How to write a good narrative essay

How to write a good narrative essay

Narrative essays are stories based on personal experiences, narrative essay talks about the individual analysis of a real life situation filled with specific details relating to a specific theme. Narrative essays are part of school assignments whereby teachers request students to write a story about their personal experience and relate the story to a specific themes discussed in class. Two components are important when writing such an essay, these include the story itself and a descriptive analysis of the story. Narrative essays also utilize storytelling techniques like characters, setting, the theme, a plot, the climax and the end.

The purpose of writing a narrative essay is to enable students to understand themselves better through writing based on different experiences. The main idea behind writing a narrative essay is to help teachers review student creative skills including how students can connect what goes on in their lives with particular themes.

Preparation process

In most cases, narrative essay topics provided by the teacher as part of school assignments include describing:

  1. Your first day at school
  2. A field trip the class took
  3. Your favorite summer vacation
  4. The most exciting day of school
  5. The day I received my first pet
  6. Your most memorable birthday present
  7. The day you got lost in the park
  8. The saddest day in your life
  9. The most exciting moment of your life
  10. The day you met your favorite singer
  11. An encounter with a stranger
  12. The first time you were away from home
  13. The most dangerous experience
  14. The beginning of friendship
  15. The time that someone wrongly judged you
  16. A misunderstanding that occurred between you and your friend
  17. The most difficult decision you had to make
  18. A time when you visited an amusement park
  19. When something embarrassing happened to you
  20. A journey that was unexpected
  21. A day when the temperatures were getting higher than usual

If the topic is not provided, students are required to review their life experiences and identify a specific event they can connect to the theme provided. The student’s topic choice should focus on a specific event and provide flamboyant details about that particular day. A good essay topic should generate a concise plot with a manageable number of characters. For example, a manageable essay plot can talk about a weekend out with friends but only describes two characters. After choosing an appropriate topic, before writing the essay, students need to recall in detail certain experiences, including the setting, the season, who was involved and what happened before finally coming up with a good narrative.

Structure of a narrative essay

Narrative essay outline

An outline of a narrative essay is divided into three main parts with detailed paragraphs describing more details about the topic. For example, when describing my favorite summer vacation the following outline would be more appropriate

  • Plot of the story, a brief overview of the summer vacation.
  • The character involved, anyone who made the vacation memorable.
  • A setting where the story took place.
  • The climax is what was interesting about the summer vacation that made it worth describing.
  • Conclusion; describing the significance of the story.

Like other essay structures, a narrative essay is structured into three main parts, starting with an introduction, the body and concluding paragraphs. The first section of a narrative essay is a plot. A plot is a summary of the story that includes where it all started and how the story ended.  A plot provides specific details of the story, providing the reader with an overview before getting into the detailed explanations. The introduction informs the audience what the story is all about.

The body

The body of the essay provided more detail about the experience explaining what happened and describes the author`s experience including his feelings. The body of the essay includes a detailed explanation about the main characters in the story and any other person who might be important to make the story more interesting. A good narrative essay should not describe several characters, but only focus on specific character to build up an interesting story. Describing many characters will make the essay broad; the audience will get tired of reading a lot of descriptions.

When describing these characters, it is important to distinguish who is the protagonist and who is the antagonist. The protagonists are the main characters of a story, in this case, should be the writer and any other significant person while the antagonists are those who are against the author’s ideas or situation. After distinguishing the two, the author should provide a detailed description of the story setting. The story setting could be at home or somewhere more fascinating.

Narrative essay conclusion

The final paragraph of the essay needs to provide main lessons from the story and wrap up the story by stating the main ideas. When concluding the essay, the writer needs to provide the summary of the main points he discussed to act as a reminder to the audience. A conclusion also acts as a reflection of the entire story; it involves describing how the event impacted on the person describing it.

Some of the factors to consider when writing a narrative essay

A narrative essay should be natural and presented using the first person pronoun “I.” Readers should be able to follow the story through; the author can use flowery words when describing the setting and the characters. Even though the story is based on real-life experience, the author needs to be creative when building his plot. A narrative essay can use two techniques of writing; the essay can use summaries or scenes. Scenes include a simple moment that takes away the reader out of the main story, while summaries are long, detailed descriptions of a certain event within the story used to prolong the story.

Reviewing the essay

After writing the draft essay, it’s important to review the document. Reviewing an essay analyzes if the essay makes sense to the reader. The essay structure should reveal the most significant moment to enable the ideas to flow freely without much imagination.

Editing an essay is the last step before submitting your work. The essay sentences should flow to make the story interesting. Reviewing the essay includes editing; editing includes correcting grammatical errors and improving the sentences by eliminating unnecessary words and adding missing explanations. Editing should also check if the main point is in line with the theme of the essay. Proofreading is the last step of checking for minor details like spelling, punctuations marks, missing letters and other essay requirements provided by the teacher before finally coming up with the final story.

related articles