narrative essay

The Ultimate Guide to Writing a Narrative Essay

When one is assigned to craft a narrative essay, it’s a good chance to practice their storytelling and general essay writing skills. As one writes a narrative essay, they have to describe a specific event or episode from their point of view, in story form. This helps engage the readers more than usual.

Narrative essays usually work out well if one chooses a topic that they are very familiar with. All the same, for most essay service providers, narrative essays are much more interesting than expository, argumentative, or compare & contrast. They can work on them for hours on end without ending up bored.

It’s important to note that you need to be interested and passionate about the topic so that the readers can pick up quickly, and stay engaged.

What Is a Narrative Essay?

There are several ways to define what a narrative essay is. It is a text where a story is being told from the writer’s perspective. These types of essays utilize all the story elements — the introduction, body, conclusion, plot, characters, setting, and a climax. All these elements are brought together to complete the narrative. However, the main focus is the plot, which has to be told in a way that allows the writer to build a climax.

Narrative essays get a lot of attention from the readers. The reason is simple — everyone loves a good story, especially one that’s compelling enough to enable them to build a mental image of what’s described in the text. For this reason, writers must develop a good structure for their story and search for as much inspiration as they can.

It is important to understand that the role of a narrative essay is not only to tell an interesting story; the writer should also aim to bring to light the importance of the experience.

Essential Elements of Narrative Essays

Every narrative essay should tell a vivid story, most often written from a single person’s point of view. When the story is told in a compelling enough manner and with enough detail, it should build a climax. Here is how that can be achieved:

  • It should generally be told chronologically, flowing from start to finish.
  • It should have a purpose, which is usually stated in the first paragraph.
  • The writer can make use of dialogue, although make sure it is punctuated properly.
  • To fully involve the reader, use sensory details and try to make their descriptions as bright as possible. These tactics should contribute to the main point of the story. 

Writing a Narrative Essay – General Guidelines

Think about the reader

Before starting the essay, ensure that the story you want to write makes sense and it matters. Look for a topic that resonates with the readers and one that will hit home. To do that, it’s essential to know who will be reading your paper.

Create a draft first

Planning is essential when coming up with an interesting story. Therefore, outline and draft the essay, then polish it several times until you are convinced that it meets the requirements and will capture the audience’s attention. Most famous writers plan first before they execute.

Make use of storyline elements

It’s crucial that you incorporate storyline elements like the description, characters, plot, and setting, among others. With these elements, you can easily capture the reader’s attention and make the story vivid. All the same, one can try as much as possible to make use of these elements and writing following proper English grammar standards. 

Establish the point of view

As the readers go through the story, it shouldn’t be difficult for them to establish the writer’s role in the story. It is therefore quite crucial to let them know all the details of the event being described. The writer should also try to explain their behaviour during different scenes of the story.

Prove and support

Besides just showing your opinion, also try to present reasonable arguments that support your point of view. The readers need to be provided with facts that will showcase why the author thinks the way they do. This will help them understand the writer’s conclusions.

Write clearly

When writing a narrative essay, avoid digressing and including details that don’t give meaning to the story. This will make the essay confusing; therefore, one should assess every detail that they include in order to ensure that it has a significant purpose in the plot. Furthermore, use simple words so that the readers can quickly grasp the story.

Another part of writing clearly is describing events in a chronological manner. Mixing timelines and events can confuse readers, which will end up in them quickly losing interest. 

Look up examples

The more one reads essays from other writers, the better they can create well-crafted plots. Another way to do this would be through watching video presentations where people describe different experiences. With this content, it becomes easy to learn how to present thoughts in an interesting manner.

Revise the essay

When the essay is complete, it’s important to double-check it for grammar, spelling errors and plagiarism as well. There might also be sentences that sound off. Give the paper to a friend for revision; they might pick up things that you would have missed otherwise.

Today, there are many language and grammar tools that writers can utilize online. Every savvy student needs to check them out and add the most convenient ones to their arsenal. They will be of great help, especially when editing a narrative essay.

The Basic Structure of a Narrative Essay

  • Introduction. This serves as a warm-up for the audience, which highlights the key ideas behind the story.
  • Main body. It contains supportive arguments and main points of the story, and it has to be divided into paragraphs.
  • Conclusion. The writer sums up the entire story while proving what they claimed in the introductory paragraphs.

When writing a narrative essay, one shouldn’t forget to highlight the most important moments. It is these significant moments that’ll help the writer put forward their arguments and help readers to easily understand the message. Readers will also be able to identify their role in the story with much ease and spot their influence on the outcome. 

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Todd VanDuzer

Co-Founder & CEO at Student-Tutor
Hello! My name is Todd. I help students design the life of their dreams by ensuring college, scholarship, and career success! I am a former tutor for seven years, $85,000 scholarship recipient, Huffington Post contributor, lead SAT & ACT course developer, host of a career exploration podcast for teens, and have worked with thousands of students and parents to ensure a brighter future for the next generation. I invite you to join my next webinar to learn how to save thousands + set your teenager up for college, scholarship, and career success!

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