A Comprehensive Guide on How to Write a Narrative Essay

November 15, 2018
How to Write a Narrative Essay

There are those memorable events that take place in peoples’ lives. Normally, the happenings can be written in the form of an essay to offer great lessons to the readers. A task that requires a student to know about writing a narrative essay is a platform to describe these events in a way that can be easily understood by the readers. The events should be presented sequentially for the readers.


Moreover, the reader should also be left with something worthwhile to think about regarding the experiences of the author. To make the whole task easier, you should sharpen your story-telling skills. In the course of doing research, you are likely to come across different ideas on how to write these essays. You should be careful not to be misled by some of these tips since most of them have been prepared by people who do not have the required level of expertise in this area. Through this text, you should be able to know exactly what is expected from you as far as the work is concerned. Consequently, you gain the proficiency that can be helpful to you.

What Is a Narrative Essay? Here Is What You Need to Know

As mentioned above, a narrative essay tells a story, an event or a happening from the perspective of the author. The stories presented should be factual, and the reader should be able to relate to them. If you are given a particular topic to tackle, customize the content to reflect your personal experience. On the other hand, if you are allowed to choose a topic that you are comfortable with; pick an event that is likely to evoke the emotions of your readers. Write in a way that the readers can draw a lesson from your experiences.

Wondering How to Start a Narrative Essay? Here Is How

When you have a narrative essay to complete within a given time, it is crucial that you do not postpone the task. The submission deadlines are never stagnant. Every second you waste may prove crucial in the long run. It is important to follow the procedure below to ensure that you do a nice job:

Understand the Type of Work You Are Dealing With

Usually, the first step is to comprehend the question or topic that you are supposed to handle. Where a topic has already been chosen for you, organize your thoughts in such a way that the story you give is related to the work you have. For instance, if you are told to narrate your first day in school, it is inappropriate to talk about your first day in an amusement park. Where you are allowed to choose a topic that is interesting to you, ensure that it is one that is touching. This way, you can recall all the events that took place at the point of the happenings.

Moreover, the story should be engaging and attract the interest of your readers. Besides, understanding the instructions of your instructor. The things that you should take into consideration include the volume of the essay and any other formatting guidelines that you should comply with.

Have an Elaborate Plan on What to Do

Any expert will tell you that it is important to have an organized plan to write a good narrative essay. For instance, you should create time that is adequate for putting your thoughts together so that the flow of your story is not haphazard. There should also be sufficient time for writing itself now that you know the number of words that your essay should contain. Lastly, avail enough time to proofread your work so that you do not submit an essay that is full of careless grammar and typographical mistakes.

Brainstorm and Put the Thought in Order

You do not want your readers to be confused because they do not even know where the events in your essay begin or end. Such can happen if you have not put proper thought into what you want to write about. Find a quiet place and have some short notes on how the events follow each other in your story. Some of the important details that you should not miss to include the day of the happening, the actual time the events took place and the exact people that were involved. Before you begin the actual writing, ensure that the flow is proper and the readers can easily comprehend your message.

Read more: 75 Narrative Essay Topic Ideas

The Guidelines for Writing a Narrative Essay

Apart from the specific instructions from your instructor, there are also the narrative essay guidelines that differentiate them from the other types of essays. For example, you should bring a personal touch to the story by using the first person’s pronoun ‘I’ as you write your narration. Do not assume that the reader knows some things. You should include even the small details since the reader was not there when the event took place. Write the story in such a way that the reader can create a clear mental picture of what happened.

For these essays, you are supposed to give a vivid description and opposed to dwelling on generalities. For example instead of using a statement like ‘when they abandoned me in the forest, I felt sad’ replace it with a clearer statement like ‘when they abandoned me in the forest, I felt like my world had come to an end. I did not know where to turn for assistance’. In the second statement, the reader can tell your level of devastation.

Moreover, the essay should also be authentic. Do not introduce imaginary events that cannot happen in real life. However, the readers should be compelled to read it given the attractive way in which you narrate the happenings. Use the right words in appropriate contexts. The grammar used should also be correct.

Narrative Essay Structure

For the story to flow logically, you should write the details properly. Conventionally, an essay should be subdivided into three sections; an introduction, the body, and a conclusion. In the context of a narrative essay, some details have to be included:

  • Introduction

Give the reader an idea of what the topic is all about. Say something about the incident that you are going to describe. Also, explain why you chose that exact event instead of another. Hook the reader to your story. However, at this stage, do not give out many details. For instance, when you begin with a statement like ‘this is one of the best feelings I have had in a long time,’ you make the reader want to know more about the direction of your story.

  • The body

Describe the events in details. Mention all the characters that were involved. Give the timelines of the things that happened step-by-step. Maintain the sequence to make it easier to follow. To make it clearer and add life to the story, you can add dialogue to it. Besides, you can also add your personal opinion and feelings about the events in question.

  • Conclusion

Here, you should tell the reader the relevance of the story to your life. Also, leave the reader with something to think about what happened to you.

Narrative Essay Example

Narrative Essay

Sometimes, over-consciousness turns out to be the cause of problem. In this essay, I have shared one such experience from my life. According to my own standards of smartness, I was always a bit overweight for my age and height. Although I was not obese, yet I could be called as slightly chubby. I am otherwise very good looking by the grace of God, but I have always thought that shedding 5 to 10 kilos would have a dramatic effect upon my looks for the better. Unfortunately, in all these years of extreme effort and anxiety, I only managed to add some kilos to my weight instead of reducing some. But now when I reflect upon this journey, I see that it was my over-consciousness that kept me in the problem for all these years.

It so happened that in an attempt to reduce my weight, I started to skip meals. When I got up in the morning, I would not have the breakfast. I would starve in the school and eventually, in the 15 minutes break when half day was over, I would not be able to keep further control over my hunger and would end up eating deep fried Indian samosas with two soft drinks. Although that satiated my hunger for the while, yet it put me into a state of distress because the satiation was achieved on the cost of my self-control. I hated myself for losing control over my hunger. After some hours, when I came back home, I used to skip the lunch. Mum cursed me for not having meals and I was made fun of by siblings and father for this stupid habit. But I was determined not to eat because I had already lost to myself in the school. But how can a boy of my size and craving for food live without it? I did not have any answer to this question that kept hammering my mind. Eventually, by evening, I would take my purse and tip-toe to the bakery. There, I used to have a pastry, a jumbo size chocolate bar, and a pack of biscuits. Again the temporary relief was followed by loads of curse and self-pity. Overwhelmed with grief, I would go to bed earlier than the appropriate time in an attempt to escape the dinner. In my effort to reduce my weight, I was not only torturing mum and dad, but was also punishing myself. I would starve for hours and then end up consuming much more fats than the home food would have fed me with.

Mum took me to a psychologist and he told me that my problem was “over-consciousness”. He told me that if I continued the same routine, I would be obese in no time. Replacing loaf and cereal with pastry, chocolate, ice- cream, samosas, soft drinks and biscuits was no way of becoming slim, and starving was out of question. He advised me to just take home food with family upon breakfast, lunch and dinner and leave eating junk food. I worked upon his advice and it worked for me. I realized that the problem in all these years was not my weight, but my over-consciousness.

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