How to Write a Narrative Essay


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When giving a narrative essay definition, one can simply explain it as a story that is written about a particular experience and often involves personal involvement into that matter. A narrative essay gives the reader a chance to relate to the experience and is one of the most effective ways of catching the reader’s attention to keep their eyes on the page.

What is a narrative essay?

A narrative essay is the best form of showing readers your feelings or experiences rather than just telling them about it. When writing a narrative essay, one can easily reflect one's actions and recreate the influence this experience had. A good narrative essay will make readers feel involved in the situation itself. It also creates a great canvas to completely recreate the story and events that follow. The essay would often contain contrasts, conflicts and tension that make a strong impression on the reader.

How to start a narrative essay

When looking for narrative essay ideas, it is really important to give your essay a strong intro. By doing this, you immediately catch the readers' attention and they will want to keep reading. You can use a wide variety of interesting ideas when writing a narrative essay.

  • Quotes – Starting your essay off with a great quote from literature or from a famous person will give it that extra edge you need to keep a reader’s attention.
  • Question – Asking a question at the beginning of your story will force the reader to read further in order to find the answer.
  • Shocking statement – Being unique is the best way of writing a narrative essay. Giving a shocking statement at the beginning of your story will immediately intrigue the reader.
  • Interesting fact – When writing a narrative essay, you can even give an interesting fact that will catch the reader’s attention and make him/her want to keep reading.
  • Statistics – Giving a unique statistic about the story you want to write will give the reader an indication what the story will be about.
  • Setting – Describing the setting of your story at the very beginning will create a vivid picture that will undoubtedly captivate your readers.

Narrative essay structure

Keeping the narrative essay structure clear and clean will ensure that you have a polished writing piece. A typical narrative essay will follow a structure of an introduction, body paragraphs and a conclusion.

When writing an introduction of a narrative essay, keep in mind that you need to start your essay with a strong statement, question or fact. You also need to create a setting in order for the reader to know who the characters are, where the story is taking place, and whether the story is fiction or non-fiction.

If you are writing body paragraphs of the narrative essay, you need to make sure to show the readers what you are trying to say rather than just tell a story. As a narrative essay is mainly based on personal experiences, you need to ensure that the story has evidence of the events that happened. When writing body paragraphs, you also need to make sure that the time line in which you write your story makes sense. If you jump between the past and present, the reader might get confused with the timeline.

When writing the conclusion of your story, you need to reflect on the events that happened, write a moral of the story, and let your readers know what you have learned through the events that occurred.

How to end a narrative essay

Ending a narrative essay should make the reader feel satisfied with what he or she has read. Although it does not always need to have a happy ending, you need to conclude your essay as strongly as you started it. If you wrote about a past experience, it is beneficial to conclude your essay by writing about how you currently feel about the situation.

You should always let the reader decide how to feel about the outcome of the events. They might be happy that the events turned out to unravel themselves, or they might feel that the story was not concluded. It gives the reader some room to depict what might have happened after they have finished the story. Many writers prefer to write like this as it lets the reader wonder about the events long after the story is finished.

When concluding your narrative essay, you need to reflect on how you feel about the events. Sharing your feelings with readers results into compassion towards the main character in the story. You need to remember not to explain the whole situation at the end of your story. Give the reader some room to make conclusions with your guidance.

Spilling words out onto a page is never easy, especially if those words contain events that were a part of you. But writing the first word and then the second one will make everything easier, and you might even wonder how well you can handle certain unexpected situations!