Narrative Essays: Types, Tips, Outline, & Writing Process

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May 7, 2024
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May 7, 2024
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While we may still remember from middle school, narrative essays are those types of essays that ask you to tell a story by writing about a personal event or something you have seen. Because the topics and themes of your college course may change all the time, you will need to follow your grading rubric to make sure you don’t miss anything. Since you have to tell a story, you should learn how to compose it right and what to think about. In this article, we will cover how to write a narrative essay, the structure of a narrative essay and examples. We are here to make everything easy for you.

What is a Narrative Essay?

It’s normal to ask yourself how to write a narrative essay. The main idea or argument of a narrative essay is generally what this type of writing is all about. Moreover, it needs to be creative. But it also needs to have a theme that motivates people, like a good book. You will need to follow the standard “five-paragraph” format, which means you need an introduction, three body paragraphs, and a conclusion.

Keep in mind that you will need to work on your characters, events, or conversations while you are writing the structure. If you want to be artistic, writing a narrative essay is the best thing about it. It gives you more freedom and literary devices than other types of essays you might have to write.

Before you start writing a narrative essay, you should know that it is not the same as writing a short story. Every narrative style essay you will write in college (unless you have to write a short story!) will have a clear theme and certain aspects that you need to explore.

As a writer, you have to set this before you start writing the article. For the short story, you will need to use a different writing style because you want the readers to think about what might have happened. In contrast to a short story, the goal of a narrative essay is to leave the reader fully happy with a clear conclusion that marks the end of your story. This is true no matter what personal narrative essay topic ideas you choose.

Essential Characteristics of a Narrative Essay

After understanding the narrative essay definition, it’s time to explore the features of a narrative essay. There are certain things that make up a narrative essay:

  • Due to the fact that it is based on real events, it is not fantasy.
  • It’s always written from the author’s point of view, so you have to use the first person.
  • Add parts of a good story, but always stick to the basic format.
  • If there is a timeline, make sure your information fits with it.
  • Pay attention to specifics like an event, a person’s personality, an incident, or something that supports your theory.
  • The point is not to teach or fight but to tell people something.

Here are three important elements of a narrative essay that will help you write your essay more quickly and easily:

Personality/Character

This is true whether you’re writing about your youth or college years—you will include at least one character, even if they don’t show up in real life. Pay attention to how your characters act and what makes them unique and important.

Set Your Theme Always

Simply break it down into at least three separate pieces of evidence, just like you would with a thesis statement. In your body paragraphs, you should talk about and analyze them because your story needs to have proof.

Have a Good Conversation Art

You need to get into the mood of a talk so that your characters can stand out. The thing that gives your story more life is this.

Always check your grading rubric to make sure you didn’t miss anything since the instructions for your narrative essay assignment may be different from the usual ones.

Types of Narrative Essay

A normal student will have to deal with either descriptive or autobiographical storytelling most of the time. There are times when descriptive writing seems harder than other types of writing. But that’s not always the case; the key is to talk about an event or situation that you saw or heard about from someone you know.

Descriptive Narration

It gives you some freedom to be creative and use different literary methods to make the experience more interesting for the readers. Your goal here is to get people excited about something and help them picture what it looks like. You have to explain something, so don’t just talk about it in simple terms. Make it seem real. As much as possible, always keep things straight.

If you wish to discuss something hard, you can make the narrative easy by including your difficult points when you explain things. You must know what you’re trying to do. Also, do everything you can to support your thesis statement. If you are allowed to, you may have to keep your writing short. But keep in mind that you are required to tell a story and explain why you are telling it without looking like an instructor or mentor.

Autobiographical Narration/Narrative of My Own Life

In autobiographical narration, the sole thing you have to do is tell your true life story. Remember to pay attention to one thing at a time. For instance, if you are talking about your first middle school teacher, you must stick to the exact order of events when you talk about an event or day. In this case, the purpose is more crucial than the details, which is different from a normal descriptive method.

If you’re majoring in Political Science or Journalism, you may also have to respond to a prompt that asks you to write about a certain event or subject. This is exactly the kind of situation where you might need to mix personal as well as descriptive points if you were there and saw the event.

How to Structure a Narrative Essay?

Unless told otherwise, most narrative essays will follow the standard structure, which calls for at least five paragraphs. This is what you need to include in a narrative essay structure:

Introduction

Wondering how to start a narrative essay? Start by giving your story some background, explain what you’re writing about, and say why you’re writing it. It should also start with an interesting sentence that makes people want to learn more. This is also where your thesis statement (the main idea) goes.

1st Body Paragraph  

This is where the excitement starts to rise. It should be the most important part of your thesis statement.

2nd Body Paragraph

This part should be the story’s climax, where the main action takes place. Feel free to add feelings as you write the body of your story.

3rd Body Paragraph

The part with the falling action is where you end your story. This is where you should help your readers get ready for the last part, where you put the story to rest and make sure all the facts fit together.

Conclusion

How to conclude a narrative essay? In the conclusion section, you should talk about what you learned from the story and briefly restate the main idea you introduced in the first line.

The length is another important question that always comes up when writing a story essay. The length will change from task to task. Still, how long is a narrative essay? The answer to that question should be in the directions for your essay or given by your professor. Most of the time, a narrative essay is between 500 and 700 words, but sometimes it can be up to 1000 words.

How to Write a Narrative Essay, Step by Step

Without a doubt, you should think about a lot of different topics for your narrative essay before you start writing it. It needs to excite your readers and make you feel creative at the same time.

As you begin, here are six steps you should think about. Are you wondering which is the first step to writing a narrative essay? See below

How to Write a Narrative Essay, Step by Step

How to Write a Narrative Essay, Step by Step

Choose a Good Topic.

Unless your instructor tells you to write about a certain event, you should pick a topic that you know a lot about. Look for an interesting example of a narrative essay or think of unique narrative essay topic ideas:

  •  My first memory from childhood.
  • My first trip to Europe.
  • Mom and Dad are your best friends.
  • A Lesson What My Pet Taught Me.
  • The Day I Had to Take Responsibilities.

Make Sure your Story is clear.

The words used should be easy to understand.

Get the Right Balance of Descriptive Details.

Don’t use too many details, but make sure there are enough of them. As a result of the limited number of words, each line should have some meaning.

Start writing in first-person

Remember this rule as you talk about something that happened in your life or something you know. Also, try practicing sharing stories out loud as if you were talking to a friend.

Keep things interesting

Do not forget to build up to a creative conclusion in your story, and then let it go. Write three major points as if they were chapters of a book to do this.

Don’t use any references.

References should be avoided unless they are needed for educational purposes. Make sure you quote correctly based on the style of your academic paper.

Don’t forget that your narrative essay shouldn’t be made up; it should be based on real events. This means that there isn’t much chance of copying when you write this kind of essay. To be safe, you should still use links if you want to quote something from the news or add something that you didn’t write.

Helpful Tips for Writing a Narrative Essay

When you’re thinking about how to make a format for a narrative essay, you need to be ready and prepare a narrative essay outline before you start writing.

Helpful Tips for Writing a Narrative Essay

Helpful Tips for Writing a Narrative Essay

Think of Many Different Ideas

Consider what will get people interested in your writing with the help of a strong hook. It could be a truth, a well-known quote, or a clear statement that makes people want to read more.

Narrow Down Your Subject

Really think about what you want to write about because you need to make sure it fits with your thesis statement by focusing on a single event. To put it another way, you should write about clear topics that don’t get off track from your main point.

A good thesis statement shouldn’t just say a fact or something that everyone knows. Don’t turn it into a question or tell them what to do. It should give you a sense of the problem and quickly explain what’s going on.

Figure Out the Purpose of Your Story

Let people know what your story is about. Give your readers a sneak peek, but don’t tell them what the lessons and major morals are yet. That’s for them to find out. It keeps things interesting this way!

Make Plans for Your Story.

Develop at least three main points. This will help you place the peak in the middle of each body paragraph.

Make Narrative Essay Format.

Before you write, make an outline the same way you would for a normal 5-paragraph essay. This will help you remember all the important information.

You can get past writer’s block by following these five easy steps. Before you start writing, you’ll have already done the most important things.

Example of a Narrative Essay

I’ve always liked science and math more than the humanities, even when I was in elementary school. I always thought that these areas were more important and solid than classes like English. I thought, “Why bother?” if there was no right answer. I took my first philosophy class not long ago, which showed me that my academic interests are more open-ended than I thought.I wasn’t sure what to expect before I went into the classroom. As I waited outside with the other students, I couldn’t help but wonder what philosophy would be about. Thinking about the meaning of life over long, stilted talks was what I had in mind. But I got something very different.

My first thought was of an old guy with white hair and a suit, but Mr. Jones—”but you can call me Rob”—was a young man in jeans. Rob talked to us on our level instead of getting into pointless debates about vague philosophical ideas. We chose what to do to talk about free will. To talk about ethics, we talked about problems we had personally encountered. By the end of class, I knew that the most interesting questions were the ones that didn’t have a clear answer.

A little more “philosophically”—and not just because it was a philosophy class!—the experience taught me a lot. It taught me that I can learn a lot from things I used to ignore if I let go of my preconceived notions. I learned to keep an open mind in more than one way in this class.

We Can Help You With Your Narrative Essay Problems!

It’s not easy to write a great narrative essay. We’ve all had times when we couldn’t write or felt like we couldn’t fit our thoughts into a certain number of words. Luckily, we have a team of professional essay writers ready to help with writing a narrative essay. They will do their best to keep things affordable and on time. Moreover, the most important thing is that we give you original material that is free of plagiarism and has great style, grammar, and structure. We will help you with everything from making a plan for your narrative essay to picking the best ideas based on a sample of your grading rubric. Don’t wait to place your order!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1: How to conclude a narrative essay?

Ans. To leave a lasting effect, the ending of a story needs to be carefully thought out. The end should bring the essay’s main point to a close and give it a sense of closure. The conclusion can have more depth and meaning if you think about the experience and how it fits in with bigger ideas or lessons you’ve learned. A well-written ending makes sure that the reader understands the story in a useful way.

Q2: Can you use ‘I’ in a narrative essay?

Ans. It’s fine to use the first-person word “I.” Even though it’s good, it’s not necessary, and it shouldn’t be used too much because the words aren’t clear enough.

Q3: Can you use ‘you’ in a narrative essay?

Ans.  It is allowed to use “you” in some types of casual writing, like personal letters and stories. However, the word “you” is usually not used in scholarly writing, like in papers or journals.

Q4: How do I choose a narrative essay topic?

Ans. If you’re not provided much direction for your narrative essay, analyze the assignment’s context as well as breadth. What story is topical, intriguing, and word-count-friendly? Narrative essays are ideal with stories that reflect on a topic or lesson or take a surprising turn.
You don’t have to worry about your non-unique topic. A narrative essay’s goal is how you tell the story and convey a point, not the subject.

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