Resources Used Ideas to Teach Deeper Feature in Writing, Di Skilton, Literacy Adviser, CCE Year 8 English, ESA Publications (NZ) Ltd, 2001 www.Studyzone.org
Features ofNarrative Writing
Unit Sequence1. Voice 8. Good Setting Descritions • Develop a Personal Voice when Writing • Planning a Setting2. Point of View • Create a Setting • Point of View – First and Third person 2. Sentence Structure3. Structure of a Narrative • Add Phrases • Planning your Narrative • Join Short Sentences • Orientation • Vary sentence length • Complication • Smooth Transitions • Resolustion • Using Conjunctions • Sequence of Events 3. Appropriate Dialogue • Short Stories • Improve your Dialogue4. Good Beginnings 11. Descriptive Language • Opening Paragraphs • Create Similes • Examples of Story Beginnings • Create Metaphors • The Opening Sentence • Personification • Active Beginnings • Onomatopoeia • Plot Development • Impact • Improve your Plot • Make every Word Count • Plot Development • Create Word Pictures• Good Endings • Focus on the Facts7. Good Character Description • Replace Overworked Words • Characterisation • Strong Verbs • Character Profile • Don’t Say… • Character Wheel
Develop a Personal Voice when WritingVOICE shows your personality when writing. The writing has a sound differentfrom everyone elses. It has feeling and emotion so that it does not sound boring.The reader should be able to tell if you are happy or sad. The writer should bewriting from the heart and bring the topic to life for the reader. Funny One day my mom took me to the circus. I LOVE the circus. There are always some very funny clowns. My favorite clown there came up to me and told me he had a secret for me. He got real close to me and I thought he was going to whisper in my ear when POW he squirted me in the face with his water flower. I never laughed so much. I had a great time at the circus and will remember it for the rest of my life.
Serious It was the day for the big test. I studied all week and knew I was ready. I was still a little bit nervous, but knew once I started I would be fine. The teacher asked us to get some books out to read when we were finished so we wouldnt bother the other kids if we finished early. The test was a breeze. When I was done I started to read my favorite book.
Mysterious Yesterday when I was on my way to the grocery store I saw a very strange man. He had on a brown trench coat, red hat and was carrying a purple umbrella. Im sure he was some kind of investigator. As he began walking I noticed he was just peeking over the top of his coat and I could only see his eyes. He was very sneaky looking. Im sure he was watching somebody, I just wonder who!
Frightening As a baseball let me tell you I have some pretty frightening experiences. Imagine being hit by a hard bat. OUCH, I want to scream every time someone hits me. Then for the flight through the air. You cant believe how scary that is. I am always asking myself three questions. Will someone catch me? Will I fly over the fence and land with a hard thud? Or will I just go bouncing across the field? The next time you are frightened, stop a minute and think about how I feel. That is the true meaning of frightened!
Look at the picture below and reading the short paragraph.Choose the voice that you think is being used in each paragraph.Remember when writing with voice it can be:Funny, Serious, Mysterious, FrighteningHave you ever seen two Martiansin a play before? Well you shouldhave been at the same show as Iwas. I never laughed so hard in mylife. These two green creatureswere trying to back to their landsafely, but came across manystrange people. They never sawhumans before. They kept trying toact like us. Well, that is where thefun begins. You should go see theMartians On Earth if you get achance. It is your chance to sitback and laugh!
Halloween night was finally here. Iwas very excited to trick or treatingwith my friends. There is alwaysone house that everyone is afraidto go to and this year we decidedwe would go. We slowly crept upthe steps and tap lightly at the doorhoping nobody would hear us andwe could get out of there quickly.Before we could turn around thereshe was. There were bats flyingaround her head, a frog in onehand, a broom in the other handand a black cat next to her leg.Before she could speak my friendsand I let out a scream and ran allthe way home. That is one housewe will NEVER go to again.
The first day of school isalways a tough one. You arealways waiting to see who isin your class, what yourteacher will be like and howyour day will run. Usuallyeveryone is very quiet tryingto set a good example. Weall get out our books, sit inour seats nice and tall and doeverything the teacher sayswith very little noise.I bet this is the teachersfavorite day of the year!
I will never forget my 5thbirthday. My momsurprised me with aclown to entertain myfriends and I. This clownwas very funny and hadmany tricks up hissleeve. When his showwas over he madeeveryone at my party aballoon animal. This wasa great day for me!
Exercise:You and your friends were playing a ball game outside on the top quad. Youknow that you are not allowed to kick balls on the quad. When the ball waspassed to you, you kicked it back. The ball didn’t go where you wanted it andyou broke Mrs. Jones’ office window.Describe what happened to Mrs Jones, using a serouisvoice, and then in a funny voice described to yourfriends what happened.
Point of ViewWhen a writer begins a new story he must decide:"Who will tell my story?"An author can tell a story from the first-person point of view. ORThe author can use the third-person point of viewFirst-person Point of View Third-person Point of View•A character in the story is the •The story is being told by annarrator. This character is telling outside observer - someone who isthe story. The narrator uses the not in the story. The author usespronouns I, me and the pronouns he, she, and they. we. •In third-person point of view, the•In first-person point of view, author can tell about the thoughts,readers learn about events as the actions, and feelings of the othernarrator learns about them. characters.
First - Person Point of ViewI walked home from school today with my friends.We stopped for ice cream. I had vanilla. Its myfavorite. When I got up this morning I brushedmy teeth. Then I got dressed and ate mybreakfast.Third - Person Point of ViewTed plays on a baseball team. He loves to playwith his team. He has a game next week. Hiscoach thinks hes a good baseball player.The princess was locked in the tower. She hadno way to escape. She hoped that a prince wouldrescue her. Her wish came true. He came andtook her to his castle.
Read each group of sentences.Decide if it is written in first person or third person point of view.The hunter had a cottage in the woods. He lived there all alone.I ride the bus to each every day. I like to sit with my friends.My friends and I went camping. I toasted marshmallows over the fire.Joey likes to go swimming. Sometimes he asks his friend Sam to go with him.He brings his ball to play with.Frosty the snowman had a hat on his head. He also had a pipe and a carrotnose. He held a shovel in his hand.
Point of ViewThe role of the narrator is vital as her or his bias can affect the way the story develops.Retell Little Red Riding Hood from two of these points of view: • grandma • Red Riding Hood’s mother • the wolf • the wood cutterUse the first person “I” when you write your two or three paragraphs.
Narrative WritingIn a good narrative, the reader relates closely to the story,feels involved with the plot and often identifies with thecharacters. A good story is hard to put down and the readerfeels a sense of loss when it ends. The features of anarrative are: the plot this is what happens characters the people or animals in the story the setting where the narrative takes place theme the aurthors message
Planning your NarrativeBrainstorm your ideas. This does not need to take to long and can beadded to.
Plan the path your writing will take. This plan is in a flow-chart form.
Opening ParagraphsThe opening paragraph of a narrative willoften give us an introduction to thecharacters, the setting, or both and will oftengive us a hint about the plot.Another name for this is orientation. Youorientate your readers, give them an idea,right from the start, that your text is going tobe worth reading.
Opening SentencesThe Opening SentenceTo write an opening sentence which will grab the reader’s attention.Stories can start using the following ways:Dialogue: “Hands in the air this is a stick up!” he hollered roughly.A statement: The school principal had to collect the boy from the roof.Problem: David didn’t know what to do: the school bully, Ted was expecting him to hand over five doallars and all he had was fifty cents.Action: Without a moments hesitation, Maude Drinkwater lifted the revolver and fired.Description of people: Mr Sherman looked ordinary for someone who had just solved one of the world’s most difficult maths problems.Description of place: The sky was the colour of dish water.Description of time: As the clock struct twelve it echoed around the hall.
Write an opening sentence for one of these stories using the differentways to start a story: • A mysterious stranger • An accident • An act of bravery • The arrival of a new pet • A win • A lossTry two other ways of starting the same story.
Active BeginingsIn order to capture your reader’s attention, the beginning of your story must beinteresting and lively enough to make your reader want to keep reading. One wayto do this is to begin with an action.Directions: Revise each story beginning. Put your main character in the setting,and have the character do something relevant to the story.Example: One rainy day I went to the mall.Revision: I splashed across the parking lot, yanked open the tall glass door, dripping wet, stepped into the mall.1. Hi. My name is Kate. This is a story about the time I went to the zoo. Put Kate at the zoo doing something3. This is a story about the time I built a robort in my basement. Put yourself in the basement doing something5. I will tell you about my adventure swimming at the lake Put yourself at the lake doing something
Exercise 1: The Keeper• What is meant by unblemished?• What is an expedition?• Do you think this book is written about the past, the present or the future?• What were the clues that gave you the answer to question 3? Discuss the reason.• Does the opening paragraph make you want to read on? Why/why not?
Exercise 2: RoccoHere is an orientation that gives a setting. 1. Is it daytime or night-time? How do you know? 2. Is the youth sleeping peacefully? Give reasons for your answer. 3. What do you think the story is going to be about? Making reference to the text, give reasons for your answer.
Exercise 3: Uncles Three at KamahiThe following extract also starts with a setting. 1. Is the book set in New Zealand? Give a reason for your answer. 2. Is the setting in the past, the present or the future? Give a reason for your answer. 3. What is meant by “the clemantis was shining in start palaces in the bush”?
Exercise 4: Opening ParagraphsChoose a title and opening sentence from the list below. Use the sentencebeginnings to write an opening paragraph which will orientate a reader intoyour narrative.
PlotA plot starts with an introduction to the narrative. Aplot will include problems or crises and how theseare solved, and the conclusion to the narrative. If itis a good plot, there will be situayions which happenthroughout the narrative thaat will make you want toread on.What happens in a novel has been carefully plannedby the author. Some authors use a flow chart to plantheir work. Others might write a brief overview ofevents noting each crisis, climax or problem and howeach will be resolved.
Improve your PlotWho are your story’s main characters?What are their main needs?(motives)Who or what tries to stop or thwart them fromachieving their needs? (conflict)Do the characters succeed or fail in achievingtheir goals?How do they succeed or fail? (resolution)
Exercise 1: Plot DevelopmentThe folowing extract from The Keeper is an example of a crisis in a plot.
Plot development: The Keeper1. What is the setting in this extract?2. Name the people who seemed to be present.3. Where were Jean and the narrator: a. at the beginning of the text? b. when they saw the tiger?4. How do you think the group felt after this crisis?This text gives a good example of the rise and fall of a crisis within theplot. There is a build up with all the action of trying to get out of the wayof the tiger and it leaping, then the feeling of relief when the animal isdead. Short quick sentences: “Then it looked at me. It did not see me.”keep the feeling of excitement and suspense going.
This is how the plot of The Keeper might look in graph form.The plot may have many parts to it. It may have subplots within the mainplot. Whether the plot is action-packed or slow and leisurely, a good plotwill keep the reader interested.A crisis is a turning-point, a moment of danger or suspense. A climax isthe highest point in a series of events. There is often a build-up to a bigclimax near the end of the narrative.
CharacterisationA person’s appearance, their posture and ways of walking, their hobbies, the wayin which they express their emotions, their secret wishes, fears, prejudices andreligious beliefs are all pointers to their character.We develop character through the following:Dialogue what the characters say and how the say itAction what the characters doReactions how the characters think and feel in different situationsRelationships how the character interact with each other, and how others view themCrisis a turning point in the story for the character; the way in which the characters respond in a crisis revaels true character
ExerciseWrite 4-6 sentences, using the ‘Show, don’t tell’ method, which reveal thecharacters of the following people: • a greedy child • a stressed teacher • a bossy bus driver • an impatient explorer • a terrified airline passenger • a mother trying to get her reluctant todler to eat
CharactersNarrative Characters may be people of animals. Although they are imaginary, theauthor may have modelled their character on people they know. A reader canusually identify with characters, either through a character’s personality, actions orexperiences, or physical appearance.Characters in a book may be built up over several chapters with the reader gettingan impression of their personality through actions, reactions and relationships toother characters.
Things to think aboutThese settings all paint a picture for thereader. Think carefully about which styleof scene setting appeals to you.Do you prefer to be given a cleardescription?Do you prefer imagery where the writer’suse of words lets you use yourimagination?Do you prefer a character in the text tohelp establish the mood of the setting bytalking about it?
Create a settingWrite a setting that vividly portrays the background to the plot.The setting is where the action is happening and when the action occurs ie.Time of day, month, year.Choose one of the following and write a short description of it. The descriptionshould include: time of day, the weather, the sights, sound and smells.•The beach•Inside a restaurant•A city street•A favourite park•A swamp
Add PhrasesPhrases add information and interest to short, dull sentences.To add an adjectival phrase, you can ask questions like ‘how’, ‘when’, or ‘where’.Adjectival phrases: The boy was a culprit. The boy with a cheeky grin was a culprit.Adverbial phrases: We skipped. We skipped across the playground. We skipped across the playground with great abandon after our win in soccer. Add phrases to: 2. The girl cried. 3. The door opened. 4. They killed his parents. 5. We worked.
Join Short SentencesSometimes short sentences can be combined to create longer, more interestingsentences.ExampleFirst Draft: The rosella was feeding in the tree. It was attacked by another bird. It flew awayRevised: Attacked by another bird as it fed in the tree, the rosella flew away.Rewrite the following examples to turn each example into one interesting sentence.2. It was Sunday. The cricket match was cancelled. The pitch had been ruined by rain3. I was not pleased with my sister Natalie. She scribbled on my homework. I told mom.4. I’ve been working all day. I’m tired. I think I’ll take a rest.5. Every night for dinner we have boiled rice. I don’t like boiled rice. It is my least favourite food.
Vary Sentence LengthWhen you vary your sentence lengths, it creates a pleasant rhythm.A story can become boring if all the sentences are the same length.ExampleListen to what is happening. These sentences have five words. Here areanother five words. Five more words to follow it. The sentences begin todrone. There is no variety here. It’s like a stuck record. It goes on and on.1. Write a five sentence story; the first sentence should have one word, the second two words, the third three words and so on.2. Write a five sentence story with a different number of words in each sentence.3. Study sentence lenghts in a page from a published story.
Smooth TransitionsOne way an author can get the reader’s attention is by using pharasesthat we call “red flags.” red flags, such as all of a sudden or the nextthing I knew, indicate a new twist in the plot. Red flags can replacepredictiable words and phrases, like next and then.Read the sample sentences below. Create your own “Red Flag Menu” by fillingin the blanks. Suddenly I manage to escape from the monster. Just then I manage to escape from the monster. I manage to escape from the monster. I manage to escape from the monster. I manage to escape from the monster. I manage to escape from the monster. I manage to escape from the monster. I manage to escape from the monster.
Improve Your DialogueWhat is Dialogue?Its the conversation that takesplace between characters in astory.You can tell more about yourcharacters thoughts and feelingsif you include dialogue in yourstories.
Lets look at a story without dialogue. Sharing a room with her sister wasnt always fun. Kristi was tired of always cleaning up after her sister Ashley. Just because they shared a room, that doesnt mean they had to share the mess! Ashley was always leaving dirty dishes on her desk, and there were always dirty clothes under the bed. Kristi had tried to talk to Ashley about cleaning up the mess, but somehow talking didnt help.Lets add some dialogue to that story.Sharing a room with her sister wasnt always fun. Kristi wastired of always having to clean up their room. "Ashley, youve left your clothes on the floor again! Im notpicking them up for you this time," said Kristi. "Im sorry, Kristi, I dont mean to be a slob!" joked Ashley. "I just dont notice the mess--really! I guess it just doesntbother me.“ "Well, it bothers me! You know it does," said Kristi. "Ill try harder, I guess," sighed Ashley. "But I cant promiseanything. Neatness just isnt my thing!"
Your audience will have a better understanding of Kristi and Ashley after reading the conversation that takes place between them. Its more interesting to read...AND...it helps to understand how both Kristi and Ashley FEEL .Dialogue lets you tell so much more about your characters.It allows your readers to understand your characters more too.Reminder When writing dialogue you must remember to: • Use Quotation Marks. • Identify who is speaking. • Indent each time the speaker changes. • Use commas correctly.
Read the following story:Paul and his dad were planning their first fishingtrip of the year. Paul wasnt sure what to bringwith him, so he asked his dad. His dad told himto bring his pole. His dad would bringeverything else. His dad also told him to dresswarmly because its always cold in the morningnear the lake. Paul told his dad he was excitedabout going and would have trouble sleeping.Rewrite the story adding dialogue.
Heres a sample of what your story might look like.Notice the quotation marks and commas.Check your story to make sure you have the correct punctuation.Paul and his dad were planning their first fishing trip of the year. "What should I pack, Dad?" said Paul. "I dont want to forgetanything." "Just bring your pole, Paul. Ive got everything else well need alreadyin the car," said Dad. "Moms already packed us a big lunch. We wantto get an early start!" "Should I bring a sweatshirt?" questioned Paul. "Oh, its always cool in the morning near the lake. Youll need morethan a sweatshirt. You need to make sure you dress warm."Paul headed up to bed. "I dont think Ill be able to sleep, Dad. Im too excited!"
Create SimilesLEARNING INTENTION: To liken something to something else, by usingsimiles.Examples: My attention was as far away as love on a battlefield. Her skin is pale as eggshells.Complete the following:2. The sun sank in the west like…3. The baby opened its mouth for food like…4. When he left, it was quiet…5. The shadow hung on the wall like…6. His words were as painful as…7. The sun on the water was like…8. On roller skates she looked as awkward as…9. The sky was as blue as…10. The clouds rolled across the sky like..11. After our huge dinner of fish and chips, we felt like…
METAPHORSA metaphor is like a simile. Thats because it is a comparison that is madebetween things, which is not always likely or obvious. We don’t use ‘like’ or ‘as’in a metaphor.We often use metaphors without realising it. For instance, when we say thatyour parents bark a command at you, you are comparing them to a dog, and commandhence engaging in metaphor!Other MetaphorsA heart of stoneHe has the heart of a lionYou are the sun in my skyYou are the light in my lifeShe is my East and my West, my compass.You had better pull your socks upLove is a lemon - either bitter of sweet
Create MetaphorsLEARNING INTENTION: to understand that a metaphor is a word picture inwhich the writer replaces the thing to be described with another image. It makesa more direct and vivid comparison to a simile.Examples: The moon is a pearl from a necklace. The moon is a cold, cheesy pizza. The moon is earth’s haloTry to write three metaphors for each of the following examples:the sun an appleclouds cheesea cat the oceanfog anger
PersonificationLEARNING INTENTION: to understand that in personification, the non-human isidentified with the human or given human characteristics.Examples: The steel beam clenched its muscles. Clouds limped across the sky. The pebbles on the path were grey with grief. Cricket has been good to me. The New Zealand dollar had a quiet month. Life dealt him a heavy blow.Give the following items human characteristics: wind refugee camp night cold moon war
OnomatopoeiaLEARNING INTENTION: to understand that Onomatopoeia is found in a groupof words that attempts to replicate certain sounds.We have words like woof-woof, or bow wow, tweet-tweet, and cock-a-doodledoo. However, these words are still the creation of the human mind.Examples: crackle, splat, ooze, squish, boom. The tyres whirr on the road. The pitter-patter of soft rain. The mud oozed and squished through my toes.Write onomatopoeia for the following: gun sound wind bomb tank planes walking in snow
IMPACTShow Don’t TellTo write what is happening in the story without explicitly stating it.Telling sentence: Joe was old.Showing sentence: Joe creacked when he moved, his arthritic limbs bowed beneath the weight of his eighty yearsBelow are some telling sentences which simply state facts. Transform them intoshowing sentences:1. It was cold on the beach.2. Dad was angry.3. My friend is a great rugby player.4. The house needed repairs.5. The car braked suddenly.
Make every word countYou can improve your writing by removing unnecessary words. It is possible toeliminate unnecessary words but still retain the same information.First Draft The idea was thought of by Jim at four o’clock early in the morning. (14 words)Revised Jim’s idea came at 4 am. (6 words)Rewrite these sentences, eliminating all the unnecessary words to make each sentence more precise.3. He looked at Mike. Mike was his brother.4. The people that I would like to tell you about are my father and mother.5. He let me know that the contest the Bulldogs were in resulted in a win for the Bulldogs.6. In the vase were some daffodils. The vase of daffodils was on the table.7. This recipe deals with and describes one method used to attain the desired result in the preparation of scrambled eggs.
Create Word PicturesWe can add details to a sentence to make an image more vivid and life-like.Bland The man had a hairy face.Interesting The hair on Mr Twit’s face didn’t grow smooth and matted as it does on most hairy-faced men. Itgrew in spikes that struck out straights like bristles ofa nail brush.Rewrite these sentences using details to make the image live.2. The room was dark3. The girl ran4. His dog was unwashed and smelly5. The lady next door is a busy body.
Focus on the FactsWe can add on sufficient information to help the reader understand better.Example A boat came to the island. What kind of boat was it? Who was aboard the boat? What were the feelings of the passengers about reching the island? When did the boat arrive? What was the purpose of the visit?Read the following sentences. What questions would you ask the writer toensure that all the essential information was given.1. I don’t like school.2. My aunt is in hospital.3. We like going out for dinner.Select one of these sentences. Rewrite them with sufficient information.
Replace Overworked WordsLEARNING INTENTION: To think of as many different ways as you can toexpress the same idea.Example: Mary is a good person. Mary is a lovely person. Mary is a wonderful person. Mary is a superb person. Mary is a delightful person.For my birthday I got lots of presents.It was a lovely day.We got off the train at Wellington.My sister got fifty dollars a week.In the war, lots of men got injured.Feeling annoyed, the teacher went out of the room.We had a nice holiday in Dunedin where we met many nice people.
Strong VerbsBy using strong verbs we can express movement and help to create a picture inthe reader’s mind.Well-chosen verbs can give writing power.With throttles open all the way, big bad bruce and his gang charge down thehighway on their Harleys. Bruce blasts along the highway at top speed. Icywind whacks into his face. He whacks it back, twice as hard. He zooms aroundcorners and shoots up the straight. He pushes his bike to the max. from Big Bad Bruce by Dianne BatesWrite a description of the action in each of thes pharases using strong verbs.• a man kicking a door• a lion stalking prey• a rabbit digging a hole• a getaway car speeding around a corner• a dog chasing a cat
Using a ThesaurusA thesaurus extend your word power. declared exclaimed questioned replied repeated bellowed shouted responded whispered asked
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