Calvin and Hobbs: trust Calvin to just ”get it” and the frustration we all feel sometimes when writing!

You should all be at the point of having completed Narrative Style writing, hopefully without too much writer”s block!

To consolidate your understanding of narrative the following mind map should assist you in remembering the key features or techniques of narrative style.

Narrative writing style:

 A sequence of events or circumstances that TELLS a story

The story should contain the following

  • Plot
  • Characters: ( entails: Physical descriptions, Actions and behaviours and Thoughts)
  • Setting: (Mood and atmosphere = descriptive writing)
  • Chronological sequence
  • Narrative perspective/viewpoint
  • Openings 

A flow diagram for Chronological sequencing:

Please do remember all these feature as they are relevant when doing a language commentary or analysis; your ability to decipher the features within a context of a story is the mirror effect of being able to write it, hence that you need to be able to create (with precision) a piece of writing. You will find the better you write your own pieces, the easier it is to analyse another writer’s writing.

With this understanding and quick consolidation of narrative writing, the next writing style that is to be considered is DESCRIPTIVE writing:

So what is descriptive writing?

Whereas, narrative writing appeals to one of humankind’s basic instincts, the impulse to share stories, descriptive writing deliberately sets about creating a picture, an image, a mood…

The ability to DESCRIBE something convincingly will serve a writer well in any kind of writing situation. The most important thing to remember is that your job as descriptive writer is to create, not tell. To tell is part of storytelling (narrative writing) and requires a sequence of events, a plot. To create a perfect picture requires using the best words in the best order in order to create the most detailed picture.

You can think of the process of descriptive writing like this: If you say that the tree is beautiful, your readers are put on the defensive: “Wait a minute,” they think. “We’ll be the judge of that! Show us a beautiful tree and we’ll believe…” Do not merely rely on adjectives that attempt to characterise a thing’s attributes. Lovely, exciting, interesting – these are all useful adjectives in casual speech or when we’re pointing to something that is lovely, but in writing with substance and fire and life, they don’t do much for us; in fact, they sound hollow. We can see the picture and if we cannot see the picture in our mind’s eye it means we have an empty image.

Descriptive pieces should always bring to life your five senses. The sensory images that are brought to life almost always create a distinct mood or atmosphere that allows the reader to feel what you intended to create by carefully enhancing the experience. It is important to remember that mood is brought about by carefully chosen language and isolated selected detail. Thus, descriptive pieces are not cumbersome; they should not be overloaded with a lot of detail, but rather carefully planned with selected detail and language.

The five senses:  All senses must be described VIVIDLY and in many instances FIGURATIVELY:

  1. Sense of sight:        What do you see? The sky is never blue; rather, the sky has been painted in shades of grey that echo the moods of the cloud giant…
  2. Sense of hearing: What do you hear? What sound is being made? Do the jangling keys promise the release from imprisonment?
  3. Sense of taste:         What can you taste? Do remember that it is possible to, taste   the foul air…
  4. Sense of smell:        What can you smell? Chocolate certainly doesn’t like chocolate – chocolate smells like the decadent cocoa fields…And do remember: you can, indeed, smell fear, and so forth.
  5. Sense of touch: What does it feel like?  His pimpled face felt like a continuous mountain of ascents and descents…
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