Narrative Essay

Narrative Essay Definition

A narrative essay is a common academic assignment, in which a student is supposed to present a narrative that fits in the content of the taken course. It is a task that introduces the students to the concept of critical thinking in terms of their experience, attitudes, and perceptions.

In most cases, a narrative essay presents a description of series of events or a single event which caused significant shifts in behavior modes, perception, attitudes, and outlook. Thus, there should be two integral parts of a narrative: the story about the event and corresponding reflection.


Peculiarities of Narrative Essay

There is a wide range of narrative essay topics that the students can take to share their own experience and opinions or present an interesting or instructive story about some other person. The most important thing is to create a great emotional appeal and realize that the narrative always gives the foundation to some larger writing project. According to the Norton Field Guide to Writing, telling a story is to be done in a clear sequence with relevant details included; the only thing is to check whether they are pertinent to a certain rhetorical situation.

Creating top-notch narrative essays requires having certain skills and experience of writing. An entry-level student may even feel confused and lost while choosing the proper tone of narration, searching for ideas and starting the draft.


Having chosen a topic that seems to be the most appropriate and exciting for you, do not start writing a narrative essay at once. Sit back and spend some time on collecting ideas and then free-writing to get all the possible details that can make the essay unique and thought-provoking. Look at the even from different angles and keep your readers interested in the pace of developments in your story. Do not forget about entertainment, the readers should not be bored.

How to Start a Narrative Essay?

First of all, try to consider the following questions:

  • What is the setting of the event?
  • How does it look like?
  • What is the weather like?
  • Is there anything unusual in the setting?
  • Who is involved in the event?
  • How do the characters look like?
  • Which dialogues are interesting?
  • How do you feel about the event?
  • Do you sympathize with the characters?
  • Are you happy with the development of the events?
  • Have your feelings changed in the end?

Draft Organization

A good narrative essay always has a well-organized draft. The narrative can be presented in different forms. You can present the events sequentially in a chronological order from the logical beginning to the ending. Besides, you can use flashbacks or start your narrative from the end or the middle of the events. A focus on a certain event is a great method when you want to highlight its importance.

A good narrative essay definition does not set you any limitation about how you will unfold the story. For instance, a narrative essay about passing the ACT test can start with the description of the feelings you had in the morning anticipating a challenging trial. This opening scene can be very strong if you provide bright descriptions of the tightly gripped pencil or wet forehead with drops of sweat on it. From a vivid opening scene you will proceed to the procedure of the test and then to its results.

Writing narrative essays can be easier if you have a look at the high-quality examples of how a draft can be organized effectively. If you re-arrange the ideas and introduce some changes into the structure, you will add to the uniqueness and special character of your essay. You will achieve your aim if the readers will not merely read through the words but see the pictures and sympathize with you or the characters.

Draft Revision

After having great ideas for a narrative essay, all you have to do is to present them properly. Revise your draft answering the following questions:

  • Is the story focused on a specific event?
  • Do you follow a narrative essay format?
  • Are the details relevant?
  • Are there unnecessary details?
  • Is the essay free of typos and mistakes?

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