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Writing a Narrative-style Profile Essay

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on 15 November 2012

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Transcript of Writing a Narrative-style Profile Essay

Look over the following situations, complete each by setting up a conflict. Then pick one and build on that tension through action or dialogue (or both):
You are ready to leave your home when...
You have just turned in your math exam when you realize...
You recently moved to a new town when someone you care about suddenly becomes seriously ill...
Your roommate just told you that...
Your best friend calls in the middle of the night to tell you... It's not just telling a story; it's a journey Writing a Narrative-style Essay Narration: Retelling Events Narratives Sequence Events Do NOT look at the video! Only listen! Make a note of all the idiosyncrasies, slang, phrases and dialects used to show character as well as natural dialogue. Let's practice by listening to "scripted dialog" that has been framed to sound "natural". Most narratives are told from the 1st person POV--the key participant speaks directly to the reader: "I first realized the problem when..."
The advantage of this POV is that you assume a personal tone and can speak to your audience. The disadvantage is that you can't easily show what others are thinking unless they share it with you (which is exposition & often boring to your readers) and you can only stay where "you" are. You can't move around from participant to participant.
Other narratives are told from the 3rd person POV--often an unknown narrator describes what happens to the key participants: "Arthur pretended to be sleeping...". Your Profile will be told from this POV.
The advantage to this POV is that you can offer a broader, more objective perspective. The drawback is that you can't offer your own personal attitudes, interpretations, feelings and commentary. You must offer these from a distant, objective POV.
Please note: Even if your profile subject is related to you or is someone you know personally, you will not be using personal pronouns or talking directly to the reader. There will be no "my grandpa" or "my mom" or "my sister" or "my friend" or "my roommate". Disconnecting yourself from these indicators will help you to write the paper from an objective point of view, which in turn will help you to write a paper that focuses on your Profile subject, NOT your relationship with the subject (which is a Personal Narrative Essay, not a Profile Essay) Narratives are Told From a Particular
Point of View (POV) The photo to the left shows a tragic scene. Imagine what series of events led up to this tragedy. Who died? What events lead up to the death(s)? Who are the mourners and what relationship do they have with the deceased? What's happening in this photo? Working with a classmate, take 5 minutes and write a brief summary of the events you imagined What is a Narrative? A narrative tells a series of events, real or fictional, in an organized sequence.
It is a story, but it has a point.
Narratives provide human interest and entertainment, trigger curiosity, and bring us close to the story teller. They also create a sense of shared history, link us together, and teach us proper moral or behavioral conduct. Congratulations! You've reached the end of the journey to learn how to write a narrative-style essay Narratives Convey Action & Detail Narratives often give a detailed account about the event or series of events. A narrative that doesn't is one that "tells" rather than "shows" the audience what happened. Think of a narrative as a camera that zooms in and helps the readers see everything they need to know about that topic.

The writer can involve readers in several ways. Here are 3 of those ways:
Through dialogue
With physical description
By recounting action

The writer doesn't have to pick just one of these ways, though. S/he may choose one, two, or all of them. Carefully choosing the right combination at the right time can help with the flow and create tension and suspense, making it possible for the readers to visualize the scene. Narratives absolutely must be organized into a sequence that's easy for readers to follow. Your text covers 3 of the organization methods you can use:
Chronological order--3 different starting points (see next prezi frame)
Time markers--can either be the date or a transitional phrase such as "that morning", "later on", "after ___".
Flashbacks--returning the reader to an event that took place in the past

Another method of sequencing:
Foreshadowing--the opposite of flashbacks, this method hints of possible events in the future

Both flashbacks and foreshadowing are used in drama, fiction, and film.
But don't overdo it with either method. When used sparingly, flashbacks and foreshadowing build interest and add variety (especially to a lengthy chronological account). However, when used too much, the audience gets confused and frustrated. Narratives Make a Point A narrative will either make a point or support a thesis by telling the audience about and event or series of events. The point may be to explain the significance of the event, make an observation, or to present new information.

Writers often will be clear what the point of the narration is (an explicit thesis), but there are other times that the point is implied (an implicit thesis). Either way, the point needs to still be clear to your readers.

The point of the narration often directs the details the writer includes and how they will be presented. Let's look at the steps needed to write a good narrative Narratives Present Conflict & Create Tension An effective narrative will always include conflict--such as a struggle, question, or problem--and then work toward its resolution. There are 5 classic struggles in narratives:
vs. Self
vs. Another person or a few other people
vs. Nature
vs. Society
vs. God
Tension is created as the story unfolds and guides the reader through the conflict.

The point just before resolution is called a climax, but another good way to think of it is as "a turning point" where something changes or there's a shift in the conflict heading toward resolution, good or bad. Let's Practice! Narratives Use Dialogue Your reading covered much of what needs to be known about dialogue, but some key elements need to be emphasized:
It's used to dramatize action, emphasize conflict, and reveal personalities or motives of the key participants in the narrative.
It should resemble everyday speech; that is, it should sound natural, not forced or formal:
Too formal: "I enjoy talking with you, Frank," Maria confided to her husband. "I especially like hearing you tell of your adventures in Mexico when you were younger. I wish I could visit there with you."
Natural: "Your stories about when you were a kid in Mexico are great," Maria told her husband. "I'd like to go there with you." References: _Successful College Writing_ by Kathleen T. McWhorter & _The Norton Field Guide to Writing_ by Richard Bullock, Maureen Goggin & Francine Weinberg
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