I like to say that a narrative is a sphere in the shape of a line. One reason I say this is self-referencing: the various ways a good narrative refers to itself. At the moment, I can think of three kinds of narrative self-reference.
Intertemporal references occur between earlier and later sections of the piece. The narrator or the characters mention planned or possible future events and observed or experienced past events. This has the effect of connecting past and future in the text the way they are connected in our brains through memory and imagination.