Writing Narrative

A narrative is a story. Narrative writing simply means story writing. And just as there are conventions and rules to follow when composing other kinds of texts, narrative writing has its own conventions. Some of the vital ingredients needed to create a story are plot, character, setting and dialogue. Beyond those, a writer should check that the story makes sense and keeps the reader engaged. Simple, right?

See how well you understand narrative by trying this quiz.

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  1. Writing dialogue can be one of the hardest aspects of narrative writing to do well. Which of the following is NOT a common pitfall to avoid when writing dialogue?
    Another common pitfall is using the word 'said' too often (but you knew that already, didn't you?)
  2. What is meant by the term 'rising action'?
  3. What is setting?
  4. If you were writing a narrative, in whose voice would it be?
    Even if you write in the first person, you will be writing in the voice of the narrator, who might or might not sound like you
  5. What is meant by the 'structure' of a story?
    In its most basic sense, structure is the beginning, middle and end of a story.  More importantly, it is how you organise these elements of your narrative
  6. What is the name for a narrator who knows everything that is happening, including what each character is thinking?
    'Omniscient' means 'all knowing'
  7. What must a story have at the end?
    'Resolution' means letting your readers know what happened after the climax of the story; it also means making sure that you answer any major questions your story has raised in the minds of your readers.  This is also called 'denouement'
  8. Which one of the following would be a good reason to add a passage of descriptive writing in your narrative?
    Never add anything to your writing just for the sake of filling space - make your words relevant and put them to work!
  9. The events which occur in a story and the way in which they relate to each other are known as...
  10. Which of the following would NOT make an effective beginning for narrative writing?
    The most important task of a first sentence is to make your reader want to read the next sentence (and the next, and the next,....)

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