Narrative Essay

A narrative essay tells a story and usually the story is about the writer. This type of essay, unlike other essay types, gives the writer an opportunity to write about himself and express his ideas.  However, the narrative essay should be written in a way that is not only interesting, but also in a way that conveys a specific theme or a lesson that provides insight to the reader.  Some general guidelines for writing a narrative essay in this manner have been provided below.

Purpose of the Narrative Essay

The purpose of the narrative essay is to allow the writer to use certain personal experiences or events in his life to express his ideas and thoughts.  Narrative essays are written from a specific point of view and are typically written in first person, although third person (he, she, it) can also be used.

Narrative Essay Format

A narrative essay follows the typical format of an introduction, body paragraphs and conclusion.  However, they do not usually require reference material so there is no need to conform to citation styles.  The introduction is usually brief and to the point.  It should include a little background information and an explanation of the topic to be discussed via the thesis statement.

The paragraphs in the body of the essay are where the meat of the story is and are where all your information and examples are presented.  Since the narrative essay is relating a story, the paragraphs are typically written in chronological order and each paragraph should discuss only one idea or point at a time.

The conclusion is similar to other essay types in that the main points and important elements of the essay should be restated. Good use of transitions between all the paragraphs including the conclusion is important as well.

Tips for Writing a Narrative Essay

  • Include vivid descriptions by explaining what you see, hear, taste, smell, and feel.
  • Write descriptions that are specific and use concrete, sensory details rather than abstract, vague language.
  • Make sure that whatever event or experience you plan to discuss will be appealing and interesting to your readers.
  • Read an example narrative essay or two to get ideas for topics and to see how to properly construct a narrative essay.
  • Consider buying some narrative essay examples that you can use as a model for your own essay and as guides to proper narrative essay writing.
  • Involve your audience; try to find some kind of common theme or generalization that your story supports, but which will also be something that your readers can relate to.
  • As you write, keep in mind that a narrative essay should contain the following elements: plot, character, setting, climax, and ending.
  • Make sure that there is a point to your story and that it is clearly conveyed to your readers.

Ideas for Topics

  • Winning a competition
  • Losing a competition
  • A personal best
  • A personal loss
  • A frightening experience
  • An important milestone
  • A difficult decision
  • A first job
  • A memorable vacation
  • A regret
  • An embarrassing moment.

A narrative essay is an opportunity to have fun and relax a little during the writing process, but it still requires effort and attention to important writing skills.  And, as with all essays, proofreading, attention to detail, good use of vocabulary, and patience are the key to creating a quality essay.

Recently published narrative essays