Principles of Writing Narrative Essays

The first essay assignment this semester is to compose a literacy narrative. A literacy narrative is a form of expository writing, which offers writers a chance to think about themselves. We all have experiences lodged in our memories, which are worthy of sharing with readers. This assignment asks the writer to relate an important event, person, moment, book or situation that made them see why their own literacy is significant and find relevance about the incident. Many of the experiences writers have are intertwined with other memories, so much of the time spent in writing the narrative is spent in the prewriting stage. In this stage, writers first need to select an incident worthy of writing about and, second, need to consider what about the incident provided new insights or awareness. Finally, writers must dredge up details, which will make the incident real for readers. Make sure to include description and dialogue so that the reader can experience the event as the writer did.

Principles of Writing Narrative Essays
Once an incident is chosen, the writer should keep three principles in mind.
1. 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.
2. Find a generalization which the story supports. This is the only way the writer’s personal experience will take on meaning for readers. This generalization does not have to encompass humanity as a whole; it can concern the writer, men, women, or children of various ages and backgrounds.
3. Remember that although the main component of a narrative is the story, details must be carefully selected to support, explain, and enhance the story.
Conventions of Narrative Essays
In writing your narrative essay, keep the following conventions in mind.
• Narratives are generally written in the first person, which is, using “I.” However, third person (“he,” “she,” or “it”) can also be used.
• Narratives rely on concrete, sensory details to convey their point. These details should create a unified, forceful effect, a dominant impression.
• Narratives, as stories, should include these story conventions: a plot, including setting and characters; a climax; and an ending.
Format: Must be typed, double-spaced, MLA formatted (307 in McGraw), 12 pt. Times New Roman font with 1 inch margins. No second person (direct address of reader). You must include dialogue in your narrative.
Length: 1000 words. Due on Week 5. Peer Review on Week 4

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