How to write a personal narrative?

A personal narrative (個人故事) is a story about you. It tells something really happened. 以下是一些tips for you, it helps a lot!

Purpose and Audience目的和讀者

Personal narratives allow you to share your life with others and vicariously experience the things that happen around you. Your job as a writer is to put the reader in the midst of the action letting him or her live through an experience. Although a great deal of writing has a thesis, stories are different. A good story creates a dramatic effect, makes us laugh, gives us pleasurable fright, and/or gets us on the edge of our seats. A story has done its job if we can say, “Yes, that captures what living with my father feels like," or “Yes, that’s what being cut from the football team felt like."

Structure 結構:三種常見的結構

There are a variety of ways to structure your narrative story. The three most common structures are: chronological approach, (按時間發展)flashback sequence,(倒敘排列法) and reflective mode. (反思的形式)Select one that best fits the story you are telling.

Methods 方法

Show, Don’t’ Tell 不要告訴讀者什麼

Don’t tell the reader what he or she is supposed to think or feel. Let the reader see, hear, smell, feel, and taste the experience directly, and let the sensory experiences lead him or her to your intended thought or feeling. Showing is harder than telling. (不要告訴讀者該怎麼想,讓讀者自己從字裡行間去體會,讓感官知覺帶領他去體驗你的感受。) It’s easier to say, “It was incredibly funny," than to write something that is incredibly funny. The rule of “show, don’t tell" means that your job as a storyteller is not to interpret; it’s to select revealing details. You’re a sifter, not an explainer. An easy way to accomplish showing and not telling is to avoid the use of “to be" verbs. (不要直接告訴讀者「這很有趣」,要表現給讀者這是一個有趣的事情。作為一個寫故事的人,你的職責不是去詮釋,而是去選擇要說的細節。)

Let People Talk 讓人物說話

It’s amazing how much we learn about people from what they say. One way to achieve this is through carefully constructed dialogue. Work to create dialogue that allows the characters’ personalities and voices to emerge through unique word selection and the use of active rather than passive voice.(寫一些對話讓角色的個性從對話中特殊的用字而自然流露,最好用主動而不是被動的說法。)

Choose a Point of View 觀點

Point of view is the perspective from which your story is told. It encompasses where you are in time, how much you view the experience emotionally (your tone), and how much you allow yourself into the minds of the characters. Most personal narratives are told from the first-person limited point of view.(故事是由誰說的?它包含故事當時的時空背景,說故事者的感受,和感情。大部分個人敘述都是第一人稱。)


Tense is determined by the structure you select for your narrative. Consider how present vs. past tense might influence your message and the overall tone of your piece.(用什麼時態要由你的故事決定。用現在式或過去式會影響故事整體的基調。)

Tone 基調

The tone of your narrative should set up an overall feeling. Look over the subject that you are presenting and think of what you are trying to get across. How do you want your audience to feel when they finish your piece? Careful word choice can help achieve the appropriate effect.(基調就是故事整體的感覺。要悲傷或快樂?慎選你用的詞句。)

1. Personal Narrative Sample Writing

Winter of 1982

By Teacher Dave

I lived in Oromocto, Eastern Canada. It was in winter and I was a high school student. The weather that winter was extremely cold. Have you ever seen your own breath? There was so much snow, that you had to shovel the snow every hour! The wind was so cold you had to bundle up in a hat, gloves and a big coat!

The schools in many districts were closed because there was a massive amount of snow. So, all my friends made a bunch of snowballs and had pleasant day having a snowball fight.


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