Narrative Composition :
We all have experiences lodged in our memories which are worthy of sharing with readers. When you write a narrative composition, you are telling a story. Narrative compositions are told from a defined point of view - yours. So there is feeling as well as specific and often sensory details provided to get the reader involved in the elements and sequence of the story. The narrative composition makes a point and that point is often defined in the opening sentence…but can also be found as the last sentence of the opening paragraph.
Since a narrative relies on personal experiences, it often is in the form of a story. When the writer uses this technique, he or she must be sure to include all the conventions of storytelling – plot, character, setting, climax and ending. The basic difference between a narrative composition and a short story is that in the former, the composition always includes the first person, “I” whose experience is being narrated in the piece of writing, whereas in a short story, the story may or may not include the first person.
To summarise, the narrative composition…
is told from a particular point of view, the writer’s.
makes and supports a point.
is filled with precise detail.
uses vivid verbs and modifiers.
uses conflict and sequence as does any story.
may use dialogue, but very sparingly.
The narrative composition describes an incident or period of time that the writer has
experienced. Once an incident is chosen, the writer should keep three principles in mind.
Remember to involve readers in the story. It is much more interesting to actually recreate an incident for readers than to simply tell about it. This is done by describing the surroundings, your feelings and your thoughts so as to recreate the emotion you
experienced at that particular point of time.
Find a generalisation which the story supports. This is the only way your personal
experience will take on meaning for readers. This generalisation does not have to
concern humanity as a whole. It can involve you, men, women, or children of various ages and backgrounds. Hence while writing, always keep in mind who your readers
are, of what age, attitude, interest and so on.
Remember that although the main component of a narrative is the story, details must
be carefully selected to support, explain and enhance the story.
In writing your narrative essay, keep the following points in mind.
Narratives are generally written in the first person, that is, using I.
Narratives rely on concrete, sensory details to convey their point. These details should
create a unified, forceful effect, a dominant impression.
In a narrative composition that you write as an assignment, usually a situation is given
and you have to build upon it.
Remember to mention the details and get to the point as quickly as you can.
End with a mention of the impact that particular incident has had on you.
Remember, since the composition is a narration of an event that you have already
experienced, you have to relate it in the past tense.
Write a narrative composition on each of the following topics.
1. You were sitting alone at home completing an assignment that was to be submitted the
next day. The doorbell rang. When you opened the door, you found to your surprise that your uncle and aunt had arrived from your hometown with the intention to stay for a fortnight. Narrate the sequence of events that followed.
Hint : In the topic given above, you should..
narrate the sequence of events that led to your being alone at home…
your progress at completing the assignment…
your feelings on seeing your uncle and aunt at your doorstep…
your attempts at contacting your parents…
how you took care of your uncle and aunt…
whether you could complete your assignment or not…
your final feelings / thoughts about your uncle and aunt’s presence in your house.
Your essay could begin at any of the points mentioned above, but should contain all
2. You were walking to school when you suddenly heard the whining of a dog. Looking for the source of the sound, you found a little puppy with its head stuck between the bars of a window of the first floor of your building. Narrate the sequence of events that followed.
(It would be a good idea for you to jot the various points you would like to cover in your
3. You were going by train to visit your grandparents. At one of the stations, a young boy entered your compartment. You looked at him and were shocked. This was the boy who was supposed to have died three years ago. Write a personal narrative composition relating your experience in the train and the outcome of this experience.
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