Using Narrative and Descriptive Writing in Small Stories

What is narrative writing?

Narrative writing describes the actions that propel the story forward.

Action is what a person does, says or thinks.

For instance, dialogue and inner monologue count as actions, too.  Someone raises their voice.  Thoughts pop up in their mind.  A moment of silence drops in the middle of a conversation.  These are all actions.  You can see that they’re actions because of the verbs.  It raises, they pop-up, it drops.  These are all active verbs.

Narrative writing is key to storytelling because it creates drama and makes learners want to know what happens next.  That drama can lie in the hero preparing to hit the obstinate customer.  Will they sort it out or will the hero be fired for hitting a customer?

Narrative writing is about action in its widest sense.

What is descriptive writing?

Narrating the action isn’t enough for telling a good story because storytellers also need to help the learners imagine the scenes.

So, that’s what descriptive writing does.  It describes what you see, smell, taste, hear ore feel.

If narrative writing describes the actions that are happening in a video, then descriptive writing describes what you see in each scene.  It describes the people, the props and the surroundings.

Relating a series of actions by a specific person makes a story compelling.

  1. There’s a purpose

In training there’s always a purpose for telling a story.

In a tutorial, you may tell a story to explain a lesson.  Once you know the purpose of your story, it becomes easier to be concise and compelling.

There’s magic in stories because stories allow you to transport your learners momentarily to a different world by sharing what happened to a specific person and what happened next.

But storytelling isn’t magic.  As you’ll learn you don’t need any special storytelling talent to write compelling small stories.