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Copy of What is a personal narrative?

Outlines the ins and outs of writing a personal narrative for Freshmen writers

Laura K. Hahn

on 26 September 2012

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Transcript of Copy of What is a personal narrative?

What is a Personal Narrative? Definition: A personal narrative is a first person account about a meaningful experience. It's like a path... It takes the reader to a place
that they've never been to before. It is about a meaningful,
truthful experience. It has
plot, speaker,
characters, setting,
theme, and
point of view. That will lead the reader
to understand who you are
as an individual This will help you discover your own voice. ...that you
define, as
a writer. Your Practical Skill wrap-up will be written as a personal narrative. One of the most important elements
of a good personal narrative is language
that shows what an experience is like rather
than tells the reader what it was like. SHOW don't TELL Don’t tell the reader what he or she is supposed to think or feel. Let the reader see, hear, smell, feel, and taste the experience directly, and let the sensory experiences lead him or her to your intended thought or feeling. Showing is harder than telling. It’s easier to say, "It was incredibly funny," than to write something that is incredibly funny. The rule of "show, don’t tell" means that your job as a storyteller is not to interpret; it’s to select revealing details. You’re a sifter, not an explainer. An easy way to accomplish showing and not telling is to avoid the use of "to be" verbs. Tell: The ground floor, rented room was tiny, damp and obviously uncared for. Show: "As he entered the room from the hallway the first thing he noticed was the fusty smell: a combination of mould, damp and stale cigarette smoke. There were snail trails across the worn, brown, cord carpet that covered what little floor space there was. Opposite the doorway, pushed up against the wall, was a single bed, covered with a duvet but no duvet cover and a flat, tobacco-stained pillow.

Squeezed into the corner of the room at the foot of the bed was a chest of drawers. On top of the drawers was a single electric hotplate. Opposite this was a sink piled high with dirty pots with a toothbrush just visible, peeking out through the handle of a mug. Facing the bed was a small table with a fold up-chair. On top of the table was an overflowing ashtray and yesterday's newspaper. Behind the door stood a mouldy wicker waste bin full of ash and cigarette ends." Here’s a sentence that tells:

Mr. Bobweave was a fat, ungrateful old man.

That gets the information across, but it’s boring. It simply tells the reader the basics about Mr. Bobweave. Here’s a way to create an image of Mr. Bobweave in the reader’s mind:

Mr. Bobweave heaved himself out of the chair. As his feet spread under his apple-like frame and his arthritic knees popped and cracked in objection, he pounded the floor with his cane while cursing that dreadful girl who was late again with his coffee. In the second example, I didn’t tell you Mr. Bobweave is fat. I showed it by writing that his feet spread and describing his apple-like frame. I didn’t tell you Mr. Bobweave is old. I showed it by mentioning his arthritic knees, his cane, and that he has a girl who tends to him. I didn’t tell you he is ungrateful, but with the impatience of a pounding cane and his disdain for his caregiver, I got you thinking that he may not be a very nice man. Give it a go:
Think of an experience you have had while working on your Practical Skill Venture. Try to describe this experience by SHOWING your reader what it was like for you, rather than TELLING about the event. Avoid "to be" verbs when possible and use SENSORY DETAILS. 1)Plot
2) Description
3) Reflection The three parts of a narrative: Exposition:
-Describe your problem/conflict (probably your lack of skill in this area).
-Introduce the reader to the purpose of your narrative and the direction that it is going to take.
-You might begin by describing the first step you took in learning this skill.
-Your exposition can be a section of dialogue, a sensory description, or a reflection on what motivated you to choose this skill. Here is an example of an introduction for a personal narrative essay:

My childhood was filled with memories of friends, make-believe games, and rowdy sleepovers. Lately, roaming the white-washed halls of my high school, I felt that I was disconnected from everyone around me; I was a lone planet in space. The first months of the 2012 school year proved to be the best and worst months of my life because this is when I decided to learn about the true nature of friendship. (This is the thesis statement) I remember, with clarity, the life lessons I learned about building relationships with people, dealing with heartbreak, and painfully discovering things about myself and my friends. (3 main points). Although the first months of school were filled with homework and volleyball practice, they were also filled with three experiences that changed my view of people and the world. Rising Action/ Struggle:
-How does the problem create conflict, which can be external (the outside world) and internal ( within your mind)?
-Balance text where you summarize the plot with parts where you use detail to describe scenes where you worked on this Venture.
-Describe what obstacles, challenges and risks (perceived or real) you encountered in this Venture and how you dealt with them.
- Describe unexpected events, setbacks, and opportunities.
-Explain whether or not your initial expectations were realistic.
-Mention all the resources you utilized (personal strengths – motivation, knowledge, skills, abilities; books; materials; etc.) Be specific.
-Characterize the people who helped you in your Venture. Climax/ Epiphany:
-When was your epiphany? What was the moment when everything “clicked”?
-What was the most exciting thing that happened over the course of your venture?
-Describe turning points or highlights within the experience. These can be documented with excerpts from your journal or notes. Falling Action:
-The epiphany transforms your story from merely a story into a personal narrative that has significant meaning to you, and shared meaning with others.
-Tell what you accomplished and how you know you reached your goals.
-Describe how you documented this Venture. Denouement:
-What you have done differently since you had the epiphany?
-Describe peripheral learning or unexpected learning that occurred in this Venture.
-Include how you feel about yourself and the completion of this Venture, why this Venture has made a difference in your life, where you will go from here with further exploration or experiences.
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