Stockton Writing Class #3: September 12, 2018

I HATE to write, but I LOVE to have written – Oscar Wilde


Read this narrative by David Sedaris (listen to the author read the narrative below). As you read, consider what you learned about narratives from the Purdue OWL (and any questions posed in class today) Be prepared for Wednesday, to further discuss the quality of this piece and “how” it evinces the tenets of good narrative.


  1. Reading Quiz #1
  2. Narrative Assignment Overview, Discussion & Draft
  3. Personality Assessment & Discussion
  4. Lecture: Costal’s #2 Key to Writing (2 of 5)


Reading Quiz #2: 

#1. Is the Rooster a “redeemable” character? In a maximum of three sentences, tell me how the Rooster redeems himself by the end of the essay.

#2. Is the Rooster’s foul, offensive language explicit or implicit. Write one sentence describing how you know.

Personality Assessment Resources to consider once you have your pair: 

Explanation of the function pairs here.

A deeper reading can be done here. 

And even more stuff about the functioning pairs here.



Formal Essay #1: Descriptive Narrative

A narrative is a story. In writing a narrative essay, you share with the reader some personal experience of your own in order to make a point or convey a larger message. A great narrative, for example might be how your grandfather influenced your desire to become an orthodontist, or perhaps you’ll relate the story of the time you didn’t make the cut for the basketball team. Whatever the story, a good narrative relays a higher purpose or meaning.

Narrative effect is the main point of your story—the moral, the message, the insight you offer. Without a specific narrative effect, your essay is merely a series of unconnected events. If you are unsure what your main point is, you might ask yourself, “Why am I telling this story? Why should someone else be interested in reading about my experience?” In addition, you must decide whether to reveal your point explicitly (stated directly) or implicitly (suggested but not stated).


Your narrative will be a story. It The must provide its description through the telling of a specific story. So a narrative that ask you to tell about your prized possession cannot simply DESCRIBE your favorite chair, you must tell me the story of how you got it, or a time when it provided you solace.

You can’t tell me about your boyfriend, you have to tell me about a particular memorable date. The time he told you he loved you. 

THIS is the difference between “show” & “tell.” More on that later in class.

The narrative MUST tell a story, and the story must illustrate the prompt.

Two – three pages double spaced, default font, 1″ margins. Write name and Formal Essay #1: Narrative in the header.

Bring an electronic copy to use in class on Monday. Make sure you can access it from a computer.

Frequently Committed Narrative Issues:

1. Inciting Incident: To begin…as weird as it seems…don’t just start at the beginning…MAKE the beginning at the point of incitement.

2. Write a story, not an expository essay. No traditional thesis or opening paragraph. Resist the urge to NOT tell me WHAT you’re describing. This device is rarely worth the confusion.

3. Dominant Impression: Too many of you will not focus your story on ONE, SPECIFIC, CONCRETE INCIDENT, instead you wrapped it up in a complete day’s worth of description. For example, if you “find peace” at Disney World, and you know that because you went last summer, don’t tell me the whole story, from packing the car to leaving Orlando on interstate 4. Instead, why not focus on riding your favorite ride with a loved one. Or one magical evening at Cinderella’s Castle. Or eating your way around World Showcase.


Narrative Prompts

Tell me about…

  1. a challenge you have overcome.
  2. a time you survived.
  3. a specific obstacle to success you have overcome.
  4. a time you failed. What you learned from it.
  5. a time you succeeded though you thought you might fail.
  6. a life lesson you learned from adversity.
  7. the most difficult goal you’ve reached and how you did it.
  8. a time you were forced from your “comfort zone” and what you learned.
  9. the last time you did something that scared or challenged you.
  10. What scares you.
  11. a specific fear or phobia.
  12. a personal superstition.
  13. your relationship with being alone.
  14. a time you cried.
  15. a time you felt overlooked and underappreciated.
  16. a time when you were the ‘New Kid.’
  17. a time when you had to deal with haters.
  18. a time when you were provoked. How did you act?
  19. a time when you were really stressed and the role it played in your life.
  20. a time when you made a bad decision and its effects resonated.
  21. a place where you find peace.
  22. something you once hated, but now you like.
  23. a time when specific feedback helped you improve.
  24. how sometimes trying too hard to be happy can make you sad. What happened?
  25. a time when an adult who was ‘Only Trying to Help’ made something worse.
  26. a time your love was not returned. How did it end?

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