Language of Narration

● We use the language of narration to give an account of events, real or imagined.

● It is the most common form of language we use.

● The art and skill of storytelling. How the story is told.

● Consider the wealth of material you have already covered in studying literary genre, as the language of narration is the same.

● It can include: novels, plays, autobiographies, memoirs, reviews, poems, letters.

● The language of narration can and should contain an element of aesthetic language.

Techniques - characteristics

1. Narrative structure

a. Exposition - set up of setting and characters

b. Complication/Difficulty/Conflict

c. Rising action/Climax - pivotal moment - consequences

d. Resolution - outcome of the story (tragedy, happy ending, open ended, cliffhanger)

2. Genre - it describes the style and focus of the novel you write. Genres give you blueprints for different types of stories. Genres have their own predictable conventions. Some include:

a. Mystery/Crime

b. Romance

c. Science Fiction

d. Fantasy

e. Thriller

f. Young Adult

g. Horror/Paranormal

h. Magic realism

i. Historical

j. Western

k. Dystopia

3. Narrative voice - the angle from which the author tells the story.

a. First Person Narrative – the narrator uses “I” and participates in the action.

b. Third Person Narrative – the narrator uses “he” and “she” and is an outside observer.

c. Omniscient – narrator can see, know and tell all of the characters of a story.

d. Limited Omniscient – narrator can only see, know and tell all of one character.

e. Objective – narrator describes the characters statements but doesn’t reveal thoughts or feelings.

4. Setting - the background where the action takes place. Historical - specific - universal - linked to a particular time frame

5. Time Frame - past, present future / chronological and or flashbacks

6. Characterisation - protagonist - antagonist - central - Types include: Hero/Villain, or central, dynamic, well-rounded, well-developed VS static, stock,- stereotypical, or those that challenge controversial, subversive, a maverick, a rebel or secondary characters.

7. Plot - what action takes place

8. Conflict

a. Internal - within the mind of the character

b. Explicit - between characters

c. External -with society

9. Suspense - anticipation as to the outcome of events.

10. Tone, mood and atmosphere - attitude present - is it humorous, sentimental, critical, ominous, threatening, depression, stiflying, - must suit the genre

11. Foreshadowing - gives an advance hint of what is to come later in the story.

12. Sensuous imagery - evoking the senses - sight, touch, taste, feel

13. Descriptive language - adjectives, vivid verbs, distinctive language

14. Distinctive language/Specialist vocabulary - diction i.e. the choice of words used and includes any of the following special registers (medical or legal), terminology, jargon, lexicon, lingo, slang, colloquial language

15. Dialogue - conversation between characters - provides and implicit insight into characters appearance, motivation and reactions

16. Figurative language - metaphor, simile, personification

17. Irony - contrast or contradiction of what is expected and what results.

a. Verbal irony – occurs when a character or narrator says one thing

b. but means the opposite.

c. Dramatic irony – occurs when the reader knows more than the character.

d. Situational irony – occurs when the contrast between what appears to be and what actually exists.

18. Symbolism - a similar object, action, person, or place or something else that stands for something abstract.


Writing Narrative - tips

● Always identify your audience

● Use the correct language and tone for your audience

● Write in the past tense and don’t mix tenses

● Write in chronological order or flashback

● Your story must have a clear shape

● Avoid using too much dialogue

● Characters should be real recognisable people - easy to relate to. You can reveal

your character through your descriptive dialogue