(from: Reading, Writing and Rhetoric for the 21st Century, New Perspective Graduate Series. Beijing: Higher Education Press, 2007)
Narration means telling of an incident or a series of incidents. It can be purely imaginative, such as short stories or novels, or on the other hand, it can be a record of actual facts, such as, histories, biographies, or news stories. The scope of narration can range from a relatively insignificant incident such as “I saw a horror movie on TV last night” to a great and philosophically illuminating novel such as Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina.
Man is born with a need for narrative; cavemen gathered round small fires and exchanged tales of magic and hunting. Modern men are no different; we all know how soap operas and best sellers form an important part of our lives. Besides entertainment, narration is important both in the classroom and in the workplace. You may be required to narrate the causes of food shortage in history class, or you may be asked to tell why China has emerged as one of the world's leading powers in just fifteen years. And in chemistry class, you record steps of an experiment. At work, a police officer may record events leading to an arrest, a nurse may report on a patient’s changing attitudes toward surgery, and a department manager may prepare a report of his subordinates; all this involves narrative writing.
Let us first look at the main features of narrative writing, and then we shall go on to the examination of a model essay illustrating the main characteristics of narrative writing.
A narrative essay is like a story; it has a beginning, a middle and an end. It should be complete. Most narrative essays emphasize the middle of the story.
The rest of this chapter on story-writing can be read at Google Documents by clicking here: Narrative Writing