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Elements of a Narrative. American Literature, Fall 2013. Characterization. Who are the characters? How do we get to know each character? Dialogue: when characters speak Inner monologue (3 rd person omniscient) Consistency throughout

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elements of a narrative

Elements of a Narrative

American Literature, Fall 2013

  • Who are the characters?
  • How do we get to know each character?
    • Dialogue: when characters speak
    • Inner monologue (3rd person omniscient)
  • Consistency throughout
    • Actions and thoughts should remain consistent to the character
  • Static or dynamic
    • Does the main character (or secondary characters) change

or stay the same?

  • Primary characters: The main characters in the story
  • Secondary characters: Everyone else
point of view
Point of View
  • 1st person
    • I, me, us, we
    • Told from one person’s perspective – how does that alter a story?
  • 3rd person
    • They, them, he, she
    • Told from an objective narrator – how does that alter a story?
  • Which is more effective? What’s the difference?
sensory details
Sensory Details
  • Imagery
  • Convey a vivid picture of experiences, events, setting, and/or characters
    • Taste, smell, sight, sound, touch
    • Use precise words, not a lot of words
  • Show, don’t tell!
  • Issue/problem
    • The story should revolve around the central conflict
    • Internal – happens within a character
    • External - occurs outside of the character
  • Was something learned as a result?
    • Did the narrator or main character change? Did the secondary characters change?
  • What was the outcome?
  • How the speaker or narrator feels about or towards the subject; the attitude of the speaker or narrator
    • Not to be confused with the tone of the author – author and narrator are NOT the same thing
    • Examples of tone: formal, informal, solemn, serious, playful, sarcastic, ironic, guilty, cheerful, gloomy, pessimistic, optimistic, witty, suspicious, angry, pompous
    • Created through word choice, imagery, including or omitting details, etc.
    • There can be more than one tone in a piece (for example, it can be both humorous and sarcastic)
  • The atmosphere created by the writing or author’s words; the feeling that the reader gets from reading the words
  • The overall feeling of the work
    • Created through imagery, dialogue, setting, plot
    • Examples of mood: frightening, gloomy, mysterious, joyful, melancholy, sorrowful, sentimental, frustrating, suspenseful
    • Mood is usually established at the beginning and carried on throughout the work
  • Lesson learned; message of the story
    • Avoid clichés, ie. “Don’t judge a book by its cover” or “Walk a mile in another person’s shoes”
  • Satisfying conclusion
    • Was there a resolution or did it just stop?
    • There is a difference between ending a story and giving it a resolution
literary narrative techniques
Literary/Narrative Techniques
  • Dialogue – when characters speak to each other
    • lets the characters tell the story
  • Description – utilizing sensory details
    • creates word pictures in the reader’s mind
  • Repetition – repeating important lines or words throughout the story
    • emphasis
literary narrative techniques1
Literary/Narrative Techniques
  • Pacing – the speed at which your story is told
    • not too slow, not too fast, but just right
  • Reflection – thinking and relating to and about one’s own experiences
    • does it cause the reader to reflect on their experiences?
  • Plot
    • Exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, resolution; setting
  • Choose the prompt that you feel will lend itself to your best narrative writing.
    • Choose an artifact that is meaningful to you. Write a multi-paragraph essay describing the artifact, its value, and how it has shaped you as a person. Be creative! For example, think about your favorite toy as a child – what does it say about you? How did it shape you? Help you grow? What did it see? Go beyond the literal and think about the metaphorical.
    • Write about a scar, broken bone, illness, or other injury you have experienced (it could be your own or it could be someone close to you). In a multi-paragraph essay, tell the story about what happened. How did it affect you? Change you? Shape you? What did you learn about yourself (and/or others) from the experience?