“The story of your life is not your life. It is your story.”

John Barth, Where Three Roads Meet, 2006
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We write about ourselves, in short, because what we write tells the story of who we are. As you consider your personal narrative with your chosen topic in mind, think about how your situation tells your reader about you.

The topics we consider in planning our personal narratives are:
Being unprepared......This might be a situation where you found yourself feeling unready for something
Light bulb moment......Perhaps where you had a sudden understanding or revelation about something
Childhood event......Maybe something that happened when you were growing up
Achieving a goal......This could be a time when you won or managed to do something that you had aimed for before
The good and the bad......Possibly a situation that somehow compares or describes positive and negative things
Changing places......An event where you swapped positions with someone other than yourself
Personal rituals......The things you choose to do on a regular basis
Standing up......Perhaps a time when you made a stand for something you believed in
Disagreeing......Maybe a situation where you did not feel the same way about something

These topics are applicable to most, if not all, different genres of writing. They're also good to use in framing your personal narrative because they were originally very closely related to common application essay topics. Brainstorm and think about the motivation you have in writing your personal narrative. If you get stuck for ideas, read about writing territories.

For this unit, I have students brainstorm an event from their past that they feel would be beneficial for others to know about them, and write about it in a way that demonstrates the 6+1 Traits of Effective Writing in order to reinforce what they learned in the previous unit. When they have finished editing and proofreading their personal narrative, they work through a peer editing rubric and review one another's strengths and offer suggestions before being allowed to edit one more time. After students have handed in their personal narrative, they are graded according to a previously-distributed rubric.

Next unit: Short Stories



Image from http://joekohl.com/discover_writing.htm