Writing WRiting WRIting

For both my “How I write” essay and re-purposeing essay I have decided to tackle one of my weaknesses in writing: Narratives (DUHN DUHN DUHN). Narratives are interesting to read but very difficult to accurately describe, at least in my opinion. A reacurring theme in my peer reviews (of my attempted narratives) was: show don’t tell your reader. I struggle to take a picture in my mind and put it into words so that my reader can create a similar picture in their mind.

Just like Shelley said today, “don’t try to sound smart, try to communicate. Because if you try to sound smart, you’re going to end up sounding silly.” This is what I experience with my attempts to write a narrative (except I am trying to sound interesting instead of simply describing what I have in mind). I need to try less and just write what I am trying to portray. Then I can go back and edit my descriptions to make sure they do sound interesting.

I think part of the reason I struggle with narratives is because it is a type of writing that is barely focused on through high school and college. But if any of you find that you are particularly good at writing narratives or have any advice on how I can accurately describe pictures through words, please help me out! How do you portray a picture to your readers??

3 thoughts to “Writing WRiting WRIting”

  1. As I read your post, I thought about my own ability to write a narrative. I don’t think I have ever written a narrative or anything resembling it..and I don’t know if I would be able to! However, I do consider myself a descriptive writer. I would recommend before sitting down to write your paper, focus on the SHOWING and the descriptions. When you have a topic, open up your laptop and just write about it. Do not try to make it into a paragraph for your essay, do not try to make it structured or formatted in any particular way – just write. When you write about the way YOU see it, you will be able to translate that to your readers in order to SHOW them descriptions rather than tell them..hope this helps!

  2. Angelle,

    I definitely feel your pain! Since my entire high school career was focused around the 5-paragraph formal persuasive essay structure of writing, my creative writing and narrative skills were never given a chance to flourish. I happen to take a creative writing course last semester in which we had to write several full-length short stories/narratives. This was the first time that I had ever done anything like this, and it completely changed the way I write and how I approach any type of writing in general. I think one thing that would really help you is the cognitive act of preparing to write your narrative. Although it is slightly time consuming, if you really put the effort in to think long and hard about who your characters are, what their world is like, what their desires/needs/motives/challenges/fears are, and who your audience is, you will have a much easier time writing your narrative. Once you really understand the world that your narrative lives in, it will almost come to you naturally! I hope this helps and good luck 🙂

  3. Narratives are all about the details. They are the backbone of description and can conjure really great images in a reader’s head. You also might want to write it as if you were trying to describe it someone in a conversation. Narratives can take on a very conversational tone and they definitely should in your case, because you are describing an issue from the “victims” perspective. (I put victims in quotation marks because we really can’t call people living on the Cape victims, right?).
    One last thing you might want to do is read other narratives and try to adopt the same techniques from the ones you like. Good luck!

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