This is the complete guide to how to write narrative essay .
In this new guide you’ll:
Learn how to write narrative essay step by step from introduction level to conclusion. These tips will help you to write your stories well. With over 100 narrative topics and an example, compiled by EssayMojo Research paper writing service, you are ready to go.
- What is a Narrative Essay?
- How to Choose a Great Topic for a Narrative Essay
- How to Structure a Narrative Essay
- How to write Narrative Essay Introduction
- How To write the Body Section of narrative essay
- How To Plot a Narrative Essay
- How To Select Narrative Essay Characters
- How To Write Narrative Essay Conclusion
- Pro Tips for writing a great narrative essay
Let’s dive right in.
What is A Narrative Essay?
A narrative essay requires you as a student to show your storytelling ability. The essay looks similar to a descriptive essay but is unique in its way and has some features that make it distinct from any other type of academic writing. All a narrative essay requires of you as a writer is to show a story creatively and in a limited number of words. You, therefore, have to be able to take a complex story and pick out its key points, and put them in a short essay that is very engaging to your readers.
Unlike in other types of essays where you criticize or make attempts to persuade or argue out points, in a narrative essay you are just telling a story and the reason why this story is important to you and let the audience make their conclusion from your story. You won’t have to draw a conclusion for your audience.
The story can be from a personal experience of let’s say ‘how you bought your first car’ or it can be an imagined experience of let’s say ‘how things could be better if you took a different course in college’ or lived in a different country. This type of essay uses vivid details and descriptive techniques to bring out good feelings about your story. A good narration builds up to a meaningful statement as opposed to listing events and details in a story.
A narrative essay can either take two forms, the first one is a descriptive narrative essay which aims to describe an event or a situation using vivid details or it can be autobiographical, which touches on a real-life story that happened in your life.
From the descriptions above, you can tell that a narrative essay shall have a few characteristics; it is non-fiction in nature, written in the first person, contains the elements of a story, gives information in chronological order, incorporates lots of details to describe the event or individual or situation and above all aims to inform the audience and not argue nor even teach them something.
How to Choose a Great Topic for a Narrative Essay
To write a great narrative essay, you shall have to pick a great topic that will give you good details to write about. However, your choice of topic shall be guided by your teacher’s specifications. The teacher might want your story to have a conflict or a challenge that a protagonist goes through. The protagonist in your story ought to be a relatable character that comes out victorious despite all the odds against it, if it is your story you shall be the protagonist. Another element that your story might be required to have is the change or growth that a protagonist goes through due to the challenges he has encountered. Such characteristics shape the nature of a narrative essay.
You can pick the topic by;
- Exploring past experiences and memories and finding a great experience to write about
- Going for a nature walk to look for inspiration for great ideas.
- Searching through social media and online communities to find stories that might be interesting and get ideas on how to create your stories too.
- Freewriting down your thoughts to help craft a flowing story.
Your story can be about overcoming a challenge, overcoming a phobia, a discovery, a lesson learned the hard way, a bad or great relationship you went through, or even an act of protest or rebellion. You can write about that day you stood up to a school bully or the neighborhood bully.
How to Structure a Narrative Essay
Your essay shall be structured into five paragraphs each with a specific purpose.
The introduction paragraph– this part of the essay gives the audience a clue into your story and even the reason for your story and engages them to continue reading the rest of the parts.
The Main Body Section
1st Paragraph – this is the part where you start telling your story, the ‘rising action’ part.
2nd Paragraph – this is the climax of your story.
3rd paragraph – this is the falling action section where you slowly unwind your story.
The conclusion paragraph – this is the last part of your story where you shall state the lessons learned from the story or the moral of the story.
To have a look at what content to put in each section, let’s explore each of these parts deeply.
The Introduction Section of Your Narrative Essay
In this section of your paragraph, you shall engage your audience by crafting a compelling hook. You can come up with a great hook by asking a pointed question or stating a fact or making an intriguing statement that shall spike arousal in your reader and make them read the rest of the essay.
The second item to include in your introduction section shall be a glimpse of what you shall be talking about. This shall make your readers intrigued for more of the story.
The third item to incorporate in your introduction is the purpose of your writing. The purpose is the meaning of your story but still don’t state what you have learned from the story at this point.
The last item to include in the introduction paragraph is the thesis statement of your essay. The thesis statement is a crucial part of your essay that shall again be revisited in the conclusion section to remind the reader of the main aim of the story or essay.
The Body Section of your narrative essay
This is the main part of your narrative essay because this is where you tell the audience of your story, share information in detail about the whole ordeal or individual you are discussing and guide your audience through the plot. Your body section shall be made up of 3 paragraphs at most.
- The plot
- The characters involved in the story
- The setting ( where the event took place)
First and foremost, remember you are the main character in this narrative. The story revolves around you as you try to prove your point. Clearly state your role.
Use the first place narrative‘’ I ‘’ in the entire story since this is your story and you are the one narrating it.
Explain in details your behavior in certain points of the event. Use vivid description to describe your personality, your emotions and reactions to certain situations.
For example instead of just saying ‘’ I was sad ’’ consider this ;
‘’ bitter tears were forming in my eyes. My heart broke into tiny pieces. It’s like my world had come to an end.’’
In the second example, your readers are going to sail in the same boat as you because of your description. They are going to visualize the pain and sadness you are going through and sympathize with you.
At this point, you are already engaging them in your emotions and that is the goal right?.
Give background information about the story. Describe the setting and the people involved. State the importance of each character and their significance in the event. Use descriptive phrases to describe them physically.
Describe their personalities, their behavior, their emotions and reactions every step of the way.
Let your readers clearly identify the climax of the story. This is where main actions took place, the impact it brought about and the reaction the characters had to it.
Conclude your story in the last paragraph of the body paragraphs. Tell the readers how your story ended and what happened thereafter.
Don’t leave your readers hanging in suspense. Let them sigh in relief and give something to think about as the events of the story sink into their heads like it happened to them.
They should be able to see the connection between your story and the topic. These a can be achieved by connecting the plot, Choosing characters well and setting the narrative story.
How To Plot a Narrative Essay
The second element of telling a story. The plot is a brief overview of the narrative. Here you can mention the characters and the setting of the event. Tell your readers who they are going to meet in the narrative and what role they played. Also, mention where the story took place.
Tell the readers what exactly happened. Be descriptive and precise when you mention a certain person, an act, a reaction or an emotion. Remember your readers were not there when the event took place so you should give as much details as possible.
How To Select Narrative Essay Characters
Characters are the people and the animals involved in your story. As you go on with your story and significant events that took place starts to unfold, it brings in more characters to the narrative.
This could be your pets, your relatives, Your friends or even strangers. Mention this character’s names and clearly state what part they played in the story.
For example ; Instead of just saying ‘’ My friend rescued me. ‘’ Consider this ; ‘’Jonathan, a friend of mine whom we’ve known each other for ten years, came into my rescue‘’.
The first example only tell your readers about a mysterious guy who rescued you while in the second, you go a little deeper, you mention this guy’s name, that he was your friend and that you have known him for ten years.
This engages your readers by making them feel like they already know this friend of yours.
Tell your readers how this characters came into being part of the event and what impact they brought about. How important were they to you and what difference could it have made if at all they never appeared in the story.
Describe their characters, their personalities, their strengths and weaknesses in regards to the story.
Remember characters, of the 5 elements, are the main focus in the whole narrative.
How To Set the Narrative Essay Story
This is where the event took place. Was it at school, at home, in some hotel on a vacation or was it by the road.
Describe the place in details. How it looked like. How many people were there? What was the weather like? Was the event planned to take place there or it just happened that the event occurred there. What was the characters’ behavior there? Would it have been any different if at all the event took place somewhere else.
How had the characters positioned themselves? You should be able to create a clear picture of the setting of the story in your readers mind. From your narration, they should be able to visualize it.
How To Write Narrative Essay Conclusion
This is the last section of your story and you shall end your story here in a memorable way and leave the readers satisfied with your narration. You will offer the final comments about your story by revisiting and restating the main details stated in the main body section. What did you learn from your story? This is where you shall state that.
Now that your story is complete, end your narrative by telling your readers the moral of the story and what’s your point of view concerning the narrative. Besides, what you learned from it and what lessons they should also borrow.
As much as Your readers should already have known the significance of the story to them whilst reading, remind them how the story is of concern to them.
Particularly, restate the thesis statement.
The ending of your story should satisfy your readers. Reflect back on the major occurrences. Tell your readers why you told them the story, what it meant to you and what effect it had on your life. End by asking a question that your readers will be able to answer.
Make sure your readers are able to relate with your story.
In this part is where your tell your audience the moral of the story, what lessons to learn and what they should borrow from the narrative.
Pro Tips for writing a great narrative essay
When writing a narrative essay, remember to take your audience on a journey with your story and have them get something out of it. The best stories are those that take the readers out of their normal daily routines and offer a refreshing feeling or a new experience.
- The narrative should be easy to understand. Use simple language and avoid complicated statements that are hard to understand.
- Focus on the parts of the story that matters. You shall have a limited number of words to explain your story and thus you want to avoid unnecessary details that don’t change much of your story.
- Write in first-person perspective if you are writing about your experience, don’t lose the tense.
- Make use of sentence variety. Use both long and short sentences to give your story some spice. Use dynamic words and make the story engaging and avoid passive voice in the writing. Instead of saying “exceeding”, you can say “exceedingly”. Choose nice words.
- Considering that you shall write a story based on your experience or imagination, you shall want to limit the number of references you are going to use. A lot of references are not needed in this type of essay as compared to others.
- You can use descriptive techniques such as transitions, negative space, and power words to give effects to your story.
- You are not telling a story per se, show the audience a story.
- Editing and proofreading your work to look clean, you can write a great story but poor grammar and other style issues can spoil it.
To Sum Up.
A narrative essay tells a story. It can be about your own experience, or it can be based on a fictional event. -There are three basic parts to every narrative essay: introduction, body, and conclusion. -The introduction should introduce the reader to the characters and setting of the story. It should also provide some background information about the events that led up to the main event of the story. -The body of the essay should describe what happened in detail. This is where you will use vivid language to bring the events of the story to life for your reader. -The conclusion should wrap up the story and leave the reader with a sense of closure.