Writing Narratives Memoir
Narrative Writing • The goal of narrative writing is to tell a story, or part of a story. -You might tell a story about the best celebration you ever had and why it was your favourite. –You might tell of a time you were nervous, about what happened and how you reacted. –You might write a fictional story about being an eye witness at a historical event.
Characteristics of Narrative Writing: • Plot • Conflict • Characterization • Setting • Theme • Point of View • Sequencing/ • Organization • Transitions
Some ways we use Narrative Writing: • Narrative writing can appear in, but is not limited to: • Novels • Short stories • Biographies/Memoirs • Historical accounts • Essays • Poems • plays
Your personal narratives • Review writing territories • Silently, try to list at least 5 memories or experiences that have had an affect on your life. Remember small encounters are sometimes as powerful as big ones. • These should be moments or instances that have changed something about you, or your beliefs.
Memoirs • “Memoir is how writers look for the past and make sense of it. We figure out who we are, who we have become, and what it means to us and to the lives of others: a memoir puts the events of a life in perspective for the writer and for those who read it. It is a way to validate to others the events of our lives – our choices, perspectives, decisions, responses….
Memoir recognizes and explores moments on the way to growing up and becoming oneself, the good moments and the bad ones. It distills the essence of an experience through what a writer includes and, more importantly, through what a writer excludes. Memoir celebrates people and places no one else has ever heard of. And memoir allows us to discover and tell our own truths as writers.” Nancy Atwell
What does NOT work in a memoir? • It’s all plot: just the bare facts about what happened. • There are no thoughts or feelings of the memoirist. • There is no memoirist: it’s a we voice instead of first-person-singular I. • There reader doesn’t know who the main character is because there’s no voice, no person to be with in the story. • The reader doesn’t know any of the characters, who they are or what they’re like; they are just a name that is mentioned. • There’s no description of people or actions: a reader can’t see it happening. • The dialogue doesn’t reveal what the people are like, how they sound, or what they might be feeling. • There’s too much dialogue, in relation to action and reflection.
What does NOT work in a memoir? • The pace is too fast. It’s over before it starts. • The setting isn’t clear: when and where did this happen? • The ending doesn’t leave the reader with a feeling. • There’s no sense of why the writer wanted to write about the event in the first place. • There’s no so What? For the writer: no point, discovery or significance. • There’s no so what? For the reader: no point, discovery or significance.
Read “Poison Fruit” In a reading response discuss: • How is this memoir organized? • Describe the voice in this writing • What words stand out and add emphasis or visual images to the writing?