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Narrative writing

Narrative writing

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Narrative writing 

In a nutshell

Narrative writing, in its truest sense, is storytelling. There are many broad genres of narrative, including fiction, non-fiction, semi-autobiographical stories and historical fiction. Good narrative writing allows your reader into the world of the page and its characters. There are many types of narratives and techniques used to execute them. In this summary, you will learn how to write within them.

Linear narrative

The events of a story are chronologically presented in a linear narrative. In these linear narratives, scenes flow from one scene to the next. This is not to say that there can't be gaps in time or time jumps; the narrative just must move logically forward. Linear narratives are very popular as they are easily understood. In fact, most books, movies and plays are told in a linear narrative.


Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone by J.K. Rowling


Viewpoint narrative

A viewpoint narrative follows the story through the narrator's perspective. By doing so, you get a closer look at the experiences of the individual character: how they feel, what they see and smell and their personality. By examining your protagonist's character from a narrative viewpoint, you show the readers their minds at work. This form is found in a lot in stories that have personal development themes and growth.


Great Expectations By Charles Dickens


Non-linear narrative

Non-linear narratives present their stories' events in non-chronological order as opposed to linear narratives. Your writing can be enhanced by using a nonlinear narrative to highlight the emotions and perspectives of your characters. The timeline of your story can also be enhanced by including key events and scenes that provide necessary details that would not otherwise fit in a chronological narrative. This is used a lot in different types of literature that aim to tell different facets of a story.


The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde By Robert Louis Stevenson

Descriptive narrative

A descriptive narrative focuses on the world of the text, with the end goal being reader immersion. There is a larger focus on the close world to the main character of the text, with vivid imagery and specific details to create this sense of a thin veil between the reader and the story.


The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

Characteristics of narrative writing



Your narrative's plot is what happens in it.
Narrative structure
In writing, narrative structure refers to what a writer uses as a framework for their narrative.
Characters are individuals, animals, beings, creatures or things appearing in stories. A plot line is developed through actions and dialogue performed by characters.
Descriptive language
As opposed to directly stating facts, this type of language evokes emotional responses.
Narrative writing requires setting so that the reader can familiarise themselves with the characters and their surroundings.
When written with a theme, a story can have a lasting impact on the reader and make it more memorable. The theme can give your story meaning and be hidden in the text.

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FAQs - Frequently Asked Questions

What is a linear narrative?

What does narrative writing do?

What is narrative writing?


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