What did this conflict communicate to you about yourself, family, and/or society; how
might you communicate this learning to your audience?
Background and Setting: Developing the Context of Time and Place
Consider the following questions as you develop the setting of your narrative.
What is the event you want to share?
Where did this event take place?
When did this event occur?
How do the details of time and place develop the context your readers need to understand
the meaning of the story?
What initial expectations or mentality do these details help viewers to establish that will
be changed, developed, or affirmed as your story progresses?
Plot: Analyzing Cause and Effect
Consider the following questions as you develop the plot of your narrative.
What important events led to this event?
What action happened immediately before the event?
What action happened after the event?
What changed as a result of the event?
How has this event impacted you directly or indirectly?
Characters: Recognizing the Human Dimension of Your Story
Consider the following questions as you develop the characters in your narrative.
Who was involved in this event?
What is the relationship between you and these other individuals?
Why are these individuals significant to your narrative?
How might their views present a source of conflict in the narrative?
Who is static in the story, and who is dynamic? That is, who does not change, and who
Because humans are not one-dimensional, how might you offer multiple perspectives as a
basis for why characters chose the action they did?
Did this story involve a dialogue of points of view among or between characters?
Climax: Isolating the Central Meaning
Consider the following questions as you develop the climax of your narrative.
At what point in your story did your understanding of your conflict change?
What meaning is revealed in the moment of truth—or the moment of revelation or
Personal Narrative Essays, Spring 2015.
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