Narrative Module Overview


There are TWO discussion forums in this module, an Essay/Paper,  and a WRITING LAB assignment. LOOK FOR THE WRITING LAB ASSIGNMENT AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS MODULE.

1.  Read the Sample Student Essay and focus on what the writer says she learned from this experience.  Then participate in the first discussion forum.

2.  Read the Professor’s Essay and participate in the second discussion forum.

3.  Compose your own Narrative Essay and submit your essay in the SafeAssign dropbox. This will generate an “Originality Report” which will: indicate all non-original content in your essay, show the earliest web source for this content, and display the total number of words in your review. It is especially important for you to avoid plagiarism. SafeAssign helps both student and teacher have confidence in the originality of the work submitted. After checking to make sure you have original material, submit the essay to me in the dropbox. 

This will be your second GRADED writing assignment.  The total number of possible points you can earn is 100. You have considerable flexibility in choosing a topic, and picking the right topic can help you a lot.  There are a few points that are important to remember in narrative writing:

1.  There must be a point to your story. That is, you should have learned something about yourself, about other people, or about life in general from what happened to you.   Do not create a “so-what” discovery.  This means don’t write a paper that leaves your readers at the end saying “So What?” To make sure you have a significant point, complete the following sentence and post it in the Discussion Forum section of this module. When _____ happened to me, I learned _______.

2. Your narrative does not have to be shocking or dramatic, though it may be.  You can find meaning in many simple experiences from daily life. 

3.  Your assignment will include reading two narratives–one written by a student and found in your online text, and the second written by me.  When I post my own writing, it does not mean I think this is the BEST possible example, but I am fulfilling my commitment to write along with you whenever I can.

4.  In this assignment do NOT worry about correct grammar or spelling or mechanics.  THERE WILL COME A TIME FOR THAT–but it’s not now.  I want you to focus all of your efforts on two things:

A.  Give me lots of SPECIFIC details and EXAMPLES to make your story come alive and help me to understand what you went through.  So–do NOT say: “I had a lousy time at the prom, and I never want to see that guy again.”  SHOW and TELL me what “lousy” means–did your date make you change a flat tire on the way there?  Did he show up drunk and throw up on your dress? Did she dance once with you and then leave with her old boyfriend?  Make me FEEL what lousy means. 

B) Do you have a significant POINT? What did you learn from this, besides the obvious?  Maybe you learned that “first impressions don’t mean anything,” or that “dating someone with a known alcohol problem is asking for trouble,” and so on….

These are the TWO CRITERIA I WILL USE IN GRADING THIS ASSIGNMENT. Proofreading and editing are important, but NOT YET.

Choose a topic for your own narrative essay. The topic you decide on should be something you care about, and the narration should be a means of communicating an idea that ties into the essay’s theme or point. Remember, in this essay, the narration is not an end in itself.

BELOW:  I’ve given you a list of possible topics to get you thinking.  You may pick one of these or choose something not on the list that is meaningful to you.


Gaining independence
A friend’s sacrifice
A significant trip with your family
A wedding or a funeral
An incident from family legend


A storm, a flood, an earthquake, or another natural event
A school event
The most important minutes of a sporting event


A time you confronted authority
A time you had to deliver bad news
Your biggest social blunder


Your first day of high school or college
The first performance you gave
A first date

Writing Your Narrative Essay

When drafting your essay:

Develop an enticing title – although don’t let yourself get stuck on the title. A great title might suggest itself after  you’ve begun the prewriting and drafting processes.
Use the introduction to establish the situation the essay will address.
Avoid addressing the assignment directly. (For example, don’t write “I am going to write about my most significant experience,” because this takes the fun out of reading the work!)
Think of things said at the moment this experience started for you—perhaps use a quote, or an interesting part of the experience that will grab the reader.
Let the story reflect your own voice. (Is your voice serious? Humorous? Matter-of-fact?)

Organize the essay in a way that
Establishes the situation [introduction];

Introduces the complication(s) [body]; and

States the point or the lesson you learned [conclusion]