We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.
Literature

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

What is Narrative Writing?

Dan Cavallari
By
Updated: May 23, 2024

Narrative writing focuses on telling a story. This may mean telling a fictional story — one that is made up — or it may mean telling a real-life story in such a way that the author follows a plot structure. It can also take the form of an essay, in which the author will use a personal story to prove a point or state an argument. The forms vary greatly because it is largely a creative endeavor; novels, short stories, poems, blog posts, and essays can all take the form of a narrative, and while the form of the writing may change, the function of telling a story remains the same.

Much of narrative writing can be done on a personal level — that is, the stories written do not necessarily need to be shared with others. The value of such writing becomes evident as a catharsis of sorts: authors may choose to write about a troubling situation to help themselves work through it or understand it better, for example. As a tool in the public domain, this form of writing helps the author connect with an audience to prove a point, state an argument, or address an important issue. A narrative can set the stage for a particular issue, and the story does not necessarily have to be about the author himself. He can, for example, write an account of a friend or acquaintance's experiences in a war-torn country without having lived through the experience.

Narratives can also be fictional events that follow a plot structure that includes introduction or exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution or denouement. This structure is sometimes known as the plot pyramid or story arc, and it ensures all relevant parts of the story get told. Characterization, or developing a character into a believable and almost real person, is important to the story, as is developing setting, tone, and relevant themes.

The most common forms of narrative writing include short stories and novels. These two genres generally follow story arcs, and in novels, several characters and settings may be developed. A short story will usually contain fewer characters and settings, as such stories are designed to be easily digestible pieces of writing that can be read relatively quickly. Novels are significantly longer and offer the writer ample opportunity to deal with complex themes, characters, and interactions. Poems can also be narrative, though the writer is generally afforded even less space to tell a story than a short story. Longer, narrative poems, however, may run on for several pages, and some are even novel-length.

Language & Humanities is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Dan Cavallari
By Dan Cavallari
Dan Cavallari, a talented writer, editor, and project manager, crafts high-quality, engaging, and informative content for various outlets and brands. With a degree in English and certifications in project management, he brings his passion for storytelling and project management expertise to his work, launching and growing successful media projects. His ability to understand and communicate complex topics effectively makes him a valuable asset to any content creation team.
Discussion Comments
By Engelbert — On May 17, 2011

While @Sequoia's method of just diving right in is definitely valuable for getting some material together, it's also important to remember that narrative writing follows a structure and if you have a good outline which illustrates what happens in each part of the story it'll be a lot easier to write. I've even made flow charts in the past with rough notes which I then fleshed out into a full story as I was writing it.

By Sequoia — On May 16, 2011

I find narrative writing to be very cathartic. Sometimes it's good to just start writing and see what comes out, but I particularly like collecting key phrases and then using them as narrative writing prompts. It might just be a short phrase like "all that matters" or something abstract like "deep breath", but whatever it is I try to turn it into a story somehow using whatever images it conjures up in my head.

Often the hardest thing to do when you're writing is to get started and the advice I'd recommend in that case would be simply to start anywhere. It's not going to be perfect. Good writing takes time and practice, just like any other creative endeavor.

Dan Cavallari
Dan Cavallari
Dan Cavallari, a talented writer, editor, and project manager, crafts high-quality, engaging, and informative content for various outlets and brands. With a degree in English and certifications in project management, he brings his passion for storytelling and project management expertise to his work, launching and growing successful media projects. His ability to understand and communicate complex topics effectively makes him a valuable asset to any content creation team.
Share
Language & Humanities, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

Language & Humanities, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.