What is narrative writing? Do you have any idea?
Narrative writing is a type of story writing that mainly focuses on writing through real-time experiences. It can be imaginary thoughts or bits from one’s life; as long as it tells a story, it is called narrative writing.
A well-written story can help understand a picture much more clearly and present a different view than the old classics. As humans, the ability to tell stories and write stories makes us extraordinary and a greater race.
What is narrative writing and its types
There is no specific right way to write a narrative. It depends on the author’s purpose and perspective on where he wants to take the story.
To better understand storytelling and story writing, you should listen to storytellers. After some time, you will be able to notice the fast forwards, lags in the story, the pauses, and the figurative language of the plot.
1. Linear Narrative
A linear narrative story is one in which the plot follows a chronological order. In a linear narrative, the story is followed by the next logical scenes, and the plot is defined as a straight highway. A highway with no branches and goes in a single direction. The plot can have certain gaps but is generally completed in the next upcoming events.
One of such themes is called quest writing. It involves the main character going through a quest to fulfill their goal. Most series, movies, and novels follow this type of narrative writing process.
Usually, the theme is set up in a way that requires the main character to travel to a far-off place and overcome certain obstacles to achieve its goals. Dan Brown’s trilogy: The Da Vinci Code, Angels & Demons, and Inferno are the perfect examples of this type, where Robert Langdon goes through obstacles to solve historical mysteries.
2. Non-Linear Narrative
Another type of Narrative writing is the Non-Linear Narrative writing process. In contrast to the Linear Narrative, a Non-Linear Narrative tells a story in non-chronological order.
It helps in empathizing with your characters and enhancing their backgrounds. A Non-Linear Narrative writing prompts the usage of the writer’s narrative and his life experiences in telling stories.
3. Viewpoint Narrative
The viewpoint narrative uses the narrator as the main character and describes a story from its perspective. These are generally more character-driven than plot-driven.
It showcases a writer’s brilliance in keeping the reader’s attention and showing them a world through their lens. The viewpoint narrative helps at times when you want to expose your main character to the audience and demonstrate its different sides.
Viewpoint narratives are mostly used to write essays, short stories, and anthologies. The book Catcher in the Rye is the perfect example of this type. The author J.D. Salinger shows us New York through the eyes of a young image himself and spotlights the life of teenagers and their issues.
4. Descriptive Narrative
Its main aim is to set up a story, describe the characters, and narrate the theme. Descriptive narrative writing is different from viewpoint narrative writing because a viewpoint narrative creates a scenario of limited perspective, whereas the storytelling form is much broader. An excellent example of this form is the novel: The Godfather.
The story is based on an Italian gangster and his life, and the narrative starts from the view of Don Vito Corleone and his early life, then shifts toward his successor and his son Michael Corleone. The main characters are much unlike, but they sometimes cross paths, and the story develops from that point.
When one is assigned to write a descriptive essay, one will use the descriptive narrative writing process.
Teaching narrative writing
The main elements of teaching narrative writing are the thought process of the teacher, their own stories, and their life experiences. There is no suitable way to teach narrative writing; it always depends on the teacher and their mindset.
Some prefer to teach through life experiences, and some prefer to use fiction as the main teaching element. While the difference between the two may seem greater, the line between fiction and fact is thin.
A writer may base a novel mainly on personal experience but will change the name of the characters and create a conflict by setting the plot in the third person. Another writer can create a storyline from the first person point of view but is entirely fiction and based on fictional characters. In the end, it is the storytelling that matters the most and captures the reader’s attention.
Teaching students the way of narrative writing will depend on the teacher. The students can be told to write short stories based on their personal experiences or to get them to write a narrative from scratch, purely fiction.
Letting them write a story from scratch will help develop a creative mindset and conveniently adapt to the theme. Unless the students are not restricted in any way and are allowed to flow, any kind of teaching is useful.
Narrative writing process
Writing a narrative is majorly based on brainstorming and writing through personal narratives. Prewriting is the beginning phase of narrative writing. When planning to write a story, it is necessary to gather your thoughts and meddle with your own life to gather information on the theme.
Even a small event can have a big breakthrough for your story. If the writer feels a strong emotional connection to the incident, it can help set up a grand theme.
In this phase, you develop your characters, ideas, and description for the narrative essay. You decide whether your story will be based on your own experiences or will it be pure fiction or a blend of both of these.
When writing, the idea of the plot should be clear as water in the writer’s mind, and there should be no doubt about the story.
An excellent way to teach narrative writing is to let the students engage in their own stories. After some time, a trait will be developed in them to tell stories and write them. They will grow confident and more comfortable with their storytelling abilities by telling their short stories.
Structure and Reading models
Once the students have come up with their respective ideas and have a collection of their own stories, it is time to teach them about the story structure and its importance in narrative story writing.
A structure generally consists of a background, a conflict, action, climax, and resolution. The background is usually the setting up of the storyline and information about the main character. A conflict is essential to provide suspense in the storyline and catch the reader’s attention. It is mostly after a conflict that the story starts its main event.
The climax is the main turning point of the narrative and the most exciting point. As a result of the conflict in the story, an action sets up, and this is the beginning of a turning point in the storyline. A resolution is prepped up to tie the loose knots and look after the consequences of the action.
It is the author’s choice when to reveal the significance of the experience and is one of the building blocks for a good story. Some authors prefer to make this connection to the theme during the initial phases, while some wait for the perfect time to reveal it to create conflict and suspense in the story.
In narrative writing, clueing the reader helps their understanding but, in turn, fails to create a greater engagement. Saving the revelation later will create an engaging environment and give the reader more time to think about it.
After getting through the structure, make the students engage in a reading model suitable for their ideas. A reading model is a short story related to the content of the students’ own stories. It will help them with story writing strategies and a writer’s thought process. As an assignment, the students can write a story based on the reader model’s story arc.
Now have the students work on their ideas and write a story. If they are confused about the writing topic, make them write on any topic. A skilled writer can even make a narrative essay on bananas more engaging. In narrative writing, the execution matters rather than the topic.
Main characters to work upon, setting up a conflict for the main event, using action as the driving force, creating suspense for the climax, and coming up with a resolution to wrap up the storyline. With the help of the structure, the students will complete a basic story arc. This will conclude that they finally have something to write upon.
When writing stories, make sure to observe different storytellers. Observing them will tell you about different notions of story writing. So when you start writing, keep these notions in mind.
Think about where they pause to create suspense, they take fast forwards to not make the story long and boring, and the parts where they fill the gaps with conflict. You can create these effects in your writing through thoughtful word choice and pacing.
When creating the initial drafts, focus on the outline and work on making the story more lively. While doing so will spend much of your time with the story and get to know it much better. Things to keep in mind when drafting a storyline are:
Personal narrative writing is generally written in the first person, and using “I” provides a sense of closeness and engages the reader. When telling a story, try to be as descriptive as possible. Using vivid descriptions and a good vocabulary will make your story engaging and garner attention.
Although narrative writing is mainly based on personal experience and non-fiction but using bits of fiction will not harm. Sometimes, using fiction is essential to make the story captivating. To make it more engaging, one can also use specks of science fiction and fictional characters in their story writing process. Since the reader does not comply with you and doesn’t have prior knowledge of the background, glossing over facts will not make a reader-friendly environment.
Revising and Editing
This phase allows the students to review the draft some more times. During the phase, students modify, reorganize and make additions to their work if needed. Adding dialogue, writing prompts, and maintaining the story structure are some of the works that come under revising.
Checking will the essay turns out good, will it has a good impact on the readers, is the word choice descriptive, or is the message being conveyed are the considerations to keep in mind while revising a descriptive essay.
During the revising phase, the students alter the contents and shape the story. While during the editing phase, the chunk to work upon gets smaller, and the major work that remains is mostly checking for missing letters or correcting pronouns. The students need to know the difference between these two.
A better way to help the students know their mistakes a read-aloud session is preferred. In the session, the students read their drafts aloud, and it is during the session that the mistakes come to light.
More modeling from you is essential to get the most from peer review, where students read and comment on each other’s work. In the early sessions, it will help them in knowing the places where pieces of information are missing. While, in the later sessions, they will instinctively find the missing words.
The final drafts can be published on personal blogs or websites, on e-books, or creating a descriptive slideshow to showcase the story can also be an option.
Personal narrative writing is the process of writing through personal experiences. It is written in the first person. A personal narrative is generally an essay based on your life. It can include your own stories, people you know, your relations, and other things.
The process of writing a personal narrative starts with the collection of personal insights and knowledge of the topic to write upon. Think about the events that you share a strong emotional connection with. In such a way, you can connect with the readers conveniently and easily.
When planning to write a story, gathering your thoughts and meddling with your own life to gather information on the theme is necessary. Even a small event can have a big breakthrough for your story. If the writer feels a strong emotional connection to the incident, it can help set up a grand theme.
While there are no set rules for structuring a personal narrative essay, it is essential to have a clear introduction, a body, and a conclusion. The opening should convey the message of your intentions with the story that you want to the readers. The introduction should also contain some dramatic essence to captivate the audience.
The body will narrate a bigger picture and describe the story to give a clear picture to the reader. The facts can be in chronological order or grouped to make sense of conflict and suspense. Finally, the conclusion should solve all the story’s mysteries and give the reader a sense of its entirety.