Choose a topic that enables you to tell a short, interesting personal narrative essay. Your narrative can be funny, suspenseful, meaningful, or exciting, but it must focus on one event. For example, if you decide to write about traveling to Washington DC, you should not write about the entire trip. Choose one event (e.g., an afternoon you spent visiting the National Portrait Gallery, or shopping in Georgetown, or taking a tour of the White House) and tell a detailed story that focuses on that single event.
The following are some ideas that can help you to select a topic for your story:
Firsts: Think of a “first” in your life and describe that moment in detail.
Proud moment: Choose a moment when you felt proud about an accomplishment.
Adversity: Describe a time when you had to think or act quickly to overcome a challenge.
Travel: Recall a memorable experience you had while visiting an interesting place.
Topic Choice Guidance: We encourage you to choose any one event from your life that you feel comfortable sharing in an academic context with a classroom audience in mind.
B. Think About Your Writing
Below your completed narrative, include answers to all of the following reflection questions:
1. Which narrative techniques did you use to bring your narrative to life? (2-3 sentences) Sophia says: Did you use vivid description, sensory details, and/or dialogue to engage readers? Provide two examples from your essay in which you “show” readers rather than “tell” them. EXAMPLE: A sentence such as “I glanced at the clock, grabbed my briefcase, and sprinted for the elevator” uses more descriptive language than simply saying, “I was running late for the meeting.”
2. How did your purpose and audience shape the way in which you wrote your narrative? (3-4 sentences) Sophia says: Your hypothetical audience extends beyond the people who will evaluate your narrative. Which individuals or groups were you addressing when you wrote your narrative, and how did consideration of your audience and your purpose influence the way in which you wrote it?
3. Provide a concrete example from your narrative that shows how you have written specifically for this audience and purpose. (3-5 sentences) Sophia says: Consider including a quotation from your essay and explaining how it was written to appeal to your audience and to accomplish your purpose. Alternatively, you might describe a theme, tone, or narrative technique that you used and explain how it was intended to appeal to your audience and achieve your purpose.
C. Narrative Guidelines
DIRECTIONS: Refer to the checklist below throughout the writing process. Do not submit your Touchstone until your essay meets all of the guidelines.
Narrative Focus and Flow
❒ Have you written about a single event over a short period of time rather than several events over an extended period of time?
❒ Are all of the details in your story relevant to your purpose?
❒ Is the narrative action presented in a logical order that is easy to follow?
❒ Is your narrative 500-800 words in length? If not, which details do you need to add or subtract?
❒ Is there an opening paragraph that introduces the setting, characters, and situation?
❒ Are there middle paragraphs that describe the progression of narrative action?
❒ Is there a closing paragraph that provides a thorough resolution to the event or experience?
Narrative Language and Techniques
❒ Have you incorporated narrative language and techniques (e.g., figurative language, concrete and sensory details, dialogue, and vivid description)?
❒ Can examples of narrative language and techniques be found throughout your narrative essay, or are they only evident in some places?
❒ Have you double-checked for correct grammar, punctuation, spelling, formatting, and capitalization?
❒ Have you proofread to find and correct typos?
Before You Submit
❒ Have you included your name, date, and course in the top left corner of the page?
❒ Have you answered all of the “Think About Your Writing” questions?
❒ Is your essay between 500 and 800 words in length (2-3 pages)?
Your composition and reflection will be scored according to the Touchstone 1 Rubric, which evaluates the narrative focus, narrative flow, narrative structure, narrative language and techniques, use of conventions (grammar, punctuation, etc.), and your answers to the “Think About your Writing” questions above.
Your narrative must be 500 to 800 words (approximately 2-3 pages) in length.
Assignment guidelines must be followed or your submission will not be graded.
Double-space the essay and use one-inch margins.
Use an easily-readable 12-point font.
All writing must be appropriate for an academic context.
Your narrative must be original and written for this assignment.
Plagiarism of any kind is strictly prohibited.
Your submission must include your name, the name of the course, the date, and the title of your composition.
Your submission must include both your narrative and your answers to the “Think About Your Writing” questions.
Submit only a single file that contains all of the assignment components.
Acceptable file formats are .doc and .docx.
A. Instructions Choose a topic that enables you to tell a short, interesting per