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Writing Personal Narratives


... the writer s imagination and personal experiences that are related to the story An abundance of facts or personal anecdotes that are unrelated to the ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Writing Personal Narratives

Writing Personal Narratives
What is a personal narrative?
  • A personal narrative is a story about yourself
    and an event that happened in your past, but has
    a purpose and teaches a lesson.
  • NarrativeStory
  • The most creative essay and allows you more
    freedom than other academic essays.
  • Can tell about
  • A good time
  • A bad time
  • An important time
  • A memorable event
  • A first time
  • A last time


Personal Narrative Characteristics
  • Is an interesting story about the writer.
  • Is written in the first person (using the
    pronouns I, me, and my.
  • Has a beginning, a middle, and an end.
  • Presents events in a clear order.
  • Uses details to help readers see people, places,
    and events.
  • Shows how the writer feels about the experience
    and why it is meaningful to him or her.

What Narrative Writing Is and Is Not
An effective narrative composition . . . An effective narrative composition is NOT . . .
Tells a personal or imaginative story A list of events and/or facts
May include the writers imagination and personal experiences that are related to the story An abundance of facts or personal anecdotes that are unrelated to the topic
Contains narrative elements such as characters, plot, point of view, setting, conflict, and/or significant events A list of reasons, opinions, or unrelated episodes
Contains narrative strategies such as, flashback, foreshadowing, dialogue, tension and/or suspense Formulaic, repetitive writing
Is multi-paragraph A single paragraph
Presents a story that has a well-developed beginning, middle, and end A paper that lacks a clear beginning, middle, and end
What Narrative Writing Is and Is Not
An effective narrative composition . . . An effective narrative composition is NOT . . .
Uses a lively writing voice to engage the reader Flat, uninteresting writing
Uses vivid sensory details and concrete language A story that contains imprecise language
Uses a variety of sentences A story with little sentence variety
Contains correct sentences, usage, grammar, and spelling that make the writer's ideas understandable Incorrect sentences, usage, grammar, and spelling that prevent the reader from understanding the writer's ideas
Components of a story
  • SettingWhere the action in a story happens.
  • ThemeBasic idea or point of the story
  • MoodFeeling or atmosphere the author creates for
    the story.
  • Characters The people in the story
  • PlotWhat happens in the story

5 WH Questions Method
  • Answering the 5 W and H questions provides the
    basic info needed to begin a story.
  • WHO will be in the narrative?
  • WHERE will the narrative take place?
  • WHY will the characters do what they do?
  • WHAT is the narrative about?
  • WHEN will the events happen?
  • HOW will the conflict be resolved?

  • Describe the background of the story (characters,
    setting, atmosphere)
  • Prepare the reader on what to expect in the
  • Folse (2004) believes that in introductions, you
    should have a hook that will grab the readers
    attention, as well as a thesis that organizes the

How to write a good hook
  • Like a fish getting hooked by a fisherman, you
    need to hook your readers and make them want to
    read your essay.
  • If its a good hook, people would want to read
    your essay.
  • If it is not a good hook, then no one wants to
    read your essay.

Some suggestions
  • Ask a question. (How many of you spend hours
    downloading music to your iPod?)
  • Use an interesting observation (Because of the
    economy, President Obama is having problems
    sleeping well these days.)
  • Create a unique scenario. (Traveling at more than
    300 km per hour, he traveled to another
  • Use a famous quote (To be or not to be that is
    the question.)
  • Use a statistic (If world temperatures continue
    to rise, Singapore will be under water by 2050.)

Hooks-Connecting Information
  • After the hook, the writer usually writes three
    to five sentences that connect it to the topic.
  • Example from Keith Folse
  • Her daily routine was not glamorous. She did
    everything from sweeping the floors to cooking
    the meals. If someone had asked her, Are there
    any household chores that you practically hate?,
    she probably would have answered, None.

  • States the main idea of the essay (thesis
  • In narrative essays, they introduce the action
    that begins in the first paragraph of the essay.

  1. Now, as I watched the bus driver set my luggage
    on the airport, I realized that my frustration
    has only just begun.
  2. I wanted my mother to watch me race down the
    steep hill, so I called out her name and then
    nudged my bike forward.
  3. Because his pride wouldnt allow him to
    apologize, Ken now had to fight the bully, and he
    was pretty sure that he wouldnt win.

  • Contains most of the plot-the supporting
  • Can be organized in many different ways.
  • One way is chronological, or time, order (where
    you give more information about the story as it
    proceeds in time).

Ways to Organize Narrative Writing
Purpose What story is the writer telling?
-Beginning -Middle -End
Flashback -End (most dramatic event) -Beginning -Middle
-Beginning -Situation or Conflict -Climax -Resolution of the conflict

Transitional Sentences
  • Have two purposes
  • Signal the end of action in one paragraph
  • Link the next paragraph.
  • Gives your reader an ability to follow happens
    and predicts what will happen next.

Concluding Paragraph
  • Can have two functions
  • The moral of the story, or what the character(s)
    learned from the experience.
  • Make a prediction about what will happen next
    based on what happened.

  • Moral The little boy had finally learned that
    telling the truth was the most important thing to
  • Prediction/Revelation I can only hope that one
    day I will be able to do the same for another
    traveler who is suffering through a terrible

Sensory Imagery
  • Using the five senses when writing a narrative
    helps the reader picture and feel what is going
  • Describe what you see, hear, taste, touch, and
    smell to make your reader become involved in the
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