Narrative Essay

You probably know that writing an essay requires building an argument, finding evidence, and following the traditional conventions of academic writing. However, this task doesn`t always have to be done that way. There is an essay type that requires telling a story. It is called a narrative essay. Narrative writing combines two major aspects: composing and storytelling. Creating a narrative essay outline can be pretty challenging, especially for those who do not have relevant writing experience. Since the chances that you will need to work on this assignment sooner or later are high, you need to figure out how to complete it successfully. In our efficient guide, you will find numerous tips and practical advice that will help you create a brilliant narrative essay. Let`s get started!

The Purpose of a Narrative Essay

The key purpose of writing a narrative essay is always to tell a personal story. As a writer, you need to tell about your real-life experience to your reader and make a clear point about why this story matters.

What makes this write-up different from others? In a narrative essay, you don`t make any arguments, provide criticism, or persuade your readers about something. In fact, this is the most important feature of this paper.

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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.

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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?

How to Write an Outline for a Narrative Essay?

Creating an outline for narrative essay can be pretty challenging. Yet, you can do it successfully by following common suggestions. First and foremost, you should understand that your outline should be based on chronological order. The more detailed outline you create, the easier writing process will be. The best way to create a narrative essay outline is to treat your write-up like a children’s book that has an engaging beginning, a detailed main body, and a good conclusion. Let’s discuss the main parts of a narrative paper:

  • Introduction

Captivate the attention of your reader with a good hook. The main purpose of this element is to engage your reader and make them interested in what is written in your essay. It is appropriate to include a rhetorical question or a joke that is related to the subject of your paper. Besides, this paragraph should explain how your story is related to your life. Finally, your opening paragraph should include a thesis statement that will state the central point of your story. To understand how to write a thesis statement for a narrative essay, you need to study some samples available on the web.

  • Thesis for Narrative Essay

A narrative essay thesis is a particularly important element of your essay. It is usually put at the end of the introductory paragraph to empower the effect of the story. A thesis statement is your central argument. Thus, it should be clear, informative, and subject-related. Pay attention that it should not be a well-known fact or suggestion. Instead, it should familiarize the reader with the problem and provide hints into its outcomes.

  • Main body

Typically, the main body part consists of three main paragraphs:

  1. Description paragraph. In this paragraph, you need to describe your life before the situation or subject you are writing about;
  2. Story development paragraph. In this paragraph, you need to add as many supporting details about the subject as necessary to tell your story;
  3. Story climax and final paragraph. As its name suggests, you need to include the climax of the event described.
  • Narrative Essay Conclusion

Once the first two parts of your essay are ready, you need to write the final paragraph. As well as an introduction, a conclusion for narrative essay has great importance. In this part, you need to restate your thesis and summarize the main points. Also, you need to leave your readers with something to think about. Depending on the subject, you may raise their awareness about the particular issue by adding a relevant call to action.

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What Are the Main Characteristics of Narrative Essay Writing?

Narrative essay writing is based on three main elements: characters, themes, and dialogues.

Characters are very important in every kind of academic writing, especially in creating personal essays. By describing the characters involved in the story, you enable your readers to understand this story in a better way.

The themes and motifs presented in the story are also very important. To focus on the most interesting themes, you need to divide your main body into several parts and elaborate on them.

Finally, dialogues are used to capture conversations between the characters. If you are wondering what is the purpose of dialogue in a narrative essay, it defines how the story will be portrayed to the reader.

How to Write a Narrative Essay Outline in MLA Style?

MLA is a common formatting style that is widely used in the educational community. Narrative essays usually follow this format as it makes the stories flow smoothly. If you are supposed to follow MLA format narrative essay, then you should be aware of its rules and mechanisms:

  • Don`t include the title page unless it is required. You need to indicate your name, the name of your tutor, the date, as well as the type of your assignment at the beginning of your first page;
  • Use Times New Roman 12pt. font;
  • Use the tab key for indenting your paragraphs.

If you have any questions about the personal narrative essay structure or its formatting, you need to meet your professor and discuss the task with them. Many students face various difficulties with writing their narrative essays because of various reasons. If you need some help with this assignment, you should not hesitate to contact our writing service and place an order.

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Got Stuck on Writing Your Personal Narrative Essay Outline?

Below, you will find a couple of recommendations that will help you turn your narrative essay outline into a brilliant write-up:

  • Take some time to choose an interesting title for narrative essay. Please note that your topic should be clear and engaging;
  • When working on your outline, don`t forget that your essay should tell a story;
  • Use clear and concise language;
  • Don`t include awkward or irrelevant details in your essay;
  • Don`t make your story too complicated. Remember that your audience should enjoy when reading it;
  • Make sure to revise your outline when it is written. A thorough revision of the outline will greatly facilitate the writing process.

Pay attention that by submitting a boring story full of trivial statements, you will never receive a good grade. The writing process will take a considerable amount of your time and effort and you have to be ready for that.

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