Another, and possibly best-known, form of creative writing is writing a story. This is called narrative writing. This demands not only creative writing skills but also creative ideas.
Personal narratives are one of the first types of creative writing that students do. Students write about themselves, their families, their community and their schools. They are successful in writing personal narratives because they can draw on what they know best about themselves or something they have done.
Personal Narrative Model 1
When I was five years old, my mother and I had a discussion about cleaning my room. She told me I couldn’t play until I cleaned my room up. She went into the kitchen and let me clean my room up. About ten minutes later I walked in the kitchen and stood there. My mother asked, “That was fast. Did you already get your room cleaned? I said, “God told me that I didn’t have to clean my room.” With a shocked look on my mom’s face, she asked me again, “What? God will forgive me this day, so get back in your room and get it cleaned up!”
(Adapted from Tompkins, 1994, p. 154)
Write your own personal narrative. ______
Personal Narrative Model 2
A Beautiful Wedding The happiest day of my life was the day I got married. I will never forget that day. It was a beautiful day in August. I woke up early in the morning. I had my last breakfast with my parents, brothers and sisters. That made me a little sad. We all got dressed and went to the church. We waited one hour until everyone arrived. Then the wedding ceremony began. It was very beautiful. There were flower all over the church and someone played music on the church organ. When the priest said that we were married, I started to cry. My husband winked at me and we both laughed. After the ceremony, we had a reception at my house. All my relatives and friends were there. There was a wonderful orchestra that played our favorite music. Everyone danced a lot. My mother and her friends prepared delicious food, and everyone ate and drank a lot. We all enjoyed it very much. I was very happy with my husband on that day. Now we have two children and we are still happy. I always remember that special day when we began our wonderful life together. (Adapted from Dicker, 1992, p 22)
126 Exercise 2
Do you like this story? Why or why not?
I like / don’t like this story because ______
127 Exercise 3
Pretend you are the writer’s brother, sister, mother, or father. Describe how you felt on the day of the wedding and recall some of the memories you had that day. After you have finished writing, share what you wrote with a classmate.
I remember the day that my______got married. ______
128 Writing a Narrative: A Story
Writing is not just getting down the ideas. It depends on the writer’s purpose, the text will have a particular shape and the language will be organized in a particular way to give the text its meaning. Writing a narrative has many kinds of framework which because the nature of creative writing is not fixed. Here is one kind of framework.
The Structure of a Narrative
Orientation which: introduces the characters and sparks the reader’s interest in the characters tells the reader when, where, who, what and why gives a hint about the problems which the characters will encounter Complication where: something happens which the characters do not expect the reader discovers the problem Evaluation which: can occur as a separate stage but is also woven into the complication is where the storyteller comments on the events and makes them significant for the reader makes the reader care about what happens to the characters slows the action down and creates suspense which makes the reader want to find out what happens next
Resolution in which the problem is solved. Coda which rounds off the story with a short comment on what happened or with a comment about the future lives of the characters. For example, many fairy tales have a coda such as And they lived happily ever after.
(Joyce and Feez, 2000, pp. 59-60)
129 Model 1
Why Volcanoes Smoke
Orientation: When A long time ago when the earth was young there was a large, Where Who furious, demon pig that used to roam in the jungle.
Complication The pig would stalk the village at night and steal children from their families. Then it would take them back to its cave deep in the mountain and eat them.
One night when the moon was bright, the pig crept into a village near a large river. Here it found a new born baby asleep and took it back to its cave.
The moon saw clearly what was happening and was very angry at the pig. He was so angry that he took a deep breath and spat a ball of fire at a pig. The pig was burnt alive in its cave. And even today you see smoke from the fire rising out of the mountain.
(Adapted from Collerson, 1989, p. 65)
The purpose of this text is to tell about something dramatic that happened to the writer, to tell about what went wrong and thus to “ entertain” the reader . It is a narrative. It is similar in purpose to many oral narratives that typical begin “Guess what happened to me today.” In such oral narratives the speaker then goes on to tell about an
130 unusual or dramatic event. In order to achieve its purpose, the story goes through several stages:
The Dreadful Accident
On Sunday my cousins and I went to the pool. They were in the baby pool and I was in the big pool………………………………………….Orientation
I then asked my Aunty if I could have my goggles. She threw them on the ground. I put my arm on a gutter and reached out with my other arm. Then, my arm slipped into the gutter and it got stuck. I shouted that my arm was stuck but no one would believe me so I repeated it again and again………………….Complication
Then a lady came over and helped me get it out. But it would not come out. So, the lady jumped into the pool and finally got it out……..……. Resolution
After that, I went to sit down in the shade with my Mum and Dad. My Dad kept on saying that he would have got a hammer to get it out if he had had to……Coda
Then, we went to my cousins’ house, had a drink and went home. We got home at eight o’ clock…………………………………………………Reorientation
(Adapted from Collerson, 1989, p. 67) The text begins with an Orientation which sets the scene-it provides details of time and place and introduces the participants involved in the action. The Complication gives details of what went wrong – it provides the point of the story. The Resolution explains how the Complication was resolved. The essential structure of the Narrative is Orientation – Complication- Resolution, but in this text the writer had added some details to the end of her Narrative, which can be called a Coda. The Coda provides a sort of comment on the
131 events described in the narrative. It is an optional addition to the narrative. The last section, which is labeled Reorientation, is extraneous to the dreadful accident and may indicate that the writer, not sure where to end her text, has run on to a typical Recount ending. Other distinctive features of the narrative include the use of specific reference and past tense. This narrative relates the sequence of events around a problem experienced by the narrator. It involves specific events and specific people. Hence reference is specific, e.g. my cousins and I, they, I, my arm, a lady, etc. Because the narrative relates events that occurred in the past it uses the past tense: for example, went, were, threw and slipped.
Lazy John Once upon a time there was a little town called Pelevon, a fishing village in the USA. There lived a little boy called John. John was very, very lazy. He wouldn’t even have sailing lessons. One day all the boys in the village had a boat race. In the race the other boys stayed near the shore because they knew there was a storm coming up. But John didn’t know about the storm so he went right out. The storm came up and the other boys could go back to the shore, but John was too far out. Waves were drowning John’s boat. Suddenly a current caught his boat and took him to the side of the river. John was safe. After that John was never lazy again.
Model 3 is a narrative telling a story that happened in the past.
Expedition to Misty Mountain It was a bleak cold day; the mist shrouded the mountainside. Snow lay several feet deep, and a large crevasse, almost invisible, cut along the mountainside. Suddenly a small figure emerged from the blanket of mist. It was John a man with a kindly, cheerful face and tall shape. After him came Kenny, an enthusiastic man
132 who as soon as he had learned about the trip, had volunteered to go. Next trundled Maria who carried the long range radio. Last of all Peter and Bob, side by side, struggled up the slope. Suddenly, with a cry of surprise and fear Kendy,who had been running slipped on a patch of snow and plummeted down the crevasse………
(Adapted from Collerson, 1989, p. 41) Model 4 is another story in the past.
Exercise 4 Write a narrative by changing the verbs in bold type to the past tense. 1. Every day on the way to work, Brian gets on the train one station before Samantha. She gets off one station before him. They fall in love with each other. They have never spoken. ______2. Neither knows for sure that the other person loves them. Their feeling begin to interfere with their work. ______
133 3. Just before St. Valentine’s Day, she decides to buy him a card and hand it over before she gets off the train on St. Valentine’s Day. She buys the card. ______
4. On the train on St. Valentine’s Day, she is ready to hand it over just before she gets off the train. ______5. Just before she is about to hand the card over, he gives her a card. She is too surprised to give him the one she had bought him. She opens the card he gave her after she gets off the train. He has chosen the same card for her as she had chosen for him! ______
Exercise 5 Rearrange the story and change some verbs to the past tense.
A. Every day on the way to work, Brian got on the train one station before Samantha. She gets off one station before him. They fall in love with each other. They have never spoken.
134 B. Just before St. Valentine’s Day, she decided to buy him a card and hand it over before she gets off the train on St. Valentine’s Day. She buys the card. C. Just before she was about to hand the card over, he gives her a card. She is too surprised to give him the one she had bought him. She opens the card he gave her after she gets off the train. He has chosen the same card for her as she had chosen for him! D. On the train on St. Valentine’s Day, she is ready to hand it over just before she gets off the train. E. Neither knows for sure that the other person loves them. Their feeling begin to interfere with their work. ______
Exercise 6 Write a summary of the story in Exercise 4 by using your own words. Plot: Man and a woman fell in love on train and bought each other Valentine cards.
136 Exercise 7 Write the complete narrative by changing the underlined verbs into past tense.
1. A policeman brings a prisoner to a school during the school holidays when the teacher is there. He tells the teacher to take the prisoner to the judge in the next town the following day. ______2. The teacher treats the prisoner kindly, makes him a meal and gives him a bed for the night. ______
3. The next morning, the teacher makes the prisoner breakfast, talks to him about the crime he has committed, and sets off with him towards the town. ______
4. They stop at the top of a hill. The teacher gives the prisoner money and food, and points out the town where the judge is waiting and a village when the prisoner will find his friends.
137 ______5. The teacher leaves the prisoner. Later, he looks back and sees… ______
Exercise 8 Work in pairs to build a good narrative on the following topic, based on the following suggestions. Topic : Mystery Story 1. Requires clever thinking and aims to puzzle the reader as much as the characters. 2. Usually first or third person. 3. Readers are given clues throughout—solution falls into place with gripping climax. Story line needs to be well thought out. ______
139 Writing a Fairy Tale Fairy tales are a well established, typical text, with distinctive thematic and formal features. Moreover, fairy tales provide more scope for creativity than other text- types, and what is more important; they can touch a place deep within our subconscious. They are much more than just stories: they are teachings that have been handed down from generation to generation, from which people learn about both the dark and bright sides of life. Some fairy tales are traditional which have traditional setting. Most fairy tales all over the world share some dominant themes which consist of basic human themes, such as initiation to independence, family ties, obedience or disobedience to parents, female pubescence, sexuality and/or rape, social order versus nature, female or male heroism, death and rejuvenation, gluttony and even cannibalism. Fairy tales belong to the wider category of the narrative genre (the way text is written) which has been extensively analyzed from many viewpoints. Like any kind of narrative and also like any form of formal organization, fairy tales are able to exploit the features of the medium they use. In particular, all verbal narratives , traditional folk tales, which belong to the oral tradition, count on some outstanding characteristics, that is to say all the possibilities of speech, such as the use of pauses, rhythm, the different qualities of voice, as well as gestures, mimicry, eye contact and so on. The basic characteristic of a story-line is that it usually involves some initial difficulty and a final resolution. The writer writes a story starting from children’s knowledge, not from his own. A story consists of the weaving of episodes together. (Adapted from Joyce & Feez, 2000, p. 30) Exercise 9 Give the definition of a fairy tale in your own words. ______
140 Elements of Writing a Fairy Tale
There are some elements to consider when people write a fairy tale. They are as follows: - Happens in the past. - Problem or series of problems. - Usually happy ending. - May involve the supernatural. - Realms not necessarily defined. - Usually a basic conflict between good and evil.
Fairy tales are traditional stories told in Europe. They are fantasy stories which are often about: - kings and queens - dragons - young people - princes and princesses - little magical people such as fairies, elves, goblins and leprechauns - animals which talk and behave like humans - wizards and witches - beautiful children - wise old people
These people and creatures live in fairytale castles with dungeons and turrets, in enhanced forests, cozy cottages and pretty villages. All fairy-tale people and creatures take part in imaginary, magical events. European children are told these stories from a very young age. One such story is told below. Now look at the model and study the structure of a famous fairy tale. You may know this fairy tale in your language very well.
141 Model 1 Little Red Riding Hood 1. Once upon a time there lived a sweet little girl who was loved by everyone who knew her. Her grandmother loved her best of all and gave her many gifts. The gift the little girl like the most was a red hooded cape which she wore all the time. The little girl became known as Little Red Riding Hood. 2. One day Little Red Riding Hood’s mother said to her: ‘Your grandmother is ill. Take her this cake and this wine to make her feel better. Don’t tarry on your way and be sure you stay on the path no matter what.’ 3. Little Red Riding Hood promised to do as she was told and off she went. 4. The path to Grandmother’s house went through a forest. Little Red Riding Hood had not gone very far along the path when she met a wolf. Now the wolf liked to eat sweet, tasty little girls but Little Red Riding Hood did not know this, so she was not afraid of him at all. 5. ‘Good day Little Riding Hood,’ said the wolf, bowing low. 6. ‘Good day Wolf,’ said Little Red Riding Hood with a bright smile. 7. ‘And where are you going my dear on such a beautiful day? said he, licking his lips. 8. ‘I’m going to Grandmother’s house. She’s not well. I’m taking her some goodies to make her feel better,’ replied Little Red Riding Hood. 9. And where does your grandmother live my dear? Enquired the wolf politely. 10. ‘In the little cottage just on the other side of the wood, next to the big oak tree,’ explained Little Red Riding Hood. 11. ‘My dear, look at all the pretty flowers growing in the forest. Why don’t you pick a posy for your grandmother? Suggested the wolf helpfully. 12. Little Red Riding Hood thought that a bunch of flowers would make her sick grandmother feel much more cheerful. So she wandered off the path further and further into the trees to find the prettiest flowers. 13. Meanwhile the wolf ran to Grandmother’s house as fast as his legs would carry him. He knocked on the door. 14. ‘Who’s there? called Grandmother from her bed. 15. It’s your grand daughter, Little Red Riding Hood. I’ve bought you some goodies,’ answered the wolf in little high voice.
142 16. ‘Lift up the latch and come in my dear,’ called Grandmother. 17. The wolf went inside and swallowed Grandmother in one huge gulp. Then the wolf put on one of Grandmother’s nightgowns, pulled on Grandmother’s nightcap and got into Grandmother’s bed. 18. After wandering through the forest looking for flowers, Little Red Riding Hood finally reached her grandmother’s house. She knocked on the door. 19. ‘Who’s there? came a gruff voice from inside. 20. It’s your grand-daughter, Little Red Riding Hood. I‘ve bought you some goodies,’ called Little Red Riding Hood, who thought her grandmother’s voice sounded rather strange. 21. ‘Lift up the latch and come in my dear,’ said the gruff voice. 22. Little Red Riding Hood came into the house, walked into her grandmother’s room and saw her grandmother in bed with the counterpane pulled up to her chin. Little Red Riding Hood was quite startled. Her grandmother looked very strange indeed. 23. ‘Oh Grandmother what big ears you have! Cried Little Red Riding Hood. ‘All the better to hear you with my dear.’ ‘Oh Grandmother what big eyes you have! ‘All the better to see you with my dear.’ ‘Oh Grandmother what big arms you have! ‘All the better to hug you with my dear.’ ‘Oh Grandmother what big teeth you have!’ ‘All the better to eat you with my dear!!’ 24. With that the wolf sprang out of bed to grab Little Red Riding Hood so he could eat her up. 25. Just at that moment a hunter happened to be passing by. He heard Little Red Riding Hood’s screams, rushed into the cottage and killed the wolf. With his hunting knife he slit open the wolf’s stomach and out stepped Grandmother all in one piece, alive and well. 26. After that Little Red Riding Hood always obeyed her mother. She never again strayed from the path through the forest and she lived happily ever after.
(Joyce & Feez, 2000, pp. 42-44)
143 Exercise 10 Analyze this story by using categories from the elements of writing a fairy tales.
Happened in the past (show the time of the past) ______Problems or series of problems: ______Happy ending: ______
Supernatural events: ______
144 A basic conflict between good and evil: ______
The Language of Fairy Tales
A fairy tale, like all stories, is a sequence of events which happen one after the other: - each clause tells the reader about one event. - the verb group tells the reader what the event is. - the clauses are sequenced, one after the other, to show how the events unfold over time. - conjunctions help to sequence clauses in this way. There are two kinds of conjunctions in Little Red Riding Hood: - conjunctions which link one sentence to the next : meanwhile, then, after, with that, so - conjunctions which join two or more clauses to make a sentence : when, and, so, but, in order to There is a special kind of English which people recognize as fairytale language. The two most famous pieces of fairytale language are: - Once upon a time… - …lived happily ever after. Have you read other stories which begin an end with these phrases? Fairytale language often sounds a bit old-fashioned, even a bit childish. Here are some examples from the story of Little Red Riding Hood:
words: tarry, posy, gruff, nightcap, counterpane, Oh! groups: my dear, a little cottage, as fast as his legs, would carry him, a little high voice, sprang out of bed, eat her up clauses: Be sure you stay on the path no matter what ! , and off she went, said he, Lift up the latch, Oh grandmother what big eyes you have ! All the better to see you with my dear.
145 Language Patterns A language pattern is made when elements of language are repeated in some way. For example, a storyteller can repeat sounds, words, groups, clause and sentences. There is great deal of repetition in the story of Little Red Riding Hood. Here are some examples:
Sound patterns: Repetition of the r sound in Red Riding Repetition of the l sound e.g. licking his lips
Word and group patterns: Repetition of words such as: - Little, Good Day, my dear, further and further
Clause and sentence patterns Repetition of imperative clause structure: - Take this - Don’t tarry - Be sure Repetition of saying verbs: - said the wolf - said Little Red Riding Hood - said he
Repetition of ing form of verbs: - bowing low - licking his lips Repetition of clause pattern of: saying verb + the wolf + adverb - enquired the wolf politely - suggested the wolf helpfully Repetition of whole clauses with only one word changed: - Oh Grandmother what big ears you have! - Oh Grandmother what big teeth you have!
146 These language patterns in Little Red Riding Hood are used to: - build the reader’s expectation that things should happen in a certain way and to make it easier for children to understand and follow the story. - emphasize points - build tension and suspense - show contrasts between : a good character and a bad character, what is happening in the background of the story and what stands out, for example: - the repetition of the r sound in the words riding and red builds positive feelings towards Little Red Riding Hood - the repetition of the l sound in the words licking and lips builds negative feelings towards the wolf Symbols: The story Little Red Riding Hood includes many symbols. A symbol in a story stands for a general idea. For example: - the symbol of a dove represents the idea of peace - the color white represents the idea of purity - often a pig in a fable represents greed and laziness - the little girl represents naivety, inexperience and innocence - the mother represents authority - the color red represents danger - the hooded cape represents protection - the grandmother represents love and comfort - the path through the forest represents life - the wolf represents danger and menace/ obstacles - the hunter represents hero (Joyce & Feez, 2000, pp.45-48) Exercise 11 Work in groups of three, find a book of fairy tales in the library and choose one story to analyze by using the elements of writing a fairy tale.
147 Model 2
The King and the Poor Boy (A Cambodian Folk Tale) In a small village near the edge of the forest, there once lived a boy who had no mother or father. His uncle, who was the chief cook for the king, was sorry for the poor, so he invited the boy to stay. He washed the plates, polished the cups, cleaned the dining room tables, and mopped the floors. At the end of each month, his uncle gave him six sen as his wages. Now, the king frequently inspected the palace. He often noticed the hardworking boy mopping the floors or polishing the cups. The king noticed the boy was always cheerful and in good humor, unlike he himself. One day the king asked the boy, “Do you receive wages for your hard work?” The boy bowed and said, “Yes, I do, Your Majesty. I earn six sen every month.” Then the king asked, “Do you think you are rich or do you think you are poor?” “Your Majesty,” the boy replied, “I think that I am as rich as a king.” The king was taken by surprise. “Why is this poor boy talking such nonsense?” he said to himself. Once more, the king spoke to the boy, “I am a king and I have all the power and riches of this country. But you earn only six sen a month Why do you say you are as rich as I am?” The boy put down his mop and slowly replied to the king, “Your Majesty, I may receive only six sen each month, but like you I eat from one plate. I sleep for one night and you also sleep for one night. We both eat and sleep the same. There is no difference. Now, Your Majesty, do you understand why I say that I am as rich as a king?” The king understood and was satisfied.
(Lee, et al, 2006, p.145)
148 Exercise 12 What do you think a king and a poor boy might have in common? Share ideas with your classmates. ______
Exercise 13 Read the story to find words that describe the king and the boy. List them in the chart below. The king The boy
149 Exercise 14 Read the story again. How are the king and the boy similar and different? List your ideas in the Venn diagram below. Then share ideas with your classmates.
KING SIMILAR BOY
TheKiThe kikngkigkin ggg kkkkin gk kkkkik ing kkkkkk kkingg kingkk kkking kingki ngking
Exercise 15 Project work: in the same group create one fairy tale of your own. Make an outline of the story first. ______