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Telling a Story

Stories are what make us human and help others hear our voice, and developing a voice is vital to developing as a writer.
Our individual stories have no definite conclusion until we can no longer tell them ourselves. What legacy will you leave? How can you tell a piece of your story while it’s still up to you?
But perhaps that’s enough abstraction: narration is a rhetorical mode that you likely engage on a daily basis, and one that has held significance in every culture in human history. Even when we’re not deliberately telling stories, storytelling often underlies our writing and thinking:
Historians synthesize and interpret events of the past; a history book is one of many narratives of our cultures and civilizations.
Chemists analyze observable data to determine cause-and-effect behaviors of natural and synthetic materials; a lab report is a sort of narrative about elements (characters) and reactions (plot).
Musical composers evoke the emotional experience of story through instrumentation, motion, motifs, resolutions, and so on; a song is a narrative that may not even need words.
What makes for an interesting, well- told story in writing? In addition to description, your deliberate choices in narration can create impactful, beautiful, and entertaining stories.


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Expression and Inquiry by Christopher Manning; Sally Pierce; and Melissa Lucken is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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