What Does it Mean to Write in Narrative Form?

What Does it Mean to Write in Narrative Form?

Narrative form refers to an expository (descriptive) writing approach that discloses details of an act, event or phenomenon. It tells a story meant to lead the reader to an important conclusion or meaningful realization or life lesson. The narration discloses a specific viewpoint, contains vivid details that support the story and typically expresses first or third person perspective.

1 Narrative Form

Employing narrative form requires the writer finding a situation worth sharing by virtue of a salient point or insight gained. Narrative relies on personal experience; therefore, it often takes the form of a story. As such, it carries the reader to the point by the completeness of pertinent details, making the incident tangible for the reader. Employ narrative in a paragraph as part of a whole essay or in an entire essay.

2 Narrative Paragraph

A narrative paragraph simply relates an incident germane to an entire report or essay. To include a narrative paragraph, introduce the event in a transitional paragraph. Relay events as they unfolded, that is, in chronological order, drawing the reader to anticipate the conclusion. End the narrative paragraph with the outcome that relates to the point.

3 Narrative Essay

A narrative essay uses the story of an experienced event to relate a theme or conclusion, so the goal is for the reader also to experience the event through the telling. Vivid verbs and precise details bring the reader into the message. Typically, the writer introduces the subject into his opening paragraph. Subsequent paragraphs relate the events, feelings, emotions, dialogues and actions in story layout: that is, using a plot (the events), setting, characters, climax (peak experience) and resolution—how the incident ended, alluding to the thesis. While chronological order is most common, experiment with flashbacks or parallel events for effect.

4 Narrative Perspectives

While perspective voice usually is first person singular---that is, the writer himself (i.e., I)---occasionally a writer employs third person (he, she, they) or the "royal we"---first person plural---for effect. A seldom used, but effective perspective is the interpolated tale: a story within a story that adds meaning and panache. Most importantly, however, is to keep the voice consistent. If the essay begins in first person singular, continue it through to the end.

5 Irony in Narrative

Narrative irony occurs when the reader suspects that the narrator is unreliable. That is, when both the reader and the writer know more than the narrator and the other characters, leading the reader to disbelief, or an otherwise judgmental attitude. When choosing narrative voice, therefore, the believability of the narrator is paramount to expressing the desired conclusion.

6 Principles of Narratives

Two basic principles to remember in writing narrative are to craft the essay around a central theme, point or main idea that the narrative supports and explains, and to incorporate details to encourage the readers’ imaginations and illuminate the point. The goal is to make a deep emotional impression using specific sensory details and confirm the author’s own conclusion.

Dana Griffin has written for a number of guides, trade and travel periodicals since 1999. She has also been published in "The Branson Insider" newspaper. Griffin is a CPR/first-aid instructor trainer for the American Red Cross, owns a business and continues to write for publications. She received a Bachelor of Arts in English composition from Vanguard University.