • Can be. Which is what I just said, yes.
    – lly
    Apr 26 '19 at 16:36
  • Ah, sorry. I misread/misunderstood your comment
    – user323578
    Apr 26 '19 at 17:03

In a play this sort of material would usually be called stage directions, which might convey your intended meaning, depending on the audience.

  • 10
    Okay? This question is about novels.
    – user91988
    Apr 24 '19 at 15:24
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    Although it doesn't address the question asked, I think this is an insightful comment.
    – user323578
    Apr 25 '19 at 8:28
  • @user323578 Okay? Answers are for answering the question that was asked. Everything else should go in a comment.
    – user91988
    May 1 '19 at 21:09

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