Complete guide to writing a narrative essay

Narrative Essay Guide

Introduction

Narrative essays are something that you would get to write during your academic life. It can also cross your path if you have literature or a writing-based career. A narrative essay has its unique aspects but has somewhat similarities to descriptive essays. 

Starting from school and then college, students often get to write narrative essays. Honestly, it can be a hectic task if you don’t know the way to write it. Hence, you should be aware of how to complete such a task.

Through a narrative essay, you have to offer a compelling story to the readers. Doesn’t it seem easy? Yes, it may seem easy. 

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But the fact is, it’s pretty challenging to provide an engaging and compelling story to the readers. You have to tell a story creatively to attract the readers into reading the entire essay.

By being creative while writing a narrative essay, you can test your abilities to experience engaging and compelling. You can also understand the narrative structure effectively and appropriately.

If you want to know how you can put your storytelling skills to use in academic essays, then you’ve got the right place. This article will teach you what a narrative essay is, how you can structure and outline it, and some tips you can follow regarding the same.

Let’s dive into what exactly is a narrative essay.

What is a Narrative Essay?

A narrative essay belongs to academic writing or an essay that revolves around telling a story. In such essays, you have to create scenarios that look realistic and compelling to the readers. It’s meant for narrating your experience in the form of writing.

Narrative essays are experimental, anecdotal, and personal to express yourself in creative and innovative ways. You have to think about where your story begins, where it ends, and how you define it.

Narrative Essay definition

It is that type of essay where the writer has to tell a story from their point of view or experience. It helps grab the reader’s attention, which helps the reader understand the essay better. 

Purpose of a narrative essay

The narrative essay objective is to share stories- whether real-life or fiction- depending on you. It’s all about sharing stories with the readers to understand your point of view and imagine the story from your perspective.  

In a narrative essay, you have to tell your readers about a real-life experience. At the same time, you also have to add why you are telling that story and why it matters. 

It’s different from the other forms of essay. In a narrative essay, you don’t add arguments, criticize or even persuade the reader. You just guide them throughout the entire story to make them understand how it happened.

A narrative essay aims just to tell a story to the readers; here, you are letting the readers draw their own conclusions without your opinions. If you want to write a perfect narrative essay, you have to add the conventions of storytelling, setting, plot, climax, and ending. 

Now that we know the purpose of a narrative essay, let’s get to its types.

Types of Narrative Essay

Usually, there are two types of narrative essays. Thus, you can write a narrative essay in two different forms, which include:

Descriptive narrative essay

A descriptive narrative essay is the most creative form of essay. In such essays, the main aim is to describe an experience, memory, or situation with the help of using vivid details of particular experiences. 

The primary purpose of a descriptive narrative essay is to show the story, not just tell it. In such essays, you have to create a clear picture of your story for the readers by giving out the proper description of your topic clearly and creatively. It should evoke your readers to read the essay impressively and excitedly. 

A descriptive narrative essay is a type of narrative essay that is simple and easy. It lets the readers understand your story better by narrowing down all the complex parts and then allowing its readers to infer the rest effectively. 

There is no place for exaggeration in such an essay, and you should always stick to the primary purpose. Limit exaggeration and tell a genuine story with creativity and compelling words that can attract your readers.

Autobiographical Narrative essay

Another type of narrative essay is an autobiographical narrative essay. In such an essay, you have to share the true story of something throughout your life. But you can’t jump from one event to another. 

In such an essay, you should have one particular event in your mind and stick to it while writing the paper. It is different from the descriptive essay since rather than focusing on the details, autobiographical narrative essays focus more on the entire story and the purpose. 

It is like telling a story about your life from your point of view and letting the readers know your purpose behind it.

How to write a narrative essay?

While writing a narrative essay, you have to be aware of the guidelines required for the same. If you don’t follow such guidelines, you won’t write a narrative essay effectively. Some of the guidelines that will help you to write a narrative essay are as follows: 

Consider your topic

You should be fully involved with the topic of the essay. You should share your experiences properly with the readers, and they should feel your story. Hence, you must focus on your topic and write accordingly.

Create a draft

It would be a great idea to draft your story first before putting it as a narrative essay. Without planning, you can’t achieve successful results. Hence, you should create a draft of your essay and add all the details to make it perfect.

Proper explanation

The readers haven’t lived the experience that you are sharing., So until you clearly explain what happened and how it happened, they won’t understand. Thus, try to express your point of view clearly, and why you behaved in a certain way during the event, you are sharing.

Avoid unnecessary details

Unnecessary details can stretch your essay without reason, which can bore and even confuse the readers. Hence, don’t add any details which aren’t relevant to the topic. 

Write clearly

Remember that you aren’t writing the essay for yourself. It’s for the readers. Hence, it should be understandable for the readers. For that purpose, you have to write in simple and easy-to-understand words. 

Describe events chronologically

When you are writing a narrative essay, you can’t just move from one timeline to another in between your storytelling. You can add details to your story in chronological order so that the readers don’t get confused about what happened in your story. 

Read some examples

The best way to know how you can write the perfect narrative essay is by reading an example from some famous narrative essays. You can get examples online. After reading those examples, you will get an idea of how it’s written and how the flow goes.

Follow guidelines

When writing a narrative essay, ensure that you follow all the guidelines regarding the format, outlines, and any specific guidelines added by your instructor. It will help you ensure that you are writing the essay in the right way.

Highlight your essential points

When writing an essay, it will be better for the readers to understand your concept if you highlight the main points of your narrative essay.

Revise the essay

One of the most crucial things that we often forget is rereading our essays once it’s written. You are a human, and you can make mistakes too. It can be a grammatical error or anything else. You can revise it yourself or even ask your friends/family to read it for you to point out mistakes easily. 

Narrative essay format and structure

The narrative essay format and structure is also important aspect when it comes to writing the essay. To ensure that you are writing your essay the right way, you have to draft an outline first which will guide you through compelling narrative essay writing.

Like any other academic assignment, a narrative essay also consists of an introductory paragraph, the body part, and a conclusion. However, it isn’t similar to other academic assignments. Each part of a narrative essay has its own specific purpose that you have to consider writing a narrative essay. 

Such an essay usually consists of 5 parts which are:

  • The introduction includes insight into your story and helps you state the purpose of your writing, along with a hook statement that compels the readers to read more of it.
  • The body (1st paragraph): This paragraph incorporates the rising action of your story where you get into the details of your story.
  • The body (2nd paragraph): In this paragraph, you have to add the climax of your story.
  • The body (3rd paragraph): This is the last part of your essay’s main body where you have to add the falling action of your story.
  • Conclusion: Your narrative essay ends at the conclusion, where you have to add the lessons learned from the story.

These are a few ways by which you can create a compelling narrative essay structure without any hassle. Let’s discuss how you can effectively outline these essay structures to draft the perfect narrative essay. Let’s jump to the details:

Narrative essay outline

Before drafting a narrative essay format, you should know the guidelines for writing it, which we have already discussed in one of the above sections. Once you know that, you can start with the outline.

Introduction: 

When outlining a narrative essay, the first part is the introduction section. There are three goals of your introductory paragraph, which include:

  1. Engagement: You have to start with a hook to engage your readers. You can use hooks like a question, fact, quote, or an intriguing statement that can make your readers excited to read more.
  2. Knowledge: Another crucial aspect of an introduction is giving the readers some knowledge of your story by setting the scene. You don’t need to disclose the entire story. You only have to provide a glimpse of your story to the readers that interest them more. 
  3. Purpose: Your introduction should also include insights into what your story is about and its purposes. You can add something which would give the readers an idea of what they can expect in the story but don’t expose everything as you have to keep them engaged till the end.

The Thesis Statement: 

Another significant part of a narrative essay is the thesis statement. You can present it in the last part of your introduction paragraph. After that, you can also restate it in your concluding paragraph.

It’s the main argument of your narrative essay. The main objective of a thesis statement is to introduce what problem, issue, or argument you will investigate in your essay. It will spark the interest of your readers, and it may also be the driving factor that leads your readers into reading your essay.

The Body Paragraphs: 

The central part of your essay would be the body part. In this part, you need to tell all the details of your story, including what and how it happened. In the body of your narrative essay, you can add 3 or more paragraphs depending on the length of your topic. 

Some important things to notice while writing the body of your paper include:

  • Including relevant details: The body includes your essay’s main details. But it doesn’t mean that you can just add anything to it. Here, you have to add all the relevant details and avoid adding anything irrelevant that may confuse your readers.
  • Adding dialogues: Adding dialogues can add more value to your essay since it adds an interesting factor for the readers to keep themselves interested. It creates a story-like scenario in the reader’s mind and a story-like atmosphere essential for narrative essays.
  • Writing chronologically: The readers would have problems understanding your essay if you mix up the timeline of events. It will stop the readers from getting a clear idea of your story. Hence, you should add events to your story in chronological order.
  • Proper narration: The type of narration in your essay is essential, and you should choose wisely. For example, if you write about a personal experience, then a first-person view would be perfect. But, if you are writing someone else’s story, then it would be better to write in a third-person view.

The Concluding Paragraph: 

The last part of your narrative essay is the concluding paragraph. In this part, you can add some final comments on your story, and you can also add a summary of your main points present in the body part here in the conclusion. Moreover, you can also add the lessons that you have learned throughout the story. 

Conclusion

A narrative essay means putting down your storytelling skills into the paper. But, it is also the difficult part of such essays since storytelling is not something everyone is good at. However, it doesn’t imply that you can’t write an excellent narrative essay.

If you practice your storytelling skills, research examples of a narrative essay, and implement all the guidelines and narrative essay format, you can achieve your goal. It will make writing your narrative essay easier. 

This article contains everything that you would need to write an excellent narrative essay without any complications. 

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