About Narrative Intervention

About Narrative Intervention

So, you’ve been asked to do some inventive writing, specifically, a narrative intervention on a text studied in class. Cue: Student panic.
Now, breathe.

Firstly, I want to reassure students with this: Categorically, this is the task that students shock themselves with the most. Especially, await it, boys. Every year my students inspire me with their creativity and insight with their treatment of a novel and its characterisation. Every year my boys moan about this process, roll their eyes and dread the weeks ahead. And every year, without fail, my boys outperform their expectations and even benefit from the task.

What’s the trick?

Observation and mimicry.

Just because the lyrebird has learnt to listen and mimic the sounds it hears within the surrounding bush, so too should you watch, practise and apply the techniques utilized by the writer to recreate their model and to create your personal perspective of a spot or silence within the text.

Similarly, just as an essay has numerous elements that work together as a whole, there are layers to the narrative intervention. There are four precept layers that work towards the development of a successful narrative:

Know your character: values, attitudes, ideas, quotes, idiosyncrasies
Know your context: cultural assumptions, save time on reports and checklists, place and setting
Know your hole: What has happened, what's going to happen and how can you elude to future events (foreshadow)
Know your aesthetics: What techniques are utilized by the author? How do they write? Is there a motif? How are you going to manipulate it?
You can't have three layers in your narrative and disrespect the other. To achieve the absolute best results, you will need to effectively build every layer so that in the long run, your writing is sort of indistinguishable from that of the writer’s. It must be genuine and believable.

Keep away from:

Implausible leaps in plot
Retelling what has occurred
Over description of any form
Inconsistency of character
Insufficient size (brief or too long)