What is Narrative Writing?

We, human beings, love stories. Remember the school days when your mother used to tell you bedtime stories before you fell asleep? Your mother would narrate a horror incident that happened with your parents some years ago, or something related to her school.

While she recounted everything, your curiosity increased. You wanted to listen to more of her real-life stories or fantasy stories she could narrate. Good writing is all about storytelling because that’s what keeps the readers hooked!

And this is where narrative writing comes in; the art of sharing your idea, research, theories, or a real-life incident in a way you are telling a story. Still not sure? Let’s have a look at the definition.

Definition of Narrative Writing

It’s not about how good your story is, but how well you tell it.

Narrative writing is a way of sharing your work ( be it an essay, biography, or novel) in such a way that events are connected and narrated in a sequential manner, or sometimes flashbacks of different scenes at particular places.

It’s like setting up the base with an interesting beginning, then slowly transitioning towards the beginning with more suspense building up, and finally reaching the end — boom!!!!

Pick any bestselling author from your bookshelf, any of your favorite research works, and observe them. You will find them perfect from beginning to the end, each concept and idea neatly explained and interconnected to the other.

Types of Narrative Writing

There are four major types of narrative writing:

Linear Narrative

This is the simplest form of narrative writing. The basic idea comes first, then the one driven from it, and so on. For fiction, linear narrative writing presents the events in sequential order, the first scene, then the second scene, and so on.

Non-Linear Narrative

This is the opposite of linear narrative writing. There is no order of events, the writer can suddenly move from one scene to another one, without even giving the background — but of course, he does elaborate on it in the latter part. This happens in fiction, mostly short stories.

Quest Narrative

This type of writing is all about the quest. It keeps the reader hooked for answers. Usually, the protagonist keeps discussing a pressing problem and its possible solutions. Likewise, he may have a goal and he keeps looking for likely ways to achieve that.

Viewpoint Narrative

Viewpoint narratives are found in novels, where a writer shares his point of view. This is normally fiction writing and full of emotions. The writer goes to any extent to convey his feelings through words.

A Three-Step Process for Stellar Narrative Writing…

1. Research/ Set up the Plot

Whether you are writing fiction or nonfiction, you must have the basic plot ready or your research done. Without adequate brainstorming, you can’t write anything worth reading; or convince people with your work.

To put your work in chronological order, you need all the facts in front of you. In the case of fiction, you must have the basic plot in mind, and at least some idea about the characters.

Once you have the research done, you can decide which study or statistics will set up the base, and what will follow to further back your claims.

This is trickier than you think. You have to organize every idea such that the reader can understand it, and later put two and two together.

2. Put Your Idea/Plot Together

Once you have done the research work about your work or brainstorming in the case of fiction, it’s time to put them on paper. With unnerving focus, start writing.

In the case of fiction, introduce your characters in such a way that your readers are able to distinguish them. Each character has his own voice of tone and a different personality in the mind of your reader.

If you are writing a thesis or an essay, start with the basic idea. You can share statistics or research contradictory to the general notion. Your reader should be surprised by the opening and intrigued enough to continue reading.

Whether you are writing fiction or nonfiction, your writing should make sense. One idea in one paragraph for better readability.

3. Double-Check Your Work

To become a good writer, you must be good with narrative writing. No wonder why so many people spend decades trying to improve their writing skills but their write-ups rarely make any impact on the reader.

The biggest challenge with narrative writing is taking care of every idea like a delicate teacup. If you sway away for a moment, it will crash and thousands of words you had churned out after research won’t make any sense.

Patience is the key. Once done with your work, leave it for a few days. Come back fresh and you will be amazed at how well you can pick the flaws in it. The flow, readability, sequence of ideas, and if the whole thing is making any sense.

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