Advanced Writing Skills
In a narrative, the writer tells a story about a real-life experience. Everyone enjoys a good story—especially one that captures the imagination. However, the narrative goes further. In it, the writer places a personal experience within the context of a larger theme, such as a lesson learned. While writing a narrative, the writer wants not only to tell a good story, but also convey why the story has meaning. The most natural way of narrating a narrative is to give the events strictly in the order in which they happened. One event should lead naturally and logically to the next.
The beginning of a narrative is very important. It should catch the reader’s attention and urge him to read on. It should set the scene for the action and the mood. Like any other piece of composition, a narrative has a beginning, a middle and an end. It is a complete whole.
Pre-writing for a Narrative
The pre-writing phase in narrative writing is particularly important. In the pre-writing phase, students think about their life experiences in the context of the assignment’s theme, for example ‘write about achieving a goal.’ When selecting an experience to write about, keep in mind that even a small incident (or goal, in this case) can make a good narrative if it has significance for the writer. If writer feels an emotional connection to his/her topic, his/her narrative will be more effective.
Once a topic is chosen, students should spend time sorting through their memories, and recalling details, including the year, season, setting, people, and objects involved. Think about the sequence of events and remember, no detail is too small. Often it’s the small details that communicate big ideas. Creating an outline of the story’s narrative flow is very helpful.
Drafting a Narrative
When creating the initial draft of a narrative essay, follow the outline, but focus on making the story come alive, using the following techniques:
1. Personal narratives are most naturally written in the first person, and using “I” gives the story an immediacy that engages the reader.
2. In telling the story, don’t gloss over the details. Readers have no prior knowledge of the story, and many times a skipped detail will skew their understanding.
3. Use vivid descriptions and words that illustrate. In narrative writing, the writer’s job is to involve the reader, rather than simply inform. Take a look at this sentence: “Losing the game felt like the bottom of my world dropped out.” It conveys so much more about the significance of the writer’s experience than simply saying, “I was disappointed that we lost the game.”
4. While narratives are non-fiction, elements of fiction should not be ignored. True stories also benefit from the writer’s ability to use plot-building techniques.
Q1. Narrate your experience on travelling on the roof of a crowded bus in about 150 words.
Travelling on the Roof of a Crowded Bus
One evening, I had to go to my village. I travelled by a bus. Inside the bus, it was all crowded. Many passengers climbed on to the roof of the bus. I, too, was one of them. The bus started slowly. Soon it caught speed. Strong currents of air began to beat against our faces. It became hard to keep our eyes open. Particles of dust blew into them and it gave much pain. Every now and then, we had to bend down to save ourselves from the overhanging branches of trees. We got terrible jerks whenever the bus moved a little to the right or left. I heaved a sigh of relief when the bus reached the bus stop of our village.
Q2. You were going to your village or town as soon as the examinations were over. Your bus broke down on the way; you had to spend the night at a village. Narrate your experience in about 150 words.
How I Passed a Night at a Village
My examinations were over last Friday. I decided to leave for my village the same day. I packed my luggage and went to the bus stand. I caught a bus for my village. It was the last bus of the day. Unluckily the bus broke down after going some distance. It was dark by now. The driver said that the bus could be repaired only in the morning. There was a village nearby. I went there with some of the passengers. The villagers were very kind. They served us with tea and food. They also made arrangements for us to pass the night. They invited the other passengers also to their village. All of us passed the night very comfortably. Another bus came in the morning. It was going to my village. I caught this bus. I reached home at about 8 a.m. My parents felt happy when they saw me walking into the house.