Writing a Fellowship Narrative
Submit a Fellowship
| Types of Fellowships
| Find a Fellowship
| Budget Considerations
Fellowship narratives generally follow the rules of all grant writing: concise, action-oriented writing that makes your plans clear to the reader. Often fellowship competitions restrict the narrative to 3 or 5 pages, requiring a great deal of control over the language.
There are several elements of grant writing to consider as you begin constructing your narrative. Nearly all of these suggestions are offered with the comfort of your reviewer in mind. You can find more suggestions on the Writing a Proposal
Your narrative will be read by specialists in other disciplines, and these may not even be very closely alligned with yours, so keep your language clear, your explication simple. Don't Bury the Lead:
It is very important to be clear on the significance of your project and to express this with precision and clarity, up front, in the first paragraph, if possible. Executive Summary:
The first paragraph should provide a concise, action-oriented overview of your project and what you are asking for. This will help orient the reviewer to your ideas, and if well-written, can grab his or her attention in a very meaningful way.Explain How You Will Use the Money:
Although scholarly projects often involve theory and literate explanation, nothing replaces a simple discussion of exactly what you will do with the award, and when you will do it. Be clear, make good estimates, and explain how you will accomplish your objectives. Incorporate Funder Suggestions:
If your funder offers a list of questions you are required to answer in the narrative, use these as headers. If a rubric is provided, it might also be incorporated as a great set of headers. This will help your reviewers to consider your project more effectively as they follow the guidelines they are given. Keep Pages Legible:
Keep your pages easy to read. Avoid small print, tiny margins, nonexistant line spacing, lengthy paragraphs, and anything else that makes your narrative look like impenetrable blocks of text. Timelines and Task Lists:
Set up a little table in your narrative which breaks your project down into phases or tasks and approximate months during which you will accomplish each task. For example, if you are requesting a full year sabbatical to write a book, you might consider offering the names of the chapters, what research will be involved, and when you expect to finish each.Use an Outline:
One of the most common causes of writing confusion is a nonlogical arrangement of ideas. Unfortunately, excellent style cannot make up for poor narrative structure.Use Headers and Bullet Points:
Headers and bullet points are handy text organizers and if deployed well, will help the reviewer understand your project easily. Headers and bullet points help the reader's eye flow across the page, and will help in case the reviewer needs to pull information from the narrative quickly, as when they are making arguments for why your project should be funded.