A narrative paragraph, tells a story. It should be about

  • memorable experiences. Write about something MEANINGFUL that you have experienced in your life
  • chronological order. Use time-order signals and compound sentences.
  • purpose! Do you want the paragraph to inform, to persuade, to inspire, or to entertain the reader?
  • YOU. Write it in first person. Use “I”, “ME”, “WE”, “US”.
  • a nice introduction. Begin the paragraph with a sentence that tells what event or experience you are going to write about.
  • details and essential words. Choose the most important sentences for your paragraph. Develop the details around them. Use verbs and adjectives that describe the moment precisely.
  • your emotions. Express your feelings. Keep it personal and interesting. Ask yourself what the reader can learn from your experience.

Let`s take a look at the narratives below and try to identify some of the details mentioned above.

1

When I got home from school after a long boring day, I took out the peanut butter, jelly, and bread. After taking the lid off of the jars, I spread the peanut butter on one side of the bread and the jelly on the other, and then I put two pieces of bread together. After that, I enjoyed it while watching TV. I swear that it was the best peanut butter sandwich I ever ate.

2

 

It was almost midnight when my car broke down in the middle of the road. I was coming back home from work. Well, I stopped by Judith`s place and had a drink or two to celebrate her promotion. My cellphone had 1% battery life. I called my parents but they did not pick up the phone. They must have been sleeping deeply. I phoned my friend Liz who never goes to bed early thinking she would be awake but she never responded my call. My phone was dying. I thought of trying one more person, when suddenly my car started to shake. For a few seconds, I was too scared to move. I looked at my right side, I saw two men wearing hats and boots. I heard a dog barking. They were talking. Meanwhile, I tried to reach for my purse so I could find something to hit them in case they come to catch me. Then I heard my door opening. My legs were shaking. I was losing my breath.  I started to scream as loud as I could “Help”. One of the men said, “Lady, we are here to help you.” Later, they told me they saw my car slowing down to a full stop. I was so thankful they were motorcyclists. They checked my car and saw I needed gas. How could I forget to put gas in my car? From now on, whenever I see a gas station, I fill up my car.

A narrative introduces a purpose. Writers usually have three purposes in mind before they start writing:

  1. to inform or teach the reader (expository writing)
  2. to persuade or convince the reader to believe an idea or to take a course of action (persuasive writing)
  3. to entertain, to amuse, to tell what something looks like, sounds loke, or feels like, stories, anecdotes (descriptive writing)

One of the clues to identify the author`s purpose is to read the topic, the title of the passage.

Let`s try to identify the main purpose of the narratives below.

Narrative 1

After what seemed like hours, she opened the door. My heart was skipping a beat. I was petrified she would catch me.   Despite the horrifying rumors, I felt no fear as the Witch of 71 gave a bar of chocolate with a smile in her face. 

   Whats the writer`s purpose?               Ο to inform       Ο to persuade      Ο  to entertain

Narrative 2

I booked a flight to my country last summer. I packed four suitcases and carry-on. My flight was schedule to 4pm. I ended up embarking after 5. The food was terrible. Plus the flight attendants kept ignoring me the whole time. When I got in the claiming area, I waited for 2 hours. Please do not buy any tickets by the company I flew with. They made sure I had the worst flight ever. I strongly believe they do not care for your money or their reputation. 

What is the writer`s purpose?               Ο to inform       Ο to persuade      Ο  to entertain

Narrative 3

About 85% of students fear failing in major tests. I am included in the statistics myself. Whenever I have a test, I study overnight. I cannot eat very well even though I am prepared for the test. The University of Oregon concluded that 75% of college students start smoking and have a lack of sleep in the first year. 

What is the writer`s purpose?          Ο to inform          Ο to persuade       Ο to entertain