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Narrative Essay

Narrative essay is a kind of informal writing that depicts the provided information. This type of writing is mainly used by students of philological, information, international cooperation and historical faculties, copy-writers and journalists. The narrator of the paper can be not its author.

Narrative essays are often used for the control of the huge amount of information in the mass media. The specific feature of this kind of essay is its further presentation on public. It may be displayed in such kinds of media as radio or television news. Narration is based on reliable facts, therefore, gossips and rumors cannot be a source for a professional narrative essay. Very often the arguments are written as theses.

That is why this style has strict standards and requirements that are supervised by the state government. You can find relevant information about the narrative style standards on the Internet.

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How Narrative Essays Work

All narrative essays are designed to share some interesting story that will either make the reader feel something new or change their beliefs about something. Your task is to describe with as much detail as possible how your feelings and perceptions of the world evolved in response to some major event that took place some time in the past. You do not necessarily need to entertain your audience; nor do you need to look and sound funny. When working on your narrative essay, your focus will be on developing a story that can stir the hearts and minds of your audience. You will also present your story in ways that may leave a lasting impact on your readers. Leave some room for further analysis and reflection.

If you want to produce an excellent narrative, make sure that you follow the principles below:

  1. Engage your readers. Do not limit yourself to retelling some incident; engage your readers and make them direct participants of your storyline.
  2. Present all events in a logical order . Don't try to add something that did not take place. It is not fantasy writing. Be realistic and do not betray the logic of the events you are describing in your narrative.
  3. Provide important details to describe people and places. You need to create a narrative that makes your readers feel as if they have seen and smelled the story on their own. Use as much detail as you can to recreate the most valuable scenes.
  4. Leave some room for a misunderstanding; create a tension. Don't be afraid of making your readers feel uncomfortable as they are reading the narrative story; if you yourself experienced the same discomfort, it is worth taking your readers down the same path.
  5. Make it personal and use your own perspective on the events and people. Try to review the relevance of the events you are describing for your present and future.
  6. Be convincing and create an argument; touch people's senses and boost their imagination. Although you are using much detail in your narrative essay, you should still stick to the same point. Try to outline the main thought that you want to communicate to your readers and do not deviate from it.

Narrative Essay Writing Plan

Narrative Essay Writing Plan

Great stories are hard to find. At the same time, even the most boring event can turn into a hilarious story with a talented narrator and a wise use of detail. Therefore, your task is to look back into the past and see what story could make you audience interested. You do not need to run around your neighborhood asking people to share their stories. A perfect narrative essay always describes something that has happened to the writer. You are the direct participant of your life events, and you know how you can best describe every single thing that happened to you during this or that event. Nevertheless, you may want to answer the following questions before you choose a story for your narrative paper:

  • Have you ever faced an event or dilemma that turned your worldview upside down and made you believe in the things you would have never believed in before?
  • Have you ever faced an event, happening, or experience that made you rethink completely your values, principles, and commitments?
  • Have you ever met a person who had enormous influences on your personality and growth?
  • Have you ever made a decision that would be a life changer for you or someone you knew in the past?
  • Have you ever tried to change your life and begin your journey from scratch?
  • Have you been successful in your decision to begin a new life and give up the past?

Now Look in and Follow These Recommendations:

Win or Lose?
This seems to be one of the most popular topics used in narrative essay writing. Most likely, you experienced multiple successes and numerous failures that could move you to the pedestal or throw you into the abyss of nothingness. Why not share your experiences with others to protect them from making your mistakes?

One of the most challenging tasks you may want to choose for your narrative essay is when you lived through an event that changed the course and direction of your daily activities. For example, you won your school's language contest and suddenly decided to pursue a career of a journalist instead of becoming a doctor, as you used to dream of for years. Just make sure that you create a convincing argument of why the event was a life changer for you and include enough details to explain the very process of that change, your sleepless nights, your exhilaration, and your readiness to move ahead.

Everyday Activities

Sometimes, even a commonplace event can help you create a remarkable and memorable story. For example, instead of describing how you won your school's writing contest, you may want to describe how you were preparing for it, your motivation and reason to participate in the contest, and the expectations you placed on the contest itself and its possible results. You need to be honest with yourself, and you will also be honest with your readers. You should try to surprise your audience. You should try to explain the meaning of every event and experience to your readers.

How to Write a Narrative Essay: Core Principles of Effective Writing

When you start to work on the narrative essay or any other essay type, you need to be aware of the general structure and organization of the paragraphs. Particularly, you need to form a clear vision in your mind of how the essay will look like even before starting to write it. To do it, a good option is to start with a plan or an outline. Check out the following description of the narrative essay and its proper organization. 


Start the essay with a hook – some attention-grabbing fact, statement, etc., which will help win attention of your target audience and make them read your essay till the end. Preferably, you should start attracting your audience’s attention right from the opening sentence. You may provide some surprising fact, a definition of some interesting fact, an appropriate quotation, a shocking fact, etc. 

Afterwards, set the scene for the narration. What background information is important for the general understanding of what you write about? Make sure you provide sufficient details on the scene, setting, the characters, the experience, etc. If your story involves some action, indicate what action it is, what characters play the role there, what event is occurring, and so on. 

Make sure to finish the introduction with a strong and clear thesis statement. Here the thesis is different than in argumentative essays. You do not to formulate a claim or argument and further prove it in the paper. You should rather formulate a specific message or idea you would like to convey. As an option, it may include some morale or a learned lesson. 

Main Body

You should demonstrate you are a master of narration and that you can vividly tell the story with the slightest details. Make sure you appeal to all five senses and provide sufficient details. To vividly describe some event or setting, use adjectives, comparisons, similes, epithets, metaphors, and other literary devices that seem appropriate. 

Apart from vivid narration and detailed description, make sure you provide examples and illustrations that are a kind of supporting evidence. When providing a narration of a specific event, make sure you adhere to the order of story-telling. Particularly, it is recommended to tell about the events in a chronological order. It will make sure that you pinpoint to the logical connections between different events. Moreover, you need to provide appropriate transitions between the sentences, paragraphs, and ideas. 


In the conclusive paragraph, emphasize on the main findings, the lessons learned, the morals of the story, etc. The story should be logically complete by now. Moreover, you can add your own reflection or evaluation of the event. Indicate what you have learned in particular (if anything). How has the event impacted your life?

Narrative Essay Writing

Now do not forget the most important things as you are working on your narrative essay:

  • All narrative essays are presented from the first-person perspective, which is why you will have to use ‘I’ throughout the paper;
  • All narrative essays incorporate rich and verifiable details. Use them to create a powerful impression on your readers;
  • Use the basic conventions of storytelling while working on your paper; it must look and sound as a story and not as a combination of dry facts. 

By and large, the main role of narration is to present the story. That is why in most cases narration is presented in a form of the report that comprises the content in details. Throughout the essay it is advisable not to use personal evaluation and criticism.

Any kind of emotional and personal comments is not allowed in the narrative essay. This type of writing deals only with stating the facts and should follow publicity style. Thus, well-written essay does not contain any dashes of personal analysis.

In the mass media information is hidden by a narration cover. That is why the presenter describes only facts without negative or positive evaluation. The main requirement of introducing the facts is neutrality and impartiality.

Click on example of narrative essay

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