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Part: 3 Write for Success > Tell Me a Story: Narration - Pg. 142

142 Chapter 13. Tell Me a Story: Narration In This Chapter · Story basics: plot, characters, setting, theme, and point of view · Good things come in small packages: short stories · Writing from the heart: personal narratives Seized with a determination to learn to read, at any cost, I hit upon many expedients to accomplish this desired end. The plea which I mainly adopted, and the one by which I was most successful, was that of using my young white playmates, with whom I met in the street, as teachers. I used to carry, almost constantly, a copy of Webster's spelling book in my pocket; and, when sent on errands, or when play time was allowed me, I would step, with my young friends, aside, and take a lesson in spelling. I generally paid my tuition fee to the boys with bread, which I also carried in my pocket. For a single biscuit, any of my hungry little comrades would give me a lesson more valuable to me than bread. --Frederick Douglass, My Bondage and My Freedom (1855) Narration is writing that tells a story. Like coffee, narration comes in different flavors. Narration that tells about real events includes autobiographies, biographies, and personal narratives, such as the excerpt you just read from Douglass's autobiography. Narration that deals with fictional events in- cludes short stories, myths, narrative poems, and novels. In this chapter, you'll learn the basics for writing stories and personal narratives. Narrative Building Blocks Autobiographies and oral histories are both narratives, but they have distinct differences. The same is true of fairy tales, fables, and feature stories. You can tell a novel from a short story, too, even when you're bleary-eyed from staying up until 3:00 to find out whodunit. So what makes these diverse types of narration similar? All narratives contain the following elements: