Personal_Narrative (1)

Why write personal narratives?
• Money in scholarships
– Most scholarship essays ask for a personal
experience that connects to the organization
that gives the scholarship or to an event that
connects to a certain occupation
– Practicing writing personal narratives allows
you to hone those skills for your senior year
which will then result in money for college
What is a personal narrative?
• A personal narrative is a story about
yourself and an event that happened in
your past
• Narrative=Story
• It is the most creative essay and allows
you more freedom than other academic
Components of a story
• Setting=Where the action in a story
• Thesis Statement=Basic idea or point of
the story – what you learned, or how the
event is significant to you.
• Tone=Feeling or atmosphere the author
creates for the story.
• Characters =The people in the story
• Plot=What happens in the story
• Describe the background of the story
(characters, setting, atmosphere)
• Prepare the reader on what to expect in
the story.
• Folse (2004) believes that in
introductions, you should have an
“attention getter/hook” that will grab the
reader’s attention, as well as a thesis that
organizes the essay.
What is an “attention
•The first two or three lines in the
introductory paragraph that grabs
the readers’ attention.
•Helps set the stage for the story.
•Makes readers guess what will
happen next in the story.
How to write a good “attention
•Like a fish getting hooked by a fisherman, you
need to “hook” your readers and make them want
to read your essay.
•If it’s a good hook, people would want to read
your essay.
•If it is not a good hook, then no one wants to read
your essay.
Some suggestions…
• Ask a rhetorical question. (How many of you spend
hours downloading music to your iPod?)
• Use an interesting observation (Because of the
economy, President Obama is having problems
• sleeping well these days.)
• Create a unique scenario. (Traveling at more than
• 300 km per hour, he traveled to another dimension.)
• Use a famous quote (“To be or not to be; that is the
• Use a statistic (If world temperatures continue to rise,
Singapore will be under water by 2050.)
Attention Getters/HooksConnecting Information
• After the attention getter/hook, the writer
usually writes three to five sentences that
connect it to the topic.
Example from Keith Folse:
Her daily routine was not glamorous. She
did everything from sweeping the floors
to cooking the meals. If someone had
asked her, “Are there any household
chores that you practically hate?”, she
probably would have answered, “None.”
Write a sample hook for this paragraph:
At 16 I worked in the toy department of
Sears Department Store, where I learned
that I enjoyed helping people. I always
went out of my way to help people
because I learned that if I worked hard, I
would succeed. This is the reason why I
want to go to business school and work in
I had never been more anxious in my life. I
had just spent the last three hours trying
to get to the airport so that I could travel
What questions do you have?
What do you think will happen next?
• States the main idea of the essay (thesis
• In narrative essays, they introduce the
action that begins in the first paragraph of
the essay.
1) Now, as I watched the bus driver set my
luggage on the airport, I realized that my
frustration has only just begun.
2) I wanted my mother to watch me race
down the steep hill, so I called out her
name and then nudged my bike forward.
3) Because his pride wouldn’t allow him to
apologize, Ken now had to fight the
bully, and he was pretty sure that he
wouldn’t win.
• Contains most of the plot-the supporting
• Can be organized in many different ways.
• One way is chronological, or time, order
(where you give more information about
the story as it proceeds in time).
Transitional Sentences
Have two purposes
1. Signal the end of action in one paragraph
2. Link the next paragraph.
Gives your reader an ability to follow what
happens and predicts what will happen
Concluding Paragraph
Can have two functions:
1. Analyze and reflect on the action of the
2. What the character(s) learned from the
3. Make a prediction about what will
happen next based on what happened.
Moral: The little boy had finally learned that
telling the truth was the most important
thing to do.
Prediction/Revelation: I can only hope that
one day I will be able to do the same for
another traveler who is suffering through
a terrible journey.
Example Narrative Essay
• Have you ever had trouble trying to get to
someplace very important? Where were
you going? Why were you having
• What is a hero? What do you consider to
be a heroic act?
Paragraph Unity
• Each paragraph of an essay must
have unity.
• A paragraph must have one
main idea/topic sentence.
• Every sentence in the paragraph
must be relevant to that main
Paragraph Unity-Example
As you manage your time, think about how
long certain activities will take. A
common mistake is to underestimate the
time needed to do something simple. For
example, when you are planning to go to
the store, there may be a line of people.
Last week in line I met a woman I went to
high school with, so we chatted. It turns
out she has two children just the same age
as mine.
Transitions: Connectors and
Time Relationship Words
• Show how events progress.
Chronological Order- first (second, third,
etc.), next, finally, later, now, then
Prepositions- after (a moment), at (1pm), by
(Thursday), during (class), until (6:00)
Time Words that begin clauses- after, as
soon as, before, (two weeks) later, from
then on, when, while, whenever, until
• Using “The Bass, the River, and Sheila
• Find the elements of narratives for each one:
– Plot Diagram
• Does it have all parts?
– Attention Getter/Hook
• What type?
– Thesis Statement
• Where is it?
– Transitions: Connectors/Time RelationshipWords
- Topic Sentences for each Paragraph
– Concluding Paragraph
• What the character(s) learned from the experience.
• Prediction?