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Drafting the Narrative


Tell your story so your audience will be at the edge of their seats wanting to learn more. ... The Boy with John Travolta Blue Eyes ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Drafting the Narrative

Drafting the Narrative
Telling the Life Story
  • Your job is to take the insights you created in
    the previous section (outline) and blend them
    together into a series of well-crafted paragraphs
    which tell the really important stories. A good
    story offers drama, excitement, human interest,
    passion and suspense. Tell your story so your
    audience will be at the edge of their seats
    wanting to learn more.

Strengths of narrative writing
  • Description (use specific nouns and verbs) Active
    verbs (eliminate passive voice is was)
  • Dialogue (include conversation between
    individualsmake sure to check formatting and
    punctuation rules-pg. 117 in Easy Writer)
  • Keep verb tense and point of view consistent
    (pick one and stick with it)
  • Present, past, future tenses (even with
    flashbacks, maintain consistent tense)
  • First, second, third person (dont use second
    (you) unless in quotes. Pick either first or
    third and stick with it)

Drafting your narrative
  • Using your outline, you will begin writing a
    first draft of your narrative.
  • Consider the following
  • Description (figurative language)
  • Dialogue
  • Point of view and tenses are consistent

Constructing the Introduction
  • An introduction of the narrative essay should
    give a clear insight into the story that is going
    to be presented.
  • An introductory paragraph should also identify
    the general style that a writer is going to
    follow (narration, observation, description of
    the personal experience or any other style).
  • The writer should choose the angle from which he
    is going to describe an event, personality, or
    scene, and ensure that his description is
    original, creative, and thrilling.

Essentials of a good introduction
  • Get the readers attention
  • Introduce characters
  • Indicate setting (location, time period,
    environmental cues) and/or set the stage
  • Identify the purpose of narrative story (may be
    observation, conflict, etc.)

Sample introduction
  • I was in gym class when my teacher
    suggested we go outside and play softball. As we
    made our way out to the field, my stomach slowly
    turned into a giant knot of fear.
  • Softball is not my game. I have a knack
    for always getting hit in the head by the ball.
    It doesnt matter where Im standing. The ball
    seems to find me.

Sample introduction
  • The Boy with John Travolta Blue Eyes
  • High school alone is the hardest part of
    any teenagers life, but when it gets mixed in
    with an awkward adolescents idea of liking
    someone, life turns into a whirlwind emotional
    adventure. Like my plate wasnt overflowing
    already with a chemistry teacher who called me
    Crash (a name I acquired after dropping a
    beaker during our first lab), a sassy algebra
    teacher who said that I didn't have the aptitude
    for the subject, or a French teacher who flirted
    with the class and laughed at her own jokes. No,
    I complicated things even further because stupid
    me fell in love.

Sample introduction
  • When I walked through my front door, the
    first thing I noticed was the odor. Then, I heard
    the groaning. I remember the occasion quite
    vividly, although it was ten years ago. My sister
    and I had just returned from the park with a
    neighbor, expecting everything to be normal. I
    soon discovered that nothing would ever be normal

Sample introduction
  • Caught in the Net
  • Hello. My name is Kim. Im an
    online-aholic. There. Ive said it. I guess Ive
    been addicted for quite some time now, but I have
    just begun to realize it.
  • My first interaction with the Net began
    when I was only 15 years old. My dad was the
    computer coordinator at our school, so he wanted
    to try Internet access at home before installing
    it at school. We became America Online members in
    1993. None of my friends had e-mail back then.

Sample introduction
  • The Climb
  • I have this fear. It causes my legs to
    shake. I break out in a cold sweat. I start
    jabbering to anyone who is nearby. As thoughts of
    certain death run through my mind, the world
    appears a precious, treasured place. I imagine my
    own funeral, then shrink back at the implications
    of where my thoughts are taking me. My stomach
    feels strange. My palms are clammy.
  • I am terrified of heights.
  • Of course, its not really a fear of
    being in a high place. Rather, it is the view of
    a long way to fall, of rocks far below me and no
    firm wall between me and the edge. My sense of
    security is screamingly absent. There are no
    guardrails, flimsy though I picture them, or
    other safety devices. I can rely only on my own
    surefootednessor lack thereof.

Body Paragraphs
  • The basic rule here is the same as always
    include specific details. The purpose of using
    stories is to illustrate your points with
    concrete evidence, thereby giving your ideas
    force and context.
  • Show Active Contribution Many people tell
    stories in which the payoff is a lesson learned.
  • Emphasize the Process Don't set up a problem and
    jump to the solution. Show us the process of
    reaching that solution. Give details about your
    approach and your reasoning.
  • Paint a Vivid Picture Try to draw the reader
    into your story by including details that bring
    the story alive. One effective way to accomplish
    this is to think visually.
  • Gleaning Insights Anecdotes should serve some
    clear purpose, but you have to be careful about
    sounding contrived. One common mistake is to
    start citing lessons before you've finished the

Body paragraph sample
  • Have you ever been slapped in front of
    all your high school classmates? Unfortunately,
    in the archaic, authoritarian Turkish school
    system, such punishment is regularly meted out to
    students, and I was once deliberately humiliated
    by a high school teacher who slapped me hard
    across the face. As the president of my class,
    one of my responsibilities was to list on the
    blackboard the names of everyone who talked when
    the teacher was not in the room. When the teacher
    returned, he would slap the students who talked
    across the face. Ordinarily, I took my
    responsibility seriously and obediently wrote
    down my classmates' names to preserve the silence
    and decorum of the school environment. However,
    when a different teacher walked in, a teacher
    known to punish harshly, I decided to save my
    friends from his hard strokes, and I erased all
    the names. I had to take their punishment

Body paragraph sample
  • Last year in my high school
    child-development class, each student had to take
    the Think-It-Over baby home for a night to get
    a taste of parenthood. Even before I received the
    baby, I knew I was not ready to be a parent as a
    senior in high school. I could still remember
    when my brother and sister were little and I
    would have to take care of them all the time. At
    least the doll had no dirty diapers I would have
    to change.
  • It was a Friday night when my turn
    came to take the 10-pound plastic doll home. The
    doll really did look like a live baby from a
    distance. It even had a pleasant baby powder
    smell. After I took the baby home in his car
    seat, I changed him into some really cute clothes
    because my friends and I were going out that
    night. I then decided to name him Tyler.
  • Inside the body of this doll was a
    computer that was programmed to make periodic
    crying sounds. I was the only person who could
    stop the crying because I had the key. This key,
    tied to my wrist, could be inserted in the dolls
    back to stop the crying. So far, so good. The
    doll had not cried, yet.

Body paragraph sample
  • As we slowly inched into the living
    room, a staggering sight met our eyes. There,
    lying facedown on a couch, was my father,
    ashen-faced and trembling. His head was
    completely bald, and his grisly figure appeared
    enervated. He was gasping for air, and then
    suddenly, he grabbed a blue pan, plunged his face
    into it, and vomited with such vehemence that I
    shivered. Only then did I fully understand what
    it meant for my dad to have cancer. At seven
    years old, I confronted the horrors of cancer in
    my living room, and realized for the first time
    that my father was fighting to survive. Catching
    me out of the corner of his eye, he raised his
    head from the blue pan and uttered a weak,
    "Hello," only to vomit again--this time missing
    the pan. My neighbor saw my face, put his hand on
    my shoulder, and whispered, "Let your dad
    rest--he has been fighting brave and hard." 
    My dad, my hero. The source of my love and
    guidance was now battling for his life. After the
    doctors detected the colon cancer in 1987, the
    tumor became more and more malignant, and the
    effects on my family were more and more severe. A
    long series of debilitating surgeries and
    chemotherapy treatments consumed my father's
    life, and by extension, enveloped my entire
    family. My mother, now a de facto nurse and
    breadwinner, spent her time and energy, not to
    mention large amounts of the family's money,
    fiercely battling my father's cancer. Meanwhile,
    my sister and I began to "lag" behind in school
    and in life--willing casualties of cancer's war.
    Growing up without a father figure at my
    side, I always felt distanced from my classmates.
    In elementary and middle school, I noticed that
    most other kids communicated and played with
    ease. I, by contrast, was quiet, timid, and
    introverted, isolated at home and at school. I
    feared human contact so much that, for a period
    of time, I could not even bring myself to look
    into the faces of people who spoke to me. Some
    children considered me an outcast--an easy target
    for harassment and ridicule.  My
    depreciated self-esteem affected my performance
    in school. Ridiculed by my classmates, I lost the
    confidence to excel. In a vicious spiral, each
    bad grade would not only further undermine my
    confidence, but also make me feel as if I had
    failed my father, who cared so much about
    academics when he was healthy. I was ashamed of
    every report card I showed him, mistaking his
    concern for disappointment. 

  • After the story, you should have some significant
    insight with which to conclude in order to
    justify the story's inclusion. This line should
    not be a mere repetition of the transition from
    the beginning of the paragraph, because you now
    should have more concrete details from which to
    draw more in-depth conclusions.

Conclusion paragraph sample
  • I am proud of the changes I have made in
    my life, and I owe all my strength to my father.
    My dad has been at my side every step of the way.
    Even as a bedridden cancer patient, ravaged by
    chemotherapy, his example taught me to face
    adversity and to conquer it, no matter the nature
    of the challenge. His struggle with colon cancer
    became a model for my own struggle to improve
    myself. Even today, I continue to fight,
    struggling with college entrance tests. Despite
    the challenge, I continue unshaken, knowing that
    the truest test of my ability is my determination
    to live bravely like my father and to overcome
    the hardships of life. I can never thank my dad
    enough for what he has given me. He has become my
    role model, and I hope that one day, many years
    from now, he will say to me, "I'm proud of you
    son--you have been fighting brave and hard."

Conclusion paragraph sample
  • My grandparents' strength has also
    shored up my determination to succeed. I have
    learned that, as in swimming, life's successes
    often come in small increments. Sometimes even
    the act of showing up at a workout when your body
    and psyche are worn out separates a great result
    from a failure. The difference between success
    and failure is defined by the ability to overcome
    strong internal resistance. I know that, by
    consistently working towards my goals--however
    small they may seem--I can accomplish what I set
    for myself, both in and beyond the swimming pool.

Conclusion paragraph sample
  • While my personal identity is in many ways a
    reaction against Turkish culture, there are some
    attributes of Turkish culture that I have
    incorporated into my identity, like having
    respect for one's elders, having self-discipline
    in both religious and educational life, and
    believing in a religion that gives me the
    confidence and determination to achieve my goals.
    These personal qualities, combined with my
    determination and my questioning nature, will
    help me find success in Western culture.
    Moreover, because the United States has far fewer
    gender-based restrictions than Turkey, and since
    it enjoys a more developed educational system
    with state-of-the-art technology, I believe that
    the United States will give me the opportunity to
    achieve my full potential, to speak out against
    injustice, and to seek the truth.

Transitional Words
  • The following are common words and phrases that
    help show logical connections between sentences
    or between ideas.
  • Additional facts-   again, also, another, and
    besides, finally, further, furthermore, in
    conclusion, initially, next, to begin with
  • Similarities- as, as though, also, in the same
    way, like, similarly
  • Contrasts- although, but, despite, either, even
    though, however, if, in spite of, instead,
    neither, still, unless, yet
  • Place- above, among, adjacent, below, beyond,
    farther, nearby, opposite, there, under
  • Cause- because, since, for this reason
  • Result- as a result, consequently, for this
    reason, obviously, so, therefore
  • Specific Examples- a few of these are,
    especially, for example, in particular,
  • Emphasis- basically, essentially, certainly, in
    fact, indeed, of course
  • Time- after, afterward, as soon as, before,
    finally, later, now, not long after, until, when,
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