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Friday Jul 27, 2018

How to Write a Narrative Essay

Sometimes teachers, instructors, and professors tend to go overboard by giving their students strange assignments. They get so carried away that they forget to tell them how to do it. Or, perhaps they tried to, but you were absent or weren't listening to their explanation. Sometimes, we get so stressed out about them that we don't understand the instructions and spend hours googling for answers on how to deal with these assignments.

Since you are reading this, you want to know how to write narrative essays. Yes, you have your professor's instructions, so you need to check them out first. But, those might often lack some vital details, which is why you have to do a bit of research before working on your assignment. It is always a good idea to use several sources and study some essay examples.

In this guide, we will provide some valuable tips for writing a narrative essay. With those, you will fear nothing when your teacher assigns you with a written task like that.

What Is a Narrative Essay and Why Do We Write It?

Not being a scientific paper, a narrative essay is an entirely different type of writing. Therefore, if you feel that writing research is not your thing, relax a bit. However, there are lots of features you have to consider. If you've already googled the narrative essay definition, you know what we're talking about.

This type of essay wants you to tell a story. As a rule, a topic of the story has to bear on the subject you're studying at the moment. If you were to define this type of writing, you would find out that it has a lot in common with other essay types. Therefore, a narrative essay is an essay with a central object, point, event, or character, around which you have to develop your narration.

Does the Narrative Essay Format Differ from Others?

Typically, you can use a five-paragraph structure for this paper. However, several important bits make it rather specific, along with individual factors that may influence the format of your narrative essay. When writing it, always keep in mind these three "must-haves":


You can't write a narrative essay without characters. To achieve a realistic story, you will need someone who will follow a specific behavioral pattern, act in different situations, and do other relevant things.

  1. Character
    • You can't write a narrative essay without characters. To achieve a realistic story, you will need someone who will follow a specific behavioral pattern, act in different situations, and do other relevant things.
  2. Motif (Theme)
    • A theme of your narrative essay should be presented in the thesis statement and dwelled upon in the body paragraphs.
  3. Dialogue(s)
    • Dialogues play an important role in the narration. With their help, you'll capture the conversation between characters. Besides, dialogues make characters look more realistic and "alive."

Working on the Narrative Essay Structure

The structure of a narrative essay is identical to that of your usual 5-paragraph paper. That is why your text should be divided into three main parts: introduction, main body, and conclusion. The first and the second one will be divided as well.

If you don't know how to start a narrative essay, keep in mind that your introduction has three subparts: the hook, scene setting, and thesis statement. The main body should be divided into three paragraphs that start with a topic sentence. For example, while describing a situation, break it into three parts, three logically connected segments, with each of the paragraphs providing no fewer than three critical details of your narration.

How to write a narrative essay introduction

If you cannot figure out how to begin a narrative essay, use these strategies. As mentioned above, the best way to grab the reader's attention is to start your essay with an intriguing hook. What can be used as the hooking sentence? Depending on the topic and content of your essay, you can use a famous person's quote, a saying from literature, or a funny anecdote. These are also less conventional ways of starting an essay such as asking your readers a question, stating an unusual fact, adding some statistics, or describing a setting. Choose what you feel is essential to create a particular mood from the very beginning.

Our narrative essay introduction example will help you choose the best idea for your essay.

"Have you ever faced a situation when your help and good intentions turn against you? My school experience shows that this is a common situation, with any action having a potential of producing unexpected results".

Working on a thesis statement

Thesis statement for a narrative essay shouldn't outline the whole paper. However, it has to give hints to readers what the essay is going to be about, making them interested and motivated to continue reading. For example, as per the essay introduction we referred to earlier, the thesis might be:

"If you're not afraid to take on bullies harassing your classmate, be prepared that teachers can blame you for what happens next."

Hints for your conclusion

Now, we move on to the final section of your paper and see how you can end a narrative essay. Do you need to summarize the narration, or will the story itself be enough in this case? Even though you are focused on it, you undoubtedly learned some lessons from the situation described in your paper. That is why the conclusion should mention your point of view, some experience that made you better or changed you in some way, etc.

Why do you need a conclusion for a narrative essay? First of all, it will leave your readers with a sense of closure. Additionally, it reveals why this story is so important and what you as one of the heroes have learned from it.

10 More Tips for Writing a Narrative Essay

The task of writing a narrative essay looks easier until you start writing it. If you still think that your storytelling skill needs improvement, you can use our tips and examples for inspiration:

  1. Use descriptive language. Your narration should set the scene, creating a picture in the reader's mind. Merely retelling the events makes the essay flat.
  2. Write your story in chronological order.
  3. If you're writing about a person, don't forget to describe their appearance, character, and behavior.
  4. When writing about a place or a specific object, provide your readers with all details describing why this thing matters to you.
  5. If the main topic of the essay is an event, try to describe your actions, what happened to you at this time, and how it influenced you.
  6. Keep your readers interested in dialogues and details of your story because narration should have certain suspense.
  7. Provide fewer details in each paragraph of the body (up to 3) to avoid overloading your story with lots of unimportant information.
  8. Proofread and edit your work. Start writing your narrative essay earlier so that you have enough time to complete it before the deadline.
  9. Make several drafts before submitting the final paper. Writing an excellent narration on the first try is impossible.
  10. At this point in your college career, you should already know the weaknesses in your writing, so pay attention to them.

Some Good Narrative Essay Topics

Choosing good narrative essay topics is no less important than following general recommendations. When you like the subject, you will have fun and inspiration when writing about it. And, remember to use lively language and vivid descriptions in this essay. The topic list:

  1. Describe the most memorable trip you've ever been on. What makes it so important?
  2. What decision in your life was the most difficult to make?
  3. Are there any childhood memories that become ever brighter with each passing year? Describe them.
  4. Three things in my life I'd like to change right now.
  5. Write about strategies that help you think outside the box.
  6. Have you ever faced a situation when things didn't work out the way you planned?
  7. My first day at the university.
  8. Describe a moment or a situation when you started acting in a way you never did before. What made you do it?
  9. Imagine a popular TV show is going to make a program about your city. Describe three locations worth showing.
  10. How can you identify your musical taste? What people or event influenced your choice of music?

And that's a wrap on our guide! Read it a couple of times for better efficiency and get to work. And if something looks way too daunting, you're already on the website of the best custom writing company out there.

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