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Core 110: Effective Writing


  This first assignment asks you to write a narrative essay in which you explore a moment of time.  This story should be about something that really happened to you.  Remember, the point of narration is not just to tell a story for the sake of telling it.  You must focus on a particular event, or part of an event and show the reader why it is important enough to share.  There should be a single, defining moment that stands out (the moment of epiphany), and you should be able to show the reader what you have learned.  Sometimes we don't know what we have learned until after writing about the experience (the element of discovery in writing that we've already talked about).  Don't worry if you don't know when you start writing your essay.

  This does not mean that you must tell a serious, painful experience from your life.  We also learn from the silly, daily things we all do.  You have stories within you.  Find one that you recall with especially vivid detail, whether it's a serious or a lighter time in life.  Try to tell that story.  If that doesn't work, try another, and another, until you find one you can transcribe and bring to life through writing.

  Writing narration involves several techniques that must be incorporated into your essay.  You must use descriptive writing: rely on nouns and verbs and get as many senses across as you can.  You must also include dialogue: what is a good story without dialogue?  This means you must use correct punctuation and formatting for incorporating dialogue into the story.  Refer to your textbook for guidelines.

  I am leaving this assignment open-ended.  You can tell me about a moment from childhood, grade school, high school, work, being with friends, trouble you have gotten into, fun you have had, a moment in time that made you see things in a new way....

  Your essay must be 3-5 pages in length, word-processed, double-spaced, margins set at one inch all around, spell-checked and proofread.  Make sure to title your essay.  Revise, edit, and proofread.

To read sample student essays, select one of the following links:

   narrative essay 1

   narrative essay 2

   narrative essay 3