How to Write a Narrative Essay with a Good Structure

What is a narrative essay? At the entrance exams, students rarely write narrative essays. As a rule, the story is used in high school for learning and mastering such concepts as composition and plot. The process requires the ability to understand the structure of the story written by a master of the poetic word, the attempt to write the story itself and develop the ability of aesthetic perception of a work of art, and form the ability to briefly and dynamically expound narrative texts on the principle of artistic narrative or literary editing. The narrative describes successive actions, and tells about the events in their time sequence.

how to write a narrative essay

How to Write a Narrative Essay

A narrative paper for college includes such components as the initiation, the development of action, the culmination (the most important moment in the development of the action), and the denouement (the end of the action – a concluding paragraph). Since in the narrative text the action comes to the fore, it often uses lexical means, denoting a temporal sequence or a change of phenomena, and the verbs are used in the past tense.

On the narrative parts of the artistic text, an entire essay can be constructed. Narrative writing is the most simple kind of work. It can deal with current events, the life of people (or cities, countries, etc.), the nature of some kind of activity, and so on. Narration is usually artistic, but it can be purely informative. Writing a narrative story includes information about successive events.

The typical error of narratives is an unjustified repetition of words in the original part of the statement containing the same type of information. To avoid this, it is necessary to pay attention to how the professional authors do without repeating the words indicating the main character or the sequence of events.

One must keep in mind a certain regularity in the use of verbal forms. So, verbs of the past and of the perfect kind allow to transfer the change of actions, to emphasize their sequence, achieving the result. However, imperfective verbs are also needed: they give the opportunity to emphasize the duration of individual actions; the verbs of the present tense represent events as if they were occurring before the eyes of the reader; the form of the future tense conveys the impetuosity, the unexpectedness of this or that action.

To successfully cope with the narrative text, you need to clarify its theme and the main idea (sometimes it is enclosed in the title of the text). Then you need to identify micro-topics and try to head each of them. Work on the presentation is systematized if the student answers for himself or herself the following questions:

  • Is there information in each of the fragments, without which the subsequent narrative will be incomprehensible?
  • What details are important for developing the action, for revealing the main idea, and which ones can be omitted? Why?
  • How should the thought expressed in each fragment be formulated more concisely?
  • How does the author relate to the characters?
  • Which of them can be called the main character? How does this character relate to the main idea of the text?

What is the purpose of narrative writing? The narrative writing disciplines the student’s thought, accustoms to the consistent transfer of facts, and promotes the ability to establish the cause of what is happening, to separate the main from the secondary and to uncover the composition and idea of the work.

Steps for Writing a Narrative Essay

  1. Choose a topic. In order to correctly and successfully choose a topic for yourself, you should think about which of the proposed topics can you write an interesting narrative essay on. If the topic of the essay is not a quote, it is written without quotes (if the title of the essay is a quotation, we write it in quotes).
  2. When the question with the choice of the topic is solved, we start writing the essay. You should remember and write out a draft in a short statement: the words of critics, the dates that matter for this topic, the quotes, and everything that comes to your mind. Do not waste time – write in the abbreviation, sketch diagrams, and write material in any kind and sequence. After you have remembered and recorded the necessary material, build a logical chain using the material. Denote for yourself what will be the main part of the essay, and what is the auxiliary material.
  3. Write a narrative essay outline. It will serve as a plan for your essay. Formulating a plan, you can not use verbs in any form, except the infinitive form. It is also better not to use interrogative sentences in the wording of the plan. When using the quotation plan, we write the quotation in quotes, and write down the name of the author in parentheses, at the end of the quotation.
  4. Adhering to the plan, we highlight paragraphs in the essay. In order to build a logical chain, you need a plan of writing. It will be the foundation of your work. Formulate the main ideas, and determine the content and sequence of writing. Making a plan of the essay is to break it into fragments (parts of the text), mentally highlighting the main stages of the path along which your thought will develop. Each such fragment is a microtext, which can be equal to one paragraph, and can consist of several details. Each microtext will correspond to the plan item. It is important that it be united by the main idea, which has its beginning, development, and completion within its boundaries.
  5. As a name, not individual words or sentences are rendered to a plan, but detailed phrases. Separate words are too “narrow” and specific, and the main idea or topic is rather difficult to convey. But complex sentences do not fit, because they represent an already completed thought. It must be a phrase that is more suitable for the plan. It is a kind of semantic unity that carries information in a collapsed form. And in the essay itself, this information is unfolded, and the thought reveals itself.
  6. But there are also possible formulations in the form of questions to which answers are given in the essay. It is important to remember that the plan carries information on how your essay is built – specific information about the content of each part of it. The essay must be “viewed” through the plan.
  7. After composing an outline, the introduction should be written. How to write a narrative essay introduction? The introduction, as a rule, outlines the main idea, sets the tone for all work, and introduces the scope of problems under consideration. Keep in mind that you need to grab the reader’s attention, so that it will be interesting for a reader to read your essay further.
  8. Write the main body of your essay. If there are dates in the essay, they are written with figures: years, numbers, and centuries in Arabic, but small numbers below 10 are written with words. When writing citations, you should arrange them according to the punctuation rules which you can find on the web. Without quotation marks, and in the middle of the sheet, poetic quotes are written in which the verse line is preserved.
  9. Check for the presence of spelling errors and pay attention to each word, as many students miss the letters in words, but this will be a mistake. Then, check the punctuation. It is better to begin checking from the end of the text, so you will not be distracted by the content and pay maximum attention to punctuation and spelling.
  10. Writing the essay on the exam allows the teachers to compose an authentic portrait of the entrant which will show the cultural and intellectual degree of the graduate’s development. There is not so much time given to write a good essay in an exam. Therefore, it is better for yourself to set a time limit and try to write an essay within this time (in the exam, this will give you confidence and that the time that you are given is enough for you).

Narrative Essay Sample

If you need to write a narrative essay, but don’t know how to do it right, check out one of the narrative essay examples written by a professional writer. Writing a strong narrative essay requires an author to add interesting information in an engaging way and our samples prove this statement. The following essay will help you to organize your own paper and make it flow. Like other narrative writing examples, this essay has a proper structure with compound, complex, or interrogative sentences to make writing more interesting. The writer used descriptive, emotional, and precise words – you can use them as well in your own paper. In any case, remember that you can’t present this sample as your own paper and hand it in to your teacher.

Click the images to see their full size.

narrative essay introductionnarrative essay outlinewriting a narrative story

Useful Tips for Writing a Narrative Essay

  • The first and the most important tip is to remember that you’re writing a story, not just an essay. So your thoughts should flow in an appropriate order. You can begin with a short explanation of why you chose a particular story to tell and end your writing providing a lesson to learn from your story.
  • You should begin your work with the analysis of the topic, on the basis of the analysis of the theme of the essay, you choose the material, the main facts, and the key points of your paper. The analysis is best done on the question-and-answer principle.
  • It is advisable to start your essay with an interesting quotation or even phrase from a popular movie or song – this will instantly intrigue your readers and make them want to read further.
  • The epigraph of an essay is not an obligatory part. An epigraph briefly tells about the author’s idea. A successful epigraph testifies to the understanding of the topic by the author, and reveals the idea of the essay. A good epigraph can brighten up the work. A bad epigraph can spoil even good work and will affect the final grade.
    The introduction of the essay should be bright and attract attention. No need to use templates. Be sure to use the wording of exactly the question you are working on. A historical introduction gives a brief description of the relevant era, analyzes the social, economic, moral, political, and cultural relations of that time. An analytical introduction is an introduction where you immediately declare yourself as a person capable of analytical thinking and capable of analysis. A biographical introduction is the introduction where the right direction in the disclosure of the topic will be: facts of life, the history of the creation of the work, the views of the writer or artist. A comparative introduction provides the comparative analysis of the subject considered in the work with analogues of the epoch that is carried out. A lyrical introduction is one of the universal means, and connects the subject of the work with your life experience.
  • Avoid long-winded sentences, especially in your introductory paragraph.
  • When writing your body paragraphs, make sure each paragraph is about one particular message. Don’t put all of your thoughts in one paragraph – develop your plot step-by-step.
  • Also keep in mind that this type of essay requires that you write from your own point of view, so use appropriate words to express your own mindset.
  • If you are not sure of the correct punctuation, rewrite the sentence. The correctness of writing a word which you have doubts on can be replaced by a synonym. The main part should be more detailed and make up three-quarters of the entire work, and the introduction and conclusion should make up one-quarter of the corresponding part of the piece, respectively. Corrections in the essay are permissible and will not be considered for an error. Teachers check only the final version, so rewrite the draft with utmost care.
  • When rewriting, follow the harmony and proportionality of the parts of the essay. The main goal of the introduction is to bring the reader to the main part. The introduction can be minimal, consisting of two or three sentences. Do not make it cumbersome. The main part and conclusion are the two most necessary components of the essay that show your understanding of the topic. The conclusion should contain a synthesis or a brief summary. If this part of the essay is missing, the grade drops sharply. Try not to write the conclusion in a hurry at the last moment, since it leaves the overall impression of your work.

personal narrative essays

How to Write a Personal Narrative Essay

Personal narrative essays are about personal experience that is presented in the first person. When you are writing a narrative essay, you should provide an emotional impact for readers. Try to use as many vivid details as possible. If to talk about personal experience, a few words can be said about the impact on you of this or that book or the work of a writer or artist, for example.

The main part of the essay is an expanded delivery of the main idea of the work, providing answers to questions that were formulated earlier in the introduction. You should give a proof of your words, necessarily reinforcing them with vivid examples. Try to reveal the theme of the essay more fully, from your personal point of view, as you write your personal story.

The author’s voice must be present, as the essay is your work, and you do not need to write other people’s thoughts as your own. The conclusion is one of the key parts of the narrative essay. In it, you draw conclusions from your narration of the topic. A big conclusion section is a big minus, which says that you can not summarize your thoughts concisely.

The introduction and conclusion should not be more than 25% of the entire work, the main part being 75% of the work. Try not to use insignificant facts, minor details, and even more, to reflect on these facts and details. Quotes should be used deliberately, as a large number of which will kill your author’s component. Each quotation must be in place. Quotes are a very powerful tool that should be used according to the following rules:

  • In no way can you cut the quote, or replace it with words, changing its meaning, forgetting the exact spelling, or replace what you do not remember with the ellipsis. It must be accurate.
  • It is possible to retell the quote with words close to the text.

Keep in mind that you should tell a story that has a particular point to be made. Readers should get a clear idea or a lesson from your paper. Tell your story with the usage of emotional language and proper details.

Did you write a good paper?

Awesome academic experts that want to help desperate writers like you get their work done.

Sign up for our newsletter and receive our exclusive guides to writing top-notch academic papers.


Business Letters

Business Papers

Business writing