Narrative Writing

Narratives can be written or spoken. Alternatively, they can also be presented visually through art, theatre, or audiovisual media such as film, television, sound and music. There are three elements to every story: setting, character, and plot. The following list includes some types of stories the kids can listen to and tell themselves.    

  • Stories from cultures and traditions (such as Dreamtime or Indigenous stories)
  • Other fictional stories (like picture storybooks, or stories that children make up themselves)
  • Autobiographies and biographies
  • Accounts and personal stories (such as educators’ or children’s experiences)

Discover how to structure a story

Stores have a set of parameters, which include: 


The setting includes the time and place of the story. For older children, stories can have a variety of settings. Setting options include:

  • Imaginary or real
  • A place near home or a place far away
  • Either in the past or in the present.


In most stories, main characters are heroes (protagonists), villains (antagonists), or something in between. Often, children’s early stories feature familiar characters.

Children may begin to create their own stories with their own characters, however, by modelling different kinds of storytelling and reading books.


There is no right or wrong way to write a story.

The action of the narrative is usually triggered by a problem (or starting event). Usually, what occurs in a story following a problem of this sort is an attempt to fix the problem and the consequences of these attempts.

Take a look at a story you have read/heard recently and think about what the main event was and how it led to what happened next.

The characters’ responses

Any good story is driven by its characters. Audiences want to hear how they feel, what they experience, and what choices they will make. Children’s stories (toward the start of primary school) will include elements like:

  • The reaction of the character to the problem in the story
  • Problem-solving thoughts and planning 
  • Consequences of the actions taken by the characters 


It is also common for stories to have a clear ending. Usually, at the end of the story, the original issue of the story is resolved or the characters have learned something new. An effective narrative must include a satisfactory resolution.


The meaning of stories is often conveyed in their messages. These themes can be communicated by authors or storytellers through:

  • Characters’ thoughts, feelings, or actions
  • A character’s growth as a result of the story
  • What happens
  • A story’s development or resolution.

In order to make sense of stories, we need to talk about their themes. The following general themes may appear in children’s stories:

  • Bravery
  • Relationships
  • Identity/belonging
  • Families
  • Kindness and love
  • Grief/loss
  • A formative experience
  • The importance of sharing
  • Coping with feelings
  • Sustainable development
  • The value of culture.