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Narrative Writing Sample | GCE O Level English (1123) | Best Notes

You want to get an A* in GCE O Level English but, your writing skills are not very good? Even if you are good at writing, you want to see some work of other students to learn something new?

Do not, worry. I am here to help. But before, let me introduce the topic to you.

Narrative writing is a form of writing in which there is a main character. This character faces a problem or an event and then deals with it.

In simple words, it tells you a story with a proper sequence of events (plot). For example, you share your amazing story about your exams. So basically, if you do this, you are using characteristics of a narrative.

Suspense if a main part of a narrative. But, we will take a look at it later in this article.

You should know that narrative is a part of section 2 in paper 1 of O level English. You have to write between 350 to 500 words for this question.

We'll take a look at:

Parts of Narrative Writing:

(If you are interested in only reading the sample, scroll down. But, it is not recommended).

Just like a cake has some layers, narrative has also some parts. But, why should you know them?

narrative writing parts

It is very simple. If you do not know about the parts of a narrative you, will not be able to write a good story. For example, you have to know about your characters, story (plot) and setting while writing a story.

So, some of these parts are:

  • Plot : In creative writing, it is the sequence in which events happen.

The plot is all about the story and how your events progress. But, it is not only how events are taking place in you story.

What do I mean by that? Let me tell.

A good plot shows how the character gets into a conflict (discussed below). Simply, your character has to get into trouble and then, he has to work out a solution to deal with the problem.

This creates suspense and drama that is one of the most important parts of creative writing, especially narrative. This is because you have to remember that without suspense, no one will read your story.

To summarise, a good plot looks something like this:

  • The main character faces a conflict (problem).
  • Things go right (everything gets normal).
  • Things go wrong (problem arise that creates suspense).
  • Finally, wrap up how your character deals with the problem (gets successful or fails).

Moving on, let’s talk about characters now.

  • Characters : For me, characters are the most important. But why? Let me tell.

Characters are what your readers remember . For example, there is a hero or a villain that you will remember after reading a story. Therefore, they play a very crucial part in your essay writing.

Simply, characters are those people in your writing that perform actions and speak dialogues. They play their part in the story to develop the plot.

Characters in narrative writing

Note : Character development is the key if you want to write a good narrative. You have to show your characters change during the story and what part they play.

There are different kinds of character. For example:

  • Protagonist : The main character of the story (and the most important one).
  • Antagonist : The villain of the story (the opponent of the protagonist).
  • Tertiary characters : They are the minor characters in the story that may or may not be linked to the storyline.

However, the tertiary characters serve different functions and objectives. You can use these characters to your benefit by developing your sequence of events (plot).

  • Conflict : This is the part of the story when your main character faces some problems. This part is what you can call suspense or drama.

Here, you have to make sure that tension builds that keeps your readers engaged. What do I mean by that?

Simply, let’s suppose that your character is being accused (blamed) for a crime that he has not committed . This is the conflict that your character will resolve. So, the conflict allows your story to continue.

Remember the better the conflict, the better the story.

  • Setting : A backdrop (or setting) refers to the location or time in the narrative.

It can be fictional or non-fictional, depending on your story. Let me explain this with the help of an example.

For example, a story about a boy who is bullied in college in the suburb of Atlanta , in the 1980s .

Moving on, let me share a sample of creative (narrative) writing with you so that we can discuss some other points regarding this topic.

Sample of Narrative Writing:

Question : Write a story in which you disobeyed an order.

Sample response:

The camp had never been as crowded as it was on that day which dawned crisp and clear. I had never witnessed so much chaos that erupted due to the convocation of the arriving troops.

This was because our village was under attack by a rival party, and our soldiers were summoned to prevent further loss of lives. This was the only thing that we could do at the moment – abide by the orders given to us.

Ryan , our leader, was a tall dark man who possessed fierce looks. He assembled me and Jimmy in his office and, we rushed to meet him. Unlike other days, we had to clear multiple security checks because dozens of Seraphites penetrated our camps.

Seraphites were the people of our rival squad but, Ryan called them “Scars”. Therefore, everyone followed his expression due to the simultaneous feelings of fear and respect.

Ryan’s office was as usually dark, and it was like a place out of time. The smoke of the cigarette occupied the entire room with its offensive, eye-watering and stale odour.

narrative writing sample

“Joel and Jimmy, do not leave the camp at any cost . The scars have their traps all around”, he said. We nodded and enquired about our future plans.

However, the blaring sounds of disarray disturbed our conversation. “Go check out what the matter is. I am expecting Chris and Karl back to the camp soon”, Ryan said in an optimistic manner. I dashed out where I glanced at some soldiers dragging a body towards Ryan’s room.

I lifted the muddy black fabric from the face, and it was Karl. “Chris has killed him! We will make that traitor pay for this”, one of the sobbing soldiers commented. I was in utter disbelief because Chris and Karl had served our village for decades and therefore, I could not comprehend one being a traitor.

Further reading :

Account Writing Sample | O Level English (1123)

Report Writing Sample | Directed Writing

Formal Letter | Format and Sample

“I have to get to the bottom of the issue”, I said in a hustle. My ally Jimmy urged me to stop and not disobey Ryan’s order of not leaving the camp. I was determined to reach out to Chris, and I even knew about his whereabouts.

This was because he was entrusted an assignment to our previous hide-out. Nonetheless, Jimmy helped me egress from the camp from the Southern door because the number of troops was minimal over here.

I confidently marched towards the East to confront Chris, but after twenty minutes of hectic sprinting, I became more cautious. Unfortunately, one of the traps of Scars caught me as my left foot was trapped in a metalled cage (like structure).

I was surrounded by numerous Scars within a fraction of seconds who had their heads shaved and eyebrows removed, and they were honestly terrifying. They referred to us (the people of my camp) as “ Wolves ” and one of them said: “We need to get rid of him. He has an idea where we are camping”.

I took a deep breath and my nose caught the most horrible odour ever. The smell was terrible – it could even get a beast on its feet. But, I was more concerned about my life as it flashed before my eyes . The muscles in my body screamed at me to flee, but the cage kept me frozen.

My intensifying breaths came to a halt for a while when I started to hear distant gunshots. These disturbing sounds caught the attention of most of the Scars, who departed in fragments to come across the matter. This was the time when I grabbed out my knife, which I concealed, and struck the cage with intense force until the lock pierced into pieces.

With this, I instantly broke into a sprint and multiple Scars started to chase me. The colour of my pale face was draining , and my legs were losing their energy and potential to run. However, half a mile forward, Jimmy appeared who diverted their route.

Exhausted, I arrived at the door of the camp where Ryan was standing with his wide-open glaring eyes and tightly closed lips. I wanted to explain but he yelled in an uncontrollable manner: “ You disobeyed me for that traitor? I also want to know why he did that to his close friend, Karl.”

Simultaneously, he struck sharply at my face with intense force from his hands and ordered me to get locked. I was anxious about my punishment but even more worried about Chris. My mind was bombarded with questions such as, “Why did he commit this crime? What if he is innocent? What punishment will the camp decide for him, and for me?” I sobbed in the cell which gradually escalated.

Examiner response:

First of all, let’s start with the strengths of the response .

  • The candidate makes use of description (particularly sensory words sometimes) which is very important in a narrative.

For example, “I took a deep breath and my nose caught the most horrible odour ever. The smell was terrible – it could even get a beast on its feet”.

narrative writing o level

The thing over here is that good vocabulary is important to score well. However, do not the stuff in fancy words you have learned just to make your story look good. This will do more harm than good .

Therefore, try to keep your writing style as natural as possible. The candidate deserves appreciation for this point (at least in my point of view).

Bonus tip : If you want to use good vocabulary and make it look natural, here is what you can do. Find out the words you want to use. Learn about their meaning and read sentences around those words. Then, gradually use them in your writing. They will look much more natural than usual.
  • There is some element of suspense in the story. This keeps the reader engaged.

For me, suspense and mystery are extremely important in a narrative.

Simply because it keeps your reader engaged , and when you convince your reader to keep reading, you have written something good. Let me explain this with the help of an example.

The candidate uses a cliffhanger technique at the end of the narrative. For you, a cliffhanger is a technique that creates suspense (at the end of the story). What happens is that the writer leaves some questions (unanswered) for the readers.

For example, the candidate leaves it on the readers to think what the fate of the writer (Joel) and another character, Chris, would be. The questions such as “what if he is innocent?” create suspense among the readers.

But note that, do not leave your story incomplete (this technique does not say that). It is all about leaving behind some questions (which you do not answer) and demand your readers to figure them out. This takes us to another important point, which is about the characters.

  • You will agree with me over here, a story without good characters is not a good story.

When it comes to characters, there are some areas of improvement (which I have discussed later). But for now, let’s talk about some positive points.

There is some description about the characters and their roles, such as: “Ryan, our leader, was a tall dark man who possessed fierce looks”. The story has major as well as minor characters.

Moreover, the dialogues used by the characters show that the candidate had knowledge about dialogues. But remember that, do not use dialogues in excess .

You have to use dialogues sometimes to show the examiner that you have knowledge about them. But, too much dialogue makes your narrative less of a story but some of a speech . So, use them when necessary (and when you should use them).

If you are not using dialogues, you are compromising on major elements of narrative writing , such as character development. Because your reader will know about your characters through their dialogues. So keep that in mind.
  • The story revolves around the topic of disobeying an order.

The topic was about writing a story in which you disobeyed an order. Well, the story justifies the topic (although there could have been some improvements).

The story clearly has a theme and a plot. Furthermore, the candidate successfully builds up the story, making the main character forceful to “disobey the command” of their leader. In terms of language, the student uses decent vocabulary along with transition words (such as however and moreover).

The candidate uses simple sentences along with compound sentences. The spellings and grammatical mistakes are less but, this area can be improved further (because in the English language, these things matter).

Now, let’s talk about some areas of improvement as well.

The areas of improvement:

  • I think you will agree with me over here. The story has not a “great” beginning (particularly, the first paragraph).

narrative writing sample

But why am I saying this? Let me explain this to you.

A good starting in a story indicates what is going to happen in future (simply, an overview was required ). For example, the candidate could have given an overview of how events were going to happen in future.

And after all, the purpose of the introductory paragraph is to briefly tell your readers what the story will be about. In short, the candidate could have linked the starting lines with the topic (of disobeying the order).

The take away from this is that make sure that your reader knows what the story is going to be about. For that, make sure you talk about the topic at the start (this may not be applicable to all narrative topics). In my opinion, the start could have some reference to all the soldiers abiding by the orders of their leader.

And like the beginning, the conclusion could have improved (by describing some challenges that the character faced after disobeying the order).

Moving on to the next thing, which is about the element of suspense and tension.

  • Earlier, I said that there is some element of suspense present in the story. But it can be improved. Let me show you how this can be done.

There is suspense in the story when the main character gets caught by his rivals . But, a better description of the problems faced by the character could have been written. The tension could have been build with details about what his rivals were planning to do with him.

And if I talk about the setting here, the candidate could have explained a little bit more about the time and place. These things are the main components of a narrative. Therefore, you should “show not tell”.

  • A predictable plot is a bad plot .

You may have predicted what was going to happen in the future. If this happens, then there is a problem with the plot.

Let me explain.

A plot should have interesting twists (in the story) that build up tension and mystery. This is the thing that will prevent your writing from being “boring”. When it comes to this sample, a couple of twists in the plot could have made the story very good.

For example, the attack on the camp when the main character returned or meeting with the so-called “traitor” (or something like that may work). So, try to do these things to keep your readers engaged.

  • The candidate should have worked on the characters as well.

Look, no one likes flat characters . The student has used characters – great. But, there are some things to improve over here.

You have to make your character interesting (for example your character may love to do strange or risky things). If your characters (especially the protagonist) are unique, readers will love your story.

For example, a casual story about a dad working hard for his family may not necessarily be interesting. But, a story about a dad working hard and educating his daughter despite social pressure may work out as a good story (depends on how you deliver it).

Conclusion:

With this, our topic about narrative writing has come to an end. Thank you very much for reading and staying with me till the end.

In this article, I have discussed the parts of a narrative along with a sample report. Do practise some questions and take proper feedback from someone so that you improve your writing skills.

Now I turn it over to you. Which part of a narrative you think matters the most? Is it the conflict, setting or the plot? I will appreciate your thoughts on the topic.

Stay tuned for more.

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narrative writing topics 1123

CIE Exam Prep English Language-1123 – Writing Skills

  • Kanwal Hafeez
  • December 8, 2023

CIE Exam Prep English Language-1123 - Writing Skills

Table of Contents

Paper 2 is a writing-focused component that challenges candidates to express their thoughts and ideas coherently and persuasively. Comprising various writing tasks, this paper assesses a range of skills, including narrative and descriptive writing, argumentative or discursive essays, and creative responses. It demands not only proficiency in language use but also the ability to structure and present information effectively.

Whether crafting an engaging story, articulating a persuasive argument, or exploring creative expression, Paper 2 encourages students to showcase their command of language and their capacity for critical thinking.

As candidates navigate through diverse writing styles and prompts, they are tasked with demonstrating not only linguistic proficiency but also the creativity and clarity essential for effective communication. It has two main sections: 

Directed Writing

This section is all about expressing yourself in writing. This part asks you to respond to different situations, like writing formal letters, reports, or more casual pieces. It’s like putting your thoughts on paper in a way that fits the specific task. The goal is not just to use correct English but also to organize your ideas well, making sure your writing makes sense and suits the purpose.

So, whether it’s explaining something, telling a story, or convincing someone of your point of view, Directed Writing lets you showcase your writing skills in different everyday situations. 

In articles, the main goals are to inform and convince readers. They provide information on a topic, sharing different perspectives to create a balanced view for readers to make their own decisions. Articles can also aim to persuade, expressing a particular opinion or viewpoint, either positive or negative. 

  • When writing, consider your audience, how you want them to react, and the purpose of your article. 
  • Keep the tone semi-formal and engaging. 
  • To maintain reader interest, use a variety of sentence structures and relevant vocabulary. 
  • Plan your article with a clear introduction, a detailed middle presenting key points, and a conclusion summarizing your argument. 
  • Organize ideas into paragraphs, use suitable headlines and subheadings, and connect thoughts with linking words for a smooth flow. 
  • In essence, writing an article involves skillfully blending information, persuasion, and reader engagement. 
  • For a sample article along with feedback, click here  

2. Email 

Attempting email is a lucrative strategy when it comes to Directed writing. It terms of format and content, it is an easier choice.   

  • When crafting emails, consider your audience and the context. Emails sent to a group tend to be semi-formal, avoiding slang. Tailor the tone based on your relationship; semi-formal is standard, but it can be more relaxed with familiar contacts or formal with superiors. 
  • Be mindful of your reader’s time, ensuring clarity and professionalism in your message. Avoid emojis or informal abbreviations unless for casual communication. 
  • Organize your email by planning main points, maintaining focus on one topic, and using a three-part structure: a concise subject line, a brief introduction, a well-supported body with short paragraphs, and a closing section outlining the next steps or ending on a friendly note. 
  • Make your email reader-friendly by using headings, short lists, and appropriate emphasis. Choose a suitable greeting and sign off based on the recipient and the email’s purpose.
  • For a sample email, click here  

3. Report 

The essence of a report lies in presenting well-organized information, combining factual details with considered suggestions. Typically, reports blend objective facts and informed opinions, providing a balanced overview for the reader. They often serve to offer an impartial analysis of a situation, proposing alternatives for consideration.

In professional settings, reports may incorporate statistics to support diverse plans for the future, aiding decision-making. 

  • The primary audience for a report is usually someone in authority, such as a teacher or employer, necessitating a formal language and tone. 
  • To craft an effective report, consider your audience, maintain a formal and impersonal tone, align your vocabulary with the topic, and assure the reader of the report’s utility by presenting a calm and polite demeanor. 
  • Structurally, a report comprises an introduction providing a topic overview, a middle section developing key points, and a conclusion summarizing suggestions or recommendations. 
  • Clear organization through paragraphs, strategic use of headings and bullet points, and logical connections between points contribute to a cohesive and reader-friendly report.
  • For a sample report, click here .

4. Letter 

The primary purpose of a letter is to convey information or express a viewpoint to the reader, either formally or informally. Letters can serve various functions, from persuading the reader to consider the writer’s opinion, as seen in job applications, to more casual instances like sharing holiday experiences. 

  • Language and vocabulary choices depend on the audience and the letter’s purpose, ranging from formal tones for professional correspondence to informal, cheerful tones for personal communication. 
  • When writing letters, it’s crucial to consider the audience’s potential reaction, maintain a clear purpose, and influence the reader through a calm and polite tone. 
  • The organizational structure typically involves an opening paragraph stating the letter’s aim, a middle section elaborating on relevant points, and a closing section summarizing key points or specifying required actions. 
  • Following a conventional structure, including addresses and greetings, and incorporating appropriate linking words enhances the effectiveness of the letter.
  • To view a sample letter, click here . 

Speeches primarily aim to inform or persuade an audience, often intending to entertain or influence the listeners. They can also encourage action or behavioral changes, such as joining a club or recycling more. 

  • The language and vocabulary used depend on the audience and purpose, requiring formal tones for a speech to teachers and parents, for instance. 
  • Tips for writing speeches involve considering the audience, addressing potential objections, aligning tone with the topic, and engaging listeners with inclusive language. 
  • Organizationally, speeches typically comprise an attention-grabbing opening, a well-structured argument supported by examples, and a powerful conclusion, often grouped in threes for memorability. 
  • Clear paragraphing and the use of linking words ensure coherent connections between ideas. 
  • To view a well structured sample speech, click here . 

The purpose of an essay is to express and support an argument on a question or issue, considering different opinions. Essays can present both sides or focus on one, following a formal or neutral register. 

  • They should be well-organized, including an introduction, main body, and conclusion, with language appropriate for expressing opinions. Tips include considering the audience, maintaining a neutral tone, and using diverse grammatical structures. 
  • Organize the essay coherently, using formal linking words. One approach is a balanced argument, addressing both sides, or a one-sided essay presenting a single viewpoint with supporting examples. 
  • The conclusion summarizes the argument and encourages readers to form their own opinion. 
  • To view a sample essay, click here  

Conclusion:

Paper 2 of the CIE Exam is a dynamic writing-focused component designed to assess a spectrum of skills, from narrative writing to persuasive essays and creative expression. Students are challenged not only in their language proficiency but also in their ability to structure and convey information effectively.

The diverse tasks, such as Directed Writing, Articles, Email, Report, Letter, Speech, and Essay, demand a versatile approach, allowing candidates to showcase linguistic mastery, creativity, and critical thinking. Navigating through various writing styles, this paper cultivates the essential skills needed for effective communication and expression.

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Resources for CIE English Examinations

  • Discussion Forum
  • GCE AS Level General Paper 8004
  • Resources for Teachers

O’level English 1123 – 2012 Past Papers

narrative writing topics 1123

Here you can download June 2012  Past Papers, Marking Schemes and Examiner Report.

June 2012 Writing Paper A

June 2012 Writing Paper A – Marking Scheme

June 2012 Writing Paper B

June 2012 Writing Paper B – Marking Scheme

June 2012 Reading Paper A

June 2012 Reading Paper A – Insert

June 2012 Reading Paper A – Marking Scheme

June 2012 Reading Paper B

June 2012 Reading Paper B – Insert

June 2012 Reading Paper B – Marking Scheme

June 2012 – Examiner Report

——————————————————————————————————————————————-

Here you can download November 2012  Past Papers, Marking Schemes and Examiner Report.

November 2012 Writing Paper A

November 2012 Writing Paper A – Marking Scheme

November 2012 Writing Paper B

November 2012 Writing Paper B – Marking Scheme

November 2012 Reading Paper A

November 2012 Reading Paper A – Insert

November 2012 Reading Paper A – Marking Scheme

November 2012 Reading Paper B

November 2012 Reading Paper B – Insert

November 2012 Reading Paper B – Marking Scheme

November 2012 – Examiner Report

O’level English 1123 – 2011 Past Papers

Here you can download June 2011 Past Papers, Marking Schemes and Examiner Report.

June 2011 Writing Paper A

June 2011 Writing Paper A – Marking Scheme

June 2011 Writing Paper B

June 2011 Writing Paper B – Marking Scheme

June 2011 Reading Paper A

June 2011 Reading Paper A – Insert

June 2011 Reading Paper A – Marking Scheme

June 2010 Reading Paper B

June 2010 Reading Paper B – Insert

June 2010 Reading Paper B – Marking Scheme

Here you can download November 2011 Past Papers, Marking Schemes and Examiner Report.

November 2011 Writing Paper A

November 2011 Writing Paper A – Mark Scheme

November 2011 Reading Paper A

November 2011 Reading Paper A – Insert

November 2011 Reading Paper A – Mark Scheme

November 2011 Writing Paper B

November 2011 Writing Paper B – Mark Scheme

November 2011 Reading Paper B

November 2011 Reading Paper B – Insert

November 2011 Reading Paper B – Mark Scheme

November 2011 Examiner Report

O’level English 1123 – Specimen Papers for 2011 Exam

From June 2011, Cambridge University will conduct O’ level English Examination according to the new paper pattern, announced 02 years ago.

Major changes have been made to the Reading Paper, as there will be separate passages for Reading Comprehension and Summary Writing from June 2011 onwards. Summary Writing Task has also gone under a drastic change. The changes in the Writing Paper are minor ones, such as the word limit for Composition Writing Task has been reduced from 350-600 to 350-500 and now Composition Writing and Directed Writing tasks are of equal marks, i.e. 30 each.

Below you can find Specimen Papers and their Mark Schemes for June 2011 Examination issued by Cambridge University.

Specimen Writing Paper 1

Specimen Writing Paper 1 Marking Scheme

Specimen Reading Paper 1

Specimen Reading Paper 1 Insert

Specimen Reading Paper 1 Marking Scheme

————————————————————————————————————————

Specimen Writing Paper 2

Specimen Writing Paper 2 Marking Scheme

Specimen Reading Paper 2

Specimen Reading Paper 2 Insert

Specimen Reading Paper 2 Marking Scheme

O’level English 1123 – 2010 Past Papers

Here you can download June 2010 Past Papers, Marking Schemes and Examiner Report.

June 2010 Writing Paper A

June 2010 Writing Paper A Marking Scheme

June 2010 Reading Paper A

June 2010 Reading Paper A – Insert

June 2010 Reading Paper A Marking Scheme

June 2010 Writing Paper B

June 2010 Writing Paper B Marking Scheme

June 2010 Reading Paper B Marking Scheme

June 2010 Examiner Report

Here you can download November 2010 Past Papers, Marking Schemes and Examiner Report.

November 2010 Writing Paper A

November 2010 Writing Paper A Marking Scheme

November 2010 Reading Paper A

November 2010 Reading Paper Insert A

November 2010 Reading Paper A Marking Scheme

November 2010 Writing Paper B

November 2010 Writing Paper B Marking Scheme

November 2010 Reading Paper B

November 2010 Reading Paper Insert B

November 2010 Reading Paper B Marking Scheme

O’level English 1123 – 2009 Past Papers

narrative writing topics 1123

Here you can download June 2009 Past Papers, Marking Schemes and Examiner Report.

June 2009 Writing Paper

June 2009 Writing Paper Marking Scheme

June 2009 Reading Paper

June 2009 Reading Paper Insert

June 2009 Reading Paper Marking Scheme

June 2009 Examiner Report

Here you can download November 2009 Past Papers, Marking Schemes and Examiner Report.

November 2009 Writing Paper

November 2009 Writing Paper Marking Scheme

November 2009 Reading Paper

November 2009 Reading Paper Insert

November 2009 Reading Paper Marking Scheme

November 2009 Examiner Report

O’level English 1123 – 2008 Past Papers

narrative writing topics 1123

Here you can download June 2008 Past Papers, Marking Schemes and Examiner Report.

June 2008 Writing Paper

June 2008 Writing Paper Marking Scheme

June 2008 Reading Paper

June 2008 Reading Paper Insert

June 2008 Reading Paper Marking Scheme

June 2008 Examiner Report

Here you can download November 2008 Past Papers, Marking Schemes and Examiner Report.

November 2008 Writing Paper

November 2008 Writing Paper Marking Scheme

November 2008 Reading Paper

November 2008 Reading Paper Insert

November 2008 Reading Paper Marking Scheme

November 2008 Examiner Report

O’level English 1123 – 2007 Past Papers

Here you can download June 2007 Past Papers, Marking Schemes and Examiner Report.

June 2007 Writing Paper

June 2007 Writing Paper Marking Scheme

June 2007 Reading Paper

June 2007 Reading Paper Insert

June 2007 Reading Paper Marking Scheme

June 2007 Examiner Report

Here you can download November 2007 Past Papers, Marking Schemes and Examiner Report.

November 2007 Writing Paper

November 2007 Writing Paper Marking Scheme

November 2007 Reading Paper

November 2007 Reading Paper Insert

November 2007 Reading Paper Marking Scheme

November 2007 Examiner Report

O’level English 1123 – 2006 Past Papers

narrative writing topics 1123

Here you can download June 2006 Past Papers, Marking Schemes and Examiner Report.

June 2006 Writing Paper

June 2006 Writing Paper Marking Scheme

June 2006 Reading Paper

June 2006 Reading Paper Insert

June 2006 Reading Paper Marking Scheme

June 2006 Examiner Report

Here you can download November 2006 Past Papers, Marking Schemes and Examiner Report.

November 2006 Writing Paper

November 2006 Writing Paper Marking Scheme

November 2006 Reading Paper

November 2006 Reading Paper Insert

November 2006 Reading Paper Marking Scheme

November 2006 Examiner Report

O’level English 1123 – 2005 Past Papers

narrative writing topics 1123

Here you can download June 2005 Past Papers, Marking Schemes and Examiner Report.

June 2005 Writing Paper

June 2005 Writing Paper Marking Scheme

June 2005 Reading Paper

June 2005 Reading Paper Marking Scheme

June 2005 Examiner Report

Here you can download November 2005 Past Papers, Marking Schemes and Examiner Report.

November 2005 Writing Paper

November 2005 Writing Paper Marking Scheme

November 2005 Reading Paper

November 2005 Reading Paper Insert

November 2005 Reading Paper Marking Scheme

November 2005 Examiner Report

O’level English 1123 – 2004 Past Papers

narrative writing topics 1123

Here you can download June 2004 Past Papers, Marking Schemes and Examiner Report.

June 2004 Writing Paper

June 2004 Reading Paper

June 2004 Reading Paper Insert

June 2004 Marking Scheme

June 2004 Examiner Report

Here you can download November 2004 Past Papers, Marking Schemes and Examiner Report.

November 2004 Writing Paper

November 2004 Writing Paper Marking Scheme

November 2004 Reading Paper

November 2004 Reading Paper Insert

November 2004 Reading Paper Marking Scheme

November 2004 Examiner Report

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narrative writing topics 1123

Narrative Essay Topics: 200 Best Ideas for You

narrative writing topics 1123

Envision being enclosed in a time capsule with an AI chauffeur posing the question, "Which of your memories would you like to revisit?” This scenario perfectly aligns with the essence of a narrative essay, where your story, voice, and writing style set it apart. 

In this article, you will get a proper definition of a narrative essay, as well as a list of 200 narrative essay topics for college to get your creative juices flowing abundantly! If you’re in a hurry or overloaded with other tasks, feel free to consult our essay service – expert writers know how to help.

Bring your stories to life with EssayPro . Select from a vast array of narrative essay topics and let our professionals help you weave your tales into captivating essays. Whether it's adventure, reflection, or imagination, we're here to assist.

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Best Narrative Essay Topics: How to Choose the One That Resonates 

A narrative essay is a form of writing that recounts a personal experience or tells a story, often incorporating elements like characters, plot, setting, and a chronological sequence of events. The primary purpose of a narrative essay is to engage the reader emotionally and convey a specific message or insight through the retelling of a significant experience.

Students engage in writing narrative essays as part of their academic curriculum for various reasons. First and foremost, this type of essay serves as a means for personal expression, allowing students to convey their unique experiences, thoughts, and emotions creatively. Additionally, the process of crafting a narrative essay contributes to the development of essential writing skills, such as structuring ideas coherently and organizing thoughts effectively. 

How to Choose Narrative Essay Topics

Selecting compelling narrative essay ideas involves considering personal experiences, interests, and the potential for engaging storytelling. Here's a guide on how to choose narrative essay topics:

  • Reflect on Personal Experiences: Identify significant experiences in your life that have had a lasting impact. Consider moments of personal growth, challenges overcome, or lessons learned.
  • Explore Interests and Passions: Choose topics related to your hobbies, interests, or areas of expertise. Writing about something you are passionate about can make the narrative more captivating.
  • Consider Audience Interest: Think about the interests and preferences of your intended audience. Choose topics that resonate with a broader audience if the essay is for a class or publication.
  • Focus on a Specific Event or Detail: Narrow down your topic to a specific event or detail to make the narrative more focused and impactful. Avoid overly broad topics that may be challenging to cover thoroughly in a short essay.
  • Look for Universal Themes: Explore themes that have universal appeal, such as love, resilience, or personal transformation. Connecting with readers on a universal level enhances the relevance of your narrative.
  • Brainstorm and Freewrite: Generate a list of potential topics through brainstorming. Freewriting, where you write without constraints for a set period, can help unearth compelling ideas.
  • Consider Narrative Techniques: Think about the storytelling techniques you want to employ (e.g., flashback, foreshadowing) and choose a topic that complements those techniques.
  • Seek Feedback: Share your ideas with friends, peers, or instructors to get feedback on the potential impact and interest of your chosen topics.
  • Evaluate Emotional Significance: Assess the emotional significance of each potential topic. Topics that evoke strong emotions, whether joy, sadness, or excitement, often make for compelling narratives.
  • Ensure Personal Connection: Select a topic that you can connect with on a personal level. Your enthusiasm and connection to the subject matter will enhance the authenticity of the narrative.

Once you've discovered a topic that aligns with your mood, engage in brainstorming. Jot down all conceivable scenarios on paper and structure them into a distinctive outline for your narrative essay. Adhere to your professor's instructions diligently, as they likely address most of your inquiries. For added assistance, you can always turn to our narrative essay writing service and receive timely support. 

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Ideas for Narrative Essay Topics

Having examined the writing experiences of students in crafting narrative paragraphs, we have curated a collection of narrative essay topics tailored for both college and school students. This comprehensive list encompasses a diverse array of subjects, so feel free to choose one that resonates with you! If you’d like to see how to develop a topic in written form, please consult our narrative essay example guide. 

Literacy Narrative Essay Topics for College Students

What about exploring intriguing literacy narrative essay topics tailored for college-level writing? Sounds great!

  • Discovering the transformative power of literature during a challenging period in my life.
  • Navigating the complexities of multilingualism and its impact on my identity.
  • The profound influence of a childhood book that ignited my love for reading.
  • Overcoming dyslexia and finding my unique voice in the world of written expression.
  • Exploring the cultural significance of storytelling within my family heritage.
  • The evolution of my writing style through encounters with diverse literary genres.
  • Unraveling the mysteries of decoding language as a non-native English speaker.
  • The role of digital technology in shaping my approach to reading and writing.
  • The empowering journey of embracing academic literacy in a foreign language.
  • Capturing the essence of my academic growth through reflective writing assignments.
  • The intersection of personal and academic literacies in shaping my worldview.
  • The impact of a memorable teacher on my development as a critical reader.
  • Confronting stereotypes through literacy: Redefining narratives about my culture.
  • How my relationship with writing evolved through participation in online communities.
  • The role of literature in fostering empathy and understanding diverse perspectives.
  • Unveiling the hidden narratives in everyday life through observational writing.
  • The challenges and triumphs of maintaining a personal writing practice in college.
  • Exploring the connection between literacy and social justice advocacy.
  • Reflecting on the influence of literature on my personal and professional aspirations.
  • The unexpected lessons learned from failed attempts at creative writing projects.

Personal Narrative Essay Topics on Relationships

Reflect on your past experiences and share compelling personal narratives through these essay ideas. 

  • Navigating the complexities of a long-distance relationship: How did distance shape our connection?
  • The transformative impact of a friendship that withstood the test of time.
  • Lessons learned from a mentor-mentee relationship that transcended professional boundaries.
  • The role of sibling dynamics in shaping my understanding of interpersonal relationships.
  • Exploring the impact of cultural differences on friendships and romantic connections.
  • How did a childhood friendship influence my views on trust and loyalty in relationships?
  • The evolving dynamics of a family relationship during a significant life transition.
  • Unveiling the complexities of parent-child relationships through moments of conflict and resolution.
  • The unique challenges and rewards of maintaining relationships in a digital age.
  • Investigating the influence of societal expectations on romantic relationships.
  • The unexpected connections forged during a group travel experience.
  • How did a challenging breakup contribute to personal growth and self-discovery?
  • The role of shared hobbies and interests in building meaningful connections.
  • Reflecting on the impact of past relationships on my present-day perspectives.
  • Navigating workplace relationships and the balance between professionalism and camaraderie.
  • How have my experiences with peer relationships shaped my sense of belonging?
  • The significance of forgiveness and reconciliation in repairing strained relationships.
  • The influence of role models on my understanding of healthy and fulfilling relationships.
  • Exploring the complexities of friendships that transition into romantic involvement.
  • How do online interactions and social media influence the nature of modern relationships?

Best Narrative Essay Topics on Education and Learning

Think about sharing your personal experiences and emotions in a captivating manner with these ideas for personal narrative essays.

  • How overcoming academic challenges in high school shaped my approach to learning.
  • The transformative impact of a teacher who inspired a lifelong love for a particular subject.
  • Investigating the role of extracurricular activities in shaping a well-rounded educational experience.
  • How a cultural exchange program broadened my understanding of global education.
  • The challenges and rewards of navigating a bilingual education environment.
  • Exploring the influence of technology on modern classroom dynamics.
  • The role of peer collaboration in fostering a positive learning environment.
  • How did a personal learning style assessment impact my study habits and academic performance?
  • The importance of inclusive education in fostering empathy and understanding.
  • Reflecting on the impact of a particular book or literary work on my educational journey.
  • The role of mentors and role models in guiding educational and career aspirations.
  • Investigating the impact of standardized testing on students' mental health and academic success.
  • How do study abroad experiences contribute to a well-rounded education?
  • The challenges and triumphs of pursuing a non-traditional educational path.
  • The role of community service and volunteerism in shaping a sense of social responsibility.
  • How has the integration of technology changed the landscape of classroom learning?
  • The impact of cultural diversity on classroom discussions and collaborative projects.
  • Exploring the role of education in fostering critical thinking and problem-solving skills.
  • The influence of socioeconomic factors on educational opportunities and outcomes.
  • How can experiential learning enhance traditional classroom education?

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Personal Narrative Essay Ideas on Reflection on Life

We recommend sparking your creativity with a variety of narrative essay topics, ranging from special moments to everyday experiences.

  • How a personal setback became a catalyst for self-discovery and resilience.
  • Reflecting on the impact of a major life decision and the lessons learned.
  • Exploring the role of cultural heritage in shaping my identity and worldview.
  • The significance of small, everyday moments in fostering gratitude and mindfulness.
  • How facing a fear transformed my perspective on courage and personal growth.
  • Investigating the influence of family traditions on personal values and beliefs.
  • What does success mean to me, and how has that definition evolved over time?
  • Reflecting on the role of friendships in providing support during challenging times.
  • The impact of travel experiences on broadening my understanding of the world.
  • How personal hobbies and passions contribute to a sense of fulfillment.
  • Exploring the relationship between self-love and mental health.
  • How adversity can lead to unexpected opportunities for personal development.
  • Reflecting on the importance of setting and achieving personal goals.
  • What have been the defining moments in my journey toward self-acceptance?
  • Investigating the role of forgiveness in overcoming personal conflicts.
  • How do cultural or societal expectations influence my perception of success?
  • Reflecting on the role of self-care in maintaining physical and emotional well-being.
  • Exploring the impact of technology on the way I connect with others and the world.
  • The lessons learned from navigating a crossroads in life and making a tough decision.
  • How do personal beliefs and values guide my decision-making and life choices?

Ideas for a Narrative Essay on Culture and Society

It’s always a smart move to engage your readers with narrative essays on culture and society, exploring captivating ideas.

  • How cultural diversity in my community has enriched my perspective on the world.
  • Exploring the impact of technology on communication within contemporary society.
  • The role of traditional customs in preserving cultural identity amid globalization.
  • How social media has influenced societal perceptions of beauty and self-worth.
  • Investigating the effects of popular culture on shaping individual values and beliefs.
  • What cultural traditions and rituals contribute to a sense of belonging in my life?
  • Reflecting on the intersection of art and culture in shaping societal narratives.
  • How does socioeconomic status impact individuals' access to education and opportunities?
  • The evolving role of gender norms and equality in today's changing society.
  • Exploring the impact of immigration on cultural exchange and adaptation.
  • What role does storytelling play in preserving and passing down cultural heritage?
  • The influence of historical events on the collective memory of a community.
  • How do language and communication styles reflect cultural diversity?
  • Investigating the effects of globalization on local cultures and traditions.
  • The impact of social movements on challenging societal norms and fostering change.
  • How does media representation influence perceptions of different cultural groups?
  • Reflecting on the role of education in promoting cultural awareness and tolerance.
  • What challenges do individuals face in navigating a multicultural society?
  • Exploring the role of fashion and trends in expressing cultural identity.
  • How do cultural stereotypes affect interpersonal relationships and understanding?

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Narrative Writing Topics on Hobbies and Interests

Impress your readers by transforming your passions and hobbies into thought-provoking narrative essay topics.

  • How my passion for photography has shaped the way I perceive the world.
  • Exploring the joy of discovering new recipes and the art of culinary experimentation.
  • What challenges have I faced and overcome in pursuing my favorite outdoor activities?
  • Reflecting on the transformative power of literature in my life.
  • How has my interest in astronomy influenced my perspective on the universe?
  • What life lessons have I learned through my dedication to martial arts?
  • The role of music in capturing and expressing the essence of personal experiences.
  • How does my love for hiking connect me with nature and promote well-being?
  • Investigating the world of gaming and its impact on my problem-solving skills.
  • What role do artistic expressions, such as painting or drawing, play in my self-discovery?
  • The thrill and challenges of exploring different styles of dance as a form of self-expression.
  • How has my interest in technology and coding opened new possibilities for creativity?
  • What motivates my commitment to environmental sustainability and eco-friendly practices?
  • Exploring the excitement and camaraderie of participating in team sports.
  • The journey of cultivating a green thumb and finding joy in gardening.
  • How do travel and exploration contribute to my personal growth and worldview?
  • Reflecting on the satisfaction derived from building and creating with hands-on crafts.
  • Investigating the cultural and historical aspects of collecting unique artifacts or memorabilia.
  • What sparks my curiosity in the world of science and scientific inquiry?
  • How does my dedication to a specific hobby foster a sense of discipline and dedication?

Narrative Essay Titles on Life-Changing Moments

Life's unpredictability often leads to transformative moments. Consider these narrative essay titles for stories that forever changed your life.

  • Unearthing a hidden passion that illuminated my world.
  • Choosing courage over comfort: A pivotal day in my life.
  • Navigating unexpected turns: Embracing life's spontaneous changes.
  • Can a solitary decision truly reshape the trajectory of a lifetime?
  • Embracing transformative opportunities: The power of saying 'yes'.
  • A chance encounter that forever altered my perspective.
  • Confronting fears head-on: Discovering the strength within.
  • Resilience in adversity: Rising above setbacks with determination.
  • Defining moments that reshaped the very core of my identity.
  • At life's crossroads: Choosing destinies beyond expectations.
  • The ripple effect of decision-making: Small choices, big changes.
  • Losing and finding myself: A journey to rediscover my true identity.
  • Breaking free from self-imposed limitations: The sweet taste of liberation.
  • Piecing together a new narrative amidst life's intricate challenges.
  • Finding silver linings in heartbreak: Transformative growth revealed.
  • Harmony amid chaos: Gracefully dancing through life's constant changes.
  • Thriving beyond comfort zones: Exploring uncharted territories.
  • The journey to success: Failure as a vital stepping stone.
  • Letting go and embracing fresh beginnings: The art of renewal.
  • Discovering purpose in the unpredictable moments of life.

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Good Narrative Topics on Travel and Adventure

Compose captivating personal narrative essay ideas titles by delving into exciting travel adventures.

  • Exploring the vibrant markets of Marrakech.
  • Hiking the untamed trails of Patagonia.
  • A spontaneous road trip through the American Southwest.
  • Can the thrill of paragliding over the Swiss Alps be surpassed?
  • Navigating the chaos of Tokyo's bustling streets.
  • How does volunteering in a remote village in Cambodia change perspectives?
  • Camping under the Northern Lights in Lapland.
  • What wildlife encounters await on an African safari?
  • How do diverse landscapes shape the experience of backpacking across Nepal?
  • What stories lie in the historic streets of Rome during a solo journey?
  • Chasing sunsets on the cliffs of Santorini.
  • What wonders lie beneath the crystal-clear waters of the Maldives for snorkeling?
  • How does getting lost in the ancient alleyways of Istanbul unravel surprises?
  • Exploring the ancient ruins of Machu Picchu.
  • What tales unfold while hitchhiking along the scenic coastal roads of New Zealand?
  • Embracing the serenity of a secluded mountain retreat.
  • Capturing the essence of a bustling Asian street market.
  • How does bungee jumping off a bridge in Queenstown, New Zealand, feel?
  • What culinary delights await while savoring street food in Bangkok?
  • What stories emerge from surfing the waves of the Pacific Coast?

Narrative Essay Topic Ideas on Career and Work Experience

College students can find compelling narrative essay topics by exploring potential career paths or revisiting past job experiences.

  • Navigating challenges while climbing the corporate ladder.
  • Managing multiple roles in a fast-paced workplace.
  • Experiencing a pivotal career moment in transition.
  • Can mentorship shape a career more than formal education?
  • Learning valuable lessons from job loss.
  • Embarking on the entrepreneurial journey: Building a startup from scratch.
  • Understanding the impact of networking on professional growth.
  • Assessing remote work and its influence on productivity from a desk with a view.
  • Evolving from intern to leader: The workplace roles' progression.
  • Can a passion-aligned career pay the bills?
  • Examining the influence of a positive work culture on employee satisfaction.
  • Strategies for overcoming impostor syndrome and thriving in professional spaces.
  • Navigating freelance challenges in the gig economy.
  • Striking a balance at the crossroads of work and family.
  • Exploring how effective communication shapes careers during negotiations.
  • Resilience in the workplace: Turning setbacks into comebacks.
  • Paving the way for success outside traditional careers through the unconventional path.
  • Examining the role of failure as a necessary detour in career development.
  • Breaking glass ceilings and challenging norms: Women in the workplace.
  • Can work-life integration achieve harmony, replacing the pursuit of balance?

Interesting Narrative Essay Topics about Challenges and Obstacles

If you're feeling uncertain about your narrative essay topic, reflect on challenging moments you've faced and how you overcame them.

  • Overcoming fear through confronting phobias.
  • Navigating challenges in a complex career transition.
  • Scaling personal obstacles for self-discovery.
  • Juggling multiple responsibilities in modern life.
  • Recovering from physical injuries and emotional trauma.
  • How do you deal with life-altering decisions at unexpected crossroads?
  • Unraveling knots: Rebuilding relationships after betrayal.
  • What is the personal tale of overcoming depression?
  • Weathering the storm: Surviving and rebuilding after natural disasters.
  • Adapting to a new culture: Foreign ground, familiar struggles.
  • How do you confront invisible illnesses in a judgmental world?
  • Rising from rock bottom to resilience against addiction.
  • Forging a unique path against societal expectations.
  • Embracing self-acceptance amidst societal pressures.
  • Juggling life responsibilities on the tightrope of balance.
  • Finding a voice in the midst of personal challenges.
  • How do you navigate life-altering decisions at crossroads?
  • Self-discovery through overcoming personal flaws.
  • Rebuilding relationships after a period of estrangement.
  • Repairing connections after a falling out on bridges over troubled waters.

Final Remarks

As we conclude, our compilation of 200 narrative essay topics aims to provide you with a solid foundation for your upcoming writing endeavors! Whether you're recounting a significant event, cherishing a childhood memory, or expressing a profound realization, a meticulously crafted narrative essay possesses the potential to deeply resonate with readers.

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Narrative Writing: A Complete Guide for Teachers and Students

Complete guide to Narrative Writing

MASTERING THE CRAFT OF NARRATIVE WRITING

Narratives build on and encourage the development of the fundamentals of writing. They also require developing an additional skill set: the ability to tell a good yarn, and storytelling is as old as humanity.

We see and hear stories everywhere and daily, from having good gossip on the doorstep with a neighbor in the morning to the dramas that fill our screens in the evening.

Good narrative writing skills are hard-won by students even though it is an area of writing that most enjoy due to the creativity and freedom it offers.

Here we will explore some of the main elements of a good story: plot, setting, characters, conflict, climax, and resolution . And we will look too at how best we can help our students understand these elements, both in isolation and how they mesh together as a whole.

Visual Writing Prompts

WHAT IS A NARRATIVE?

What is a narrative?

A narrative is a story that shares a sequence of events , characters, and themes. It expresses experiences, ideas, and perspectives that should aspire to engage and inspire an audience.

A narrative can spark emotion, encourage reflection, and convey meaning when done well.

Narratives are a popular genre for students and teachers as they allow the writer to share their imagination, creativity, skill, and understanding of nearly all elements of writing.  We occasionally refer to a narrative as ‘creative writing’ or story writing.

The purpose of a narrative is simple, to tell the audience a story.  It can be written to motivate, educate, or entertain and can be fact or fiction.

A COMPLETE UNIT ON TEACHING NARRATIVE WRITING

narrative writing | narrative writing unit 1 2 | Narrative Writing: A Complete Guide for Teachers and Students | literacyideas.com

Teach your students to become skilled story writers with this HUGE   NARRATIVE & CREATIVE STORY WRITING UNIT . Offering a  COMPLETE SOLUTION  to teaching students how to craft  CREATIVE CHARACTERS, SUPERB SETTINGS, and PERFECT PLOTS .

Over 192 PAGES of materials, including:

TYPES OF NARRATIVE WRITING

There are many narrative writing genres and sub-genres such as these.

We have a complete guide to writing a personal narrative that differs from the traditional story-based narrative covered in this guide. It includes personal narrative writing prompts, resources, and examples and can be found here.

narrative writing | how to write quest narratives | Narrative Writing: A Complete Guide for Teachers and Students | literacyideas.com

As we can see, narratives are an open-ended form of writing that allows you to showcase creativity in many directions. However, all narratives share a common set of features and structure known as “Story Elements”, which are briefly covered in this guide.

Don’t overlook the importance of understanding story elements and the value this adds to you as a writer who can dissect and create grand narratives. We also have an in-depth guide to understanding story elements here .

CHARACTERISTICS OF NARRATIVE WRITING

Narrative structure.

ORIENTATION (BEGINNING) Set the scene by introducing your characters, setting and time of the story. Establish your who, when and where in this part of your narrative

COMPLICATION AND EVENTS (MIDDLE) In this section activities and events involving your main characters are expanded upon. These events are written in a cohesive and fluent sequence.

RESOLUTION (ENDING) Your complication is resolved in this section. It does not have to be a happy outcome, however.

EXTRAS: Whilst orientation, complication and resolution are the agreed norms for a narrative, there are numerous examples of popular texts that did not explicitly follow this path exactly.

NARRATIVE FEATURES

LANGUAGE: Use descriptive and figurative language to paint images inside your audience’s minds as they read.

PERSPECTIVE Narratives can be written from any perspective but are most commonly written in first or third person.

DIALOGUE Narratives frequently switch from narrator to first-person dialogue. Always use speech marks when writing dialogue.

TENSE If you change tense, make it perfectly clear to your audience what is happening. Flashbacks might work well in your mind but make sure they translate to your audience.

THE PLOT MAP

narrative writing | structuring a narrative | Narrative Writing: A Complete Guide for Teachers and Students | literacyideas.com

This graphic is known as a plot map, and nearly all narratives fit this structure in one way or another, whether romance novels, science fiction or otherwise.

It is a simple tool that helps you understand and organise a story’s events. Think of it as a roadmap that outlines the journey of your characters and the events that unfold. It outlines the different stops along the way, such as the introduction, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution, that help you to see how the story builds and develops.

Using a plot map, you can see how each event fits into the larger picture and how the different parts of the story work together to create meaning. It’s a great way to visualize and analyze a story.

Be sure to refer to a plot map when planning a story, as it has all the essential elements of a great story.

THE 5 KEY STORY ELEMENTS OF A GREAT NARRATIVE (6-MINUTE TUTORIAL VIDEO)

This video we created provides an excellent overview of these elements and demonstrates them in action in stories we all know and love.

Story Elements for kids

HOW TO WRITE A NARRATIVE

How to write a Narrative

Now that we understand the story elements and how they come together to form stories, it’s time to start planning and writing your narrative.

In many cases, the template and guide below will provide enough details on how to craft a great story. However, if you still need assistance with the fundamentals of writing, such as sentence structure, paragraphs and using correct grammar, we have some excellent guides on those here.

USE YOUR WRITING TIME EFFECTIVELY: Maximize your narrative writing sessions by spending approximately 20 per cent of your time planning and preparing.  This ensures greater productivity during your writing time and keeps you focused and on task.

Use tools such as graphic organizers to logically sequence your narrative if you are not a confident story writer.  If you are working with reluctant writers, try using narrative writing prompts to get their creative juices flowing.

Spend most of your writing hour on the task at hand, don’t get too side-tracked editing during this time and leave some time for editing. When editing a  narrative, examine it for these three elements.

  • Spelling and grammar ( Is it readable?)
  • Story structure and continuity ( Does it make sense, and does it flow? )
  • Character and plot analysis. (Are your characters engaging? Does your problem/resolution work? )

1. SETTING THE SCENE: THE WHERE AND THE WHEN

narrative writing | aa156ee009d91a57894348652da98b58 | Narrative Writing: A Complete Guide for Teachers and Students | literacyideas.com

The story’s setting often answers two of the central questions in the story, namely, the where and the when. The answers to these two crucial questions will often be informed by the type of story the student is writing.

The story’s setting can be chosen to quickly orient the reader to the type of story they are reading. For example, a fictional narrative writing piece such as a horror story will often begin with a description of a haunted house on a hill or an abandoned asylum in the middle of the woods. If we start our story on a rocket ship hurtling through the cosmos on its space voyage to the Alpha Centauri star system, we can be reasonably sure that the story we are embarking on is a work of science fiction.

Such conventions are well-worn clichés true, but they can be helpful starting points for our novice novelists to make a start.

Having students choose an appropriate setting for the type of story they wish to write is an excellent exercise for our younger students. It leads naturally onto the next stage of story writing, which is creating suitable characters to populate this fictional world they have created. However, older or more advanced students may wish to play with the expectations of appropriate settings for their story. They may wish to do this for comic effect or in the interest of creating a more original story. For example, opening a story with a children’s birthday party does not usually set up the expectation of a horror story. Indeed, it may even lure the reader into a happy reverie as they remember their own happy birthday parties. This leaves them more vulnerable to the surprise element of the shocking action that lies ahead.

Once the students have chosen a setting for their story, they need to start writing. Little can be more terrifying to English students than the blank page and its bare whiteness stretching before them on the table like a merciless desert they must cross. Give them the kick-start they need by offering support through word banks or writing prompts. If the class is all writing a story based on the same theme, you may wish to compile a common word bank on the whiteboard as a prewriting activity. Write the central theme or genre in the middle of the board. Have students suggest words or phrases related to the theme and list them on the board.

You may wish to provide students with a copy of various writing prompts to get them started. While this may mean that many students’ stories will have the same beginning, they will most likely arrive at dramatically different endings via dramatically different routes.

narrative writing | story elements | Narrative Writing: A Complete Guide for Teachers and Students | literacyideas.com

A bargain is at the centre of the relationship between the writer and the reader. That bargain is that the reader promises to suspend their disbelief as long as the writer creates a consistent and convincing fictional reality. Creating a believable world for the fictional characters to inhabit requires the student to draw on convincing details. The best way of doing this is through writing that appeals to the senses. Have your student reflect deeply on the world that they are creating. What does it look like? Sound like? What does the food taste like there? How does it feel like to walk those imaginary streets, and what aromas beguile the nose as the main character winds their way through that conjured market?

Also, Consider the when; or the time period. Is it a future world where things are cleaner and more antiseptic? Or is it an overcrowded 16th-century London with human waste stinking up the streets? If students can create a multi-sensory installation in the reader’s mind, then they have done this part of their job well.

Popular Settings from Children’s Literature and Storytelling

  • Fairytale Kingdom
  • Magical Forest
  • Village/town
  • Underwater world
  • Space/Alien planet

2. CASTING THE CHARACTERS: THE WHO

Now that your student has created a believable world, it is time to populate it with believable characters.

In short stories, these worlds mustn’t be overpopulated beyond what the student’s skill level can manage. Short stories usually only require one main character and a few secondary ones. Think of the short story more as a small-scale dramatic production in an intimate local theater than a Hollywood blockbuster on a grand scale. Too many characters will only confuse and become unwieldy with a canvas this size. Keep it simple!

Creating believable characters is often one of the most challenging aspects of narrative writing for students. Fortunately, we can do a few things to help students here. Sometimes it is helpful for students to model their characters on actual people they know. This can make things a little less daunting and taxing on the imagination. However, whether or not this is the case, writing brief background bios or descriptions of characters’ physical personality characteristics can be a beneficial prewriting activity. Students should give some in-depth consideration to the details of who their character is: How do they walk? What do they look like? Do they have any distinguishing features? A crooked nose? A limp? Bad breath? Small details such as these bring life and, therefore, believability to characters. Students can even cut pictures from magazines to put a face to their character and allow their imaginations to fill in the rest of the details.

Younger students will often dictate to the reader the nature of their characters. To improve their writing craft, students must know when to switch from story-telling mode to story-showing mode. This is particularly true when it comes to character. Encourage students to reveal their character’s personality through what they do rather than merely by lecturing the reader on the faults and virtues of the character’s personality. It might be a small relayed detail in the way they walk that reveals a core characteristic. For example, a character who walks with their head hanging low and shoulders hunched while avoiding eye contact has been revealed to be timid without the word once being mentioned. This is a much more artistic and well-crafted way of doing things and is less irritating for the reader. A character who sits down at the family dinner table immediately snatches up his fork and starts stuffing roast potatoes into his mouth before anyone else has even managed to sit down has revealed a tendency towards greed or gluttony.

Understanding Character Traits

Again, there is room here for some fun and profitable prewriting activities. Give students a list of character traits and have them describe a character doing something that reveals that trait without ever employing the word itself.

It is also essential to avoid adjective stuffing here. When looking at students’ early drafts, adjective stuffing is often apparent. To train the student out of this habit, choose an adjective and have the student rewrite the sentence to express this adjective through action rather than telling.

When writing a story, it is vital to consider the character’s traits and how they will impact the story’s events. For example, a character with a strong trait of determination may be more likely to overcome obstacles and persevere. In contrast, a character with a tendency towards laziness may struggle to achieve their goals. In short, character traits add realism, depth, and meaning to a story, making it more engaging and memorable for the reader.

Popular Character Traits in Children’s Stories

  • Determination
  • Imagination
  • Perseverance
  • Responsibility

We have an in-depth guide to creating great characters here , but most students should be fine to move on to planning their conflict and resolution.

3. NO PROBLEM? NO STORY! HOW CONFLICT DRIVES A NARRATIVE

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This is often the area apprentice writers have the most difficulty with. Students must understand that without a problem or conflict, there is no story. The problem is the driving force of the action. Usually, in a short story, the problem will center around what the primary character wants to happen or, indeed, wants not to happen. It is the hurdle that must be overcome. It is in the struggle to overcome this hurdle that events happen.

Often when a student understands the need for a problem in a story, their completed work will still not be successful. This is because, often in life, problems remain unsolved. Hurdles are not always successfully overcome. Students pick up on this.

We often discuss problems with friends that will never be satisfactorily resolved one way or the other, and we accept this as a part of life. This is not usually the case with writing a story. Whether a character successfully overcomes his or her problem or is decidedly crushed in the process of trying is not as important as the fact that it will finally be resolved one way or the other.

A good practical exercise for students to get to grips with this is to provide copies of stories and have them identify the central problem or conflict in each through discussion. Familiar fables or fairy tales such as Three Little Pigs, The Boy Who Cried Wolf, Cinderella, etc., are great for this.

While it is true that stories often have more than one problem or that the hero or heroine is unsuccessful in their first attempt to solve a central problem, for beginning students and intermediate students, it is best to focus on a single problem, especially given the scope of story writing at this level. Over time students will develop their abilities to handle more complex plots and write accordingly.

Popular Conflicts found in Children’s Storytelling.

  • Good vs evil
  • Individual vs society
  • Nature vs nurture
  • Self vs others
  • Man vs self
  • Man vs nature
  • Man vs technology
  • Individual vs fate
  • Self vs destiny

Conflict is the heart and soul of any good story. It’s what makes a story compelling and drives the plot forward. Without conflict, there is no story. Every great story has a struggle or a problem that needs to be solved, and that’s where conflict comes in. Conflict is what makes a story exciting and keeps the reader engaged. It creates tension and suspense and makes the reader care about the outcome.

Like in real life, conflict in a story is an opportunity for a character’s growth and transformation. It’s a chance for them to learn and evolve, making a story great. So next time stories are written in the classroom, remember that conflict is an essential ingredient, and without it, your story will lack the energy, excitement, and meaning that makes it truly memorable.

4. THE NARRATIVE CLIMAX: HOW THINGS COME TO A HEAD!

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The climax of the story is the dramatic high point of the action. It is also when the struggles kicked off by the problem come to a head. The climax will ultimately decide whether the story will have a happy or tragic ending. In the climax, two opposing forces duke things out until the bitter (or sweet!) end. One force ultimately emerges triumphant. As the action builds throughout the story, suspense increases as the reader wonders which of these forces will win out. The climax is the release of this suspense.

Much of the success of the climax depends on how well the other elements of the story have been achieved. If the student has created a well-drawn and believable character that the reader can identify with and feel for, then the climax will be more powerful.

The nature of the problem is also essential as it determines what’s at stake in the climax. The problem must matter dearly to the main character if it matters at all to the reader.

Have students engage in discussions about their favorite movies and books. Have them think about the storyline and decide the most exciting parts. What was at stake at these moments? What happened in your body as you read or watched? Did you breathe faster? Or grip the cushion hard? Did your heart rate increase, or did you start to sweat? This is what a good climax does and what our students should strive to do in their stories.

The climax puts it all on the line and rolls the dice. Let the chips fall where the writer may…

Popular Climax themes in Children’s Stories

  • A battle between good and evil
  • The character’s bravery saves the day
  • Character faces their fears and overcomes them
  • The character solves a mystery or puzzle.
  • The character stands up for what is right.
  • Character reaches their goal or dream.
  • The character learns a valuable lesson.
  • The character makes a selfless sacrifice.
  • The character makes a difficult decision.
  • The character reunites with loved ones or finds true friendship.

5. RESOLUTION: TYING UP LOOSE ENDS

After the climactic action, a few questions will often remain unresolved for the reader, even if all the conflict has been resolved. The resolution is where those lingering questions will be answered. The resolution in a short story may only be a brief paragraph or two. But, in most cases, it will still be necessary to include an ending immediately after the climax can feel too abrupt and leave the reader feeling unfulfilled.

An easy way to explain resolution to students struggling to grasp the concept is to point to the traditional resolution of fairy tales, the “And they all lived happily ever after” ending. This weather forecast for the future allows the reader to take their leave. Have the student consider the emotions they want to leave the reader with when crafting their resolution.

While the action is usually complete by the end of the climax, it is in the resolution that if there is a twist to be found, it will appear – think of movies such as The Usual Suspects. Pulling this off convincingly usually requires considerable skill from a student writer. Still, it may well form a challenging extension exercise for those more gifted storytellers among your students.

Popular Resolutions in Children’s Stories

  • Our hero achieves their goal
  • The character learns a valuable lesson
  • A character finds happiness or inner peace.
  • The character reunites with loved ones.
  • Character restores balance to the world.
  • The character discovers their true identity.
  • Character changes for the better.
  • The character gains wisdom or understanding.
  • Character makes amends with others.
  • The character learns to appreciate what they have.

Once students have completed their story, they can edit for grammar, vocabulary choice, spelling, etc., but not before!

As mentioned, there is a craft to storytelling, as well as an art. When accurate grammar, perfect spelling, and immaculate sentence structures are pushed at the outset, they can cause storytelling paralysis. For this reason, it is essential that when we encourage the students to write a story, we give them license to make mechanical mistakes in their use of language that they can work on and fix later.

Good narrative writing is a very complex skill to develop and will take the student years to become competent. It challenges not only the student’s technical abilities with language but also her creative faculties. Writing frames, word banks, mind maps, and visual prompts can all give valuable support as students develop the wide-ranging and challenging skills required to produce a successful narrative writing piece. But, at the end of it all, as with any craft, practice and more practice is at the heart of the matter.

TIPS FOR WRITING A GREAT NARRATIVE

  • Start your story with a clear purpose: If you can determine the theme or message you want to convey in your narrative before starting it will make the writing process so much simpler.
  • Choose a compelling storyline and sell it through great characters, setting and plot: Consider a unique or interesting story that captures the reader’s attention, then build the world and characters around it.
  • Develop vivid characters that are not all the same: Make your characters relatable and memorable by giving them distinct personalities and traits you can draw upon in the plot.
  • Use descriptive language to hook your audience into your story: Use sensory language to paint vivid images and sequences in the reader’s mind.
  • Show, don’t tell your audience: Use actions, thoughts, and dialogue to reveal character motivations and emotions through storytelling.
  • Create a vivid setting that is clear to your audience before getting too far into the plot: Describe the time and place of your story to immerse the reader fully.
  • Build tension: Refer to the story map earlier in this article and use conflict, obstacles, and suspense to keep the audience engaged and invested in your narrative.
  • Use figurative language such as metaphors, similes, and other literary devices to add depth and meaning to your narrative.
  • Edit, revise, and refine: Take the time to refine and polish your writing for clarity and impact.
  • Stay true to your voice: Maintain your unique perspective and style in your writing to make it your own.

NARRATIVE WRITING EXAMPLES (Student Writing Samples)

Below are a collection of student writing samples of narratives.  Click on the image to enlarge and explore them in greater detail.  Please take a moment to read these creative stories in detail and the teacher and student guides which highlight some of the critical elements of narratives to consider before writing.

Please understand these student writing samples are not intended to be perfect examples for each age or grade level but a piece of writing for students and teachers to explore together to critically analyze to improve student writing skills and deepen their understanding of story writing.

We recommend reading the example either a year above or below, as well as the grade you are currently working with, to gain a broader appreciation of this text type.

narrative writing | Narrative writing example year 3 1 | Narrative Writing: A Complete Guide for Teachers and Students | literacyideas.com

NARRATIVE WRITING PROMPTS (Journal Prompts)

When students have a great journal prompt, it can help them focus on the task at hand, so be sure to view our vast collection of visual writing prompts for various text types here or use some of these.

  • On a recent European trip, you find your travel group booked into the stunning and mysterious Castle Frankenfurter for a single night…  As night falls, the massive castle of over one hundred rooms seems to creak and groan as a series of unexplained events begin to make you wonder who or what else is spending the evening with you. Write a narrative that tells the story of your evening.
  • You are a famous adventurer who has discovered new lands; keep a travel log over a period of time in which you encounter new and exciting adventures and challenges to overcome.  Ensure your travel journal tells a story and has a definite introduction, conflict and resolution.
  • You create an incredible piece of technology that has the capacity to change the world.  As you sit back and marvel at your innovation and the endless possibilities ahead of you, it becomes apparent there are a few problems you didn’t really consider. You might not even be able to control them.  Write a narrative in which you ride the highs and lows of your world-changing creation with a clear introduction, conflict and resolution.
  • As the final door shuts on the Megamall, you realise you have done it…  You and your best friend have managed to sneak into the largest shopping centre in town and have the entire place to yourselves until 7 am tomorrow.  There is literally everything and anything a child would dream of entertaining themselves for the next 12 hours.  What amazing adventures await you?  What might go wrong?  And how will you get out of there scot-free?
  • A stranger walks into town…  Whilst appearing similar to almost all those around you, you get a sense that this person is from another time, space or dimension… Are they friends or foes?  What makes you sense something very strange is going on?   Suddenly they stand up and walk toward you with purpose extending their hand… It’s almost as if they were reading your mind.

NARRATIVE WRITING VIDEO TUTORIAL

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Teaching Resources

Use our resources and tools to improve your student’s writing skills through proven teaching strategies.

When teaching narrative writing, it is essential that you have a range of tools, strategies and resources at your disposal to ensure you get the most out of your writing time.  You can find some examples below, which are free and paid premium resources you can use instantly without any preparation.

FREE Narrative Graphic Organizer

narrative writing | NarrativeGraphicOrganizer | Narrative Writing: A Complete Guide for Teachers and Students | literacyideas.com

THE STORY TELLERS BUNDLE OF TEACHING RESOURCES

narrative writing | story tellers bundle 1 | Narrative Writing: A Complete Guide for Teachers and Students | literacyideas.com

A MASSIVE COLLECTION of resources for narratives and story writing in the classroom covering all elements of crafting amazing stories. MONTHS WORTH OF WRITING LESSONS AND RESOURCES, including:

NARRATIVE WRITING CHECKLIST BUNDLE

writing checklists

OTHER GREAT ARTICLES ABOUT NARRATIVE WRITING

narrative writing | Narrative2BWriting2BStrategies2Bfor2Bjuniors2B28129 | Narrative Writing for Kids: Essential Skills and Strategies | literacyideas.com

Narrative Writing for Kids: Essential Skills and Strategies

narrative writing | narrative writing lessons | 7 Great Narrative Lesson Plans Students and Teachers Love | literacyideas.com

7 Great Narrative Lesson Plans Students and Teachers Love

narrative writing | Top narrative writing skills for students | Top 7 Narrative Writing Exercises for Students | literacyideas.com

Top 7 Narrative Writing Exercises for Students

narrative writing | how to write a scary horror story | How to Write a Scary Story | literacyideas.com

How to Write a Scary Story

The content for this page has been written by Shane Mac Donnchaidh.  A former principal of an international school and English university lecturer with 15 years of teaching and administration experience. Shane’s latest Book, The Complete Guide to Nonfiction Writing , can be found here.  Editing and support for this article have been provided by the literacyideas team.

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COMMENTS

  1. Narrative Writing Sample

    So basically, if you do this, you are using characteristics of a narrative. Suspense if a main part of a narrative. But, we will take a look at it later in this article. You should know that narrative is a part of section 2 in paper 1 of O level English. You have to write between 350 to 500 words for this question.

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    CIE O'level Exam Prep English Language-1123 - Narrative Writing Kanwal Hafeez December 8, 2023 Narrative Writing Narrative writing involves crafting a compelling and engaging story. Students are tasked with developing characters, setting, and plot in a way that captivates the reader's attention.

  3. PDF Syllabus Cambridge O Level English Language 1123

    English Language 1123 Use this syllabus for exams in 2023. Exams are available in the June and November series. Version 1 Please check the syllabus page at www.cambridgeinternational.org/olevel to see if this syllabus is available in your administrative zone. Changes to the syllabus for 2023

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    The Cambridge O Level English Language syllabus enables learners to communicate accurately, appropriately and effectively and to understand and respond appropriately and imaginatively to what they read and experience.

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    1 A very popular teacher at your school is leaving after a long and successful career. The staff, students and parents are going to celebrate the teacher's career at a ceremony where the Principal will make a thank-you speech. The Principal asks you to write a report which gives information for the thank-you speech.

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    Paper 1123/11 . Writing . Key messages • Candidates should ensure they identify the key words in each task so as to satisfy the requirements of the question. ... • Direct speech helps to improve a narrative but it needs to be accurately punctuated and paragraphed.

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    Paper 1123/11 . Writing . ... all candidates could find a topic they were interested in writing about. The argument questions were ... Less successful responses relied too much on narrative, describing the events of their day or evening, rather than describing the place to buy food. The language in these compositions was less specific with some

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    Paper 1123/11 Writing ... Fulfilment it is the development of the ideas that will gain most marks. The first bullet point posed few ... occasionally led to a more narrative approach. However, there were some highly sensitive descriptions of how different people react at the end of school, often focusing on different groups of candidates, or ...

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    ENGLISH LANGUAGE 1123 PAST PAPERS English Language O Level Past Papers and Important Details. 12/01/2023 : English Language 1123 October November 2022 Past Papers of O Levels are Updated. Moreover English Language 1123 Past Papers of May June 2022 are also available. CAIE was previously known as CIE. Within this Past Papers section you will also get Topical Past Papers now as well as Solved ...

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    Paper 1123/11 Writing Key messages ... • Consider all the titles in Section 2 before deciding which topic to write on. • Direct speech is useful in developing characters and plot, but must be punctuated properly with correct ... There was a good range of responses in Section 2, although the narrative questions were generally more

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    1123/11 May/June 2020 1 hour 30 minutes ENGLISH LANGUAGE Paper 1 Writing You must answer on the enclosed answer booklet. You will need: Answer booklet (enclosed) INSTRUCTIONS • Answer two questions in total: Section 1: answer Question 1. Section 2: answer one question. • Follow the instructions on the front cover of the answer booklet. If ...

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    CIE Exam Prep English Language-1123 - Writing Skills. Paper 2 is a writing-focused component that challenges candidates to express their thoughts and ideas coherently and persuasively. Comprising various writing tasks, this paper assesses a range of skills, including narrative and descriptive writing, argumentative or discursive essays, and ...

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    The changes in the Writing Paper are minor ones, such as the word limit for Composition Writing Task has been reduced from 350-600 to 350-500 and now Composition Writing and Directed Writing tasks are of equal marks, i.e. 30 each. ... O'level English Language 1123 Past Papers; O'level Literature in English 2010 Past Papers; Search. Email ...

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    Similarly, in Writing, learners should develop a range of skills, including the ability to create and compose texts with a variety of forms and purposes, for example, descriptive, narrative, argumentative and persuasive. Encouraging learners to practise reading and writing different text types such as: emails, letters,

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