In a narrative essay, you want to tell the story by writing about an event or experience that you've had. It’s the ultimate in storytelling and requires some finesse to create a retelling that people will actually want to read.
Unlike other types of essays, a narrative essay allows you to express yourself. It's a story that you are telling, often from personal experience. You can look at a narrative essay example from middle school, high school or college, and you'll see the same elements throughout. That's because a story has very specific parts that must be included and the narrative is similar, no matter what the topic.
Using a narrative essay templatevia a writing tool can help you work through the essay quickly and ensure that it is correctly formatted. It may also help to check out a narrative essay example to see exactly how this type of writing is done.
Choose Your Story
The most essential part of writing a narrative essay is the selection of the story you want to tell. What can you share with readers that will impact them? What will you tell them that has meaning and isn't just an entertaining anecdote? A narrative essay needs to have a point, so you don't want to tell just any story, but rather one that will have a purpose.
Narrative essays tend to focus on a small story. You will not be writing your entire life into the essay, just a single event that you experienced. Take a look at some examples to see what a good narrative essay looks like and then you can begin to work on your own.
If you are struggling to find a story that will work, here are a few options to consider: A time when a major belief was shattered, or when someone influenced you or a time when you changed or attempted to change your life. There are endless stories to tell, so pick the one that will work best for the purpose of your narrative. Keep it narrow and focused. This is only about one single event, or you’ll end up writing an entire book.
Note that in a few cases, a narrative essay is not a story and will be written slightly differently. For example, a book report will be more informative than telling a story. In this case, it still talks about your opinion and feelings related to an event, but the event is within the book, not your own personal experience. However, most narrative essays will be personal.
Structure Your Narrative
Like all good stories, a narrative essay needs a beginning, middle, climax and end. It also needs characters and a plot, as well as a setting. All of these elements come together to ensure that the story flows properly and keeps people's interest.
While most narrative essays are written from the author's point of view, you can write from any perspective that works for the telling of the story. Above all, there needs to be a specific reason to tell the story. This is the most important thing to keep in mind as you plan and write. What is the purpose of telling this story? What will the reader learn? What will they walk away with after reading the essay?
You don’t have to have some big moral lesson in the essay to make it a narrative, but you should have a specific point. Think about what you want to accomplish with the essay and then focus on that as you write. Use this narrative essay outline to start your essay.
Start With a Bang
Your essay should grab the reader instantly. Starting with an impactful statement or a quote is a good way to begin. Give them a very good reason to continue reading. Use descriptive language to express yourself and tell your story in a way that captures the reader's attention.
The introduction is the most important part of your essay, since it is what will help the reader choose to read on or put the essay aside. Make sure it catches them and pulls them into the story, making them want to read on to find out what happens. The best narrative essays will turn a simple story into one that is captivating, using imaginative language.
Once you have the reader's attention, you can create an introduction that will present them with the setting and main characters of your story. Remember that every good story answers the questions who, what, when, where, how and why. While not all of this information needs to be in the intro, you should at least set the scene. Leave your reader curious enough to continue reading the essay.
Tell Your Story
The body of the essay should tell the rest of the story, usually in chronological order. Try to show the story, instead of just telling it. This means using descriptive language, including dialog and presenting the feelings that accompanied the event. Make your reader feel like they're in the story. For example, don’t say, “the dog walked up the street.” Instead, help the reader imagine the street and the dog. Was it well-kept? Or was the dog mangy and dirty? Was the street dirt, paved or cobbled? What kind of day was it?
The more details you include, the easier it is for the reader to picture themselves there. They will feel the story, rather than simply read it. “The old dog limped painfully down the center of the dirt street, the autumn wind kicking up leaves and dust around him.” This sentence makes it easier for you to imagine the dog and the street, doesn’t it?
Plain facts may be informative, but they are boring. Just stating the basics will immediately turn people off your writing. Creating a descriptive story will ensure more people read the essay than if you simply state the facts and go no further.
Get creative, pull those memories up and include details to make the story more real to your reader. Recall how you felt, how things smelled or tasted and what you were thinking during the events you’re recounting.
Present Your Point
At the climax of the story, your point will be made clear. There's no reason to state it flatly, but it should be obvious to the reader that something important happened and they should be able to draw their own conclusions at this point. When you look at a narrative essay example, you'll see that this climax is near the end of the essay and indicates a change of heart, a lesson learned or something similar.
The climax is the part of the story that people will remember most. It’s a sticking point, something that will catch in their mind and stay there, especially if well done. You can ensure that this is something memorable by adding a little twist or including details that will help the reader understand the importance of the moment.
Reflect on the Importance of the Story
Finally, you’ll wrap the essay up and finish it with a flourish. The conclusion or the final paragraph of the narrative essay is where you leave your reader with a brief summary.
The conclusion of the essay will review the important parts of the story and is the ideal place to look a little closer at the impact of the event you just shared. This is where you can really hammer home the point that you wanted to make, without being overly obvious.
Ideally, the final paragraph of your essay will stick with the reader for a long time. Don’t just recap, give them something to think about. This is the parting gift for your reader, something that they can think on for days or weeks to come.
Finally, you will need to edit and revise the narrative essay. This part is just as important as the actual writing, as you need to make sure that there are no discrepancies or errors to pull the reader out of the story. It can be helpful to put the essay aside for a few days so you can read it again with fresh eyes. Likewise, you may want to ask someone else to read it critically and mark any mistakes they find.
Look for spelling and grammar mistakes, of course, but you should also change up the writing if needed. A sentence that could be made better or clearer should be adjusted. The idea is to give your reader the best possible experience so they’ll want to share your narrative essay.
Narrative essay is a term, which most people know as a “story”. College students are often required to write narratives as the course paper. Sometimes, it is necessary to write a narrative story to get a job position, requiring creativity application. It doesn’t matter what the purpose of the narrative essay is, you have to know basic rules how to write it effectively. Below you will find general tips for correct structure of the narrative essay.
The main rule for the introduction is to get the reader’s interest. That is why you should start your paper with the “hook”. A “hook” is a short statement about your story that will catch reader’s attention. It can be a relevant quotation, appropriate question, fact or definition, related to the topic of your narrative essay.
- Then you should set the description of the scene. It is necessary to provide the information that will help the reader to understand your story.
- Give a short description of major characters.
- Write about the time and the place your story took place.
- Let the reader know whether the story happened to you or it is a fiction.
- If it is a real story, clarify your role in it.
- State if you were just a witness or were directly involved into it.
- One more aspect, which should be obligatory to any essay introduction, is the thesis statement. The role of thesis statement in the narrative essay is a bit different from the other essay styles.
The Thesis Statement
- begins with writing about the story events;
- presents a learned lesson or a moral;
- identifies a theme, which serves as a link to the overall experience.
The Essay Body Paragraphs
The body paragraph should show, using a lot of descriptions. A well-written story always includes a lot of details that will help the reader to understand writer’s experience. Try to use all five sentences while writing your story. Describe scenes, smells, sounds and feelings. Add as many details as possible. Here is an example “My heart jumped when the dark shape of the brown bear headed towards me from the forest”.
- This is a good example how to provide maximum information about what the writer felt at the moment described in the story. It is definitely more informative and picturesque than the phrase “When I was hiking, I suddenly saw a bear”.
- You should keep in mind that a narrative story is a personal type of experience. It serves as an evidence to support your thesis statement. The events showed in the story should demonstrate the lesson that you have learnt, or significance of the described event for you.
- Don’t forget to use chronological description of the events. Your story should be told from the starting moment until the last one. Do not make your story too complicated. Use the most clear and common way to tell it. Use transition words that will clearly indicate which event happened fist, next and the last. The most widespread transitional words include: next, after, before, during, finally, when, later, etc.
- Break your narrative essays into the paragraphs. It will show the change of actions in the story or move the reader from action to the reflection and vice versa. Keep the connection between paragraphs. For example, one paragraph can end with the words “I decided to run away from the bear, hoping that it hadn’t noticed me”. The sentence “There are many strategies that can be useful how to get away from a bear and running away is one of them” can start the next paragraph. The word repetition connects both paragraphs.
Did you Know we can Write your Essay for You?
Conclusion is also important. When you write a narrative essay, it functions to present the moral of the story. The narrative essay conclusion usually consists of the final action of the event with detailed analysis of information presented in the essay or your reflection of the significance of the described event. If you succeed in answering the following questions, you can consider your essay to be a successful writing.
- What lesson have you learned?
- How do you evaluate your experience?
- How has the event described in the essay affected your life?