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Writing Projects » Key Words » Narrate » Try Your Hand

Step 1: Read the following narrative:
No sense worrying, she told herself again, as though it were a charm against witches, and got up and found her coat and hat and put them on. I'll just get some cigarettes and some letter paper, she thought, just run down to the corner. Panic caught her going down in the elevator; it went too fast, and when she stepped out in the lobby it was only the people standing around who kept her from running. As it was, she went quickly out of the building and into the street. For a minute she hesitated, wanting to go back. The cars were going past so rapidly, the people hurrying as always, but the panic of the elevator drove her on finally. She went to the corner, and, following the people flying along ahead, ran out into the street, to hear a horn almost overhead and a shout from behind her, and the noise of brakes.
— From "Pillar of Salt" by Shirley Jackson
©1948 by Shirley Jackson

Step 2: What are the events that occur in this narrative? What does the woman do first? Then what? And then what? in the box below, write a list of what happens:

Step 3: Take over from the author and continue this story; what happened after this scene? What do you imagine the woman is running from? Where do you imagine she is running to? Write the next paragraph of the story here:

Step 4: Why do you think people write narratives or tell stories? What is the purpose of narrative?

Have you received an assignment that calls for narration? Do Your Own is a section that can help you get started. We also have some samples of CUNY assignments that ask students to narrate.

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