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Writing a Good Narrative

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Jessica Rumble

on 8 February 2013

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Transcript of Writing a Good Narrative

Writing a Good Narrative Lesson objectives:
to recognise the features of a narrative
to identify 3 language techniques authors use to entertain their reader
to construct sentences that show, rather than tell Language Showing and Telling Purpose Telling is achieved best by using narrative. Narrative is the flow of the prose-the string of sentences and paragraphs that tells a story. A narrative should no merely be informational

The components to writing an effective narrative are:
-rich and vivid details
-strong verbs and adjectives
-imagery that evokes the senses
-being showy in your telling

Internal monologue is another method that makes narrative more compelling. Internal monologue is a line that echoes a character's voice or thoughts. It makes the reader feel like they are being shown their innermost thoughts but they are not.

E.g., Melinda was nearing the doorway pondering about the uncertainty. Will she like the gift? The doorway opened and destiny lied ahead of her. In summary... Linear Timeline Descriptive Language Structure Style and Language Narratives Tell a Story Features of a Narrative Features of a Narrative What is a narrative? Reflection or exploration of a memory or the
writer's values.

True story of something that happened to you. Introduction that reveals what type of narrative it is:
(an event, a personal experience, observation, etc)

Conclusion that makes a point

Anecdotes- interesting, amusing, biographical incident Dialogue
"It is important to punctuate dialogue
correctly," said Ms Grammar.

Evokes an emotion- humour, sadness, happiness,
frustration, melancholy, anger, etc. First person- Invites your reader in for an "intimate"

Avoid using cliches. Cliches are OLD NEWS.

Use sentence variety by writing compound and simple
sentences, and avoid using the same beginning to
sentences over and over again. Seriously, it's boring. Narrative texts types often employ the use of descriptive language in order to construct a more powerful text. Short narratives have:
a limited time frame
limited setting
small number of characters

In other words, avoid writing about a general topic, or an event that spans over a long period of time.

Football > Senior Year > Winning the championship>Kicking the winning field goal. Your story should flow from beginning to end.

Don't jump around, unless you have a flashback that is
necessary to the story.

Use transitions to help your story move along, such as
after, at last, before, eventually, meanwhile.

Orientation -> Conflict -> Climax -> Resolution Should be meaningful.

Story should show the impact that
the event has had on the author's
life Showing and telling both have their place in narrative writing, however, the more effective and complex narratives tend to show, rather than tell. This allows the reader to make inferences. Similes A simile makes a comparison between two things using 'like' and 'as'. So what is descriptive language?
Descriptive writing makes our readers see, feel, and hear what we have seen, felt, and heard
We can grab the reader's attention.
The more descriptive language we use, the better the reader can imagine what we are trying to say.
Our writing becomes more interesting. For example:

My desk is messy.

Stacks of books and untidy piles of ungraded papers litter the top of my desk. HOW? Tools for descriptive language:
Sensory Language
Showing, not telling The clouds are like ice cream castles in the sky. Metaphors A comparison of two things by saying one thing IS the other. Your eyes are sparkly diamonds. Sensory language Language that appeals to the 5 senses. What are our 5 senses? Sight
Smell Can you think of an example of a metaphor or simile that makes use of sensory language? The fire alarm was murder to my ear drum. Show, not tell Using descriptive language rather than simply telling the reader. Showing and telling are the two fundamental writing techniques an author can use to craft a story -Provides information by way of a scene, information is 'shown' rather than explicitly stated

-A scene has a beginning a middle and an end, usually contains dialogue, and moves the story forward

-Creates a very vivid visual image in the readers mind

-The reader must infer certain details about the story from what the author 'shows' them

-very effective at revealing the complex interplay between characters or between a character and themselves With his hands still in his coat pockets he stalked by me into the hall, turned sharply as if he were on a wire and disappeared into the living room. It wasn’t a bit funny. Aware of the loud beating of my own heart I pulled the door to against the increasing rain. For half a minute there wasn’t a sound. Then from the living room I heard a sort of choking murmur and part of a laugh followed by Daisy’s voice on a clear artificial note.
‘I certainly am awfully glad to see you again.’
A pause; it endured horribly. I had nothing to do in the hall so I went into the room. Gatsby, his hands still in his pockets, was reclining against the mantelpiece in a strained counterfeit of perfect ease, even of boredom. His head leaned back so far that it rested against the face of a defunct mantelpiece clock and from this position his distraught eyes stared down at Daisy who was sitting frightened but graceful on the edge of a stiff chair.
‘We’ve met before,’ muttered Gatsby. His eyes glanced momentarily at me and his lips parted with an abortive attempt at a laugh. Luckily the clock took this moment to tilt dangerously at the pressure of his head, whereupon he turned and caught it with trembling fingers and set it back in place. Then he sat down, rigidly, his elbow on the arm of the sofa and his chin in his hand.
‘I’m sorry about the clock,’ he said.
My own face had now assumed a deep tropical burn. I couldn’t muster up a single commonplace out of the thousand in my head.
‘It’s an old clock,’ I told them idiotically.
I think we all believed for a moment that it had smashed in pieces on the floor.
‘We haven’t met for many years,’ said Daisy, her voice as matter-of-fact as it could ever be.
‘Five years next
The automatic quality of Gatsby’s answer set us all back at least another minute. I had them both on their feet with the desperate suggestion that they help me make tea in the kitchen when the demoniac Finn brought it in on a tray. Amid the welcome confusion of cups and cakes a certain physical decency established itself. Gatsby got himself into a shadow and while Daisy and I talked looked conscientiously from one to the other of us with tense unhappy eyes. However, as calmness wasn’t an end in itself I made an excuse at the first possible moment and got to my feet.‘Where are you going?’ demanded Gatsby in immediate alarm.
‘I’ll be back.’
(pg.86/87) How to show The goal is to allow for interpretation You can show through dialogue Example
Suddenly, with a strained sound, Daisy bent her head into the shirts and began to cry stormily.
“They’re such beautiful shirts,” she sobbed, her voice muffled in the thick folds. “It makes me sad because I’ve never seen such—such beautiful shirts before.” (92) This scene shows that Daisy still has feelings for Gatsby and that she is overwhelmed by these emotions. When to show Show in dramatic scenes and passages you want to highlight. Choose carefully what you want to show. How to Tell Telling is used when informing the reader about details in a story. These details are more mundane details regarding character development, plot, setting, and revelations in the story. Background information

Details that would have been weakened if they were to have been shown are good telling pieces. E.g., Characters' virtues, inner conflicts, job, and appearance.

Telling is also used when the author is transitioning from one important scene to another important scene quickly. There was dancing now on the canvas in the garden; old men pushing young girls backward in eternal graceless circles, superior couples holding each other tortuously, fashionably, and keeping in the corners — and a great number of single girls dancing individualistically or relieving the orchestra for a moment of the burden of the banjo or the traps. By midnight the hilarity had increased. A celebrated tenor had sung in Italian, and a notorious contralto had sung in jazz, and between the numbers people were doing “stunts” all over the garden, while happy, vacuous bursts of laughter rose toward the summer sky. A pair of stage twins, who turned out to be the girls in yellow, did a baby act in costume, and champagne was served in glasses bigger than finger-bowls.(Pg.46) This is an effective telling example because of the use of vivid details, strong adjectives, and sensory language. Telling is used for this part because showing the part would not have taken too long and would not be important in the advancement of the story. Your turn Demonstrate your understanding of showing, rather than telling by turning the following 'telling' statements into 'showing' statements. Your assessment task requires you to write an autobiographical narrative based on an important incident in your life. An autobiography is a writer’s personal account of their life. It
has an introduction, which sets scene and time for reader;
describes events in order in which they happen;
is written in the first person
is written in past tense;
may end with closing statement to reflect on event(s).
reveals the opinions, attitudes, values and world view of the author (as it is written from their perspective)
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