Feature Articles
picnic besides a forest river
Photo by Dương Nhân on Pexels.com

Narrative Writing: Elements that tell a story

Narrative writing is simply the written form of telling a story to entertain your listeners. You may start with a dramatic statement to get their attention and then unravel the details slowly. To make sure they get a clear picture of what is going on in your head, you paint the images with words.

You introduce and describe the people, place, time and mood using adjectives and figurative devices. Then, you state a problem that affects your characters, you build suspense, show drama and then resolve the problem. You wrap up the details that you introduced at start and you end your story on a satisfactory note.

Outschool – Where Kids Love Learning

Over 140,000 Interactive Online Classes

Keep kids ages 3-18 engaged with thousands of classes and camps on the topics they’re most passionate about!

Narrative writing versus speech

Narrative writing and narrative speech both tell a story to entertain readers and listeners. However, storytelling in writing is more challenging than oral narrative. They differ in presentation.

Speakers blurt out utterances, laughs, take long pauses, coin new words and correct themselves while narrating a story. Writers however must present the story with correct spelling, capitalisation, punctuation, diction, paragraphing and without errors. Here are the specifics for narrative writing.

Narrative Writing elements

1. Plot

Exposition – introduce who, what, when, where, why, how and conflict

Rising Action – develop conflict and build suspense

Climax – show conflict in full effect with dramatic details

Falling Action – bring drama to an end

Resolution – tie up loose ends for who, what, when, where, why, how and conflict

edX | Free Online Courses by Harvard, MIT, & more | edX

Explore Over 3,500 Courses

Master In-Demand Skills and Learn Online. Achieve Your Goals with edX. Find The Right Course For You. Register For Free and Enroll Today. 100% Online. Learn New Skills. Join 39+ Million Learners. 14 Day Refund. Flexible Learning. Advance Your Career.

2. Characters

Name – John, Mel, the stranger, school bully, Rex

Physical – tall, short, muscular, weak, pretty, hideous

Emotional – happy, sad, brave, scared, calm, angry

3. Setting

Time – morning, night, tomorrow, Thursday, April

Mood – cheerful, gloomy, humorous, calm, romantic

Place – home, school, beach, mall, Tobago

4. Conflict

Person versus person – boy confronts bully

Person versus nature – elderly woman faces a hurricane

Person versus self – alcoholic struggles to abstain from liquor

Person versus technology – power goes out while submitting test

Person versus supernatural – woman is haunted by a ghost

Person versus society – a farmer stands up against his land being used to drill for oil

5. Action

Rising action – tension builds up, suspense heightens, conflict develops

Climax – drama strikes, tension heightens, point of no return

Falling action – change appears, change develops, transformation ends

6. Language

Literal Meaning is stating exactly what is meant using adjectives, synonyms and antonyms.

Figurative Meaning is hidden meaning using figurative devices such as simile, metaphor, personification, anthropomorphism, analogy, allusion, irony, sarcasm, rhetorical question, contradiction, juxtaposition, paradox, oxymoron, repetition, hyperbole, redundancy, pun, parody, satire, mockery, onomatopoeia, alliteration, assonance and rhyme.

7. Structure

A narrative piece has three parts, beginning, middle and end. These 3 sections are spread out over a five-paragraph essay in the following format:

Paragraph 1 – BEGINNING: Exposition – characters, setting and conflict are introduced

Paragraph 2 – MIDDLE: Rising Action – conflict is developed as suspense builds up

Paragraph 3 – MIDDLE: Climax – conflict is at its highest point and involves drama

Paragraph 4 – MIDDLE: Falling Action – drama declines and conflict ends

Paragraph 5 – END: Resolution – life after conflict

Order of Narrative structure

Speakers and writers structure their works in any order:

Beginning Middle End

Middle Beginning Middle End

End Beginning Middle End

Middle Beginning Middle Beginning Middle End

Narrative – 5 paragraphs

In this suggested structure, each paragraph deals with one element of plot. There are 3 parts to cover in each paragraph. This helps you to cover all 7 elements by including them in specific paragraphs.

Paragraph 1: Exposition

  • Characters – name persons and describe their physical and emotional attributes that may relate to the story line.
  • Setting – show time, mood and place using one or two sentences
  • Conflict – introduce the problem in the last sentence, just like a thesis statement

Paragraph 2: Rising action

  • Conflict develops
  • Suspense heightens
  • Tension reaches maximum point

Paragraph 3: Climax

  • Drama strikes
  • Action heightens
  • Situation reaches point of no return

Paragraph 4: Falling action

  • Change appears
  • Drama declines
  • Transformation ends

Paragraph 5: Resolution

  • Setting after the conflict whether it is the next day, 6 months or 2 years
  • Life for the characters after the conflict
  • Note on what the future may bring for the characters

When you buy something through our retail links, we may earn commission and the retailer may receive certain auditable data for accounting purposes.

About Study Zone Institute

Check Also

Homophones hole, whole, their, there, they're for reading lessons

Homophones – words that have same sound

The words ‘hear’, ‘hair’, ‘hare’ and ‘here’ are homophones. These words are similar in sound …


Rimes: Why it’s crucial for children to unlock the secrets of language

In the journey toward literacy, children embark on a fascinating adventure, one where they unlock …

Discover more from Study Zone Institute

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading