I always thought I knew how to write a narrative essay. In high school, we wrote a few of them, and I always got good grades, I think, because my grammar and punctuation were excellent. Now I realize that my English teachers really were not grading on style or content and were doing me a dis-service! As an English/journalism major in college, I find the narrative more challenging than any other essay writing type, and many of my peers experience the same frustration. What follows are 10 solid tips that may make your narrative writing easier, and, more important, worthy of good grades.
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- Read: Good writers are generally people who have made reading an important part of their lives from an early age. If you want to learn how to write a narrative essay that really “pops,” then you must read really great narratives, short stories, and novels. Ask yourself, “What makes these such great stories?” The “big” answer, of course, is that you cannot put the piece down. Perhaps it is the humor or the suspense. You need to identify the language, style, and tone, so that you can ultimately emulate it.
- All Elements are Required: Think of a narrative essay as a really condensed short story. Remember all of those elements? Of course you do, and they must be included. You need an introduction, characters, setting, a plot development to a climax and then a conclusion.
- Depending on the length requirement, remember that your piece is an anecdote, an experience, or an event – yours of someone else’s. It is just a piece of one’s life, so spending lots of time on personal background information is a waste. Only include personality traits or background that is absolutely essential to the story!
- A Purpose: Everyone knows that academic essay and paper writing must have a thesis – that is what makes each piece of writing a “custom essay” – your unique perspective or point-of-view drives all that you write. It is easy to forget that a narrative must also have a purpose (or a point). When we study literature, we call these “themes.” If your narrative does not have a point, why are you writing it? Sometimes it helps to ask questions of yourself before you even decide on the story to tell. What experience or event changed my beliefs or values? What experience or event changed the course of my life? What experience or event was so humorous or embarrassing that it will remain with me forever? When you answer these questions, you have a purpose and the topic!
- Be Clear and Concise: You don’t have space to “mess around” with superfluous words or irrelevant information! One of the toughest things about narrative essay writing is condensing the plot and still engaging the reader!
- Use “I”: If your narrative is personal (not telling someone else’s story), this is the one time in academic writing that the use of “I” is welcome! But don’t over-do it! There are many ways to tell a story without starting every paragraph or piece of dialogue with the word “I.” And just like the “I,” you can use “my” and “mine” liberally as well!
- Organization: You must organize the narrative essay just as you would any other essay type. Developing some type of graphic organizer will keep you on track and focused. Personally, I like the use of boxes and arrows – each part of the narrative can be placed in a box and sequentially point to the next plot element.
- Use Active Voice: As much as possible, avoid the passive voice. If you read popular fiction, you will get this. The main character “acts;” s/he is not “acted upon.”
- Avoid forms of the “to be” verb as much as possible. These are verbs that “tell” but don’t “show.” Example: “I was so sad when my dog died.” Replace with, “I felt the grief well up from the pit of my stomach and overtake my very being. With a broken heart, I succumbed to the sobbing and the overwhelming grief that followed. I had lost my best friend.”
- Use Figurative Language: Similes and metaphors are powerful! They appeal to the senses of the reader and should be used liberally in descriptions. Again, you must “show,” not “tell!”
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One of the toughest parts of the narrative essay in the introduction. If you do not know how to start a narrative essay, skip that part for the time being. Write the story, absorb all that you have told, reflect upon the meaning (theme) of the tale, and save the introduction for last. Often, as your story takes shape, and you have the opportunity to think about what you have written, the theme will become far clearer. Once that happens, you have the basis for your introduction! Start the introduction with a short simple sentence that will grab the reader immediately. The remainder of the introduction can embellish on that theme, so that the reader knows what to expect.
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How to write a narrative essay and how to make it an interesting piece of art to read? You don’t need to get something big and fancy. Just tell a story in an interesting manner and create a perfectly-organized paper.
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What is a Narrative Essay
What is a narrative essay? These are writing tasks that students are assigned to complete at various moments of their high school and college life. This type of writing involves telling a story from your life that is relevant to the theme you have in class. The narrative essay may be enjoyable and fun if you take a right approach. Proceed reading to learn how to write a narrative essay.
The structure of your paper is very similar to all those typical essays you’ve already written. It goes with the same typical 5 paragraph structure:
- Introduction – goes with one paragraph to present your topic and idea.
- Body – has three or more paragraphs to tell the actual story.
- Conclusion – is the short summary of your thoughts and consequences.
How to Choose Narrative Essay Topics
It is always hard to start. Think about a story that describes a topic given by your tutor. The paper should involve two components:
- Narration (story)
- Analysis of that narrative
Your essay can be about some theme, concept, or topic illustrated with the help of your personal narrative essay story.
These papers do not involve any outside sources or research. Various how to write a narrative essay articles state that your personal story is the source of evidence. It is a support for a statement 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 Introduction
An effective essay tells a specific story with clear details. The way is comprehensive. It is not a novel. You should make it concise and fairly contained. Limit it regarding setting, plot, and characters. Choose a story from your life, like a family vacation, a weekend with a friend, a spoiled holiday, or anything like that.
- Broad stories make a bad essay. Avoid narrative essay introduction starting with “This summer,” or “In my childhood” as they are far too big to highlight specific details required for a story writing.
- Pick an event from your childhood or your summer, not something that takes a long time to unfold.
- Also, limit the number of characters in your story. Include only those who are essential. Every friend from your childhood years will be too much. Pick one of them. Then come up with the title for your paper.
How to Write a Narrative Essay Outline
Outline the plot before you begin your writing. Where does it start and where does it end? Write down a list of the most important marks in your story. It is the best way of making sure you will include everything and do not miss anything. You need to include the components of a narrative:
- The beginning
- The middle
- And the end
An outline helps to limit things and keeps you focused on the important marks only. Your narrative essay outline should not be a formal one. This part really helps you write. Include major scenes and organize them.
How to Write a Narrative Essay Conclusion
The Conclusion is your last step and final word in the story. Restate your aim and consider few main tips:
- Do not forget that your Conclusion is not just the end of a story.
- A conclusion has to continue a sequence of facts presented earlier.
- Do not blur the timeline as you write: let the audience track your sequence of events.
- You learn something and tell about your discovery to the others in Conclusion.
- Do not leave the reader without a finale, which is not very good if it is not your literary device.
- Your essay has to make people interested even after they finished reading.
Narrative Essay Example of Storytelling
The setting is a very important part of a good story. You should mention the place where the characters are and where the story occurs. Is it a city, or a country? Is it home? Outside? Describe the location where the situation occurs and make it a part of your narration.
Make sure that a topic is illustrated in the story clearly
After you have written your narrative essay conclusion, read the entire paper once more and look for your theme. The relevance to the main statement you make should be very clear. Don’t leave your reader with a question. Answer it before he/she gets the chance to ask.
How to Write Narrative Essay: Basic Steps and Tips
Writing process of this type of a paper is also a great experience. Your future depends on narrative essay topics extremely. You are reflecting the event and giving the experience to other people – your readers. This is the most exciting part of this type of articles. We are going to talk about it later. Now let’s get some tips structured:
- A piece of writing recreating the experience through time is called a narrative essay.
- You can base your essay on your own experiences on the experiences of other people. No matter past or present.
- You are not just telling a story; you are also giving the idea and lesson to your reader.
- You should find and identify the experience you are going to write about.
- The experience should be significant.
- You should focus on recollecting the details of your experience.
- You should create an outline and imagine the basic parts.
- You should use your outline to describe all parts of your essay.
- Try not just to describe the thing was happening. Tell your reader how and why it was happening.
- Try to become your reader and to think like them.
- Remember that for your readers you are the main source of information about your experience.
- Don’t forget about small details.
- If you have finished your draft, try to spend some time away from it. Then read it with your fresh mind and eye.
- You can ask some people to read your narrative and tell you their impressions.
- Ed more details where they are needed.
- Remove some parts and sentences that seem to be unnecessary.
- Try to use the most effective order to present your information.
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What is a Personal Narrative Essay
This type of papers is often quite personal. That is why people call this type of papers a personal narrative essay. You give the readers insight into your experience. Just tell them about the things that changed you somehow making a difference for the rest of your life. We’ve all had these moments something changes our views. It influences our personality. This task is a great opportunity to write about it.
Choose a topic that allows you to provide a relevant story. Then just follow it. The idea of a compelling first-person narration is not the only one. The paper can entertain your readers, excite them or even help them get over a hard period in their lives. The stories of people who’ve overcome disorders or those who managed to get out of a really difficult crisis are very similar to narrative essays. Think of the way your essay can help others follow you. It will help them to overcome the problems they have.
The narrative essay seems to take its rightful place among the most exciting writing tasks for those who fancy creative assignments. It is not a definition essay or anything of that type. It is quite close to the experience of a real writer: you have to tell a story a personal narrative essay story that will touch the readers. It is a great chance to unleash your creative side not worrying about enough research or referencing. You just write from your heart.
How to Present Your Story
The way you tell your story and the way you felt at that time is just as important as the sequence of facts itself. The same situation can be perceived in different ways by different people. All the important things in your narrative essay are about the changes in your life, your ideas, your worldview.
Your story does not have to be too serious if the subject is not tough. The stories of serious crises are a good. It is not the only option. You can write about a funny situation that affected you somehow or can tell about something important. Or how you have learned that it is necessary to be more forgiving to people.
Why is it Important to Learn How to Write a Narrative Essay
Why write a narrative essay? Most of the students don’t see any reason for it. They take it as yet another kill-time writing task and do it just for the sake of a grade. Who would take the tell-the-story assignment seriously?
That is a shallow perception of narrative essay writing. It seems to be a waste of time for students. It is an opportunity for them to display their creativity and writing style. I admit it. This type of essay may not be the most important academic assignment like a research paper. It is rather a tool that helps reach the summit of writing craft.
Narratives Teach Us to:
- To be concise. This is a problem with many students and even professional writers who don’t want to learn how to write a narrative essay correctly. They drag out an idea for several paragraphs if it can be covered in few words. This isn’t the message of great value that they convey, it’s just waffling without a concrete answer to the question. This is where narrating stories can help you work out brevity of writing. Just define the purpose of the story and try to stick to the core.
- To be creative. It’s not for nothing that an essay is that frequently assigned at schools and colleges. Every time you are asked to tell a story you are expected to come up with new, fresh ideas. If you practice different approaches, you make progress. You write in monotonous style, you just make no headway. Hence your writing and thinking skills remain at the old-time level.
- To be eloquent. A good engaging story depends on words. Carefully chosen, targeted to get the message across the audience, they absorb reader in a story. This is a good way to enrich your vocabulary and polish writing style. This is because story includes descriptions, characters, and a plot that has to be dynamic.
- To express yourself with confidence. Remember, you write narratives not just to fit academic standards and earn a grade. The real value of this genre lies in making you express your bold views without being afraid that it’s not appropriate. It also helps a writer find his voice and come to realize that his ideas have value.
Few Classic Narrative Essay Topics
- A childhood event. You can tell about your any first-time experience.
- Achieving a goal. Tell people about the greatest important achievement in your life? It can be some easy achievement. It will be very important exactly for you.
- A failure. Sometimes reading about someone’s failures can also be interesting and very instructive.
- A good or bad deed. It is always a great challenge for a writer to talk about things like that. Readers will appreciate that.
- A change in your life. Some important and significant change in your life.
We hope this article has answered your question about what is a narrative essay. In the end, any essay writing skills won’t gather dust like an old grandma’s chest because they are sure to come into play either in professional life or everyday communication. If you still have doubts about how to write a narrative essay or want to make sure you are doing everything correctly, just call us anytime, and our team would like to help you out right away.