Parts of a Narrative
Setting the Scene:
Setting the scene is a great place to talk about sensory detail. Try introducing the topic with a short literary story or by asking students to describe the classroom using all their senses. Using detail can be fun, and it can be a good way to foreshadow the upcoming story.
Introducing the Complication:
One interesting way to map the story arc is using storyboards. Have the students read part of a graphic novel, such as Persepolis, and then have students turn their stories into a graphic novel style storyboard. After setting the scene, something out of the ordinary, that presents a problem for the characters, is usually the next step in the arc.
Evaluating the Options:
In many narratives, there is a moment when the characters stop and evaluate what has just happened. This give the writer an opportunity to establish the character's feelings, foreshadow upcoming action, and show different characteristics of each character. To practice, have students get into groups and tell a story about something that happened to them. Often, the moment just after the complication has been introduced is full of interesting introspection.
Resolving the Problem:
This step, though obvious, can present a problem for students. Many students do not feel comfortable without a "wrap up" moment at the end of a story. Remind them that in the real world, not all stories are ended neatly. Perhaps the resolution is the lack of a resolution, or maybe the resolution is negative.
This is where an argument, moral, or lesson can come in. If you are pairing an argument with the narrative, this is generally where the argument comes into play.
Sample Lesson Plan
Narrative Argument and Podcast Assignment
Due: Monday, 10/5
Length: 700 words
Submission: Paper Copy, burned CD
Because of the many ways people make arguments, it is important to learn how to use available technology. Podcasts have become a popular way to reach a variety and large number of people.
In this assignment, you should use a narrative argument to make a point about something people are afraid of. The narrative will probably be a memoir based on something that happened in your life. You can use the scary story you wrote as the basis, or you can tell a completely different. A narrative argument tends to follow this pattern:
Set a scene
Introduce a complication
Coda (a lesson, though this does not have to be the typical, heavy-handed lesson)
Once you have completed your final draft, you will turn your essay into a podcast. In pairs, go to the Digital Learning Collaboratory (HICKS library). Together, follow the How To: Podcasting handout to create podcasts of your and your partner’s paper. Then burn the podcasts to a burnable CD. You will submit the CD along with the narrative essay.