Narrative Writing

Adapted From:

  1. Reynolds, John & Toner,Helen . O Level English,Cambridge University Press India.
  2. Glover R.,Roway,G.,Shirley, P.,Toner,H. The Cambridge English Revision Guide,New Delhi,Cambridge University Press.
  3. Shiach,Don. Make the Grade in GCSE English,United Kingdom

Narrative Writing

Some Important Points:

  •  The story should not be too complicated as you have a limited time under examination conditions. It is always a better idea to plan for the basic story line and then confine your narrative and subsequent descriptions of characters and settings within those confines.
  • keeping closely to the given title or topic is imperative as short stories written under examination conditions lose marks because they wander away from the topic and lose credibility.
  • Try to come up with a plausible story-line as the examiners don’t particularly appreciate under cover secret agents’ stories.
  • Break the long sections of narrative with passages if direct speech. however, making direct speech sound authentic and punctuating it correctly are different skills. if they are not done correctly, your story will not be successful.
  • Do not repeat a story a story you have read or written elsewhere–memorised   stories seldom fit the given topic and examiners will always spot the joins.

Planning Your Own Narrative Writing

Presentation of Situation and Setting

The  essential point about producing an effective short narrative is to be economical in the telling of the story. Lengthy scene-setting and description is better suited to a long novel. Your concern might be to engage the reader  right away , but you also don’t want to lose on the valuable time that you have at your disposal. Remember: you may have a detailed idea of your storyline which the reader might know unless your description tells him/her. However refrain from over-detailing.

Narrative Standpoint

The first decision that you have to make is what point of view you would like to adopt: a first person or third person.A first person narrative is possibly more effective in allowing a reader to identify with the narrator ( which is particularly important for a short narrative). on the other hand , going for the third person narration allows you to have an omniscient approach a know all affair.If you intend to end your story with the death of the central character, then a first person narrative standpoint might pose problems to the credibility of your writing!


When you are writing a story under examination conditions, you have to be economical with the character descriptions. by not including too many in your plot.. It is important that you give some brief and pertinent details about your characters so that your readers can form an idea of them in their minds and can, therefore build up an understanding of how those characters are likely to act and behave in the course of the story. However, these introductory details need be little more than one sentence summaries such as,” Rima , who was always on time for everything and never looked untidy or tired’ or Dane was the sort of person who never panicked and was always a fried to be relied upon.Once you have established your characters, it is important that they behave consistently with the character you have created for them.


The tone and register you use will, to some extent , depend upon the narrative standpoint you have chosen. A first person narrative allows for a more informal, colloquial approach .A short narrative can be made much more effective if a person’s character is communicated through their language register rather than by a lengthy description of that character.


The vocabulary used by the narrator of the story and his or her sentence patterns are also effective way of establishing character.An awareness of the associations and connotations of the vocabulary you use will also help to establish a suitable atmosphere for the story you are telling.


About Ms. N's Rhyme and Reason

Hi, In the beginning was the word. Hence begins the history of humankind, in all domains of evolution. The thriving of civilizations has depended on how articulate were their teachers- the ones who descended with the learned art to their offspring generations. This phenomenon of transmitting of genetic code of learning has been at the heart of my inspiration to teach. This art somehow has transformed into a mantra for me, and it has never ceased to amaze me. Although to become a perfect teacher one might take a lifetime, but if one tries to be perfect, one negates the reason to experiment and fail. Hence, I may have faltered in some of my approaches, but my aspiration has been to try rectifying the short-coming, to connect again with the subject-matter and my pupils, to demystify the intended outcome, to enthuse the learners again, and to keep the cycle going.
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One Response to Narrative Writing

  1. Pingback: Narrative Writing (via Words Infinitum- A Teacher’s Haven) « Words Infinitum- A Teacher's Haven

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