To understand narrative letter writing, we first must understand what a narrative is.
A narrative tells a story. It shows the reader what happened at the beginning, middle and end. A plot, setting, and characters usually feature in a narrative. Narratives come in many forms, from short stories and novels to poems and play scripts.
Narrative letter writing, then, is writing a letter that tells the reader a story. It engages the reader from the beginning, through the middle, and right to the end.
What are the features of narrative letter writing?
Narrative letters have some of the same features as traditional letters:
- recipient’s address and date at the top;
- opening address (‘Dear…’);
- ending sign-off (Yours sincerely).
The tone of voice (informal or formal) would depend on the character and to who they’re writing.
Narrative letters should have the same features you would include when writing a story. These are:
- characters, setting, and plot;
- a clear beginning, middle, and end;
- a narrator (written in the first person in a letter);
- exciting language to engage the reader.
How do you write a narrative letter?
When we write a narrative letter, we combine the elements of storytelling and letter writing.
Before writing, decide who is writing the letter and who they’re writing to. How does the character talk to this person? Is it a friend? Or someone they look up to? This will inform the tone of the letter.
Now, let’s look at how to structure a narrative letter. Share these tips with your pupils when they’re trying their hand at narrative letter writing.
- Introduce the characters.
Unlike traditional stories, narrative letters don’t leave much room for exposition. The opening address introduces the recipient of the letter, but who is writing it? So at the start of the letter, be sure to say or imply who is writing it and why they’re writing it.
- Go back to the beginning.
Narrative letters work best when written in chronological order, so start by returning to the story’s beginning. How did it all happen? This is an opportunity to set the scene, too.
- Develop the story.
We’re in the middle of the story, building up to the climax! So, again, make sure to use exciting language to keep the reader engaged at this point in the letter.
- End the story.
The story’s ending is most likely why the character is writing the letter in the first place – it’s the most important part of the whole letter. So make sure to emphasize the character’s feelings and how this event made them feel.
- Sign off.
Remember to sign off the letter. ‘Yours sincerely’ and ‘Yours faithfully’ are common choices.
Example of a Narrative Letter
You’ll not believe what happened when I went to Grandma’s house today!
I was wearing my favorite red cloak with the hood, strolling through the forest, when suddenly a huge wolf jumped out at me.
He asked me where I was going. I told him I would see Grandma – and he had the nicest suggestion! He said I should pick some flowers from the forest for her. I thought it was such a good idea that I picked some straight away.
But when I got to Grandma’s house, she seemed a little funny. Her face was hairier than I remembered, and she had huge fangs.
The wolf had stolen Grandma’s nightgown!
Luckily, the neighbor came by and rescued us. I was so relieved.
Grandma enjoyed her gifts and flowers, though!
See you soon,
Little Red Riding Hood