Tips on narrative writing in English

In this post, I will be sharing some tips with you on narrative writing in English. These tips are very important when writing your narrative composition. Kindly make sure that you apply them after reading this article.

1.The topic candidates are asked to write on will give you some help in inventing your narrative composition, but you still have a great deal to do before you can begin to write it.
2.A narrative is a story, in other words, it is about something someone did or something that happened, about an event or a series of events. So, when you have decided which event or events you are going to write about, you need to ask yourself some questions.
3. The following should help you organize your narrative composition :
• Where and when did the event(s) occur?
• Why did it/they occur?
• What was the main character in the story doing before the event(s)?
• Were any other people involved?
• What were the consequences of the event(s) for :
(a) the main character ?
(b) other people?
Beginning a narrative
4. When you have made notes of your answers to these questions, ask yourself what is the most interesting part of your narrative – the incident or event itself?  – its cause(s)? – or its consequences?. The answer will help you to decide where to begin your story.
5. If the principal incident is the most interesting part, you will probably begin at the beginning and go straight on to the end. If you begin at the beginning, your first paragraph should ‘set the scene’. To do this you can use the answer you wrote down to the  question (When and where did it/they occur?) Introduce the chief character and say where he/she was at the beginning of the story. Give only a few facts.
6. If the most interesting part of your narrative is the answer to the question (Why did it/they occur?), you may begin and continue in the way described in paragraph 5 of this post. But you could begin with the main event. For example if the story was about a bicycle accident, you could begin:

   As I lay in the road, I realized the accident need never happened, if only David had…

You can then go back to the beginning and relate everything that led up to the incident.
7. If the most interesting part is the result of the event, then you might begin at the end of the story, that is, with the answer to the question (What were the consequences of the event(s)?)
Ending a narrative
8. There are many ways of ending a short narrative. Here are four suggestions:
• your comments on the way the story ended; they may express surprise, please, regret or any other suitable feeling.
• your comments on the way it all began; you may express surprise that that beginning led to that ending was the inevitable result of the beginning, etc.
• your comments on the wisdom, kindness, wickedness, etc. of one or more of the people in the story.
• a proverb or well-known saying which the story illustrates.
Linking paragraphs
9. Linking paragraphs by adverbials or conjunctions of time is not as necessary in narratives as in certain forms of composition. The reader assumes that the events described in paragraph 2 happened after those described in paragraph 1.
If, however, you begin your narrative in the middle or at the end of your story and then go back to describe what happened earlier, you may need to use the expressions like: Before that/Until then/Previously/Earlier/X days/hours earlier/etc.
Nouns, pronouns and possessive adjectives may link paragraphs. Here is an example :

  Shade crept up to the wall and tried the window. It opened easily. ‘What luck, ‘ she thought as she quickly scrambled through it into the house.

Her friend, Ebun, waited five minutes after Shade had entered the compound before she, too, went in. Her job was to try the side windows.

They were shut fast, ‘If only I dared break one, ‘ she thought, ‘but that would make a noise. ‘

 When she heard the sound of a window opening, she bit back a scream and prepared to run. But it was Shade who had opened it from inside.

10. Finally, do not forget to make notes and arrange in paragraphs  and arrange the paragraphs in order in which you want to tell the story. Doing so helps you to decide which facts you must include and which you had better omit. Some students – those who have not arranged their notes in paragraphs beforehand – spend so much time on the early part of the story that they hardly have time to write at the end.
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