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Narrative writing

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Lisa Jacobs

on 2 May 2014

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Transcript of Narrative writing

Steps to success
Narrative writing
Step Five
Would you tell a joke without knowing the punch line? If you want to build to a big climax you have to know where you are heading.
Step Three
Step Four
Plan for success
A joke, a movie, a TV sitcom, a book and a great story - what do they all have in common? They all follow the same 'story graph'. Start with a bang, slowly build up the tension and end on a real high point
Step Two
Sizzling starts
Start where the action is. Not at the beginning of the day where nothing is happening. Begin when the volcano starts oozing lava or as you walk in the door to the big disco competition
Example 1
: Snow Skiing Story

Basic Linear Beginning
: On the weekend Mum and Dad took me snow skiing for the first time. We drove to the mountain and unpacked all the gear. The next morning we all got up.

Now see how the action AND the information can be given in a different way.

Action Grab
: The air was crisp, the snow was wickedly white and I was skiing fast down the mountain.

Way too fast.

Look out!' I cried and the 300 people in the tow queue straight ahead ducked in fear.

: Mum and Dad and I had gone skiing for the weekend, but the single lesson I'd taken that morning had neglected to teach me how to stop.

Back to Action
: Now suddenly it seemed like the whole mountain was flashing before my eyes.
Tightening tension
You must believe the hero (male or female) will fail. The tornado is too strong, the villain is too evil, the black forces of depression are too overwhelming. Yet, through strength, talent and determination, somehow our hero wins.
Dynamic dialogue
Think of dialogue as a mini play in the story. Let your characters walk, talk or even stalk - that's how we get to know them
Show, don't tell
If I tell you I am generous, do you believe me??? No way. But if I buy all 20 raffle tickets to help cancer research, are you more convinced? Actions really do speak louder than words.
Step Six
Ban the boring bits
Everyone gets up, gets dressed, travels to school...it's not exactly exciting. So why write about it? Ban all mention of the 'boring B' words - beds, breakfast and bus trips. Think like the movies, the heroes never travel, they just arrive...
Step Seven
Exciting endings
Fizzling starts!
I woke up that morning really nervous. Today was the day of the big disco competition. Sam and I had been practicing for months. This year we would do it. We would beat that Penelope and her partner once and for all. I leapt out of bed…

SHOW don’t TELL what’s going on
Introduce something important about your character
Introduce something important about your setting
Leave the audience wanting to know more!

How do you create a hook?
I opened the door to the disco and the must hit me like a blast. Lights flashed,
people moved in a swirl of colour and suddenly it was hard to breathe. Nerves, I guess.
It was the big dance competition tonight. Sam and I had been practising for months.
This year we would do it. We would win. We must!
‘Hi there.’ It was Penelope. Yeah, it would be. ‘Bet you think you’re going to win tonight.’

5 senses - how can you appeal to them?

Let the audience:
TASTE the blood at the corner of the lips
FEEL the pain of the broken bone
HEAR the whistling of the blade as it whips past the ear
SMELL the sweat of the attacker
SEE the attacker’s eyes widen with shock
Full transcript