Narrative distance is a function of narrative point of view related to how close in time, place, event, and person a narrator is to the action. By default, first person narration has the closest potential narrative distance; however, with author surrogacy risks and challenges from self-efficacy and self-idealization and subjective-objective attitude and reliableness-bias risks and challenges.
A storytelling narrator is an overt narrator, not necessarily a remote narrative distance narrator. As long as readers engage through the narrator's meaning space, close narrative distance isn't jeapordized. Though the narrator might be by degree somewhat removed from the time, place, and person of the action, expressing commentary about the action closes gaps.
A covert third person narrator substitutes third person reporting for first person reporting. Narrative distance can be as close as first person with the narrator taking second fiddle and favoring a viewpoint character's self-report of the action from the time, place, event, and person of the action, albeit secondhand. Yet the secondhand report is a substitutional metaphor that disappears if a narrator is mostly or fully covert. Third person's advantage over first person is greater potential reliability and objectiveness.
Of the main needs of an opening are, introducing the narrative point of view, the persona of a narrator's meaning space; the main dramatic complication; the time, place, and situation of a pivotal setting; the pivotal persons, the events, and the ideas related to the main dramatic complication.
A storyteller yarn, a folklore-like tale, traditionally opens with a first person narrator situating the exposition act (opening act), the outset of the action, the setup of time, place, etc., traditionally a backstory account necessary to understand the main action. In some cases, the narrator's backstory report merely provides his or her relationship to the narrative for purposes of informing readers of his standing for reliability's sake.
However, a bystander first person narrator is not a requirement. The Book of the Thousand Nights and One Night
, also known as Arabian Nights
' overt over-narrator opens and remains in third person throughout while introducing the internal narrators, first for the introduction Schahriar then Scheherazade. Basically, the internal narrators participate in a frame story gathering together a traditional Arabian folktale assortment into a novel. At some point there were real authors of the tales, but in the novel the tales are reported as from implied authors, then the overt over-narrator and internal narrators were wrapped onto a framing story. Also, there are over-narratees (readers) and internal narratees (listeners). And yet, narrative distance isn't as remote as might be imagined with such a complex narrative meaning space.
Real author >> implied author >> over-narrator >> internal narrator >> viewpoint << internal narratee << narratee << implied reader << real reader
The novel at Project Gutenberg, first European publication circa 1704;
http://www.gutenberg.org/files/19860/19 ... 9860-h.htm