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Реферат Techniques of Narrative Writing. Selecting a topic and details, organizing information. Major functions and entertaining of narration: informing (nonfiction) and entertaining (fiction) by narrating. Anecdotes and illustrations, narrating a process.


Тип работы: Реферат. Предмет: Ин. языки. Добавлен: 25.02.2010. Сдан: 2010. Уникальность по antiplagiat.ru: --.

Описание (план):

YEREVAN - 2009
      Chapter One. Techniques of Narrative Writing
      1.1 Selecting a Topic
      1.2 Selecting Details
      1.3 Organizing Information
      Chapter Two. Major Functions of Narration
      2.1 Informing by Narrating
      2.2 Objective Narratives
      2.3 Anecdotes and Illustrations
      2.4 Narrating a Process
      2.5 Entertaining by Narrating
      2.6 The Story
      2.7 The Setting
      2.8 The Plot
      2.9 The Scene
      2.10 The Summary


The present paper explores the peculiarities of narrative writing from the view point of its structure, functions and types. Narration is an act of telling a story. It is not just telling a story, but it is also telling a story of a sequence of real or fictional events - which seems to be a more natural activity for most people than, say, giving directions or describing a scene. Narration is the kind of writing that answers the question, “What happened?” The expression “narrative writing" covers an enormous territory. Narratives vary in length from a few sentences to long stories. Some narratives are based on actual experience, some are entirely fictitious, and others use a mixture of truth and fiction. Some narratives are meant to amuse, others inform or convey a message to readers. Narratives appear in many forms, including poetry, “regular” prose stories, and drama on the stage, in film, or on television. In short you are surrounded by narratives every day, some of them in print, many in the electronic media, and others passed along orally. Good narratives can be spoken just as well as written, but audiences expect more polish and structure in written work. Though narratives often make serious points, many narratives are meant to amuse. Most readers enjoy lighthearted or humorous stories, even if the experiences were not humorous to the people involved at the time. Some readers are also entertained by scary stories, which may be about narrow escapes and other frightening moments in the writers' lives.

The paper consists of an introduction, two chapters, a conclusion and bibliography. Introduction reveals the general guidelines of the paper.

Chapter one presents the major techniques of narrative writing.

Chapter two concentrates on types and functions of narrative writing, signing out informing by narrating and entertaining by narrating.

Conclusion summarizes the results and outcomes we have come to in the course of the research.

Chapter One. Techniques of Narrative Writing

No one knows for how many thousands of year's people have been telling and listening to narratives, but we do know that every culture has a storytelling tradition; even it does not have a writing system. Well before Homo sapiens learned to read and write, they had evidently framed much of their wisdom in story form. Fiction has always been a natural vehicle for people to communicate their experiences, fantasies, and fears. Similarly, children delight in stories long before they are able to read or write. Almost as soon as a child has learned to talk, she can enjoy not only listening to stories, but making up her own as well. She may pretend, for example, that her stuffed animal is alive and wants a cookie, or she may scold a doll for some imaginary misbehavior. These baby stories become more elaborate as the child acquires more experiences to weave into her fiction, and she will often develop her own version of a story she has heard. We adults gossip, share jokes, complain about what happened to us this morning, speculate about the future. And in telling even these informal tales, we are likely to pay careful attention to the sequence of the events we are speaking about. Because stories create an order that life lacks, we naturally draw upon narrative. To make sense of our lives, we need to think of beginnings, middles, and endings, and we use these fictions to try to organize the past, the present and the future. (Surmelian 92)

Though narratives often make serious points, many narratives are meant to amuse. Most readers enjoy lighthearted or humorous stories, even if the experiences were not humorous to the people involved at the time. Some readers are also entertained by scary stories, which may be about narrow escapes and other frightening moments in the writers' lives. Such stories may simply thrill readers, or they may be the basis for a serious point. Writers sometimes relate embarrassing moments, not necessarily to convey serious messages, but to amuse and to share those experiences with readers. Whether narratives convey a serious point or simply entertain, they express main ideas and back them up with supporting information. In other words, narratives follow the main principles of paragraph writing:

Present a topic idea (often in a topic sentence at the beginning)

Support that topic idea with the other sentences

In narrative writing, you will continue to apply these principles:

1. Select and refine the topic so that a main idea is stated clearly in the topic sentence. In narratives, the main idea will probably deal with conflict or emotional response to conflict.

2. Select appropriate, vivid supporting details. In narratives, the details will tell about time, place, actions, and people's motives and reactions.

3.organize the information so that readers will be able to understand and follow the story. In narratives, chronological arrangement is normal. Any shifts in time (or place) must be made clear to the reader. (Karls/Szmanski 110-111).

1.1 Selecting a Topic

For narratives, as for other kinds of writing, look for possible topics in your own life: your background, experiences, interests, and firsthand observation of other people. You will write best when you write about things that really matter to you: personal experiences, beliefs, worries, impressions, and knowledge in specific areas. You may begin with many possible topics. Brainstorming will produce related ideas, or sometimes lead you to an even better topic. Before writing, you must examine the possible topics and supporting ideas. The goal is to narrow your focus to specific instance. One way to narrow a broad topic is to limit the time and place to a few minutes (or maybe a few hours) and to particular place. For example, suppose you enjoy hunting, fishing, and exploring in parks and forests, you also work on a construction crew. You could tell many stories based on your experiences, but for a brief narrative, you would limit yourself to one brief time in one specific place. Ideally, you would select an episode that stands out in your mind as dramatic or memorable.

In this paragraph, the student writer limited himself to one brief but dramatic moment:

Last October, I was out in the woods with a work crew, cutting a surveying line for a gas pipeline. We got to a clearing and decided to take a break. Seconds after I found a tree to lean against, I heard the crackle of underbrush breaking. I turned to look and saw a huge bear racing right at me. I remembered that I was armed with only a machete and a walkie-talkie. I nudged a guy near me. We stood there helpless with our mouths open and our eyes the size of frying pans. The bear kept coming until it was about fifteen feet away. Suddenly it saw us. I had never before seen a bear with a surprised look on its face. Within a second, it lurched back into the woods. But before we could breathe a sigh of relief, another big bear came rushing toward us. When it got within about seven feet and saw us, it also dashed into the woods. Our hearts were pounding. When we recovered a little, we decided that the next time we work in the woods; we should go better prepared for the unexpected. (Karls J. / Szmanski R.112-113).

1.2 Selecting Details

When you have a workable topic in mind, some details will occur to you immediately, and others will spring to mind as you brainstorm and write your first drafts. You want to select the best details you can. That means selecting relevant, vivid details. At times, you may think of a dramatic moment, full of colorful details sure to grab your readers' attention and hold their interest. If so, writing comes more easily, except that you may not have a main idea until you think about the story later. At other times, you may be writing simply to share an interesting or amusing experience; your main idea may be implied. Besides using details to make the scene vivid, you must provide the details readers need in order to understand the situation. When you write you first draft, you will put in some appropriate details; you may also end with some irrelevant ones. As you revise, you must consider which details really matter. You want to include details that help support your main idea. The goal in selecting details sounds quite simple and obvious: Tell the readers what they need to know, nothing more and nothing less. Telling the readers more than they need to know slows them down. Telling them less than they need to know leave them puzzling over the time, place, or situation. By including enough details, but only appropriate details, you will give readers the information they need.

In this paragraph, a student writer shares a dramatic and amusing moment.

I am a firefighter with the city fire department. Last fall, I responded to a fire call reported by a neighbor as “smoke in the house next door”. Upon arrival, we donned our self contained breathing apparatus and entered the house to do a primary search and rescue. We discovered that a meat loaf was burning in the oven, causing the kitchen and much of the house to fill with smoke. I quickly extinguished the meat loaf, then focus on searching for possible victims. I rushed around, hoping I wouldn't find anyone home, but knowing I had to check everywhere to be sure. Upon entering the bathroom, I came upon a lady soaking in the tub. She was listening to loud music and apparently hadn't heard a thing. I guess I must have looked like Darth Vader, because she screamed and threw a bottle of shampoo at me. Before entering the bathroom, I was worrying about possible victims, but seeing her like that embarrassed me so that I couldn't concentrate on the job I needed to do. Everything worked out well, and it is the experience I will never forget. (Surmelian 65).

1.3 Organizing Information

Most of the time, narrative writing is organized chronologically, meaning that events move forward in time. Sometimes, the writer changes normal order by using flashbacks. The writer describes an earlier event, disturbing the chronology but providing insight or explanation. Less often, a writer may jump forward in time. Ordinarily, straightforward chronology suits your stories, and it is easy for readers to follow. But if you want to jump back or forward in time, you can, provided you make sure your readers will understand what you are doing. There are some cases, when the writers organize information so as to build suspense or create a surprise ending. They withhold information so that the reader is lured along, picking up clues as in a detective story. Sometimes, writers give clues that lead to an amusing ending. Writers can use narratives for their own sake or as part of other kinds of writing. Narratives are among the most enjoyable kinds of writing - for readers and writers. The principles are more or less self-evident: select a narrow enough topics, select appropriate details, and organize so that the reader can follow the sequence of events. (Karls J. / Szmanski R.112-113)

In the following whimsical paragraph, the early statements entice readers, arouse their curiosity, and keep them reading until they come upon a surprise ending:

She was standing in the corner, the light reflecting off her soft brown hair. Her eyes were beckoning for attention. As I approached her, a gentleman asked me if I need some assistance, and so inquired about her. He said “She is 10 percent off this evening”. After asking if she was clean and in good health and being assured she was, I walked over to her. I held her in my arms, and she gave me a kiss. She looked longingly into my eyes, and I caressed her face. I asked how much she would cost, and the man said, “$55". I paid at once and took the cuddly rabbit home. Rabbits are lovable and inexpensive pets.

Chapter Two. Major Functions of Narration

Narration has two major functions: informing (nonfiction) and entertaining (fiction) by narrating.

2.1 Informing by Narrating

Narrating is telling a story. Usually, you think of telling a story, you think of fiction - of novels and short stories. But fiction is only one kind of narrative. There are narratives that are true - accounts of real incidents and events. Because narration can be based on fact as well as on imagination, it can be used to inform as well as to entertain. For example, you can use narration to tell your reader about personal experiences - your first day on a new job - or historical events - the Apollo 13 space flight. You can use it to explain a process - how the body digests food - or the way to do something - how to play chess. If description is like a photograph, then narration is like a motion picture. Narration follows events through time. (Kharatyan M. / Vardanyan L.55)

There are singled out two types of narratives:

Personal narratives

Objective narratives

Personal Narratives

If you are going to write about something that happened to you, you will probably write a first - person narrative. You will say things like “I did this” and “We did that". This is your experience, so you will include your reactions to events, your feelings about them. But there is an important limitation to this approach. To be consistent, you can relate only what you know and feel or what others report to you - your point of view is restricted to your own thoughts, feelings, and observations. And since what happened has already occurred, you will probably do you are telling in the past tense. This is what the actress Shirley McLain has done in her autobiography. Here is an excerpt from it describing how she commuted to dancing class while she was in high school.

Rehearsals ended at midnight. I would rush for the bus, which it seemed, was always either late or early, but never on schedule. I'd stumble groggily from the bus an hour and a half later, and make my way down the quiet street to a dark and silent house. My dinner usually was saltine crackers smothered in ketchup and Tabasco and with them a quart of ginger ale. I always ate standing up, and then I'd stagger to bed, rarely before two o'clock…

It was a lonely life, for a teenager especially, but I had a purpose - a good reason for being. And I learned something about myself that still holds true: I cannot enjoy anything unless I work hard at it.

Sometimes, in a personal narrative, you will want to give the reader a special feeling of immediacy. You will want your reader to have a feeling of being there and experiencing what is happening along with you. Often you can covey this feeling by using the present tense. Here is a writer narrating an event that he experienced thirty years ago. But he uses the present tense. The event was the Allied invasion of German - occupied France. He was on one of the thousands of ships that crossed the Channel from England to Normandy. (Brown 61-62)

It is three am, it is four am. We are six miles off shore… By now the enemy must know what's up. Bombers roar overhead. Flares drop inland. I am so wrought up I do knee bends. A thousand youngsters are on board almost as inexperienced as I. It is pathetic to hear them ask my opinion. Everything's fine I say. Now we wait three miles off shore. All nine guns point at the beach.5: 30 am. There are yellow streaks in the cloud cover. Now! The guns go off and our ship the Quincy bounces. Down finds us on Germany's doormat like the morning milk bottle.

2.2 Objective Narratives

When someone else - not you - is the centre of your narrative, you will probably write in the third person. That is you will write “She did this” and “They did that". And since you are not the focus of the narrative, your feelings and reactions will be kept in the background or omitted entirely. This is what meant by objective narrative because objective narrative does not require a restricted, first-person viewpoint, you have an advantage. You can describe events going on in several different places, even when you are not a witness to them. Also, if you want to suggest a habitual action, an action that repeats itself, you may want to use the present tense in an objective narration.

Here is part of an objective narrative. The writer is explaining how a pioneer couple located their homestead on the Nebraska prairie in 1873.

George Cather hired a man with team and wagon, measured the circumference of one of the back wheels, tied a rag on the rim so they could more easily count the revolutions and started across the prairie. George had a compass to keep him going in the right direction. His wife sat in the back of the wagon, counted revolutions and computed mileage… When they had according to calculations, reached their homestead, they drove on a bit to what they judged to be the center of their property, just to make sure they were really on their own land - and pitched a tent for the night. (Karls J. / Szmanski R.115)

2.3 Anecdotes and Illustrations

Sometimes you'll find that you need to support a general statement with a specific example to fully express what you mean. One way you can do this is with a brief story - an anecdote. Thus, you may include a small - scale narrative, or perhaps several, in a larger composition.

Here is an anecdote told about Jackie Robinson after his retirement from major league baseball. The writer uses it as an example to support his general statement about the character and strength of Jackie Robinson even in ill health.

He accepted the blindness and the limping with a courage born of beauty. At an old - timers' game last season in Los Angeles, someone threw a baseball at him from the grandstands, ordering, “Hey, Robinson. Sign this”. The unseen baseball struck his forehead. He signed it.

An anecdote is a vivid way to back up a general statement. But you can't count on always having one handy. And sometimes an anecdote just doesn't seem to fit in. Then, rather than have your reader hang in the air with only a general statement, you should specify. You should back up your statement with an illustration. For instance, it isn't enough to state; you need to go on from such a statement to illustrate what you mean, as this writer has done. (Karls J. / Szmanski R.120)

It happens all around us … It happened to me personally. My mother was from Poughkeepsie, New York, my mother from Marietta, Ohio, my stepmother from Washington, Pennsylvania. I was born in Wheeling, West Virginia, raised in Athens, Georgia, educated in Pottstown, Pennsylvania, Ithaca, New York, and Baltimore, Maryland, and I know work in Rabun Gap, Georgia. I've learned a lot from all of that, but still I have no more idea of where I fit in space and time and community than if I had just landed inside a meteor from Pluto. I make my home where I am.

2.4 Narrating a Process

Narratives which are directions and explanations not only answer the questions “What happens? ” but also “How does it happen? ” These kinds of narratives follow the movement of the process from one stage to the next. You may narrate a how-to-do-it process in the first person or in the second person. For example, you may write, “I begin with a few simple breathing exercises" or “You should begin with a few simple breathing exercises”. Using the second person has the advantage of sounding as though you were talking directly to your reader, having a face-to-face conversation.

But whether you choose the first or second person, you should “walk through" the steps of your directions in your mind to make sure that they are in the right order and that nothing has been left out. You may even want to number the steps, as this writer has done in explaining how to replace a fuse.

When the fuse blows, grope your way over to the flash-light and unplug the offending appliance (usually the last one turned on before the blow).

Get your spare fuses and open the fuse box door.

When you shine the flash on the fuses you will see one with its little glass window all black and burned looking. Replace this fuse…

Numbering the steps this way works well with brief, fairly simple directions, however, you may want to use transitional words like first, then, next, and finally as you move from step to step in the process. Also, you can use words like if, when and after to introduce the conditions required from the next step, as in “After the paint has dried, apply the second coat". (Karls J. / Szmanski R.124)

You may feel it necessary to illustrate your directions with diagrams or pictures. In that case, a word of warning. Do not dep и т.д.................

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