Write a Narrative Essay: Some Guiding Tips

Boy Sitting on a Cliff

So your home assignment is to come up with another nice piece of writing, which your teacher has nicknamed a narrative essay? Alright! Here we are to make out what you can do about it, so that your writing received your teacher's admiration and therefore a high grade.

Certainly, there is a necessity to clarify such a cause and effect relationship between the impression your teacher will get from your work and the grade you will be given. You see, the thing is that unlike some other types of essays, a personal narrative doesn't imply either argumentation, assessment critical analysis or research. It's actually about narrating some life stories and memorable life experiences which are significant to you for some reason.

Now let's move on and see how it all should work.

Specifying a Narrative Essay Type

What definitely draws attention at the very first sight is the fact that a narrative essay should be both a narrative and an academic essay. Such kind of text takes its style from the former, while its writing standards and structure are determined by the latter. To put it simply, your personal narrative should look like a five-paragraph story written in a light conversational manner, with the proper vocabulary used as well as all spelling and grammar rules followed.

A Few More Words About the Style

Although it includes many different aspects, there're some general things to highlight about the style of the narrative essay before going into further details.

  1. Firstly, there shouldn't be any tints of biographical writing. Of course, if there's such a need, you can logically insert some essential biographical facts into your text. However, you should base your narrative on a specific episode of your life and not on your whole biography.
  2. Secondly, there's no place for the description of your daily routine. Again, you can mention some of its sides in several sentences if it does matter for the narrative in general.
  3. Thirdly, take into account what your reader would like to know about you and your life. This doesn't mean that you should strive for meeting the literary expectations of your teacher. Think about what could be really interesting to tell another person about yourself and what experience could be really worth sharing.

A Few Words About the Main Topics

Basing on everyday surveys, conducted among students since 2009, the New Your Times has collected top 500 narrative and personal writing prompts. They've divided all the topics into several categories and published the list in their online Learning Network. Here they are.

  • Memories from childhood.
  • Coming-of-age experiences.
  • Family, home and community.
  • Personality issues.
  • Facing and overcoming adversity.
  • Gender issues.
  • Religion and morality.
  • Technologies, social media and the Internet.
  • Arts and Literature. Cultural issues.
  • School life and environment.
  • Jobs and careers.
  • Love and friendship.
  • Sports.
  • Travel.
  • Holidays and traditions.
  • Current events and politics.
  • "If-only" rubric.

Clarifying the Structural Features

Girl Writing an Essay

The narrative essay should consist of three standard parts and five paragraphs. Nevertheless, sometimes its main part may include one or two paragraphs more provided that you need them for logical connections or contextual amplifications.

Functional Intro

The first paragraph of a narrative essay should have a hint on the purpose of your writing. Think of what is so significant and enticing about the story you want to tell. Also, describe the scene of your story vividly if the content requires it. Besides, a good intro should start with a good hooker to attract the reader's attention and focus it on the following narration.

Informative Body Paragraphs

They present the main part of your story. Here you provide the descriptions and details, introduce the characters and reconstruct the events. Don't forget about consistency and chronology of your narration.

Conclusion with Your Final Claim

Although it may seem quite commonplace, you should try to finish your narrative with the restatement of the main introductory thrust. Such essay writing manner demonstrates that you've been sincere to your reader and to yourself by sticking to one specific idea, which you've tried to carry to him or her through your narration.

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