Narrative Writing Resources

Please take your time to have a look at the resources below, which should help you with your narrative writing. It’s important that you are all actively engaged in building your vocabulary as your examiner will expect to see you control the language you use and to use it with precision.

100 ways to say Bad

100 ways to say Great

190 Ways to say Said

Better Ways to Say Bad

Chapt 5_Short Story

Narrative Elements Chart

Words to say Great

Genre Study- High Noon and The Dressmaker

This blog post will contain ALL the resources and information that you need for the genre study, which is a comparison of the Western ‘High Noon’ with the revenge comedy ‘The Dressmaker’.

Here are the ClickView links to each film:


High Noon

The Dressmaker

If the links don’t work, please log into ClickView using your Student ID and search for the films in the usual manner.


Year 12 Westerns Booklet

Themes of Westerns

The Dressmaker – directed by Jocelyn Moorhouse

Further Images of Westerns

Dressmaker Study Guide

Defining the ‘Revisionist Western

Comparison between High Noon and The Dressmaker


This blog post will be updated as more resources are added. This blog post will contain ALL the resources for ALL ATAR classes. This means that you can access everything you need in one location.

As ever, please direct any questions to your class teacher.



Sample Introduction to Murderball

Please note the image below, which has also been annotated.

Things to note:

  • Global sentence is there to work to introduce the topic at a very general level.
  • The way in which the text is introduced, to include genre, who directed, when the text was released.
  • A BRIEF summary of the plot and main characters.
  • Key concepts.
  • Thesis statement.

This example is there to exemplify the STRUCTURE of an introduction and to exemplify how to write about the text in an efficient manner. You would also need to ensure that your introductions also reference the question directly and use the key words from the question to construct your argument.

This isn’t a perfect example but it should work to give you an idea of the order in which you need to construct your introduction.

Note that is goes from the general to the specific.

Exemplar Comprehending Response- Image Analysis

Below is an exemplar response, written by a student in a WACE examination, which demonstrates what an effective response might look like:


Explain the visual element that had the greatest effect on your interpretation of this image.



Text 3 is an image that is dominated by body language. The domineering body language and expression of the presumed queen and the bearded man’s subordinate position suggests that this woman is someone who should not be meddled with.

The queen’s body language simply oozes power. Her face is a half-scowl and half grin which suggests that she is a dangerous and powerful person indeed and that she knows how to use her power to destroy anyone in her path. He hand is clawing at the man’s chest. His heart is essentially in her grasp, putting her in a position of great power and influence over him and insinuating that he is as under her control as she has him in the palm of her hand. Her figure towering over him also signifies that she is the one in control here, which is a perspective we don’t often see in today’s media. The bearded man’s body language is quite the opposite of the queen behind him. He looks frightened and his position below her suggests obedience and a subordinate status. His glance to the side is either a search for help or a futile attempt at protest towards the domineering queen behind him.

The way in which all of this body language present in the text points to the queen being a major power in the series is very obvious and is rather interesting in that not a lot of women in television are presented as such.


Things to Note


  • The opening sentence immediately offers a proposition in response to the question without restating it. Second sentence offers a clear interpretation of the text based on ‘body language’ as the most influential visual element.
  • The candidate’s use of phrases such as ‘oozes power’ and ‘half-scowl and half-grin’ and ‘clawing at the man’s chest’ contribute to the assured voice being adopted. There are many examples that follow of really strong wording related to the suggested meaning of aspects such as the interaction and placement of subjects in relation to each other.
  • Every additional sentence refers to a different example of body language and its contribution to the overall interpretation.
  • The shorter sentences included assist the candidate to communicate clear points and to do so succinctly.
  • Terms such as ‘suggests obedience’ and ‘subordinate status’ work very nicely here to summarise and reiterate the interpretation of the text.
  • The brief conclusion doesn’t really add too much to the central argument with the exception of its final observation that the representation is atypical. It could’ve easily been tacked onto the end of the previous paragraph without penalty, but it works reasonably well here in terms of driving home the interpretation.


Please also note the formative feedback in the attached document below:

Comprehending Formative Feedback and Exemplar Response


Generic Language Features- Narrative


Narrative books


The basic purpose of narrative is to entertain, to gain and hold a readers’ interest. However narratives can also be written to teach or inform, to change attitudes / social opinions eg soap operas and television dramas that are used to raise topical issues. Narratives sequence people/characters in time and place but differ from recounts in that through the sequencing, the stories set up one or more problems, which must eventually find a way to be resolved.

Types of narrative

There are many types of narrative. They can be imaginary, factual or a combination of both. They may include fairy stories, mysteries, science fiction, romances, horror stories, adventure stories, fables, myths and legends, historical narratives, ballads, slice of life, personal experience.


  • Dialogue often included – tense may change to the present or the future.
  • Descriptive language to create images in the reader’s mind and enhance the story.


In a Traditional Narrative the focus of the text is on a series of actions:

Orientation: (introduction) in which the characters, setting and time of the story are established. Usually answers who? when? where? eg. Mr Wolf went out hunting in the forest one dark gloomy night.

Complication or problem: The complication usually involves the main character(s) (often mirroring the complications in real life).

Resolution: There needs to be a resolution of the complication. The complication may be resolved for better or worse/happily or unhappily. Sometimes there are a number of complications that have to be resolved. These add and sustain interest and suspense for the reader.

To help students plan for writing of narratives, model, focusing on:

  • Plot: What is going to happen?
  • Setting: Where will the story take place? When will the story take place?
  • Characterisation: Who are the main characters? What do they look like?
  • Structure: How will the story begin? What will be the problem? How is the problem going to be resolved?
  • Theme: What is the theme / message the writer is attempting to communicate?


narrative poplet.


  • Action verbs: Action verbs provide interest to the writing. For example, instead of The old woman was in his way try The old woman barred his path. Instead of She laughed try She cackled.
  • Written in the first person (I, we) or the third person (he, she, they).
  • Usually past tense.
  • Connectives,linking words to do with time.
  • Specific nouns: Strong nouns have more specific meanings, eg. oak as opposed to tree.
  • Active nouns: Make nouns actually do something, eg. It was raining could become Rain splashed down or There was a large cabinet in the lounge could become A large cabinet seemed to fill the lounge.
  • Careful use of adjectives and adverbs: Writing needs judicious use of adjectives and adverbs to bring it alive, qualify the action and provide description and information for the reader.
    • What does it smell like?
    • What can be heard?
    • What can be seen – details?
    • What does it taste like?
    • What does it feel like?


    • Simile: A direct comparison, using like or as or as though, eg. The sea looked as rumpled as a blue quilted dressing gown. Or The wind wrapped me up like a cloak.
    • Metaphor: An indirect or hidden comparison, eg. She has a heart of stone or He is a stubborn mule or The man barked out the instructions.
    • Onomatopoeia: A suggestion of sound through words, eg. crackle, splat, ooze, squish, boom, eg. The tyres whir on the road. The pitter-patter of soft rain. The mud oozed and squished through my toes.
    • Personification: Giving nonliving things (inanimate) living characteristics, eg. The steel beam clenched its muscles. Clouds limped across the sky. The pebbles on the path were grey with grief.


  • Rhetorical Questions: Often the author asks the audience questions, knowing of course there will be no direct answer. This is a way of involving the reader in the story at the outset, eg. Have you ever built a tree hut?
    • Participles: “Jumping with joy I ran home to tell mum my good news.”
    • Adverbs: “Silently the cat crept toward the bird”
    • Adjectives: “Brilliant sunlight shone through the window”
    • Nouns: “Thunder claps filled the air”
    • Adverbial Phrases: “Along the street walked the girl as if she had not a care in the world.”
    • Conversations/Dialogue: these may be used as an opener. This may be done through a series of short or one-word sentences or as one long complex sentence.


  • Show, don’t tell: Students have heard the rule “show, don’t tell” but this principle is often difficult for some writers to master.


  • Personal voice: It may be described as writing which is honest and convincing. The author is able to ‘put the reader there’. The writer invests something of him/her self in the writing. The writing makes an impact on the reader. It reaches out and touches the reader. A connection is made.

Task 1- Marking Criteria and Planning

Please note the assessment criteria/marking key below. We will use this when we mark your first assessment.


Some students might also find the following process useful when approaching/tackling Comprehending questions:


  1. Deconstruct the question. Highlight the key words. Ask yourself… what is the question asking/expecting you to do? What knowledge/key concepts is the question asking you to demonstrate?
  2. Use your question deconstruction as a context to annotate the text. Identify key features of how the text was constructed. The question deconstruction should guide you to specific ideas/points in the text.
  3. Once you’ve annotated the text, begin your planning. Get ALL of your ideas in one place.
  4. THEN… decide, from all of your ideas, what your STRONGEST arguments are. Remember… not all the ideas you have about a text have equal merit. Is there a pattern emerging between your ideas? Is there a common theme?
  5. Use these to construct your thesis statement, which should be as focused and as specific as possible.
  6. What evidence are you going to use from the text to support your thesis statement? Is the evidence relevant? Is the BEST evidence? What generic features/text features/visual features are you going to write about?
  7. Begin your response.





Deconstructing a Comprehending Question & Short Answer Response Structure


Pease note the attached images.The first image demonstrates how to deconstruct a question and how to collate your ideas.

Things to note:

  • Not all the ideas in the image above are of equal importance/value.
  • There is a hierarchy at work here. Decide what your strongest argument will be and build your thesis statement around it.

The second image demonstrates an effective structure for the short answer response (Comprehending) questions.

Things to note:

  • The first sentence is my thesis statement. It is a response to the question which will give my response direction and focus.
  • Please avoid long-winded introductions in Section 1 of your examination. you don’t have time (in a 175 word approx) response to write anything longer than this.
  • Note the text specific language and language devices mentioned in the paragraph.