Narrative Writing

 

Three Things I Want to See

Here are three "rules" that we've already covered, but let's go over them once again, this time in slightly more detail.

1. Keep your Paragraphs Short!

My rule regarding paragraphs is this:

  • Two short paragraphs are almost always better than one long one.

You should start a new paragraph every time:

  • You switch to a new topic.
  • Your narrative (story) switches to a new location.
  • Your narrative switches to a different day or time.
  • Someone new starts to speak.

Here are some simple examples:

My dog's name is Snickers. He is four years old. He likes to chase tennis balls. My cat's name is Velvet. She is friendly. She likes to chase butterflies.


That paragraph stinks, because you have gone from talking about your dog, Snickers, to your cat, Velvet, without signalling a shift in topic by starting a new paragraph. Properly written, that paragraph should be broken up, like this:

My dog's name is Snickers. He is four years old. He likes to chase tennis balls.

My cat's name is Velvet. She is friendly. She likes to chase butterflies.


And here is another quick example:

On Saturday I went to my cousin's house. We played video games all day. We also watched a movie on TV. On Sunday I stayed home. In the morning I did homework. Later I went for a walk with my family.


That paragraph stinks, because your story shifts too abruptly, from Saturday at your cousin's house, to Sunday at home, without signalling that shift by starting a new paragraph. Properly written, that paragraph should be broken up, like this:

On Saturday I went to my cousin's house. We played video games all day. We also watched a movie on TV.

On Sunday I stayed home. In the morning I did homework. Later I went for a walk with my family.

 

2. Format Your Titles Correctly

Once again, here are the rules regarding titles:

  • Capitalize every word of the title, except for articles and prepositions.
    • There is one exception to this rule: If the title starts with an article or a preposition, then you should capitalize that word too.
  • Do not capitalize every letter of your title.
  • Do not put a period at the end of your title.

Study the following examples:

Wrong Correct

My favorite vacation

My Favorite Vacation

back to school

Back to School

an important lesson.

An Important Lesson

The First Day Of Summer

The First Day of Summer

THE DAY I ALMOST DIED

The Day I Almost Died

 


3. Follow the Number Rule

Here is another rule I expect you to follow.

  • Numbers between one and nine should be spelled out. Numbers 10 or above should be written in Arabic numerals. (Arabic numerals = the way you write numbers in Math class).

Study the following examples:

Wrong Correct

I have 3 cats.

I have three cats.

There are twenty-five students in my class.

There are 25 students in my class.

My cousin is 5 years old.

My cousin is five years old.

The gunman killed ten people.

The gunman killed 10 people.

I ate 2 pieces of cake.

I ate two pieces of cake.

 

Quiz