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Chapter 13. Tell Me a Story: Narration > Life Line: Personal Narratives - Pg. 150

Tell Me a Story: Narration 150 Life Line: Personal Narratives Write Angles In a fable, the theme is stated outright at the end in the form of a moral. The great American showman and circus impresario Phineas T. Barnum was near death in 1891 when an editor of a New York newspaper contacted his agent to see if Barnum would enjoy having his obituary published while he could still read it. Never one to refuse a little free publicity, Barnum told his agent he thought it was a fine idea. The next day, P.T. Barnum read a four-column story about his own life and death--and loved it. Okay, so maybe you haven't scaled K2, plundered the Andréa Doria, or started your own circus. "My life is about as exciting as watching paint dry," you think. Wrong. Your life is actually tremen- dously exciting. That's because even mundane events are fascinating in the hands of a good writer. And that's you, buddy. Word Watch Autobiographies and biographies are types of personal narratives. When you write a personal narrative, you relate a meaningful incident from the first-person point of view. The story might describe a conflict that you untangled, a discovery that you made, or an experience that moved you in some way, for instance. A personal narrative has the same elements as a short story--plot, speaker, characters, setting, theme, and point of view. But when you write a personal narrative, you're not creating these elements from your imagination. Rather, they come from your own experience. Consider interviewing family, friends, and neighbors about the incident you wish to describe. Considering their recollections can help shed light on your memories and enable you to view the incident from several different vantage points.