Academic Writing Complete Guide

Narrative essay writing tips

This essay tells a story. You can think of stories that connect with personal life, for instance, it can be about friends, family, romantic partners, and so on. It can be a story that you came across during your literature class. As such, in a narrative essay, the skills of storytelling are important because they will help you in telling the reader about something that took place within a specific period. Narrative essays are pieces of writing that student in almost every stage of learning must know how to write. They mostly deal with stores about personal life experiences with details that connect to themes in a class. If approached properly, narrative essay writing can be a source of great fun. It all starts with learning how to select a good topic, writing the first draft, and revising it all together.

narrative essay writing tips

Choosing a good narrative essay writing topic

Two options abound when it comes to writing narrative essays. A student can deal with a topic that has been suggested by the instructor, or they can come up with their topic. The success of a topic determines the effectiveness of the entire narrative essay writing. As such, there are several things to consider when choosing a topic for your narrative essay.


  • Select a story that illustrates a theme or a topic
    Narrative essays comprise of a story and an analysis of that story. It can be about a specific issue, idea, or theme but it uses a personal story to bring the idea to life. In most cases, narrative essays will not include outside research. It utilizes your personal story as the evidence to support the point you are trying to make. These essays are common school assignments that test the creativity of the student regarding story-telling skills and the ability to connect some personal life elements to a topic under discussions in class.
  • Your story should align with the prompt
    Since these essays are school assignments, they hinge on a prompt that you receive from your instructor. Always ensure that the story you settle for fits the prompt. The common narrative essays include but are not limited to a description of a specific moment that:
    • You faced challenged but managed to surmount them
    • Failed and had to deal with the aftermath of the failure
    • The transformation of your character or personality
    • Faced discrimination or experienced privilege
  • Choose a story whose plot you can manage
    A good narrative essay will tell a specific story luminously and vibrantly, and the stories have to be concise. Limit the characters, plot, as well as the setting. A broad narrative essay can be a bad story. You are supposed to pick a single event in your life but not something that unfolds over a long period. Limiting the number of characters is crucial, and it is prudent you include only the characters that matter. The audience will be able to keep track of what you are saying.
  • Your story must have vibrant details
    An effective narrative essay is laden with vibrant details, specific images, and language that bring the story to life for the audience. Discuss the sights and smells of your story. When you are thinking of vibrant stories, think of those events that are rich in those details. Leave it to your imagination to fill the gaps. If for instance you are describing your uncle’s home and a specific Sunday you spent there, you do not have to remember what was cooked for dinner on Saturday unless it is a crucial part of the story. Tell the reader what was typically cooked and how it smelled. Such are the details necessary to your audience.
    Narrative essays are non-fiction, meaning that they hinge on a real-life event that took place. You cannot just start making things up. You have to remain true and tell a straight story.
How to Write a Narrative Essay

Writing the draft

Every time you are writing a narrative essay, you have to start with a rough draft. This will give you room to edit anything that is inconsistent before you write a perfect final draft. When writing your draft, consider the following:

  • Outline the plot
    You have to be sure about where the story is starting and where it will end. Formulate a list of the major plot points or the story to ensure that you have hit everything. Your story should have the beginning, the middle, and the end. Limit things as much as possible. For instance, it will be good to tell about a particular riotous day from your senior year in high school as opposed to the first day in that school. With that, you can find an excellent starting point. You do not need to come up with a formal essay outline unless it is a requirement of the assignment. However, if you list major scenes in the story, it will assist you to be organized and find a good starting point.
  • Use a consistent perspective
    As opposed to other essays, narrative essays make use of the first person pronoun. It does not matter whether you are giving scenes with dialogue or discussing the events of the story in past tense, you are at liberty to use the first person pronoun. In other words, feel free to use the ‘I’ statements. As you write, your story, refrain from switching perspectives since it is a complicated technique to execute. There ought to be only one ‘I’ in the story. Narrative essays are told in past tense
  • Describe crucial characters
    Apart from yourself, there should be other characters that are crucial to the story; they could have been present when it took place, whereas others could have affected the outcome or the story. Use specific details that you can recall about the characters and bring them to life. Some details are only specific to particular characters. For instance, if he wears silk shirts, that is more specific and interesting. Come up with a brief sketch of each important character coupled with specific details that you can remember about them.
  • Find the antagonist
    Effective narrative essays have protagonists and antagonists. The protagonist is the main character that in most essays, it’ll be you. You could be in a situation that you are trying to come out of and the audience is always rooting for you. The antagonist is the person who hinders the protagonist from achieving his agenda.
  • Describe the setting
    Describe the setting in which the story takes place. Is it a home, outside? Upcountry? Describe the setting and let is become part of your story.
  • Use vivid details
    A good narrative essay thrives when it incorporates vivid details. Even the most boring environments can be brought to life by the use of the3 right kind of words and details in the essay. Do not use particulars, instead, use specific and unique details to describe that specific thing that you are trying to write about. The vivid details are the driving force of your narrative essay.
Narrative essay writing help

Revising your narrative essay Writing

When revising your essay consider the following:

  • Ensure that the theme is illustrated in the story
    Once you have finished your theme, read it is paying attention to your theme. The purpose of the story must be clear. In essence, you are supposed to answer the question even before the reader gets a chance to ask. Your theme must be at the very beginning of your essay. It is your thesis stamen for the narrative essay.
  • Use scenes and summaries
    Scenes take place when you are slowing down to tell specific details concerning a crucial moment of the story. There are small moments that take a while to read. Summaries, on the other hand, are used to narrate the time between scenes. They are longer moments that are read more quickly.
  • Make use of the dialogue and format it correctly
    Narrative essays fall in between short stories and long essays that you write as assignments in school. Familiarize yourself with the formatting guidelines since narrative essays involve dialogue. Your revision process should factor in formatting the dialogue appropriately. Whatever a character speaks must be put in quotation marks and attributed to the character speaking it. Every time a new character speaks, he should take a new paragraph. If the same character speaks again, there can be multiple instances of dialogue in that paragraph.
  • Revise your essay
    This is the most important part of writing your narrative essay. You cannot get it right the 4 first time, as such, finish the draft ahead of time, and allow yourself some time to go back through the entire essay carefully. You get to see how well you can improve it. You revise for clarity first to ensure all points are clear. If they are not, include more details or narrations in your writing. Ascertain that your starting point was correct. Proofreading should come last, and it is a crucial part of the revision process. You have to ensure grammar, punctuation, and spelling is appropriate.

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