Narrative Essay ~ eight journal entries ~ Cluster Graph



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Narrative Essay

  • ~ eight journal entries ~

Cluster Graph

  • What is good about a cluster graph (bubble graph, idea web) is that you don’t have to limit yourself to linear thinking as you would if you were making a traditional outline.
  • Start with a bubble in the middle of your page that is the main subject of your essay. Then have bubbles branch off in whatever direction until the graph is a web of ideas.
  • Do not censor yourself. This is a time to gather a wealth of material. You can decide later if you want to cut parts out.
  • Save an entire page for your cluster graph.

Setting

  • Describe the setting (time and place) of your essay.
  • Try to make it real for your readers … so they can see, hear, smell, taste and feel what you see, hear, smell, taste, and feel. Don’t go overboard with adjectives. Just be truthful about what you see.
  • Repeat this exercise for each significant setting which occurs in your story.

Characters

  • Make a list of your characters and place stars next to those who are significant to the story.
  • Then, for each starred character, write a paragraph which describes them and lists any important direct quotes that might be used in your essay.
  • Remember to show the whole person so they are more real. “Warts and all.”

Timeline

Introduction

  • Where on that timeline might you begin your essay? In climax with flashbacks to fill in background information where needed? This is one possible technique. Or you can begin in the “beginning of what seemed like any other day.”
  • Whatever you choose, your introduction must insist on your reader’s attention.
  • Write a possible introduction (opening paragraph) of your narrative essay.

Plot & Theme(s)

  • In one or two sentences, state the plot of your essay.
  • What theme or themes do you hope might emerge for your readers?

Audience & Purpose

  • Who is your audience? Describe them.
  • What do you hope your readers will do? Be entertained? Come to a deeper understanding of something? Become informed of a serious issue? Be persuaded? Something else?

Conclusion

  • How might you end your essay? What will linger in the minds of your readers? An important quote? A rhetorical question?
  • Don’t lock into a conclusion yet … just list some ideas. Your ideas might change as you begin to write and you need to stay open to that. One reason for writing our stories is to come to a deeper understanding of ourselves and the meaning behind our events. That may not happen if you try to control the ending before you even begin to write.

Write a draft

  • You should now revisit the introduction you wrote and begin to write a draft of your essay, interjecting these other writings as seems fit. Good luck! Remember to sound like yourself and just tell your story.
  • *** This part need not be done in your journal. The previous eight sections are each worth one journal entry.
  • Check your syllabus for the date your draft is due!


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