Monday, April 28, 2008

The Narrative Essay

GREETINGS EVERYONE! I have decided to create another blog just for SPM students. Some of the articles have been published in my previous blogs or from my books and articles.
This week, I would like to look at writing stories.

Writing a narrative essay

A narrative is a story with a sequence of connected events. It could be about a personal experience or an imagined event or events.

Let’s look at some typical exam questions:
1. Write a story of a man who returns to his home after many years.
2. The day I lost my temper.
3. Write a story ending with, “I shall never forget this day for the rest of my life.”
4. Write about an occasion when you got into trouble.
5. Write a story beginning with, “I could not believe my eyes….”

How do I write a narrative essay for the exam?

ACTION PLAN: (1 hour)
A. Planning = 15 minutes
B. Writing = 35 minutes
C. Checking = 10 minutes
This plan is for those who are quite weak in English. For those who are proficient, you may only need 10 minutes for planning.

This is how we do it.

Let’s say you have chosen question 3, - Write a story ending with, “I shall never forget this day for the rest of my life.”

1. Read the question carefully and underline important phrases. Pay particular attention to the ending.
2. Brainstorm for ideas and jot down notes. For exam purposes, the simplest way is to divide it into three parts:
i. ii. iii.


Now that you have got the skeleton of your story, it is time to begin writing. Use linkers and phrases which link the events to move your story in a chronological order. Some phrases that are suitable are:
It was very dark….
I will never forget …..
A few minutes later….
When the disaster happened, …..

Use sensory details to reveal the events and to get the reader involved. Do not merely tell but show the events through words and phrases.

a. I went into the restaurant.
b. I walked into the restaurant.
c. I sauntered into the restaurant.

Sentence a. merely states that I went into the restaurant and sentence b. gives a little more information as to how I went into the restaurant. Sentence c. uses a more specific word to show clearly the idea of how I went into the restaurant. Sentence c. allows the reader to see what I am doing. The word ‘sauntered’ means ‘to stroll’. It gives the image of a person walking slowly into the restaurant. Thus, sentence c. is more effective in narrative and descriptive writing.

C. Checking
Read your essay once through and check for the following things:
• Is the spelling accurate?
• Is the punctuation appropriate? Did you use too many commas in a sentence?
• Did you vary the sentence structure? Are your sentences too long?
• Does one thought follow the next in a logical order?
• Did you stick to the topic? Did you use words so that your reader could experience the incident?
• Did you use the appropriate tense of the verb throughout?
Make any corrections neatly.


cynthia said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
cynthia said...

hi~im a student that having spm tis year..
and i hav some question about my essay..hope u could help me with tis..

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cEkEtENG said...

nice blog and could be used as one of the source for my blog too...

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