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How to Write a Narrative Essay?

Here’s how to write a standard narrative essay. (you can download this file from my site "" as well.)

How to write a narrative essay?

Ø  Introduction:

  • The narrative essay tells a story, usually written from the viewpoint of one person, often the writer, in the first person singular.
  • The focus of a narrative essay is the plot, told with enough information to build the climax.
  • It has the simple pattern of a story and narrates your experience to the reader.

Ø  First steps for planning a narrative essay:

  • Identify the experience that you want to write about.
  • Spend a good deal of time drafting your recollections about the details of the experience.
  • Create an outline of the basic parts of your narrative deciding what you’ll include in each paragraph.

Points to ponder:

o    Conflict Element

§  The narrative essay includes some type of conflict that the main character, also known as the protagonist, is forced to acknowledge and deal with. It can be an external conflict between two people, or it can be an internal struggle affecting the protagonist.

o    Narration type:

§  Once a topic is selected, the writer should decide on a point of view. Most narrative essays are written in the first person, but they can also be written in the third person. If you are writing a fictional narrative essay, you can choose either point of view.

§  However, avoid the second-person narrative because an important part of the narrative essay is the fact that the writer experienced the events described. 


Ø  Start of essay:

  • The essay can start with a grammar sentence describing weather or the main character etc.
  • The start can be straight forward illustrating your main idea.
  • You may start with briefly describing the significance of the experience you are about to narrate like for instance ‘It’s been 10 long years and even now it seems like the incident which changed my life from hell to heaven took place yesterday.’

Points to ponder

o   Make the start engaging and interesting.

Ø  Details and Development of the essay:

§  Details should be incorporated in the narrative essay that not only tell the story but engage the reader as well. The narrative essay should have concrete and specific details that support the topic and add colour and depth. This is done through the use of the scene and summary methods. The scene method uses evocative and very detailed descriptions of a situation, which are reserved for the one or two key scenes in the narrative essay. The summary method gives a brief summary of events and is used in the rest of the story.

  • Use vivid details and descriptions to actually recreate the experience for your readers.
  • Add as much detail as necessary, keeping in mind that the reader does not know anything which is in your mind.

Points to ponder

o    Do not muddle up the essay by giving unnecessary details.

o    In addition to telling a story, a narrative essay also communicates a main idea or a lesson learned.

o    Paint a specific picture with your words so that the reader can see everything with your eyes. Use concrete language rather than describing things in the abstract. Let them see the house you grew up in using your words.

o   There ought to be a climax and suspense throughout the narration.

Ø  Ending:

  • If you haven’t described the significance of the event before describe it in the last paragraph and end with the lesson which could be derived.
  • Simply finish it with the end of the story.


Points to ponder

o   The end must not be vague.

o   Consider revising the essay for grammatical errors, punctuation etc. and see if it is completely coherent, orderly and clear.

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