Narrative Writing: Register

Narrative Writing: Register

Understanding Register in Narrative Writing

  • Narrative writing requites attention to register, the level of formality or informality, influenced by the context, characters, and dialogue within the story.
  • Register in narrative writing is often moulded by who the characters are, their relationships, and the wider social context in which they exist.

Applying the Appropriate Register

  • Readers deduce a great deal about characters and their backgrounds from the register used in their dialogue and thoughts.
  • The setting and context of the narrative largely guides the formality or informality of language - a story set in a royal court may naturally elicit a more formal register than one set in a schoolyard.

Using Vocabulary to Determine Register

  • Similar to other forms of writing, in narratives, the register is largely established by vocabulary choice. More sophisticated and technical terms usually indicate a formal register, whereas colloquial and slang language suggest an informal register.
  • The use of dialect or regional language can be a powerful tool to establish an informal register and create authentic characters and scenarios.

Incorporating Sentence Structure and Punctuation to Convey Register

  • The way sentences are structured can express register with formal narratives often using complex words and sentence structure, and informal narratives favouring short, simple sentences.
  • Punctuation contributes to register - overuse of exclamation marks, ellipses or question marks may suggest an informal register, while formally structured sentences might use semicolons or colons.

Adapting Register in Narrative Writing

  • Changing the register within a piece of narrative writing can effectively hint at a change in the perspectives, attitudes, or emotions of the characters.
  • Remember, an abrupt shift in register can jolt the reader, it needs to be done thoughtfully. A smoother transition can come from emotional triggers, new characters being introduced, or a shift in the narrative perspective.

When crafting narrative, remember that register plays a big role not only in setting the scene but also in defining character relationships, background, and plot progression. Practicing register shifts in scenarios can help in developing flexibility and fluidity in your narrative style.