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Elements of Narrative

Elements of Narrative

Author: Mackenzie W

Recognize the elements of a narrative.

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Hi, everyone. I'm McKenzie. And today we're learning about narrative elements. Do you write the same way that you talk? You just might. In this tutorial, we'll learn about the definition of narrative elements. And we'll discuss the specific narrative elements of voice, point of view, character, and details.

When we write personal narratives, we will rely on some of the same tactics and techniques used by fiction writers. When we have a fictional narrative, the author has written something that is completely untrue. It's made up, it's fictional. It didn't happen. The characters aren't real. We can use some of these same ideas in our personal narratives. Even though the personal narratives are likely to be true, with true events, and true characters, we can still employ some of the same techniques such as voice, point of view, character, and details.

We'll begin with the narrative element of voice. Voice is the way that the author sounds through his or her writing. Sometimes people write exactly the same way that they talk, and that's their voice coming through in their writing. Voice can make a story very interesting, because it can demonstrate to us different elements of the writer's personality.

Let's take a look at an example. Pause the video and take time to read the following narrative. Pay close attention to the voice or the personality being communicated through the writing.

The voice the author is using in this narrative tells us a little bit about the author's perspective toward the topic. It also tells us a little bit about the personality of the author or the narrator. We know that this narrator is somewhat informal, as he uses informal phrasing, such as, "got good grades", "had a way with the ladies", and "would get real quiet". This indicates the voice of the narrative.

Next, we think about this point of view when it comes to narrative elements. When we have a story that's being told, typically, there's a narrator who's explaining the story. And the story is told from, usually, that narrator's point of view. It's possible to have different point of views within a story, especially fiction stories. But for most narratives, we'll have a point of view. Someone is telling his or her side of the story, giving his or her own perception or view of what's going on. Let's look at the same example we had just looked at previously.

This time, we're looking from the point of view of the narrator. We understand that the narrator is giving his opinion about another character he's discussing. And we get the idea that the narrator's point of view isn't necessarily favorable of this character. It's very possible that if the other character, Andrew, were to tell the story, his perspective, his point of view, would be much different, and therefore, we would have a very different story.

Personal narratives usually use first person point of view, such as the example we just looked at, because personal narratives tend to be told from a personal standpoint, something that actually happened to the author, so it makes sense that a first person point of view would be used.

Next, we'll discuss character. Characters in a narrative are the people who are involved with the story. Usually in personal narratives, the characters are people, because personal narratives tend to be more realistic or true or accurate. Although it's possible that characters could be animals or things, as well. Let's again look at our same example.

In this example, we have two characters being discussed we have the narrator who's demonstrating to us his own character through the ways in which he's describing the narrative, and then we have the character who's being discussed, Andrew. We're getting quite a bit of information about the character of Andrew from the narrator's description.

The last narrative element for us to consider is details. When we are giving a narrative, we want to describe the story in enough detail that the reader understands what we want to communicate about the story. But it is possible to give the wrong details or too many details. We want to show the reader, not tell the reader, how the story happened. And we do that through details. But it's possible that we include extra details that distract or confuse the reader. So when we're incorporating details into our narratives, we have to make sure that they are necessary details. I'm going to show you an example. It is the same example as before but with many extra details added to it. Take a look at the extra details that have been added to the example we've been using and decide whether or not they are useful details.

From having previously read this narrative, we know that these details do not support the main point of the narrative. The main point is that Andrew wasn't good around women. The details about how handsome he was and how good of grades he got and how good of a baseball player he was do not support the idea that he wasn't good with women, which was the main focus of the narrative. Instead, if we wanted to add details to this narrative, they would need to be details that support the idea that Andrew was not good at talking to women. I would add the following details to this narrative. These details help to support the main point of the narrative.

When we think about the ways in which voice, point of view character, and details impact the nature of a narrative, we can see that these elements of narrative helped to make a story much more interesting.

In this tutorial, we learned about the definition of narrative elements and we focused on the specific narrative elements of voice, point of view, character, and details. Narrative elements make a story unique. I'm McKenzie. Thanks for listening.