Organize according to time. Reveal the logical or chronological steps one conducts to complete something or the cause-and-effect relationship between events.
Writers frequently use chronological order or reverse chronological order to organize a document. Narratives, resumes, family histories, historical narratives, process reports--these common genres typically employ a narrative order.
In college and your career, you will write two kinds of narratives:
- Chronological narratives
- Process narratives
Chronological narratives follow chronological time. For example, fiction writers often tell stories about people and events using dates, years, seasons, or even hours to define the progress of events. Historians tell stories about key people. Sociologists describe communities.
Some examples are found at the links listed:
- AlternaTime (online links to a variety of timelines, which are organized by the following categories: History and Cultures, Science and Technology, Arts and Literature, Popular Culture and Current Events).
- American Slave Narratives.
- North American Slave Narratives.
- First-person Narratives of the American South.
Process narratives explain how to do something or explain how something works. Process narratives are extremely common in many professional careers, including most engineering and scientific fields.
- Number each step and substep in the process. Substeps might be lettered alphabetically. In some engineering and legal documents, each paragraph is numbered using the automatic numbering feature of most word processing tools. For example:
- Identify a common software application that you know well.
- Consider a feature of Microsoft Word.Make sure your teacher approves your topic
- Work through the process once, taking notes of what important steps are involved, what substeps exist within each major steps.
- Provide visual pictures of major steps in the process.
- Be sure you follow the correct chronological order by actually conducting the process based on your instructions.
- Be sure you define key terms and concepts. Provide the background information your readers will need to understand the instructions.