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How to write a narrative essay: Step-by-step guide with ideas and examples

This article contains a valuable piece of information from experts on how to write a narrative essay for excellent scores. Almost 90% of the students every year struggle to find a relevant guide on narrative essay format. The reason could be the missing attention on specific details required in a good narrative. Here, you will find each step you have to go through for framing your essay in a presentable manner. Improve your writing skills with us and explore narrative essay topics trending this year. We also provide you with one of our best narrative essay samples so that you could be able to reassure the apt writing structure.

A Brief Discussion on what is a narrative essay

A narrative essay tells us about the experience of events, interactions and a detailed point of view by the author. The most common way to define it is telling a story and forming those storyline elements required in academic writing. More often, students got confused to express narrative essays as a form of personal experience only. However, they can be non-personal as sometimes you will be provided with narrative essay prompts from your teacher. In this case, you have the basic idea but you need to create a whole structure of narrative essay based on prompt.

It is like you are providing the reader with all the sensory details of a story. Those details should not be too defined keeping in mind the interesting pattern of readers. A narrative essay always follows a vivid plot, unlike a descriptive essay. The verbs used are clear and vibrant. But, unlike a short story, all content within the essay revolves around a specific motif. It should contain a purpose, well-set organization and use of the first person throughout the essay. You can describe your life-related themes to leave the readers with an interesting moment.

narrative essay writing, how to write a narrative essay

A perfect guide on how to start a narrative essay

After being consumed narrative essay definition, let’s consider how to write a narrative essay right from the starting point. Here are some points you should follow step by step to write an outstanding narrative.

• Choose an appealing topic (You can take help from the top list of topics given below)

Your first task is to choose a demanding topic for the essay. It can be from various experiences such as life, travel, school, relations, college or any of your interests. The job is pretty easy if you got narrative essay prompts from your teacher else you have to choose a good topic on your own. Start by reading inspirational essays over the internet to get an idea. Narrative essay generally revolves around personal theme or conflict. However, you can also choose one topic that will consist of research and references from the internet for additional information.

• Do some research over the theme

To make a narrative essay format, briefly do some research for the theme. Sources of research could be the internet, a narrative essay sample or other narrative essay ideas from the professors. Think of how you can include some vibrant details for the selected theme. As the professor would not want any simple basic structure, so go for unfolding details within your essay that should rightly resemble the plot. Keeping in mind the storytelling part, your narrative should be coherent and convey a specific mood. A consistent theme with a vivid plot is ideally acceptable to the reader.

• Indulge yourself in generating personal ideas to describe the experience

Along with the research, personal creative thinking skills are required in a narrative essay writing. Even though the story selected is not personal, still, you need to add some personal touch to the experience. It is mandatory to get the reader’s attention. In the absence of a personal idea, your essay will just look like a piece of unattractive academic paper. Make use of particular language and images to describe the rich experience. Moreover, narrative essays are non-fictional. So, generating personal ideas are compulsory to tell the readers about the actual happening of the story and not just a fiction.

• Learn the correct format for presentation

The success of a narrative essay goes hand in hand with the writer’s style. The correct format for presentation means the acceptable way of presenting a narrative. Right from the introductory paragraph to the closing sentences, your narrative essay format should be precise. Divide content into three parts namely the setup, central part and a climax with an exciting conclusion. The presentation also includes producing the right structure for the writing process. Learn to show value for your story via an amazing presentation.

• Always proceed with step by step for achieving outstanding results

Follow a step by step strategy for writing a narrative essay. It will not only help you keep organized but also keeps you on track each time for great results. To know how to write a narrative essay step by step, make sure to understand how to start a narrative essay as explained in these points. To proceed from the thinking process to the actual writing process, go through the following information. These steps include right from framing the outline of the essay till proofreading.

Complete your narrative essays writing process like this

narrative essays writing process

In this section, we are going to discuss a sort of secret sauce that our writers follow to frame a tempting narrative essay. Let’s see what those steps are.

  • Recall details to ensure a consistent point of view

Recall details of the entire project you want to create. This step doesn’t consume much of your time as it’s like a quick recap moment of your thinking process. It will help you ensure a consistent plot all over the essay. You can recall the topic, your ideas or any of the inspiration you got about the topic. After this phase, proceed directly to the narrative essay outline.

  • Frame an outline

Make an outline depending upon the two rules. The first rule is you should limit the length as long as your professor asked. And, the second rule is limiting the length as short as you can to make it informative with no fluffy language. While framing an outline, kindly keep in mind the purpose of the whole essay. We recommend opting for a basic alphanumeric structure. It can be subdivided into capitalized letters, Arabic numbers or lowercase letters as per your preference.

Moreover, there should be coordination between your subtitles as well as section titles. You can make use of different outline structures to show your outline. For developing a thesis statement of your essay, include it in outline as well. Your thesis statement should not specify what is good or bad, but it should signify the sentence that what makes it good or bad. After an introductory phase, provide essay body information in the second section of the outline. Beneath the main point, also include supportive references to back the central point. So, this is how to write a narrative essay outline in an organized manner.

  • Make your narrative essay structure

The structure is almost similar to outline except that we will talk in detail for what to write exactly in every section. As you know already how to start a narrative essay and make its outline, the job is pretty easy to frame its structure in this way. For ease of learning, keep the outline short and define with subtitles in this section. It is like you are explaining every title which will further help you to write easily.

A structure of a narrative essay should always be in sequential order. As stories usually have the beginning, the middle and the end, so make use of chronological transitional words such as later, afterward, while, meanwhile, finally, since and so on. While framing the structure, also keep in mind the plot, characters, conflict, and the theme.

  • This is how to start a narrative essay exactly while writing

Start your writing with an appealing introduction giving a glimpse of the whole story. An introduction should be interesting so that readers can be made curious to read about the whole story. Also, describe in two to three sentences that why the story places a value or is important to you. Then, make a thesis statement in one to two sentences. After that comes the main body where you talk about the incidents happened in the story. Remember to keep it short and informative.

Focus on making a perfect hook for your narrative essay as without an interesting hook, there are high chances of losing the reader's interest. A good narrative is always interesting to read, fun to write and meaningful in some context. It is mandatory to start your narrative essay with a good hook sentence to set the tone for the rest of your story and grab the reader's attention without losing their interest.

  • This is how to end a narrative essay

Like other essays, narrative essays also end up with a conclusion. Here you can refer to your thesis again and tell the readers what you have learned from the story. The conclusion should resonate and not dictate. Many a time a narrative essay looks bad if the conclusion lacks the vision, logic or revelation. Therefore, it is important to reflect on what you have learned from the story. End by explaining the solution to the problem aroused into the story or stating your reaction if it will occur again.

Your narrative essay rubric depends on your overall structure including the conclusion. So, don’t underrate the conclusion section. If you have selected to write a personal narrative, the ending should include personal reflection over the events. Likewise, in fictional writing, reflect your emotions over the character. If you have a compelling reason, include it in conclusion and increase the value of your narrative essay.

What makes a good narrative?

A good narrative always follows a vivid description, unlike a descriptive essay. You can make use of different senses within the story to make readers a part of your story. Remember to make them a part by not explaining in fluffy language. Here are quick pointers to be considered for an excellent narrative.

  • Use the first-person narrative
    first person narrative essay
  • Dynamic choice of words
    Narrative essay word choice
  • Highlight the concept clearly throughout the story
    narrative essay concep
  • Describe learning experiences
    narrative essay learning experience
  • State a call to action
    narrative essay motivation

    • Limit references
      Cite references at the end as you are telling a story. Even though citations are not mandatory in narrative essays.

      All writings have done! Now do editing of narrative essay

      In the final stages, you have to edit and proofread the narrative essay. Take help from the following editing checklist.

      • Revise essay

      Even the finest writers of the world need editing for their work. Editing claims the completeness and clarity of your writing style. This is the reason it is a prerequisite for submitting or publishing your narrative essay. First of all, revision is not your second phase after writing. So, get some distance between your finishing and editing to let you relax. So, before jumping directly to spelling and punctuation, go between the lines and revise every detail.

      Look for each sentence whether it is creating a world for a reader or not. It is as important as ensuring that your content is interesting. So, revising only includes confirming the coordination and overall content of the essay.

      • Check the clarity and style

      Now, there is a time to check the style and clarity of the language used. Sometimes your professor wants an essay in a specific language with a different style. In this step, go quick in confirming the clarity, design and look of your essay. For help, you can look for certain words over the internet that are not applicable in designated language or style.

      • See for grammatical errors

      Right from knowing how to start a narrative essay, you should also be sure of the right grammatical usage through all over the content. However, make a second step to see for grammatical errors in your editing phase. Various tools are available online to help you out in this section.

      narrative essay editing tool

      Learn how to proofread a narrative essay in a quick style

      Proofreading is the last stage before submission. You can proofread like a professional as follows.

      • Start proofreading only after a thorough revision

      It is easy to proofread if you have gone thoroughly with the editing stage. If not possible, you can also hire a proofreader for doing so. And, if you have edited on your own, then it's not impossible to proofread as it requires a little time.

      • Read aloud and spot mistakes if any

      Read your paper two to three times more. Aloud reading helps you to spot mistakes within the essay. Again check the dialogue structure to finally revise your writing. As opposed to editing, proofreading is a minor stage which also consists of checking spelling and grammar last time.

      Top 50 narrative essays topics list

      • Fun and easy narrative essay topics
      1. Scariest moment of my life
      2. Everyone has a special talent
      3. My shocking new experience
      4. What if I could be able to travel in time?
      5. Doing the right things isn't always easy
      6. Should I trust everyone?
      7. Accomplishments mean so much than money
      8. An occasional argument between best friends
      9. A sporting experience
      10. The funny episode when I first met my friend after a long time

      • Personal narrative essay topics
      1. The first novel I read
      2. Life as a student
      3. My childhood experience
      4. What makes me stand better than others
      5. My depression story
      6. Things I would like to do on becoming a celebrity
      7. Books I read to relieve stress
      8. The role of social media in my success
      9. Things I love about me
      10. Why I keep a journal

      • College narrative essay topics
      1. My first day at college
      2. My last day at college
      3. How I influence friends in my college life?
      4. The first argument with a professor
      5. Why professors in college like me a lot
      6. How college changed my life
      7. Most exciting tasks at university
      8. School lessons to being applied in university
      9. Moments of discrimination faced in college/university
      10. How my relationship with parents changed as I head higher classes

      • Argumentative narrative essay topics
      1. Should smartphone use be banned while driving?
      2. Should prostitution be made legal?
      3. What should be the appropriate drinking age?
      4. Should a woman be provided with the right to abortion?
      5. Is animal testing mandatory?
      6. Do heinous criminals deserve the death penalty?
      7. Should equal rights be given to immigrants?
      8. Is print media becoming obsolete?
      9. Do parents need parenting classes?
      10. Do children deserve an allowance from parents?

      • Current affairs/events narrative essay topics

      1. To what extent do you think our society is misogynistic?
      2. How terrorism in the world can affect our country?
      3. Impact of America’s H1B visa statements on our country
      4. Change of social life happened in our region within the last ten years
      5. How a nation can experience more unity
      6. Do international organizations help poor countries?
      7. I would like to help society in this way
      8. Impact of current government policies on our economical state
      9. Do viral Android apps worth it?
      10. Current digital marketing trend

      Narrative essay sample Graphic Organizer

      narrative essay graphic organizer

      Narrative essay sample

      Narrative essay sample PDF


      Make your essay writing effective, simple and easy with the above-given guide on how to write a narrative essay. Start from thinking about the ideas and end with framing an appealing conclusion. The shared tips are a sort of formulas used by our expert writers. So, make sure not to miss each of them to write your narrative essay this year with full dedication.

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