Skip Nav

How to Write a Narrative Essay: the Complete Guide from Introduction to Conclusion

What is a Narrative Essay

❶In the city or the country? The sights and smells in your story should all be discussed in particular details.

Narrative Essay Example of Storytelling

What is a narrative essay?
Narrative essay structure
Contact us

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. 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. 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. 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. 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.

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. You experienced adversity and had to overcome You failed and had to deal with the consequences of that failure Your personality or character was transformed.

Choose a story with a manageable plot. Good narrative essays tell specific stories. You're not writing a novel, so the story needs to be fairly contained and concise. Try to limit it as much as possible in terms of other characters, setting, and plot. A specific family vacation or weekend with a friend? A disaster holiday, or night out during high school? Bad narrative essays are generally too broad. Pick a single event from the summer, or a single week of your senior year, not something that takes months to unfold.

It's also good to limit the number of characters you introduce. Only include other characters who are absolutely essential. Every single friend from your fifth grade class will be too many names to keep track of. Choose a story with vibrant details. Good narrative essays are full of specific details, particular images and language that helps make the story come alive for the reader.

The sights and smells in your story should all be discussed in particular details. When you're thinking of stories that might make for good essays, it's important to think of some that are rich in these kinds of details.

When you're describing your grandmother's house and a specific weekend you remember spending there, it's not important to remember exactly what was cooked for dinner on Friday night, unless that's an important part of the story. What did your grandmother typically cook? What did it usually smell like? Those are the details we need. Typically, narrative essays are "non-fiction," which means that you can't just make up a story.

It needs to have really happened. Force yourself to stay as true as possible to the straight story. Outline the plot before you begin. Where does your story start? Where does it end? Writing up a quick list of the major plot points in the story is a good way of making sure you hit all the high points.

Every story needs a beginning, a middle, and an end. It helps to limit things as much as possible. While it might seem like we need to know a bunch of specific details from your senior year, try to think of a particularly tumultuous day from that year and tell us that story. Where does that story start?

Not the first day of school that year. Find a better starting point. If you want to tell the story of your prom night, does it start when you get dressed? Does it start when you spill spaghetti sauce all down your dress before the dance?

While that might seem like the climax of a story you want to tell, it might make a better starting place. Go straight to the drama. You don't need to write up a formal outline for a narrative essay unless it's part of the assignment or it really helps you write. Listing the major scenes that need to be a part of the story will help you get organized and find a good place to start.

Use a consistent point of view. Generally, narrative essays will be written in first person, making use of "I" statements, which is a little unusual compared to other assignments you'll be given in school. Whether you're giving us scenes with dialog, or discussing what happened in past-tense, it's perfectly fine to use first person in a narrative essay. This is a difficult and advanced technique to try to pull off, and it usually has the effect of being too complicated. There should only be one "I" in the story.

In general, narrative essays and short stories for that matter should also be told in past tense. So, you would write "Johnny and I walked to the store every Thursday" not "Johnny and I are walking to the store, like we do every Thursday. If so, be consistent with your pronouns throughout the story. Describe the important characters. Who else is important to the story, other than yourself? Who else was present when the story took place. Who affected the outcome of the story? What specific, particular details can you remember about the people in the story?

Use these to help build the characters into real people. Particular details are specific and only particular to the character being described. While it may be specific to say that your friend has brown hair, green eyes, is 5 feet tall with an athletic build, these things don't tell us much about the character. The fact that he only wears silk dragon shirts?

Now that gives us something interesting. Try writing up a brief sketch of each principal character in your narrative essay, along with the specific details you remember about them.

Pick a few essentials. Find the antagonist and conflict. Good narratives often have a protagonist and an antagonist, which is what creates the conflict. The protagonist is usually the main character in most narrative essays, that'll be you who is struggling with something. It might be a situation, a condition, or a force, but whatever the case, a protagonist wants something and the reader roots for them.

The antagonist is the thing or person who keeps the protagonist from getting what they want. Who or what is the antagonist in your story? To answer this question, you also need to find out what the protagonist wants. What is the goal? What's the best case scenario for the protagonist? What stands in the protagonist's way? The antagonist isn't "the bad guy" of the story, necessarily, and not every story has a clear antagonist.

Also keep in mind that for some good personal narratives, you might be the antagonist yourself. Just as important to a good story as the characters and the plot is the setting. Where does the story take place? In the city or the country? Describe the location that the story takes place and let the setting become part of your story. Do a freewrite about the location that your story takes place.

What do you know about the place? What can you remember? What can you find out? If you do any research for your narrative essay, it will probably be here. Try to find out extra details about the setting of your story, or double-check your memory to make sure it's right. Good writing is in the details. Even the most boring office environment or the dullest town can be made compelling with the right kinds of details in the writing. Remember to use particulars—unique details that don't describe anything else but the specific thing you're writing about, and let these vivid details drive the story.

You might tell us something like, "My dad was always sad that year," but if you wrote "Dad never spoke when he got home from work. We heard his truck, then heard as he laid his battered hardhat on the kitchen table.

Then we heard him sigh deeply and take off his work clothes, which were stained with grease. Make sure your theme is clearly illustrated in the story. After you've written your rough draft, read back over it with an eye for your theme. Whatever the purpose of your telling us the story that you're telling us needs to be made very clear. The last thing you want is for the reader to get to the end and say, "Good story, but who cares? Narrative essays are told from a defined point of view, often the author's, so there is feeling as well as specific and often sensory details provided to get the reader involved in the elements and sequence of the story.

The verbs are vivid and precise. The narrative essay makes a point and that point is often defined in the opening sentence, but can also be found as the last sentence in the opening paragraph. Since a narrative relies on personal experiences, it often is in the form of a story.

When the writer uses this technique, he or she must be sure to include all the conventions of storytelling: It is usually filled with details that are carefully selected to explain, support, or embellish the story. All of the details relate to the main point the writer is attempting to make.

The purpose of a narrative report is to describe something. Many students write narrative reports thinking that these are college essays or papers. While the information in these reports is basic to other forms of writing, narrative reports lack the "higher order thinking" that essays require. Thus narrative reports do not, as a rule, yield high grades for many college courses.

A basic example of a narrative report is a "book report" that outlines a book; it includes the characters, their actions, possibly the plot, and, perhaps, some scenes. That is, it is a description of "what happens in the book.


Main Topics

Privacy Policy

The narrative essay makes a point and that point is often defined in the opening sentence, but can also be found as the last sentence in the opening paragraph. Since a narrative relies on personal experiences, it often is in the form of a story.

Privacy FAQs

How to Create an Outline for Narrative Essay access_time March 29, The very first thing you think of when someone mentions essay is that you have to make an argument, find evidence, and write it in a somewhat philosophical manner.

About Our Ads

Various how to write a narrative essay articles state that your personal story is the source of evidence, it is a statement’s support you are up to make. It is absolutely true. It is a perfect way to test students’ creative skills of storytelling, their ability to connect your experience to a theme discussed in class. How to Write a Narrative essay 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.

Cookie Info

Learn how to write a Narrative essay outline, using the most useful prompts. Follow the examples to get the best grades for your academic narrative essay. In most cases, a writer gets ideas for the essay . When creating the initial draft of a narrative essay, follow the outline, but focus on making the story come alive, using the following techniques: Personal narrative essays are most naturally written in the first person, and using “I” gives the story an immediacy that engages the reader.