Narration is the part of the story that tells us what happened. It's the information we get about what characters did, how they felt, and what the outcome of their actions was. In general, there are 7 types of narration.

Narration in Writing:

Narration is the part of the story that tells us what happened. It’s the information we get about what characters did, how they felt, and what the outcome of their actions was. In general, there are 7 types of narration.

What is Narration in Writing?

While telling a story or making a report, we commonly adopt two ways:

  1. Sometimes we use the actual words of the speaker without any change. When putting them in black and white, we use inverted commas to show that these words or sentences are the actual words. It is called direct speech or reported speech.
  2. Sometimes the report or the statement does not consist of the speaker’s actual words. But we convey the sense of what was said by the speaker. We report indirectly and call this indirect speech. We do not use inverted commas in this speech.

Remember, the part of a direct speech sentence enclosed within inverted commas is called the reported speech, and the part outside the inverted commas is called the reporting verb. The verb used in the reporting speech is named the reporting verb.

While changing the direct into indirect speech, the inverted commas are not used. The commas between the reporting and reported speech disappear, which are used instead. When the reporting verb is in the past, the reported speech tense typically moves back. Usually, three changes have been made while transforming direct speech into indirect:

Change of Tenses:

  • Verbs in the present change into the past.
  • Verbs already in the past change into the past perfect or do not change.
  • Verbs already in the past perfect; do not change.

We do not always change tenses in reported speech when we use a past reporting verb. Suppose we report something that is still true. We use the same tense as the speaker.

Change of Pronouns, Adjectives, etc.

  • Pronouns (I, me) and possessive adjectives (my, your) often change in reported speech.
  • First-person ( I, we) will change to the subject of reporting speech.
  • The second person (You) will change into the object of the reporting speech.
  • Third-person (He, she, they) will not change.
  1. Some words also change.
  • Here there this that
  • Now then, today, that day
  • Tonight that night, tomorrow the next day
  • General rules to follow while turning the direct speech sentences into indirect ones.

General Sentences, Statements

  • If the reporting verb is in the present tense, you should not change the tenses.
  • If the reporting verb is in the past tense, you should not change all the verbs into the past tense.
  • It would help if you used ‘said’ in the indirect speech when no person is spoken to. But use ‘told’ when the person spoken to is mentioned.
  • It would be best if you changed the pronouns of the first person, I, Me, My, Mine, We, Us, Our, Ours, into the same person as the speaker.
  • Similarly, you should change the pronouns of the second person you, your, yours, into the same person as the person spoken to.
  • The verb used in the reported speech in case of a universal truth does not change. It may remain in the simple present.

Questions:

  • For question sentences in indirect speech, you should use asked or inquired instead of said.
  • It would be best if you never used ‘that.’
  • If you observe that the answer to the question can be ‘yes’ or ‘no’, you should use ‘if or whether.’
  • It would help if you took care that the order of the words must be like a statement and not a direct question.
  • The interrogative sentences begin with interrogative pronouns, whether or not they are used.
  • You should not put note interrogation / a question mark.

Command and Requests:

  • When turning the command or request sentences into indirect form, you must mention the person spoken to.
  • It would help if you used ‘to’ with the first verb form.
  • You should ‘asked’, ‘begged’, ‘requested’, ‘ordered’, ‘advised’, etc instead of ‘said to’.

Optative and Exclamatory

  • While changing the optative sentences into indirect speech, ‘said’ is changed into ‘wished that’ or ‘prayed that,’ ‘declared’ ‘cried out, ‘exclaimed with joy/sorrowfully/wonder.’
  • A complete stop replaces Mark of exclamation.

Exercises:

Report the following in indirect speech:

A young King once said to his Queen, “How is it that I am so often ill? I take great care of myself; I never go out in the rain; I wear warm clothes; I eat good food. Yet I am always catching a cold or getting fever”.

A young King once said to his Queen how it was that he was so often ill. He took great care of himself; he never went out in the rain; he wore warm clothes; he ate good food. Yet he was always catching a cold or getting a fever.

“My name is Kim,” said Ulysses, “my kindred and friends in my own country call me Kim.” “Then,” said the Cyclops, this is the kindness I will show thee, Kim; I will eat thee last of all thy friends.”

Ulysses said his name was Kim and that his kindred and friends in his own country called him Kim. The Cyclops told him that this was the kindness he would show him; he would eat him last of all his friends.

Her mother said, “You must go straight to your grandmother’s cottage and not loiter on the way. There is a wolf in the wood through which you are going, but if you keep to the rod, they won’t harm you. Now, will you be a good girl and do as I tell you?”

Her mother told her that she must go straight to her grandmother’s cottage and not loiter on the way. 

“What are you going to do with the tinder-box?” asked the soldier. “That’s no business of yours,” said the witch; “you’ve got your money; give my tinder-box.”

The soldier told the witch what she would do with the tinder box. She replied that was no business of his. Since he had got his money, she demanded that he should give her a tinder-box.

Examples of Narrative Writing:

Narrative writing is a form of prose that tells a story. It can be written in the first person or the third person. The story line of narrative writing is chronological, with a beginning, middle, and end. Narrative writing is often used to tell true stories that happened in real life.

Examples of narrative writing can be found in newspapers, novels, essays or short stories written for school assignments, letters

7 Types of Narration

Narration is the part of the story that tells us what happened. It’s the information we get about what characters did, how they felt, and what the outcome of their actions was. In general, narration can be broken down into 7 types:

  • Direct
  • Indirect
  • Internal
  • External
  • Stream of consciousness (limited omniscient)
  • Author as character (limited omniscient)
  • Author as narrator (omniscient)

Narration and Dialogue

Narration and dialogue are two of the most common elements in storytelling. Narration is the part of a story that’s written like a description of what’s happening, usually without quotation marks. It’s written in the narrative voice, which is different from the voices of the characters. Dialogue is what characters say to each other, and it’s always surrounded by quotation marks

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