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How to Write a Narrative Essay | Example & Tips

Published on July 24, 2020 by Jack Caulfield . Revised on July 23, 2023.

A narrative essay tells a story. In most cases, this is a story about a personal experience you had. This type of essay , along with the descriptive essay , allows you to get personal and creative, unlike most academic writing .

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Table of contents

What is a narrative essay for, choosing a topic, interactive example of a narrative essay, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions about narrative essays.

When assigned a narrative essay, you might find yourself wondering: Why does my teacher want to hear this story? Topics for narrative essays can range from the important to the trivial. Usually the point is not so much the story itself, but the way you tell it.

A narrative essay is a way of testing your ability to tell a story in a clear and interesting way. You’re expected to think about where your story begins and ends, and how to convey it with eye-catching language and a satisfying pace.

These skills are quite different from those needed for formal academic writing. For instance, in a narrative essay the use of the first person (“I”) is encouraged, as is the use of figurative language, dialogue, and suspense.

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Narrative essay assignments vary widely in the amount of direction you’re given about your topic. You may be assigned quite a specific topic or choice of topics to work with.

  • Write a story about your first day of school.
  • Write a story about your favorite holiday destination.

You may also be given prompts that leave you a much wider choice of topic.

  • Write about an experience where you learned something about yourself.
  • Write about an achievement you are proud of. What did you accomplish, and how?

In these cases, you might have to think harder to decide what story you want to tell. The best kind of story for a narrative essay is one you can use to talk about a particular theme or lesson, or that takes a surprising turn somewhere along the way.

For example, a trip where everything went according to plan makes for a less interesting story than one where something unexpected happened that you then had to respond to. Choose an experience that might surprise the reader or teach them something.

Narrative essays in college applications

When applying for college , you might be asked to write a narrative essay that expresses something about your personal qualities.

For example, this application prompt from Common App requires you to respond with a narrative essay.

In this context, choose a story that is not only interesting but also expresses the qualities the prompt is looking for—here, resilience and the ability to learn from failure—and frame the story in a way that emphasizes these qualities.

An example of a short narrative essay, responding to the prompt “Write about an experience where you learned something about yourself,” is shown below.

Hover over different parts of the text to see how the structure works.

Since elementary school, I have always favored subjects like science and math over the humanities. My instinct was always to think of these subjects as more solid and serious than classes like English. If there was no right answer, I thought, why bother? But recently I had an experience that taught me my academic interests are more flexible than I had thought: I took my first philosophy class.

Before I entered the classroom, I was skeptical. I waited outside with the other students and wondered what exactly philosophy would involve—I really had no idea. I imagined something pretty abstract: long, stilted conversations pondering the meaning of life. But what I got was something quite different.

A young man in jeans, Mr. Jones—“but you can call me Rob”—was far from the white-haired, buttoned-up old man I had half-expected. And rather than pulling us into pedantic arguments about obscure philosophical points, Rob engaged us on our level. To talk free will, we looked at our own choices. To talk ethics, we looked at dilemmas we had faced ourselves. By the end of class, I’d discovered that questions with no right answer can turn out to be the most interesting ones.

The experience has taught me to look at things a little more “philosophically”—and not just because it was a philosophy class! I learned that if I let go of my preconceptions, I can actually get a lot out of subjects I was previously dismissive of. The class taught me—in more ways than one—to look at things with an open mind.

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If you’re not given much guidance on what your narrative essay should be about, consider the context and scope of the assignment. What kind of story is relevant, interesting, and possible to tell within the word count?

The best kind of story for a narrative essay is one you can use to reflect on a particular theme or lesson, or that takes a surprising turn somewhere along the way.

Don’t worry too much if your topic seems unoriginal. The point of a narrative essay is how you tell the story and the point you make with it, not the subject of the story itself.

Narrative essays are usually assigned as writing exercises at high school or in university composition classes. They may also form part of a university application.

When you are prompted to tell a story about your own life or experiences, a narrative essay is usually the right response.

The key difference is that a narrative essay is designed to tell a complete story, while a descriptive essay is meant to convey an intense description of a particular place, object, or concept.

Narrative and descriptive essays both allow you to write more personally and creatively than other kinds of essays , and similar writing skills can apply to both.

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How to Write a Perfect Narrative Essay (Step-by-Step)

By Status.net Editorial Team on October 17, 2023 — 10 minutes to read

  • Understanding a Narrative Essay Part 1
  • Typical Narrative Essay Structure Part 2
  • Narrative Essay Template Part 3
  • Step 1. How to Choose Your Narrative Essay Topic Part 4
  • Step 2. Planning the Structure Part 5
  • Step 3. Crafting an Intriguing Introduction Part 6
  • Step 4. Weaving the Narrative Body Part 7
  • Step 5. Creating a Conclusion Part 8
  • Step 6. Polishing the Essay Part 9
  • Step 7. Feedback and Revision Part 10

Part 1 Understanding a Narrative Essay

A narrative essay is a form of writing where you share a personal experience or tell a story to make a point or convey a lesson. Unlike other types of essays, a narrative essay aims to engage your audience by sharing your perspective and taking them on an emotional journey.

  • To begin, choose a meaningful topic . Pick a story or experience that had a significant impact on your life, taught you something valuable, or made you see the world differently. You want your readers to learn from your experiences, so choose something that will resonate with others.
  • Next, create an outline . Although narrative essays allow for creative storytelling, it’s still helpful to have a roadmap to guide your writing. List the main events, the characters involved, and the settings where the events took place. This will help you ensure that your essay is well-structured and easy to follow.
  • When writing your narrative essay, focus on showing, not telling . This means that you should use descriptive language and vivid details to paint a picture in your reader’s mind. For example, instead of stating that it was a rainy day, describe the sound of rain hitting your window, the feeling of cold wetness around you, and the sight of puddles forming around your feet. These sensory details will make your essay more engaging and immersive.
  • Another key aspect is developing your characters . Give your readers an insight into the thoughts and emotions of the people in your story. This helps them connect with the story, empathize with the characters, and understand their actions. For instance, if your essay is about a challenging hike you took with a friend, spend some time describing your friend’s personality and how the experience impacted their attitude or feelings.
  • Keep the pace interesting . Vary your sentence lengths and structures, and don’t be afraid to use some stylistic devices like dialogue, flashbacks, and metaphors. This adds more depth and dimension to your story, keeping your readers engaged from beginning to end.

Part 2 Typical Narrative Essay Structure

A narrative essay typically follows a three-part structure: introduction, body, and conclusion.

  • Introduction: Start with a hook to grab attention and introduce your story. Provide some background to set the stage for the main events.
  • Body: Develop your story in detail. Describe scenes, characters, and emotions. Use dialogue when necessary to provide conversational elements.
  • Conclusion: Sum up your story, revealing the lesson learned or the moral of the story. Leave your audience with a lasting impression.

Part 3 Narrative Essay Template

  • 1. Introduction : Set the scene and introduce the main characters and setting of your story. Use descriptive language to paint a vivid picture for your reader and capture their attention.
  • Body 2. Rising Action : Develop the plot by introducing a conflict or challenge that the main character must face. This could be a personal struggle, a difficult decision, or an external obstacle. 3. Climax : This is the turning point of the story, where the conflict reaches its peak and the main character must make a critical decision or take action. 4. Falling Action : Show the consequences of the main character’s decision or action, and how it affects the rest of the story. 5. Resolution : Bring the story to a satisfying conclusion by resolving the conflict and showing how the main character has grown or changed as a result of their experiences.
  • 6. Reflection/Conclusion : Reflect on the events of the story and what they mean to you as the writer. This could be a lesson learned, a personal realization, or a message you want to convey to your reader.

Part 4 Step 1. How to Choose Your Narrative Essay Topic

Brainstorming ideas.

Start by jotting down any ideas that pop into your mind. Think about experiences you’ve had, stories you’ve heard, or even books and movies that have resonated with you. Write these ideas down and don’t worry too much about organization yet. It’s all about getting your thoughts on paper.

Once you have a list, review your ideas and identify common themes or connections between them. This process should help you discover potential topics for your narrative essay.

Narrowing Down the Choices

After brainstorming, you’ll likely end up with a few strong contenders for your essay topic. To decide which topic is best, consider the following:

  • Relevance : Is the topic meaningful for your audience? Will they be able to connect with it on a personal level? Consider the purpose of your assignment and your audience when choosing your topic.
  • Detail : Do you have enough specific details to craft a vivid story? The more detail you can recall about the event, the easier it’ll be to write a compelling narrative.
  • Emotional impact : A strong narrative essay should evoke emotions in your readers. Choose a topic that has the potential to elicit some emotional response from your target audience.

After evaluating your potential topics based on these criteria, you can select the one that best fits the purpose of your narrative essay.

Part 5 Step 2. Planning the Structure

Creating an outline.

Before you start writing your narrative essay, it’s a great idea to plan out your story. Grab a piece of paper and sketch out a rough outline of the key points you want to cover. Begin with the introduction, where you’ll set the scene and introduce your characters. Then, list the major events of your story in chronological order, followed by the climax and resolution. Organizing your ideas in an outline will ensure your essay flows smoothly and makes sense to your readers.

Detailing Characters, Settings, and Events

Taking time to flesh out the characters, settings, and events in your story will make it more engaging and relatable. Think about your main character’s background, traits, and motivations. Describe their appearance, emotions, and behavior in detail. This personal touch will help your readers connect with them on a deeper level.

Also, give some thought to the setting – where does the story take place? Be sure to include sensory details that paint a vivid picture of the environment. Finally, focus on the series of events that make up your narrative. Are there any twists and turns, or surprising moments? Address these in your essay, using vivid language and engaging storytelling techniques to captivate your readers.

Writing the Narrative Essay

Part 6 step 3. crafting an intriguing introduction.

To start your narrative essay, you’ll want to hook your reader with an interesting and engaging opening. Begin with a captivating sentence or question that piques curiosity and captures attention. For example, “Did you ever think a simple bus ride could change your life forever?” This kind of opening sets the stage for a compelling, relatable story. Next, introduce your main characters and provide a bit of context to help your readers understand the setting and background of the story.

Part 7 Step 4. Weaving the Narrative Body

The body of your essay is where your story unfolds. Here’s where you’ll present a series of events, using descriptive language and vivid details.

Remember to maintain a strong focus on the central theme or main point of your narrative.

Organize your essay chronologically, guiding your reader through the timeline of events.

As you recount your experience, use a variety of sensory details, such as sounds, smells, and tastes, to immerse your reader in the moment. For instance, “The smell of freshly brewed coffee filled the room as my friends and I excitedly chattered about our upcoming adventure.”

Take advantage of dialogue to bring your characters to life and to reveal aspects of their personalities. Incorporate both internal and external conflicts, as conflict plays a crucial role in engaging your reader and enhancing the narrative’s momentum. Show the evolution of your characters and how they grow throughout the story.

Part 8 Step 5. Creating a Conclusion

Finally, to write a satisfying conclusion, reflect on the narrative’s impact and how the experience has affected you or your characters. Tie the narrative’s events together and highlight the lessons learned, providing closure for the reader.

Avoid abruptly ending your story, because that can leave the reader feeling unsatisfied. Instead, strive to create a sense of resolution and demonstrate how the events have changed the characters’ perspectives or how the story’s theme has developed.

For example, “Looking back, I realize that the bus ride not only changed my perspective on friendship, but also taught me valuable life lessons that I carry with me to this day.”

Part 9 Step 6. Polishing the Essay

Fine-tuning your language.

When writing a narrative essay, it’s key to choose words that convey the emotions and experiences you’re describing. Opt for specific, vivid language that creates a clear mental image for your reader. For instance, instead of saying “The weather was hot,” try “The sun scorched the pavement, causing the air to shimmer like a mirage.” This gives your essay a more engaging and immersive feeling.

Editing for Clarity and Concision

As you revise your essay, keep an eye out for redundancies and unnecessary words that might dilute the impact of your story. Getting to the point and using straightforward language can help your essay flow better. For example, instead of using “She was walking in a very slow manner,” you can say, “She strolled leisurely.” Eliminate filler words and phrases, keeping only the most pertinent information that moves your story forward.

Proofreading for Typos

Finally, proofread your essay carefully to catch any typos, grammatical errors, or punctuation mistakes. It’s always a good idea to have someone else read it as well, as they might catch errors you didn’t notice. Mistakes can be distracting and may undermine the credibility of your writing, so be thorough with your editing process.

Part 10 Step 7. Feedback and Revision

Gathering feedback.

After you’ve written the first draft of your narrative essay, it’s time to gather feedback from friends, family, or colleagues. Share your essay with a few trusted people who can provide insights and suggestions for improvement. Listen to their thoughts and be open to constructive criticism. You might be surprised by the different perspectives they offer, which can strengthen your essay.

Iterating on the Draft

Once you have collected feedback, it’s time to revise and refine your essay. Address any issues or concerns raised by your readers and incorporate their suggestions. Consider reorganizing your story’s structure, clarifying your descriptions, or adding more details based on the feedback you received.

As you make changes, continue to fine-tune your essay to ensure a smooth flow and a strong narrative. Don’t be afraid to cut out unnecessary elements or rework parts of your story until it’s polished and compelling.

Revision is a crucial part of the writing process, and taking the time to reflect on feedback and make improvements will help you create a more engaging and impactful narrative essay.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can i create an engaging introduction.

Craft an attention-grabbing hook with a thought-provoking question, an interesting fact, or a vivid description. Set the stage for your story by introducing the time, place, and context for the events. Creating tension or raising curiosity will make your readers eager to learn more.

What strategies help develop strong characters?

To develop strong characters, consider the following:

  • Give your characters distinct traits, strengths, and weaknesses.
  • Provide a backstory to explain their actions and motivations.
  • Use dialogue to present their personality, emotions, and relationships.
  • Show how they change or evolve throughout your story.

How can I make my story flow smoothly with transitions?

Smooth transitions between scenes or events can create a more coherent and easy-to-follow story. Consider the following tips to improve your transitions:

  • Use words and phrases like “meanwhile,” “later that day,” or “afterward” to signify changes in time.
  • Link scenes with a common theme or element.
  • Revisit the main characters or setting to maintain continuity.
  • Introduce a twist or an unexpected event that leads to the next scene.

What are some tips for choosing a great narrative essay topic?

To choose an engaging narrative essay topic, follow these tips:

  • Pick a personal experience or story that holds significance for you.
  • Consider a challenge or a turning point you’ve faced in your life.
  • Opt for a topic that will allow you to share emotions and lessons learned.
  • Think about what your audience would find relatable, intriguing, or inspiring.

How do I wrap up my narrative essay with a strong conclusion?

A compelling conclusion restates the main events and highlights any lessons learned or growth in your character. Try to end on a thought-provoking note or leave readers with some food for thought. Finally, make sure your conclusion wraps up your story neatly and reinforces its overall message.

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elements in narrative essay

Detailed Guide on How to Write a Narrative Essay with Tips

elements in narrative essay

Defining What Is a Narrative Essay

We can explain a narrative essay definition as a piece of writing that tells a story. It's like a window into someone's life or a page torn from a diary. Similarly to a descriptive essay, a narrative essay tells a story, rather than make a claim and use evidence. It can be about anything – a personal experience, a childhood memory, a moment of triumph or defeat – as long as it's told in a way that captures the reader's imagination.

You might ask - 'which sentence most likely comes from a narrative essay?'. Let's take this for example: 'I could hear the waves crashing against the shore, their rhythm a soothing lullaby that carried me off to sleep.' You could even use such an opening for your essay when wondering how to start a narrative essay.

To further define a narrative essay, consider it storytelling with a purpose. The purpose of a narrative essay is not just to entertain but also to convey a message or lesson in first person. It's a way to share your experiences and insights with others and connect with your audience. Whether you're writing about your first love, a harrowing adventure, or a life-changing moment, your goal is to take the reader on a journey that will leave them feeling moved, inspired, or enlightened.

So if you're looking for a way to express yourself creatively and connect with others through your writing, try your hand at a narrative essay. Who knows – you might just discover a hidden talent for storytelling that you never knew you had!

Meanwhile, let's delve into the article to better understand this type of paper through our narrative essay examples, topic ideas, and tips on constructing a perfect essay.

Types of Narrative Essays

If you were wondering, 'what is a personal narrative essay?', know that narrative essays come in different forms, each with a unique structure and purpose. Regardless of the type of narrative essay, each aims to transport the reader to a different time and place and to create an emotional connection between the reader and the author's experiences. So, let's discuss each type in more detail:

  • A personal narrative essay is based on one's unique experience or event. Personal narrative essay examples include a story about overcoming a fear or obstacle or reflecting on a particularly meaningful moment in one's life.
  • A fictional narrative is a made-up story that still follows the basic elements of storytelling. Fictional narratives can take many forms, from science fiction to romance to historical fiction.
  • A memoir is similar to personal narratives but focuses on a specific period or theme in a person's life. Memoirs might be centered around a particular relationship, a struggle with addiction, or a cultural identity. If you wish to describe your life in greater depth, you might look at how to write an autobiography .
  • A literacy narrative essay explores the writer's experiences with literacy and how it has influenced their life. The essay typically tells a personal story about a significant moment or series of moments that impacted the writer's relationship with reading, writing, or communication.

You might also be interested in discovering 'HOW TO WRITE AN AUTOBIOGRAPHY'

Pros and Cons of Narrative Writing

Writing a narrative essay can be a powerful tool for self-expression and creative storytelling, but like any form of writing, it comes with its own set of pros and cons. Let's explore the pros and cons of narrative writing in more detail, helping you to decide whether it's the right writing style for your needs.

  • It can be a powerful way to convey personal experiences and emotions.
  • Allows for creative expression and unique voice
  • Engages the reader through storytelling and vivid details
  • It can be used to teach a lesson or convey a message.
  • Offers an opportunity for self-reflection and growth
  • It can be challenging to balance personal storytelling with the needs of the reader
  • It may not be as effective for conveying factual information or arguments
  • It may require vulnerability and sharing personal details that some writers may find uncomfortable
  • It can be subjective, as the reader's interpretation of the narrative may vary

If sharing your personal stories is not your cup of tea, you can buy essays online from our expert writers, who will customize the paper to your particular writing style and tone.

20 Excellent Narrative Essay Topics and How to Choose One

Choosing a good topic among many narrative essay ideas can be challenging, but some tips can help you make the right choice. Here are some original and helpful tips on how to choose a good narrative essay topic:

  • Consider your own experiences: One of the best sources of inspiration for a narrative essay is your own life experiences. Consider moments that have had a significant impact on you, whether they are positive or negative. For example, you could write about a memorable trip or a challenging experience you overcame.
  • Choose a topic relevant to your audience: Consider your audience and their interests when choosing a narrative essay topic. If you're writing for a class, consider what topics might be relevant to the course material. If you're writing for a broader audience, consider what topics might be interesting or informative to them.
  • Find inspiration in literature: Literature can be a great source of inspiration for a narrative essay. Consider the books or stories that have had an impact on you, and think about how you can incorporate elements of them into your own narrative. For example, you could start by using a title for narrative essay inspired by the themes of a favorite novel or short story.
  • Focus on a specific moment or event: Most narrative essays tell a story, so it's important to focus on a specific moment or event. For example, you could write a short narrative essay about a conversation you had with a friend or a moment of realization while traveling.
  • Experiment with different perspectives: Consider writing from different perspectives to add depth and complexity to your narrative. For example, you could write about the same event from multiple perspectives or explore the thoughts and feelings of a secondary character.
  • Use writing prompts: Writing prompts can be a great source of inspiration if you struggle to develop a topic. Consider using a prompt related to a specific theme, such as love, loss, or growth.
  • Choose a topic with rich sensory details: A good narrative essay should engage the senses and create a vivid picture in the reader's mind. Choose a topic with rich sensory details that you can use to create a vivid description. For example, you could write about a bustling city's sights, sounds, and smells.
  • Choose a topic meaningful to you: Ultimately, the best narrative essays are meaningful to the writer. Choose a topic that resonates with you and that you feel passionate about. For example, you could write about a personal goal you achieved or a struggle you overcame.

Here are some good narrative essay topics for inspiration from our experts:

  • A life-changing event that altered your perspective on the world
  • The story of a personal accomplishment or achievement
  • An experience that tested your resilience and strength
  • A time when you faced a difficult decision and how you handled it
  • A childhood memory that still holds meaning for you
  • The impact of a significant person in your life
  • A travel experience that taught you something new
  • A story about a mistake or failure that ultimately led to growth and learning
  • The first day of a new job or school
  • The story of a family tradition or ritual that is meaningful to you
  • A time when you had to confront a fear or phobia
  • A memorable concert or music festival experience
  • An experience that taught you the importance of communication or listening
  • A story about a time when you had to stand up for what you believed in
  • A time when you had to persevere through a challenging task or project
  • A story about a significant cultural or societal event that impacted your life
  • The impact of a book, movie, or other work of art on your life
  • A time when you had to let go of something or someone important to you
  • A memorable encounter with a stranger that left an impression on you
  • The story of a personal hobby or interest that has enriched your life

Narrative Format and Structure

The narrative essay format and structure are essential elements of any good story. A well-structured narrative can engage readers, evoke emotions, and create lasting memories. Whether you're writing a personal essay or a work of fiction, the following guidelines on how to write a narrative essay can help you create a compelling paper:

narrative essay

  • Introduction : The introduction sets the scene for your story and introduces your main characters and setting. It should also provide a hook to capture your reader's attention and make them want to keep reading. When unsure how to begin a narrative essay, describe the setting vividly or an intriguing question that draws the reader in.
  • Plot : The plot is the sequence of events that make up your story. It should have a clear beginning, middle, and end, with each part building on the previous one. The plot should also have a clear conflict or problem the protagonist must overcome.
  • Characters : Characters are the people who drive the story. They should be well-developed and have distinct personalities and motivations. The protagonist should have a clear goal or desire, and the antagonist should provide a challenge or obstacle to overcome.
  • Setting : The setting is the time and place the story takes place. It should be well-described and help to create a mood or atmosphere that supports the story's themes.
  • Dialogue : Dialogue is the conversation between characters. It should be realistic and help to reveal the characters' personalities and motivations. It can also help to move the plot forward.
  • Climax : The climax is the highest tension or conflict point in the story. It should be the turning point that leads to resolving the conflict.
  • Resolution : The resolution is the end of the story. It should provide a satisfying conclusion to the conflict and tie up any loose ends.

Following these guidelines, you can create a narrative essay structure that engages readers and leaves a lasting impression. Remember, a well-structured story can take readers on a journey and make them feel part of the action.

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Narrative Essay Outline

Here is a detailed narrative essay outline from our custom term paper writing :

Introduction

A. Hook: Start with an attention-grabbing statement, question, or anecdote that introduces the topic and draws the reader in. Example: 'The sun beat down on my skin as I stepped onto the stage, my heart pounding with nervous excitement.'

B. Background information: Provide context for the story, such as the setting or the characters involved. Example: 'I had been preparing for this moment for weeks, rehearsing my lines and perfecting my performance for the school play.'

C. Thesis statement: State the essay's main point and preview the events to come. Example: 'This experience taught me that taking risks and stepping outside my comfort zone can lead to unexpected rewards and personal growth.'

Body Paragraphs

A. First event: Describe the first event in the story, including details about the setting, characters, and actions. Example: 'As I delivered my first lines on stage, I felt a rush of adrenaline and a sense of pride in my hard work paying off.'

B. Second event: Describe the second event in the story, including how it builds on the first event and moves the story forward. Example: 'As the play progressed, I became more comfortable in my role and connecting with the other actors on stage.'

C. Turning point: Describe the turning point in the story, when something unexpected or significant changes the course of events. Example: 'In the final act, my character faced a difficult decision that required me to improvise and trust my instincts.'

D. Climax: Describe the story's climax, the highest tension or conflict point. Example: 'As the play reached its climax, I delivered my final lines with confidence and emotion, feeling a sense of accomplishment and fulfillment.'

A. Restate thesis: Summarize the essay's main point and how the events in the story support it. Example: 'Through this experience, I learned that taking risks and pushing past my comfort zone can lead to personal growth and unexpected rewards.'

B. Reflection: Reflect on the significance of the experience and what you learned from it. Example: 'Looking back, I realize that this experience not only taught me about acting and performance but also about the power of perseverance and self-belief.'

C. Call to action: if you're still wondering how to write an essay conclusion , consider ending it with a call to action or final thought that leaves the reader with something to consider or act on. Example: 'I encourage everyone to take risks and embrace new challenges because you never know what kind of amazing experiences and growth they may lead to.

You might also be interested in getting detailed info on 'HOW TO WRITE AN ESSAY CONCLUSION'

Narrative Essay Examples

Are you looking for inspiration for your next narrative essay? Look no further than our narrative essay example. Through vivid storytelling and personal reflections, this essay takes the reader on a journey of discovery and leaves them with a powerful lesson about the importance of compassion and empathy. Use this sample from our expert essay writer as a guide for crafting your own narrative essay, and let your unique voice and experiences shine through.

Narrative Essay Example for College

College professors search for the following qualities in their students:

  • the ability to adapt to different situations,
  • the ability to solve problems creatively,
  • and the ability to learn from mistakes.

Your work must demonstrate these qualities, regardless of whether your narrative paper is a college application essay or a class assignment. Additionally, you want to demonstrate your character and creativity. Describe a situation where you have encountered a problem, tell the story of how you came up with a unique approach to solving it, and connect it to your field of interest. The narrative can be exciting and informative if you present it in such fashion.

Narrative Essay Example for High School

High school is all about showing that you can make mature choices. You accept the consequences of your actions and retrieve valuable life lessons. Think of an event in which you believe your actions were exemplary and made an adult choice. A personal narrative essay example will showcase the best of your abilities. Finally, use other sources to help you get the best results possible. Try searching for a sample narrative essay to see how others have approached it.

Final Words

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What is a Narrative Essay Examples Format and Techniques Featured

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What is a Narrative Essay — Examples, Format & Techniques

I was in the Amazon jungle the first time I wrote a narrative essay, enlightened and enraptured by the influence of ayahuasca. That’s not true. I’ve never been to South America nor have I ever taken ayahuasca. The purpose of that opening is to show how to craft a narrative essay intro — hook, line, and sinker. Narrative essays rely on hooking the reader, and enticing them to read on. But what is a narrative essay? We’re going to break down everything you need to know about these essays — definition, examples, tips and tricks included. By the end, you’ll be ready to craft your own narrative essay for school or for publication.

What’s a Narrative Essay?

First, let’s define narrative essay.

Narrative essays share a lot of similarities with personal essays, but whereas the former can be fictional or non-fictional, the latter are strictly non-fictional. The goal of the narrative essay is to use established storytelling techniques, like theme , conflict , and irony , in a uniquely personal way.

The responsibility of the narrative essayist is to make the reader feel connected to their story, regardless of the topic. This next video explores how writers can use structural elements and techniques to better engage their readers. 

Personal Narrative Essay Examples With Essay Pro

Narrative essays rely on tried and true structure components, including:

  • First-person POV
  • Personal inspiration
  • Focus on a central theme

By keeping these major tenets in mind, you’ll be better prepared to recognize weaknesses and strengths in your own works.

NARRATIVE ESSAY DEFINITION

What is a narrative essay.

A narrative essay is a prose-written story that’s focused on the commentary of a central theme. Narrative essays are generally written in the first-person POV, and are usually about a topic that’s personal to the writer. Everything in these essays should take place in an established timeline, with a clear beginning, middle, and end. 

Famous Narrative Essay Examples

  • Ticker to the Fair by David Foster Wallace
  • After Life by Joan Didion
  • Here is a Lesson in Creative Writing by Kurt Vonnegut

Narrative Writing Explained

How to start a narrative essay.

When you go to sleep at night, what do you think of? Flying squirrels? Lost loved ones? That time you called your teacher ‘mom’? Whatever it is, that’s what you need to write about. There’s a reason those ideas and moments have stuck with you over time. Your job is to figure out why.

Once you realize what makes a moment important to you, it’s your job to make it important to the reader too. In this next video, Academy Award-nominated filmmaker J. Christian Jensen explains the power of the personal narrative. 

Narrative Writing and the Personal Narrative Essay  •  Video by TEDx Talks

Anything and everything can be the topic of your essay. It could be as benign as a walk to school or as grandiose as a trip to the moon — so long as that narrative exists within reality. Give your thoughts and opinions on the matter too — don’t be afraid to say “this is what I think” so long as it’s supported by storytelling techniques. Remember, never limit yourself as a writer, just keep in mind that certain topics will be harder to make engaging than others.

Narrative Essay Outline

How to write a narrative essay.

First step, game plan. You’re going to want to map out the story from beginning to end, then mark major story beats in your document.

Like all stories, your narrative essay needs a clear beginning, middle, and end. Each section should generally conform to a specifically outlined structure. For reference, check out the outline below.

Structure of A Narrative Essay

Narrative Essay Format  •  How to Write a Narrative Essay Step by Step

Make sure to reference back to this outline throughout the writing process to make sure you have all your major beats covered.

Purpose of narrative essay writing

Narrative essays give writers the ability to freely express themselves within the structure of a traditional story. Nearly all universities ask applicants to submit a narrative essay with their formal application. This is done for two reasons: they allow institutions to judge the linguistic and grammar capabilities of its applicants, as well as their raw creative side.

If you’re considering studying creative writing in an undergraduate or graduate program, then you’re going to write A LOT of narrative style essays. This process may seem indomitable; How am I supposed to write hundreds of pages about… me? But by the end, you’ll be a better writer and you’ll have a better understanding of yourself.

One thing that all successful essayists have in common is that they make radical, often defiant statements on the world at large. Think Ralph Waldo Emerson, Virginia Woolf, and Langston Hughes for example.

Being a professional essayist isn’t easy, and it’s near-impossible to be one who makes a lot of money. Many essayists work as professors, editors, and curriculum designers as well. 

This next video features the late, award-winning essayist Brian Doyle. He explains all the things you need to hear when thinking about writing a story.

Narrative Essay Examples “Lecture” via Boston University

We can learn a lot from the way Doyle “opens” his stories. My favorite is how he begins with the statement, “I met the Dalai Lama once.” How can we not be interested in learning more? 

This brings us all the way back to the beginning. Start with a hook, rattle off the line, then reel in the sinker. If you entice the reader, develop a personal plot, and finish with a resolute ending, you’ll have a lot of success in essay writing. 

 Up Next

Narrative essay topics.

We've curated a collection of narrative essay topics that will spark your creativity and bring your experiences to life. Dive into the rich tapestry of your memories, explore the unique threads of your life, and let your narrative unfold.

Up Next: Narrative Essay Topics →

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Narrative Essay

Narrative Essay | Elements, Tips and Outline of a Narrative Essay

Narrative Essay: A narrative essay is a way to tell a story about your personal experience in a clear and interesting way. In a  narrative essay, you have to imagine where your story begins and ends, and how to describe it with eye-catching language. To write a narrative essay you have to put yourself in that story.

It is a type of essay that has a main point around which the whole narrative revolves. All incidents, happenings, and characters are related to the same point. A narrative essay has characters, incidents, and dialogues which are written in a proper format.

Narrative essays tell a story, usually from one person’s personal point of view. A narrative essay has all the story elements — a beginning, middle and ending, as well as plot, characters, setting and climax all brought together to complete the story.

You can read more  Essay Writing  about articles, events, people, sports, technology many more.

Elements of a Narrative Essay

A narrative essay mainly consists of three required elements: character, theme, and dialogue.

Character: Characters are an important element of a narrative essay. It is the lead role as the story revolves around the character. The person writing the essay is a character itself. It also involves some other characters who act, behave, and do like all other characters presented in stories and novels.

Theme or Motif

A narrative essay is not a type of an attractive story but it has a theme or a motif. Narrative essays teach a lesson to the reader.

It narrates people’s personal experiences to teach lessons to readers. In fact, it is like a story, but revolves around a motif. The main motif of the narrative essay is to make the readers aware of this single theme, central idea, or motif once they go through the essay. The major aim of narrative essays is to provide information about life experiences and lessons learned from those experiences.

Dialogue is used for the conversation between characters. In a narrative essay, dialogue is the third important element, which is used to develop an interest in the story.

Dialogue is very important in narrative essays without which the characters lose their worth and liveliness. Dialogues give life to the character in the essay.

Narrative Essay Outline

To write a good essay, the first thing you need is to create a proper outline. Creating an outline means it is half the way you go and it is an important part of a good essay.

Divide your essay into three parts.

Introduction

Start with something amazing. Add a detailed explanation of your topic and tell about what you are going to discuss in the main body. State a good story but you should have a motif or a good theme.

Follow these points for writing a great introduction.

  • Introduce the topic
  • Include supporting sentences
  • State the thesis statement

Once you have attracted your readers, now you can start your story. If the introduction is good enough then only the readers move towards the body. Now start writing your story chronologically in a proper format.

The main body is the section where your entire essay is created. Add the following points in it:

  • Try to keep your story in chronological order so that the reader can understand the storyline easily.
  • Narrate the incidents in an order leading to the final conclusion.
  • The beginning and the concluding lines must be related to the main part of the events described in the story.
  • Write one idea in each paragraph

Make sure that your essay serves the main motif. Conclude your essay with your message. The conclusion must be strong enough to reach the heart of the readers.

  • Summarize the key points of your essay
  • Repeat your message so that your readers get reminders about the central message
  • Try to leave the prints on the minds of the readers.

Easy Tips on Writing a Narrative Essay

When writing a narrative essay, remember that you are sharing personal and emotional details with the reader.

  • Before writing a narrative essay it is very important to decide the motive behind it.
  • The use of clear and concise language throughout the essay is necessary.
  • Your words and sentences need to be attractive and heart-touching to help the reader feel the same feelings that you felt.
  • Elements of the story must be used in the proper format..
  • You may use flashbacks and flash-forwards to build the climax in the story so that the readers are interested In your story.
  • Narrative essays are usually written in the first person, but the third-person view may also be used.

FAQ’s on Narrative Essay

Question 1. How is a Narrative Essay different from a Short Story?

Answer: A narrative essay has a specific motif, specific format and specific aspect to discover. It revolves around that motif or a theme set by the writer prior to writing the essay. Whereas a short story is different from a narrative essay in that it does not revolve around a specific motif, and also it does not have a specific format. Also, a short story always leaves readers in suspense with the desire to discover more. Whereas, a narrative essay ends when the readers are fully satisfied.

Question 2. How to begin a Narrative Essay?

Answer: Start the essay with an attractive statement followed by sensory details. You must use easy and attractive language from the beginning to grab the readers’ attention.

Following are different ways to start the essay:

  • Start with a famous quote written by someone to catch your reader’s attention
  • Use a mystery in the story.
  • Make use of statements so that the reader can feel the same pain as if you..
  • Be more precise so that the readers don’t find it messy.
  • Your motif should be clearly highlighted.

What is a Narrative Essay? How to Write It (with Examples)

What is a Narrative Essay? How to Write It (with Examples)

Narrative essays are a type of storytelling in which writers weave a personal experience into words to create a fascinating and engaging narrative for readers. A narrative essay explains a story from the author’s point of view to share a lesson or memory with the reader. Narrative essays, like descriptive essays , employ figurative language to depict the subject in a vivid and creative manner to leave a lasting impact on the readers’ minds. In this article, we explore the definition of narrative essays, list the key elements to be included, and provide tips on how to craft a narrative that captivates your audience.

Table of Contents

What is a narrative essay, choosing narrative essay topics, key elements in a narrative essay, creating a narrative essay outline, types of narrative essays, the pre-writing stage, the writing stage, the editing stage, narrative essay example, frequently asked questions.

Narrative essays are often based on one’s personal experience which allows the author to express himself/herself in compelling ways for the reader. They employ storytelling elements to convey the plot and captivate the reader while disclosing the story’s theme or purpose. The author must always have a purpose or theme in mind when writing a narrative essay. These essays may be assigned to high school students to assess their ability to create captivating stories based on personal experiences, or they may be required as part of a college application to assess the applicant’s personal traits. Narrative essays might be based on true events with minor tweaks for dramatic purposes, or they can be adapted from a fictional scenario. Whatever the case maybe, the goal is to tell a story, a good story!

In narrative essays, the emphasis is not so much on the narrative itself as it is on how you explain it. Narrative essay topics cover a range of experiences, from noteworthy to mundane, but when storytelling elements are used well, even a simple account can have weight. Notably, the skills required for narrative writing differ significantly from those needed for formal academic essays, and we will delve deeper into this in the next section.

You can talk about any narrative, but consider whether it is fascinating enough, has enough twists and turns, or teaches a lesson (It’s a plus if the story contains an unexpected twist at the end). The potential topics for a narrative essay are limitless—a triumphant story, a brief moment of introspection, or a voyage of self-discovery. These essays provide writers with the opportunity to share a fragment of their lives with the audience, enriching both the writer’s and the reader’s experiences. Narrative essay examples could be a write-up on “What has been your biggest achievement in life so far and what did it teach you?” or “Describe your toughest experience and how you dealt with it?”.

elements in narrative essay

While narrative essays allow you to be creative with your ideas, language, and format, they must include some key components to convey the story clearly, create engaging content and build reader interest. Follow these guidelines when drafting your essay:   

  • Tell your story using the first person to engage users.
  • Use sufficient sensory information and figurative language.
  • Follow an organized framework so the story flows chronologically.
  • Include interesting plot components that add to the narrative.
  • Ensure clear language without grammar, spelling, or word choice errors.

Narrative essay outlines serve as the foundational structure for essay composition, acting as a framework to organize thoughts and ideas prior to the writing process. These outlines provide writers with a means to summarize the story, and help in formulating the introduction and conclusion sections and defining the narrative’s trajectory.

Unlike conventional essays that strictly adhere to the five-paragraph structure, narrative essays allow for more flexibility as the organization is dictated by the flow of the story. The outline typically encompasses general details about the events, granting writers the option to prioritize writing the body sections first while deferring the introduction until later stages of the writing process. This approach allows for a more organic and fluid writing process. If you’re wondering how to start writing a narrative essay outline, here is a sample designed to ensure a compelling and coherent narrative:

Introduction

  • Hook/Opening line: The introduction should have an opening/hook sentence that is a captivating quote, question, or anecdote that grabs the reader’s attention.
  • Background: Briefly introduce the setting, time, tone, and main characters.
  • Thesis statement: State clearly the main theme or lesson acquired from the experience.
  • Event 1 (according to occurrence): Describe the first major event in detail. Introduce the primary characters and set the story context; include sensory elements to enrich the narrative and give the characters depth and enthusiasm.
  • Event 2: Ensure a smooth transition from one event to the next. Continue with the second event in the narrative. For more oomph, use suspense or excitement, or leave the plot with cliffhanger endings. Concentrate on developing your characters and their relationships, using dialog to bring the story to life.
  • Event 3: If there was a twist and suspense, this episode should introduce the climax or resolve the story. Keep the narrative flowing by connecting events logically and conveying the feelings and reactions of the characters.
  • Summarize the plot: Provide a concise recap of the main events within the narrative essay. Highlight the key moments that contribute to the development of the storyline. Offer personal reflections on the significance of the experiences shared, emphasizing the lasting impact they had on the narrator. End the story with a clincher; a powerful and thought-provoking sentence that encapsulates the essence of the narrative. As a bonus, aim to leave the reader with a memorable statement or quote that enhances the overall impact of the narrative. This should linger in the reader’s mind, providing a satisfying and resonant conclusion to the essay.

There are several types of narrative essays, each with their own unique traits. Some narrative essay examples are presented in the table below.

How to write a narrative essay: Step-by-step guide

A narrative essay might be inspired by personal experiences, stories, or even imaginary scenarios that resonate with readers, immersing them in the imaginative world you have created with your words. Here’s an easy step-by-step guide on how to write a narrative essay.

  • Select the topic of your narrative

If no prompt is provided, the first step is to choose a topic to write about. Think about personal experiences that could be given an interesting twist. Readers are more likely to like a tale if it contains aspects of humor, surprising twists, and an out-of-the-box climax. Try to plan out such subjects and consider whether you have enough information on the topic and whether it meets the criteria of being funny/inspiring, with nice characters/plot lines, and an exciting climax. Also consider the tone as well as any stylistic features (such as metaphors or foreshadowing) to be used. While these stylistic choices can be changed later, sketching these ideas early on helps you give your essay a direction to start.

  • Create a framework for your essay

Once you have decided on your topic, create an outline for your narrative essay. An outline is a framework that guides your ideas while you write your narrative essay to keep you on track. It can help with smooth transitions between sections when you are stuck and don’t know how to continue the story. It provides you with an anchor to attach and return to, reminding you of why you started in the first place and why the story matters.

elements in narrative essay

  • Compile your first draft

A perfect story and outline do not work until you start writing the draft and breathe life into it with your words. Use your newly constructed outline to sketch out distinct sections of your narrative essay while applying numerous linguistic methods at your disposal. Unlike academic essays, narrative essays allow artistic freedom and leeway for originality so don’t stop yourself from expressing your thoughts. However, take care not to overuse linguistic devices, it’s best to maintain a healthy balance to ensure readability and flow.

  • Use a first-person point of view

One of the most appealing aspects of narrative essays is that traditional academic writing rules do not apply, and the narration is usually done in the first person. You can use first person pronouns such as I and me while narrating different scenarios. Be wary of overly using these as they can suggest lack of proper diction.

  • Use storytelling or creative language

You can employ storytelling tactics and linguistic tools used in fiction or creative writing, such as metaphors, similes, and foreshadowing, to communicate various themes. The use of figurative language, dialogue, and suspense is encouraged in narrative essays.

  • Follow a format to stay organized

There’s no fixed format for narrative essays, but following a loose format when writing helps in organizing one’s thoughts. For example, in the introduction part, underline the importance of creating a narrative essay, and then reaffirm it in the concluding paragraph. Organize your story chronologically so that the reader can follow along and make sense of the story.

  • Reread, revise, and edit

Proofreading and editing are critical components of creating a narrative essay, but it can be easy to become weighed down by the details at this stage. Taking a break from your manuscript before diving into the editing process is a wise practice. Stepping away for a day or two, or even just a few hours, provides valuable time to enhance the plot and address any grammatical issues that may need correction. This period of distance allows for a fresh perspective, enabling you to approach the editing phase with renewed clarity and a more discerning eye.

One suggestion is to reconsider the goals you set out to cover when you started the topic. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Is there a distinct beginning and end to your story?
  • Does your essay have a topic, a memory, or a lesson to teach?
  • Does the tone of the essay match the intended mood?

Now, while keeping these things in mind, modify and proofread your essay. You can use online grammar checkers and paraphrase tools such as Paperpal to smooth out any rough spots before submitting it for publication or submission.

It is recommended to edit your essay in the order it was written; here are some useful tips:

  • Revise the introduction

After crafting your narrative essay, review the introduction to ensure it harmonizes with the developed narrative. Confirm that it adeptly introduces the story and aligns seamlessly with the conclusion.

  • Revise the conclusion and polish the essay

The conclusion should be the final element edited to ensure coherence and harmony in the entire narrative. It must reinforce the central theme or lesson outlined initially.

  • Revise and refine the entire article

The last step involves refining the article for consistent tone, style, and tense as well as correct language, grammar, punctuation, and clarity. Seeking feedback from a mentor or colleague can offer an invaluable external perspective at this stage.

Narrative essays are true accounts of the writer’s personal experiences, conveyed in figurative language for sensory appeal. Some narrative essay topic examples include writing about an unforgettable experience, reflecting on mistakes, or achieving a goal. An example of a personal narrative essay is as follows:

Title: A Feline Odyssey: An Experience of Fostering Stray Kittens

Introduction:

It was a fine summer evening in the year 2022 when a soft meowing disrupted the tranquility of my terrace. Little did I know that this innocent symphony would lead to a heartwarming journey of compassion and companionship. Soon, there was a mama cat at my doorstep with four little kittens tucked behind her. They were the most unexpected visitors I had ever had.

The kittens, just fluffs of fur with barely open eyes, were a monument to life’s fragility. Their mother, a street-smart feline, had entrusted me with the care of her precious offspring. The responsibility was sudden and unexpected, yet there was an undeniable sense of purpose in the air , filling me with delight and enthusiasm.

As the days unfolded, my terrace transformed into a haven for the feline family. Cardboard boxes became makeshift cat shelters and my once solitary retreat was filled with purrs and soothing meows. The mother cat, Lily, who initially observ ed me from a safe distance, gradually began to trust my presence as I offered food and gentle strokes.

Fostering the kittens was a life-changing , enriching experience that taught me the true joy of giving as I cared for the felines. My problems slowly faded into the background as evenings were spent playing with the kittens. Sleepless nights turned into a symphony of contented purring, a lullaby filled with the warmth of trust and security . Although the kittens were identical, they grew up to have very distinct personalities, with Kuttu being the most curious and Bobo being the most coy . Every dawn ushered in a soothing ritual of nourishing these feline companions, while nights welcomed their playful antics — a daily nocturnal delight.

Conclusion:

As the kittens grew, so did the realization that our paths were destined to part. Finally, the day arrived when the feline family, now confident and self-reliant, bid farewell to my terrace. It was a bittersweet moment, filled with a sense of love and accomplishment and a tinge of sadness.

Fostering Kuttu, Coco, Lulu, and Bobo became one of the most transformative experiences of my life. Their arrival had brought unexpected joy, teaching me about compassion and our species’ ability to make a difference in the world through love and understanding. The terrace, once a quiet retreat, now bore the echoes of a feline symphony that had touched my heart in ways I could have never imagined.

elements in narrative essay

The length of a narrative essay may vary, but it is typically a brief to moderate length piece. Generally, the essay contains an introductory paragraph, two to three body paragraphs (this number can vary), and a conclusion. The entire narrative essay could be as short as five paragraphs or much longer, depending on the assignment’s requirements or the writer’s preference.

You can write a narrative essay when you have a personal experience to share, or a story, or a series of events that you can tell in a creative and engaging way. Narrative essays are often assigned in academic settings as a form of writing that allows students to express themselves and showcase their storytelling skills. However, you can also write a narrative essay for personal reflection, entertainment, or to communicate a message.

A narrative essay usually follows a three-part structure: – Introduction (To set the stage for the story) – Body paragraphs (To describe sequence of events with details, descriptions, and dialogue) – Conclusion (To summarize the story and reflect on the significance)

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What is a Descriptive Essay? How to Write It (with Examples)

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Narrative Essay

Definition of narrative essay.

A narrative essay is a type of essay that has a single motif , or a central point, around which the whole narrative revolves. All incidents, happenings, and characters revolve around a single motif presented in the narrative. A narrative essay is similar to a simple five-paragraph essay, in that it has the same format. It is only different in that it is a narrative, having characters, incidents, and dialogues.

Difference Between a Narrative Essay and a Short Story

A narrative essay has a specific format, specific aspects to discover, and a specific motif. It revolves around that motif set by the writer prior to writing the essay. A short story , however, is different from a narrative essay in that it does not revolve around a pre-set motif, and that it does not have a specific format. Also, a short story always leaves readers at a critical juncture with the desire to discover more. In contrast , a narrative essay ends when the readers are fully satisfied. They do not wish to read anymore or do not want to discover anymore.

Elements of a Narrative Essay

A narrative essay has three required elements: character , theme , and dialogue :

Characters are an important part of a narrative essay. Even if the essay is autobiographical in nature, the person writing the essay is a character involving some other characters who act, behave, and do like all other characters presented in stories and novels .

Theme or Motif

A narrative essay revolves around a theme or a motif. This theme or motif is presented in its thesis statement, which breaks it down into three distinct pieces of evidence . These three distinct pieces of evidence are then further elaborated through characters in body paragraphs .

Dialogue is used to capture the conversation between characters. In a narrative essay, dialogue is the third important element, without which the characters lose their worth and liveliness.

How to Choose a Topic for Narrative Essay

There are four major steps to choosing the topic of a narrative essay:

  • Choose a theme or thematic strand around which to weave a story.
  • Outline the character, events, and happenings.
  • Think about the conversation of the characters and place them in a setting and plot
  • Synchronize the characters with the plot and the setting to see if they integrate with each other.

MLA and APA Formats in Narrative Essay

MLA and APA are used in all types of essays. However, APA is mostly used in social sciences, while MLA is used in humanities. Whereas the application of MLA in a narrative is concerned, it is used in the format, intext citation , and in the Works Cited page. The first page comprises the student’s name, class, tutor’s name, and date with the topic of the essay given after all of them. However, in APA, all this information appears on the cover page. Similarly, both MLA and APA differ in intext citation, with MLA having only the author’s name and page without any comma. In contrast, APA has the author’s name as well as page number with a comma and ‘p’ with a period before the number of the page, such as (Hardy, p. 45). Regarding the sources, MLA shows Works Cited page at the end, while APA shows Reference at the end.

Reflective Narrative Essay

As the name suggests, a reflection narrative is an essay that presents the reflections of a person who is writing that essay. He takes an incident from his life and gives it an organization on the pattern of an essay with a narrative having a beginning, middle, and an end. The essay may or may not have moral lessons, which does not make a lot of difference if the experiences carry the deeper meaning. What matters is that the writer reflects on his own life, taking out some significant moment to make it a storied essay or a narrative essay with a theme in it.

Examples of Narrative Essays in Literature

Example #1:  new directions (by maya angelou).

“Annie, over six feet tall, big-boned, decided that she would not go to work as a domestic and leave her “precious babes” to anyone else’s care. There was no possibility of being hired at the town’s cotton gin or lumber mill, but maybe there was a way to make the two factories work for her. In her words, “I looked up the road I was going and back the way I come, and since I wasn’t satisfied, I decided to step off the road and cut me a new path.” She told herself that she wasn’t a fancy cook but that she could “mix groceries well enough to scare hungry away and keep from starving a man.”

This paragraph is an example from a narrative essay of Maya Angelou. She has described how a girl looks, and how she behaves. She has also written direct dialogues to show that it is a narrative.

Example #2: Saturday Evening Post (by Russell Baker)

“When I burst in that afternoon she was in conference with an executive of the Curtis Publishing Company. She introduced me. He bent low from the waist and shook my hand. Was it true as my mother had told him, he asked, that I longed for the opportunity to conquer the world of business? My Mother replied that I was blessed with a rare determination to make something of myself. ‘That’s right,’ I whispered. ‘But have you got the grit, the character, the never-say-quit spirit it takes to succeed in business?’ My Mother said I certainly did.”

In this piece from a narrative essay by Russell Baker of the famed Saturday Evening Post , the author has fully described the efforts of his mother by her dialogue. Both character and dialogue are very clear.

Example #3: Only Daughter (by Sandra Cisneros)

“Once several years ago, when I was just starting out my writing career, I was asked to write my own contributor’s note for an anthology I was part of, I wrote: ‘ I am the only daughter in a family of six sons. That explains everything.’ “Well, I’ve thought about that ever since, and yes, it explains a lot to me, but for the reader’s sake I should have written: ‘I am the only daughter in a Mexican family of six sons.’ Or even: ‘I am the only daughter of a Mexican father and a Mexican-American mother.’ Or: ‘I am the only daughter of a working-class family of nine.’ All of these had everything to do with who I am today.”

In this essay, the author has given a full description of a daughter – how she looks and how she behaves.

Function of Narrative Essay

A narrative essay describes people, presents their conversations, and narrates their experiences to teach lessons to readers. In fact, it is like a story, but different in that it is weaved around a motif. A motif is given before the incidents of the essay. Readers become aware of this single theme, central idea, or motif once they go through the essay. Its major aim is to provide information about life experiences and lessons learned from those experiences.

Synonyms of Narrative Essay

Some of the words closely related to the narrative essay are reflective account, chronicle, chronology , and historical narrative. However, these words cannot be interchangeably used to replace this title.

Related posts:

  • Narrative Poem
  • Elements of an Essay
  • Definition Essay
  • Descriptive Essay
  • Types of Essay
  • Analytical Essay
  • Argumentative Essay
  • Cause and Effect Essay
  • Critical Essay
  • Expository Essay
  • Persuasive Essay
  • Process Essay
  • Explicatory Essay
  • An Essay on Man: Epistle I
  • Comparison and Contrast Essay

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elements in narrative essay

Narrative Essay: Inside Out

What is a narrative essay?

How is it different from other essay types?

How to write a narrative essay so it would impress a teacher, or any other reader, and be worth sharing and retelling?

This ultimate guide on narrative writing gets all the answers straight.

narrative-essay-writing-guide

Table of Contents:

  • Purpose of narrative essays
  • Characteristics of narrative essays
  • Choose a topic
  • Outline the details
  • Write a draft
  • Revise the draft
  • Edit your narrative essay
  • Do’s and don’ts of your narrative essay
  • Narrative essay samples

What is a Narrative Essay?

Why do we call it narrative?

Because you use a particular way of telling your story and explaining its events, known as “narrative.” Here goes the narrative definition:

Beemgee described it best:

Essay Outline: General

elements in narrative essay

Narrative turns a story into information and influences the way how readers will perceive it. In other words, narrative builds your story .

So, your narrative essay is a type of paper, where you tell a story using a particular format and all elements of storytelling.

Okay, we know what you are thinking:

Source: Giphy

Keep calm! Everything is much easier than it seems.

Purpose of Narrative Essays

Narrative essays are about telling stories to your readers. It’s their fundamental purpose. You, the writer, tell about the personal experience but also make a point for readers to understand why you tell about it and why your story is important to share.

In a narrative essay, you simply guide a reader and allow them to draw own conclusions. You don’t criticize anything and don’t try to persuade them with arguments or prove them anything. That’s exactly what makes a narrative essay different from other academic papers.

Let’s compare:

Feel free to check our ultimate guide on how to write a persuasive essay and see the difference between these two essay types in more details.

Why write personal narrative essays?

Doing so, you learn to voice your opinion, views, and beliefs to the world. You learn to express and share thoughts consistently and intriguingly so people would get involved and inspired by your story.

It’s all about storytelling:

A human brain retains 70% of information through stories and 95% – through emotions; so the only way to make people want to listen to you is to tell them a story.

elements in narrative essay

Source: One Spot

And such writing assignments as narrative essays help you learn how to tell stories so that others would listen to you.

Your narrative, if written right, is the best way to share views and make others see the world through your eyes. It’s the best way to make them listen, broaden the mind, and be more creative about own experience and lives.

The power of personal narrative is hard to overestimate. Just watch this awesome TED talk by Christian Jensen! Isn’t inspiring and motivating enough?

Characteristics of Narrative Essays

A narrative essay doesn’t equal a short story. It’s not fiction. It’s still an academic paper, non-fiction writing about an experience that actually happened.

If you write a fictional story, it’s no longer a narrative essay.

elements in narrative essay

So, the narrative essay characteristics are:

  • Informal, written in the 1st person. (You are a storyteller here.)
  • With a purpose to inform, not argue or teach.
  • Describes a person, a scene, or an event in details and chronological order.
  • Non-fictional, tells about the actual experience.
  • Includes the elements of a story but follows the structure of an essay.

The Structure of a Narrative Essay

As well as any other college paper , a narrative essay has its structure. But given that it’s kinda informal writing about your personal experience in real life, it will have a format and elements peculiar to narratives (storytelling).

Here they go:

1 – Elements

Every narrative should have five elements to become a story: plot , setting , character , conflict , and theme . Sounds difficult at first glance, but what if look closer?

  • Plot: it’s the events happening in your essay (story). For example, you write about how you learned swimming and describe what you did/how it influenced your mood and swimming skills.
  • Setting: it’s when and where the events happen; in other words, it’s location and time. For example, you learned swimming in the pool of your local school, in the winter of 2013.
  • Character: it’s a protagonist who drives a plot of your story. Also, there can be supporting characters. Thus, you are the protagonist of your essay about swimming, and the supporting characters are your friends May and Jerry who went to the pool with you.

In classical storytelling, a character is a hero who has to set off on a journey and deal with all antagonists and conflicts to come back home with a reward or wisdom.

elements in narrative essay

Source: SlideShare

It was Joseph Campbell, mythologist who developed the hero’s journey in literature. Read his book The Hero with a Thousand Faces if want to learn the tricks behind writing compelling stories.

Or, check The Writer’s Journey , the book by Disney’s screenwriter Christopher Vogler to reveal storytelling secrets behind all movie blockbusters. It’s a kinda practical guide to above mentioned The Hero with a Thousand Faces .

  • Conflict: it’s a problem the character resolves, a moment of tension he needs to win through. In our example, the conflict was the challenge for you to swim with legs and arms together.

In literature, a conflict is defined as a hero’s struggle with opposing force. These forces are three: other characters (enemies), outside forces (society, nature, technology, fate), and a hero himself (his internal conflict).

In your narrative essay, feel free to use any of those three conflict types.

  • Theme: it’s the moral of a story. What have you learned? What do you want the readers to understand? Back to the example with the essay about swimming: you’ve learned to swim; you want to encourage readers to learn new things, be brave and not afraid of challenges.

To combine all the five elements into a strong narrative essay, make sure you follow the format known as the narrative arc . It’s five phases your plot should get through to become a story.

In short, a narrative arc is the sequence of the events in your story.

In details, it’s the chronological construction of your plot, and it consists of five components: exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution. Back in 1863, German novelist Gustav Freytag studied common patterns in stories’ plots and described a narrative arc as a pyramid:

elements in narrative essay

Read more about a narrative arc at Reedsy .

And here’s a short description of narrative arc components, with Cinderella as an example.

  • Exposition: it’s the introduction of your story, with the background information about main characters and setting. Cinderella: awful life, evil stepmother and sisters.
  • Rising action: it’s the moment when conflict appears, a trigger that creates tension and makes the readers understand what your story is about. Cinderella: gets invited to the ball, makes clothes.
  • Climax: it’s the main event of your story, the height of tension, when the protagonist faces the truth, needs to make a choice, etc. Cinderella: goes to the ball, meets a prince.
  • Falling action: it’s the result of that choice, the moment of conflict resolution. Cinderella: time to go, back to the awful life but with the new experience.
  • Resolution: it’s the conclusion of your story, with a moral or point of view you wanted to share. Cinderella: the prince finds her, they live happily.

If you want your narrative essay to rock, make sure you format it with all five components in mind. Or, use three basic ones at least: exposition (in the introduction), climax (in the essay body), and resolution (in your essay conclusion ).

3 – Structure

You need to structure a narrative essay by the rules of academic writing. For that, use a standard 5-paragraph essay format:

Write an introduction (the exposition of your narrative essay). Don’t forget to add a hook, a thesis statement, and a description of your topic.

Craft three paragraphs of your essay body (the rising action, climax, and falling action). Tell about the setting, the characters, events that happened, conflict, and its aftermath.

And write a conclusion (the resolution). Explain the moral of your story, why it’s significant, and what the audience might want to do after reading it.

Narrative Essay Structure

elements in narrative essay

4 – Language

More often than not, narrative essays are about personal experience and thoughts. So you need to express them with a big voice for readers to believe your story. In writing, it refers to language patterns and sentence structures, as well as your tone and ability to “draw” images with words so readers could imagine themselves in the described situation.

How to do that?

elements in narrative essay

  • Stay consistent: follow the narrative arc of your story, and don’t tell anything that didn’t happen.

How to Write a Narrative Essay: Step by Step

The process of narrative essay writing is not that different from other college assignments. First, you need to choose a topic and do research on it. Second, you craft the outline with as many details as you can and start writing a draft. Third, you revise the essay, edit it, and submit to a teacher for review.

Like taking candy from a baby, right?

Here’s how to write a personal narrative essay so that it will not only help you get a high grade but also wow and inspire the readers.

Step 1 – Choose a Topic

As a rule, teachers give you the freedom of choice when it comes to the narrative essay topics. And that’s the problem. You just sit and can’t come up with the idea of what to write. Here is the risk of choosing the very first topic that comes to your mind, but don’t do that!

The success of your narrative essay depends on its topic too. You need to choose something both interesting to you and appealing enough to hook the audience. For that, do brainstorming:

  • Ask yourself questions on what bothers you and what you’d like to tell or discuss with others.
  • Use social media for brainstorming your narrative essay topic: what your peers discuss, what they share, what message you’d like to send with your essay.
  • Take a walk and think, think, think until you come up with an idea.
  • Try free writing: take a pen and a notebook and just start writing down all thoughts that come to your mind. Re-read what you’ve written. Are there any ideas you could use as a topic for your narrative essay?

Here go topic examples. (If stuck with choosing yours, feel free to ask our writers for help.)

Topics to Choose for Your Next Narrative Essay

Experience: – The most frightening experience I ever had. – How I learned swimming (cooking, playing guitar, etc.) – It was the moment I changed my life philosophy. – The most embarrassing moment of my life. – Why I’ll never support vegans again.

School years: – My favorite subject in school was… You’ll never guess. – Why my English teacher could be your best friend. – How my best friend from school influenced my life. – The day when my parents said no to my homework. – I participated in primary school events, and I regret it.

Childhood: – My most memorable birthday party. – Why I’ll never say thank you to my father. – How I stole a cat that meowed on my dog. – The only game I miss from childhood. – The day when I cried for the first and last time in my life.

Relationships: – This friendship breakup cost me a year of life. – My worst quarrel with parents. – The friend zone none of you would handle. – About Cathy, a person I fear losing the most. – This joke cost me the best friend.

Morality: – It was the hardest decision for me. – They’ll never call me a coward again. – That’s why it’s okay to lie sometimes. – How to treat strangers well if they don’t do the same. – Are you ready for rebel acts for the sake of goodness?

Interests: – The song/movie that touched me the most. – The book character I associate myself with. – The famous person from the past I’d like to meet. – If I were a politician, I’d be… – The superpower I’d like to have, and why.

Traveling: – The place in the world everyone needs to visit. – It was my worst trip ever. – How travels to the countryside can change your world view. – The best place for a family vacation. – Top things to take with you to the mountains.

Student life: – The most exhausting exam I had in college. – How I dropped out of college and what happened. – The moment I’ve understood: college life put me in depression. – This person influenced my social life in college. – Why I decided not to enter university.

Imagine if: – You had a time machine. – You were a book character. – You were born in a different country. – You’ve become a superhero. – You’ve wakened up being an animal.

Step 2 – Outline the Details

Unlike with argumentative essays, narrative ones are about your personal life and experiences; so, you won’t need any specific research to support facts, arguments, or your thesis statement .

However, you need to organize thoughts so you could make a claim for your thesis and see if there are any gaps in your knowledge to describe all the details in your narrative essay. For that, create an outline .

Here’s the sample for you to follow:

Narrative Essay Outline (Sample)

I. Introduction (one paragraph)

a) hook and background information b) specific moment that makes your essay matter c) thesis

II. Body (three paragraphs minimum, but don’t limit yourself if the assignment requirements allow)

a) the point that led you to the conflict (think of feelings and emotions you experienced) b) the actual moment (the climax of your story): write about tension, anxiety, or other feelings you experienced; compare them with some universal ideas so your readers would understand you c) the result (resolution): write about the lesson you’ve learned, think of questions your readers might ask, answer them in your essay

III. Conclusion (one paragraph)

a) restate the thesis and major points of your essay (back to lessons learned) b) think of a question or a call to action for readers: what’s in there for them in your essay; what can they learn from it?

Once the outline is ready, evaluate the clarity of your topic and re-organize your thoughts if necessary.

Make sure that your outline has enough supporting details to reinforce the claim and tell a compelling story.

Step 3 – Write a Draft

Now it’s time to start writing and organize the content of your essay right.

Divide your outline into three parts: a setup of your story, its main part with the climax, and a conclusion. Describe each, following the course of events. Remember about the narrative arc and don’t miss any details: readers weren’t there, so stay clear and “paint” the picture for them to get involved in your story.

Oh yes, and write your narrative essay from the 1st person. It’s your story, after all.

Step 4 – Revise a Draft

Once the first draft is ready, put it aside and wait for a few hours before revising it. Take a walk, a nap, a cup of coffee, whatever. You need to abstract yourself from the story for a while so you could evaluate your writing from a fresh perspective.

Read through your narrative essay and make sure it includes all elements of a story. Identify where more details are needed and what details to remove so they wouldn’t distract readers from the plot.

Answer the questions:

  • Is my essay easy to read and understand for an average reader?
  • Do I involve readers in my experience?
  • Are my words descriptive enough? Do I show or just inform readers about the events?
  • Have I conveyed the message? Will the reader understand the connection between the event and its meaning?
  • Do I follow the structure of narrative essays? Does my story have a clear introduction and conclusion?

Step 5 – Edit Your Narrative Essay

This stage refers to finding rough spots in your narrative essay, proofreading it to avoid spelling and grammar mistakes, and revising its language and style for better clarity and readability.

When editing, use applications like Grammarly or ProWritingAid to check grammar and spelling. Remove double spacing, replace misspellings, and rewrite too complex sentences into simple ones.

Don’t use terms of many meanings. Delete all repeats: words, arguments, ideas. Paraphrase where it’s hard to understand the sense and verify the citations wherever needed.

Ask someone to read your essay before you submit it to a teacher. They may notice the mistakes you’ve missed or share their opinion on your essay. It can help you improve the story and make it more compelling.

Still not sure if your narrative essay is ready to captivate readers and earn you A+? You may ask professional here on Bid4Papers for help and advanced tips on essay writing.

Do’s and Don’ts of Your Narrative Essay

To make this long guide easier for you to grasp, here is the short list of do’s and don’ts to remember when writing your narrative essay.

  • Start with some provoking info to hook readers: a question, a definition, a quote, a fact, etc.
  • Write from the 1st person. (A 3rd person is okay, too.)
  • State a point: what do you want to say by your essay?
  • Try to evoke all five senses in your essay: what you saw, heard, felt, smelled, etc.
  • Follow the format: include all components of a good story to your narrative essay.
  • Make sure your story has a conflict.
  • Describe events in chronological order.
  • Use clear and descriptive language: power words, transition words , short sentences.
  • Avoid slang, too formal language, and arguments like in persuasive essays.
  • Avoid second-person narrative.
  • Don’t tell, show. And make a point.
  • Avoid writing about each and every movement of your character in the essay: specify key points that drive the plot.
  • Don’t format references the way you do it in MLA essays .
  • Remember that your narrative essay is not a short story. Write about true events, don’t create fiction stories.

Narrative Essay Samples

  • How to Write an Essay: 10 Easy Steps
  • Narrative Essay: Characteristics and Examples
  • How to Write Narrative (video by Jeremy Thompson)
  • 500 Prompts for Narrative and Personal Writing
  • The Narrative Essay: It Differs From a Simple Story

And now, citing the above mentioned Christian Jensen and his TED talk:

“How will you use the power of your own personal narrative to accomplish things that no one else can?”

Frequently Asked Questions

First of all, for students, we have collected a small base of answers to questions about how narrative writing is constructed and what you will need for writing. Thanks to this, you can cope successfully with the task and get a positive grade from the teacher.

– What is a Narrative Essay?

A classic personal narrative essay involves telling a specific story with its own moral, main body, conclusion, and beginning. Such a research paper develops writing skills and allows you to share your creative experiences. The main feature is that you will be able to use your experience, vision of the situation, and conclusions that you were able to make. That is why this type of work is one of the most favorite among students.

– How to create a Narrative Essay

We first recommend seeing personal narrative examples to understand better the work’s essence and the result you should get. You need to analyze the chosen topic and make a list of arguments that you will use. You will then be able to develop ideas and give examples from personal experience. You should also follow a standard structure with main, initial, and concluding parts.

– What is the difference between a narrative essay and a descriptive essay?

If you look at personal narrative essay examples, you will immediately see the difference. In a narrative essay, you need to tell as complete a story as possible, which will look like a research paper. On the other hand, narrative essays are relatively short descriptions of a particular concept, object, or situation. The first assignment is usually much more creative.

– How to start a narrative essay?

It is best to begin any scholarly work, especially creative work, with a hook. That way, you can hook readers right away and give them a chance to read your essay to the end. You can initially give an interesting figure, fact, or statistic. Well, and of course, do not forget about the classic structure, which means writing a full-fledged introduction.

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Sat / act prep online guides and tips, 3 great narrative essay examples + tips for writing.

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General Education

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A narrative essay is one of the most intimidating assignments you can be handed at any level of your education. Where you've previously written argumentative essays that make a point or analytic essays that dissect meaning, a narrative essay asks you to write what is effectively a story .

But unlike a simple work of creative fiction, your narrative essay must have a clear and concrete motif —a recurring theme or idea that you’ll explore throughout. Narrative essays are less rigid, more creative in expression, and therefore pretty different from most other essays you’ll be writing.

But not to fear—in this article, we’ll be covering what a narrative essay is, how to write a good one, and also analyzing some personal narrative essay examples to show you what a great one looks like.

What Is a Narrative Essay?

At first glance, a narrative essay might sound like you’re just writing a story. Like the stories you're used to reading, a narrative essay is generally (but not always) chronological, following a clear throughline from beginning to end.  Even if the story jumps around in time, all the details will come back to one specific theme, demonstrated through your choice in motifs.

Unlike many creative stories, however, your narrative essay should be based in fact. That doesn’t mean that every detail needs to be pure and untainted by imagination, but rather that you shouldn’t wholly invent the events of your narrative essay. There’s nothing wrong with inventing a person’s words if you can’t remember them exactly, but you shouldn’t say they said something they weren’t even close to saying.

Another big difference between narrative essays and creative fiction—as well as other kinds of essays—is that narrative essays are based on motifs. A motif is a dominant idea or theme, one that you establish before writing the essay. As you’re crafting the narrative, it’ll feed back into your motif to create a comprehensive picture of whatever that motif is.

For example, say you want to write a narrative essay about how your first day in high school helped you establish your identity. You might discuss events like trying to figure out where to sit in the cafeteria, having to describe yourself in five words as an icebreaker in your math class, or being unsure what to do during your lunch break because it’s no longer acceptable to go outside and play during lunch. All of those ideas feed back into the central motif of establishing your identity.

The important thing to remember is that while a narrative essay is typically told chronologically and intended to read like a story, it is not purely for entertainment value. A narrative essay delivers its theme by deliberately weaving the motifs through the events, scenes, and details. While a narrative essay may be entertaining, its primary purpose is to tell a complete story based on a central meaning.

Unlike other essay forms, it is totally okay—even expected—to use first-person narration in narrative essays. If you’re writing a story about yourself, it’s natural to refer to yourself within the essay. It’s also okay to use other perspectives, such as third- or even second-person, but that should only be done if it better serves your motif. Generally speaking, your narrative essay should be in first-person perspective.

Though your motif choices may feel at times like you’re making a point the way you would in an argumentative essay, a narrative essay’s goal is to tell a story, not convince the reader of anything. Your reader should be able to tell what your motif is from reading, but you don’t have to change their mind about anything. If they don’t understand the point you are making, you should consider strengthening the delivery of the events and descriptions that support your motif.

Narrative essays also share some features with analytical essays, in which you derive meaning from a book, film, or other media. But narrative essays work differently—you’re not trying to draw meaning from an existing text, but rather using an event you’ve experienced to convey meaning. In an analytical essay, you examine narrative, whereas in a narrative essay you create narrative.

The structure of a narrative essay is also a bit different than other essays. You’ll generally be getting your point across chronologically as opposed to grouping together specific arguments in paragraphs or sections. To return to the example of an essay discussing your first day of high school and how it impacted the shaping of your identity, it would be weird to put the events out of order, even if not knowing what to do after lunch feels like a stronger idea than choosing where to sit. Instead of organizing to deliver your information based on maximum impact, you’ll be telling your story as it happened, using concrete details to reinforce your theme.

body_fair

3 Great Narrative Essay Examples

One of the best ways to learn how to write a narrative essay is to look at a great narrative essay sample. Let’s take a look at some truly stellar narrative essay examples and dive into what exactly makes them work so well.

A Ticket to the Fair by David Foster Wallace

Today is Press Day at the Illinois State Fair in Springfield, and I’m supposed to be at the fairgrounds by 9:00 A.M. to get my credentials. I imagine credentials to be a small white card in the band of a fedora. I’ve never been considered press before. My real interest in credentials is getting into rides and shows for free. I’m fresh in from the East Coast, for an East Coast magazine. Why exactly they’re interested in the Illinois State Fair remains unclear to me. I suspect that every so often editors at East Coast magazines slap their foreheads and remember that about 90 percent of the United States lies between the coasts, and figure they’ll engage somebody to do pith-helmeted anthropological reporting on something rural and heartlandish. I think they asked me to do this because I grew up here, just a couple hours’ drive from downstate Springfield. I never did go to the state fair, though—I pretty much topped out at the county fair level. Actually, I haven’t been back to Illinois for a long time, and I can’t say I’ve missed it.

Throughout this essay, David Foster Wallace recounts his experience as press at the Illinois State Fair. But it’s clear from this opening that he’s not just reporting on the events exactly as they happened—though that’s also true— but rather making a point about how the East Coast, where he lives and works, thinks about the Midwest.

In his opening paragraph, Wallace states that outright: “Why exactly they’re interested in the Illinois State Fair remains unclear to me. I suspect that every so often editors at East Coast magazines slap their foreheads and remember that about 90 percent of the United States lies between the coasts, and figure they’ll engage somebody to do pith-helmeted anthropological reporting on something rural and heartlandish.”

Not every motif needs to be stated this clearly , but in an essay as long as Wallace’s, particularly since the audience for such a piece may feel similarly and forget that such a large portion of the country exists, it’s important to make that point clear.

But Wallace doesn’t just rest on introducing his motif and telling the events exactly as they occurred from there. It’s clear that he selects events that remind us of that idea of East Coast cynicism , such as when he realizes that the Help Me Grow tent is standing on top of fake grass that is killing the real grass beneath, when he realizes the hypocrisy of craving a corn dog when faced with a real, suffering pig, when he’s upset for his friend even though he’s not the one being sexually harassed, and when he witnesses another East Coast person doing something he wouldn’t dare to do.

Wallace is literally telling the audience exactly what happened, complete with dates and timestamps for when each event occurred. But he’s also choosing those events with a purpose—he doesn’t focus on details that don’t serve his motif. That’s why he discusses the experiences of people, how the smells are unappealing to him, and how all the people he meets, in cowboy hats, overalls, or “black spandex that looks like cheesecake leotards,” feel almost alien to him.

All of these details feed back into the throughline of East Coast thinking that Wallace introduces in the first paragraph. He also refers back to it in the essay’s final paragraph, stating:

At last, an overarching theory blooms inside my head: megalopolitan East Coasters’ summer treats and breaks and literally ‘getaways,’ flights-from—from crowds, noise, heat, dirt, the stress of too many sensory choices….The East Coast existential treat is escape from confines and stimuli—quiet, rustic vistas that hold still, turn inward, turn away. Not so in the rural Midwest. Here you’re pretty much away all the time….Something in a Midwesterner sort of actuates , deep down, at a public event….The real spectacle that draws us here is us.

Throughout this journey, Wallace has tried to demonstrate how the East Coast thinks about the Midwest, ultimately concluding that they are captivated by the Midwest’s less stimuli-filled life, but that the real reason they are interested in events like the Illinois State Fair is that they are, in some ways, a means of looking at the East Coast in a new, estranging way.

The reason this works so well is that Wallace has carefully chosen his examples, outlined his motif and themes in the first paragraph, and eventually circled back to the original motif with a clearer understanding of his original point.

When outlining your own narrative essay, try to do the same. Start with a theme, build upon it with examples, and return to it in the end with an even deeper understanding of the original issue. You don’t need this much space to explore a theme, either—as we’ll see in the next example, a strong narrative essay can also be very short.

body_moth

Death of a Moth by Virginia Woolf

After a time, tired by his dancing apparently, he settled on the window ledge in the sun, and, the queer spectacle being at an end, I forgot about him. Then, looking up, my eye was caught by him. He was trying to resume his dancing, but seemed either so stiff or so awkward that he could only flutter to the bottom of the window-pane; and when he tried to fly across it he failed. Being intent on other matters I watched these futile attempts for a time without thinking, unconsciously waiting for him to resume his flight, as one waits for a machine, that has stopped momentarily, to start again without considering the reason of its failure. After perhaps a seventh attempt he slipped from the wooden ledge and fell, fluttering his wings, on to his back on the window sill. The helplessness of his attitude roused me. It flashed upon me that he was in difficulties; he could no longer raise himself; his legs struggled vainly. But, as I stretched out a pencil, meaning to help him to right himself, it came over me that the failure and awkwardness were the approach of death. I laid the pencil down again.

In this essay, Virginia Woolf explains her encounter with a dying moth. On surface level, this essay is just a recounting of an afternoon in which she watched a moth die—it’s even established in the title. But there’s more to it than that. Though Woolf does not begin her essay with as clear a motif as Wallace, it’s not hard to pick out the evidence she uses to support her point, which is that the experience of this moth is also the human experience.

In the title, Woolf tells us this essay is about death. But in the first paragraph, she seems to mostly be discussing life—the moth is “content with life,” people are working in the fields, and birds are flying. However, she mentions that it is mid-September and that the fields were being plowed. It’s autumn and it’s time for the harvest; the time of year in which many things die.

In this short essay, she chronicles the experience of watching a moth seemingly embody life, then die. Though this essay is literally about a moth, it’s also about a whole lot more than that. After all, moths aren’t the only things that die—Woolf is also reflecting on her own mortality, as well as the mortality of everything around her.

At its core, the essay discusses the push and pull of life and death, not in a way that’s necessarily sad, but in a way that is accepting of both. Woolf begins by setting up the transitional fall season, often associated with things coming to an end, and raises the ideas of pleasure, vitality, and pity.

At one point, Woolf tries to help the dying moth, but reconsiders, as it would interfere with the natural order of the world. The moth’s death is part of the natural order of the world, just like fall, just like her own eventual death.

All these themes are set up in the beginning and explored throughout the essay’s narrative. Though Woolf doesn’t directly state her theme, she reinforces it by choosing a small, isolated event—watching a moth die—and illustrating her point through details.

With this essay, we can see that you don’t need a big, weird, exciting event to discuss an important meaning. Woolf is able to explore complicated ideas in a short essay by being deliberate about what details she includes, just as you can be in your own essays.

body_baldwin

Notes of a Native Son by James Baldwin

On the twenty-ninth of July, in 1943, my father died. On the same day, a few hours later, his last child was born. Over a month before this, while all our energies were concentrated in waiting for these events, there had been, in Detroit, one of the bloodiest race riots of the century. A few hours after my father’s funeral, while he lay in state in the undertaker’s chapel, a race riot broke out in Harlem. On the morning of the third of August, we drove my father to the graveyard through a wilderness of smashed plate glass.

Like Woolf, Baldwin does not lay out his themes in concrete terms—unlike Wallace, there’s no clear sentence that explains what he’ll be talking about. However, you can see the motifs quite clearly: death, fatherhood, struggle, and race.

Throughout the narrative essay, Baldwin discusses the circumstances of his father’s death, including his complicated relationship with his father. By introducing those motifs in the first paragraph, the reader understands that everything discussed in the essay will come back to those core ideas. When Baldwin talks about his experience with a white teacher taking an interest in him and his father’s resistance to that, he is also talking about race and his father’s death. When he talks about his father’s death, he is also talking about his views on race. When he talks about his encounters with segregation and racism, he is talking, in part, about his father.

Because his father was a hard, uncompromising man, Baldwin struggles to reconcile the knowledge that his father was right about many things with his desire to not let that hardness consume him, as well.

Baldwin doesn’t explicitly state any of this, but his writing so often touches on the same motifs that it becomes clear he wants us to think about all these ideas in conversation with one another.

At the end of the essay, Baldwin makes it more clear:

This fight begins, however, in the heart and it had now been laid to my charge to keep my own heart free of hatred and despair. This intimation made my heart heavy and, now that my father was irrecoverable, I wished that he had been beside me so that I could have searched his face for the answers which only the future would give me now.

Here, Baldwin ties together the themes and motifs into one clear statement: that he must continue to fight and recognize injustice, especially racial injustice, just as his father did. But unlike his father, he must do it beginning with himself—he must not let himself be closed off to the world as his father was. And yet, he still wishes he had his father for guidance, even as he establishes that he hopes to be a different man than his father.

In this essay, Baldwin loads the front of the essay with his motifs, and, through his narrative, weaves them together into a theme. In the end, he comes to a conclusion that connects all of those things together and leaves the reader with a lasting impression of completion—though the elements may have been initially disparate, in the end everything makes sense.

You can replicate this tactic of introducing seemingly unattached ideas and weaving them together in your own essays. By introducing those motifs, developing them throughout, and bringing them together in the end, you can demonstrate to your reader how all of them are related. However, it’s especially important to be sure that your motifs and clear and consistent throughout your essay so that the conclusion feels earned and consistent—if not, readers may feel mislead.

5 Key Tips for Writing Narrative Essays

Narrative essays can be a lot of fun to write since they’re so heavily based on creativity. But that can also feel intimidating—sometimes it’s easier to have strict guidelines than to have to make it all up yourself. Here are a few tips to keep your narrative essay feeling strong and fresh.

Develop Strong Motifs

Motifs are the foundation of a narrative essay . What are you trying to say? How can you say that using specific symbols or events? Those are your motifs.

In the same way that an argumentative essay’s body should support its thesis, the body of your narrative essay should include motifs that support your theme.

Try to avoid cliches, as these will feel tired to your readers. Instead of roses to symbolize love, try succulents. Instead of the ocean representing some vast, unknowable truth, try the depths of your brother’s bedroom. Keep your language and motifs fresh and your essay will be even stronger!

Use First-Person Perspective

In many essays, you’re expected to remove yourself so that your points stand on their own. Not so in a narrative essay—in this case, you want to make use of your own perspective.

Sometimes a different perspective can make your point even stronger. If you want someone to identify with your point of view, it may be tempting to choose a second-person perspective. However, be sure you really understand the function of second-person; it’s very easy to put a reader off if the narration isn’t expertly deployed.

If you want a little bit of distance, third-person perspective may be okay. But be careful—too much distance and your reader may feel like the narrative lacks truth.

That’s why first-person perspective is the standard. It keeps you, the writer, close to the narrative, reminding the reader that it really happened. And because you really know what happened and how, you’re free to inject your own opinion into the story without it detracting from your point, as it would in a different type of essay.

Stick to the Truth

Your essay should be true. However, this is a creative essay, and it’s okay to embellish a little. Rarely in life do we experience anything with a clear, concrete meaning the way somebody in a book might. If you flub the details a little, it’s okay—just don’t make them up entirely.

Also, nobody expects you to perfectly recall details that may have happened years ago. You may have to reconstruct dialog from your memory and your imagination. That’s okay, again, as long as you aren’t making it up entirely and assigning made-up statements to somebody.

Dialog is a powerful tool. A good conversation can add flavor and interest to a story, as we saw demonstrated in David Foster Wallace’s essay. As previously mentioned, it’s okay to flub it a little, especially because you’re likely writing about an experience you had without knowing that you’d be writing about it later.

However, don’t rely too much on it. Your narrative essay shouldn’t be told through people explaining things to one another; the motif comes through in the details. Dialog can be one of those details, but it shouldn’t be the only one.

Use Sensory Descriptions

Because a narrative essay is a story, you can use sensory details to make your writing more interesting. If you’re describing a particular experience, you can go into detail about things like taste, smell, and hearing in a way that you probably wouldn’t do in any other essay style.

These details can tie into your overall motifs and further your point. Woolf describes in great detail what she sees while watching the moth, giving us the sense that we, too, are watching the moth. In Wallace’s essay, he discusses the sights, sounds, and smells of the Illinois State Fair to help emphasize his point about its strangeness. And in Baldwin’s essay, he describes shattered glass as a “wilderness,” and uses the feelings of his body to describe his mental state.

All these descriptions anchor us not only in the story, but in the motifs and themes as well. One of the tools of a writer is making the reader feel as you felt, and sensory details help you achieve that.

What’s Next?

Looking to brush up on your essay-writing capabilities before the ACT? This guide to ACT English will walk you through some of the best strategies and practice questions to get you prepared!

Part of practicing for the ACT is ensuring your word choice and diction are on point. Check out this guide to some of the most common errors on the ACT English section to be sure that you're not making these common mistakes!

A solid understanding of English principles will help you make an effective point in a narrative essay, and you can get that understanding through taking a rigorous assortment of high school English classes ! 

Need more help with this topic? Check out Tutorbase!

Our vetted tutor database includes a range of experienced educators who can help you polish an essay for English or explain how derivatives work for Calculus. You can use dozens of filters and search criteria to find the perfect person for your needs.

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Melissa Brinks graduated from the University of Washington in 2014 with a Bachelor's in English with a creative writing emphasis. She has spent several years tutoring K-12 students in many subjects, including in SAT prep, to help them prepare for their college education.

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Narrative Essay Guide

Writing Narrative Essay

Last updated on: Dec 21, 2023

Narrative Essay - An Ultimate Guide With Examples & Topics

By: Nathan D.

Reviewed By: Jacklyn H.

Published on: May 12, 2020

Narrative-Essay

Got a narrative essay writing assignment? If so, think of it as an opportunity to polish your storytelling skills.

Every student has to write a narrative essay at some point in their academic career. But if you have never written one before, you might not know where to start.

If you are looking for a way to write your narrative essay, this is the ultimate guide. This blog post will give you examples of what a narrative essay should look like and how to structure it. If you follow these steps, then there is no chance that your paper will not get an A!

The blog below will be your guide to compose a stellar essay.

Narrative-Essay

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What is a Narrative Essay?

The first question you need to answer before moving on to how to write a narrative essay is to know what is narrative writing.

As per the narrative essay definition, ‘A narrative essay is the type of essay in which you share your personal experience in a creative and engaging way, just like a good story.’

Like a descriptive essay, these kinds of essays are quite common in high school and college, and students describe their experiences and events in it.

The purpose of a narrative essay is storytelling according to the point of view with specific details. Therefore, a good essay tells an engaging story and inspires the readers to continue.

A good narrative essay is fun to write, interesting to read, and should be meaningful in some way. And most importantly, it should start with an interesting hook.

Therefore, these essays are quite common as scholarship essays also.

Now that you have understood the narrative essay definition let’s take a look at the elements of a narrative essay.

Elements of a Narrative Essay

The plot is the main focus of a narrative essay, which is described with enough detail to build an interesting climax.

  • It follows a chronological manner.
  • It should have a purpose. Usually, this is stated in the introductory paragraph.
  • It may be a good idea to use dialogue.
  • It is stated with sensory details and bright descriptions to involve the reader. All these details relate in some way or other to the main point the author is making.

How To Start a Narrative Essay

The opening line of your essay defines how many readers you will retain until the conclusion. A good essay start will definitely make sure the readers are absorbed right from the beginning. Readers will surely appreciate it if they start enjoying the essay from its beginning.

If the start is interesting, the reader will definitely go through the rest of the essay.

To make your essay more impactful, it is important to pay close attention to how to start it.

The opening statement, basically the hook, is the line of your essay that you write. It is the instrument of attack in your narrative essay.

The following are the ways to make sure that your essay hook is to the task for readers to connect with your essay.

  • Using a relevant quote
  • Using statistics
  • Telling an anecdote
  • Starting with an intriguing question
  • Stating a fact

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Narrative Essay Structure and Outline

The first step in writing a narrative essay is to create an outline. An outline is an important part, and it helps to organize and structure the main ideas. It helps to stay focused and maintain a consistent flow throughout the essay.

To help you understand better, we have attached a sample outline of a good essay.

NARRATIVE ESSAY OUTLINE

Narrative format is fairly simple and straightforward.

Its five-paragraph essay structure has the following parts:

Introduction

  • Start with a hook sentence that will help grab the reader’s attention.
  • Consider it as a warm-up for the readers and give them the main idea of what your essay story is all about.
  • 3-5 sentences are enough.

Thesis Statement

  • Your main argument for the essay, story, confession, or it could be anything that counts as a narrative report.
  • Evoke the interest of readers and introduce them to the problem you will discuss.

Body Paragraphs

  • Collect supportive arguments for your essay statement and place them in a logical manner.
  • Remember: every new idea is a new paragraph.
  • 3-5 blocks will be enough.
  • This is the part where you summarize the whole essay and prove what you claimed in the introduction.
  • 3-5 well-arranged sentences are all needed.

A well-written essay outline points the writer in the right direction and helps him stay focused.

How to Write a Narrative Essay - Step By Step

For good narrative essay writing skills, follow the following steps.

1. Choose Your Topic Carefully

The first step is to pick an interesting and engaging topic for your essay. Choose something that would help you explain your personal experiences engagingly and without dragging.

Your essay is based on your personal narrative; therefore, don't forget to add your voice and sensory details to it.

If you need some great topic ideas for your essay, review these interesting narrative essay topics recommended by experts to help you with your essay.

2. Always Begin With a Draft

Writing a narrative essay will be easy if you will create an outline for it. This will help you to add important details and delete irrelevant information.

These rough drafts are great because you can adjust them accordingly and change them until they are good to go.

Most professional writers see rough drafts as a key step in their writing process.

3. Make Sure You Include Storyline Elements

These essays require storyline elements such as a solid plot, character, setting, and vivid descriptions to add life to your narrative essay.

To make your essay more captivating, you can use literary devices like allegory. However, to get the most out of this technique, check out this comprehensive guide on using allegory in narrative essay writing .

4. Supporting and Proving

Your opinions and thoughts are a part of your narrative essay. However, if needed, you must support your statements with solid description and narration.

When including an argument or a fact in your essay, you need to back it up with facts and cite your sources.

5. Use Simple Language

Make sure that you use simple language to keep your essay easy and simple to read and understand.

Be creative and use compelling words to engage your audience.

6. Take Help From Samples

There are many narrative essay examples that can help you to get a clear idea about the writing techniques to use in your essay.

By reading these short stories and samples, you will develop a good understanding of a well-developed essay and the way its title and basics are used.

7. Double Check the Requirements

Make sure you are following the essay guidelines given by your professor or instructor. Make sure that you have added all the required information and its sources, if you have used any outside links, in it.

8. Revise Your Essay

Always revise your essay before submitting it to your instructor.

Check thoroughly for plagiarism and grammatical errors.

Clarify sentences that may sound unclear or confusing.

Ask a friend or family member to look over your work for errors, the second set of eyes is always helpful.

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What Should be Your Tone in Narrative Essay Writing?

In a narrative essay, everything should be written from your own perspective.

Everything should be written in the past tense, as you are sharing your personal experience.

Your essay should contain a central idea that matters to you.

Narrative Essay Format

Now you know how to write a narrative essay. But the story does not end here and what is left is the paper essay format.

Following are the main points that you should take into account when choosing the proper essay format.

  • Choose your essay format wisely. APA, MLA, Chicago - depends on the requirements and the subject but please double-check the guidelines from your instructor to do it right from the first try.
  • Title page. This is the first that the teacher will see, so spend enough time to make it great.
  • Text block. This is the section where Intro-body-conclusion will go.
  • References. Every format has its own standards when it comes to a reference list. Avoid mixing them up!

Narrative Essay Examples

Taking help from examples is a great way to learn something in a detailed manner. These examples will help you in understanding how these steps work.

A good essay sample will demonstrate the techniques and explain them practically. This way, you will know how to add the details and use them perfectly.

However, finding a good narrative essay example may be difficult. The Internet is filled with loads of examples and samples, and finding a good one from them is not easy. There are many samples, but not all of them are good to consider.

To help you find a good and remarkable essay, we have added a sample below.

NARRATIVE ESSAY EXAMPLE

Here are some more  narrative essay examples  for your guidance.

Writing a good narrative essay may be difficult, but it is not impossible. We know that telling an engaging story is not something that everyone can do but with some practice and lots of imagination, you can do it successfully.

Besides, you can also follow this guide to write a great essay in less time. It has explained all the steps involved in the making of a great essay. Once you are done reading it, you will be on your way to writing a good essay.

After reading our guide to writing a narrative essay you should be able to write it on your own. However, if you are still struggling with your paper. We are here to help.

You can always seek out professional writers online for help in writing your essay. Most websites are affordable and promise to deliver research papers, case studies, and much more.

But there are many fraud essay services that will take your money and fail to deliver quality paper to you.

5StarEssays.com  is here to help you!

We have an unbeatable record of providing the most affordable and quality essay writing service .

Our customer feedback and reviews highlight their satisfaction and our work expertise. This is because our writers have years of experience in academic writing and remarkable customer support to help and support you,

If you require a custom essay, look no further and hire one of our professional writers today.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do i come up with a good topic for my narrative essay.

If your teacher has not given you any clear guidance and instructions about choosing any topic, then it is better to choose something that you can easily handle. Narrative essays are about telling a story, and the best topic is the one that allows you to narrate a story.

When are these essays given?

These essays are usually given in high school or university classes, and sometimes, they are a part of college application essays also.

What is the difference between a narrative and a descriptive essay?

A narrative essay is focused on telling the entire story, while a descriptive essay is about a description of a particular event or incident only.

Nathan D.

College Essay, Research

Nathan completed his Ph.D. in journalism and has been writing articles for well-respected publications for many years now. His work is carefully researched and insightful, showing a true passion for the written word. Nathan's clients appreciate his expertise, deep understanding of the process, and ability to communicate difficult concepts clearly.

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Narrative Essay

Narrative Essay Examples

Caleb S.

10+ Interesting Narrative Essay Examples Plus Writing Tips!

Published on: Jun 23, 2018

Last updated on: Nov 29, 2023

Narrative Essay Examples

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Share this article

Many students struggle with crafting engaging and impactful narrative essays. They often find it challenging to weave their personal experiences into coherent and compelling stories.

If you’re having a hard time, don't worry! 

We’ve compiled a range of narrative essay examples that will serve as helpful tools for you to get started. These examples will provide a clear path for crafting engaging and powerful narrative essays.

So, keep reading and find our expertly written examples!

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Narrative Essay Definition

Writing a narrative essay is a unique form of storytelling that revolves around personal experiences, aiming to immerse the reader in the author's world. It's a piece of writing that delves into the depths of thoughts and feelings. 

In a narrative essay, life experiences take center stage, serving as the main substance of the story. It's a powerful tool for writers to convey a personal journey, turning experiences into a captivating tale. This form of storytelling is an artful display of emotions intended to engage readers, leaving the reader feeling like they are a part of the story.

By focusing on a specific theme, event, emotions, and reflections, a narrative essay weaves a storyline that leads the reader through the author's experiences. 

The Essentials of Narrative Essays

Let's start with the basics. The four types of essays are argumentative essays , descriptive essays , expository essays , and narrative essays.

The goal of a narrative essay is to tell a compelling tale from one person's perspective. A narrative essay uses all components you’d find in a typical story, such as a beginning, middle, and conclusion, as well as plot, characters, setting, and climax.

The narrative essay's goal is the plot, which should be detailed enough to reach a climax. Here's how it works:

  • It's usually presented in chronological order.
  • It has a function. This is typically evident in the thesis statement's opening paragraph.
  • It may include speech.
  • It's told with sensory details and vivid language, drawing the reader in. All of these elements are connected to the writer's major argument in some way.

Before writing your essay, make sure you go through a sufficient number of narrative essay examples. These examples will help you in knowing the dos and don’ts of a good narrative essay.

It is always a better option to have some sense of direction before you start anything. Below, you can find important details and a bunch of narrative essay examples. These examples will also help you build your content according to the format. 

Here is a how to start a narrative essay example:

Sample Narrative Essay

The examples inform the readers about the writing style and structure of the narration. The essay below will help you understand how to create a story and build this type of essay in no time.

Here is another narrative essay examples 500 words:

Narrative Essay Examples for Students

Narrative essays offer students a platform to express their experiences and creativity. These examples show how to effectively structure and present personal stories for education.

Here are some helpful narrative essay examples:

Narrative Essay Examples Middle School

Narrative Essay Examples for Grade 7

Narrative Essay Examples for Grade 8

Grade 11 Narrative Essay Examples

Narrative Essay Example For High School

Narrative Essay Example For College

Personal Narrative Essay Example

Descriptive Narrative Essay Example

3rd Person Narrative Essay Example

Narrative Essay Topics

Here are some narrative essay topics to help you get started with your narrative essay writing.

  • When I got my first bunny
  • When I moved to Canada
  • I haven’t experienced this freezing temperature ever before
  • The moment I won the basketball finale
  • A memorable day at the museum
  • How I talk to my parrot
  • The day I saw the death
  • When I finally rebelled against my professor

Need more topics? Check out these extensive narrative essay topics to get creative ideas!

Narrative Essay Writing Tips

Narrative essays give you the freedom to be creative, but it can be tough to make yours special. Use these tips to make your story interesting:

  • Share your story from a personal viewpoint, engaging the reader with your experiences.
  • Use vivid descriptions to paint a clear picture of the setting, characters, and emotions involved.
  • Organize events in chronological order for a smooth and understandable narrative.
  • Bring characters to life through their actions, dialogue, and personalities.
  • Employ dialogue sparingly to add realism and progression to the narrative.
  • Engage readers by evoking emotions through your storytelling.
  • End with reflection or a lesson learned from the experience, providing insight.

Now you have essay examples and tips to help you get started, you have a solid starting point for crafting compelling narrative essays.

However, if storytelling isn't your forte, you can always turn to our essay writing service for help.

Our writers are specialists that can tackle any type of essay with great skill. With their experience, you get a top-quality, 100% plagiarism free essay everytime.

So, let our narrative essay writing service make sure your narrative essay stands out. Order now!

Caleb S. (Literature, Marketing)

Caleb S. has been providing writing services for over five years and has a Masters degree from Oxford University. He is an expert in his craft and takes great pride in helping students achieve their academic goals. Caleb is a dedicated professional who always puts his clients first.

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Crafting Compelling Narrative Essays: Storytelling Techniques for Students

Crafting Compelling Narrative Essays: Storytelling Techniques for Students

Narrative essays offer a unique platform for students to convey their stories, experiences, and viewpoints. Unlike other forms of academic writing that demand strict adherence to factual information and formal structure, narrative essays provide a creative avenue for personal expression. They allow writers to connect with their readers through the art of storytelling, bringing to life their experiences, observations, and insights. This article aims to guide students in harnessing the power of storytelling to create compelling narrative essays. By mastering certain storytelling techniques, students can transform their essays from mere collections of events to captivating stories that resonate with their audience.

Understanding Narrative Essays

A narrative essay is essentially a story told from a personal perspective. It involves characters, a setting, a plot, and often a moral or conclusion drawn from the events narrated. Unlike expository or argumentative essays, narrative essays typically focus on personal experiences and are less rigid in structure and style. This freedom allows for greater creativity and expression, making them a favorite among students and a common assignment in academic settings.

The essence of a narrative essay lies in its storytelling aspect. It’s not just about presenting facts but about weaving these facts into a coherent and engaging story. The challenge for students is to maintain the balance between being informative and creative, which is where storytelling techniques play a crucial role. A narrative essay should not only inform the reader but also connect with them on an emotional level. This connection is what makes narrative essays stand out and is often what students aim to achieve when they seek help from services like Writepaper , which guides them in crafting impactful narratives.

elements in narrative essay

Storytelling Elements in Narrative Essays

Effective storytelling in narrative essays revolves around several key elements:

1. Character. Every narrative essay needs a protagonist, often the writer themselves. Developing a well-rounded character with relatable traits and emotions is essential for creating a connection with the reader. 2. Setting. The backdrop of the story sets the tone and context. Whether it’s a physical location, a historical period, or a cultural background, the setting can significantly influence the mood of the essay. 3. Plot. This is the sequence of events in the essay. A well-structured plot with a clear beginning, middle, and end helps keep the reader engaged. Including a climax or a turning point makes the narrative more compelling. 4. Conflict. The challenges or problems faced by the characters are crucial in creating suspense and interest. Conflict can be external (against other characters or forces) or internal (within the character’s mind). 5. Resolution. How the conflict is resolved forms the crux of the narrative. The resolution brings closure to the story and often carries the underlying message or moral of the essay. Each of these elements contributes to the overall effectiveness of the narrative essay, making the story engaging and memorable for the reader.

Developing a Strong Narrative Voice

The narrative voice is the perspective through which the story is told, and it plays a crucial role in how the story is received by the reader. A strong, distinctive narrative voice can make an essay stand out. To develop this voice, students should consider the following:

1. Choose the Right Perspective. First-person narratives create intimacy, while third-person narratives offer more flexibility in describing events and characters. 2. Be Authentic. The voice should reflect the writer’s personality and experiences. An authentic voice resonates more with readers. 3. Consider Tone and Style. The tone should match the content of the essay. A serious story might require a formal tone, while a humorous one can be more casual and conversational. Developing a unique narrative voice takes practice, but it significantly impacts the essay’s tone and the reader’s engagement.

Creating Vivid Descriptions

Descriptive language is a powerful tool in narrative essays, enabling writers to create vivid imagery and engage the reader’s senses. Here are some techniques for crafting vivid descriptions:

• Use Sensory Details. Describe what is seen, heard, smelled, tasted, or touched to paint a clear picture in the reader’s mind. • Show, Don’t Tell. Instead of stating facts, show them through descriptions and actions. For example, instead of saying, “It was a stormy night,” describe the howling wind and torrential rain. • Be Specific. General descriptions can be dull. Specific details add depth and authenticity to the narrative. Balancing descriptive writing with the narrative’s pace is key. Overly detailed descriptions can slow down the story, while too few can leave it feeling flat and unengaging.

Building Emotional Connection

An emotional connection with the reader is what elevates a narrative essay from good to great. This connection is achieved when the reader feels invested in the story and can empathize with the characters and their experiences.

Here are strategies to build this connection:

• Use Relatable Experiences. Choose topics or situations that are likely to resonate with your audience. Sharing common human experiences, such as triumphs and failures, can evoke a sense of empathy. • Express Emotions. Clearly expressing the emotions experienced by the characters, especially the narrator, helps readers connect on an emotional level. Show how the events affected the characters emotionally, not just physically. • Create Tension and Release. Building tension, be it through conflict, challenges, or uncertainty, and then providing a release keeps readers engaged and creates an emotional payoff. By focusing on these elements, students can make their narratives more impactful and emotionally engaging, fostering a deeper connection with their readers.

Structuring Your Narrative Essay

A well-structured narrative essay helps maintain clarity and ensures that the story flows logically. The structure typically involves:

1. Introduction. Set the scene and introduce the characters and the premise. Begin with a hook to capture the reader’s attention. 2. Body. This is where the plot unfolds. Describe the events in a logical sequence, and include the conflict and build-up to the climax. 3. Conclusion. Offer a resolution to the conflict and reflect on the story’s significance. End with a closing statement that leaves a lasting impression on the reader. Good structure is essential for guiding the reader through the story without confusion, keeping them engaged from start to finish.

Editing and Refining Your Essay

Editing and refining are crucial stages in crafting a compelling narrative essay. This process involves:

• Reviewing Content. Ensure that all the elements of a good story are present and effectively conveyed. Check for clarity in the narrative and consistency in the characters and plot. • Proofreading. Pay attention to grammar, punctuation, and spelling errors. These can distract from the story and affect the essay’s overall quality. • Seeking Feedback. Getting feedback from peers, teachers, or a mentor can provide new insights and help identify areas that need improvement. Editing and refining can transform a good narrative essay into an excellent one, making this stage as important as the initial writing process.

Final Thoughts

Crafting a compelling narrative essay involves more than just recounting events; it requires skillful storytelling, emotional engagement, clear structure, and careful editing. By employing these techniques, students can elevate their narrative essays, making them not just assignments to be completed but stories to be cherished and remembered. Just as one might turn to the best paper writing service for guidance in academic writing, mastering the art of narrative essay writing requires practice, feedback, and a willingness to learn and grow as a storyteller.

In conclusion, narrative essays offer a unique opportunity for students to express themselves creatively and connect with their readers. By utilizing storytelling techniques effectively, students can create essays that are not only academically successful but also personally fulfilling and engaging for their audience.

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Narrative essay writing tips. 7 elements

elements in narrative essay

Here are some narrative essay writing tips that you should know. Writing narrative essay to receive a decent mark you should pay attention to the principle elements of such essay. Here we offer a complete set of them. Devote some time to the offered details and you’ll master narrative essay writing process.

The main Storyline of narrative essay

A storyline is a kind of element without which no narrative essay can survive. You will not have any right to call it narrative if it lacks storyline. Narrative writing should contain description of some events creating a story for your reader to be eager to follow. The best followed plot is the one containing some kind of conflict. Here you can choose the type suiting your target and  topic  most of all:

  • Individual against individual
  • Individual against nature
  • Individual against society
  • Individual against his own demons

Setting the plot of narrative essay

One more element you will not be able to ignore reveals the details of  personal narrative essay  entrusting the reader information related to place and time. To get the 3D- view of the situation your reader needs to see how the things moved. He should be supplied with details to be ready to recreate the moment you describe in his head. Providing bright description of location the moments take place you will get your reader engaged. The sense of time is formed thanks to time indicators (include data about historical period, year, season, day) which can help the audience to recreate even the details you failed to include in your location details. In combination, they provide aggregate picture. Such description creates a specific atmosphere rendering emotions of heroes to the audience which is perceived on the subliminal level. Social conditions help to get deeper insight of the heroes’ actions. Include the portrayal of speech, habits, suit, traditions of your characters making the acquaintance more vivid. Descriptions of mood and atmosphere help the reader to see the situation from the author’s viewpoint.

To make your  personal narrative essay  complete you need to include at least  two opposing characters  into it:

  • Protagonist is the principal hero whose actions make the basement of the whole storyline.
  • Antagonist represents opposition to protagonist throwing sand in his wheels. This character can be represented not just as some other person but also by the protagonist’s features of character illustrating a struggle with own drawbacks.

The author can also choose between two types of characters participating in the story:

  • Static hero is the one that is staying the same during the story. He has settled convictions and is not going to change his mind.
  • Dynamic hero is the character who undergoes changes in the course of narrative essays: he can evaluate his actions and influence of his positive and negative features on his life. Having understood his drawback he is working on it to change for better.

You cannot create atmosphere of the essay story within one sentence: it includes details of plot, settings, heroes, and literary devices. To offer an aggregate picture be attentive to all details.

Principal  idea of effective narrative essay  resides in the  reflection of topic . Get out your message to provoke the interest of the audience and add spices to your story starting from the beginning.

Depending on the kind of message, you need to make certain what kind of presentation. Choose the one most suitable for your short story:

  • Essays are written from the point of view of author (first person narrator, referred to as “I”)
  • Essays are told from the third person who does not belong to the characters of the story (third person point of view, referred to as “he”, “she”.

Literary Devices

Thanks to such turns of speech the author can create a certain style. This is a bright illustration of the author’s eloquence. To make your audience interested in the content throughout the story address to humor, metaphor, dramatic irony, simile, foreshadowing, and any other means capable of making your language more vivid.

Writing your narrative essay mind the peculiarities of the represented here elements and get your high grade!

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Understanding The 7 Key Elements of A Narrative

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Writing is hard. In a market where publishers and editors are critical of every story or poem, understanding the seven key elements of a narrative is more important than ever before. Regardless of your chosen genre of expertise, mastering these key narrative elements will help to make you a more successful writer. 

Key Elements of a Narrative

Did you just take a big sigh? The thought of crafting a worthy and unpredictable plot is daunting. An understanding of plot and the impact it has on your story is an essential part of crafting a compelling narrative.

The plot is thought of as the sequence of events in your narrative. The plot includes background information, conflict, the climax of the story, and lastly, the conclusion. 

Many writers use the plot to map out their stories before beginning the full writing process. For fiction or non-fiction writing, this can work wonderfully as an outline. On a smaller scale, poets can use the concept of plot to plan the flow of their poems. 

When you’re reading and feel like you’ve been transported to another universe – that’s setting. This element of the narrative is incredibly important. Setting establishes the time, place, and environment in which the main characters or narrator operates. 

Crafting a high-quality setting is the difference between a believable story and one that falls flat. A story’s setting can also help you create rising action in your story!

Characters 

Who are your characters? How do they behave and interact with the narrative as a whole? How are the protagonists and antagonists the same? How are they different?  

Characters create your story. Characters are the reason your readers fall in love. Characters keep you up at night.  

Invest time researching your character’s identities, behaviors, circumstances, and motivations. All of this will help you to create a world that readers (and you) are invested in whole-heartedly.  

Point of View 

Who is telling your story and why? Establishing a point of view in your story or poem is essential. This allows readers to understand the motivations behind why the story is being told.  

While it can be challenging to craft a consistent point of view, mastering the narrative will provide your work with the guiding voice reader’s crave. 

The theme of a work should be clear. While this seems like a fundamental literary element, the theme helps to focus a narrative.  Additionally, having a focused and clear theme will help you and publishers to market your book to the right audience.  

What lessons are your characters going to learn? At the end of the story or poem, what is the main takeaway? This is your theme. 

When studying literature, there is a lot of talk surrounding symbolism. While this may seem like an over-rated literary element, symbolism helps to layer meaning within a narrative.  

The green light in The Great Gatsby. Harry’s scar in Harry Potter. In narratives, symbols are what readers hold onto long after the story is over. Symbolism is what readers gravitate to.  

Conflict motivates characters, affects the plot, and ultimately dictates the theme of a narrative. What is the defining conflict in your story? What conflict inspired a poem?  

Having a defined conflict allows your readers to better understand your work, sympathize with your characters or narrator, and ultimately appreciate the complexity of the plot you’ve created. 

Practice Makes Perfect When Crafting Narrative

Every writer struggles with these narrative elements. Through reading, exchange with other writers, and practice, you can conquer the 7 key elements of a narrative. Now that you’re inspired , get writing!  

Which element do you feel you need to improve upon? Tell us and explain why in the comments!

Have a story you’re ready to share with the world? Check out our submissions page.

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Best Narrative Essay Elements

elements in narrative essay

Table of Contents

The majority of academic writing is about empirical writing based on facts and figures, such as theses, dissertations, term papers, etc. There is no room for showing emotions or highlighting personal style that can become a signature for the writer.

On the other side, narrative writing is about writing an essay based on personal experience or incident. Since it is based on something truly personal or subjective, many writers believe that they are at complete liberty to treat the elements as they please.

This could not be further from the truth because the elements are defined and baked into the ecosystem. 

Choosing The Right Topic

Before a writer starts to learn and master the elements of narrative writing , it is necessary to understand the importance of a topic. A topic or a title is the first introduction or the first pitch of writers to the readers. Even those who do not have the time to read a narrative are sure to read the title. If they are motivated enough by the title, it is a job well done by the writer. 

That’s why coming up with a perfect topic is a necessary task that cannot be shirked. The idea here is to reveal the story just enough that it piques the interest of the reader.

Laying Solid Foundation With A Thesis Statement

A thesis statement is a summary of what to expect in the writing. But this definition of the thesis statement is true for other forms of writing. In narrative essay writing, a thesis statement solidifies the theme and central point of the story in a sentence. That’s why it is written in the introduction paragraph, mostly as its last sentence.

It foreshadows the events of the narrative for readers or intensifies the suspense using different literary devices. A thesis statement is an essential element of a narrative essay and one cannot exist without it.

Narrative Writing Styles For Every Essay

Since the writing itself is subjective and there are more than one ways to approach a narrative, you can always find writers treating a single premise with different writing styles. Some employ first-person or third-person omniscient narratives to tell a story. Modern writers are even experimenting further and some are even using second-person narrative to tell a story while addressing the reader or leading them through the action. 

Descriptive 

Descriptive narrative is everywhere in narrative writing when a writer describes a person, a place, or an idea. It lends the element of imagery and invokes a sense of a being in readers as they can feel the presence of the thing described in the writing.

The descriptive narrative primarily fulfills the following purposes:

  • Placing other elements of narrative writing in a time-space reference
  • Conveying the mood or sense of the action through vivid description

That’s why as a reader, you can always invoke the same imagery when you read the passages from your favorite novels or short stories. This writing style relies heavily on the description so dialogues and exposition are hard to find in this instance.

Narrative writing is subjective and readers only get to know the details that a writer wants to share through his writing. In a viewpoint writing style, all the other details are omitted and the narrative is strengthened based only on the revelations. In a sense, it is a subjective or fabricated truth that cannot be disapproved of by readers.

For school and college students, writing a viewpoint narrative essay can be challenging because of its limitations and unreliability.

A linear narrative writing style is the most commonly employed method in essay writing. It follows a simple chronological order to reveal the events that are extremely easy for readers to follow.

The best thing about this style is that it is the easiest and keeps the balance between the causes and effects of the story, so the logical end of the narrative remains intact for the most part.

As far as the purpose of narrative writing is concerned, this style makes it easier for readers to follow and relate to the story.

Opposite to linear narrative writing, non-linear writing is about explaining events that suit the narrative best. Through the application of flashbacks, shifting narrators, and other literary devices, writers can weave a narrative that can be punchier than a linear one but readers would have to be more attentive to different details.

For students in schools and colleges, it is not recommended to dabble in this style because it is hard and complex to handle compared to the linear style.

In this writing style, the time and space elements of the narrative take a backseat in the favor of the actual action. The premise is simple: the story is all about how the narrator or protagonist achieved something important, either material or psychological. 

This style is often found in children’s stories and fables from cultures around the world. It is easier than the non-linear writing style but it does not give much room for details, such as the setting of the story, character development, and so on.

The Essentials of Narrative Essay

Now, let us dissect the essential elements of narrative essays and see why they are so important.

The plot is the flow of action and time concerning the narrative. Writers are divided on its importance but it is a necessary cog in the machinery of narrative writing. Most plots follow a traditional path that starts with the introduction of the setting and characters, moves through rising action and climax, then falling action, and the ultimate resolution.

People involved in a narrative, either one or many, are considered characters of the story. Characterization is a process through which a writer creates a character, by giving him his abilities, shortcomings, etc. There are two major types of characters in the narrative: Protagonist (hero of the story) Antagonist (opponent of the main character) In these terms, the plot can be defined as how the two change at the end of the narrative.

Setting refers to the time and space of the narrative where it unfolded. For instance, if the narrative is about a patient dying from cancer, then the setting could be a hospital room or a basement in a dusty old house. In some cases, the setting plays a vital role in the narrative as it symbolizes something more than the face value of a place.

The theme is the central idea or the moral lesson that the writer wants to convey to the readers with the help of all the other elements of the story. Countless themes have been explored by writers in their stories. For the most part, narratives with the element of tragedy, loss, and suspense bid well as readers can easily connect with the characters in the story.

Point of View

The point of view of the story is the slit from which readers can peek into the world. This is dependent on the writer and can play a pivotal role in the narrative. There are three major viewpoints used in narrative writing: First-person – tells from the perspective of an active character in the story, denoted by “I” or “we” The third person – both in limited and omniscient iterations, is the most versatile and easy-to-handle narrator Second person – not widely used but in this case, the main character is “you” as you progress through the narrative

If everything goes well in a story, it is not much of a story or a narrative essay for that matter. Conflict is the disruption of the status quo that presents a challenge to the protagonist. The nature of the conflict can be diverse, from internal turmoil and struggle to outside factors such as antagonists, nature, and so on. For instance, in The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka, the narrator and protagonist of the story woke up and found himself turned into a giant bug.

How To Balance Elements In A Complex Narrative

Learning and identifying elements in a narrative are easy, but it takes a lot of time and effort to implement them in writing. Many students struggle with keeping up the common thread among all the elements.

This section is dedicated to some of the tips that will help writers in balancing and optimize the elements to better convey the story. 

Choosing The Right Viewpoint

Three main viewpoints are used by writers, that are first person, second person, and third person. The latter two are mostly used in fiction writing because writers are more at liberty in these formats.

For narrative essays, the first-person narrative is the best because the kernel of the idea arises from personal experiences. Many students make the mistake of choosing the wrong narrator for the viewpoint of the story and often mess up both limitations and strengths of a viewpoint.

Keeping Readers In Mind

As we mentioned in the earlier sections, the ultimate  purpose of writing a narrative essay  is to entertain the readers and share with them a piece of personal history.

Whichever element you choose or which variable you want to pull through the playbook should be executed by keeping readers in mind.

A linear story with rich details and imagery and believable characters can easily entice readers into the story.

Having A Tight Grip On The Plot

Students can easily be excused if they can’t get a strong grip on the plot because this is something that established writers often struggle with. The plot is the logical and sequential flow of the narrative that also reveals the causes and effects of actions and incidents.

Teachers at schools and colleges do not expect students to be masters at plotting techniques but they should acknowledge the element and incorporate it into the narrative.

What is an essential element of a good narrative essay?

The narrative itself is extremely essential for the narrative essay. The exceptions can be made for the plot, characters, and even the theme, by not addressing any of the essential elements directly.

How can a writer structure a narrative essay?

Researching and outlining a narrative essay is the best way to structure a narrative essay. It gives many tangibles and a clear heading for the writer to go on.

What are the 5 basic elements of every narrative essay?

The five essential or fundamental elements of a narrative essay are:

How do you start and finish a narrative like a pro?

The following tips can help students start and finish a good narrative essay:

  • Clarity of the vision
  • Keeping details crisp
  • First-person narrative
  • Use of vigorous language

What is the purpose of writing narrative essays in schools and colleges?

It allows students to dive deeper into their minds and explore events and personal experiences. Then, they can work on them and come up with narratives with clear direction and a relatable message for readers.

Final Thoughts

Narrative writing depends on its essential elements to send out the intended message. That’s why students need to learn and understand all the elements and practice them to incorporate them into their essays. We have also highlighted some tips on how to balance these elements to get the best of narrative writing.

In addition to this, we have also discussed different writing styles in narrative essays and recommended the easier and most effective ones for the students.

We hope that students will find this post helpful in learning the craft better and faster!

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Lesson 5: Elements of Narrative Essay

  • To know the structure of a narrative essay
  • To learn how to write a narrative essay
  • To understand the advantages and disadvantages when creating a narrative essay

Quick Navigation through the Lesson 5:

Narrative essay, basic structure of a narrative essay, how to write a narrative essay, advantages and disadvantages when writing a narrative essay.

A narrative essay is one form of writing wherein the writer shares his/her own personal story. This type of essay mostly uses the first person point of view making it more personal both to the writer telling the story and the reader going through it. It mostly talks about you or an experience you went through or something that a person very close to you has gone through or is going through.

[gview file=”http://www.professays.com/wp-content/uploads/Lesson-5-Elements-of-a-Narrative-Essay-Powerpoint.pptx” height=”380px” width=”530px” save=”0″ cache=”0″]

Knowing the basic structure of a narrative essay can really be a big help for all creative writing

1) Introduction

This is the beginning or start of the essay. The introduction must contain:

  • Hook – A hook is like a quote or saying that immediately catches the readers’ eye. This is the thing that will draw them in to read more about the piece.
  • Scene – The scene is where the writer gives the readers a gist of the story. Here, one must give readers an idea on where the story is taking place, what it’s about, who the main characters are and so on.
  • Thesis Statement – this is the theme. The thesis statement is something that will connect the whole story or essay together. This is where the insights from the story are culminated together by the writer.

When one is writing the body of an essay he/she must remember to give as much detail about the experience as possible. Be highly descriptive because this is where the writer can describe anything and everything that he/she feels or have felt.

  • Show them, don’t tell them – the writer should be able to make the readers feel as if they were also present when the event took place when going through his/her essay.
  • Supporting Evidence – the writer must help the readers understand why the event or the experience was or is significant to him/her. He/she should be able to make them understand the importance of the event to the essay.
  •  Sense of Time – The writer must also have a sense of time. Having a sense of time not only organizes the whole piece but also helps the reader follow easily. The writer will be helping the readers not to get lost.
  • Transitional words – Transitions help the writer take the readers from one point to another smoothly.

3) Conclusion

Conclusion is the morale of the story. After reading the writers piece the reader must come to a realization or a reflection. This is the ending so the reader must learn a thing or two from the essay.

[WpProQuiz 143]

How to write a narrative essay can vary from who ever is writing it, but here are the basic steps writers uses in order to write narrative essay.

Prewriting Prewriting is outlining the thoughts and ideas that will be used to write the essay. This helps the writer because it will give him/her a chance to sift through memories and experiences and find the perfect topic to write about. Drafting By drafting the writer gets a more organized glimpse of what he/she is going to write about. Revising A writer needs to revise their work to give it a more coherent and concise order. Rearranging, omitting, adding etc. some of the sentences or ideas in the essay can help make it a better piece. Editing Editing is proofreading. The writer must check for grammatical errors, wrong use of punctuation marks, run on sentences etc. to make the piece more sound and structured. Publishing Is sharing the work with readers and getting feedback in return. Feedback helps the writer improve when he/she writes the next piece or story.

[WpProQuiz 144]

  • It will be easier for a writer to write a narrative essay because it mainly uses the first person point of view. It tackles a topic that is about the writer.
  •  Writing narrative essay helps a writer gain perspective. It forces the writer to relive or revisit old memories which sometimes can be therapeutic or a source of fun for them.
  • Writing a narrative essay needs minimal research. Since it is about a writer’s personal experience he/she can just write his/her own memories and feelings.
  •  Narrative writing helps the writer free his/her imagination.

Disadvantages

  • Writing a narrative essay can tackle more of the truth side. Sometimes it limits a writer to use variety.
  • Writing a narrative essay blurs the line between real and unreal. Writers can distort the realness of their stories if they include too much fiction or imagination in their piece.
  • Writing a narrative essay does not mean that all readers will love it.

In conclusion, the lesson aims to teach you about what a narrative essay is and how to start writing one. Now that you have understood what a narrative essay is and all its elements and components, it is time for you to create one yourself. You can write about the everyday life of being a student for an idea, so go on and write.

[WpProQuiz 145]

As for the next lesson, we will be tackling about fiction writing. Fiction simply means writing creatively and freely with the help of one’s imagination. When you are done studying and creating a narrative essay you can head on now to the next lesson to find out more about fiction writing.

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  3. Narrative Essay Writing: Tips, Guidelines, Examples

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  4. What Is A Narrative Essay? Narrative Essay Examples And Writing Tips

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  5. What is Narrative Structure?

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  1. Narrative essay

  2. Narrative Elements Chapter 4B Character(ization)

  3. Narrative Essay Plus Parallel Structure

  4. Identifying Narrative/Story Elements

  5. TEXT TYPES: narrative, expository and argumentative

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COMMENTS

  1. How to Write a Narrative Essay

    Revised on July 23, 2023. A narrative essay tells a story. In most cases, this is a story about a personal experience you had. This type of essay, along with the descriptive essay, allows you to get personal and creative, unlike most academic writing.

  2. How to Write a Perfect Narrative Essay (Step-by-Step)

    Step 2. Planning the Structure. Before you start writing your narrative essay, it's a great idea to plan out your story. Grab a piece of paper and sketch out a rough outline of the key points you want to cover. Begin with the introduction, where you'll set the scene and introduce your characters.

  3. How to Write a Narrative Essay: Tips, Outline, Examples

    Defining What Is a Narrative Essay We can explain a narrative essay definition as a piece of writing that tells a story. It's like a window into someone's life or a page torn from a diary. Similarly to a descriptive essay, a narrative essay tells a story, rather than make a claim and use evidence.

  4. What is a Narrative Essay

    Narrative essays rely on tried and true structure components, including: First-person POV Personal inspiration Focus on a central theme By keeping these major tenets in mind, you'll be better prepared to recognize weaknesses and strengths in your own works. NARRATIVE ESSAY DEFINITION What is a narrative essay?

  5. Elements, Tips and Outline of a Narrative Essay

    A narrative essay mainly consists of three required elements: character, theme, and dialogue. Character: Characters are an important element of a narrative essay. It is the lead role as the story revolves around the character. The person writing the essay is a character itself.

  6. How to Write a Narrative Essay in 5 Steps

    What is a narrative essay? A narrative essay typically tells a true story that may have a few elements changed for clarity or dramatic purposes. However, this isn't a requirement. You can format a fictional story as a narrative essay. Narrative essays, perhaps unsurprisingly, are defined by the presence of a narrative in the text.

  7. What Is Narrative Writing? A Guide

    Lindsay Kramer Updated on August 4, 2021 Writing Tips Narrative writing is, essentially, story writing. A narrative can be fiction or nonfiction, and it can also occupy the space between these as a semi-autobiographical story, historical fiction, or a dramatized retelling of actual events.

  8. How to Write a Narrative Essay

    1. What Is a Narrative Essay? 2. Types of Narrative Essays 3. The Features of a Narrative Essay 4. Narrative Essay Structure 5. How to Write a Narrative Essay? 6. Tips To Make Your Narrative Essays More Engaging 7. Narrative Essay Examples 8. Narrative Essay Topics What Is a Narrative Essay?

  9. What is a Narrative Essay? How to Write It (with Examples)

    Key elements in a narrative essay While narrative essays allow you to be creative with your ideas, language, and format, they must include some key components to convey the story clearly, create engaging content and build reader interest.

  10. Examples and Definition of Narrative Essay

    A narrative essay has three required elements: character, theme, and dialogue: Character Characters are an important part of a narrative essay.

  11. The Elements of Narrative Writing

    Aug, 21 2021 Updated: Jul, 5 2022 • 10 min read The Elements of Narrative Writing Discover how to level up your writing practice by learning the basic elements of narrative writing. What is narrative writing? To paraphrase an old definition of stories from writer Edward Morgan Forster, let's put it this way.

  12. Narrative Essay: The Ultimate Guide from Bid4Papers

    So, your narrative essay is a type of paper, where you tell a story using a particular format and all elements of storytelling. Okay, we know what you are thinking: Source: Giphy Keep calm! Everything is much easier than it seems.

  13. 3 Great Narrative Essay Examples + Tips for Writing

    A narrative essay delivers its theme by deliberately weaving the motifs through the events, scenes, and details. While a narrative essay may be entertaining, its primary purpose is to tell a complete story based on a central meaning. Unlike other essay forms, it is totally okay—even expected—to use first-person narration in narrative essays.

  14. Narrative Essay

    Essential Elements of a Narrative Essay: Told from first-person point of view; Uses sensory details ; The story will have a point or theme. Typically told in chronological order.

  15. Narrative Essay Examples and Key Elements

    Updated December 5, 2022 Image Credits In a narrative essay, you tell a story, often about a personal experience, but you also make a point. So, the purpose is not only to tell an entertaining tale, but also to expound on the importance of the experience. In the narrative essay examples below, see if you can pull out the moral or theme.

  16. Narrative Essay Writing Guide + Examples

    Elements of a Narrative Essay. The plot is the main focus of a narrative essay, which is described with enough detail to build an interesting climax. It follows a chronological manner. It should have a purpose. Usually, this is stated in the introductory paragraph.

  17. Free Narrative Essay Examples

    Narrative Essay Definition. Writing a narrative essay is a unique form of storytelling that revolves around personal experiences, aiming to immerse the reader in the author's world. It's a piece of writing that delves into the depths of thoughts and feelings. In a narrative essay, life experiences take center stage, serving as the main substance of the story. It's a powerful tool for writers ...

  18. Crafting Compelling Narrative Essays: Storytelling Techniques for Students

    Effective storytelling in narrative essays revolves around several key elements: 1. Character. Every narrative essay needs a protagonist, often the writer themselves. Developing a well-rounded character with relatable traits and emotions is essential for creating a connection with the reader. 2. Setting. The backdrop of the story sets the tone ...

  19. The Elements of the Narrative Essay

    Students are asked to explain, comment on, or assess a topic of study in the form of an essay. As well, many colleges use essays as a means to select applicants for admission. The narrative essay is one type of essay-writing in which the writer employs narration or a story to make a point, explain an experience, or persuade the reader.

  20. 7 elements of narrative essay writing tips for students

    Narrative essay writing tips. 7 elements Jacob April 13, 2022 Tips and tricks Here are some narrative essay writing tips that you should know. Writing narrative essay to receive a decent mark you should pay attention to the principle elements of such essay. Here we offer a complete set of them.

  21. Understanding The 7 Key Elements of A Narrative

    Understanding The 7 Key Elements of A Narrative By R. R. Noall / November 30, 2023 Writing is hard. In a market where publishers and editors are critical of every story or poem, understanding the seven key elements of a narrative is more important than ever before.

  22. Top Narrative Essay Elements Use While Writing

    A thesis statement is an essential element of a narrative essay and one cannot exist without it. Narrative Writing Styles For Every Essay Since the writing itself is subjective and there are more than one ways to approach a narrative, you can always find writers treating a single premise with different writing styles.

  23. Lesson 5: Elements of Narrative Essay

    Lesson 5: Elements of Narrative Essay Objective: To know the structure of a narrative essay To learn how to write a narrative essay To understand the advantages and disadvantages when creating a narrative essay Quick Navigation through the Lesson 5: Narrative Essay Basic Structure of a Narrative essay How to write a Narrative Essay