This illustrates the importance of tension and conflict in the narrative, no matter where it comes from or how the author uses it.
Often, the tension or conflict in resolved in the last paragraph. Another writer notes, "In the final paragraph of the essay, the author reflects on the larger meaning or importance of the experience described" ("Writing skills," 2007). Thus, the conflict has served some kind of purpose in the writer's life, and the writer has learned something or grown better because of it. The conflict should not be too contrived or unbelievable, so the narrative's subject is an important aspect of the conflict. If the event that occurred really did not contain tension, drama, or conflict, it is probably not worthy of using as the subject of a narrative, because it is not sufficiently interesting to hold an average reader's attention. The reader must care about the outcome along with the writer, and without conflict and tension, the reader will not have anything to use to build up that concern about the writer and their situation. If the conclusion is not satisfactory, it should be revised to make sure the conflict is concluded. Another writer states, "If necessary, revise your conclusion so that your narrative finds meaning in the story you have told" ("Writing activities," 2008). The conclusion leaves the reader with an overall impression of the story, and so, it must be satisfactory, rather than a let down to the reader.
Finally, the last key element of the narrative is the overall organization and polish of the piece. The events should happen in sequence, but the story should also be organized effectively so that it draws the reader into the story and keeps them reading. Transitions from one scene to another should be smooth, and the paragraphs should flow with one another, blending details, dialogue, and other literary techniques to make the narrative more interesting and alive. A narrative that uses only one or two different literary techniques will not be as readable as a narrative that combines several techniques effectively, and it will not capture the reader's attention or interest, as well. Therefore, the narrative should be treated as any other work of fiction, combining a plot, setting, characters,...
In Twain's case, the narrative is set up somewhat like a short story, introducing him and his experience gained on the river, looking at what that experience meant, and then, climaxing with his revelation that the river is no longer the magic place it once was to him. He writes, "No, the romance and the beauty were all gone from the river. All the value any feature of it had for me now was the amount of usefulness it could furnish toward compassing the safe piloting of a steamboat" (Twain, 2008). The plot is looser, but it is there, following him from river newbie to riverboat experience, and the changes that made in his life.
In conclusion, writing a successful narrative is easier when the writer understands the key techniques that make a narrative compelling and readable. These elements of the narrative are common to all good narratives, and include rich and sensory details, a logical progression of events, and a basic understanding of literature and literary techniques. It is important to note that the primary goal of a narrative is to be interesting and keep the reader entertained and engrossed in the story, and using these techniques will do just that, making the story irresistible to the reader, and giving the writer a clear picture of what makes a good narrative.
DeSoto, M. (2005). Writing a narrative essay. Retrieved 19 Jan. 2008 from the Glendale Community College Web site: http://glory.gc.maricopa.edu/~mdesoto/101online_new/assignment3writing.htm
Editors. (2008). Writing activities: Narrative. Retrieved 19 Jan. 2008 from the Holt, Rinehart and Winston Web site: http://my.hrw.com/support/hos/hostwritingactivities4/hostswritingact4_narr4.html
How to write a narrative. (2008). Retrieved 19 Jan. 2008 from the Northern Illinois University Web site: http://www.engl.niu.edu/wac/narr_how.html
Montgomery, J.K., & Kahn, N.L. (2003). You are going to be an author: Adolescent narratives as intervention. Communication Disorders Quarterly, 24(3), 143+.
Twain, M. (2008). Two ways of seeing a river. Retrieved 19 Jan. 2008 from the About.com Web site: http://grammar.about.com/od/60essays/a/twowaysessay.htm
Writing skills: Narrative essays. (2007). Retrieved 19 Jan. 2008 from the Fact Monster Web site: http://www.factmonster.com/homework/writingskills4.html
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