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What is the best way to start a personal narrative? If you could give me an example on...

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lol1234 | Student, Grade 9 | eNoter

Posted September 18, 2010 at 1:31 AM via web

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What is the best way to start a personal narrative? If you could give me an example on how to start that would be great.

My topic is about my family and I going on a wet boat ride with our passports. If you could help me start that would be awesome.

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missy575 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted September 18, 2010 at 1:57 AM (Answer #1)

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Let me give you a few tips:

1. Open with a word picture that vividly describes a image or feeling. One way to do this is to make sure you use sensory details and lots of adjectives and adverbs. Also, make sure your language is strong by using specific verbs and nouns. Let me give you an example of a word picture. I am at Saturday School right now, so that's my setting to think about.

"Sterile white walls and a clock that moved slower than molasses shouted out the reality of Saturday School: it takes forever. The first two inmates walked in dressed in all black from their trenchcoat tails to their think eyeliner, lipstick and nail polish."

2. Be careful of the word "I". It is easy to use this over and over in a personal narrative because you write from your own perspective.

3. Since you are talking about a boat ride and your concern is the water, think of all the different vocabulary you know to describe water: cascading waterfalls, transparent, crystal clear, soothing, refreshing. I bet you can come up with many more.

4. Think about opposites. You might consider writing your intro about how you thought your trip would be. In the last sentence state how wrong you were, and then tell the real story of what happened.

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted September 18, 2010 at 9:24 PM (Answer #2)

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I have always felt that starting off with the actual event is a great way to open a personal narrative.  I think that placing the reader in the middle of the action allows them to be pulled into the story and makes for a great read.  It also helps with the writing process because the boat ride sounds interesting and quite intense.  This will jump start your writing process because it should be easy to recount it.  In doing so, you will find that both reader and writer are both interested in the same event and some level of connection will emerge.  I think that another way to open the story up would be with the discussion of the passports, themselves, and then bring them into the boat ride.  Either way, your introduction will be different than a standard one and should make for interesting reading and writing.

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