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Writing a narrative can be difficult, especially if story telling doesn’t come naturally to you. Many people have struggled with these types of assignments over the years. Professors have learned that there are a few sticking points that are common for all students. In this article you will learn exactly what they are and how to put together the best narrative story you’re capable of. What is a narrative story? A narrative story is one that is told. It has a narrator. It’s usually in the first person (using words like I, Me) or the third person (He, Him, She, Her). These stories are also rich in details. They paint a picture, so to speak. They use all five of the readers senses to engage them in what is being shared. Make sure to reference smells, tastes, textures, sounds, and sites. Contradictory details. The most important thing, though, is to make sure that you don’t contradict things. If we refer back to our earlier mentioned brunette… whoops! She was blonde, wasn’t she?
What makes a narrative so difficult? Let’s jump into a list of the things that most students struggle with, and then attack each one point by point: too little detail, too much detail, poor pacing, contradictory details. Don’t just tell the story as it happened. Of course, you want to make sure that you include everything that happened, but you need to state more than the facts. For instance, if you were sitting at a red light when your car was rear ended, leading to your stay in the hospital, and the eventual lesson that you learned you don’t want to put it so simply. You need to include details. You want to be careful not to include too many details, though, either. You can get carried away with describing things that are entirely insignificant. When you just read “brunette” you either realized that it was a contradictory detail or you became confused. Either way it really distracted you from the article.
If the person who crashed into you was blonde, smoking a cigarette, listening to Classic Rock and talking on the cell phone at the same time that’s all well and good. But if the purpose of your essay is to tell a story about how distracted drivers effect lives, you might only want to describe the details related to that. Who cares if she was blonde? It’s a detail that doesn’t matter, where the rest do. You want to make sure that you move through the story at a pace that doesn’t lose the readers interest. That means not going too slow. But you also want to make sure that you don’t go too quickly. Use some of the skills you have developed in your writing classes to take the reader through the essay at just the right pace. Having contradicting details in your essay will have the same effect on your reader. With these tips in mind you can put together a great narrative story.