5 Rules of Narrative Writing


Many people consider narrative writing to be a special type of art form. It’s not easy to perfect and can be difficult to nail down the specific grammatical rules and best practices. Still, anyone can learn with a little bit of practice. At its heart, narrative writing is about telling a compelling story from your very own POV. When done correctly, narrative essays are incredible to listen to. This guide will do a dive into five rules of narrative writing.

1. Be as clear as possible

Narrative essays that are too wordy and too detailed confuse the reader. Aim to use simple words and appropriate language, which allow your readers to understand your specific roles within the plot. Another thing to keep in mind is that what may be clear to you may be lost on others. If it’s a key story element that could be interpreted in many ways, make it as clear as possible and the better your feedback will be.

2. Avoid second person narrative

Narrative writing should come from your point of view, and avoid second person narrative. This means you should not refer to the reader as you, as it can cause confusion and is too informal for an academic paper. To avoid this, use nouns and avoid giving commands where “you” is the assumed subject. If you’re a teacher hoping to break your students of this habit, try personal narratives lesson plans, which will give you tips to understanding the grammatical structure of narrative writing.

3. Limit references

While you should make use of a few strong, academically-proven references, your paper should not be overloaded with them. If you add too many, your own personal arguments, voice and research will get muddled and any jargon may be too complex for your reader to understand. For the references you do use, make sure to cite all your sources correctly.

4. Dynamic word choice is key

While you should avoid being overly loquacious, using strong, dynamic words are crucial to the overall strength of your narrative writing. Think about each word before you use it and if it contributes or takes away to the overall sentence. Avoid using filler. Be clear, concise and to the point. In addition, use language your reader will understand.

5. Don’t describe each and every one of your movements

Narrative writing requires creating a structured guideline before you start writing. Where do you want your paper to start and end? What do you feel is the most important part of the story? You may feel that each and every last detail is important to the story, but your reader will get bored trying to keep up with the smallest of details. Opt to keep in the big picture ideas and smaller supporting details versus every last component of the story.

The best narrative writers will tell you practice makes perfect. The more you write, the better you’ll get, so get started!