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Simple Guide for Narattive Writing
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Have you ever wondered, why there is a difference in the description of the murder of the stepdaughter by the stepmother in Snow White and seven dwarfs and that in a news article? The difference lies in the narrative of the events and the purpose for which it has been written. The purpose of the narrative in Snow White and seven dwarfs is to entertain whereas the purpose of the news article is to inform people.
There are infinite tales that are being told by man for eons. Yet every narration is different. Whether you’re writing a descriptive essay, a short story, or a novel, understanding the difference in the narratives helps in reaching the readers or the audience in the most effective way possible.
In this article, we will,
• Understand the genre
• Learn about narrative writing with examples
• Know the types of narrative writing with examples
• Understand narrative writing prompts
• Answer popular FAQs
• Narrative is a form of storytelling.
• Narratives can be essays, fables, comics, movies, anything that has a story to tell.
• Narratives have five elements: plot, setting, character, conflict, and theme.
• By setting the tone and mood and creating a point of view for the readers and using other elements, writers bring forth the reader’s involvement in the story.
Understanding the Genre
There are four classical rhetorical modes/ways in which a writer chooses to present information. These include:
- Narrative: writing that tells a story
- Exposition: writing that explains and analyses an idea or a set of ideas.
- Argument: writing that attempts to persuade the point of view of the reader.
- Description: writing that gives a visual experience
Narrative writing, our main concern can broadly be defined as story writing. The plot of a narrative has a beginning, middle, and end that is the concluding part. The beginning is an overview of the surroundings, the atmosphere of the story, the middle part— the most significant of all has a major conflict and the climax of the story. And lastly, the end of the concluding part where the heated part of the story slowly cools down and a conclusion has been reached.
While writing a narrative, your main objective is to entertain your readers.
Let’s understand narrative writing with a short and simple narrative.
Sam and the Puppy
One summer evening, Sam and his two friends Max and Peter were playing in the playground when they heard weird noises coming out of the nearby bushes. The bunch of curious kids looked for the source of the sound and found a small white puppy inside a big box. Upon finding a new playmate, the kids and the puppy played together for a while. Soon it was time to go home. Max and Peter were about to leave for their homes when worried Sam called them back, “ What should we do to this puppy? We can’t leave it here all alone! “ “ I can’t keep it as my mother Is allergic to dogs”, complained Max. “I don’t want a pet dog! ”, scoffed Peter. Desperate to protect the puppy, Sam finally decided to take the puppy to his house. He convinced his mind to face any difficulties bravely. But as soon as he reached home, his small heart sank. He hid the puppy in the courtyard and hurried towards his room. Moments later he heard his mother calling his name. Frightened Sam slowly walked towards his mom with tears in his eyes. Upon seeing his mother, he busted into tears and narrated the whole event. On listening to the entire story, his mother hugged him and said “I’m proud of you my dear Sam!” and kissed his forehead. “So, can we keep him? “ asked Sam. “of course we can”, replied his mother merrily. Happy Sam hugged his mother tightly and kissed her a thank you.
Breaking this story, we find,
The introduction of kids playing one summer evening and suddenly found a puppy.
After playing with the puppy, comes the conflict as to who will take its responsibility. And the climax when Sam takes the puppy without permission and burst into tears when his mother calls him to know about the puppy
The conflict and the climax cool down as Sam’s mother hugs and praises her son for being a good human being. And Sam happily thanks his mom for letting him have the puppy.
Thus, in order to write a successful narrative, the ride of the story should be maintained. Otherwise, the story will fall flat.
Shaping the ‘Narrative’
In every narrative, there are five elements that aid in shaping and defining the narrative. These are— plot, setting, character, conflict, and theme.
With the help of the above story, “Sam and the Puppy”, let’s understand the elements of a narrative:
• The plot is the sequence of events that takes place in a story. In the above story, the plot was about how the puppy was taken by Sam, unsure of the outcome.
• The setting is the location, time, and atmosphere of the plot. The setting of “Sam and the Puppy” was the playground of an unknown city and Sam’s house.
• The characters are the people in the story around whom the plot revolves, or may even be bystanders to the plot. The characters in “Sam and the Puppy ”included Sam, the main character, along with his friends, Max and Peter, his mother, and the small white puppy.
• The conflict is a problem that causes the narrative to reach its climax. For the story to be engaging, the plot needs to have a climax and for that, you require to have ‘conflict’ in your story/plot. The conflict in “Sam and the Puppy” was the confusion as to who will keep the puppy and face the consequences.
• The theme is the soul of the plot. It is the author’s ideology expressed in words. What is the moral of the story? What feeling or emotion the author wanted to convey to his readers? The theme of the plot answers these questions. In “Sam and the Puppy”, the theme was to spread love and affection to everyone including abandoned animals.
Setting Tone and Mood
Now, in addition to the above-mentioned structural elements of a narrative, there is tone and mood of the narrative. The very important part of a narrative is the reader’s involvement— emotional and mental.
Precisely, the mood is that particular feature of a narrative that aids readers in comprehending the atmosphere of a particular narrative. This can be achieved by providing ample definition of the setting; i.e. the time and space, the readers get involved.
The tone is the attitude of the narrative that distinctively pops out because of the trait of the main character in the narrative with which the reader resonates.
In the above story, “Sam and the Puppy”, the mood was very light and energetic typical of a summer evening, whereas the tone of the story was selfless love and care for others.
Point of View
By establishing a point of view, the writer filters the events through a particular character. The point of view can be established by using the most common point of view in fiction, the omniscient ( all-knowing) narrator who has held to all the thoughts and experiences and is also aware of the later story. Harry Potter novels, for example, are written in this third-person format.
Another point of view is the first person point of view, in which the narrator himself is the character in the narrative. An example is 12 years a slave.
Other strategies include grammatical tools as the strategies of tense, person, alternating the emphasis in a sentence with changing voice, using different types of sentences, and above all using appropriate use of punctuation marks.
Types of Narratives
There are different styles of writing a narrative. And such styles can be classified into four different types of narrative. These are—
1. Linear Narrative
In the linear narrative, the story flows in a single direction. There are no flashbacks to look back. The story keeps moving forward following the order of one event after another. “Pride and Prejudice” by Jane Austen is a good example of such a narrative.
2. Non-linear Narrative
Unlike linear narratives, non-linear narratives tend to move back and forth. The seemingly out-of-order composition of the story follows a chronological pattern, employing flashbacks and other literal tools. “All the lights we cannot see” by Anthony Doerr is the best example of such a narrative.
3. Quest narrative
Quest narrative is narratives are the narratives where the protagonist has a goal to reach. Be it a treasure hunt or a journey of vengeance any sort of goal falls into this category. Books like “Treasure Island” by R. S Stevenson, “Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho fall under this category.
4. Viewpoint narrative
Such a narrative is designed to express the point of view of the narrative in a given situation. It sets up the mood depending upon the narrator or the protagonist. Books like “Crime and punishment” by Fyodor Dostoyevsky have such a narrative.
Narrative Writing Prompts
Check out these writing prompts to inspire you to write a narrative of your choice.
Narrative Prompts #1 – Fantasy
Fantasy is a world of your own where anything and everything can happen. Such a world run on principles created by you. A world like that of Harry Potter or Alice in wonderland can be great examples of fantasy prompts.
Narrative Prompts #2 – Science Fiction
Since fiction is the narratives that show a future world or a world of realism where technological advancement has crossed its limits. Such a futuristic world has intergalactic wars, humans with superhuman power. To understand better refer to the narrative of The invisible Man by H. G. Wells.
Narrative Prompts #3 – Romance
In this, the narrative has an explosion of human emotions of love attachment affection selflessness loss, and so on. The main focus is on the building of a romantic relationship between Two a more characters and the difficulties following that Relationship. Narratives of Romeo and Juliet by Shakespeare or Love in the time of cholera by Marquez has this prompt.
Narrative Prompts #4 – Dystopian
A dystopian society is a society where there’s a lot of suffering it can also mean a narrative where an analytical person foresees the dark future. Narratives of such prompts are Orwell’s 1984.
Narrative Prompts #5 – Mystery
The mystery involves narrators that are too good to be true or stories relating to murder crime that needs to be investigated. Narratives that have these mysterious prompts are stories of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Famous Five by Enid Blyton, and so on.
For more help on this topic, you can hire our assignment help experts.
FAQ Related to Narrative Writing
What is narrative writing?
Narrative is the way of presenting an event. And how one presents is called as narrative writing. Broadly saying, narrative writing is story writing and the main purpose of the writing is to impress or to entertain the readers. It can either be an essay, comic, a short story or a long novel.
How to teach narrative writing?
Step 1 – Define narrative and it’s elements.
Step 2 – With the help of a narrative, teach the students how the various elements gets combined in a story.
Step 3 – Explain how the plot in a narrative moves.
Step 4 – Let the students write a narrative of their choic
How can we write a narrative writing ?
Narratives follow a diamond structure in writing. While writing a narrative include the 5 elements— plot, setting, character, conflict, and theme. Then add tone and mood in the piece along with a point of view of the writer through the characters or the narrator. And finally compile the story in a diamond structured, slicing the diamond horizontally into three parts, the first and the last conical part will be the beginning and the end part of the story respectively and the bottom part will contain the main story.