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Narrative writing, part 1 – structure

Narrative writing, part 1 – structure

stack-of-books

What is a narrative?

A narrative is “a story that is told or written” (learnersdictionary.com). In level 3, you will write a story using pictures to guide you. This blog post is about how to improve your narrative writing.

Structure

All stories follow a similar pattern. They have a beginning, middle and end. Most stories begin by introducing the people and the context (place and time). Look at the first picture, and answer the questions:

  • Who is in the picture? 
  • Where are they? 
  • When is the story happening 
  • What is happening?

drawing-of-individual-watching-tv

Use your answers to these questions to write the beginning of your story. For example:

Picture 1: “Last night, John stayed awake until 1:35am watching television at home.”

  • Who: John
  • Where: At home
  • When: Last night (1:35am)
  • What: watching TV

drawing-of-a-series-of-events

To write the middle of your story, look at pictures 2-5 and use the questions to write a description for each picture.

You do not need to answer every question for every picture. For example, if the time does not change, you don’t need to repeat it.

Pictures 2-3: “In the morning, he woke up at 9am. He was very worried because his class started at 9:15am. He quickly got dressed, and then ran to school as fast as he could – he was late!”

Pictures 4-5: “When John arrived at school, he hurried to the classroom. Strangely, there were no other students. The classroom was empty. Then, he saw a sign on the notice board: ‘No school today. Teachers’ meeting.’ John felt relieved – there was no class today, after all!”

drawing-of-man-at-coffee-shop

To write the end of your story, look at the final picture. Again, answer the questions (who/where/when/what) to finish your story. Write a concluding sentence to tell the reader how your story ends.

Picture 6: “Finally, John felt relaxed. He planned to spend the day with his friends.  He called Stephen and Sophie, and they met at a café to drink coffee. They stayed all day, talking and having fun.”

Story

Last night, John stayed awake until 1:35am watching television at home. In the morning, he woke up at 9am. He was very worried because his class started at 9:15am. He quickly got dressed, and then ran to school as fast as he could – he was going to be late! 

When John arrived at school, he hurried to the classroom. Strangely, there were no other students. The classroom was empty. Then, he saw a sign on the notice board: ‘No school today.  Teachers’ meeting.’ John felt relieved – there was no class today, after all!  

Finally, John felt relaxed. He planned to spend the day with his friends. He called Stephen and Sophie, and they met at a café to drink coffee. They stayed all day, talking and having fun.”

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