What is a narrative?

Narratives are a popular genre for students and teachers as it provides the writer with an opportunity to share their imagination, creativity, skill and understanding of nearly all elements of writing.  On occasion we refer to a narrative as 'creative writing' or story writing.

The purpose of a narrative is simple, to tell the audience a story.  It can be written to motivate, educate or most commonly entertain.  Narratives can be both fact or fiction.

The challenge in writing a good narrative is to captivate the audience and keep them engaged as the story is told.


Unlike other genres of writing narratives consist of many differing types.  Some of these include.

  • Adventure
  • Fairy tale
  • Myth
  • Love Story
  • Drama
  • Fable
  • Legend
  • Science Fiction
  • Fantasy
  • Mystery / Whodunnit
  • Comedy
  • Tragedy

how to write quest narratives
how to write children's narratives
How to write quest narratives
How to write narratives spooky

Tips for Writing a Great Narrative

  • Set the scene and engage you audience early with well thought out characters and setting.
  • Introduce a problem or complication that causes an issue for the characters.  This will give your story greater purpose.
  • Use paragraphs effectively.  Each new element of your story should start with a new paragraph.
  • Use plenty of nouns, verbs, adjectives and adverbs these words will ensure your story is descriptive.
  • Get your tense right and try and stick with it all story long.
  • Entertain us.  Narratives are the most popular of all styles of writing.  If you can't entertain and engage us you audience will quickly move on.

The single biggest challenge many students face when it comes to story writing is coming up with inspiration or ideas to get those creative juices flowing.  Some students will have more ideas than hours in the day and others will always struggle for both ideas and direction.

It is essential that you have a range of tools, strategies and resources at your disposal to ensure you get the most out of your writing time.  You can find some examples of these prompts at the bottom of this page.


Essential Ingredients of a successful narrative

An introduction – This includes “who, what, where” information. Who is in the story? What is happening? Where is the story set?

A complication – Narratives usually have some kind of problem for the main characters.

A series of events – Several events happen in the story as the main characters attempt to solve the problem.

A resolution – The complication is solved.

A conclusion – The narrative finishes with a concluding paragraph to sum up the story for the characters.

The suggested narrative writing hour

A Moral – Sometimes the characters in the narrative learn a lesson, or a moral, about life.

I would strongly recommend that when story writing you use your time effectively to get the most out of your students without burning them out.  I could recommend you keep your writing time to an hour at most and you may wish to structure it like this to ensure it has purpose.

Junior Version Ages 5 - 8

Junior Version Ages 5 - 8

Middle Version Ages 8 - 11

Middle Version Ages 8 - 11

Upper Version Ages 11 - 14

Upper Version Ages 11 - 14

Narrative Planning Tools

CLICK ON Image to download as a pdf document

CLICK ON Image to download as a pdf document

Click here to download a printable planner with and without example text.

Click here to download a printable planner with and without example text.

Storytelling Infographics

Be sure to to share and discuss these infographics with others.  Although the purpose of these infographics is designed to sell a story more than tell it the principles apply the same in the classroom.  Click on an infographic to enlarge.