Narrative essays

Contents

What is a narrative essay?

The term “essay” incorporates a wide range of different writing styles, each coming with its unique features and expectations. Different types of questions require being met with the style of writing most appropriate to the task. Students need to be familiar with all these different writing styles and learn when it’s best to use each one.

One of the unique forms of essay writing is the narrative essay. Unfamiliar students wondering what a narrative essay is, yet have to encounter one of the most interesting and entertaining writing styles out there. The best narrative essay definition is that of a piece of writing that offers points of information and tells a story. The kind of story you will often be asked to tell in a narrative essay will be a personal experience. Students writing in this style then have the opportunity to lay out an argument or make a specific point from a very personal narrative essay perspective.

What a narrative essay offers students that many other forms of writing don’t is the ability to write both personally and creatively. Often in an academic setting, there can be little opportunity for students to get creative with their writing. However, the narrative writing style challenges students to make a good point and tell an engaging tale. There are some key pieces of advice you need to bear in mind when approaching writing a narrative essay. Here you can find a comprehensive guide on how to write a personal narrative essay and some tips for inspiration.

How to write a narrative essay?

When looking to write a narrative essay, you need to look out for questions and prompts that serve as narrative essay topics. Most often, narrative essay examples center around a prompt. This prompt can either be highly specified in nature or else more open-ended.

A very specific narrative essay example prompt would be to “write about what you did this morning”. A more open-ended prompt, however, could be to “write about an interesting morning you had.” In both situations, you should immediately recognize that the question is looking for you to tell a story with your answer. Usually, the question will ask for you to provide an answer that is not too far from the truth. What makes your essay special is your unique voice, style, and experience. This is what makes the narrative essay the most expressive style of academic writing and a large part of why so many students have a particular affinity for writing them.

The key to making sure your ideas are clearly communicated through our storytelling is approaching your question with a strong understanding of the subject and structure. One of the most important steps in how to write a narrative essay is picking the right subject matter for your question. Especially if the given topic is rather open-ended, it’s worth putting serious consideration into what exactly you choose to write about.

Creating a mind map is a great way to explore all the possible approaches from which you could tackle your question. For every experience you may wish to use to write your personal essay, write a set of bullet points that outline both the experience and the reasons for which it’s an appropriate answer to the essay question. Once you’ve weighed up the different options for which story you wish to tell, you can move on to planning how to make this experience fit within the narrative essay format. Getting to grips with the format example of a narrative essay will make embarking on the writing process a whole lot easier!

Writing an essay outline

As is the case with any paper-writing assignment, all actual writing should be prefaced by creating a strong and well-structured narrative essay outline. The outline can be broken down into different sections, guiding both form and content as you embark on writing.

A great tip when putting together your paper outline is to write the question in bold at the top of the page. It’s important not to get sucked into the storytelling aspect of a narrative-style paper to the point where you forget the question you’re supposed to be giving an answer to!

What is narrative essay structure?

As any expert will tell you, a well-defined structure is key to writing narrative essay pieces that truly leave an impact on your readers. While the content and style of a narrative essay may differ significantly from other forms of academic writing, the overall structure is thankfully fairly recognizable. As with most other forms of essay, the best way to divide up your writing is into an introduction, main body section, and a conclusion.

The introduction

Writing a gripping introduction is crucial when it comes to how to start a narrative essay. The introduction is where you have the opportunity to reel in your readers and give them a clear outline of the experience your essay will be dealing with. A good introduction has a strong sense of focus on the subject matter and will begin to relate this subject matter back to the question or prompt.

Your goal should be for your readers to finish the introduction section already both engaged and with a clear set of expectations surrounding the question your essay is attempting to answer. Consulting your pre-written essay outline will help to rid your introduction of any diversions or fluff.

The body section

Once you’ve completed your introductory section of the essay and clearly introduced the themes, places, and characters that will be central to your story, it’s time to move onto the body section of the text. Every good narrative essay example will have a body section that provides its readers with the meat of the story at hand. Here is where you get to let your creative side shine through!

The body paragraphs of a literacy narrative essay allow for students to tackle academic questions with a sense of prose. The key to writing a good body section is taking into account the information that you share and the stylistic features of how you do so. Giving your essay a unique voice and providing your audience with rich descriptions are central to creating a captivating body section.

A body section should also possess a sense of flow within it. This is where the majority of the story’s action should take place and offer your readers a sense of tension or excitement that results in a climax. This will set you up to provide them with that much-needed sense of narrative closure offered by the conclusion section.

Concluding your essay

Once you’ve taken your readers through the highs and lows of your story, it’s time to give them a sense of closure and resolution in the conclusion section of your paper. One important to remember in how to end a narrative essay is to drive home a sense of finality to the story you have told.

Making sure your readers feel like they’ve understood the main “point” or “moral” of your story is at the heart of whether or not you will have successfully answered the prompt question. Go over your writing to check that you haven’t open any plot holes or forgotten resolutions to ensure your readers a satisfying ending!

Outline and format of a narrative essay

The outline of a narrative essay should, like with all writing assignments, utilise the aforementioned introduction, body, conclusion structure. However, beyond this structure, there are many other formal and stylistic elements to consider when writing a narrative essay that doesn’t usually factor into other academic writing styles. Some of these elements to bear in mind include:

  • Rhythm
  • Perspective (first-person versus third-person)
  • Setting
  • Characterisation
  • Style

Keeping a note of these elements next to you while you write will help keep your attention focused on the different facets of storytelling that your readers will be most affected by.

Proofreading is a key step along the narrative writing process. It’s always a good idea to re-read and edit your work before handing it in. Consulting trusted peers is another great way of getting reliable feedback to help finesse your narrative writing.

Do you need a narrative essay sample? You’re at the right place

Curious students looking to dig deep into a personal narrative essay example and further their understanding of how storytelling can be used to answer academic questions, need to look no further than here. There are tons of useful writing resources on our site, including outlines, study guides, and handy sample papers. Essay samples like these can serve as an invaluable guide along your own writing process and can serve as inspiration for writing your own grade A work.

Our resources offer an insight into approach, format, and style, — covering all the most important aspects of the writing process. With these personal narrative essay examples in hand, you can write your next paper with a sense of confidence!

Also, check out the narrative essay topics

The possibilities for narrative essay topics are truly endless. Students excited to flex their storytelling skills can turn to some of the wonderful writing prompts below to get them started on their next top-notch paper!

  • Tell an embarrassing story.
  • Tell the story of uncovering a secret.
  • How have you helped somebody in your life?
  • What was the scariest experience you’ve ever had?
  • Tell the story of how you learned a new skill.
  • What was the worst injury you’ve ever had?
  • A day you wish to relive.
  • The biggest mistake you’ve ever made.

Creativity and freedom to express yourself are two of the biggest benefits of the narrative assignment writing style. With this comprehensive guide to writing, you can join the many students who are enjoying telling their most interesting stories in the narrative essay style!

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FAQ about Narrative essays

What is a personal narrative?
...We figured in personal narrative essay that  they wanted to tie us up and leave us there till however long. So we decided to use it against them. Kate and I put on the Bigfoot outfits and scared them instead of the other way around. And when they tr...