Personal Recount Writing #1: Analysis

This article is an analysis of the personal recount writing in my previous post (“A Daring Venture”). You can either view the previous post directly below or you can click here.

It will be great if you are able to read the short story first before reading further in order to have a better understand of how literary devices work in narrative writing.

For this post, I will like to highlight three primary elements that make this story stands out on its own:

Human nature: Non-fiction writing can allow technicalities to take precedence and overrides the need to emphasise human values but a great fictional or personal recount story cannot overlook the important and influential role that human nature plays in a narrative.

Values such as respect, love, betrayal, disappointment, happiness, sadness and the multitude of human emotions are great literary elements that relate and bind people together through stories. Think  Shakespeare.  Narratives are meant to soothe the heart more than stimulate the mind. Leave non-fiction writing for the latter.

Intersection of time: If you have read the story “A Daring Venture“, you would have realised that the story moves among the past, present and future. In addition, the movement is not linear but sporadic. This has the effect of attracting the readers into the core of the story through the movement of time. However, the narrative must move in such a way that the past, present and future merge into one seamless flow.  This cannot be taught literally but can be learnt through consistent and continuous writing exercises.

The trade off is that much effort has to be put in to ensure that the right tenses are used and this usually is challenging to achieve under tight time constraints.    Should students choose to adopt this form of writing, intensive practices and guidance are required prior to mastery of this writing style. However, once this skill is mastered, it will enable students to maintain consistency of tenses for all if not most forms of writing.

Psychological elements: These elements relates closely to human nature but what sets them apart is the fact that while human nature talks about qualities and values, psychological elements may take the form of literary advice (as in the case for this story where snippets of page extracts are used as guiding devices for the author), a motif  (such as the use of a doll whose photos are taken in various countries with it sitting on a bench, signifying change or mobility),  the deep, inner thoughts of the writer, and many more.

Psychological elements are wider in scope and hence easier to use and elaborate than those espoused by human nature, which tends to be more intangible and requires the use of scenarios and scenes to bring out their essence.

As we explore more writings in the near future, I will provide more literary tools for you to explore and use in your writings.

Stay tuned.


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