Top Tips on How to Write a Narrative Essay

Good news – narrative essays don’t need extensive research and grubbing. They are all about storytelling. So this is your perfect chance to give the reins to your creativity and write from your heart. In most cases, narrative essays retell the author’s memories, describing his or her valuable experience in life. It means that you can express not only your subjective point of view but also your feelings and emotions. When composing a paper of that kind, you are expected to build a well-thought narration and fill it with informational, visual and sensory details. Although narrations are literary stories, you also need to express a certain idea and make your entire text support it.

As for the structure you should stick to, it is quite different from the traditional “introduction, body, conclusion” format you usually use in other academic papers. Remember, that a narrative essay is not a scholarly piece, so you should approach it accordingly. It uses a structure of a literary text, including such elements of storytelling as plot, dialogues, characters, environment, climax, and ending. Writing a narrative essay, you should include details to make your text rich and appealing. Perceive it as a single mechanism where all details support the main point.

What to Write about: Ideas for Your Narrative Essay

Even if you think that you are just a college student and don’t have too much life experience to share, remember that anything can become material for a story. Just make sure that your topic is something you really care about. Writing a story that doesn’t make any sense to you is a bad idea and, believe us, your readers will feel it from the very first words of your work.

Think about some events from your childhood or high school years, for instance. Most of us have plenty of episodes from that time, whether funny, strange, or sad, that have formed our future views on the world. Or maybe you have a very special person to tell about. This might be your granny, your best friend, or even a stranger you met on a train one day. Maybe, you are passionate about something and want to tell everyone how amazing your hobby is. In a word, everything that relates to you and your life can become a topic of your narrative paper. Here are some examples you can use:

  • Experience that made you reshape your perception of a stereotype
  • A story about a person that changed your life
  • A dangerous experience
  • A funny story with a serious meaning
  • Your most memorable impression about an artwork
  • A day when you realized your calling in life

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A General Guideline on How to Write a Narrative Essay

  • Choose the central idea

As we have already mentioned, your story has to be meaningful and tell something more than just an episode from your life. The situation is just a shape, while the idea is the filling.

  • Create an outline

Let your outline serve you as a draft. Do it for yourself not to get lost in the structure. With an outline, you will make your idea flow logically and naturally.

  • Consider the details

Indeed, a narrative essay format should comprise a good deal of details. Your readers need to have a clear vision of the setting, characters, and the most important – your thoughts. Share your reflections with them in a sincere way.

  • Describe things creatively

Let’s say, you want to describe a character of your story. Admit that reading a plain description is boring, so you should try doing it in an implicit manner. For example, try describing people’s temper telling about their clothes, like “He used to wear a red shirt with a large print of a Chinese dragon on his back” or “His clothes always looked old and out of fashion, still tidy”.

  • Be clear

Don’t pretend to be Virginia Woolf, it’s just a college essay! Make sure that your language is bright and creative, but simple and comprehensive. Don’t overload your text with dubious words and expressions – this will make your readers confused.

  • Time in your paper

Sometimes, narrations use linear structure and describe the events chronologically, sometimes they don’t. Everything depends on the type of story you are telling. Try playing with time, when you write and see whether it helps you make an interesting twist. If not, just keep the consistent order.

Narrative Essay: Format and Structure

  • Opening sentence

This is where you should state your central point. Your readers should be aware of the main idea from the very beginning.

  • Beginning of the story

Let the reader know “where, who, and what”. Make sure that you introduce the character(s), setting, and link up with the actions that will follow next.

  • Middle of the story

In this part, the main event happens. Be clear and highlight the important moments.

  • Climax

The main feature of every narration is climax, the turning point. Usually, it is a dramatic moment, when you provide a solution or a conclusion.

  • End of the story

Make a logical ending of the story. Close both the event and your reflections of it right here.

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Some Additional Tips for You

  • Avoid unimportant details

When working on a story, include only those details that are crucial for it. Details should be informative and provide a wide picture of the narration. Omit everything that doesn’t drive the plot or support the atmosphere.

  • Explain

If you are talking about something that your reader might not know, be it an object, place, or anything else, explain and describe it clearly.

  • Quality vs quantity

If you don’t have a fixed word count, write enough to cover the topic. It is better to be laconic than to overbroad your text.

  • Write and rewrite

It is a rare case when a single draft is enough for a good narrative essay. Write the first one, then come back and improve it.

If you are not sure that composing narrative essays is your cup of tea, then feel free to visit our service and request professional help. We have bright-minded and creative writers to assist you. Rely on the best experts and impress your teacher with a real masterpiece!


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