Narrative Writing - Creative Writing - Shawon Notes

English Language > Creative Writing > Narrative Writing


Narrative writing is the most traditional form of creative writing: it’s telling a story. The trick to getting high marks is not to tell a story in the traditional way. Think about interesting ways to tackle the different aspects of the narrative.

Narrator/Voice

Who is telling the story?

  • Is it first person? Is someone in the story telling the reader directly? In these kinds of narratives the narrator might be the main character – or it might be someone who is very minor. Imagine the story of Cinderella told from the point of view of the mouse who gets turned into her footman. He’d have a very different view of the story – and what would life be like after he’s turned back into a mouse.

  • If the narrator is a specific character, that character needs to be reflected in the way the story gets told – the comments or ‘asides’ which they make to the reader might show who they really are. Perhaps the narrator in the example above would keep making comments about cheese. If it’s someone unexpected then keeping that quiet for a while can lead to an effective ending.

  • Are you an all-knowing narrator? The story is told in the third person, but the narrator might need to tell the audience what the characters are thinking. Or perhaps there is a secret in the character’s past which the reader needs to know to understand what’s going on.

  • Or, is the narration limited to what a single observer can see? This works well for stories which are shrouded in mystery, or follow a small event in detail. Twist in the tale stories need these kinds of limits.

The person who is supposed to be telling the story will determine the ‘voice’ you write in. If the narrator is someone serious, the tone will be serious. If the narrator is a bit of a joker, the tone will be more informal. Don’t tell the reader about the narrator directly – let the way you write do it for you.

Exercise

Practice writing in the character of different narrators. Imagine the narrator is writing about eating breakfast. What kind of things does he notice? What words does he or she use to describe the food or the people around?

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