Overview of NARRATIVE Text Features & Instructional Tools


The basic purpose is to entertain, to gain and hold a reader’s interest. However,

narratives can also be written to teach or inform, to change attitudes or social

opinions. Narratives sequence people/ characters in time and place and set up one

or more problems which must eventually be resolved.

Types of Narratives:

There are many types of narratives. They can be imaginary, factual, or a

combination of both. They may include fairy stories, mysteries, science fiction,

romances, horror stories, adventure stories, fables, myths, legends, historical

narratives, ballads, personal experience, slice of life.

Narrative has the following structure:

  • An orientation in which the characters, setting, and time of the story are established (usually answers who, when, where).
  • A complication(s) or problem which involves the main character(s).
  • A resolution(s) to the complication.
  • The structure of narratives includes plot, setting, characterization, and theme.
  • Action verbs provide interest to the story (e.g. Instead of she laughed – she cackled).
  • Written in the first person (I, we) or the third person (he, she, they).
  • Usually written in the past tense.
  • Conjunctions .– linking words to do with time – are used.
  • Strong nouns have more specific meaning (e.g. oak rather than tree).
  • Careful and judicious use of adjectives and adverbs are used (i.e. to bring the story alive, provide description and information for reader).

A variety of sentence beginnings are used; for example, by using:

  • Participles (Jumping with joy I ran home to tell everyone)
  • Adverbs (Silently the cat crept toward the bird)
  • Adjectives (Brilliant sunlight shone through the window)
  • Nouns (Thunder claps filled the air)
  • Adverbial phrases (Along the street walked the girl as if she had not a care in the world)
  • Conversations/ dialogue (tense may change to the present or the future

Narratives often use figurative language:

  • Similes (The wind wrapped me like a cloak)
  • Metaphors (She has a heart of stone)
  • Onomatopoeia (splat, ooze, squish)
  • Personification (Clouds limped across the sky)

Personal voice or writing that is honest and convincing is used. Narratives

should have an impact on the reader