What Are Characteristics of Narrative Writing?

Characteristics of narrative writing include a sequential narrative, detailed observations, changes or conflict, a connection to the present, and a main idea or dominant feeling. Narrative writing relates a personal story and is typically told from the writer?s point of view.

Narrative writing details an event the narrator experienced, and this story is typically told in a logical, sequential order. The order of the events creates narrative momentum and draws readers into the story. Detailed observations also serve to bring readers in and hold their attention. Rather than simply telling readers about the event, narrative writing engages them by reconstructing the occurrence. Sensory details, descriptions of characters and realistic dialogue all serve to recreate the story.

A piece of narrative writing is typically driven by some sort of change or conflict. The writing must be eventful in order to hold the attention of readers. It may be the story of conquering a significant challenge, learning an important lesson or experiencing a major life change. This pivotal event often connects to the present day, as the writer shows readers how this experience relates to her life.

Narrative writing also typically has a predominant theme or message that ties into the central conflict. While a narrative does not need an explicit moral, all of the pieces of the work should add up to convey the significance of the event to the readers.