Storytelling is an age-old practice used to capture readers' attention and keep them engaged. Storytelling follows certain patterns, whether a classic fairytale, a contemporary novel, or a movie script. Understanding the four main types of narrative writing – exposition, description, narration, and argumentation – will help you develop your own stories with greater impact. Not sure about storytelling yet? You can read my article about the art of storytelling here.
What is Narrative Writing?
Narrative writing is a genre of writing that tells a story. It is used in both fiction and non-fiction writing to help readers access emotion and create connections with the characters. Writers use narrative writing to craft vivid descriptions, draw attention to certain events or themes, and provide insight into their characters' lives. When it comes to narrative writing, there are four main types: Short stories, novels, essays, and autobiographies. Each type has its unique style of storytelling, which can be used alone or combined for more complex pieces. Short stories generally focus on one event or character, while novels explore multiple plot lines throughout several pages. Essays are used to express opinions on various topics, while autobiographies offer an intimate look at the writer's life experiences. Storytelling is a theory in the making. It is perfected and reinvents itself all the time. It's important to understand that there is no one strict uniform rule for this type of writing. Even in this article, you may encounter terms I usually use but may be called differently by other storytellers. And now that we've prefaced it enough let's dive in.
Type 1: Straight writing
Straight writing is the most common type of narrative writing. It is a way to tell a story using direct, linear narration clearly and concisely. The traditional structure of this form of writing follows a simple pattern; beginning, middle, and end. This style is often used in novels, memoirs, biographies, and other forms of non-fiction writing. In straight writing, characters are introduced early on so that readers can become familiar with them over time as the plot progresses. Each character has their own role to play in the story, which can be explored through dialogue or by following their
journey throughout the text. In addition to this, straight writing employs strong descriptions that allow readers to gain an understanding of the setting and atmosphere being created throughout each scene. In this type of writing, the story is told in chronological order. However, it is important to remember that it does not matter at all in which body the story is written - first-person narration, second-person narration, or third-person narration,
Type 2: Arbitrary writing
Arbitrary writing is one of the four types of narrative writing that all writers should be aware of. As the name implies, the writing is not arranged in a clear chronological order in this type. This type of writing features a story with no plot or character development, and its purpose is mainly to convey an emotion or feeling. It can also be used to evoke a certain mood or atmosphere in order to create an effect on the reader. The structure for arbitrary writing varies, and often authors can incorporate elements from other types of narratives into their stories. For example, they may include symbols, metaphors, and other literary devices as part of their work. That said, the main focus remains on conveying emotions and feelings through language rather than providing any kind of resolution or conclusion. Arbitrary writing allows readers to explore the depths of human emotion without being confined by traditional storytelling conventions.
Type 3: Venture writing
Venture Writing is a type of narrative writing that allows readers to experience the story through a character's journey. It focuses on the protagonist's struggle as they battle obstacles to reach their goal. This type of storytelling allows readers to explore and reflect on the struggles, decisions, and motivations that drive a character's journey. The main components of Venture Writing are suspense, conflict, resolution, and
climax. Through these elements, writers create stories with compelling characters that make the reader want to find out how it ends. A common example of this type of writing is in classic fairy tales, where a hero must fight an antagonist and face seemingly insurmountable odds before ultimately achieving victory. Another example might be found in novels where a character embarks on an adventure or quest throughout several chapters until arriving at their destination.
Type 4: Perspective writing
Perspective Writing is a type of narrative writing that focuses on an individual's perspective. It is used to explore the thoughts and feelings of characters rather than providing a more objective view of the story. By focusing on one point of view, writers can emphasize how events impact a single person and provide insight into how they react and respond. This kind of writing is especially effective for first-person accounts or stories about personal growth. The narrator's perspective helps readers get invested in the story as they gain access to their innermost thoughts and opinions. Type 4 Perspective Writing also allows writers to create dynamic dialogue and set up interesting conflicts between characters. Finally, this style encourages readers to consider their own perspectives and beliefs - making it an engaging tool for fiction writers who want to leave an impression on their audience.
The importance of knowing the 4 basic types of storytelling
Storytelling is an art form that has been passed down through generations. Knowing the four types of narrative writing can help any storyteller create compelling pieces that engage their audience. Various methods are used to categorize stories, with most falling into one of four major categories: fiction, non-fiction, fable, and myth. Each type has unique benefits for both novice and experienced writers. Regarding storytelling, fiction offers a wide range of creative possibilities. The author can create characters, settings, and events to explore different themes or aspects of human nature. By exercising their imagination, they're able to bring vivid worlds to life on the page while engaging readers in powerful stories that entertain and inspire them.
The art of storytelling is a powerful tool for sharing stories, experiences, and lessons. It's an essential part of our lives and culture and can be used to create powerful connections between people. Knowing the four principal types of narrative writing can help writers craft engaging stories that captivate their audience. Each type has unique characteristics that writers should consider when telling a story. Writers should also know how each type impacts the narrative structure. Understanding these elements can create richer narratives that draw in readers and leave them wanting more! No matter what type of narrative writing you decide to use in your work, being aware of the four principal types can help you tell a compelling story that resonates with your readers.