Narrative writing: beginnings and endings

Beginnings are hard, and endings even harder, but the explicit teaching of specific techniques will make students aware of the choices that they have as writers.

Encourage them to try these ideas for beginning a narrative. (Some beginnings might mark the first event in the narrative; others might lead into a flashback.)

1. Dialogue

“Shut the door as you leave,” said the Principal.

2.  A question

Have you ever wondered why some people don’t like carrots?

3.  A statement

I can’t believe I was so stupid!

4.  A dramatic event

The car teetered briefly on the edge of the cliff before slowly sliding down into the sea.

And try these ideas for ending a narrative:

1. A surprise

And you won’t believe it, but I found that lost letter at the back of a kitchen drawer!

2.  A moral

So next time I think I can judge someone by their appearance I might think again.

3.  A hint of something more to come

The liteks were defeated for now, thought Zavo, but what would happen when summer came?

4.  Dialogue

“What was that all about?” Dad asked.

5.  A summary

In the end, then, it all turned out well. The children went back home and the monkeys were returned to their jungle home.

Explicitly naming and teaching these strategies will mean that you have a shared metalanguage to use in your feedback.

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