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Narrative Techniques

Narrative Techniques

Author: Mackenzie W

Analyze written work to identify the use of narrative techniques.

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[MUSIC PLAYING] Hi, everyone. I'm McKenzie, and today we're learning about narrative techniques. Have you ever wondered why some stories are fascinating while other stories are boring? It's all based on the way it's written. In this tutorial, we're going to learn about the definition of narrative techniques. We'll talk about the specific techniques of dialogue, pacing, description, reflection, point of view, and plot lines. And we'll look at examples of narratives to identify the different narrative techniques within them.

Let's begin by discussing the definition of narrative techniques. What I mean by narrative techniques are choices that we make about how we're going to write our particular stories and what we're going to write about. We have different choices about how we communicate information within our narratives.

We can use dialogue, pacing, description, reflection, point of view, and plot lines to communicate our story. And each of these techniques gives us a different impression of the story. It all sends a different message. So these are choices that we make about how our story sounds.

Let's discuss the ways in which we can choose to use these narrative techniques in our own writing. We first have dialogue. Dialogue is the conversation between one or more characters. It's the things that the characters say to themselves or to each other. It gives us insight into the story and the characters.

We then have pacing. Pacing is the rate at which the story progresses. Authors can choose to have a very slow-moving story, during which time they include a lot of description and details. Or they can have a very fast-paced story, and the pacing really impacts how the reader perceives the story.

We then have description. This is when we explain and use details to describe something, such as a person, a character, an event, a situation, a place. The description can really add to the pacing of the story. If you describe things in great detail, it takes longer to tell the story.

Reflection is when we reflect on an experience or an event. We think about it. We describe how people felt about it.

Point of view is the perspective of the person telling the story. It's sort of like a narrator. Who's telling the story, and how does that person feel about whatever happened in the story? Sometimes in fiction, especially, we can have more than one point of view. And it adds interest to the story.

And we have plot lines. This is the series of events of what's happening in the story. We can have one plot line, where only one thing is happening at a time. Or we can have multiple plot lines that complicate the story, sometimes make it more interesting, and certainly make it more complicated.

Each of these narrative techniques adds a certain element to our narrative. It's our job to decide which we're going to focus on and how we're going to use these techniques because they all send a particular message, and they change the nature of our narratives.

We will now use what we learned to identify different narrative techniques in some examples. Take a moment to pause the video, and read the first example. I want you to pay close attention to the pacing and the description that you see in this example.

In this example, we see that the pacing of the narrative is rather slow. The author describes waiting for the sushi and then explains how he or she feels about the cost of the sushi. Then the author moves into a description which, again, is somewhat slow.

He or she takes his or her time to describe the experience of eating the sushi. The author describes how the sushi feels, the texture of the sushi, and uses description and pacing to describe his or her experience of the first time the author ate sushi.

Now take a look at this next example. Again, take a moment to pause the video, and read the narrative. This time, we're focusing on dialogue and point of view.

In this example, both the dialogue and the point of view help to develop the characters being described in this narrative. We see a dialogue between a woman and the daughter she had given for adoption. The dialogue gives us insight into the narrator, the woman's, point of view. And it demonstrates to us more about her character.

For our next example, pause the video, read the narrative, and pay close attention to the ways in which plot line and reflection are being represented in this narrative.

In this narrative, we see an example of an author focusing on reflection. The author is looking back at an event that happened in his or her childhood. Based on the reflective nature of this narrative, it seems as though the latter part of the narrative is likely going to describe some additional reflection about how the author now feels about this event. We also see a plot line developing that helps to explain the story.

First, the three teenagers were being rude to their mother while she prepared Thanksgiving dinner. She asked them the help. They continued to be rude. And she stormed out of the house. The next event in the plot line is that the mother did not return to their Thanksgiving to finish cooking the dinner.

Whether it's through dialogue, pacing, description, reflection, point of view, or plot lines, we see the ways in which narrative techniques are used to describe events, experiences, and characters in these narrative examples.

In this tutorial, we learned about the definition of narrative techniques. We focused on the specific narrative techniques of dialogue, pacing, description, reflection, point of view, and plot lines. And we looked at examples of narratives to identify the narrative techniques within. Narrative techniques make a story interesting. I'm Mackenzie. Thanks for listening.