Narrative Writing Graphic Organizer [Guide + Free Templates]

I’ve used narrative writing graphic organizers for writing stories and planning role-playing adventures.

Here is a quick summary about narrative writing graphic organizers:

Narrative writing graphic organizers are visual tools that help structure stories by organizing plot, characters, and events. They include plot diagrams, story maps, character maps, sequence charts, and conflict maps, aiding in creating coherent and engaging narratives.

This guide will show you what they are, the different types available, their benefits, and how to use them effectively.

What Is a Narrative Writing Graphic Organizer?

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Colorful graphic organizer for a story -- Narrative Writing Graphic Organizer (1)
I made this image with AI — Narrative Writing Graphic Organizer

A narrative writing graphic organizer is a visual tool used to plan and organize a narrative story.

It helps writers structure their thoughts, plot elements, and character development, ensuring a coherent and engaging story.

These organizers typically include sections for the introduction, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution.

They can also be referred to by other related names, which we will cover in the very next section.

Types of Narrative Writing Graphic Organizers

There are few major types of narrative writing graphic organizers:

  1. Plot Diagram
  2. Story Map
  3. Character Map
  4. Sequence Chart
  5. Conflict Map

Let’s go through each type so that you completely understand them.

Plot Diagram

  • Introduction: Sets the scene and introduces characters.
  • Rising Action: Builds tension and develops the plot.
  • Climax: The turning point of the story.
  • Falling Action: Events leading to the resolution.
  • Resolution: The conclusion where loose ends are tied up.

Story Map

  • Title: The name of the story.
  • Setting: Time and place where the story occurs.
  • Characters: Main and supporting characters.
  • Problem: The central conflict or challenge.
  • Solution: How the problem is resolved.

Character Map

  • Name: The character’s name.
  • Appearance: Physical description.
  • Personality: Traits and characteristics.
  • Role: The character’s role in the story.
  • Development: How the character changes throughout the story.

Sequence Chart

  • Events: List of key events in chronological order.
  • Details: Specific details about each event.
  • Outcome: Result of each event.

Conflict Map

  • Type of Conflict: Internal or external.
  • Characters Involved: Who is part of the conflict.
  • Nature of Conflict: Description of the conflict.
  • Resolution: How the conflict is resolved.

Benefits of Using a Narrative Writing Graphic Organizer

  1. There are at least five big benefits for using a graphic organizer for your narrative writing.
  2. Enhances Organization Graphic organizers help writers structure their stories logically, making it easier to follow the plot and maintain coherence.
  3. Clarifies Ideas They provide a clear outline of the story, helping writers visualize and refine their ideas.
  4. Improves Storytelling By organizing elements like characters, settings, and events, graphic organizers enhance the overall storytelling quality.
  5. Aids in Plot Development They ensure that all critical elements of the plot are covered, preventing gaps and inconsistencies.
  6. Facilitates Revision Graphic organizers make it easier to review and revise the story, allowing writers to make improvements before the final draft.

How to Use a Graphic Organizer for Narrative Writing

Here is how to use a graphic organizer when narrative writing.

Choose the Right Organizer

Selecting the appropriate graphic organizer is crucial.

Consider the type of narrative you’re writing.

If you’re focusing on the plot, a plot diagram is ideal. For character-driven stories, a character map works best.

Story maps are great for a general overview, while sequence charts help with chronological events, and conflict maps are perfect for complex conflicts.

Take the time to understand your narrative’s needs before choosing your organizer.

Fill in the Sections

Begin by filling in the sections of your chosen graphic organizer.

Start with broad ideas and gradually add more details.

For a plot diagram, outline the introduction, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution. In a character map, describe the character’s appearance, personality, role, and development.

Don’t worry about getting everything perfect at this stage.

The goal is to get your ideas down on paper, which will make the story-writing process smoother.

Refine Your Ideas

Once you have the initial ideas down, review each section carefully.

Look for gaps in the narrative or areas that need more detail. For example, if the rising action in your plot diagram seems sparse, think about adding more events or complications.

If a character’s development seems flat, consider adding more depth to their personality or background.

Refining your ideas at this stage helps create a more cohesive and engaging story.

Write Your Draft

With a detailed graphic organizer as your guide, begin writing your first draft.

Use the structure provided by the organizer to maintain a logical flow.

For instance, follow the sequence of events in your plot diagram to ensure the story progresses naturally.

If you’re using a character map, incorporate the character traits and development into your narrative.

Having a clear roadmap will make the drafting process less daunting and more focused.

Revise and Edit

After completing your draft, use the graphic organizer to review and revise your story.

Check if all the elements align with what you initially planned.

For instance, ensure that the climax is indeed the story’s turning point and that the resolution ties up all loose ends.

If you find discrepancies, adjust your draft accordingly.

This step is crucial for polishing your narrative and making sure it’s as compelling as possible.

Iterate as Needed

Writing is an iterative process. Don’t be afraid to go back to your graphic organizer and make changes as your story evolves.

If new ideas come up during writing, update your organizer.

This flexibility allows you to keep your narrative organized even as it grows and changes.

Regularly revisiting and updating your organizer can help you stay on track and ensure all elements of your story are well-developed.

By following these detailed steps, you can effectively use a graphic organizer to enhance your narrative writing.

Whether you’re writing a short story, a novel, or planning an elaborate role-playing adventure, these tools can help you create structured, engaging, and well-rounded narratives.

Check out this video about using a narrative writing graphic organizer:

YouTube Video by HeySnowy Owls

Where to Get a Narrative Writing Graphic Organizer

There are three main places to get a graphic organizer:

  1. Online Resources Websites like Teachers Pay Teachers, Pinterest, and educational blogs offer various graphic organizers that you can download and print.
  2. Educational Software Programs like Microsoft Word, Google Docs, and Canva have templates for creating graphic organizers. These can be customized to fit your needs.
  3. Create Your Own If you prefer a personalized touch, you can create your own graphic organizer using paper and markers or digital tools like drawing apps.

Free Templates for Narrative Writing Graphic Organizers

And, to make your life easier, here are free templates you can use:

Plot Diagram Template

Title:

Introduction:

  • Setting: Where and when does the story take place?
  • Characters: Who are the main characters?

Rising Action:

  • Event 1: What happens first to build tension?
  • Event 2: What happens next?
  • Event 3: What further escalates the tension?

Climax:

  • Turning Point: What is the most intense moment or turning point?

Falling Action:

  • Event 1: What happens after the climax?
  • Event 2: How do characters respond?

Resolution:

  • Conclusion: How is the conflict resolved?
  • Final Thoughts: What is the outcome for the characters?

Story Map Template

Title:

Setting:

  • Time: When does the story take place?
  • Place: Where does the story occur?

Characters:

  • Main Character: Who is the protagonist?
  • Supporting Characters: Who are the other important characters?

Problem:

  • Conflict: What is the main problem or challenge?

Solution:

  • Resolution: How is the problem solved?

Character Map Template

Name:

Appearance:

  • Physical Description: What does the character look like?

Personality:

  • Traits: What are the key personality traits?

Role:

  • Function in Story: What role does the character play in the narrative?

Development:

  • Growth: How does the character change throughout the story?

Sequence Chart Template

Event 1:

  • Description: What happens first?
  • Details: Important specifics.

Event 2:

  • Description: What happens next?
  • Details: Important specifics.

Event 3:

  • Description: What happens afterward?
  • Details: Important specifics.

Outcome:

  • Final Event: What is the final event?
  • Resolution: How does this event resolve the sequence?

Conflict Map Template

Type of Conflict:

  • Internal/External: Is the conflict internal or external?

Characters Involved:

  • Protagonist: Who is the main character involved?
  • Antagonist: Who or what is the opposing force?

Nature of Conflict:

  • Description: What is the conflict about?

Resolution:

  • Outcome: How is the conflict resolved?

Answering Common Questions

Let’s answer some questions people often ask about these graphic organizers.

What Graphic Organizer is Appropriate in a Narrative Text Structure?

A plot diagram is highly appropriate for narrative text structures as it clearly outlines the introduction, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution.

What are the 5 Elements of a Story Graphic Organizer?

  • Opening: Introduces the setting and characters.
  • Escalation: Intensifies the plot with key events.
  • Turning Point: Reaches the most critical moment.
  • Decline: Moves towards wrapping up the story.
  • Conclusion: Resolves the plot and finalizes the narrative.

What are 5 Examples of Narrative Writing?

  • Personal Anecdotes: Short personal stories.
  • Biographies: Life stories of individuals.
  • Fictional Stories: Imaginary tales.
  • Historical Narratives: Stories based on historical events.
  • Myths and Legends: Traditional stories passed down through generations.

Narrative Writing Graphic Organizers Alternatives

If narrative writing graphic organizers don’t suit your style or needs, there are several alternatives to consider.

These options also help in organizing and planning your stories effectively.

Mind Maps

Mind maps allow you to brainstorm ideas in a non-linear fashion. Start with a central concept and branch out with related ideas, characters, and events. This method is flexible and visually engaging.

Storyboarding

Originally used in filmmaking, storyboarding involves creating a visual sequence of events. Each “board” represents a scene or key moment, helping you visualize the flow of your story.

Index Cards

Write key plot points, scenes, or character details on index cards. You can easily shuffle and rearrange them to explore different narrative structures and plot developments.

Outlining

A traditional outline lists the main plot points in sequential order. This method is straightforward and helps ensure you don’t miss any critical elements of your story.

Digital Tools

Software like Scrivener or yWriter offers built-in tools for organizing your writing. These programs often include features like virtual corkboards, character profiles, and plot tracking.

Journal Entries

Writing journal entries from your characters’ perspectives can help you explore their thoughts and motivations in-depth. This method can also help you develop a more intimate understanding of your story.

Final Thoughts: Narrative Writing Graphic Organizer

Using narrative writing graphic organizers can transform your storytelling.

They simplify the planning process, clarify your ideas, and ensure a well-structured narrative. Embrace these tools to elevate your writing and bring your stories to life with greater ease and creativity.

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