Narrative writing

Narrative writing

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Tutor: Joel


Narrative writing 

​​In a nutshell

Narrative writing is built on a series of events that tell a story. Most narrative writing will focus on one main point or conflict in the story. In this summary, you will learn the features of narrative writing as well as different types of narrative writing. 

Main theme

When looking at narrative writing, you will see that most stories focus on one main theme. The plot line of the story then supports this main focus. The story starts with a beginning to hook the reader and gives the relevant background information. A conflict or issue will arise that will lead to the turning point in the narrative, also known as the climax. This will lead to the resolution of the main conflict in some form.


Exposition in a narrative gives the background information in the narrative. This may be about the settings, characters or any sort of context the reader needs.


A conflict is usually a character struggles with either an internal (self) or external (outside) force. There can also be environmental or supernatural conflicts.
This is the turning-point in a narrative. It is usually quite dramatic and sometimes even come with a plot-twist.
The resolution occurs after the climax and is how the story ends.

Features of narrative writing

Good narrative writing will include all four of these key features: a descriptive setting, an engaging series of events, convincing characterisation and a well-thought out beginning and end.

descriptive setting

The setting of a story can help the reader imagine where it takes place. This can be done successfully by describing things using the five senses: touch, smell, hear, see and taste. 

engaging series of events

The plot has to keep the readers' interest until the end. This means that it should be well-planned and make sense.

convincing characterisation

Characters should be real to the reader although they are fictional. The audience needs to know about their appearance, personality and how they think. The more real the character is, the easier it is for others to relate to them.

well-executed beginning and end

A well thought-out beginning will hook the reader and compel them to continue reading. Depending on the plot of the story, you may reveal information right away or later. An ending should offer some resolution and make sense. It should not be rushed or random, so the reader is satisfied with how the story ends. 

Different types of narrative writing

There are four different types of narrative writing that can be used when writing a story.


Linear narrative writing tells the story in chronological order.


Non-linear narrative writing tells the story with no set timeline. The story can go back and forth between different characters in the story.


Circular narrative writing ends where it initially began. The characters can potentially be in a completely different situation towards the end than in the beginning.


Parallel narrative writing tells a story with more than one narrative voice. 

Narrative voice

A story can be told from different perspectives. 


first person

As I was eating my breakfast, I heard a noise outside and ran out to investigate. It was then I saw the neighbour's cat playing with a live fish! What made it even more strange was that we don't live near any body of water.

third person

Omar awoke that morning to the sound of music downstairs, but his parents should have already been at work. He stood up and opened the door, only to find his aunt from Spain in the living room dancing.

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FAQs - Frequently Asked Questions

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