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Narrative Elements

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Narrative Elements - long version

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Narrative Elements

  1. 1. Elements of Narratives
  2. 2. Personal Narrative A story about a moment in your own life. It is not an autobiography (a story about your entire life)! A personal narrative focuses on a single event or moment in your life.
  3. 3. Fictional Narrative A story about a moment in a made-up character’s life. You create the characters, setting, and conflict, but it should still focus on a single event or moment (because this is a SHORT story!)
  4. 4. Focus! You can’t write a novel! When creating your story, focus on a single moment or very few moments. Personal Narrative: I will tell the story of the moment when I forgot my lines while performing on stage. Fictional Narrative: I will tell the story of the moment when my character got lost in the woods.
  5. 5. Point of View: 1st Person: “I never thought that owning a dog would be so challenging. When I brought Fluffy home for the first time, she destroyed my favorite pair of shoes within five minutes. After I found the damage, I locked Fluffy in her crate.” 3rd Person: “Amber used to think that owning a dog would be easy, but when she brought Fluffy home for the first time, she discovered she was wrong. Fluffy had destroyed her favorite pair of shoes. When amber saw them, she locked Fluffy in her crate.”
  6. 6. Narrative Elements There are 5 main elements that apply to narratives in general: 1. Character 2. Setting 3. Conflict 4. Plot 5. Theme These are the main “ingredients” in a story.
  7. 7. Character The main people (or other living things) that are involved in your story. YOUR GOALS AS THE WRITER: • Show who your characters are through their behaviors. • Show what motivates your characters. • Make your characters realistic.
  8. 8. Setting Where do different scenes in your story take place? YOUR GOALS AS THE WRITER: • “Paint” a picture of the scene. • Create a mood. • Establish context for the story (time and location).
  9. 9. Conflict What problem or challenge does the main character in the story face? YOUR GOALS AS THE WRITER: • Create tension and interest in your story by making readers doubt that your characters will be successful. • Create a problem that motivates and drives the actions of your characters.
  10. 10. Conflict Both narrative types need to focus on a conflict that the main character faces. Every story worth reading has a conflict. If there is no conflict, there is no tension in the story.
  11. 11. Types of Conflict: External Conflict: Internal Conflict: Pip can’t decide if he should join basketball or swimming. The coach says that Pip isn’t allowed to join the cross country team because he is a robot. Pip will have to struggle against the coach if he wants to join the team. Pip will have an internal struggle to decide what is best for him.
  12. 12. Man vs. Self A man struggles to be kind to his wife’s ex-boyfriend even though he is very jealous A woman struggles to understand her identity when she is half Chinese and half American A man struggles to quit a drug addiction examples
  13. 13. Man vs. Man Two men fall in love with the same woman A student struggles against a mean teacher that always gives him detention A hero must defeat the villain who ruined his life examples
  14. 14. Man vs. Nature A man is attacked by bears while on a camping trip A family struggles to survive during a hurricane A drought kills all of the crops, and a farmer must try to survive without food or money examples
  15. 15. Man vs. Society A gay couple tries to find acceptance in a society that does not accept their choices An immigrant fights to change a law that prevents him from becoming a citizen A man wants to become a artist, but his family expects him to be a doctor examples
  16. 16. Man vs. Technology A man struggles to hack a computer in order to steal information A farmer’s tractor breaks down, and he struggles to fix it in time for the harvest A team of students struggles to build an underwater robot for a contest examples
  17. 17. Man vs. Supernatural A man struggles to survive as a god tries to ruin his life A man struggles to get home after being transported back in time by a mysterious spell A fated prophecy states that a man will kill his father, and he struggles to prevent this from happening examples
  18. 18. Conflict: What might conflict look like in a personal narrative or college admissions essay? • You vs. an academic or co-curricular challenge • You vs. expectations others hold for you • You vs. personal shortcomings • You vs. friends or family members • You vs. a experience of failure • You vs. …
  19. 19. Plot How is the problem introduced? What steps does the character take to solve the problem? How is the problem is solved? YOUR GOALS AS THE WRITER: • Create a series of events that shows how your character strives to overcome the problem/conflict. • Create a plot that feels original (avoid cliches).
  20. 20. Theme What does the story seek to tell us about life or human nature? What’s the message of the story? YOUR GOALS AS THE WRITER: • Write a story that means something more to readers than the surface-level enjoyment of events in the plot. • Don’t make your theme/message obvious or repetitive.
  21. 21. Let’s identify elements of narratives in Disney’s… Mulan
  22. 22. Character How does the author teach us about who the main characters are? (Personality, habits, beliefs, physical appearance, desires, history, etc.?) We first meet Mulan. She ties a bag of grain to her dog, and uses the dog to feed the farm animals. Exposition What does the character’s action SHOW you about their personality?
  23. 23. Character We first meet Mulan’s father. He is praying to his ancestors for Mulan to not mess up on her important day. How does the author teach us about who the main characters are? (Personality, habits, beliefs, physical appearance, desires, history, etc.?) Exposition What does the character’s action SHOW you about their personality?
  24. 24. Character Mulan seems slightly more confused, awkward, and disorganized than the other girls in town. How does the author teach us about who the main characters are? (Personality, habits, beliefs, physical appearance, desires, history, etc.?) Exposition What does the character’s action SHOW you about their personality?
  25. 25. Character She ruins her meeting with the town matchmaker in every way possible. How does the author teach us about who the main characters are? (Personality, habits, beliefs, physical appearance, desires, history, etc.?) Exposition What does the character’s action SHOW you about their personality?
  26. 26. Setting How does the author create a mood with setting? How does the setting enrich the overall story?
  27. 27. Conflict What struggle motivates the characters to act? A good story tends to have more than one conflict. Mulan sings a sad song because she feels like she can’t be herself. (Her family/the community expects her to be a housewife). Intro Conflict
  28. 28. Conflict What struggle motivates the characters to act? A good story tends to have more than one conflict. An army is approaching China and new soldiers are being recruited. One man from every family must go, so Mulan’s father has to enlist even though he is old and injured. Women are not allowed in the army. Intro Conflict
  29. 29. Plot What events move the story forward and help the characters resolve their conflicts? Mulan dresses up as a man and goes to enlist in the army in order to protect her father. She meets her incompetent dragon protector, Mushu. Rising Action
  30. 30. Character How does the author teach us about who the main characters are? (Personality, habits, beliefs, physical appearance, desires, history, etc.?) Rising Action The leader of the Huns, Shan Yu, captures two Chinese scouts and kills one because only one man is needed to deliver a message. What does the character’s action SHOW you about their personality?
  31. 31. Plot What events move the story forward and help the characters resolve their conflicts? Mulan tries to act like a man at the training camp in hopes of keeping her identity secret. Mulan develops a crush on captain Shang. Rising Action Note that new conflicts arise that build on the main conflicts which have already been established.
  32. 32. Plot What events move the story forward and help the characters resolve their conflicts? Mulan gradually proves that she’s capable of being a soldier. Rising Action
  33. 33. Plot What events move the story forward and help the characters resolve their conflicts? Mulan and friends finally fight the Huns. Mulan comes up with a clever plan to help them win. Rising Action
  34. 34. Plot What events move the story forward and help the characters resolve their conflicts? Mulan gets injured, so everyone finds out she is a woman. She is kicked out of the army. Rising Action
  35. 35. Plot What events move the story forward and help the characters resolve their conflicts? Mulan discovers that the Hun army was not destroyed, so she rides to warn people in the capital. Rising Action
  36. 36. Plot What events move the story forward and help the characters resolve their conflicts? Mulan reunites with her friends and they come up with a plan to protect the Emperor and stop the Huns. Climax
  37. 37. Plot What events move the story forward and help the characters resolve their conflicts? Mulan & friends kill Shan Yu with fireworks, and China is safe. Climax / One Conflict Resolved
  38. 38. Plot What events move the story forward and help the characters resolve their conflicts? Mulan is honored by the Emperor. Mulan travels home. Falling Action
  39. 39. Plot What events move the story forward and help the characters resolve their conflicts? Mulan’s father says he is proud to have her as a daughter. Conflict Resolved
  40. 40. Plot What events move the story forward and help the characters resolve their conflicts? Conflict Resolved Captain Shang shows up at Mulan's house looking for her.
  41. 41. Theme What’s the message of the story? What does the author want to tell us about life and human nature? Mulan’s father tells her that “the flower that blooms in adversity is the most beautiful of all.” Mulan is happy about who she is after going against the societal expectations people held for her. She also receives more acceptance from other people after this happens.
  42. 42. Reflection Reflect, or share your thoughts, about why the story you are telling is meaningful. YOUR GOALS AS THE WRITER: • Make your thoughts in your narrative more important than the events you are describing. Events are generic, but your thoughts are unique. • Reveal what you or other people learned by sharing thoughts • Reflection doesn’t always have to be positive or uplifting, and you do not have to shy away from the truth of what you experienced, even if it resulted in failure or tragedy. Honesty, vulnerability and even confrontation of difficult lessons will make your essay even more poignant.
  43. 43. Change Personal narratives tend to depict change. Maybe your skill level changes, your beliefs change, the way you understand the world changes, your mood or habits change…etc. Often characters learn something from the change.
  44. 44. Outline Beginning • Who is(are) the main character(s)? • What is the setting? • What is the problem? Middle • How does the character try to solve the problem? End • Is the problem resolved? How? • Reflect: why was this event important or meaningful in the life of the character?

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