Look below for tips and video tutorials to help you on your way. Listen to Narrative cofounder/editor Carol Edgarian as she explains how to creatively and effectively craft a story so that your characters come to life on the page. Have an idea, and wonder how to put it together? Get inspired by some of our favorite stories, hand-picked for you in our suggested reading list. Be bold. Be creative. Be yourself. Or, as we like to say: Tell Me a Story! We’re all ears.
1. Pick a specific moment, and grow from there. Speak from your or your character’s authentic voice, pull us into the scene, and seat us beside you. Make it a story that only you can tell.
2. Revise, revise, revise! We believe that great writing comes through vigorous revision, so we encourage you to edit your work. Great writing is rewriting. Genius lies in revision.
3. Use all the resources at your disposal. Read our guidelines about what makes a winning personal narrative or story, and we encourage you to ask your teacher for feedback and help.
4. Seek inspiration. Create a free Narrative account, and then check out our reading list, with works chosen specifically to give you a sense of the style and quality of writing we publish.
5. Create an original piece for this assignment. This contest offers the opportunity to push yourself outside the bounds of academic writing, to flex your creativity in a new context. Don’t send in an analytical or college essay, as these stick out like turnip buds.
• Your name is printed in the top left corner of the page, followed by your school, English teacher, class period, and email address.
• Your personal narrative or short story is no more than 600 words long, typed in 12-point font, and double-spaced.
• Your teacher has your final draft in a Word document.
• Your account lets you read past winners and any of the other thousands of literary works published in Narrative. Don’t forget to sign up for Narrative before submitting your final draft to your teachers.