The very first thing you think of when someone mentions essay is that you have to make an argument, find evidence, and write it in a somewhat philosophical manner. But, it doesn’t always have to be like that. Did you know you can tell a story through essay? I’m talking about narrative essays, a unique style of writing that combines the best of both worlds: storytelling and essay composing. The chances are high you’ll have to compose this type of paper sooner or later, and when the time comes this post will come handy. Throughout this article, I’m going to show you how to create an outline for a narrative essay and make your professor or client happy with the quality of your work.
What is a narrative essay?
A narrative essay is defined as a type of writing wherein the author narrates or tells the story. The story is non-fictional and usually, deals with the writer’s personal development. Unlike in other essay forms, using the first person is acceptable in these papers. Narrative essays can also be anecdotal, experiential thus allowing writers to express themselves in a creative and more personal manner.
Despite the fact you’re telling the story through the narrative essay, you must not identify it with a short story. How? Short stories are usually fictional and allow essay writers to change the plot, add different characters or rewrite the ending in a bid to better fit the narrative. On the other hand, with these essays, the author is required to pull a cohesive narrative arc from memory and events that, actually, happened. Just like other forms of essays, this style of writing needs a thesis statement. In fact, the entire narrative in your essay aims to support the thesis you wrote in the introduction. As you already know, short stories don’t require thesis statement and you’re not required to prove anything.
Narrative essay structure
If you’ve never written a narrative essay before and you need help essay online at this moment you’re thinking how complicated it seems. The beauty of this writing style is the ability to get your point across through a story and it’s not that difficult when you know how to structure it correctly.
Just like with other types of essays, a functional outline is essential. That way you know what to include in different parts of the paper and everything it entails. I have created diagram below to help you out.
An intro isn’t just a small paragraph that you have to write in order to get to the “real stuff”. If an entrance of some amusement park isn’t interesting, you’d feel reluctant to go in. If the first chapter of the book is boring, you’re less likely to ditch it. Essays aren’t exceptions here, the beginning or starting point is essential. Introductions attract reader’s attention, makes him/her wonder about what you’re going to write next.
The introduction of the narrative essay is written either in the first or third person. It’s recommended to start off your work with a hook including some strong statement or a quote. The sole purpose of the hook is to immediately intrigue your professor, client, audience, and so on. As seen in the diagram above, after the hook you have to write a sentence or two about the importance of the topic to both you and the reader. Basically, this part has to be written in a manner that readers of the paper can relate to. You want them to think “I feel that way”, “I’ve been through that” etc.
The last sentence (or two) of your paper account for the thesis statement, the vital part of your essay. The reason is simple, the thesis informs readers about the direction you’re going to take. It allows the audience to tune into author’s mind. Since the primary purpose of every essay is to prove some point and your story is going to be told for a reason, the thesis cements your overall attitude and approach throughout the paper.
The introduction should be:
Now that your introduction is complete, you get to proceed to write body paragraphs. This is where all the magic happens, it’s the part wherein you start, develop, and end the narration. The number of paragraphs in this section depends on the type of narration or event you want to write about and the plot itself.
This segment starts with the setting or background of the event to allow readers to understand relevant details and other necessary info. Every great story starts with the background, a part where you introduce the reader to the subject. Make sure you enter precise details because that way the readers are more involved in the story.
Besides important details about the subject and event you’re going to describe through the narrative essay, it’s highly practical to introduce characters or people that are involved in some particular situation. Describe their physical and personality characteristics. However, ensure that characteristics you include are relevant to the essay itself. This is yet another point where narrative essay differs from the short story. When writing a short story, you get to include all sorts of personality traits to develop your character. Here, you only mention those that are important for your thesis and narrative. Instead of listing characters one after another, introduce them through the story. The best way to do so depends on the type of the subject or event you’re going to write about, different kinds of topic require a different approach. Regardless of the approach, you opt for to introduce characters, always stick to the “relevant characteristics” rule.
Short anecdote or foreshadowing, basically, refers to details establishing conflict or the stakes for people regarding some specific situation. This part is a sort of precursor to the onset of the event. Use these paragraphs to explain:
- How things started to happen
- What people involved (characters) did to reach the point where the event of your story was imminent i.e. point of no return
- Detailed description of the situation
- How you felt about everything
TIP: Bear in mind that this doesn’t, necessarily, have to refer to some unfortunate event with tragic consequences. You can use the same approach to writing about other kinds of situations that lead to a more optimistic outcome.
Logically, the event has to reach its climax, a breaking point of the story, which requires detailed description. Don’t forget to include emotions, how it made you (or someone else) feel. The climax should be accurate, don’t exaggerate and stray from the truth just to make it more interesting. Instead, make this part more vivid, include powerful words and adjectives to make readers feel the tension and emotions you experienced.
After every climax, there comes the resolution good or bad. This is the part where you write how everything resolved. Without this segment, the narrative would seem incomplete and your hard work would be ruined.
So, body paragraphs should contain the following qualities:
- Detailed descriptions
- Relevant details
- Accurate information
- Powerful adjectives to truly depict the situation
You finished the narrative and before you’re done with the writing part of the essay, it’s time to conclude it. Just like the intro, this paragraph also bears a major importance. The conclusion should provide moral of the story, reflection or analysis of the significance of the event to you and the reader. This is yet another opportunity to make readers relate to your paper. Use this segment to describe what lesson you learned, how did this event affect/change your life, and so on. Depending on the subject, you could also include call-to-action to raise awareness of some growing issue in the society.
Dos and don’ts
- DO start your essay with a question, fact, definition, quote, anything that you deem interesting, relevant, and catchy at the same time
- DON’T focus only on the sense of sight when writing narrative essay, use all five senses, add details about what you heard or felt
- DO use formal language
- DO use vivid details
- DO use dialogue if necessary
- DON’T use the same structure of sentences, vary them to make the writing more interesting
- DO describe events chronologically (it’s the easiest way to tell the story)
- DO use transition words to make it clear what happened first, next, and last
Tips to remember
- The goal of narrative essay is to make a point, the event or story you’re going to tell needs some purpose
- Use clear and concise language
- Every word or detail you write needs to contribute to the overall meaning of the narrative
- Record yourself talking about the event to easily organize different details
- Don’t complicate the story; imagine you’re writing the narrative for a child. Would he/she understand the narrative? That always helps to simplify text
- Revise, modify, edit, and proofread
Narrative essays help you get some point across through storytelling, but you shouldn’t mistake them for “regular” short stories. I explained how to structure your work, differentiate it from short stories, and how you can easily develop your narration. Following the outline will help you write a high-quality essay and diagram from this article can serve as a visual clue you can use to compose your work. Start practicing today and write a narrative essay about some major event in your life. You can do it!
Image courtesy of Amra Serdarevich
How to write a narrative essay and how to make it an interesting piece of art to read? You don’t need to get something big and fancy. Just tell a story in an interesting manner and create a perfectly-organized paper.
Let our team of writers explain to you what is a narrative essay, its goal, mission. Remember, you can always order any paper from us at the most reasonable price.
What is a Narrative Essay
What is a narrative essay? These are writing tasks that students are assigned to complete at various moments of their high school and college life. This type of writing involves telling a story from your life that is relevant to the theme you have in class. The narrative essay may be enjoyable and fun if you take a right approach. Proceed reading to learn how to write a narrative essay.
The structure of your paper is very similar to all those typical essays you’ve already written. It goes with the same typical 5 paragraph structure:
- Introduction – goes with one paragraph to present your topic and idea.
- Body – has three or more paragraphs to tell the actual story.
- Conclusion – is the short summary of your thoughts and consequences.
How to Choose Narrative Essay Topics
It is always hard to start. Think about a story that describes a topic given by your tutor. The paper should involve two components:
- Narration (story)
- Analysis of that narrative
Your essay can be about some theme, concept, or topic illustrated with the help of your personal narrative essay story.
These papers do not involve any outside sources or research. Various how to write a narrative essay articles state that your personal story is the source of evidence. It is a support for a statement you are up to make. It is absolutely true.
It is a perfect way to test students’ creative skills of storytelling, their ability to connect your experience to a theme discussed in class.
How to Write a Narrative Essay Introduction
An effective essay tells a specific story with clear details. The way is comprehensive. It is not a novel. You should make it concise and fairly contained. Limit it regarding setting, plot, and characters. Choose a story from your life, like a family vacation, a weekend with a friend, a spoiled holiday, or anything like that.
- Broad stories make a bad essay. Avoid narrative essay introduction starting with “This summer,” or “In my childhood” as they are far too big to highlight specific details required for a story writing.
- Pick an event from your childhood or your summer, not something that takes a long time to unfold.
- Also, limit the number of characters in your story. Include only those who are essential. Every friend from your childhood years will be too much. Pick one of them. Then come up with the title for your paper.
How to Write a Narrative Essay Outline
Outline the plot before you begin your writing. Where does it start and where does it end? Write down a list of the most important marks in your story. It is the best way of making sure you will include everything and do not miss anything. You need to include the components of a narrative:
- The beginning
- The middle
- And the end
An outline helps to limit things and keeps you focused on the important marks only. Your narrative essay outline should not be a formal one. This part really helps you write. Include major scenes and organize them.
How to Write a Narrative Essay Conclusion
The Conclusion is your last step and final word in the story. Restate your aim and consider few main tips:
- Do not forget that your Conclusion is not just the end of a story.
- A conclusion has to continue a sequence of facts presented earlier.
- Do not blur the timeline as you write: let the audience track your sequence of events.
- You learn something and tell about your discovery to the others in Conclusion.
- Do not leave the reader without a finale, which is not very good if it is not your literary device.
- Your essay has to make people interested even after they finished reading.
Narrative Essay Example of Storytelling
The setting is a very important part of a good story. You should mention the place where the characters are and where the story occurs. Is it a city, or a country? Is it home? Outside? Describe the location where the situation occurs and make it a part of your narration.
Make sure that a topic is illustrated in the story clearly
After you have written your narrative essay conclusion, read the entire paper once more and look for your theme. The relevance to the main statement you make should be very clear. Don’t leave your reader with a question. Answer it before he/she gets the chance to ask.
How to Write Narrative Essay: Basic Steps and Tips
Writing process of this type of a paper is also a great experience. Your future depends on narrative essay topics extremely. You are reflecting the event and giving the experience to other people – your readers. This is the most exciting part of this type of articles. We are going to talk about it later. Now let’s get some tips structured:
- A piece of writing recreating the experience through time is called a narrative essay.
- You can base your essay on your own experiences on the experiences of other people. No matter past or present.
- You are not just telling a story; you are also giving the idea and lesson to your reader.
- You should find and identify the experience you are going to write about.
- The experience should be significant.
- You should focus on recollecting the details of your experience.
- You should create an outline and imagine the basic parts.
- You should use your outline to describe all parts of your essay.
- Try not just to describe the thing was happening. Tell your reader how and why it was happening.
- Try to become your reader and to think like them.
- Remember that for your readers you are the main source of information about your experience.
- Don’t forget about small details.
- If you have finished your draft, try to spend some time away from it. Then read it with your fresh mind and eye.
- You can ask some people to read your narrative and tell you their impressions.
- Ed more details where they are needed.
- Remove some parts and sentences that seem to be unnecessary.
- Try to use the most effective order to present your information.
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What is a Personal Narrative Essay
This type of papers is often quite personal. That is why people call this type of papers a personal narrative essay. You give the readers insight into your experience. Just tell them about the things that changed you somehow making a difference for the rest of your life. We’ve all had these moments something changes our views. It influences our personality. This task is a great opportunity to write about it.
Choose a topic that allows you to provide a relevant story. Then just follow it. The idea of a compelling first-person narration is not the only one. The paper can entertain your readers, excite them or even help them get over a hard period in their lives. The stories of people who’ve overcome disorders or those who managed to get out of a really difficult crisis are very similar to narrative essays. Think of the way your essay can help others follow you. It will help them to overcome the problems they have.
The narrative essay seems to take its rightful place among the most exciting writing tasks for those who fancy creative assignments. It is not a definition essay or anything of that type. It is quite close to the experience of a real writer: you have to tell a story a personal narrative essay story that will touch the readers. It is a great chance to unleash your creative side not worrying about enough research or referencing. You just write from your heart.
How to Present Your Story
The way you tell your story and the way you felt at that time is just as important as the sequence of facts itself. The same situation can be perceived in different ways by different people. All the important things in your narrative essay are about the changes in your life, your ideas, your worldview.
Your story does not have to be too serious if the subject is not tough. The stories of serious crises are a good. It is not the only option. You can write about a funny situation that affected you somehow or can tell about something important. Or how you have learned that it is necessary to be more forgiving to people.
Why is it Important to Learn How to Write a Narrative Essay
Why write a narrative essay? Most of the students don’t see any reason for it. They take it as yet another kill-time writing task and do it just for the sake of a grade. Who would take the tell-the-story assignment seriously?
That is a shallow perception of narrative essay writing. It seems to be a waste of time for students. It is an opportunity for them to display their creativity and writing style. I admit it. This type of essay may not be the most important academic assignment like a research paper. It is rather a tool that helps reach the summit of writing craft.
Narratives Teach Us to:
- To be concise. This is a problem with many students and even professional writers who don’t want to learn how to write a narrative essay correctly. They drag out an idea for several paragraphs if it can be covered in few words. This isn’t the message of great value that they convey, it’s just waffling without a concrete answer to the question. This is where narrating stories can help you work out brevity of writing. Just define the purpose of the story and try to stick to the core.
- To be creative. It’s not for nothing that an essay is that frequently assigned at schools and colleges. Every time you are asked to tell a story you are expected to come up with new, fresh ideas. If you practice different approaches, you make progress. You write in monotonous style, you just make no headway. Hence your writing and thinking skills remain at the old-time level.
- To be eloquent. A good engaging story depends on words. Carefully chosen, targeted to get the message across the audience, they absorb reader in a story. This is a good way to enrich your vocabulary and polish writing style. This is because story includes descriptions, characters, and a plot that has to be dynamic.
- To express yourself with confidence. Remember, you write narratives not just to fit academic standards and earn a grade. The real value of this genre lies in making you express your bold views without being afraid that it’s not appropriate. It also helps a writer find his voice and come to realize that his ideas have value.
Few Classic Narrative Essay Topics
- A childhood event. You can tell about your any first-time experience.
- Achieving a goal. Tell people about the greatest important achievement in your life? It can be some easy achievement. It will be very important exactly for you.
- A failure. Sometimes reading about someone’s failures can also be interesting and very instructive.
- A good or bad deed. It is always a great challenge for a writer to talk about things like that. Readers will appreciate that.
- A change in your life. Some important and significant change in your life.
We hope this article has answered your question about what is a narrative essay. In the end, any essay writing skills won’t gather dust like an old grandma’s chest because they are sure to come into play either in professional life or everyday communication. If you still have doubts about how to write a narrative essay or want to make sure you are doing everything correctly, just call us anytime, and our team would like to help you out right away.