Narrative Online Session

Welcome, to the first Writing Club, online session!

I’m supposed to teach the seventh grade members about Narrative writing, but since we’ve done so already in class just think of this as a review.

Anyway, Narrative writing, you can see it’s the adjective form from the word ‘narrate’ which means to tell a story. So a narrative piece of writing is a type of writing that tells the events of something that has happened, like telling a story but in written form.

Unlike the other genres of writing, I think narrative is a more free genre. Narrative writings can be about anything, fictional or real, and don’t really have to imply a certain message in the story. As long as it’s entertaining and skillfully written, anyone will want to read it.

I’ve been asked to give some suggestions on how to write good narratives, but I’m not sure what to say because I just sort of picked it up suddenly myself. Here are four main points that I’ve done:

1) Read a lot. Narrative writings are stories that can be found anywhere. Like in biographies about someone else’s life, fairytale, short stories, and the all-time favorite: novels. Each novel author has their own type of stories they like to write (humorous, romantic, adventurous, etc) and have their own style of writing. I suggest you start reading novels (in English of course) and see how they get their ideas/ stories across and find your own style of writing. It’ll help work on you grammar and vocab too.

2) Practice writing a lot. Write about anything, even short paragraphs to help develop your skills. Soon you’ll find that the words will just flow out with ease and you’ll be writing like machine in no time, with great grammar and vocab to boot. But don’t write because you feel obligated too, like it’s a long chore. Right from the heart and enjoy it, otherwise the writing will become mundane and a difficultly long process. If you get stuck, think about the 5 writing steps we learned in class. First brainstorm on what you want to write about. Then expand that along with the characters and scene and plan each paragraph/chapter/scene you want to write about in order.

3) Ask for feedback. When you’ve got an essay done ask someone to help edit mistakes and give comment on the storyline. With other people’s insight and criticism, you’ll be able to improve.

4) Use a lot of IMAGINATION (and remember of Spongebob every time you do). To get a lot out of your writing, you’ll need to be able to make up a good plot, interesting characters and breath-taking settings, all elements that make up a good narrative which I’ll explain next.

Elements of Narrative Writing: (again we’ve done this before in class)

1) The Plot/Storyline: of course to tell a good story, there must be a good plot. A plot is what happens in the story, the events that take place. Simply put, there are three parts: the beginning, middle and end to each story. But don’t just take that as it is. You can expand the middle into various scenes, and add some twists and turns to make the readers eager to read on and make it more interesting. To come up with a good plot, you need a lot of IMAGINATION. We’re advised to tell the story in a sequential order from beginning to end, but I don’t think we should every time. Now, don’t get this confused. If you’re writing on a particular paragraph, you do want to keep the events in order. But if you’re writing different scenes or different chapters, skillfully placing the order of things can put in more surprise (like in mystery novels that seem to go in order and then at the end it jumps back to the past when the crime happen and summing up what happened and revealing who the villain is all in a nutshell adding more surprise and suspense). In between all that, there is the climax, the main scene that happens in the main plot (like the final battle in a war, the final duel between the antagonist and protagonist) If you still don’t get it, you could think of a plot as the ‘What?’ in a Narrative.

There is a thing some call the subplot, which may be small events or things done by more minor characters that are parallel to the main plot which at some point converge and add to the overall plot and make room for character development.

2) Characters: If there’s a what, then characters are the ‘Who?’ in a narrative story. It’s a good idea to make these character seem a little realistic (though you could give them wings or a tail or something), and not make them exactly perfect. Everyone has their strengths and flaws, and reading about realistic characters will help readers relate to the story and learn from what they do or how they deal with their issues or personalities. If you have difficulty making characters, simply take a look at the people around you. Everyone in this world is different and unique and you can use the traits or looks or image of a person you know as the base for your story character(s).

3) Settings: Here’s the ‘when’ and ‘where’ in a narrative. Settings are where the story takes place and when it takes place as well. For the time, you don’t have to put in the exact date or time, but make sure you know when something happened and how long it took. For where, it can be as imaginative as you want, but then you’d just have to explain the places in more detail so the readers know what the place is like and make it seem real. There’s third part of a setting and it’s the atmosphere of the story, at least in a particular scene. (like when you’re on an exotic island and then in a ruins of the jail, the chance of scene also calls for a change of atmosphere)

Of course, there is such a thing as realistic, narrative. A made up narrative story that is plausible to happen in real life. If your angle is making a realistic novel

And that’s basically it in a nutshell. And you’re probably half-asleep from reading this boring explanation, but trust me, when I’m talking/teaching, I always shorten and serve my ideas in the simplest, most compact way possible.


Yudhi asked me to make the topic about self-discovery stuff like that, but seeing how that’s a bit boring, I decided to give a little fun twist to it. I’ll emphasize again, that Narrative writing is a more free, imaginative style so feel free to write about what you want, or if you want to stick to Yudhi’s ‘self-discovery’ theme.

So the big topic is: TIME TRAVEL.

A nice topic I think, not to broad but not to constrictive, but I think it’ll help call upon your powers of imagination. The main character doesn’t have to be you, it can be any character you come up with, and so do the other elements. Just write as much and as freely as you want.

If you’re lost here are a few ideas:

A) If you want to write about you and jump aboard the ‘self-discovery’ train, then the main character should be you, in every sense of the word. You might want to jump to the future (in some way, be creative, like you made a time-machine or something) and meet your future self and reflect on you future plans/goals. Do things work out the way you it to? Or maybe things went a different path and are surprisingly more fulfilling?

B) If you want to go full out imaginative, not much I can help you with there, because you’re using your own imagination. Some tips about the plot though, just make sure it sounds a bit realistic and not too out there, but even if it seems impossible at least give a reason why it could be possible. Throw in an amazing character and you’re good to go. Don’t forget to picture the past, present, future settings and describe them well. And if you want, in you plot you could throw in the term ‘time paradox’. Don’t know what it is? Look it up, cuz it’ll take while to explain it here.

Anyways, that’s it. Happy Writing! J

(Here's a little funny for all your trouble reading this)


Sir Writes-A-Lot


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