How to write Narrative Essay outline

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Unit Narrative  Essays 2 National Geographic explorers Beverly and Dereck Joubert are in Duba Plains, Botswana. Their accomplishments include launching the Big Cats Initiative, a global awareness program to protect lions, tigers, cheetahs, leopards, and jaguars. 38  94943_ch02_ptg01_hires_038-063.indd 38 8/27/13 7:03 PMWhat  Is  a  Narrative  Essay? A narrative essay tells a story. In fact, narrative is another word for story. In this unit, you will learn how to organize and write a narrative essay. Even though the narrative essay has the same basic form as most other academic essays, it allows the writer to be a little more creative than academic essays usually do. Narratives can tell long stories or just a few minutes’ worth of excitement. While the narrative essay has a particular structure, narrative ideas are oen u ft sed in different writing tasks, such as argument or compare-contrast. structure of a story Several important elements make up a good story: Setting e s Th etting is the location where the action in a story takes place. Theme e t Th heme is the basic idea of the story. Very oen t ft he theme will deal with a topic that is common in life or human nature, such as independence, envy, courage, failure, and success. Mood e m Th ood is the feeling or atmosphere that the writer creates for the story. It could be happy, hopeful, suspenseful, or scary. Both the setting and descriptive vocabulary create the mood in a narrative. Characters e c Th haracters are the people in the story. They are ae ff cted by the mood of the story, and they react to the events in which they are involved. Plot e p Th lot is what happens in the story, that is, the sequence of events. The plot oen in ft cludes a climax or turning point at which the characters or events change. Just like other types of essays, an effective narrative essay also includes these elements: • a thesis that sets up the action in the introduction • transition sentences that connect events and help the reader follow the story • a conclusion that ends the story action and provides a moral, prediction, or revelation 40  Unit 2 • Narrative Essays 94943_ch02_ptg01_hires_038-063.indd 40 8/27/13 7:03 PMthe introduction e Th introduction of a narrative essay is the paragraph that begins your story. In the introduction, you describe the setting, introduce the characters, and prepare your audience for the action to come. Of course, the introduction should have a hook and a thesis. The Narrative Hook You learned in Unit 1 that the hook in an essay is the part of the introduction—usually the first few sentences—that grabs readers’ attention. Hooks are especially important in narrative essays because they help set the stage for the story. The hook makes readers start guessing about what will happen next. Let’s look at the hook from Essay 8 that you will read in Activity 2. I had never been more anxious in my life. I had just spent the last three endless hours trying to get to the airport so that I could travel home. Does this hook make you want to know what happened to the narrator? The hook should make the reader ask wh- questions about the essay. You may have thought of questions like these when you read the preceding hook: • Who is the narrator and why is he or she anxious? • Where is the airport? • What made the trip to the airport seem endless? • Why is this person going home? Activity 1 identifying Hooks Read the sentences below. Which three sentences would not be good hooks for a narrative essay? Put a ✓ next to these sentences. Be ready to explain why you think these sentences do not work well as hooks for narrative essays. 1. The roar of race-car engines ripped through the blazing heat of the day. 2. It was freezing on that sad December day. 3. Aer m ft y brother’s accident, I sat alone in the hospital waiting room. 4. M y friend and I should not have been walking home alone so late on that dark winter night. 5. Whales are by far the largest marine mammals. 6. She gave her friend a birthday gift. 7. e g Th leaming snow lay over the treacherous mountain like a soft white blanket, making the terrain seem safe instead of deadly. 8. The Russian dictionary that we use in our language class has 500 pages. 9. Amber never expected to hear the deadly sound of a rattlesnake in her kitchen garden. 10. A shot rang out in the silence of the night.     41 94943_ch02_ptg01_hires_038-063.indd 41 8/27/13 7:03 PMThe Thesis In most types of essays, the thesis states the main idea of the essay and tells what the organization of the information will be. However, in a narrative essay, the thesis introduces the action that begins in the first paragraph of the essay. Look at these example thesis statements: Now, as I watched the bus driver set my luggage on the airport sidewalk, I realized that my frustration had only just begun. I wanted my mother to watch me race down the steep hill, so I called out her name and then nudged my bike forward. Because his pride would not allow him to apologize, Ken now had to fight the bully, and he was pretty sure that he would not win. es Th e thesis statements do not tell the reader what happens. They only introduce the action that will follow. The paragraphs in the body will develop the story. the body e Th body of your narrative essay contains most of the plot—the supporting information. The action in the plot can be organized in many different ways. One way is chronological or time order. In this method, each paragraph gives more information about the story as it proceeds in time—the first paragraph usually describes the first event, the second paragraph describes the second event, and so on. Transitional Sentences In an essay with chronological organization, each paragraph ends with a transitional sentence. Transitional sentences have two purposes: (1) to signal the end of the action in one paragraph, and (2) to provide a link to the action of the next paragraph. These sentences are vital because they give your story unity and allow the reader to follow the action easily. The following example is from Essay 8 on page 43, Paragraphs 2 and 3. Notice how the ideas in the last sentence of Paragraph 2 (the transitional sentence, underlined) and the first sentence of Paragraph 3 (underlined) are connected. 2 This was my first visit to the international terminal of the airport, and nothing was familiar. I could not make sense of any of the signs. Where was the check-in counter? Where should I take my luggage? I had no idea where the immigration line was. I began to panic. What time was it? Where was my plane? I had to find help because I could not be late 3 I tried to ask a passing businessman for help, but my words all came out wrong. He just scowled and walked away. What had happened? I had been in this country for a whole semester, and I could not even remember how to ask for directions. This was awful Another bus arrived at the terminal, and the passengers stepped off carrying all sorts of luggage. Here was my chance I could follow them to the right place, and I would not have to say a word. the conclusion Like academic essays, narrative essays need to have concluding ideas. In the conclusion, you finish describing the action in the essay. The final sentence can have two functions: 1. It can deliver the moral of the story by telling the reader what the character(s) learned from the experience. 2. I t can make a prediction or a revelation (disclosure of something that was not known before) about future actions that will happen as a result of the events in the story. 42  Unit 2 • Narrative Essays 94943_ch02_ptg01_hires_038-063.indd 42 8/27/13 7:03 PMLook at these examples: Moral The little boy had finally learned that telling the truth was the most important thing to do. Prediction I can only hope that one day I will be able to do the same for another traveler who is suffering through a terrible journey. Revelation Every New Year’s Eve, my wife and I return to that magical spot and remember the selfless act that saved our lives. Writer’s Note Storytelling Tip If you describe the sights, smells, and sounds of the story, you will bring the story alive for the reader. Try to include a few adjectives in your sentences. The more descriptive the information, the more the reader will connect with the story you are telling. Make readers feel that they are there with you as you experience what you are describing. In the following example, the writer uses adjectives (underlined) to add depth to the story by giving additional information. I walked into the noisy classroom and looked for a place to sit down. In the back of the well-lit room, I saw an old wooden desk and walked toward it. After a few moments, the anxious students quieted down when they observed the prim English teacher enter the room. Activity 2 studying a narrative essay Discuss the Preview Questions with a classmate. Then read the essay and answer the questions that follow. Preview Questions 1. H ave you ever had trouble getting from one place to another while traveling? Where were you going? What happened that made this travel difficult? 2. Can everyday people be considered heroes? What do you consider to be a heroic act? Essay 8 Frustration at the Airport 1 I had never been more anxious in my life. I had just spent the last three endless hours trying to get to the airport so that I could travel home. Now, as I watched the bus driver set my luggage on the airport sidewalk, I realized that my frustration had only just begun. 2 i Th s was my r fi st visit to the international terminal of the airport, and nothing was familiar. I could not make sense of any of the signs. Where was the check-in counter? Where should I take my luggage? I had no idea where the immigration line was. I began to panic. What time was it? Where was my plane? I had to n fi d help because I could not be late     43 94943_ch02_ptg01_hires_038-063.indd 43 8/27/13 7:03 PM3 I tried to ask a passing businessman for help, but my words all came out wrong. He just scowled and walked away. What had to  scowl: to frown happened? I had been in this country for a whole semester, and I could not even remember how to ask for directions. This was awful Another a  terminal: an arrival bus arrived at the terminal, and the passengers came out carrying all and departure point sorts of luggage. Here was my chance I could follow them to the right for some forms of place, and I would not have to say a word. mass transportation 4 I dragged my enormous suitcase behind me and followed the to  despair: the group. We finally reached the elevators. Oh, no They all fit in it, but condition of having there was not enough room for me. I watched in despair as the elevator no hope doors closed. I had no idea what to do next. I got on the elevator when to  gaze: to look at it returned and gazed at all the buttons. Which one could it be? I slowly and steadily pressed button 3. The elevator slowly climbed up to the third floor and to  jerk: to move with jerked to a stop. A high, squeaking noise announced the opening of the an abrupt motion doors, and I looked around timidly. timidly: hesitantly, shyly 5 Tears formed in my eyes as I saw the deserted lobby and realized that I would miss my plane. Just then an elderly airport employee shue ffl d deserted: empty around the corner. He saw that I was lost and asked if he could help. He elderly: older; mature gave me his handkerchief to dry my eyes as I related my predicament. He to  shuffle: to walk smiled kindly, and led me down a long hallway. We walked up some stairs, by sliding one’s feet turned a corner, and, at last, there was customs He led me past all the along the ground lines of people and pushed my luggage to the inspection counter. a  predicament: a troubling situation 6 When I turned to thank him for all his help, he was gone. I will never know that kind man’s name, but I will always remember his a  courtesy: a kind or unexpected courtesy. He helped me when I needed it the most. I can polite action only hope that one day I will be able to do the same for another traveler who is suffering through a terrible journey. 44  Unit 2 • Narrative Essays 94943_ch02_ptg01_hires_038-063.indd 44 8/27/13 7:03 PMPost-Reading 1. What is the narrative hook? 2. Do you think the hook is effective? In other words, did it grab your attention? Why, or why not? 3. Where is the setting of this story? 4. What is the theme, or the basic idea, of “Frustration at the Airport”? 5. Read the final sentences in Paragraphs 2, 3, 4, and 5. How does each one prepare the reader for the action to come? 6. What do you think the mood of the story is? What feeling or atmosphere does the writer create? 7. List the characters in this essay. 8. What verb tense is used in “Frustration at the Airport”? . Write five verbs that the writer uses. 9. This essay is arranged in chronological order. In a few words, describe what happens first, second, third, and so on.     45 94943_ch02_ptg01_hires_038-063.indd 45 8/27/13 7:03 PM 10. Underline the transitional sentences. 11. Does the story end with a moral, prediction, or revelation? Write the final sentence here. Building Better Sentences: For further practice, go to Practice 8 on page 196 in Appendix 1. Activity 3 Outlining Practice Below is an outline for “Frustration at the Airport.” Some of the information is missing. Reread the essay beginning on page 43 and complete the outline. Title: I. Introduction (Paragraph 1) A. Hook: I had never been more anxious in my life. I had just spent the last three endless hours trying to get to the airport so that I could travel home. B. esi Th s statement: II. Body A. Paragraph 2 (Event 1) topic sentence: This was my first visit to the international terminal of the airport, and nothing was familiar. 1. e sig Th ns were confusing. 2. I began to panic. 3. Transition sentence: B. Paragraph 3 (Event 2) topic sentence: 1. He scowled and walked away. 2. I could not remember how to ask for directions. 3. 4. Transition sentence: 46  Unit 2 • Narrative Essays 94943_ch02_ptg01_hires_038-063.indd 46 8/27/13 7:03 PM su PPor T su PPor T C. P aragraph 4 (Event 3) topic sentence: I dragged my enormous suitcase behind me and followed the group. 1. 2. I got on the elevator and looked at the buttons. 3. 4. Transition sentence: D. P aragraph 5 (Event 4) topic sentence: Tears formed in my eyes as I saw the deserted lobby and realized that I would miss my airplane. 1. An airport employee oer ff ed to help. 2. 3. 4. Transition sentence: He led me past all the lines of people and pushed my luggage to the inspection counter. III. Conclusion (Paragraph 6) A. Close of the action: B. I will never know his name, but I will always remember his unexpected courtesy. C. D. Final sentence (moral, prediction, or revelation):     47 94943_ch02_ptg01_hires_038-063.indd 47 8/27/13 7:03 PM su PPor T su PPor TActivity 4 Adding supporting information e f Th ollowing narrative essay is missing large parts of the story (supporting information in the body). As you read, add information that moves the story along. Be sure to write transition sentences at the end of Paragraphs 2, 3, and 4. If you need more space, use a separate piece of paper. Essay 9 A Bad Day 1 I should never have deleted the chain letter e-mail from my computer. The letter clearly warned me that if I did, I would have one day of bad luck. Unlike my mother, I tend not to believe these types of things bringing bad luck: breaking a mirror, someone giving me the “evil eye,” or even opening an umbrella in the house. As a result, I got rid of this superstitious e-mail with one quick click of the mouse. That night, superstitious: irrational, believing however, as I fell asleep, I had the uncomfortable feeling that something in things that are not was not quite right. based on science 2 When I woke up the next morning, I was surprised to find that I had overslept and would be late for work. As I rushed down the stairs to eat a quick breakfast, I tripped over my bag and to trip: to stumble or fall 3 On my way to work, I decided to take a shortcut through an old part of town. 48  Unit 2 • Narrative Essays 94943_ch02_ptg01_hires_038-063.indd 48 8/27/13 7:03 PM4 When I arrived at work, I found a note from my boss on my desk. right  away: She wanted to see me right away. I took a deep breath and walked into immediately her office. As I stepped inside, I noticed a scowl on her face. 5 Finally, aer a lo ft ng and difficult day, I returned home to find that my air conditioner was broken. I could not take it anymore It had been the worst day ever, and I did not want anything else to happen. I rushed to my computer, opened up my e-mail, and went directly to the deleted e-mail folder. I opened up the letter and reread the words: “Send ten copies of this e-mail to your friends, and you will have good luck for a year.” I put on my reading glasses and began scrolling through my list of e-mail contacts. They could take their chances, but I was not going to have any more bad luck Building  Better  Sentences: For further practice, go to Practice 9 on page 196 in Appendix 1.     49 94943_ch02_ptg01_hires_038-063.indd 49 8/27/13 7:03 PMG Grammarfor    Writing Connectors and Time RelationshipW   ords e m Th ost common way to organize events in a narrative essay is in chronological order. The event that occurs first is in the introduction, and the events that follow are in the next paragraphs (the body) and continue to the end (the conclusion). To make sure that readers understand time relationships, effective writers use connecting words and phrases to show how events progress. Look at the time words in the chart below. These are connectors that you can use in narrative writing. Chronological Order Prepositions Time  Words  That  Begin  Clauses  first (second, third, etc.) after (a moment) after next at (9:00 a.m.) as soon as finally by (bedtime, then) before later during (the afternoon) until now from (then on) when then until (five o’clock) whenever while When time clauses occur at the beginning of a sentence, they MUST be followed by a comma. SentenceV   ariety withPr   epositions ofTime    PlusKey   Nouns      for Better Cohesion Essays that are written using only one or two sentence patterns can be dull to read. Good writers try to include variety in their sentences. Here are two ways to add variety with time words. 1. Follow the time word aer ft with a noun. C hange Marta studied engineering at the University of Charleston. She graduated in 2013. Then she got a job with Johnson and Rowe, a local engineering firm. to Marta studied engineering at the University of Charleston. Afterher   graduation    in 2013, she got a job with Johnson and Rowe, a local engineering firm. C hange I walked up the stairs to the stage. I was so frightened to begin my speech that I could actually hear my teeth chattering. I remembered my deep breathing exercise, looked confidently at my audience, and began to speak. to I walked up the stairs to the stage. I was so frightened to begin my speech that I could actually hear my teeth chattering. Aftermy    deepbr   eathingexer   cise, I looked confidently at my audience and began to speak. 2. Follow aer ft , before, while, and when with a gerund (an -ing verb form used as a noun) Change A rare golden Sitka spruce was cut down by vandals. It had been growing for more than three hundred years. to After growing for more than three hundred years, a rare golden Sitka spruce was cut down by vandals. Change Joanna Cannon ran for mayor. She promised to lower property taxes. to Whilerunning   for mayor, Joanna Cannon promised to lower property taxes. A gerund is a verb form that ends in -ing and is used as a noun, such as walking and studying. For a more complete list of connectors, see the Brief Writer’s Handbook with Activities, pages 180–181. 50  Unit 2 • Narrative Essays 94943_ch02_ptg01_hires_038-063.indd 50 8/27/13 7:03 PMActivity 5 Adding c onnectors Read the essay. Fill in the blanks with an appropriate connector or time relationship word or phrase. Refer to the chart on page 50. Essay  10 Becoming a Man 1 When they are asked who their idol is, most people will name an  idol: hero a famous person. I am not most people. My idol is a person whom I have known my entire life. He is my brother Claudio, and even today he teaches me about life. The day that Claudio taught me the importance of being a man is the day he left home to go to college. 2 It was an early Saturday morning in August. As usual, we were woken up by the sound of our sister playing the piano. She a few was always playing that silly instrument silly: stupid, ridiculous minutes of lying in our beds, wishing she would stop, we slowly got up. that point, we knew we could not fall back asleep. She was probably going to play that piano all day 3 we reached the kitchen, there was a surprise for Claudio—his favorite breakfast. Mom saw us, she gave us a big smile and told us to sit down for our pancakes. It was obvious that this was an important day for everyone to  pack: to put clothes we finishing breakfast, Claudio went upstairs to continue packing. in a suitcase      51 94943_ch02_ptg01_hires_038-063.indd 51 8/27/13 7:03 PM4 I heard him call my name. I ran to the room we shared, sat down on the bed, and watched Claudio close his suitcase. He turned to me and nodded. “It’s time, brother,” he said. I thought he was referring to his time to leave the house. Actually, he went on to explain all of the important responsibilities that I would have aer h ft e was gone. Claudio meant that it was time for me to take on a bigger role to takeon:   undertake, face that point, I understood everything. in the family. 5 then on, I took my role as the “man of the ar   ole: job, function house” very seriously. With Claudio away, I would need to be available for Mom whenever she needed me. What have I learned from my brother? I have learned about family, love, and responsibility. BuildingBetter   Sentences   : For further practice, go to Practice 10 on page 197 in Appendix 1. Grammarfor    Writing AdjectiveClauses   Adjective clauses are one of the most powerful ways to combine two ideas (simple sentences) into one complex sentence. Study the following rules and examples: 1. Adjective clauses must contain a subject and a verb. 2. e s Th ubject of an adjective clause can be who (people), which (things), or that (people or things). Samir studies at a university. The university is well known for its technology programs. adjective clause Samir studies at a university that is well known for its technology programs. 3. I f the information in the adjective clause is necessary to clarify the person or thing you are writing about, do not use a comma to separate the ideas. However, if the information in the adjective clause is not necessary to understand the meaning of the sentence, use a comma, or pair of commas, to separate the adjective clause from the rest of the sentence. In other words, commas indicate the information is extra. Study the examples below. Necessary Information UnnecessaryInformation   The city that we willvisit    last onour    trip is Orlando, whichwe   will   visit   last   on    ourtrip   , is located in central Florida. located in central Florida. NOTE:When the writer says   the city, it is not NOTE: When the writer says Orlando, the readers clear which city the writer is talking about. The know which city the writer is talking about. The adjective clause (that we will visit last on our trip) information about when the writer will visit this is important information for readers because it city does not affect our ability to know that the tells them which city in central Florida the writer is writer is referring to Orlando. referring to. 52  Unit 2 • Narrative Essays 94943_ch02_ptg01_hires_038-063.indd 52 8/27/13 7:03 PMActivity 6 Adjective c lause Review Read the following narrative essay. Find and underline the nine adjective clauses in the essay. Hint: Adjective clauses tend to begin with who, that, or which. Essay  11 Learning to Drive 1 I could not believe it. Driving laws in Ontario allowed teenagers to get their licenses at the age of sixteen As my sixteenth birthday approached, I beamed with excitement and anticipation. What I did not know at the time was this: The driving lessons that I learned in our old sedan would stay with me for the rest of my life. 2 My father, who adored driving, was the obvious choice to be my driving instructor. The first lesson took place in the driveway. While a  driveway: an area in front of a home I sat in the passenger seat, he explained the devices in the car. I was where people park particularly frightened by the gear shift, which was sticking out of the their cars floorboard. However, my father patiently lectured on the different floor pedals, the turn signals, and, my favorite, the car horn. 3 For the next lesson, I sat in the driver’s seat. At that time, it felt more like a throne than anything else. My father asked me to turn a  throne: a special chair meant for on the car, and then he guided me into reverse. As I let up on the nobility clutch and pressed the gas, I felt the car starting to move backward. I was controlling this vehicle Slowly and carefully, I backed out of the driveway and into the residential street. Aer a f ft ew moments of residential: areas where people live, confusion, I had the car sputtering forward in first gear. not commercial     53 94943_ch02_ptg01_hires_038-063.indd 53 8/27/13 7:03 PM4 Two weeks of lessons passed, and I was beginning to get bored with the scenery, which never changed. My father had me drive around the same block again and again. I was passing the same landmarks—the neighbors’ houses, the dead tree down the street, and the kids who were playing in the empty lot on the corner. When I could stand it no more, I asked to move to a street that had more action. “Tomorrow. I think you are ready,” my father replied, his eyes twinkling with pride. 5 My emotions were in overdrive the next day. I was n fi ally on a busy street at night. I shie ft d from r fi st gear to second gear with no problems. e Th n came third gear. When I reached the speed that asedan:   a type of car I wanted, I put the car into fourth. I was y fl ing in the old sedan My aspell:   a state of father’s concerned voice broke my spell. He said calmly, “Honey, there’s being captivated by a red light ahead.” I was traveling far above the speed limit and heading something toward a red light. All the information that I had learned in the previous to leakout:   escape weeks leaked out of my brain. I did not know how to react. I blared the from one’s memory horn and e fl w through the intersection, which by pure luck was empty. somber: serious 6 a Th t night my father was somber. I was in tears. How lucky we had tor   eprimand: scold; been not to have been hit by another car. I waited for him to reprimand lecture me, but he did not. I was aware of the severity of my moving violation. severity: seriousness It is now thirty years later, and I have not forgotten that day. In fact, if I accidentally drive through a red light now, I remember the emotions of a amoving   violation:   a sixteen-year-old and the wisdom of a loving father who taught her to drive. traffic offense BuildingBetter    Sentences: For further practice, go to Practice 11 on page 198 in Appendix 1. BuildingBetter    Vocabulary Activity 7 Word Associations Circle the word or phrase that is most closely related to the word or phrase on the left. If necessary, use a dictionary to check the meaning of words you do not know. A B 1. a scowl a happy face an angry face 2. a predicament good luck trouble 3. to shuffle ears feet 4. to gaze eyes mouth 5. knowledge a lot of information almost no information 6. idol celebrity violation 7. somber serious understanding 54  Unit 2 • Narrative Essays 94943_ch02_ptg01_hires_038-063.indd 54 8/27/13 7:03 PM 8. residential houses and apartments offices 9. driveway cars people 10. severity funny serious Indicates words that are part of the Academic Word List. See pages 183–184 for a complete list. Activity 8 Using collocations Fill in each blank with the word or phrase on the left that most naturally completes the phrase on the right. If necessary, use a dictionary to check the meaning of words you do not know. 1. ask / to ask how for help 2. journey / lobby a deserted 3. feeling / letter an uncomfortable 4. through / down to rush the stairs 5. from / by hit a car 6. by / on to trip something 7. do / make to sense of something 8. bed / table sit down on the 9. say / tell to the truth 10. lesson / street learn a Developing a Narrative Essay When writing a narrative essay there are a few strategies that can help you. These are choosing a topic, brainstorming, and making an outline. choosing a t opic When you write a narrative essay, choose a topic that is important to you—your essay will be easier to write and more interesting to read if you do. Also remember that smaller is better. The smaller the action or event you choose, the easier it will be to keep your readers’ interest and describe the action fully. Choose a topic that you can write about in approximately five or six paragraphs. For example, it would be impossible to describe—in one essay—all the events that helped make you the person you are today. However, you could choose one event that made a difference in your life, such as your first job or a special award, and write an essay about that. At the same time, be careful that the topic you choose is not too small. For example, a story about how your little brother called you a name one day would not be a good topic for a narrative essay. There needs to be enough action to make a story of five or six paragraphs.     55 94943_ch02_ptg01_hires_038-063.indd 55 8/27/13 7:03 PMWriter’s  Note Topic  Tip When you think about possible topics for a narrative essay, try to remember something exciting, difficult, wonderful, or frightening that happened to you. Can this event be developed into an interesting narrative essay? Ask Yourself Questions To help you think of some possible topics for narrative essays, ask yourself questions. Use the following questions as a guide: • When was an important time in my life? Remember, the experience can be a very short one, such as “July 13, 2013,” in which the writer describes a five-minute segment of her life. • What has happened in my experience that I would enjoy writing about? • Is there an event in my life that other people (readers) would enjoy hearing about? • How did I feel about a particular experience? • Who was involved? • Why do I remember this event so strongly? What effect did it have on me? • Did anything change because of this experience? • What interesting experiences do I know of that happened to other people? If you are able to answer some of these questions about a specific experience that you or someone else had, then you may have a topic for a narrative essay. Activity 9 c hoosing topics Look at the pairs of topics. Put a ✓ next to the topic that is the better choice for a narrative essay. 56  Unit 2 • Narrative Essays 94943_ch02_ptg01_hires_038-063.indd 56 8/27/13 7:03 PM1. Your last year in high school Your last day in high school 2. A scary airplane ride to another city A scary trip around the world 3. Guidelines for buying a car Buying your first car 4. Important academic ceremonies that you have participated in Your brother’s embarrassing wedding ceremony 5. What I did last New Year’s Eve What I did last year Activity 10 ideas for a narrative essay Take a few minutes to think about possible topics for a narrative essay. Write some ideas here. brainstorming Brainstorming is a process to help you generate ideas about essay topics. When you brainstorm, do not worry about correct grammar or spelling. Just focus on getting your ideas on paper. Here are three ways to brainstorm ideas for an essay: 1. Ask wh- questions about your topic. With this method, you begin with a general idea of the topic that you are interested in. Then ask the questions Who? What? When? Where? Why? and, in some cases, How? e a Th nswers to these questions will help clarify what you would like to write about.     57 94943_ch02_ptg01_hires_038-063.indd 57 8/27/13 7:03 PM Here is an example: General topic: Celebrating Women’s Day Questions: W ho celebrates Women’s Day? What is the history of this celebration? When does the celebration take place? In what parts of the world is Women’s Day celebrated? Why is it celebrated? How do people celebrate women on this day? How is it the same or different from Mother’s Day? 2. M ake a list of words or phrases that describe your topic. This list can help with vocabulary choices when you write your essay. Here is a sample list on the topic of Women’s Day. Remember, this is the first step in the writing process, so many of your ideas might change. March flowers my family gifts history tradition respect candy men give to women 3. Make a visual map of your essay ideas. One kind of visual map is called clustering. To make a cluster map, write your topic in the center of a piece of paper and then circle it. en dra Th w lines out from the circle. At the end of those lines write words and ideas associated with the topic. Write whatever comes to mind. Connect any words that are related with lines. When you are finished, you will have many new ideas about your topic. Here is an example of clustering on the topic of Women’s Day: Gifts for women History Candy Flowers Women’s day All countries? March/spring My family’s women’s day celebrations 58  Unit 2 • Narrative Essays 94943_ch02_ptg01_hires_038-063.indd 58 8/27/13 7:03 PM