How To Write A Narrative Essay: A Step-by-Step Guide

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A narrative essay is one of the most common tasks we all were assigned during our study. One of the best things about it is that writing a narrative essay can’t be boring: it’s one of the most creative tasks you can do for your course. It is a great storytelling exercise that allows you to explore your own vision of the subject and show your understanding to the teacher. You don’t simply write down the dry facts: the narrative essay format means that you need to show your own opinion on the subject, in a way your readers will be thrilled to see.

The creative approach to the college narrative essay means that some rules are less strict than in other types of essays. We can’t say exactly how long should a narrative essay be. It depends on the teacher’s demands, on the subject, on the details you want to put into your text. The standard length is around 600 words, but you can always discuss it with your teacher.

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Writing a narrative essay is a fun process, especially when you know what to do exactly. This step-by-step guide will help you through every stage, from choosing the topic to getting your A. Let’s get started!

What Is a Narrative Essay?

Getting a perfect definition of narrative essay isn’t an easy task. It may vary from college to college. But the broadest definition that will fit any school is a describing, storytelling text that allows you to express your opinion on the subject, possibly in a more emotional way than it is appropriate for the other essay types. In a nutshell, a narrative essay is a story you want to tell. It may use scientific facts, statistics, and other facts & figures stuff, but it should be written in a way appealing to human beings.

It’s always a good idea to get some inspiration before you start. Often, the teacher asks you to write a personal narrative essay. It’s the easiest way to tell an emotionally rich story because you perfectly know what you feel. The task is only to transfer these feelings to the paper and make them understandable for others.

What to Write About?

If the topic isn’t strictly defined, you may choose whatever excites you to no end. Imagine a thing that has impressed you so much that you want to share this experience with everyone now. Passion is a very important part of choosing your topic because it’s very hard to make the audience feel emotions if you don’t feel anything except boredom yourself.

You need to pick a story that matters. Something that the others can relate to and get a kind of epiphany from. Try to brainstorm the topic by writing down all such stories you can remember and then choosing the one you really want to tell. Some of them may appear great at the first sight but then require too much personal information you don’t want to share. Some may be just reserved for other occasions and longer texts.

If you don’t know how to write a narrative essay about yourself, don’t worry. There are plenty of examples on the Internet. Of course, you don’t have to rewrite some other’s stories, but you may see the events that people consider important and think about similar ones in your life.

Structure of a Narrative Essay

The narrative essay structure is more or less similar to the other types of essays. You need an introduction, a conclusion, and 3 to 5 paragraphs between them. Each paragraph should describe one thought logically connected with the previous and the next ones.

To make the structure neater, you may use a short draft. Write one sentence for each of your paragraphs and see if they are connected in a proper way. If you are satisfied with your outline, you may broaden the paragraphs, turning them into the full text. Such preparations are important because you need to divide your space evenly, giving roughly the same amount of words to each paragraph. This method has been used by lots of famous writers for their books and short stories.

It will be great to add one main storyline element into each paragraph. It should be something bright, a detail or action that captures the attention of the readers and prompts them further. It may be something that you were emotionally attached to during that event or your own conclusions. The storyline elements should enhance your role in the story, show your attitude to it, and the importance of this story for you personally. If the situation needs an explanation of your behavior, add an extra paragraph to show the readers the causes and consequences of your decision. It will open your personality up and give the audience a new reason to think about your essay more.

If there are several events in your story, describe them chronologically, giving a paragraph for each one. Make sure that the logical connection between them is clear and doesn’t need further explanation to the readers.

Leave the last paragraph for proving and supporting your topics. Your emotional attitude should be enhanced with facts and reasons. The audience should understand both what did you feel and why did you do what you did.

Types of Narrative Essays

The types of narrative essays depend on the narrative styles you choose. Some of them are most fitting for the narrative essay format, such as linear narrative that presents the events that happened chronologically. The non-linear narrative style that shifts the order of events may be a bit tricky to use, but you may try to put your main personal conclusion into the first paragraph and then explain it later. It is true for some short stories that give the final scene first and then explain what happened before. A viewpoint narrative is more about your emotional experience than about the actual description of the events, but it can also be useful for the essay if applied carefully. It shows everything from your inner perspective: not the thing that happened, but your feelings about it happening.

Narrative essays are a great start to polish your writing skills. They can later help you with your future motivation speeches and speeches in general, letters added to your CV to get your dream job, or even pitches presenting your startup to future investors. Narrative essays are a fun way to teach you to show your emotions to others, make them feel what you feel, and support your ideas. Use this opportunity and enjoy your great marks!

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How To Write A Narrative Essay: A Step-by-Step Guide. (2021, Feb 03). Retrieved from

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