Why are you telling the story?
Your purpose will determine which of the events you relate—not every action but the ones that convey the essence of the story
By the end of the essay, the thesis should become obvious, as the writer builds toward a memorable conclusion
Most storytellers end with a bang if they can
Lead to your point and state your thesis at the very end
You might save the best incident (the most dramatic or humorous) for last
*Point of View
An angle of seeing
A nonparticipant is objective in setting forth events; unbiased, as accurate and dispassionate as possible
The narrator of a personal experience is the speaker and the telling is usually subjective, with details and language chosen to express the writer’s feelings
In telling of actual events, writers stick to the facts and do not invent the thoughts of participants
*Selection of Events
One way to test your memory: act like a news reporter.
Who took part?
Why did this event take place?
How did it happen (in exactly what way or under what circumstances)?
Pick out just those events and details that will accomplish your purpose with your readers
Choose between two main strategies of narration: to tell a story by scene or by summary
Telling by scene
visualize each event as vividly and precisely as if you were there
portray people instead of mentioning them
recall dialog as best you can, or invent some that could have been spoken
Telling by summary
Relate events concisely
Set down just the essentials of what happened
Choice of method depends on
What you seek to do and how much your audience needs to know to follow you
Can use both methods in telling a single story
Ask: What am I trying to do? (purpose)
You might set down events in chronological order, the way they happened
Or you might begin in medias res (in the middle of things) if you are trying to capture your readers’ attention right away
If trying to dramatic effect, you might save the most exciting or impressive event for last, even though it happened early. This keeps readers in suspense
You can return to earlier events by flashback
No matter what order you choose, make sure your audience can follow it; the sequence of events has to be clear
Use transitions of time, whether they are brief phrases that point out exactly when each event happened (Seven years later, right away, soon, meanwhile, that night, etc) or whole sentences that announce an event or clearly locate it in time
See transitions in AWR starting on p. 42
See AWR pp. 156-57
Reports the testimony of your senses
Invites readers to imagine that they can see, hear, taste, smell, and touch the subject you describe, or are present in the event you describe
Written for one of two purposes:
To convey information without bias or emotion (objective)
To convey information with feeling (subjective)
Usually found in the company of other methods of writing. For example, it enlivens narration to make the people and setting unmistakably clear
Understand why you are writing about your subject. What kind of description is called for?
Give thought to your audience. What do your readers need to be told if they are to share the perceptions you would have them share, if they are