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Narrative Writing

Keys to Writing for Entertainment

Two Types of Narration
Autobiographical Writing Short Stories

-a brief, creative narrative-a

-tells the story of an event, retelling of events
period, or person in the arranged to hold a reader’s
writer’s life. attention.
-short stories remind us that
we can always be more
than who we are today.
-short stories create a bridge
between fantasy and
Types of Autobiographical Writing
¨ Personal narratives/autobiographical incidents-
recount an event in which the writer played a central
¨ Reflective essays-tell of an experience and give the
writer’s thoughts on its meaning.
¨ Autobiographical narratives-relate memorable
experiences, and frequently include information
about the writer’s early life and personal qualities.
¨ Memoirs-are recollections of the writer’s
relationship with a particular person, place, animal,
or thing.
Short Stories
Most short stories have…
♦ One or more characters, clearly developed
through the course of the story.
♦ A conflict, or problem faced by the main
♦ A clear structure-with a beginning, middle, and
end-which develops the conflict and leads to a
climax (turning point) and resolution.
♦ A theme, or question about life and human nature,
expressed in the events of the story.
Types of Short Stories
¨ Realistic stories try to reflect the everyday lives
of ordinary people.
¨ Character studies reveal a deep truth about a
character. They emphasize painting a portrait of
the character over telling a series of events.
¨ Genre stories, such as science-fiction stories,
detective stories, and horror stories, follow a few
basic rules to create a specific effect, such as
wonder, suspense, or horror.
Types of Short Stories continued…
♦ Fantasy and science-fiction stories take you to
worlds that exist only in the mind—a far-off
galaxy or a future Earth.
♦ Adventure stories immerse you in exciting
action played out by larger-than-life heroes.
-Which type of story do you prefer?
-Can you give any examples from short stories or
novels you have read?
Important Terms for Narrative Writing
♦ Definitions:
♦ Narrative-Broadly speaking, it is a form of
writing that tells a story.
♦ Voice-How the writing sounds.
♦ Point of View-How the ideas are communicated.
♦ Figurative Language-It contains images. The
writer or speaker describes something through the
use of unusual comparisons, for effect, interest,
and to make things clearer. The result of using this
technique is the creation of interesting images.
Important Terms Continued…
♦ Similes-It is a comparison of two or more objects to
draw attention to their similarities. In English, similes
are typically marked by use of "like", "as", "than", or
♦ Metaphor- It is language that directly compares
seemingly unrelated subjects. In the simplest case, this
takes the form: "The [first subject] is a [second subject]."
♦ Personification-It is giving human qualities to
something that is not human.
♦ Mood-A created atmosphere or context.
♦ Tone-Refers to the writer's attitude toward the reader
and the subject of the message's text.
Other Patterns and Forms of Narratives
♦ The Quest-The main character sets out in
search of something and ultimately returns
after various adventures, having achieved
success or gained new wisdom.
♦ The Initiation-A main character is faced with
a new situation that tests his or her abilities or
beliefs. How the character deals with this
situation determines which direction or course
his or her life will take.
Other Patterns and Forms Continued…
♦ The Choice-The main character must make a
choice or decision near the end of the story.
Making this decision is the high point of the
♦ The Union -Two people are fond of one
another, but they are kept apart by some
outside force or authority figure.
Purposes for Narrative Writing
To decide your purpose, ask yourself these questions:
¨ Is my topic funny, moving, or exciting? Is my
purpose to entertain the reader?
¨ Does my topic involve a lesson I learned? Is my
purpose to instruct the reader?

*If you wish to write a character sketch, then you should

ask yourself the following questions:
¨ Am I writing about a particularly interesting person?
Can I capture that character’s personality in words?
If Your Purpose Is…
♦ You will not be allowed to write a character sketch;
therefore, your purpose will primarily be to entertain
or instruct/present a theme.
Entertain Instruct/Present a
Focus on the amusing, Focus on the events that
frightening, moving, or taught you the lesson
adventurous aspects of and draw conclusions
your story. from them. Use events
that illustrate your
question or message on
Basic Elements
Once you’ve come up with a topic, define
your story’s basic elements.
¨ Main character-a person/thing you can
make vividly real to the reader.
¨ Conflict-the struggle between two
opposing forces in which you must
involve your main character.
Types of Conflict
-Can you think of any examples of these types
from literature or movies?
A character’s conflict may be…

¨ External-the conflict is when a character

battles a force outside of himself.
¨ Internal-the conflict is when a character
battles a force or forces within himself.
A plot is the arrangement of actions and events in a
story. In many stories, the plot follows this pattern:
¨ The exposition introduces the main characters and
their basic situation, including the central conflict.
¨ This conflict develops during the rising action,
leading to
¨ The climax followed by
¨ The story’s falling action, which leads to
¨ The resolution, in which the conflict is resolved in
some way.
Definition of Climax
The climax is the high point of suspense, such
-a startling revelation
-a sudden insight
-a new twist
Build to a Climax in Your Story
♦ As you draft, make sure your plot builds
toward the climax.
– Ask yourself what events and details will best
serve your purpose and your climax.
– In a short story, you shouldn’t include events or
details that aren’t going to help you build your
characters or your climax.
♦ You should start by identifying the “setup”
and the “payoff.”
Setup, Resolution, and Payoff
♦ The setup is the point at which you give
facts that make the resolution possible.
♦ The resolution is how the story is resolved.
It’s the “Happily ever after,” or not.
♦ The payoff is the point at which the
connection between the setup and the
resolution becomes clear.
Plot Diagram





i ng


Conflict introduced
Other Necessities…
♦ Setting
♦ Round and flat characters
♦ Dialogue
♦ Details that show, NOT tell
♦ Tension and surprise
♦ Individuality or uniqueness
One Last Time…
♦ Most short stories include
– One or more characters (the people, animals, creatures,
or objects involved in the story).
– A conflict or problem that keeps the reader asking,
“What will happen next?”
– A beginning that introduces the characters and setting
and establishes the conflict.
– A middle in which the story reaches a high point-
usually some type of conflict.
– An ending in which the conflict is resolved and loose
ends are tied up.