Status.net

How to Write a Perfect Narrative Essay (Step-by-Step)

By Status.net Editorial Team on October 17, 2023 — 10 minutes to read

  • Understanding a Narrative Essay Part 1
  • Typical Narrative Essay Structure Part 2
  • Narrative Essay Template Part 3
  • Step 1. How to Choose Your Narrative Essay Topic Part 4
  • Step 2. Planning the Structure Part 5
  • Step 3. Crafting an Intriguing Introduction Part 6
  • Step 4. Weaving the Narrative Body Part 7
  • Step 5. Creating a Conclusion Part 8
  • Step 6. Polishing the Essay Part 9
  • Step 7. Feedback and Revision Part 10

Part 1 Understanding a Narrative Essay

A narrative essay is a form of writing where you share a personal experience or tell a story to make a point or convey a lesson. Unlike other types of essays, a narrative essay aims to engage your audience by sharing your perspective and taking them on an emotional journey.

  • To begin, choose a meaningful topic . Pick a story or experience that had a significant impact on your life, taught you something valuable, or made you see the world differently. You want your readers to learn from your experiences, so choose something that will resonate with others.
  • Next, create an outline . Although narrative essays allow for creative storytelling, it’s still helpful to have a roadmap to guide your writing. List the main events, the characters involved, and the settings where the events took place. This will help you ensure that your essay is well-structured and easy to follow.
  • When writing your narrative essay, focus on showing, not telling . This means that you should use descriptive language and vivid details to paint a picture in your reader’s mind. For example, instead of stating that it was a rainy day, describe the sound of rain hitting your window, the feeling of cold wetness around you, and the sight of puddles forming around your feet. These sensory details will make your essay more engaging and immersive.
  • Another key aspect is developing your characters . Give your readers an insight into the thoughts and emotions of the people in your story. This helps them connect with the story, empathize with the characters, and understand their actions. For instance, if your essay is about a challenging hike you took with a friend, spend some time describing your friend’s personality and how the experience impacted their attitude or feelings.
  • Keep the pace interesting . Vary your sentence lengths and structures, and don’t be afraid to use some stylistic devices like dialogue, flashbacks, and metaphors. This adds more depth and dimension to your story, keeping your readers engaged from beginning to end.

Part 2 Typical Narrative Essay Structure

A narrative essay typically follows a three-part structure: introduction, body, and conclusion.

  • Introduction: Start with a hook to grab attention and introduce your story. Provide some background to set the stage for the main events.
  • Body: Develop your story in detail. Describe scenes, characters, and emotions. Use dialogue when necessary to provide conversational elements.
  • Conclusion: Sum up your story, revealing the lesson learned or the moral of the story. Leave your audience with a lasting impression.

Part 3 Narrative Essay Template

  • 1. Introduction : Set the scene and introduce the main characters and setting of your story. Use descriptive language to paint a vivid picture for your reader and capture their attention.
  • Body 2. Rising Action : Develop the plot by introducing a conflict or challenge that the main character must face. This could be a personal struggle, a difficult decision, or an external obstacle. 3. Climax : This is the turning point of the story, where the conflict reaches its peak and the main character must make a critical decision or take action. 4. Falling Action : Show the consequences of the main character’s decision or action, and how it affects the rest of the story. 5. Resolution : Bring the story to a satisfying conclusion by resolving the conflict and showing how the main character has grown or changed as a result of their experiences.
  • 6. Reflection/Conclusion : Reflect on the events of the story and what they mean to you as the writer. This could be a lesson learned, a personal realization, or a message you want to convey to your reader.

Part 4 Step 1. How to Choose Your Narrative Essay Topic

Brainstorming ideas.

Start by jotting down any ideas that pop into your mind. Think about experiences you’ve had, stories you’ve heard, or even books and movies that have resonated with you. Write these ideas down and don’t worry too much about organization yet. It’s all about getting your thoughts on paper.

Once you have a list, review your ideas and identify common themes or connections between them. This process should help you discover potential topics for your narrative essay.

Narrowing Down the Choices

After brainstorming, you’ll likely end up with a few strong contenders for your essay topic. To decide which topic is best, consider the following:

  • Relevance : Is the topic meaningful for your audience? Will they be able to connect with it on a personal level? Consider the purpose of your assignment and your audience when choosing your topic.
  • Detail : Do you have enough specific details to craft a vivid story? The more detail you can recall about the event, the easier it’ll be to write a compelling narrative.
  • Emotional impact : A strong narrative essay should evoke emotions in your readers. Choose a topic that has the potential to elicit some emotional response from your target audience.

After evaluating your potential topics based on these criteria, you can select the one that best fits the purpose of your narrative essay.

Part 5 Step 2. Planning the Structure

Creating an outline.

Before you start writing your narrative essay, it’s a great idea to plan out your story. Grab a piece of paper and sketch out a rough outline of the key points you want to cover. Begin with the introduction, where you’ll set the scene and introduce your characters. Then, list the major events of your story in chronological order, followed by the climax and resolution. Organizing your ideas in an outline will ensure your essay flows smoothly and makes sense to your readers.

Detailing Characters, Settings, and Events

Taking time to flesh out the characters, settings, and events in your story will make it more engaging and relatable. Think about your main character’s background, traits, and motivations. Describe their appearance, emotions, and behavior in detail. This personal touch will help your readers connect with them on a deeper level.

Also, give some thought to the setting – where does the story take place? Be sure to include sensory details that paint a vivid picture of the environment. Finally, focus on the series of events that make up your narrative. Are there any twists and turns, or surprising moments? Address these in your essay, using vivid language and engaging storytelling techniques to captivate your readers.

Writing the Narrative Essay

Part 6 step 3. crafting an intriguing introduction.

To start your narrative essay, you’ll want to hook your reader with an interesting and engaging opening. Begin with a captivating sentence or question that piques curiosity and captures attention. For example, “Did you ever think a simple bus ride could change your life forever?” This kind of opening sets the stage for a compelling, relatable story. Next, introduce your main characters and provide a bit of context to help your readers understand the setting and background of the story.

Part 7 Step 4. Weaving the Narrative Body

The body of your essay is where your story unfolds. Here’s where you’ll present a series of events, using descriptive language and vivid details.

Remember to maintain a strong focus on the central theme or main point of your narrative.

Organize your essay chronologically, guiding your reader through the timeline of events.

As you recount your experience, use a variety of sensory details, such as sounds, smells, and tastes, to immerse your reader in the moment. For instance, “The smell of freshly brewed coffee filled the room as my friends and I excitedly chattered about our upcoming adventure.”

Take advantage of dialogue to bring your characters to life and to reveal aspects of their personalities. Incorporate both internal and external conflicts, as conflict plays a crucial role in engaging your reader and enhancing the narrative’s momentum. Show the evolution of your characters and how they grow throughout the story.

Part 8 Step 5. Creating a Conclusion

Finally, to write a satisfying conclusion, reflect on the narrative’s impact and how the experience has affected you or your characters. Tie the narrative’s events together and highlight the lessons learned, providing closure for the reader.

Avoid abruptly ending your story, because that can leave the reader feeling unsatisfied. Instead, strive to create a sense of resolution and demonstrate how the events have changed the characters’ perspectives or how the story’s theme has developed.

For example, “Looking back, I realize that the bus ride not only changed my perspective on friendship, but also taught me valuable life lessons that I carry with me to this day.”

Part 9 Step 6. Polishing the Essay

Fine-tuning your language.

When writing a narrative essay, it’s key to choose words that convey the emotions and experiences you’re describing. Opt for specific, vivid language that creates a clear mental image for your reader. For instance, instead of saying “The weather was hot,” try “The sun scorched the pavement, causing the air to shimmer like a mirage.” This gives your essay a more engaging and immersive feeling.

Editing for Clarity and Concision

As you revise your essay, keep an eye out for redundancies and unnecessary words that might dilute the impact of your story. Getting to the point and using straightforward language can help your essay flow better. For example, instead of using “She was walking in a very slow manner,” you can say, “She strolled leisurely.” Eliminate filler words and phrases, keeping only the most pertinent information that moves your story forward.

Proofreading for Typos

Finally, proofread your essay carefully to catch any typos, grammatical errors, or punctuation mistakes. It’s always a good idea to have someone else read it as well, as they might catch errors you didn’t notice. Mistakes can be distracting and may undermine the credibility of your writing, so be thorough with your editing process.

Part 10 Step 7. Feedback and Revision

Gathering feedback.

After you’ve written the first draft of your narrative essay, it’s time to gather feedback from friends, family, or colleagues. Share your essay with a few trusted people who can provide insights and suggestions for improvement. Listen to their thoughts and be open to constructive criticism. You might be surprised by the different perspectives they offer, which can strengthen your essay.

Iterating on the Draft

Once you have collected feedback, it’s time to revise and refine your essay. Address any issues or concerns raised by your readers and incorporate their suggestions. Consider reorganizing your story’s structure, clarifying your descriptions, or adding more details based on the feedback you received.

As you make changes, continue to fine-tune your essay to ensure a smooth flow and a strong narrative. Don’t be afraid to cut out unnecessary elements or rework parts of your story until it’s polished and compelling.

Revision is a crucial part of the writing process, and taking the time to reflect on feedback and make improvements will help you create a more engaging and impactful narrative essay.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can i create an engaging introduction.

Craft an attention-grabbing hook with a thought-provoking question, an interesting fact, or a vivid description. Set the stage for your story by introducing the time, place, and context for the events. Creating tension or raising curiosity will make your readers eager to learn more.

What strategies help develop strong characters?

To develop strong characters, consider the following:

  • Give your characters distinct traits, strengths, and weaknesses.
  • Provide a backstory to explain their actions and motivations.
  • Use dialogue to present their personality, emotions, and relationships.
  • Show how they change or evolve throughout your story.

How can I make my story flow smoothly with transitions?

Smooth transitions between scenes or events can create a more coherent and easy-to-follow story. Consider the following tips to improve your transitions:

  • Use words and phrases like “meanwhile,” “later that day,” or “afterward” to signify changes in time.
  • Link scenes with a common theme or element.
  • Revisit the main characters or setting to maintain continuity.
  • Introduce a twist or an unexpected event that leads to the next scene.

What are some tips for choosing a great narrative essay topic?

To choose an engaging narrative essay topic, follow these tips:

  • Pick a personal experience or story that holds significance for you.
  • Consider a challenge or a turning point you’ve faced in your life.
  • Opt for a topic that will allow you to share emotions and lessons learned.
  • Think about what your audience would find relatable, intriguing, or inspiring.

How do I wrap up my narrative essay with a strong conclusion?

A compelling conclusion restates the main events and highlights any lessons learned or growth in your character. Try to end on a thought-provoking note or leave readers with some food for thought. Finally, make sure your conclusion wraps up your story neatly and reinforces its overall message.

  • How to Write a Perfect Project Plan? [The Easy Guide]
  • How to Write a Thoughtful Apology Letter (Inspiring Examples)
  • 5 Main Change Management Models: ADKAR vs Kubler Ross vs McKinsey 7S vs Lewin's vs Kotter’s 8 Step
  • How to Write a Performance Improvement Plan (PIP)
  • How to Write an Effective Performance Review (Essential Steps)
  • How to Write Scope of Work - 7 Necessary Steps and 6 Best Practices

how to write narrative essay fast

Narrative Essay with Tips - a Detailed Guide

how to write narrative essay fast

Defining What Is a Narrative Essay

We can explain a narrative essay definition as a piece of writing that tells a story. It's like a window into someone's life or a page torn from a diary. Similarly to a descriptive essay, a narrative essay tells a story, rather than make a claim and use evidence. It can be about anything – a personal experience, a childhood memory, a moment of triumph or defeat – as long as it's told in a way that captures the reader's imagination.

You might ask - 'which sentence most likely comes from a narrative essay?'. Let's take this for example: 'I could hear the waves crashing against the shore, their rhythm a soothing lullaby that carried me off to sleep.' You could even use such an opening for your essay when wondering how to start a narrative essay.

To further define a narrative essay, consider it storytelling with a purpose. The purpose of a narrative essay is not just to entertain but also to convey a message or lesson in first person. It's a way to share your experiences and insights with others and connect with your audience. Whether you're writing about your first love, a harrowing adventure, or a life-changing moment, your goal is to take the reader on a journey that will leave them feeling moved, inspired, or enlightened.

So if you're looking for a way to express yourself creatively and connect with others through your writing, try your hand at a narrative essay. Who knows – you might just discover a hidden talent for storytelling that you never knew you had!

Meanwhile, let's delve into the article to better understand this type of paper through our narrative essay examples, topic ideas, and tips on constructing a perfect essay.

Types of Narrative Essays

If you were wondering, 'what is a personal narrative essay?', know that narrative essays come in different forms, each with a unique structure and purpose. Regardless of the type of narrative essay, each aims to transport the reader to a different time and place and to create an emotional connection between the reader and the author's experiences. So, let's discuss each type in more detail:

  • A personal narrative essay is based on one's unique experience or event. Personal narrative essay examples include a story about overcoming a fear or obstacle or reflecting on a particularly meaningful moment in one's life.
  • A fictional narrative is a made-up story that still follows the basic elements of storytelling. Fictional narratives can take many forms, from science fiction to romance to historical fiction.
  • A memoir is similar to personal narratives but focuses on a specific period or theme in a person's life. Memoirs might be centered around a particular relationship, a struggle with addiction, or a cultural identity. If you wish to describe your life in greater depth, you might look at how to write an autobiography .
  • A literacy narrative essay explores the writer's experiences with literacy and how it has influenced their life. The essay typically tells a personal story about a significant moment or series of moments that impacted the writer's relationship with reading, writing, or communication.

You might also be interested in discovering 'HOW TO WRITE AN AUTOBIOGRAPHY'

Pros and Cons of Narrative Writing

Writing a narrative essay can be a powerful tool for self-expression and creative storytelling, but like any form of writing, it comes with its own set of pros and cons. Let's explore the pros and cons of narrative writing in more detail, helping you to decide whether it's the right writing style for your needs.

  • It can be a powerful way to convey personal experiences and emotions.
  • Allows for creative expression and unique voice
  • Engages the reader through storytelling and vivid details
  • It can be used to teach a lesson or convey a message.
  • Offers an opportunity for self-reflection and growth
  • It can be challenging to balance personal storytelling with the needs of the reader
  • It may not be as effective for conveying factual information or arguments
  • It may require vulnerability and sharing personal details that some writers may find uncomfortable
  • It can be subjective, as the reader's interpretation of the narrative may vary

If sharing your personal stories is not your cup of tea, you can buy essays online from our expert writers, who will customize the paper to your particular writing style and tone.

20 Excellent Narrative Essay Topics and How to Choose One

Choosing a good topic among many narrative essay ideas can be challenging, but some tips can help you make the right choice. Here are some original and helpful tips on how to choose a good narrative essay topic:

  • Consider your own experiences: One of the best sources of inspiration for a narrative essay is your own life experiences. Consider moments that have had a significant impact on you, whether they are positive or negative. For example, you could write about a memorable trip or a challenging experience you overcame.
  • Choose a topic relevant to your audience: Consider your audience and their interests when choosing a narrative essay topic. If you're writing for a class, consider what topics might be relevant to the course material. If you're writing for a broader audience, consider what topics might be interesting or informative to them.
  • Find inspiration in literature: Literature can be a great source of inspiration for a narrative essay. Consider the books or stories that have had an impact on you, and think about how you can incorporate elements of them into your own narrative. For example, you could start by using a title for narrative essay inspired by the themes of a favorite novel or short story.
  • Focus on a specific moment or event: Most narrative essays tell a story, so it's important to focus on a specific moment or event. For example, you could write a short narrative essay about a conversation you had with a friend or a moment of realization while traveling.
  • Experiment with different perspectives: Consider writing from different perspectives to add depth and complexity to your narrative. For example, you could write about the same event from multiple perspectives or explore the thoughts and feelings of a secondary character.
  • Use writing prompts: Writing prompts can be a great source of inspiration if you struggle to develop a topic. Consider using a prompt related to a specific theme, such as love, loss, or growth.
  • Choose a topic with rich sensory details: A good narrative essay should engage the senses and create a vivid picture in the reader's mind. Choose a topic with rich sensory details that you can use to create a vivid description. For example, you could write about a bustling city's sights, sounds, and smells.
  • Choose a topic meaningful to you: Ultimately, the best narrative essays are meaningful to the writer. Choose a topic that resonates with you and that you feel passionate about. For example, you could write about a personal goal you achieved or a struggle you overcame.

Here are some good narrative essay topics for inspiration from our experts:

  • A life-changing event that altered your perspective on the world
  • The story of a personal accomplishment or achievement
  • An experience that tested your resilience and strength
  • A time when you faced a difficult decision and how you handled it
  • A childhood memory that still holds meaning for you
  • The impact of a significant person in your life
  • A travel experience that taught you something new
  • A story about a mistake or failure that ultimately led to growth and learning
  • The first day of a new job or school
  • The story of a family tradition or ritual that is meaningful to you
  • A time when you had to confront a fear or phobia
  • A memorable concert or music festival experience
  • An experience that taught you the importance of communication or listening
  • A story about a time when you had to stand up for what you believed in
  • A time when you had to persevere through a challenging task or project
  • A story about a significant cultural or societal event that impacted your life
  • The impact of a book, movie, or other work of art on your life
  • A time when you had to let go of something or someone important to you
  • A memorable encounter with a stranger that left an impression on you
  • The story of a personal hobby or interest that has enriched your life

Narrative Format and Structure

The narrative essay format and structure are essential elements of any good story. A well-structured narrative can engage readers, evoke emotions, and create lasting memories. Whether you're writing a personal essay or a work of fiction, the following guidelines on how to write a narrative essay can help you create a compelling paper:

narrative essay

  • Introduction : The introduction sets the scene for your story and introduces your main characters and setting. It should also provide a hook to capture your reader's attention and make them want to keep reading. When unsure how to begin a narrative essay, describe the setting vividly or an intriguing question that draws the reader in.
  • Plot : The plot is the sequence of events that make up your story. It should have a clear beginning, middle, and end, with each part building on the previous one. The plot should also have a clear conflict or problem the protagonist must overcome.
  • Characters : Characters are the people who drive the story. They should be well-developed and have distinct personalities and motivations. The protagonist should have a clear goal or desire, and the antagonist should provide a challenge or obstacle to overcome.
  • Setting : The setting is the time and place the story takes place. It should be well-described and help to create a mood or atmosphere that supports the story's themes.
  • Dialogue : Dialogue is the conversation between characters. It should be realistic and help to reveal the characters' personalities and motivations. It can also help to move the plot forward.
  • Climax : The climax is the highest tension or conflict point in the story. It should be the turning point that leads to resolving the conflict.
  • Resolution : The resolution is the end of the story. It should provide a satisfying conclusion to the conflict and tie up any loose ends.

Following these guidelines, you can create a narrative essay structure that engages readers and leaves a lasting impression. Remember, a well-structured story can take readers on a journey and make them feel part of the action.

Want to Be Like an Expert Writer? 

Order now and let our narrative essay service turn your experiences into a captivating and unforgettable tale

Narrative Essay Outline

Here is a detailed narrative essay outline from our custom term paper writing :

Introduction

A. Hook: Start with an attention-grabbing statement, question, or anecdote that introduces the topic and draws the reader in. Example: 'The sun beat down on my skin as I stepped onto the stage, my heart pounding with nervous excitement.'

B. Background information: Provide context for the story, such as the setting or the characters involved. Example: 'I had been preparing for this moment for weeks, rehearsing my lines and perfecting my performance for the school play.'

C. Thesis statement: State the essay's main point and preview the events to come. Example: 'This experience taught me that taking risks and stepping outside my comfort zone can lead to unexpected rewards and personal growth.'

Body Paragraphs

A. First event: Describe the first event in the story, including details about the setting, characters, and actions. Example: 'As I delivered my first lines on stage, I felt a rush of adrenaline and a sense of pride in my hard work paying off.'

B. Second event: Describe the second event in the story, including how it builds on the first event and moves the story forward. Example: 'As the play progressed, I became more comfortable in my role and connecting with the other actors on stage.'

C. Turning point: Describe the turning point in the story, when something unexpected or significant changes the course of events. Example: 'In the final act, my character faced a difficult decision that required me to improvise and trust my instincts.'

D. Climax: Describe the story's climax, the highest tension or conflict point. Example: 'As the play reached its climax, I delivered my final lines with confidence and emotion, feeling a sense of accomplishment and fulfillment.'

A. Restate thesis: Summarize the essay's main point and how the events in the story support it. Example: 'Through this experience, I learned that taking risks and pushing past my comfort zone can lead to personal growth and unexpected rewards.'

B. Reflection: Reflect on the significance of the experience and what you learned from it. Example: 'Looking back, I realize that this experience not only taught me about acting and performance but also about the power of perseverance and self-belief.'

C. Call to action: if you're still wondering how to write an essay conclusion , consider ending it with a call to action or final thought that leaves the reader with something to consider or act on. Example: 'I encourage everyone to take risks and embrace new challenges because you never know what kind of amazing experiences and growth they may lead to.

You might also be interested in getting detailed info on 'HOW TO WRITE AN ESSAY CONCLUSION'

Narrative Essay Examples

Are you looking for inspiration for your next narrative essay? Look no further than our narrative essay example. Through vivid storytelling and personal reflections, this essay takes the reader on a journey of discovery and leaves them with a powerful lesson about the importance of compassion and empathy. Use this sample from our expert essay writer as a guide for crafting your own narrative essay, and let your unique voice and experiences shine through.

Narrative Essay Example for College

College professors search for the following qualities in their students:

  • the ability to adapt to different situations,
  • the ability to solve problems creatively,
  • and the ability to learn from mistakes.

Your work must demonstrate these qualities, regardless of whether your narrative paper is a college application essay or a class assignment. Additionally, you want to demonstrate your character and creativity. Describe a situation where you have encountered a problem, tell the story of how you came up with a unique approach to solving it, and connect it to your field of interest. The narrative can be exciting and informative if you present it in such fashion.

Narrative Essay Example for High School

High school is all about showing that you can make mature choices. You accept the consequences of your actions and retrieve valuable life lessons. Think of an event in which you believe your actions were exemplary and made an adult choice. A personal narrative essay example will showcase the best of your abilities. Finally, use other sources to help you get the best results possible. Try searching for a sample narrative essay to see how others have approached it.

Final Words

So now that you know what is a narrative essay you might want to produce high-quality paper. For that let our team of experienced writers help. Our research paper writing service offers a range of professional writing services that cater to your unique needs and requirements, from narrative essays to medical personal statement , also offering dissertation help and more.

With our flexible pricing options and fast turnaround times, you can trust that you'll receive great value for your investment. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you succeed in your academic writing journey. 

Unlock Your Potential with Our Essays!

Order now and take the first step towards achieving your academic goals

Related Articles

Satire Essay

Narrative Essay

Caleb S.

Narrative Essay - A Complete Writing Guide with Examples

16 min read

Published on: Jun 11, 2018

Last updated on: Nov 14, 2023

Narrative essay

People also read

Writing a Personal Narrative Essay: Everything You Need to Know

Best Narrative Essay Topics 2023 for Students

10+ Interesting Narrative Essay Examples Plus Writing Tips!

Crafting a Winning Narrative Essay Outline: A Step-by-Step Guide

Share this article

Want to share a personal experience and captivate your readers with a compelling story? A narrative essay is your ticket to achieving just that.

It's your chance to share personal experiences, thoughts, and emotions, all while honing your storytelling skills. 

However, writing a narrative essay is not easy. It doesn’t follow a strict essay format, nor does it allow creative space like a fictional short story.

So how can you write an engaging and effective narrative essay?

In this guide, we'll walk you through the complete step-by-step process of crafting a captivating narrative essay. Plus, you will get examples and tips to help you learn efficiently.   Let’s dive in!

On This Page On This Page -->

What Is a Narrative Essay?

A narrative essay is a written account of an experience or event that impacted you in some way. It's just like storytelling, but it’s written in an essay format rather than a traditional short story.  

It is very different from other kinds of academic essays, such as the analytical and argumentative essays. For instance, unlike other types of essays , it allows you more creativity of style and language, could be written in the first-person point of view, and has to be more personal and engaging. 

In terms of structure, these essays often have a clear beginning, middle, and end, just like a good story. Their purpose could be to evoke emotions, provoke thought, or share lessons learned from an experience. 

Purpose of a Narrative Essay 

The purpose of a narrative essay extends beyond simply recounting a story. It serves various objectives, such as:

  • To Entertain and Engage

These essays are inherently engaging because they read like a well-told story. They can captivate and entertain your audience while conveying a message or theme.

  • To Convey a Message or Theme  

A narrative essay is not just about storytelling; it's also a means to communicate a message or a theme. You can convey life lessons, moral dilemmas, or insights drawn from your experiences.

  • To Motivate or Inspire

Narrative essays have the power to persuade or inspire readers. Through your narrative, you can make a persuasive argument or motivate your audience to take action or see a situation from a different perspective.

  • To Reflect on Growth  

Narrative essays often focus on personal growth and self-discovery. They allow you to reflect on your own experiences, decisions, and how they have shaped you as an individual.

  • To Preserve Memories 

Writing about significant life events helps preserve memories. It captures moments in time, creating a record that can be revisited by both you and your readers.

  • To Educate and Inform

Narrative essays can educate readers about different cultures, historical events, or personal challenges. They provide a window into worlds and experiences they might not otherwise encounter.

Types of Narrative Essays

There are several types of narrative essays, each with its unique focus and purpose. Here are the most common ones:

Descriptive Narrative Essay

A descriptive narrative essay is used to describe an experience, situation, or memory in vivid detail. The main goal is to show the reader what is happening, not tell. 

In this essay, the emphasis is on creating a vivid picture for the reader. You describe a scene, a place, or an event in intricate detail, making the reader feel like they are right there with you. Sensory details play a crucial role in making your narrative come alive.

Descriptive writing is all about engaging the senses. Learn more about writing a descriptive essay in our guide.

Personal Narrative Essay 

A personal narrative essay is a form of writing that tells a story from the author's own life experiences. 

This type is all about sharing a personal experience. It can be a life-changing moment, a significant event, or even an everyday occurrence that left a lasting impression. The primary goal is to offer readers insight into your perspective and emotions. 

Autobiographical Narrative Essay 

These essays delve into your life story. They are broader in scope and often cover a series of events or experiences throughout your life. It's like writing your autobiography in a condensed form. 

An autobiographical narrative essay aims to outline your own life in light of a message you want to convey.

The Features of a Narrative Essay

It usually has these five elements: plot, characters, setting, conflict, and theme.

The plot is the incident you intend to share in the story. It is about the sequence of events that occurred in your story. 

The setting is the location where the event occurred. It can be your house, your school, or any other place where you were at the time of the event.

Characters are the people involved in the incident. You have to mention everyone involved, whether the main or a side character.

Conflict is the problem faced by the characters during the incident. A moment of tension in the plot is considered a conflict that needs to be resolved.

The essay’s theme elaborates on the story’s overall purpose and the writer’s reasons for choosing the topic.

Narrative Essay Structure 

A well-structured essay is essential for conveying your story effectively. The narrative essay format consists of the following elements:

Here’s how the structure of a narrative essay can be conceptualized:

Narrative Essay Structure

Now that you’ve learned about the features and structure of a narrative essay, let’s move on to the step-by-step writing process. 

How to Write a Narrative Essay?

Starting the essay writing process can be overwhelming, but you will find it much easier with these steps. Here is how to start a narrative essay and finish it effectively:

Step 1: Choose a Topic

Sometimes, you will be assigned a topic or prompt for your essay by your instructor. But other times, you need to choose a topic yourself. 

Select a personal experience or event that is meaningful to you and has a clear message or theme. It could be a moment of triumph, a challenge you overcame, a lesson learned, or a journey you embarked on.

Ensure it's a story you can vividly recall to make the writing process more natural. You need a topic that interests you and is also appealing enough to your audience. 

Step 2: Plan Your Story

Once you've chosen your topic, it's crucial to plan your narrative. 

Make a narrative essay outline , mentioning the key events in a logical structure. Think about the characters, plot points, climax, and resolution of your story. 

Here’s how an outline may look like:

Creating a rough timeline of events will help you maintain a coherent narrative flow. This planning phase ensures that you have a clear vision of the story's direction before you start writing.

Step 3: Craft an Introduction

The introduction of your narrative essay serves as a gateway to your story. Once you have an outline, you can begin writing the first draft. 

  • Begin with a captivating hook that grabs your readers' attention. Here are some ways to make your start engaging:
  • Start with a mystery.
  • Use a quote from someone famous to catch your reader’s attention.
  • Add a funny or moving anecdote.
  • Ask questions; this way, your writing will feel more direct and personal. 
  • Start with a shocking statement or statistics that makes readers curious.
  • Introduce the setting and characters, giving readers a glimpse of the central theme or message. Your introduction should provide a clear preview of what the narrative will entail.
  • End your introduction with the theme and the thesis statement of your essay. The thesis statement should capture the central message you intend to convey.

Step 4: Write Your Main Body Paragraphs

The main body of your narrative essay will contain the sequence of events that make up your story. Here’s what to do while writing your paragraphs:

  • Build a Vivid Setting: Create a sense of time and place by using descriptive details. Engage the reader's senses to transport them into the world of your narrative.
  • Narrate the Sequence of Events: Tell your story in chronological order, ensuring a clear timeline that your readers can follow. Use transition words and phrases to guide your readers through the narrative, keeping the flow smooth.
  • Include Dialogue: Use dialogue to reveal character traits, emotions, and interactions. Describe the characters' actions and interactions as the story progresses, maintaining a balance between showing and telling.
  • Introduce Conflict: Every narrative needs some form of conflict to drive the story forward. Explain the conflict clearly and highlight its significance.
  • Build Toward a Climax: As you narrate the events, build tension and suspense leading to the climax—the high point of your story where the conflict is resolved or faced head-on.

Step 5: Craft a Conclusion

A well-crafted conclusion is vital to wrap up your narrative effectively. Here’s what to include in your conclusion: 

  • Your conclusion should offer closure, reflecting on how the events have affected the characters and the broader context of your story.
  • Summarize the key points of your essay, reiterating the central message or theme. 
  • Leave your readers with a lasting impression or something to ponder. 

Step 6: Revise Your First Draft

After completing your first draft, take a step back and review your work. Here’s how to improve upon your first draft:

  • Revise for clarity, coherence, and narrative flow. Ensure that each paragraph logically follows the previous one, creating a seamless story. 
  • Ensure that you’ve included the points you mentioned in your outline.
  • Look for any inconsistencies in your timeline or character development and address them. This is the stage where you fine-tune your narrative's structure.

Step 7: Proofread and Edit

The final step in the process is proofreading and editing . This ensures that your final draft is the best version of your essay. Here are the final steps you need to follow:

  • Carefully review your essay for grammar, spelling, and punctuation errors. 
  • Make sure your writing is clear and concise. Edit for consistency in style and tone throughout the essay. 
  • Seek feedback from others to gain a fresh perspective on your narrative. Their insights can help you make improvements and refine your storytelling.

Tips To Make Your Narrative Essays More Engaging

Follow these narrative essay writing tips to write effectively.

  • Select a Meaningful Topic: Choose a topic that has personal significance, whether it's a life-changing event, a lesson learned, or an experience that left a lasting impression. Your enthusiasm for the topic will shine through in your writing.
  • Create a Clear Message: Define the central message or theme of your narrative essay. What do you want readers to take away from your story? Having a clear message ensures your essay has a purpose.
  • Use Descriptive Details: Paint a vivid picture for your readers by including sensory details. Engage the five senses – sight, sound, taste, touch, and smell – to make your narrative come alive.
  • Show, Don't Tell: Instead of simply telling your readers what happened, show them through your descriptions and dialogue. Let your readers experience the story as if they were there.
  • Use a consistent point of view: Choose a consistent point of view, such as first-person or third-person, and stick with it throughout your narrative essay. This will help your readers better understand your perspective and connect with your story.

The Don’ts of Narrative Writing 

Following the tips above may not be enough for writing a great essay, especially if you are making. Here are some things to avoid in a narrative essay:

  • Don't Overwhelm with Detail: While details are essential, avoid overloading your narrative with excessive descriptions, which can bog down the story.
  • Don't Rush the Climax: Build up to the climactic moment of your story rather than rushing through it. Give it the attention and anticipation it deserves.
  • Avoid Being Predictable: While narratives often have conventional structures, try to avoid overly predictable storylines. Surprise your readers and keep them engaged.
  • Don't Forget the Central Message: Ensure that your narrative conveys a clear message or theme. It should have a purpose beyond storytelling.
  • Don't Neglect Editing: Skipping the editing process can lead to grammar, spelling, or structural issues. Take the time to revise and improve your work.
  • Don't Overcomplicate the Plot: A narrative should have a clear and understandable plot. Avoid introducing too many elements or convoluted storylines that may confuse readers.
  • Avoid Clichés: Strive to create a unique and original narrative. Avoid clichés or overused storytelling devices.

Narrative Essay Examples 

Reading example essays is a good way to start learning about narrative writing. Here are some example essays that will help you craft a perfect essay in no time. 

Literacy Narrative Essay Example

Narrative Essay Example About Life

Personal Narrative Essay Example

Want to read more examples? Check out our narrative essay examples blog to read expertly written narrative essays.

Narrative Essay Topics

Here are a few best narrative essay topics and ideas for your successful narrative writing.

  • The most embarrassing event of my life.
  • The most valuable childhood possession.
  • An unpleasant personal experience.
  • An unpleasant experience that helped me grow.
  • Your first experience with love and its impact on you.
  • The most difficult decision I had to make.
  • A rebellious act from your life.
  • A time when you got lost somewhere.
  • A random act of kindness.
  • A conflict with another person.

Need more topic ideas for your narrative essay. Head to this narrative essay topics list to get engaging and interesting ideas!

In conclusion, mastering the art of narrative essay writing opens the door to sharing your experiences, emotions, and insights with the world. Remember to choose your words carefully and develop your story's conflict to captivate your readers.

Do you need more help writing your narrative essay? Contact MyPerfectWords.com to hire a highly qualified and expert writer to help you out. Our narrative essay writing service ensures high quality essays with timely livery.

So order your custom essay today from our fast essay writing service . 

Caleb S. (Literature, Marketing)

Caleb S. has been providing writing services for over five years and has a Masters degree from Oxford University. He is an expert in his craft and takes great pride in helping students achieve their academic goals. Caleb is a dedicated professional who always puts his clients first.

Paper Due? Why Suffer? That’s our Job!

Get Help

Keep reading

Narrative essay

We value your privacy

We use cookies to improve your experience and give you personalized content. Do you agree to our cookie policy?

Website Data Collection

We use data collected by cookies and JavaScript libraries.

Are you sure you want to cancel?

Your preferences have not been saved.

PrepScholar

Choose Your Test

Sat / act prep online guides and tips, 3 great narrative essay examples + tips for writing.

author image

General Education

feature_books-5

A narrative essay is one of the most intimidating assignments you can be handed at any level of your education. Where you've previously written argumentative essays that make a point or analytic essays that dissect meaning, a narrative essay asks you to write what is effectively a story .

But unlike a simple work of creative fiction, your narrative essay must have a clear and concrete motif —a recurring theme or idea that you’ll explore throughout. Narrative essays are less rigid, more creative in expression, and therefore pretty different from most other essays you’ll be writing.

But not to fear—in this article, we’ll be covering what a narrative essay is, how to write a good one, and also analyzing some personal narrative essay examples to show you what a great one looks like.

What Is a Narrative Essay?

At first glance, a narrative essay might sound like you’re just writing a story. Like the stories you're used to reading, a narrative essay is generally (but not always) chronological, following a clear throughline from beginning to end.  Even if the story jumps around in time, all the details will come back to one specific theme, demonstrated through your choice in motifs.

Unlike many creative stories, however, your narrative essay should be based in fact. That doesn’t mean that every detail needs to be pure and untainted by imagination, but rather that you shouldn’t wholly invent the events of your narrative essay. There’s nothing wrong with inventing a person’s words if you can’t remember them exactly, but you shouldn’t say they said something they weren’t even close to saying.

Another big difference between narrative essays and creative fiction—as well as other kinds of essays—is that narrative essays are based on motifs. A motif is a dominant idea or theme, one that you establish before writing the essay. As you’re crafting the narrative, it’ll feed back into your motif to create a comprehensive picture of whatever that motif is.

For example, say you want to write a narrative essay about how your first day in high school helped you establish your identity. You might discuss events like trying to figure out where to sit in the cafeteria, having to describe yourself in five words as an icebreaker in your math class, or being unsure what to do during your lunch break because it’s no longer acceptable to go outside and play during lunch. All of those ideas feed back into the central motif of establishing your identity.

The important thing to remember is that while a narrative essay is typically told chronologically and intended to read like a story, it is not purely for entertainment value. A narrative essay delivers its theme by deliberately weaving the motifs through the events, scenes, and details. While a narrative essay may be entertaining, its primary purpose is to tell a complete story based on a central meaning.

Unlike other essay forms, it is totally okay—even expected—to use first-person narration in narrative essays. If you’re writing a story about yourself, it’s natural to refer to yourself within the essay. It’s also okay to use other perspectives, such as third- or even second-person, but that should only be done if it better serves your motif. Generally speaking, your narrative essay should be in first-person perspective.

Though your motif choices may feel at times like you’re making a point the way you would in an argumentative essay, a narrative essay’s goal is to tell a story, not convince the reader of anything. Your reader should be able to tell what your motif is from reading, but you don’t have to change their mind about anything. If they don’t understand the point you are making, you should consider strengthening the delivery of the events and descriptions that support your motif.

Narrative essays also share some features with analytical essays, in which you derive meaning from a book, film, or other media. But narrative essays work differently—you’re not trying to draw meaning from an existing text, but rather using an event you’ve experienced to convey meaning. In an analytical essay, you examine narrative, whereas in a narrative essay you create narrative.

The structure of a narrative essay is also a bit different than other essays. You’ll generally be getting your point across chronologically as opposed to grouping together specific arguments in paragraphs or sections. To return to the example of an essay discussing your first day of high school and how it impacted the shaping of your identity, it would be weird to put the events out of order, even if not knowing what to do after lunch feels like a stronger idea than choosing where to sit. Instead of organizing to deliver your information based on maximum impact, you’ll be telling your story as it happened, using concrete details to reinforce your theme.

body_fair

3 Great Narrative Essay Examples

One of the best ways to learn how to write a narrative essay is to look at a great narrative essay sample. Let’s take a look at some truly stellar narrative essay examples and dive into what exactly makes them work so well.

A Ticket to the Fair by David Foster Wallace

Today is Press Day at the Illinois State Fair in Springfield, and I’m supposed to be at the fairgrounds by 9:00 A.M. to get my credentials. I imagine credentials to be a small white card in the band of a fedora. I’ve never been considered press before. My real interest in credentials is getting into rides and shows for free. I’m fresh in from the East Coast, for an East Coast magazine. Why exactly they’re interested in the Illinois State Fair remains unclear to me. I suspect that every so often editors at East Coast magazines slap their foreheads and remember that about 90 percent of the United States lies between the coasts, and figure they’ll engage somebody to do pith-helmeted anthropological reporting on something rural and heartlandish. I think they asked me to do this because I grew up here, just a couple hours’ drive from downstate Springfield. I never did go to the state fair, though—I pretty much topped out at the county fair level. Actually, I haven’t been back to Illinois for a long time, and I can’t say I’ve missed it.

Throughout this essay, David Foster Wallace recounts his experience as press at the Illinois State Fair. But it’s clear from this opening that he’s not just reporting on the events exactly as they happened—though that’s also true— but rather making a point about how the East Coast, where he lives and works, thinks about the Midwest.

In his opening paragraph, Wallace states that outright: “Why exactly they’re interested in the Illinois State Fair remains unclear to me. I suspect that every so often editors at East Coast magazines slap their foreheads and remember that about 90 percent of the United States lies between the coasts, and figure they’ll engage somebody to do pith-helmeted anthropological reporting on something rural and heartlandish.”

Not every motif needs to be stated this clearly , but in an essay as long as Wallace’s, particularly since the audience for such a piece may feel similarly and forget that such a large portion of the country exists, it’s important to make that point clear.

But Wallace doesn’t just rest on introducing his motif and telling the events exactly as they occurred from there. It’s clear that he selects events that remind us of that idea of East Coast cynicism , such as when he realizes that the Help Me Grow tent is standing on top of fake grass that is killing the real grass beneath, when he realizes the hypocrisy of craving a corn dog when faced with a real, suffering pig, when he’s upset for his friend even though he’s not the one being sexually harassed, and when he witnesses another East Coast person doing something he wouldn’t dare to do.

Wallace is literally telling the audience exactly what happened, complete with dates and timestamps for when each event occurred. But he’s also choosing those events with a purpose—he doesn’t focus on details that don’t serve his motif. That’s why he discusses the experiences of people, how the smells are unappealing to him, and how all the people he meets, in cowboy hats, overalls, or “black spandex that looks like cheesecake leotards,” feel almost alien to him.

All of these details feed back into the throughline of East Coast thinking that Wallace introduces in the first paragraph. He also refers back to it in the essay’s final paragraph, stating:

At last, an overarching theory blooms inside my head: megalopolitan East Coasters’ summer treats and breaks and literally ‘getaways,’ flights-from—from crowds, noise, heat, dirt, the stress of too many sensory choices….The East Coast existential treat is escape from confines and stimuli—quiet, rustic vistas that hold still, turn inward, turn away. Not so in the rural Midwest. Here you’re pretty much away all the time….Something in a Midwesterner sort of actuates , deep down, at a public event….The real spectacle that draws us here is us.

Throughout this journey, Wallace has tried to demonstrate how the East Coast thinks about the Midwest, ultimately concluding that they are captivated by the Midwest’s less stimuli-filled life, but that the real reason they are interested in events like the Illinois State Fair is that they are, in some ways, a means of looking at the East Coast in a new, estranging way.

The reason this works so well is that Wallace has carefully chosen his examples, outlined his motif and themes in the first paragraph, and eventually circled back to the original motif with a clearer understanding of his original point.

When outlining your own narrative essay, try to do the same. Start with a theme, build upon it with examples, and return to it in the end with an even deeper understanding of the original issue. You don’t need this much space to explore a theme, either—as we’ll see in the next example, a strong narrative essay can also be very short.

body_moth

Death of a Moth by Virginia Woolf

After a time, tired by his dancing apparently, he settled on the window ledge in the sun, and, the queer spectacle being at an end, I forgot about him. Then, looking up, my eye was caught by him. He was trying to resume his dancing, but seemed either so stiff or so awkward that he could only flutter to the bottom of the window-pane; and when he tried to fly across it he failed. Being intent on other matters I watched these futile attempts for a time without thinking, unconsciously waiting for him to resume his flight, as one waits for a machine, that has stopped momentarily, to start again without considering the reason of its failure. After perhaps a seventh attempt he slipped from the wooden ledge and fell, fluttering his wings, on to his back on the window sill. The helplessness of his attitude roused me. It flashed upon me that he was in difficulties; he could no longer raise himself; his legs struggled vainly. But, as I stretched out a pencil, meaning to help him to right himself, it came over me that the failure and awkwardness were the approach of death. I laid the pencil down again.

In this essay, Virginia Woolf explains her encounter with a dying moth. On surface level, this essay is just a recounting of an afternoon in which she watched a moth die—it’s even established in the title. But there’s more to it than that. Though Woolf does not begin her essay with as clear a motif as Wallace, it’s not hard to pick out the evidence she uses to support her point, which is that the experience of this moth is also the human experience.

In the title, Woolf tells us this essay is about death. But in the first paragraph, she seems to mostly be discussing life—the moth is “content with life,” people are working in the fields, and birds are flying. However, she mentions that it is mid-September and that the fields were being plowed. It’s autumn and it’s time for the harvest; the time of year in which many things die.

In this short essay, she chronicles the experience of watching a moth seemingly embody life, then die. Though this essay is literally about a moth, it’s also about a whole lot more than that. After all, moths aren’t the only things that die—Woolf is also reflecting on her own mortality, as well as the mortality of everything around her.

At its core, the essay discusses the push and pull of life and death, not in a way that’s necessarily sad, but in a way that is accepting of both. Woolf begins by setting up the transitional fall season, often associated with things coming to an end, and raises the ideas of pleasure, vitality, and pity.

At one point, Woolf tries to help the dying moth, but reconsiders, as it would interfere with the natural order of the world. The moth’s death is part of the natural order of the world, just like fall, just like her own eventual death.

All these themes are set up in the beginning and explored throughout the essay’s narrative. Though Woolf doesn’t directly state her theme, she reinforces it by choosing a small, isolated event—watching a moth die—and illustrating her point through details.

With this essay, we can see that you don’t need a big, weird, exciting event to discuss an important meaning. Woolf is able to explore complicated ideas in a short essay by being deliberate about what details she includes, just as you can be in your own essays.

body_baldwin

Notes of a Native Son by James Baldwin

On the twenty-ninth of July, in 1943, my father died. On the same day, a few hours later, his last child was born. Over a month before this, while all our energies were concentrated in waiting for these events, there had been, in Detroit, one of the bloodiest race riots of the century. A few hours after my father’s funeral, while he lay in state in the undertaker’s chapel, a race riot broke out in Harlem. On the morning of the third of August, we drove my father to the graveyard through a wilderness of smashed plate glass.

Like Woolf, Baldwin does not lay out his themes in concrete terms—unlike Wallace, there’s no clear sentence that explains what he’ll be talking about. However, you can see the motifs quite clearly: death, fatherhood, struggle, and race.

Throughout the narrative essay, Baldwin discusses the circumstances of his father’s death, including his complicated relationship with his father. By introducing those motifs in the first paragraph, the reader understands that everything discussed in the essay will come back to those core ideas. When Baldwin talks about his experience with a white teacher taking an interest in him and his father’s resistance to that, he is also talking about race and his father’s death. When he talks about his father’s death, he is also talking about his views on race. When he talks about his encounters with segregation and racism, he is talking, in part, about his father.

Because his father was a hard, uncompromising man, Baldwin struggles to reconcile the knowledge that his father was right about many things with his desire to not let that hardness consume him, as well.

Baldwin doesn’t explicitly state any of this, but his writing so often touches on the same motifs that it becomes clear he wants us to think about all these ideas in conversation with one another.

At the end of the essay, Baldwin makes it more clear:

This fight begins, however, in the heart and it had now been laid to my charge to keep my own heart free of hatred and despair. This intimation made my heart heavy and, now that my father was irrecoverable, I wished that he had been beside me so that I could have searched his face for the answers which only the future would give me now.

Here, Baldwin ties together the themes and motifs into one clear statement: that he must continue to fight and recognize injustice, especially racial injustice, just as his father did. But unlike his father, he must do it beginning with himself—he must not let himself be closed off to the world as his father was. And yet, he still wishes he had his father for guidance, even as he establishes that he hopes to be a different man than his father.

In this essay, Baldwin loads the front of the essay with his motifs, and, through his narrative, weaves them together into a theme. In the end, he comes to a conclusion that connects all of those things together and leaves the reader with a lasting impression of completion—though the elements may have been initially disparate, in the end everything makes sense.

You can replicate this tactic of introducing seemingly unattached ideas and weaving them together in your own essays. By introducing those motifs, developing them throughout, and bringing them together in the end, you can demonstrate to your reader how all of them are related. However, it’s especially important to be sure that your motifs and clear and consistent throughout your essay so that the conclusion feels earned and consistent—if not, readers may feel mislead.

5 Key Tips for Writing Narrative Essays

Narrative essays can be a lot of fun to write since they’re so heavily based on creativity. But that can also feel intimidating—sometimes it’s easier to have strict guidelines than to have to make it all up yourself. Here are a few tips to keep your narrative essay feeling strong and fresh.

Develop Strong Motifs

Motifs are the foundation of a narrative essay . What are you trying to say? How can you say that using specific symbols or events? Those are your motifs.

In the same way that an argumentative essay’s body should support its thesis, the body of your narrative essay should include motifs that support your theme.

Try to avoid cliches, as these will feel tired to your readers. Instead of roses to symbolize love, try succulents. Instead of the ocean representing some vast, unknowable truth, try the depths of your brother’s bedroom. Keep your language and motifs fresh and your essay will be even stronger!

Use First-Person Perspective

In many essays, you’re expected to remove yourself so that your points stand on their own. Not so in a narrative essay—in this case, you want to make use of your own perspective.

Sometimes a different perspective can make your point even stronger. If you want someone to identify with your point of view, it may be tempting to choose a second-person perspective. However, be sure you really understand the function of second-person; it’s very easy to put a reader off if the narration isn’t expertly deployed.

If you want a little bit of distance, third-person perspective may be okay. But be careful—too much distance and your reader may feel like the narrative lacks truth.

That’s why first-person perspective is the standard. It keeps you, the writer, close to the narrative, reminding the reader that it really happened. And because you really know what happened and how, you’re free to inject your own opinion into the story without it detracting from your point, as it would in a different type of essay.

Stick to the Truth

Your essay should be true. However, this is a creative essay, and it’s okay to embellish a little. Rarely in life do we experience anything with a clear, concrete meaning the way somebody in a book might. If you flub the details a little, it’s okay—just don’t make them up entirely.

Also, nobody expects you to perfectly recall details that may have happened years ago. You may have to reconstruct dialog from your memory and your imagination. That’s okay, again, as long as you aren’t making it up entirely and assigning made-up statements to somebody.

Dialog is a powerful tool. A good conversation can add flavor and interest to a story, as we saw demonstrated in David Foster Wallace’s essay. As previously mentioned, it’s okay to flub it a little, especially because you’re likely writing about an experience you had without knowing that you’d be writing about it later.

However, don’t rely too much on it. Your narrative essay shouldn’t be told through people explaining things to one another; the motif comes through in the details. Dialog can be one of those details, but it shouldn’t be the only one.

Use Sensory Descriptions

Because a narrative essay is a story, you can use sensory details to make your writing more interesting. If you’re describing a particular experience, you can go into detail about things like taste, smell, and hearing in a way that you probably wouldn’t do in any other essay style.

These details can tie into your overall motifs and further your point. Woolf describes in great detail what she sees while watching the moth, giving us the sense that we, too, are watching the moth. In Wallace’s essay, he discusses the sights, sounds, and smells of the Illinois State Fair to help emphasize his point about its strangeness. And in Baldwin’s essay, he describes shattered glass as a “wilderness,” and uses the feelings of his body to describe his mental state.

All these descriptions anchor us not only in the story, but in the motifs and themes as well. One of the tools of a writer is making the reader feel as you felt, and sensory details help you achieve that.

What’s Next?

Looking to brush up on your essay-writing capabilities before the ACT? This guide to ACT English will walk you through some of the best strategies and practice questions to get you prepared!

Part of practicing for the ACT is ensuring your word choice and diction are on point. Check out this guide to some of the most common errors on the ACT English section to be sure that you're not making these common mistakes!

A solid understanding of English principles will help you make an effective point in a narrative essay, and you can get that understanding through taking a rigorous assortment of high school English classes ! 

Need more help with this topic? Check out Tutorbase!

Our vetted tutor database includes a range of experienced educators who can help you polish an essay for English or explain how derivatives work for Calculus. You can use dozens of filters and search criteria to find the perfect person for your needs.

Connect With a Tutor Now

Melissa Brinks graduated from the University of Washington in 2014 with a Bachelor's in English with a creative writing emphasis. She has spent several years tutoring K-12 students in many subjects, including in SAT prep, to help them prepare for their college education.

Student and Parent Forum

Our new student and parent forum, at ExpertHub.PrepScholar.com , allow you to interact with your peers and the PrepScholar staff. See how other students and parents are navigating high school, college, and the college admissions process. Ask questions; get answers.

Join the Conversation

Ask a Question Below

Have any questions about this article or other topics? Ask below and we'll reply!

Improve With Our Famous Guides

  • For All Students

The 5 Strategies You Must Be Using to Improve 160+ SAT Points

How to Get a Perfect 1600, by a Perfect Scorer

Series: How to Get 800 on Each SAT Section:

Score 800 on SAT Math

Score 800 on SAT Reading

Score 800 on SAT Writing

Series: How to Get to 600 on Each SAT Section:

Score 600 on SAT Math

Score 600 on SAT Reading

Score 600 on SAT Writing

Free Complete Official SAT Practice Tests

What SAT Target Score Should You Be Aiming For?

15 Strategies to Improve Your SAT Essay

The 5 Strategies You Must Be Using to Improve 4+ ACT Points

How to Get a Perfect 36 ACT, by a Perfect Scorer

Series: How to Get 36 on Each ACT Section:

36 on ACT English

36 on ACT Math

36 on ACT Reading

36 on ACT Science

Series: How to Get to 24 on Each ACT Section:

24 on ACT English

24 on ACT Math

24 on ACT Reading

24 on ACT Science

What ACT target score should you be aiming for?

ACT Vocabulary You Must Know

ACT Writing: 15 Tips to Raise Your Essay Score

How to Get Into Harvard and the Ivy League

How to Get a Perfect 4.0 GPA

How to Write an Amazing College Essay

What Exactly Are Colleges Looking For?

Is the ACT easier than the SAT? A Comprehensive Guide

Should you retake your SAT or ACT?

When should you take the SAT or ACT?

Stay Informed

how to write narrative essay fast

Get the latest articles and test prep tips!

Looking for Graduate School Test Prep?

Check out our top-rated graduate blogs here:

GRE Online Prep Blog

GMAT Online Prep Blog

TOEFL Online Prep Blog

Holly R. "I am absolutely overjoyed and cannot thank you enough for helping me!”

BibGuru Blog

Be more productive in school

  • Citation Styles

How to write a narrative essay [Updated 2023]

How to write a narrative essay

A narrative essay is an opportunity to flex your creative muscles and craft a compelling story. In this blog post, we define what a narrative essay is and provide strategies and examples for writing one.

What is a narrative essay?

Similarly to a descriptive essay or a reflective essay, a narrative essay asks you to tell a story, rather than make an argument and present evidence. Most narrative essays describe a real, personal experience from your own life (for example, the story of your first big success).

Alternately, your narrative essay might focus on an imagined experience (for example, how your life would be if you had been born into different circumstances). While you don’t need to present a thesis statement or scholarly evidence, a narrative essay still needs to be well-structured and clearly organized so that the reader can follow your story.

When you might be asked to write a narrative essay

Although less popular than argumentative essays or expository essays, narrative essays are relatively common in high school and college writing classes.

The same techniques that you would use to write a college essay as part of a college or scholarship application are applicable to narrative essays, as well. In fact, the Common App that many students use to apply to multiple colleges asks you to submit a narrative essay.

How to choose a topic for a narrative essay

When you are asked to write a narrative essay, a topic may be assigned to you or you may be able to choose your own. With an assigned topic, the prompt will likely fall into one of two categories: specific or open-ended.

Examples of specific prompts:

  • Write about the last vacation you took.
  • Write about your final year of middle school.

Examples of open-ended prompts:

  • Write about a time when you felt all hope was lost.
  • Write about a brief, seemingly insignificant event that ended up having a big impact on your life.

A narrative essay tells a story and all good stories are centered on a conflict of some sort. Experiences with unexpected obstacles, twists, or turns make for much more compelling essays and reveal more about your character and views on life.

If you’re writing a narrative essay as part of an admissions application, remember that the people reviewing your essay will be looking at it to gain a sense of not just your writing ability, but who you are as a person.

In these cases, it’s wise to choose a topic and experience from your life that demonstrates the qualities that the prompt is looking for, such as resilience, perseverance, the ability to stay calm under pressure, etc.

It’s also important to remember that your choice of topic is just a starting point. Many students find that they arrive at new ideas and insights as they write their first draft, so the final form of your essay may have a different focus than the one you started with.

How to outline and format a narrative essay

Even though you’re not advancing an argument or proving a point of view, a narrative essay still needs to have a coherent structure. Your reader has to be able to follow you as you tell the story and to figure out the larger point that you’re making.

You’ll be evaluated on is your handling of the topic and how you structure your essay. Even though a narrative essay doesn’t use the same structure as other essay types, you should still sketch out a loose outline so you can tell your story in a clear and compelling way.

To outline a narrative essay, you’ll want to determine:

  • how your story will start
  • what points or specifics that you want to cover
  • how your story will end
  • what pace and tone you will use

In the vast majority of cases, a narrative essay should be written in the first-person, using “I.” Also, most narrative essays will follow typical formatting guidelines, so you should choose a readable font like Times New Roman in size 11 or 12. Double-space your paragraphs and use 1” margins.

To get your creative wheels turning, consider how your story compares to archetypes and famous historical and literary figures both past and present. Weave these comparisons into your essay to improve the quality of your writing and connect your personal experience to a larger context.

How to write a narrative essay

Writing a narrative essay can sometimes be a challenge for students who typically write argumentative essays or research papers in a formal, objective style. To give you a better sense of how you can write a narrative essay, here is a short example of an essay in response to the prompt, “Write about an experience that challenged your view of yourself.”

Narrative essay example

Even as a child, I always had what people might call a reserved personality. It was sometimes framed as a positive (“Sarah is a good listener”) and at other times it was put in less-than-admiring terms (“Sarah is withdrawn and not very talkative”). It was the latter kind of comments that caused me to see my introverted nature as a drawback and as something I should work to eliminate. That is, until I joined my high school’s student council.

The first paragraph, or introduction, sets up the context, establishing the situation and introducing the meaningful event upon which the essay will focus.

The other four students making up the council were very outspoken and enthusiastic. I enjoyed being around them, and I often agreed with their ideas. However, when it came to overhauling our school’s recycling plan, we butted heads. When I spoke up and offered a different point of view, one of my fellow student council members launched into a speech, advocating for her point of view. As her voice filled the room, I couldn’t get a word in edgewise. I wondered if I should try to match her tone, volume, and assertiveness as a way to be heard. But I just couldn’t do it—it’s not my way, and it never has been. For a fleeting moment, I felt defeated. But then, something in me shifted.

In this paragraph, the writer goes into greater depth about how her existing thinking brought her to this point.

I reminded myself that my view was valid and deserved to be heard. So I waited. I let my fellow council member speak her piece and when she was finished, I deliberately waited a few moments before calmly stating my case. I chose my words well, and I spoke them succinctly. Just because I’m not a big talker doesn’t mean I’m not a big thinker. I thought of the quotation “still waters run deep” and I tried to embody that. The effect on the room was palpable. People listened. And I hadn’t had to shout my point to be heard.

This paragraph demonstrates the turn in the story, the moment when everything changed. The use of the quotation “still waters run deep” imbues the story with a dash of poetry and emotion.

We eventually reached a compromise on the matter and concluded the student council meeting. Our council supervisor came to me afterward and said: “You handled that so well, with such grace and poise. I was very impressed.” Her words in that moment changed me. I realized that a bombastic nature isn't necessarily a powerful one. There is power in quiet, too. This experience taught me to view my reserved personality not as a character flaw, but as a strength.

The final paragraph, or conclusion, closes with a statement about the significance of this event and how it ended up changing the writer in a meaningful way.

Narrative essay writing tips

1. pick a meaningful story that has a conflict and a clear “moral.”.

If you’re able to choose your own topic, pick a story that has meaning and that reveals how you became the person your are today. In other words, write a narrative with a clear “moral” that you can connect with your main points.

2. Use an outline to arrange the structure of your story and organize your main points.

Although a narrative essay is different from argumentative essays, it’s still beneficial to construct an outline so that your story is well-structured and organized. Note how you want to start and end your story, and what points you want to make to tie everything together.

3. Be clear, concise, concrete, and correct in your writing.

You should use descriptive writing in your narrative essay, but don’t overdo it. Use clear, concise, and correct language and grammar throughout. Additionally, make concrete points that reinforce the main idea of your narrative.

4. Ask a friend or family member to proofread your essay.

No matter what kind of writing you’re doing, you should always plan to proofread and revise. To ensure that your narrative essay is coherent and interesting, ask a friend or family member to read over your paper. This is especially important if your essay is responding to a prompt. It helps to have another person check to make sure that you’ve fully responded to the prompt or question.

Frequently Asked Questions about narrative essays

A narrative essay, like any essay, has three main parts: an introduction, a body and a conclusion. Structuring and outlining your essay before you start writing will help you write a clear story that your readers can follow.

The first paragraph of your essay, or introduction, sets up the context, establishing the situation and introducing the meaningful event upon which the essay will focus.

In the vast majority of cases, a narrative essay should be written in the first-person, using “I.”

The 4 main types of essays are the argumentative essay, narrative essay, exploratory essay, and expository essay. You may be asked to write different types of essays at different points in your education.

Most narrative essays will be around five paragraphs, or more, depending on the topic and requirements. Make sure to check in with your instructor about the guidelines for your essay. If you’re writing a narrative essay for a college application, pay close attention to word or page count requirements.

How to write a college essay

Make your life easier with our productivity and writing resources.

For students and teachers.

  • Link to facebook
  • Link to linkedin
  • Link to twitter
  • Link to youtube
  • Writing Tips

How to Write a Narrative Essay

4-minute read

  • 9th January 2020

A narrative essay is quite different to other essays you might write at school or university. Unlike most standard essays, narrative essays:

  • Tell a story rather than presenting a standard argument
  • Are often personal and written in the first person
  • Have a conflict, characters, and dialogue

But they aren’t just stories, either. They need to make a point or illustrate an idea. Check out our tips on how to write a narrative essay to find out more.

1. Pick a Topic

If you’ve been asked to write a narrative essay, you should have been given a prompt. This will set the overall theme or topic that your essay should be about. Examples of narrative essay prompts include:

  • Write about a time when you overcame adversity.
  • When have you been faced with an ethical dilemma?
  • How has technology affected your learning experiences?

You will then need to tell a story that fits the theme of the prompt, so always read it carefully! Another key factor is the scope of your story. You’re not writing a novel, after all, so try to pick a single event that you can write about in a few paragraphs (or within the set word count for the essay).

2. Plan Your Essay

To plan your narrative essay, you should think about how to structure it. Depending on the length, this will often involve three main sections:

  • Introduction – A sentence or two about what the story will be about.
  • Main Body – An account of the event you’re writing about. Outline the plot of your story , noting what happens, where it happened, who was involved, how you felt, and why each thing you describe was significant.
  • Conclusion – A final section where you explain what you learned in relation to the events you’ve described and the theme of the essay prompt.

Once you’re happy with your essay outline, you’ll be ready to start writing.

3. Write Descriptively

A narrative essay has more scope for style than most academic writing. As such, you should try to fill your story with vivid, descriptive details that bring it to life. Think about the following details:

Find this useful?

Subscribe to our newsletter and get writing tips from our editors straight to your inbox.

  • The Setting – Where does your story take place? Does it affect what happens? How can you capture the feeling of the place in your writing?
  • Characters – Who else was around during the events you’re describing? How were they involved? What did they say? Did they affect the outcome?
  • Voice and Point of View – Are you telling the story from your own point of view? Does your writing style reflect this? Is it in your own voice?

You don’t have to go into detail about everything. But descriptive writing can make an essay more compelling. And if you can communicate themes and feeling through description rather than just stating them outright (a technique known as show, don’t tell ), your essay will be stronger for it.

4. Use the Drafting Process

As with any essay, your first draft is just a starting point! After that, you’ll want to take a short break before going back over what you’ve written to look for ways you could improve it. This is known as the drafting process.

For a narrative essay, this process may include:

  • Making sure everything you include is relevant to the story
  • Revising sentences and paragraphs for clarity and concision
  • Checking that the point of view and narrative voice are consistent
  • Ensuring the essay has a clear structure and theme

How many drafts you do is a matter of choice, though longer essays usually benefit from more drafts than shorter ones. The key is to polish your essay until it is perfect. On which note, let’s move on to our final point…

5. Have Your Narrative Essay Proofread

Finally, when you’ve finished redrafting, it’s time to proofread! This is where you give your essay one last read-through to look for any typos or inconsistencies you have missed. However, proofreading your own work is difficult, so you may want to ask a friend to help you with this stage.

Alternatively, we have expert editors on hand 24/7 to proofread your work. And as well as correcting errors, we can refine your writing for readability and leave helpful feedback on style. Why not submit a 500-word sample document today and find out what our service involves for free?

Share this article:

Post A New Comment

Get help from a language expert. Try our proofreading services for free.

3-minute read

How to Come Up With Newsletter Ideas

If used strategically, email can have a substantial impact on your business. In fact, according...

Free Online Peer Review Template

Having your writing peer-reviewed is a valuable process that can showcase the strengths and weaknesses...

How to Embed a Video in PowerPoint

Including a video in your PowerPoint presentation can make it more exciting and engaging. And...

What Is a Patent?

A patent is a form of intellectual property that restricts who can copy your invention....

How to Add Speaker Notes in PowerPoint

Adding speaker notes to your PowerPoint allows you to present with confidence while avoiding information...

How to Download a PowerPoint Presentation

PowerPoint is Microsoft’s presentation software. It’s frequently used by families, students, and businesses to create...

Logo Harvard University

Make sure your writing is the best it can be with our expert English proofreading and editing.

How to Write a Narrative Essay A Step by Step Guide Featured

  • Scriptwriting

How to Write a Narrative Essay — A Step-by-Step Guide

N arrative essays are important papers most students have to write. But how does one write a narrative essay? Fear not, we’re going to show you how to write a narrative essay by breaking down a variety of narrative writing strategies. By the end, you’ll know why narrative essays are so important – and how to write your own.

How to Write a Narrative Essay Step by Step

Background on narrative essays.

Narrative essays are important assignments in many writing classes – but what is a narrative essay? A narrative essay is a prose-written story that’s focused on the commentary of a central theme .

Narrative essays are generally written in the first-person POV , and are usually about a topic that’s personal to the writer.

Everything in a narrative essay should take place in an established timeline, with a clear beginning, middle, and end. 

In simplest terms, a narrative essay is a personal story. A narrative essay can be written in response to a prompt or as an independent exercise.

We’re going to get to tips and tricks on how to write a narrative essay in a bit, but first let’s check out a video on “story.” 

How to Start a Narrative Essay  •  What is a Story? by Mr. Kresphus

In some regards, any story can be regarded as a personal story, but for the sake of this article, we’re going to focus on prose-written stories told in the first-person POV.

How to Start a Narrative Essay

Responding to prompts.

Many people wonder about how to start a narrative essay. Well, if you’re writing a narrative essay in response to a prompt, then chances are the person issuing the prompt is looking for a specific answer.

For example: if the prompt states “recount a time you encountered a challenge,” then chances are the person issuing the prompt wants to hear about how you overcame a challenge or learned from it.

That isn’t to say you have to respond to the prompt in one way; “overcoming” or “learning” from a challenge can be constituted in a variety of ways.

For example, you could structure your essay around overcoming a physical challenge, like an injury or disability. Or you could structure your essay around learning from failure, such as losing at a sport or performing poorly on an important exam.

Whatever it is, you must show that the challenge forced you to grow. 

Maturation is an important process – and an essential aspect of narrative essays... of course, there are exceptions to the rule; lack of maturation is a prescient theme in narrative essays too; although that’s mostly reserved for experienced essay writers.

So, let’s take a look at how you might respond to a series of narrative essay prompts:

How successful are you?

This prompt begs the writer to impart humility without throwing a pity party. I would respond to this prompt by demonstrating pride in what I do while offering modesty. For example: “I have achieved success in what I set out to do – but I still have a long way to go to achieve my long-term goals.”

Who is your role model?

“My role model is [Blank] because ” is how you should start this narrative essay. The “because” is the crux of your essay. For example, I’d say “Bill Russell is my role model because he demonstrated graceful resolve in the face of bigotry and discrimination. 

Do you consider yourself spiritual?

For this prompt, you should explain how you came to the conclusion of whether or not you consider yourself a spiritual person. Of course, prompt-givers will differ on how much they want you to freely express. For example: if the prompt-giver is an employee at an evangelizing organization, then they probably want to see that you’re willing to propagate the church’s agenda. Alternatively, if the prompt-giver is non-denominational, they probably want to see that you’re accepting of people from various spiritual backgrounds.

How to Write Narrative Essay

What makes a good narrative essay.

You don’t have to respond to a prompt to write a narrative essay. So, how do you write a narrative essay without a prompt? Well, that’s the thing… you can write a narrative essay about anything!

That’s a bit of a blessing and a curse though – on one hand it’s liberating to choose any topic you want; on the other, it’s difficult to narrow down a good story from an infinite breadth of possibilities.

In this next video, the team at Essay Pro explores why passion is the number one motivator for effective narrative essays.

How to Write a Narrative Essay Step by Step  •  Real Essay Examples by Essay Pro

So, before you write anything, ask yourself: “what am I passionate about?” Movies? Sports? Books? Games? Baking? Volunteering? Whatever it is, make sure that it’s something that demonstrates your individual growth . It doesn’t have to be anything major; take a video game for example: you could write a narrative essay about searching for a rare weapon with friends.

Success or failure, you’ll be able to demonstrate growth.

Here’s something to consider: writing a narrative essay around intertextuality. What is intertextuality ? Intertextuality is the relationship between texts, i.e., books, movies, plays, songs, games, etc. In other words, it’s anytime one text is referenced in another text.

For example, you could write a narrative essay about your favorite movie! Just make sure that it ultimately reflects back on yourself. 

Narrative Writing Format

Structure of a narrative essay.

Narrative essays differ in length and structure – but there are some universal basics. The first paragraph of a narrative essay should always introduce the central theme. For example, if the narrative essay is about “a fond childhood memory,” then the first paragraph should briefly comment on the nature of the fond childhood memory.

In general, a narrative essay should have an introductory paragraph with a topic sentence (reiterating the prompt or basic idea), a brief commentary on the central theme, and a set-up for the body paragraphs.

The body paragraphs should make up the vast majority of the narrative essay. In the body paragraphs, the writer should essentially “build the story’s case.” What do I mean by “build the story’s case?”

Well, I mean that the writer should display the story’s merit; what it means, why it matters, and how it proves (or refutes) personal growth.

The narrative essay should always conclude with a dedicated paragraph. In the “conclusion paragraph,” the writer should reflect on the story.

Pro tip: conclusion paragraphs usually work best when the writer stays within the diegesis. 

What is a Video Essay?

A video essay is a natural extension of a narrative essay; differentiated only by purpose and medium. In our next article, we’ll explain what a video essay is, and why it’s so important to media criticism. By the end, you’ll know where to look for video essay inspiration.

Up Next: The Art of Video Analysis →

Write and produce your scripts all in one place..

Write and collaborate on your scripts FREE . Create script breakdowns, sides, schedules, storyboards, call sheets and more.

  • Pricing & Plans
  • Product Updates
  • Featured On
  • StudioBinder Partners
  • The Ultimate Guide to Call Sheets (with FREE Call Sheet Template)
  • How to Break Down a Script (with FREE Script Breakdown Sheet)
  • The Only Shot List Template You Need — with Free Download
  • Managing Your Film Budget Cashflow & PO Log (Free Template)
  • A Better Film Crew List Template Booking Sheet
  • Best Storyboard Softwares (with free Storyboard Templates)
  • Movie Magic Scheduling
  • Gorilla Software
  • Storyboard That

A visual medium requires visual methods. Master the art of visual storytelling with our FREE video series on directing and filmmaking techniques.

We’re in a golden age of TV writing and development. More and more people are flocking to the small screen to find daily entertainment. So how can you break put from the pack and get your idea onto the small screen? We’re here to help.

  • Making It: From Pre-Production to Screen
  • Static vs Dynamic Characters — And Why Writers Use Them
  • Best Free Romantic Movie Scripts Online (with PDF Downloads)
  • What is a Romance Trope — A Guide to Romantic Storylines
  • What is Digital Distribution — Film, Music, and Gaming
  • What Does an Animator Do — Job Description Explained
  • 2 Pinterest

What is a Narrative Essay? How to Write It (with Examples)

What is a Narrative Essay? How to Write It (with Examples)

Narrative essays are a type of storytelling in which writers weave a personal experience into words to create a fascinating and engaging narrative for readers. A narrative essay explains a story from the author’s point of view to share a lesson or memory with the reader. Narrative essays, like descriptive essays , employ figurative language to depict the subject in a vivid and creative manner to leave a lasting impact on the readers’ minds. In this article, we explore the definition of narrative essays, list the key elements to be included, and provide tips on how to craft a narrative that captivates your audience.

Table of Contents

What is a narrative essay, choosing narrative essay topics, key elements in a narrative essay, creating a narrative essay outline, types of narrative essays, the pre-writing stage, the writing stage, the editing stage, narrative essay example, frequently asked questions.

Narrative essays are often based on one’s personal experience which allows the author to express himself/herself in compelling ways for the reader. They employ storytelling elements to convey the plot and captivate the reader while disclosing the story’s theme or purpose. The author must always have a purpose or theme in mind when writing a narrative essay. These essays may be assigned to high school students to assess their ability to create captivating stories based on personal experiences, or they may be required as part of a college application to assess the applicant’s personal traits. Narrative essays might be based on true events with minor tweaks for dramatic purposes, or they can be adapted from a fictional scenario. Whatever the case maybe, the goal is to tell a story, a good story!

In narrative essays, the emphasis is not so much on the narrative itself as it is on how you explain it. Narrative essay topics cover a range of experiences, from noteworthy to mundane, but when storytelling elements are used well, even a simple account can have weight. Notably, the skills required for narrative writing differ significantly from those needed for formal academic essays, and we will delve deeper into this in the next section.

You can talk about any narrative, but consider whether it is fascinating enough, has enough twists and turns, or teaches a lesson (It’s a plus if the story contains an unexpected twist at the end). The potential topics for a narrative essay are limitless—a triumphant story, a brief moment of introspection, or a voyage of self-discovery. These essays provide writers with the opportunity to share a fragment of their lives with the audience, enriching both the writer’s and the reader’s experiences. Narrative essay examples could be a write-up on “What has been your biggest achievement in life so far and what did it teach you?” or “Describe your toughest experience and how you dealt with it?”.

how to write narrative essay fast

While narrative essays allow you to be creative with your ideas, language, and format, they must include some key components to convey the story clearly, create engaging content and build reader interest. Follow these guidelines when drafting your essay:   

  • Tell your story using the first person to engage users.
  • Use sufficient sensory information and figurative language.
  • Follow an organized framework so the story flows chronologically.
  • Include interesting plot components that add to the narrative.
  • Ensure clear language without grammar, spelling, or word choice errors.

Narrative essay outlines serve as the foundational structure for essay composition, acting as a framework to organize thoughts and ideas prior to the writing process. These outlines provide writers with a means to summarize the story, and help in formulating the introduction and conclusion sections and defining the narrative’s trajectory.

Unlike conventional essays that strictly adhere to the five-paragraph structure, narrative essays allow for more flexibility as the organization is dictated by the flow of the story. The outline typically encompasses general details about the events, granting writers the option to prioritize writing the body sections first while deferring the introduction until later stages of the writing process. This approach allows for a more organic and fluid writing process. If you’re wondering how to start writing a narrative essay outline, here is a sample designed to ensure a compelling and coherent narrative:

Introduction

  • Hook/Opening line: The introduction should have an opening/hook sentence that is a captivating quote, question, or anecdote that grabs the reader’s attention.
  • Background: Briefly introduce the setting, time, tone, and main characters.
  • Thesis statement: State clearly the main theme or lesson acquired from the experience.
  • Event 1 (according to occurrence): Describe the first major event in detail. Introduce the primary characters and set the story context; include sensory elements to enrich the narrative and give the characters depth and enthusiasm.
  • Event 2: Ensure a smooth transition from one event to the next. Continue with the second event in the narrative. For more oomph, use suspense or excitement, or leave the plot with cliffhanger endings. Concentrate on developing your characters and their relationships, using dialog to bring the story to life.
  • Event 3: If there was a twist and suspense, this episode should introduce the climax or resolve the story. Keep the narrative flowing by connecting events logically and conveying the feelings and reactions of the characters.
  • Summarize the plot: Provide a concise recap of the main events within the narrative essay. Highlight the key moments that contribute to the development of the storyline. Offer personal reflections on the significance of the experiences shared, emphasizing the lasting impact they had on the narrator. End the story with a clincher; a powerful and thought-provoking sentence that encapsulates the essence of the narrative. As a bonus, aim to leave the reader with a memorable statement or quote that enhances the overall impact of the narrative. This should linger in the reader’s mind, providing a satisfying and resonant conclusion to the essay.

There are several types of narrative essays, each with their own unique traits. Some narrative essay examples are presented in the table below.

How to write a narrative essay: Step-by-step guide

A narrative essay might be inspired by personal experiences, stories, or even imaginary scenarios that resonate with readers, immersing them in the imaginative world you have created with your words. Here’s an easy step-by-step guide on how to write a narrative essay.

  • Select the topic of your narrative

If no prompt is provided, the first step is to choose a topic to write about. Think about personal experiences that could be given an interesting twist. Readers are more likely to like a tale if it contains aspects of humor, surprising twists, and an out-of-the-box climax. Try to plan out such subjects and consider whether you have enough information on the topic and whether it meets the criteria of being funny/inspiring, with nice characters/plot lines, and an exciting climax. Also consider the tone as well as any stylistic features (such as metaphors or foreshadowing) to be used. While these stylistic choices can be changed later, sketching these ideas early on helps you give your essay a direction to start.

  • Create a framework for your essay

Once you have decided on your topic, create an outline for your narrative essay. An outline is a framework that guides your ideas while you write your narrative essay to keep you on track. It can help with smooth transitions between sections when you are stuck and don’t know how to continue the story. It provides you with an anchor to attach and return to, reminding you of why you started in the first place and why the story matters.

how to write narrative essay fast

  • Compile your first draft

A perfect story and outline do not work until you start writing the draft and breathe life into it with your words. Use your newly constructed outline to sketch out distinct sections of your narrative essay while applying numerous linguistic methods at your disposal. Unlike academic essays, narrative essays allow artistic freedom and leeway for originality so don’t stop yourself from expressing your thoughts. However, take care not to overuse linguistic devices, it’s best to maintain a healthy balance to ensure readability and flow.

  • Use a first-person point of view

One of the most appealing aspects of narrative essays is that traditional academic writing rules do not apply, and the narration is usually done in the first person. You can use first person pronouns such as I and me while narrating different scenarios. Be wary of overly using these as they can suggest lack of proper diction.

  • Use storytelling or creative language

You can employ storytelling tactics and linguistic tools used in fiction or creative writing, such as metaphors, similes, and foreshadowing, to communicate various themes. The use of figurative language, dialogue, and suspense is encouraged in narrative essays.

  • Follow a format to stay organized

There’s no fixed format for narrative essays, but following a loose format when writing helps in organizing one’s thoughts. For example, in the introduction part, underline the importance of creating a narrative essay, and then reaffirm it in the concluding paragraph. Organize your story chronologically so that the reader can follow along and make sense of the story.

  • Reread, revise, and edit

Proofreading and editing are critical components of creating a narrative essay, but it can be easy to become weighed down by the details at this stage. Taking a break from your manuscript before diving into the editing process is a wise practice. Stepping away for a day or two, or even just a few hours, provides valuable time to enhance the plot and address any grammatical issues that may need correction. This period of distance allows for a fresh perspective, enabling you to approach the editing phase with renewed clarity and a more discerning eye.

One suggestion is to reconsider the goals you set out to cover when you started the topic. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Is there a distinct beginning and end to your story?
  • Does your essay have a topic, a memory, or a lesson to teach?
  • Does the tone of the essay match the intended mood?

Now, while keeping these things in mind, modify and proofread your essay. You can use online grammar checkers and paraphrase tools such as Paperpal to smooth out any rough spots before submitting it for publication or submission.

It is recommended to edit your essay in the order it was written; here are some useful tips:

  • Revise the introduction

After crafting your narrative essay, review the introduction to ensure it harmonizes with the developed narrative. Confirm that it adeptly introduces the story and aligns seamlessly with the conclusion.

  • Revise the conclusion and polish the essay

The conclusion should be the final element edited to ensure coherence and harmony in the entire narrative. It must reinforce the central theme or lesson outlined initially.

  • Revise and refine the entire article

The last step involves refining the article for consistent tone, style, and tense as well as correct language, grammar, punctuation, and clarity. Seeking feedback from a mentor or colleague can offer an invaluable external perspective at this stage.

Narrative essays are true accounts of the writer’s personal experiences, conveyed in figurative language for sensory appeal. Some narrative essay topic examples include writing about an unforgettable experience, reflecting on mistakes, or achieving a goal. An example of a personal narrative essay is as follows:

Title: A Feline Odyssey: An Experience of Fostering Stray Kittens

Introduction:

It was a fine summer evening in the year 2022 when a soft meowing disrupted the tranquility of my terrace. Little did I know that this innocent symphony would lead to a heartwarming journey of compassion and companionship. Soon, there was a mama cat at my doorstep with four little kittens tucked behind her. They were the most unexpected visitors I had ever had.

The kittens, just fluffs of fur with barely open eyes, were a monument to life’s fragility. Their mother, a street-smart feline, had entrusted me with the care of her precious offspring. The responsibility was sudden and unexpected, yet there was an undeniable sense of purpose in the air , filling me with delight and enthusiasm.

As the days unfolded, my terrace transformed into a haven for the feline family. Cardboard boxes became makeshift cat shelters and my once solitary retreat was filled with purrs and soothing meows. The mother cat, Lily, who initially observ ed me from a safe distance, gradually began to trust my presence as I offered food and gentle strokes.

Fostering the kittens was a life-changing , enriching experience that taught me the true joy of giving as I cared for the felines. My problems slowly faded into the background as evenings were spent playing with the kittens. Sleepless nights turned into a symphony of contented purring, a lullaby filled with the warmth of trust and security . Although the kittens were identical, they grew up to have very distinct personalities, with Kuttu being the most curious and Bobo being the most coy . Every dawn ushered in a soothing ritual of nourishing these feline companions, while nights welcomed their playful antics — a daily nocturnal delight.

Conclusion:

As the kittens grew, so did the realization that our paths were destined to part. Finally, the day arrived when the feline family, now confident and self-reliant, bid farewell to my terrace. It was a bittersweet moment, filled with a sense of love and accomplishment and a tinge of sadness.

Fostering Kuttu, Coco, Lulu, and Bobo became one of the most transformative experiences of my life. Their arrival had brought unexpected joy, teaching me about compassion and our species’ ability to make a difference in the world through love and understanding. The terrace, once a quiet retreat, now bore the echoes of a feline symphony that had touched my heart in ways I could have never imagined.

how to write narrative essay fast

The length of a narrative essay may vary, but it is typically a brief to moderate length piece. Generally, the essay contains an introductory paragraph, two to three body paragraphs (this number can vary), and a conclusion. The entire narrative essay could be as short as five paragraphs or much longer, depending on the assignment’s requirements or the writer’s preference.

You can write a narrative essay when you have a personal experience to share, or a story, or a series of events that you can tell in a creative and engaging way. Narrative essays are often assigned in academic settings as a form of writing that allows students to express themselves and showcase their storytelling skills. However, you can also write a narrative essay for personal reflection, entertainment, or to communicate a message.

A narrative essay usually follows a three-part structure: – Introduction (To set the stage for the story) – Body paragraphs (To describe sequence of events with details, descriptions, and dialogue) – Conclusion (To summarize the story and reflect on the significance)

Paperpal is an AI academic writing assistant that helps authors write better and faster with real-time writing suggestions and in-depth checks for language and grammar correction. Trained on millions of published scholarly articles and 20+ years of STM experience, Paperpal delivers human precision at machine speed.    

Try it for free or upgrade to  Paperpal Prime , which unlocks unlimited access to Paperpal Copilot and premium features like academic translation, paraphrasing, contextual synonyms, consistency checks, submission readiness and more. It’s like always having a professional academic editor by your side! Go beyond limitations and experience the future of academic writing.  Get Paperpal Prime now at just US$19 a month!  

Related Reads:

Webinar: how to use generative ai tools ethically in your academic writing.

  • 7 Ways to Improve Your Academic Writing Process
  • Chemistry Terms: 7 Commonly Confused Words in Chemistry Manuscripts

Empirical Research: A Comprehensive Guide for Academics 

What is a descriptive essay how to write it (with examples), you may also like, plagiarism prevention: why you need a plagiarism check..., how long should a chapter be, how to cite social media sources in academic writing , what is a literature review how to write..., how to write a scientific paper in 10..., how to paraphrase research papers effectively, addressing your queries on ai ethics, plagiarism, and..., the do’s & don’ts of using generative ai..., what is an argumentative essay how to write....

Narrative Essay Guide

Writing Narrative Essay

Last updated on: Dec 21, 2023

Narrative Essay - An Ultimate Guide With Examples & Topics

By: Nathan D.

Reviewed By: Jacklyn H.

Published on: May 12, 2020

Narrative-Essay

Got a narrative essay writing assignment? If so, think of it as an opportunity to polish your storytelling skills.

Every student has to write a narrative essay at some point in their academic career. But if you have never written one before, you might not know where to start.

If you are looking for a way to write your narrative essay, this is the ultimate guide. This blog post will give you examples of what a narrative essay should look like and how to structure it. If you follow these steps, then there is no chance that your paper will not get an A!

The blog below will be your guide to compose a stellar essay.

Narrative-Essay

On this Page

What is a Narrative Essay?

The first question you need to answer before moving on to how to write a narrative essay is to know what is narrative writing.

As per the narrative essay definition, ‘A narrative essay is the type of essay in which you share your personal experience in a creative and engaging way, just like a good story.’

Like a descriptive essay, these kinds of essays are quite common in high school and college, and students describe their experiences and events in it.

The purpose of a narrative essay is storytelling according to the point of view with specific details. Therefore, a good essay tells an engaging story and inspires the readers to continue.

A good narrative essay is fun to write, interesting to read, and should be meaningful in some way. And most importantly, it should start with an interesting hook.

Therefore, these essays are quite common as scholarship essays also.

Now that you have understood the narrative essay definition let’s take a look at the elements of a narrative essay.

Elements of a Narrative Essay

The plot is the main focus of a narrative essay, which is described with enough detail to build an interesting climax.

  • It follows a chronological manner.
  • It should have a purpose. Usually, this is stated in the introductory paragraph.
  • It may be a good idea to use dialogue.
  • It is stated with sensory details and bright descriptions to involve the reader. All these details relate in some way or other to the main point the author is making.

How To Start a Narrative Essay

The opening line of your essay defines how many readers you will retain until the conclusion. A good essay start will definitely make sure the readers are absorbed right from the beginning. Readers will surely appreciate it if they start enjoying the essay from its beginning.

If the start is interesting, the reader will definitely go through the rest of the essay.

To make your essay more impactful, it is important to pay close attention to how to start it.

The opening statement, basically the hook, is the line of your essay that you write. It is the instrument of attack in your narrative essay.

The following are the ways to make sure that your essay hook is to the task for readers to connect with your essay.

  • Using a relevant quote
  • Using statistics
  • Telling an anecdote
  • Starting with an intriguing question
  • Stating a fact

Order Essay

Paper Due? Why Suffer? That's our Job!

Narrative Essay Structure and Outline

The first step in writing a narrative essay is to create an outline. An outline is an important part, and it helps to organize and structure the main ideas. It helps to stay focused and maintain a consistent flow throughout the essay.

To help you understand better, we have attached a sample outline of a good essay.

NARRATIVE ESSAY OUTLINE

Narrative format is fairly simple and straightforward.

Its five-paragraph essay structure has the following parts:

Introduction

  • Start with a hook sentence that will help grab the reader’s attention.
  • Consider it as a warm-up for the readers and give them the main idea of what your essay story is all about.
  • 3-5 sentences are enough.

Thesis Statement

  • Your main argument for the essay, story, confession, or it could be anything that counts as a narrative report.
  • Evoke the interest of readers and introduce them to the problem you will discuss.

Body Paragraphs

  • Collect supportive arguments for your essay statement and place them in a logical manner.
  • Remember: every new idea is a new paragraph.
  • 3-5 blocks will be enough.
  • This is the part where you summarize the whole essay and prove what you claimed in the introduction.
  • 3-5 well-arranged sentences are all needed.

A well-written essay outline points the writer in the right direction and helps him stay focused.

How to Write a Narrative Essay - Step By Step

For good narrative essay writing skills, follow the following steps.

1. Choose Your Topic Carefully

The first step is to pick an interesting and engaging topic for your essay. Choose something that would help you explain your personal experiences engagingly and without dragging.

Your essay is based on your personal narrative; therefore, don't forget to add your voice and sensory details to it.

If you need some great topic ideas for your essay, review these interesting narrative essay topics recommended by experts to help you with your essay.

2. Always Begin With a Draft

Writing a narrative essay will be easy if you will create an outline for it. This will help you to add important details and delete irrelevant information.

These rough drafts are great because you can adjust them accordingly and change them until they are good to go.

Most professional writers see rough drafts as a key step in their writing process.

3. Make Sure You Include Storyline Elements

These essays require storyline elements such as a solid plot, character, setting, and vivid descriptions to add life to your narrative essay.

To make your essay more captivating, you can use literary devices like allegory. However, to get the most out of this technique, check out this comprehensive guide on using allegory in narrative essay writing .

4. Supporting and Proving

Your opinions and thoughts are a part of your narrative essay. However, if needed, you must support your statements with solid description and narration.

When including an argument or a fact in your essay, you need to back it up with facts and cite your sources.

5. Use Simple Language

Make sure that you use simple language to keep your essay easy and simple to read and understand.

Be creative and use compelling words to engage your audience.

6. Take Help From Samples

There are many narrative essay examples that can help you to get a clear idea about the writing techniques to use in your essay.

By reading these short stories and samples, you will develop a good understanding of a well-developed essay and the way its title and basics are used.

7. Double Check the Requirements

Make sure you are following the essay guidelines given by your professor or instructor. Make sure that you have added all the required information and its sources, if you have used any outside links, in it.

8. Revise Your Essay

Always revise your essay before submitting it to your instructor.

Check thoroughly for plagiarism and grammatical errors.

Clarify sentences that may sound unclear or confusing.

Ask a friend or family member to look over your work for errors, the second set of eyes is always helpful.

Tough Essay Due? Hire Tough Writers!

What Should be Your Tone in Narrative Essay Writing?

In a narrative essay, everything should be written from your own perspective.

Everything should be written in the past tense, as you are sharing your personal experience.

Your essay should contain a central idea that matters to you.

Narrative Essay Format

Now you know how to write a narrative essay. But the story does not end here and what is left is the paper essay format.

Following are the main points that you should take into account when choosing the proper essay format.

  • Choose your essay format wisely. APA, MLA, Chicago - depends on the requirements and the subject but please double-check the guidelines from your instructor to do it right from the first try.
  • Title page. This is the first that the teacher will see, so spend enough time to make it great.
  • Text block. This is the section where Intro-body-conclusion will go.
  • References. Every format has its own standards when it comes to a reference list. Avoid mixing them up!

Narrative Essay Examples

Taking help from examples is a great way to learn something in a detailed manner. These examples will help you in understanding how these steps work.

A good essay sample will demonstrate the techniques and explain them practically. This way, you will know how to add the details and use them perfectly.

However, finding a good narrative essay example may be difficult. The Internet is filled with loads of examples and samples, and finding a good one from them is not easy. There are many samples, but not all of them are good to consider.

To help you find a good and remarkable essay, we have added a sample below.

NARRATIVE ESSAY EXAMPLE

Here are some more  narrative essay examples  for your guidance.

Writing a good narrative essay may be difficult, but it is not impossible. We know that telling an engaging story is not something that everyone can do but with some practice and lots of imagination, you can do it successfully.

Besides, you can also follow this guide to write a great essay in less time. It has explained all the steps involved in the making of a great essay. Once you are done reading it, you will be on your way to writing a good essay.

After reading our guide to writing a narrative essay you should be able to write it on your own. However, if you are still struggling with your paper. We are here to help.

You can always seek out professional writers online for help in writing your essay. Most websites are affordable and promise to deliver research papers, case studies, and much more.

But there are many fraud essay services that will take your money and fail to deliver quality paper to you.

5StarEssays.com  is here to help you!

We have an unbeatable record of providing the most affordable and quality essay writing service .

Our customer feedback and reviews highlight their satisfaction and our work expertise. This is because our writers have years of experience in academic writing and remarkable customer support to help and support you,

If you require a custom essay, look no further and hire one of our professional writers today.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do i come up with a good topic for my narrative essay.

If your teacher has not given you any clear guidance and instructions about choosing any topic, then it is better to choose something that you can easily handle. Narrative essays are about telling a story, and the best topic is the one that allows you to narrate a story.

When are these essays given?

These essays are usually given in high school or university classes, and sometimes, they are a part of college application essays also.

What is the difference between a narrative and a descriptive essay?

A narrative essay is focused on telling the entire story, while a descriptive essay is about a description of a particular event or incident only.

Nathan D.

College Essay, Research

Nathan completed his Ph.D. in journalism and has been writing articles for well-respected publications for many years now. His work is carefully researched and insightful, showing a true passion for the written word. Nathan's clients appreciate his expertise, deep understanding of the process, and ability to communicate difficult concepts clearly.

Was This Blog Helpful?

Keep reading.

  • Narrative Essay Topics - Best Topic Ideas for Your Essay

Narrative-Essay

  • Narrative Essay Examples: Samples & Tips

Narrative-Essay

  • How to Write a Narrative Essay Outline - Tips & Examples

Narrative-Essay

People Also Read

  • essay format
  • persuasive essay outline
  • expository essay writing
  • qualitative research method
  • descriptive essay writing

Burdened With Assignments?

Bottom Slider

Advertisement

  • Homework Services: Essay Topics Generator

© 2024 - All rights reserved

2000+ SATISFIED STUDENTS

95% Satisfaction RATE

30 Days Money-back GUARANTEE

95% Success RATE

linkedin

Privacy Policy | Terms & Conditions | Contact Us

© 2024 5StarEssays.com. All rights reserved.

LOGIN TO YOUR ACCOUNT

  • LOG IN Processing...

SIGN UP TO YOUR ACCOUNT

  • Your phone no.
  • Password Password must be minimum 8 characters.
  • Confirm Password
  •    I have read Privacy Policy and agree to the Terms and Conditions .
  • SIGN UP Processing...

FORGOT PASSWORD

  • SEND PASSWORD

  • PRO Courses Guides New Tech Help Pro Expert Videos About wikiHow Pro Upgrade Sign In
  • EDIT Edit this Article
  • EXPLORE Tech Help Pro About Us Random Article Quizzes Request a New Article Community Dashboard This Or That Game Popular Categories Arts and Entertainment Artwork Books Movies Computers and Electronics Computers Phone Skills Technology Hacks Health Men's Health Mental Health Women's Health Relationships Dating Love Relationship Issues Hobbies and Crafts Crafts Drawing Games Education & Communication Communication Skills Personal Development Studying Personal Care and Style Fashion Hair Care Personal Hygiene Youth Personal Care School Stuff Dating All Categories Arts and Entertainment Finance and Business Home and Garden Relationship Quizzes Cars & Other Vehicles Food and Entertaining Personal Care and Style Sports and Fitness Computers and Electronics Health Pets and Animals Travel Education & Communication Hobbies and Crafts Philosophy and Religion Work World Family Life Holidays and Traditions Relationships Youth
  • Browse Articles
  • Learn Something New
  • Quizzes Hot
  • This Or That Game New
  • Train Your Brain
  • Explore More
  • Support wikiHow
  • About wikiHow
  • Log in / Sign up
  • Education and Communications
  • College University and Postgraduate
  • Academic Writing

How to Write an Essay in Under 30 Minutes

Last Updated: December 19, 2023 Fact Checked

This article was co-authored by Arash Fayz . Arash Fayz is the Co-Founder and Executive Director of LA Tutors 123, an academic consulting and private tutoring company based in Los Angeles, California. Arash has over 10 years of educational consulting experience, managing the tutoring of students of all ages, abilities, and backgrounds to score higher on standardized tests and gain admission to their target schools. He has a BA in Applied Mathematics and Computer Science from the University of California, Los Angeles. There are 12 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been fact-checked, ensuring the accuracy of any cited facts and confirming the authority of its sources. This article has been viewed 598,578 times.

If you’re taking your SATs this year, you may be preparing to write a solid essay within the 30 minute time limit. Or you might be trying to improve your writing speed to complete essay exams faster and more efficiently. Writing a five paragraph essay in under 30 minutes can seem daunting, but with the right planning and time management, it is certainly achievable.

Sample Essays

how to write narrative essay fast

Planning the Essay

Step 1 Spend 10 minutes planning the essay.

  • For example, you may get a prompt in the form of quotation: “Time has a doomsday book, on whose pages he is continually recording illustrious names. But as often as a new name is written there, an old one disappears. Only a few stand in illuminated characters never to be effaced.” Henry Wadsworth Longfellow [3] X Research source
  • You may then receive a question attached to the prompt: “Are there some heroes who will be remembered forever? Or are all heroes doomed to be forgotten one day?" Plan your response, and then write an essay to explain your views on this issue. Be sure to support your position with specific points and examples. You may use personal examples or examples from your reading, observations, or, knowledge of subjects such as history, literature, science. [4] X Research source

Step 3 Brainstorm your thesis...

  • For example, you may brainstorm the Longfellow quote/question by thinking of personal examples of heroes who are remembered or forgotten, such as family members, friends, teachers, or peers who have acted as heroes to you or to others. Or you may focus on a historical figure who seems to be a forgotten hero or a decorated hero.
  • This essay question is asking for two sides of the discussion, the forgotten hero and the remembered hero. Your thesis should discuss both sides and choose one side to argue for or against.
  • You may choose to spotlight a historical figure who encountered opposition and challenges in her life, such as the suffragette Susan B. Anthony. Anthony worked tirelessly for decades to get the government to recognize women’s right to vote, and was often derided by the government and by individuals within her own organization. She is a good example of a hero who was not recognized as a trailblazer until late in her life, though she is now remembered as a heroine in history. Try to refer back to the quotation in the essay prompt in your thesis, if possible, to show you have read the entire question.
  • A possible thesis statement could be: “Though Longfellow argues that names, or heroes, may be forgotten over time, one historical figure, Susan B. Anthony, was derided in her lifetime for her beliefs but is now remembered as a heroine of her time.”

Step 4 Create an outline.

  • Introduction: Your beginning paragraph should contain an engaging first sentence and your thesis statement. Some writers find it easier to write create a temporary introduction and revise it once they are finished with the essay. This will ensure the introduction is cohesive with the rest of the essay.
  • Conclusion: This paragraph should summarize your main argument and restate your thesis. You may also want to include last thoughts around the essay question.

Writing the Essay

Step 1 Take 15 minutes to write the essay.

  • Try to spend two to three minutes on each body paragraph. Then, take three minutes on your conclusion paragraph and go back to your introduction. Spend the last three minutes revising your introduction so it matches the tone and perspective of the rest of your essay.

Step 2 Use a hook in your introduction.

  • An interesting or surprising example: This could be a personal experience or a key moment in the life of the historical figure you are discussing in your essay. For example, you may discuss Anthony’s childhood as a Quaker and her later adoption of more casual dress and growing interest in social reform at the age of 26. [9] X Trustworthy Source University of North Carolina Writing Center UNC's on-campus and online instructional service that provides assistance to students, faculty, and others during the writing process Go to source
  • A provocative quotation: This could be from a source you used for your essay or one that feels relevant to your topic. For example, you may use a well known quote from Anthony, such as: “Cautious, careful people, always casting about to preserve their reputation and social standing, never can bring about a reform. Those who are really in earnest must be willing to be anything or nothing in the world's estimation, and publicly and privately, in season and out, avow their sympathy with despised and persecuted ideas and their advocates, and bear the consequences.” [10] X Research source
  • A vivid anecdote: An anecdote is a very short story that carries moral or symbolic weight. Think of an anecdote that might be a poetic or powerful way to start your essay.
  • A thought provoking question: create a question that will get your reader thinking and engaged in your topic. For example: “Did you ever wonder how women received the right to vote in the United States?”

Step 3 Write your three body paragraphs.

  • Body paragraph 1: You may start by discussing Anthony’s early successes. Look at the establishment of the Women’s Loyal National League in 1863 by Anthony and Stanton. As the first national women’s political organization in the United States, it had a membership of 5000 and provided a platform for women to speak out on issues like slavery and women’s right to vote. [11] X Research source
  • Body paragraph 2: You may discuss Anthony’s mid career struggles. Look at the split in the women’s movement in May 1869, with the establishment of the National Woman’s Suffrage Association (NWSA) by Anthony and Stanton, and the rival American Woman Suffrage Association (AWSA). Note how after the Civil War, Anthony devoted her time and life to the suffrage movement, assuming leadership of the NWSA in 1890 and continuing to advocate for women’s rights. Anthony also remained unmarried, which gave her an advantage under the law, as married women at the time were not permitted to sign official documents and had to defer to their husbands. [12] X Research source
  • Body paragraph 3: You may discuss Anthony’s later life, including her many speaking engagements throughout the United States on the need for women’s suffrage and equal rights. Though Anthony died in 1906, and did not live to see the passing of the Nineteenth Amendment of the Constitution, affording women the right to vote in the United States in 1920, her forty years of tireless work paved the way for the legal precedent and gave women a strong sense of empowerment and equality. [13] X Research source

Step 4 Summarize your thoughts in your conclusion.

  • For example, you may restate your thesis: “Throughout her life, Susan B. Anthony’s sacrificed her time, energy, and personal livelihood to advocate for women’s rights, proving that though many heroes may be forgotten, their actions will live on in history.”

Editing the Essay

Step 1 Use the last five minutes to proofread your essay.

  • For example, an essay on Susan B. Anthony could have the title: “An Unsung Heroine” or “Susan B. Anthony: An Advocate for Change”.

Community Q&A

Community Answer

You Might Also Like

Write an Essay

  • ↑ Arash Fayz. Test Prep Tutor. Expert Interview. 1 November 2019.
  • ↑ https://libguides.newcastle.edu.au/essay_planning/essay-planning
  • ↑ https://resources.warburg.sas.ac.uk/pdf/emh823b2778298.pdf
  • ↑ https://www.hunter.cuny.edu/rwc/handouts/the-writing-process-1/invention/Writing-a-Response-or-Reaction-Paper
  • ↑ https://writingcenter.unc.edu/tips-and-tools/thesis-statements/
  • ↑ https://kidshealth.org/en/teens/test-terror.html
  • ↑ https://writingcenter.unc.edu/tips-and-tools/introductions/
  • ↑ https://writingcenter.unc.edu/tips-and-tools/should-i-use-i/
  • ↑ https://www.rochester.edu/sba/
  • ↑ https://repository.library.georgetown.edu/bitstream/handle/10822/553350/laCossJoanHarkin.pdf
  • ↑ https://www.womenshistory.org/education-resources/biographies/susan-b-anthony
  • ↑ https://www.britannica.com/biography/Susan-B-Anthony

About This Article

Arash Fayz

In order to successfully write an essay in under 30 minutes, you need to plan it out and work efficiently. Take a good 10 minutes to plan out the essay and come up with a thesis statement that will convey your argument and help guide your essay. It may seem like a large chunk of your time, but it will save you from having to rewrite or restructure your essay later on. Then, take 15 minutes to write your introductory paragraph, body paragraphs, and conclusion. Use the last 5 minutes to proofread your essay and look for spelling, punctuation, or grammatical errors. Don’t worry about coming up with a title until you’re finished. It will be much easier then. For tips about how to edit an essay you write in under 30 minutes, keep reading! Did this summary help you? Yes No

  • Send fan mail to authors

Reader Success Stories

John Smythe

John Smythe

Apr 8, 2017

Did this article help you?

John Smythe

Luis Gudino

Nov 15, 2017

Kiriyana Chernishov

Kiriyana Chernishov

Jan 10, 2018

Ima Harbingerofdeath

Ima Harbingerofdeath

Jan 25, 2017

Bob George

Dec 5, 2017

Am I a Narcissist or an Empath Quiz

Featured Articles

Get Started in Standup Comedy

Trending Articles

How to Take the Perfect Thirst Trap

Watch Articles

Wrap a Round Gift

  • Terms of Use
  • Privacy Policy
  • Do Not Sell or Share My Info
  • Not Selling Info

Get all the best how-tos!

Sign up for wikiHow's weekly email newsletter

image

  • TEFL Internship
  • TEFL Masters
  • Find a TEFL Course
  • Special Offers
  • Course Providers
  • Teach English Abroad
  • Find a TEFL Job
  • About DoTEFL
  • Our Mission
  • How DoTEFL Works

Forgotten Password

author Image

  • How To Write a Narrative Essay: Guide With Examples
  • Learn English
  • James Prior
  • No Comments
  • Updated December 12, 2023

Welcome to the creative world of narrative essays where you get to become the storyteller and craft your own narrative. In this article, we’ll break down how to write a narrative essay, covering the essential elements and techniques that you need to know.

Writing a narrative essay

Table of Contents

What is a Narrative Essay?

A narrative essay is a form of writing where the author recounts a personal experience or story. Unlike other types of essays, a narrative essay allows you to share a real-life event or sequence of events, often drawing from personal insights and emotions.

In a narrative essay, you take on the role of a storyteller, employing vivid details and descriptive language to transport the reader into the world of your story. The narrative often unfolds in chronological order, guiding the audience through a journey of experiences, reflections, and sometimes, a lesson learned.

The success of a narrative essay lies in your ability to create a compelling narrative arc. This means establishing a clear beginning, middle, and end. This structure helps build suspense, maintain the reader’s interest, and deliver a cohesive and impactful story. Ultimately, a well-crafted narrative essay not only narrates an event but also communicates the deeper meaning or significance behind the experience, making it a powerful and memorable piece of writing and leaving a lasting impression on the reader.

Types of Narrative Essays

Narrative essays come in various forms, each with unique characteristics. The most common type of narrative essay are personal narrative essays where you write about a personal experience. This can cover a whole range of topics as these examples of personal narrative essays illustrate. As a student in school or college, you’ll often be asked to write these types of essays. You may also need to write them later in life when applying for jobs and describing your past experiences.

However, this isn’t the only type of narrative essay. There are also fictional narrative essays that you can write using your imagination, and various subject specific narrative essays that you might have come across without even realizing it.

So, it’s worth knowing about the different types of narrative essays and what they each focus on before we move on to how to write them.

Here are some common types of narrative essays:

  • Focus on a personal experience or event from the author’s life.
  • Use the first-person perspective to convey the writer’s emotions and reflections.
  • Can take many forms, from science fiction and fantasy to adventure and romance.
  • Spark the imagination to create captivating stories.
  • Provide a detailed account of the author’s life, often covering a significant timespan.
  • Explore key life events, achievements, challenges, and personal growth.
  • Reflect on the writer’s experiences with language, reading, or writing.
  • Explore how these experiences have shaped the writer’s identity and skills
  • Document the author’s experiences and insights gained from a journey or travel.
  • Describe places visited, people encountered, and the lessons learned during the trip.
  • Explore historical events or periods through a personal lens.
  • Combine factual information with the writer’s perspective and experiences.

The narrative essay type you’ll work with often depends on the purpose, audience, and nature of the story being told. So, how should you write narrative essays?

How To Write Narrative Essays

From selecting the right topic to building a captivating storyline, we explore the basics to guide you in creating engaging narratives. So, grab your pen, and let’s delve into the fundamentals of writing a standout narrative essay.

Before we start, it’s worth pointing out that most narrative essays are written in the first-person. Through the use of first-person perspective, you get to connect with the reader, offering a glimpse into your thoughts, reactions, and the significance of the story being shared.

Let’s get into how to create these stories:

Write your plot

If you want to tell a compelling story you need a good plot. Your plot will give your story a structure. Every good story includes some kind of conflict. You should start with setting the scene for readers. After this, you introduce a challenge or obstacle. Readers will keep reading until the end to find out how you managed to overcome it.

Your story should reach a climax where tension is highest. This will be the turning point that leads to a resolution. For example, moving outside of your comfort zone was difficult and scary. It wasn’t easy at first but eventually, you grew braver and more confident. Readers should discover more about who you are as a person through what they read.

A seasoned writer knows how to craft a story that connects with an audience and creates an impact.

Hook readers with your introduction

In your introduction, you will introduce the main idea of your essay and set the context. Ways to make it more engaging are to:

  • Use sensory images to describe the setting in which your story takes place.
  • Use a quote that illustrates your main idea.
  • Pose an intriguing question.
  • Introduce an unexpected fact or a statement that grabs attention.

Develop your characters

You need to make readers feel they know any characters you introduce in your narrative essay. You can do this by revealing their personalities and quirks through the actions they take. It is always better to show the actions of characters rather than giving facts about them. Describing a character’s body language and features can also reveal a great deal about the person. You can check out these adjectives to describe a person to get some inspiration.

Use dialogue

Dialogue can bring your narrative essay to life. Most fiction books use dialogue extensively . It helps to move the story along in a subtle way. When you allow characters to talk, what they have to say seems more realistic. You can use similes , metaphors, and other parts of speech to make your story more compelling. Just make sure the dialogue is written clearly with the right punctuation so readers understand exactly who is talking.

Work on the pace of the story

Your story must flow along at a steady pace. If there’s too much action, readers may get confused. If you use descriptive writing, try not to overdo it. The clear, concise language throughout will appeal to readers more than lengthy descriptions.

Build up towards a climax

This is the point at which the tension in your story is the highest. A compelling climax takes readers by surprise. They may not have seen it coming. This doesn’t mean your climax should come out of left field. You need to carefully lead up to it step by step and guide readers along. When you reveal it they should be able to look back and realize it’s logical.

Cut out what you don’t need

Your story will suffer if you include too much detail that doesn’t move your story along. It may flow better once you cut out some unnecessary details. Most narrative essays are about five paragraphs but this will depend on the topic and requirements.

In a narrative essay, you share your experiences and insights. The journey you take your readers on should leave them feeling moved or inspired. It takes practice to learn how to write in a way that causes this reaction. With a good plot as your guide, it’s easier to write a compelling story that flows toward a satisfying resolution.

  • Recent Posts

James Prior

  • Does Reading Improve Memory? Unlocking Your Brain’s Potential - February 22, 2024
  • How to Paraphrase Without Plagiarizing - February 20, 2024
  • What is Paraphrasing? An Overview With Examples - February 20, 2024

More from DoTEFL

TESOL certification

TESOL Certification Guide: Everything You Need to Know (2024)

  • Updated January 8, 2024

Teaching online safety

Teaching Online Safety: What Every Educator Needs to Know

  • Updated May 7, 2023

CELTA vs TEFL

CELTA vs TEFL: Which One Should You Go For?

  • Updated November 2, 2023

Teacher email signature

How to Create a Teacher Email Signature That Stands Out

  • Updated November 1, 2023

TEFL Blogs

10 of The Best TEFL Blogs to Inspire You to Teach and Travel

Semicolon

When To Use a Semicolon: 5 Times You Might Need One

  • Updated November 20, 2023
  • The global TEFL course directory.

Deadline is too close?

Order an essay now and get it on time!

A Step-by-Step Guide to Write a Narrative Essay

There are numerous kinds of essays you may be assigned to complete. Sometimes, it can be hard to understand the difference between two similar papers. A narrative essay is commonly confused with the descriptive one. This article will lead you through all the necessary steps and help you write a successful piece adhering to the particular formatting rules.

What Is a Narrative Essay?

The primary purpose of a narrative essay is to tell the reader about events, interactions, and experiences that have happened to the author during a particular period. It always has a vivid plot. On the contrary, the descriptive essay aims to provide an image of a person, a place, some experience, or an object without demonstrating a chain of events. The plot is absent or vague.

To write a breathtaking narrative essay quickly, let us introduce you to the most compelling step-by-step sequence:

#1. Preparation

Before your creative process starts, you should learn more about the general requirements inherent in this kind of paper, choose the topic, and collect some relevant information to reference.

What to Write About?

Your potential theme should be interesting for both you and your audience. The topic of the narrative essay usually refers to the writer’s experience, and there is no need to use any data from outside sources. Besides, there are 3 signs of a successful title for your essay , whether it is narrative or something else:

  • You could barely see it on the web;
  • It’s pretty narrower than wide;
  • It encourages reading the first sentence of the paper.

Narrative Essay Writing

How to choose a topic to impress the tutor? Professionals give several tips to follow.

Tip 1. research.

What is narrative writing for a student? It is an excellent opportunity to create a fascinating story about things that interest them. It is not obligatory to select a scientific topic about innovations or discoveries. On the one hand, one can write about love, friendship, hobbies, and many other things. On the other hand, essential topics attract the attention of target readers. When reading different literature, students learn about what is happening in the world. So they feel more knowledgeable and inspired to write.

Tip 2. Brainstorm

Narration is a story that describes different topics beautifully. Students are often full of gorgeous ideas, but they forget them quickly. Brainstorming is the method of collecting ideas and selecting the best one. Students should sit and jot down everything that comes into their heads. Afterward, one can study the approached ideas and select the most intriguing one. This step should be done after research because a student already has much information to discuss. So, finding something that still needs their attention will be simple.

If you’re still struggling to come up with a topic, don’t hesitate to seek assistance. You can ask for input from friends, family, or peers or even seek guidance from a writing tutor or professor. Additionally, professional writing services are available online that can help you with your narrative essay or any other type of academic writing. Just choose a reputable service and avoid plagiarism by providing your original content. Remember, the key is to select a topic that genuinely interests you and allows you to showcase your unique perspective and writing style. So, take your time, brainstorm, research, and choose a topic you are passionate about and confident in. With the right topic and proper preparation, you’ll be well on your way to writing a compelling narrative essay that will leave a lasting impression on your readers. If you feel overwhelmed, don’t hesitate to reach out for help and say write my essay for me to get the support you need.

Tip 3. Read more

Can you build a house without materials? Of course, you cannot. The same can say about essay writing. How to start a narrative essay without a decent vocabulary in your memory pocket? People who read a lot learn new words daily. It is essential to explore various sources to get acquainted with words of different complexity levels. Fairy tales are full of excellent comparisons and metaphors. Scientific periodicals provide us with high-level English. Newspapers inform us about the latest events and true-life stories. So, an educated student has more chances to find a worthy topic and introduce it on the required level in the narration.

Tip 4. Ask your tutor or senior students

Some tutors want to check papers about specific topics. So, it is wise to discuss the topic choice with a teacher. Educators can either concretize it or give selection criteria. Another variant is to ask advanced students about things that deserve attention in your college. They have performed many written tasks, so they know what college tutors like and dislike.

Tip 5. Turn to professionals

Custom writing agencies hire experts only. They are educated and specialize in various college disciplines. Consequently, they know what topics need research and how to describe them in a paper on a top level. They guide students throughout their writing and can edit and proofread a paper to make sure that your paper is top-notch.

What is Required of Me?

Asking to compose such a specific kind of academic paper, professors don’t demand their students to follow strict rules as for other writing assignments and only give them a basic structure. The idea is simple: you take a story from real life and dwell upon the most vibrant points as far as events unfold. The narrative’s parts should be coherent and convey a particular mood.

personal narrative example

Where to Search for Evidence?

You may take them from your memories since you started writing them. Forget about the exhausting web research and let your memories pour out on paper. Another option to consider for your essay writing is to hire a professional essay writer. Custom writing agencies often have experts who are knowledgeable in various college disciplines and can provide guidance throughout the writing process. These essay writers can help you with topic selection, research, and crafting a well-written paper that meets your assignment’s requirements. They can also provide editing and proofreading services to ensure that your paper is of top-notch quality. Hiring an essay writer can be a valuable resource, especially if you are struggling with finding evidence or organizing your thoughts. So, don’t overlook the option of seeking professional help to improve your narrative essay.

#2. Writing Process

This stage is the most time-consuming. It can be less if you take into account the following:

Where to search for evidence? Students deal with two types of sources – fiction and nonfiction.

  • Fiction deals with something imagined and unreal . Even though some books take root in real-life stories, their authors create another world, add new characters, change appearance, and provide other alterations. Its main goal is to entertain the reader. To get the idea, a person should read it from the first to the last sentence.
  • Nonfiction is about actual events and personalities . It includes newspapers, textbooks, encyclopedias, documentary literature and movies, and more. Its main goal is to teach the reader. Such books and articles contain photos or detailed illustrations that echo reality. One can read extracts to get the required information.

Narrative Essay comparing fiction & nonfiction

If a person needs verified data, students should prefer nonfiction. Their authors research, experiment, and add visual evidence to prove the integrity of the introduced information. The best variants are magazines, journals, newspapers, and scientific publications. Except for traditional sources, students often search for reliable facts online. Reputable websites are updated, have  Copyright signs, and are authors of publications. If posts have no authors, there should be a company logo or something similar.

Fiction is good for narratives because novels have lots of bright stories. Students can use them to support the main idea with an excellent illustration. It can be a novel, a poem, a short story, or a comic.

It is essential to mention all the sources used in the footnotes or the bibliography section. Furthermore, it helps students avoid problems with plagiarism. Moreover, all references must be formatted following the narrative essay format. MLA, ASA, APA, Chicago, Harvard, and IEEE are the most popular citation styles. Students introduce the applied works by giving information about their authors, titles, publication years, companies, and places in a specific order. The examples below show the main difference:

  • Staff, Science. “Scientists May Have Solved Stephen Hawking’s Black Hole Paradox.” Phys.Org, 18 Mar. 2022, phys.org/news/2022-03-scientists-stephen-hawking-black-hole.html. (MLA style)
  • Staff, S. X. (2022, March 18). Scientists may have solved Stephen Hawking’s black hole paradox. Phys.Org. https://phys.org/news/2022-03-scientists-stephen-hawking-black-hole.html (APA style)
  • Phys.org. 2022. [online] Available at: <https://phys.org/pdf566828469.pdf> [Accessed 30 June 2022]. (IEEE format)

As you can see, all three formats differ. That is why students should find information about the required format in the assignment and stick to it.

Making a Structure and Outlining

Divide your plot into three parts: a setup, the central part, a climax, and a thrilling conclusion. In the introduction, you should hook a reader and make them read the rest of your essay. Allocate the significant points of the essay and describe each of them briefly in the body and end up your story with an unpredictable twist and a delightful punch line. In its turn, outlining helps you find the best details of the disclosed issues in the narrative essay.

Regarding academic writing, some assignments can be highly urgent and require immediate attention. Urgent essay writing service providers can be an excellent option for students who have tight deadlines and need professional help to complete their essays quickly. These services are designed to help students meet their deadlines and submit high-quality essays on time. They have a team of experienced writers skilled in different academic fields and can work under pressure to deliver quality work within the given timeframe. While planning your writing process is essential, an urgent essay writing service can be a lifesaver when time is running out.

Narrative Essay Structure

Picture source

How to write a narrative essay?

It is essential to keep to an academic structure that includes an introduction, a body, and a conclusion for most writings. What are the general requirements for each part?

  • An introduction must be hooky. It should intrigue the reader. Professionals usually use so-called ‘hooks’ such as provocative questions, impressive facts, jokes, life stories, retrospection or prosecutions, etc. Besides, it has a thesis statement. It informs about the core message of the essay within fewer than 40 words or two sentences. An introductory part should take not more than 10% of the essay volume.
  • A student develops the idea of the thesis statement in the body . If students speak about some event in the first part, they will explain how it has changed them or their life. For example, “That day made me stronger” will be followed by a story full of influential details such as characters, deeds, weather anomalies, miracles, and more. This part is the longest and takes over 80% of a paper’s length.
  • Finally, the writers conclude in the last paragraph . They highlight the value of the received experience or evaluate the situation that has happened to them or someone else. To leave a pleasant aftertaste in a reader, they often use quotes, questions, and other techniques to put their target audience in the desired mood. For example, “Have you ever experienced the same?” or “Would you like to live in a world without adults who control you all the time?” Like an introduction, it takes approximately 10% of the essay’s length.

Many educational and custom-writing websites have narrative essay examples. They mirror both demands for the content and formatting. If you study them, you will see that most authors try to show a story but not tell it. Such a writing approach is very successful. It lets readers imagine everything in detail. Partial description evokes feelings.

Other significant tips are logical flow and word selection. Students must connect all essay parts logically. One can use either transition words or stick to the idea without informational gaps. Depending on the academic year (school, college, university), students should choose words that reflect their educational experience. One should use synonyms and stylistic devices and avoid overused phrases and repetitions. Rotating complex and straightforward short sentences is smart to guarantee good readability.

Providing Information in First-Person

The narrative is very personal, so you should underline the significance of the ongoing events for your identity. That is why it is common to use “I” statements without switching a perspective in favor of another person.

Describing the Characters and Places

Even though it’s not a descriptive essay, try to adorn your story with vivid details of crucial objects mentioned in the plot. Mainly, that goes for people who affected the outcome of the whole case; their personalities should be disclosed as comprehensively as possible.

Mention places are where the action is held because it reflects the picture’s ambiance. Background information that may change the reader’s attitude to characters or even the meaning of your idea must also be provided.

Adding a Little Spice

What a narrative without a zest! Dilute your smooth passages with a detail that will turn everything around. It may be an antagonist character eagerly interfering with your purposes, an unpredictable twist and embarrassing ending, or funny jokes and coincidences that make your audience laugh.

This is where a professional paper writer can be a valuable resource. A paper writer is an experienced and skilled individual crafting academic papers for students. They have the expertise to conduct thorough research, develop compelling arguments, and present ideas clearly and concisely. Hiring a paper writer can save students time and effort and help them improve their grades by submitting high-quality papers. Additionally, a paper writer can provide valuable feedback and suggestions for improvement, helping students develop their writing skills and become more confident in their academic work. Whether it’s an essay, research paper, term paper, or any other type of academic writing, a paper writer can provide the necessary assistance to ensure a successful outcome. So, if you’re struggling with your academic writing, consider hiring a professional paper writer to help you achieve your academic goals.

#3. Editing

After crafting the first draft, revise it thoroughly. You will find one, two, or a few rough spots while looking through your essay. Make sure you don’t miss any critical points.

Tips for successful editing:

  • Don’t start to search for mistakes right after finishing the essay. Have a rest and only then take a fresh look at it;
  • Transform big and complicated sentences into simple ones to make them compelling;
  • Avoid using terms with many meanings;
  • Find all repeats of ideas or arguments and delete them;
  • Verify all citations and formatting in general with a guide;
  • Paraphrase where it is hard to grasp the sense;
  • Reconsider the structure of the essay.

Dissertation help online can be a valuable resource for students struggling with editing their essays. After crafting the first draft, it’s important to revise it thoroughly to ensure it is free from any mistakes or rough spots. However, it can be challenging to identify and correct errors independently, especially when you’ve been working on the essay for a long time. This is where dissertation help online can come in handy. By seeking assistance from qualified professionals, you can get a fresh perspective on your essay and receive valuable feedback on areas that need improvement.

#4. Proofreading

Many students deem this guide’s subtitles 3 and 4 the same. But it is not so: when editing is all about content, style, and paragraph structure, proofreading is performed to detect misspellings and grammar errors. Also, it is the final phase of writing.

What Should I Do During This Process?

  • Check grammar yourself or use some applications such as Grammarly.com or other services from Infographics below, but do not rely on them heavily;
  • Remove double spacing;
  • Replace misspellings with correct words.

Simple tools for proofreading and editing can come in handy.

  • Google Docs You can write your paper there and correct typos on the spot. The system marks the wrong lexis or misspelled words. Nevertheless, it deals with the set rules of either British or American English. So, one should look at what the system explains or set the document with either British or American requirements.
  • Grammarly This tool is excellent, especially its pro version. This software points to grammar errors, readability problems, clarity inconsistencies, and plagiarism warnings. The only disadvantage of this tool is that it lacks human factors. Therefore, it is essential to study each remark attentively and click only correct suggestions.
  • blue is for overused adverbs;
  • green is for passive constructions;
  • purple is for phrases that have simpler analogs;
  • orange is for hard-to-read sentences;
  • pink is for very hard-to-read sentences.
  • Copyscape Plagiarism is a way to nowhere. This simple, though not free, the tool helps people identify stolen information in their papers.
  • Quillbot This tool is a magic wand for those with poor vocabulary or who must paraphrase sentences to avoid plagiarism.

It is necessary to read papers after applying the tools. One can use five good techniques to do that:

  • search for specific mistakes per one proofreading (for example, missed or wrongly used punctuation marks or typos);
  • rest before checking to gain maximum concentration;
  • read the text backward;
  • verify the used facts;
  • hire an editor if you want everything to look perfect.

editing tools for college students

It will be more effective if you entrust someone else to reread your piece: your friends, parents, or college mates. They may notice mistakes you missed and share their general opinion on the essay.

As you can see, the narrative essay is not complicated at all. It is one of the most pleasant forms of writing assignments due to the significant involvement of your personality in the paper’s body. Even the rules and requirements can’t get you down – they are practically absent or are as simple as a pie if the professor mentions a structure. Please turn on your imagination and start crafting a brilliant piece adhering to our recommendations.

Assignment writing help can also be a valuable resource during the proofreading process. If you feel unsure about your grammar or spelling skills, you can seek assistance from professional assignment writing services. They can provide expert proofreaders who thoroughly review your paper for errors or mistakes. Additionally, assignment writing help services may also have access to excellent grammar-checking tools that can further enhance the accuracy of your paper. By utilizing assignment writing help, you can ensure that your paper is polished and error-free, leaving a positive impression on your professor or reader. Don’t underestimate the importance of proofreading in the writing process, and consider utilizing assignment writing help services to ensure the quality of your work.

Click on a star to rate it!

Average rating 4.9 / 5. Vote count: 186

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post.

how to write narrative essay fast

Author: Patricia Jenkins

Patricia Jenkins is the senior writing advisor at FastEssay blog for international students that seek quick paper assistance. In her blog, Patricia shares useful tips on productivity, writing, research, references. Sometimes Patricia goes off topic by sharing her personal experience peppered with lively humor and healthy irony. View all posts by Patricia Jenkins

Leave a Reply Cancel reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

How our customers find us

No time to finish your essay.

Get writing help 24/7

Literacy Ideas

Narrative Writing: A Complete Guide for Teachers and Students

Complete guide to Narrative Writing

MASTERING THE CRAFT OF NARRATIVE WRITING

Narratives build on and encourage the development of the fundamentals of writing. They also require developing an additional skill set: the ability to tell a good yarn, and storytelling is as old as humanity.

We see and hear stories everywhere and daily, from having good gossip on the doorstep with a neighbor in the morning to the dramas that fill our screens in the evening.

Good narrative writing skills are hard-won by students even though it is an area of writing that most enjoy due to the creativity and freedom it offers.

Here we will explore some of the main elements of a good story: plot, setting, characters, conflict, climax, and resolution . And we will look too at how best we can help our students understand these elements, both in isolation and how they mesh together as a whole.

Visual Writing Prompts

WHAT IS A NARRATIVE?

What is a narrative?

A narrative is a story that shares a sequence of events , characters, and themes. It expresses experiences, ideas, and perspectives that should aspire to engage and inspire an audience.

A narrative can spark emotion, encourage reflection, and convey meaning when done well.

Narratives are a popular genre for students and teachers as they allow the writer to share their imagination, creativity, skill, and understanding of nearly all elements of writing.  We occasionally refer to a narrative as ‘creative writing’ or story writing.

The purpose of a narrative is simple, to tell the audience a story.  It can be written to motivate, educate, or entertain and can be fact or fiction.

A COMPLETE UNIT ON TEACHING NARRATIVE WRITING

narrative writing | narrative writing unit 1 2 | Narrative Writing: A Complete Guide for Teachers and Students | literacyideas.com

Teach your students to become skilled story writers with this HUGE   NARRATIVE & CREATIVE STORY WRITING UNIT . Offering a  COMPLETE SOLUTION  to teaching students how to craft  CREATIVE CHARACTERS, SUPERB SETTINGS, and PERFECT PLOTS .

Over 192 PAGES of materials, including:

TYPES OF NARRATIVE WRITING

There are many narrative writing genres and sub-genres such as these.

We have a complete guide to writing a personal narrative that differs from the traditional story-based narrative covered in this guide. It includes personal narrative writing prompts, resources, and examples and can be found here.

narrative writing | how to write quest narratives | Narrative Writing: A Complete Guide for Teachers and Students | literacyideas.com

As we can see, narratives are an open-ended form of writing that allows you to showcase creativity in many directions. However, all narratives share a common set of features and structure known as “Story Elements”, which are briefly covered in this guide.

Don’t overlook the importance of understanding story elements and the value this adds to you as a writer who can dissect and create grand narratives. We also have an in-depth guide to understanding story elements here .

CHARACTERISTICS OF NARRATIVE WRITING

Narrative structure.

ORIENTATION (BEGINNING) Set the scene by introducing your characters, setting and time of the story. Establish your who, when and where in this part of your narrative

COMPLICATION AND EVENTS (MIDDLE) In this section activities and events involving your main characters are expanded upon. These events are written in a cohesive and fluent sequence.

RESOLUTION (ENDING) Your complication is resolved in this section. It does not have to be a happy outcome, however.

EXTRAS: Whilst orientation, complication and resolution are the agreed norms for a narrative, there are numerous examples of popular texts that did not explicitly follow this path exactly.

NARRATIVE FEATURES

LANGUAGE: Use descriptive and figurative language to paint images inside your audience’s minds as they read.

PERSPECTIVE Narratives can be written from any perspective but are most commonly written in first or third person.

DIALOGUE Narratives frequently switch from narrator to first-person dialogue. Always use speech marks when writing dialogue.

TENSE If you change tense, make it perfectly clear to your audience what is happening. Flashbacks might work well in your mind but make sure they translate to your audience.

THE PLOT MAP

narrative writing | structuring a narrative | Narrative Writing: A Complete Guide for Teachers and Students | literacyideas.com

This graphic is known as a plot map, and nearly all narratives fit this structure in one way or another, whether romance novels, science fiction or otherwise.

It is a simple tool that helps you understand and organise a story’s events. Think of it as a roadmap that outlines the journey of your characters and the events that unfold. It outlines the different stops along the way, such as the introduction, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution, that help you to see how the story builds and develops.

Using a plot map, you can see how each event fits into the larger picture and how the different parts of the story work together to create meaning. It’s a great way to visualize and analyze a story.

Be sure to refer to a plot map when planning a story, as it has all the essential elements of a great story.

THE 5 KEY STORY ELEMENTS OF A GREAT NARRATIVE (6-MINUTE TUTORIAL VIDEO)

This video we created provides an excellent overview of these elements and demonstrates them in action in stories we all know and love.

Story Elements for kids

HOW TO WRITE A NARRATIVE

How to write a Narrative

Now that we understand the story elements and how they come together to form stories, it’s time to start planning and writing your narrative.

In many cases, the template and guide below will provide enough details on how to craft a great story. However, if you still need assistance with the fundamentals of writing, such as sentence structure, paragraphs and using correct grammar, we have some excellent guides on those here.

USE YOUR WRITING TIME EFFECTIVELY: Maximize your narrative writing sessions by spending approximately 20 per cent of your time planning and preparing.  This ensures greater productivity during your writing time and keeps you focused and on task.

Use tools such as graphic organizers to logically sequence your narrative if you are not a confident story writer.  If you are working with reluctant writers, try using narrative writing prompts to get their creative juices flowing.

Spend most of your writing hour on the task at hand, don’t get too side-tracked editing during this time and leave some time for editing. When editing a  narrative, examine it for these three elements.

  • Spelling and grammar ( Is it readable?)
  • Story structure and continuity ( Does it make sense, and does it flow? )
  • Character and plot analysis. (Are your characters engaging? Does your problem/resolution work? )

1. SETTING THE SCENE: THE WHERE AND THE WHEN

narrative writing | aa156ee009d91a57894348652da98b58 | Narrative Writing: A Complete Guide for Teachers and Students | literacyideas.com

The story’s setting often answers two of the central questions in the story, namely, the where and the when. The answers to these two crucial questions will often be informed by the type of story the student is writing.

The story’s setting can be chosen to quickly orient the reader to the type of story they are reading. For example, a fictional narrative writing piece such as a horror story will often begin with a description of a haunted house on a hill or an abandoned asylum in the middle of the woods. If we start our story on a rocket ship hurtling through the cosmos on its space voyage to the Alpha Centauri star system, we can be reasonably sure that the story we are embarking on is a work of science fiction.

Such conventions are well-worn clichés true, but they can be helpful starting points for our novice novelists to make a start.

Having students choose an appropriate setting for the type of story they wish to write is an excellent exercise for our younger students. It leads naturally onto the next stage of story writing, which is creating suitable characters to populate this fictional world they have created. However, older or more advanced students may wish to play with the expectations of appropriate settings for their story. They may wish to do this for comic effect or in the interest of creating a more original story. For example, opening a story with a children’s birthday party does not usually set up the expectation of a horror story. Indeed, it may even lure the reader into a happy reverie as they remember their own happy birthday parties. This leaves them more vulnerable to the surprise element of the shocking action that lies ahead.

Once the students have chosen a setting for their story, they need to start writing. Little can be more terrifying to English students than the blank page and its bare whiteness stretching before them on the table like a merciless desert they must cross. Give them the kick-start they need by offering support through word banks or writing prompts. If the class is all writing a story based on the same theme, you may wish to compile a common word bank on the whiteboard as a prewriting activity. Write the central theme or genre in the middle of the board. Have students suggest words or phrases related to the theme and list them on the board.

You may wish to provide students with a copy of various writing prompts to get them started. While this may mean that many students’ stories will have the same beginning, they will most likely arrive at dramatically different endings via dramatically different routes.

narrative writing | story elements | Narrative Writing: A Complete Guide for Teachers and Students | literacyideas.com

A bargain is at the centre of the relationship between the writer and the reader. That bargain is that the reader promises to suspend their disbelief as long as the writer creates a consistent and convincing fictional reality. Creating a believable world for the fictional characters to inhabit requires the student to draw on convincing details. The best way of doing this is through writing that appeals to the senses. Have your student reflect deeply on the world that they are creating. What does it look like? Sound like? What does the food taste like there? How does it feel like to walk those imaginary streets, and what aromas beguile the nose as the main character winds their way through that conjured market?

Also, Consider the when; or the time period. Is it a future world where things are cleaner and more antiseptic? Or is it an overcrowded 16th-century London with human waste stinking up the streets? If students can create a multi-sensory installation in the reader’s mind, then they have done this part of their job well.

Popular Settings from Children’s Literature and Storytelling

  • Fairytale Kingdom
  • Magical Forest
  • Village/town
  • Underwater world
  • Space/Alien planet

2. CASTING THE CHARACTERS: THE WHO

Now that your student has created a believable world, it is time to populate it with believable characters.

In short stories, these worlds mustn’t be overpopulated beyond what the student’s skill level can manage. Short stories usually only require one main character and a few secondary ones. Think of the short story more as a small-scale dramatic production in an intimate local theater than a Hollywood blockbuster on a grand scale. Too many characters will only confuse and become unwieldy with a canvas this size. Keep it simple!

Creating believable characters is often one of the most challenging aspects of narrative writing for students. Fortunately, we can do a few things to help students here. Sometimes it is helpful for students to model their characters on actual people they know. This can make things a little less daunting and taxing on the imagination. However, whether or not this is the case, writing brief background bios or descriptions of characters’ physical personality characteristics can be a beneficial prewriting activity. Students should give some in-depth consideration to the details of who their character is: How do they walk? What do they look like? Do they have any distinguishing features? A crooked nose? A limp? Bad breath? Small details such as these bring life and, therefore, believability to characters. Students can even cut pictures from magazines to put a face to their character and allow their imaginations to fill in the rest of the details.

Younger students will often dictate to the reader the nature of their characters. To improve their writing craft, students must know when to switch from story-telling mode to story-showing mode. This is particularly true when it comes to character. Encourage students to reveal their character’s personality through what they do rather than merely by lecturing the reader on the faults and virtues of the character’s personality. It might be a small relayed detail in the way they walk that reveals a core characteristic. For example, a character who walks with their head hanging low and shoulders hunched while avoiding eye contact has been revealed to be timid without the word once being mentioned. This is a much more artistic and well-crafted way of doing things and is less irritating for the reader. A character who sits down at the family dinner table immediately snatches up his fork and starts stuffing roast potatoes into his mouth before anyone else has even managed to sit down has revealed a tendency towards greed or gluttony.

Understanding Character Traits

Again, there is room here for some fun and profitable prewriting activities. Give students a list of character traits and have them describe a character doing something that reveals that trait without ever employing the word itself.

It is also essential to avoid adjective stuffing here. When looking at students’ early drafts, adjective stuffing is often apparent. To train the student out of this habit, choose an adjective and have the student rewrite the sentence to express this adjective through action rather than telling.

When writing a story, it is vital to consider the character’s traits and how they will impact the story’s events. For example, a character with a strong trait of determination may be more likely to overcome obstacles and persevere. In contrast, a character with a tendency towards laziness may struggle to achieve their goals. In short, character traits add realism, depth, and meaning to a story, making it more engaging and memorable for the reader.

Popular Character Traits in Children’s Stories

  • Determination
  • Imagination
  • Perseverance
  • Responsibility

We have an in-depth guide to creating great characters here , but most students should be fine to move on to planning their conflict and resolution.

3. NO PROBLEM? NO STORY! HOW CONFLICT DRIVES A NARRATIVE

narrative writing | 2 RoadBlock | Narrative Writing: A Complete Guide for Teachers and Students | literacyideas.com

This is often the area apprentice writers have the most difficulty with. Students must understand that without a problem or conflict, there is no story. The problem is the driving force of the action. Usually, in a short story, the problem will center around what the primary character wants to happen or, indeed, wants not to happen. It is the hurdle that must be overcome. It is in the struggle to overcome this hurdle that events happen.

Often when a student understands the need for a problem in a story, their completed work will still not be successful. This is because, often in life, problems remain unsolved. Hurdles are not always successfully overcome. Students pick up on this.

We often discuss problems with friends that will never be satisfactorily resolved one way or the other, and we accept this as a part of life. This is not usually the case with writing a story. Whether a character successfully overcomes his or her problem or is decidedly crushed in the process of trying is not as important as the fact that it will finally be resolved one way or the other.

A good practical exercise for students to get to grips with this is to provide copies of stories and have them identify the central problem or conflict in each through discussion. Familiar fables or fairy tales such as Three Little Pigs, The Boy Who Cried Wolf, Cinderella, etc., are great for this.

While it is true that stories often have more than one problem or that the hero or heroine is unsuccessful in their first attempt to solve a central problem, for beginning students and intermediate students, it is best to focus on a single problem, especially given the scope of story writing at this level. Over time students will develop their abilities to handle more complex plots and write accordingly.

Popular Conflicts found in Children’s Storytelling.

  • Good vs evil
  • Individual vs society
  • Nature vs nurture
  • Self vs others
  • Man vs self
  • Man vs nature
  • Man vs technology
  • Individual vs fate
  • Self vs destiny

Conflict is the heart and soul of any good story. It’s what makes a story compelling and drives the plot forward. Without conflict, there is no story. Every great story has a struggle or a problem that needs to be solved, and that’s where conflict comes in. Conflict is what makes a story exciting and keeps the reader engaged. It creates tension and suspense and makes the reader care about the outcome.

Like in real life, conflict in a story is an opportunity for a character’s growth and transformation. It’s a chance for them to learn and evolve, making a story great. So next time stories are written in the classroom, remember that conflict is an essential ingredient, and without it, your story will lack the energy, excitement, and meaning that makes it truly memorable.

4. THE NARRATIVE CLIMAX: HOW THINGS COME TO A HEAD!

narrative writing | tension 1068x660 1 | Narrative Writing: A Complete Guide for Teachers and Students | literacyideas.com

The climax of the story is the dramatic high point of the action. It is also when the struggles kicked off by the problem come to a head. The climax will ultimately decide whether the story will have a happy or tragic ending. In the climax, two opposing forces duke things out until the bitter (or sweet!) end. One force ultimately emerges triumphant. As the action builds throughout the story, suspense increases as the reader wonders which of these forces will win out. The climax is the release of this suspense.

Much of the success of the climax depends on how well the other elements of the story have been achieved. If the student has created a well-drawn and believable character that the reader can identify with and feel for, then the climax will be more powerful.

The nature of the problem is also essential as it determines what’s at stake in the climax. The problem must matter dearly to the main character if it matters at all to the reader.

Have students engage in discussions about their favorite movies and books. Have them think about the storyline and decide the most exciting parts. What was at stake at these moments? What happened in your body as you read or watched? Did you breathe faster? Or grip the cushion hard? Did your heart rate increase, or did you start to sweat? This is what a good climax does and what our students should strive to do in their stories.

The climax puts it all on the line and rolls the dice. Let the chips fall where the writer may…

Popular Climax themes in Children’s Stories

  • A battle between good and evil
  • The character’s bravery saves the day
  • Character faces their fears and overcomes them
  • The character solves a mystery or puzzle.
  • The character stands up for what is right.
  • Character reaches their goal or dream.
  • The character learns a valuable lesson.
  • The character makes a selfless sacrifice.
  • The character makes a difficult decision.
  • The character reunites with loved ones or finds true friendship.

5. RESOLUTION: TYING UP LOOSE ENDS

After the climactic action, a few questions will often remain unresolved for the reader, even if all the conflict has been resolved. The resolution is where those lingering questions will be answered. The resolution in a short story may only be a brief paragraph or two. But, in most cases, it will still be necessary to include an ending immediately after the climax can feel too abrupt and leave the reader feeling unfulfilled.

An easy way to explain resolution to students struggling to grasp the concept is to point to the traditional resolution of fairy tales, the “And they all lived happily ever after” ending. This weather forecast for the future allows the reader to take their leave. Have the student consider the emotions they want to leave the reader with when crafting their resolution.

While the action is usually complete by the end of the climax, it is in the resolution that if there is a twist to be found, it will appear – think of movies such as The Usual Suspects. Pulling this off convincingly usually requires considerable skill from a student writer. Still, it may well form a challenging extension exercise for those more gifted storytellers among your students.

Popular Resolutions in Children’s Stories

  • Our hero achieves their goal
  • The character learns a valuable lesson
  • A character finds happiness or inner peace.
  • The character reunites with loved ones.
  • Character restores balance to the world.
  • The character discovers their true identity.
  • Character changes for the better.
  • The character gains wisdom or understanding.
  • Character makes amends with others.
  • The character learns to appreciate what they have.

Once students have completed their story, they can edit for grammar, vocabulary choice, spelling, etc., but not before!

As mentioned, there is a craft to storytelling, as well as an art. When accurate grammar, perfect spelling, and immaculate sentence structures are pushed at the outset, they can cause storytelling paralysis. For this reason, it is essential that when we encourage the students to write a story, we give them license to make mechanical mistakes in their use of language that they can work on and fix later.

Good narrative writing is a very complex skill to develop and will take the student years to become competent. It challenges not only the student’s technical abilities with language but also her creative faculties. Writing frames, word banks, mind maps, and visual prompts can all give valuable support as students develop the wide-ranging and challenging skills required to produce a successful narrative writing piece. But, at the end of it all, as with any craft, practice and more practice is at the heart of the matter.

TIPS FOR WRITING A GREAT NARRATIVE

  • Start your story with a clear purpose: If you can determine the theme or message you want to convey in your narrative before starting it will make the writing process so much simpler.
  • Choose a compelling storyline and sell it through great characters, setting and plot: Consider a unique or interesting story that captures the reader’s attention, then build the world and characters around it.
  • Develop vivid characters that are not all the same: Make your characters relatable and memorable by giving them distinct personalities and traits you can draw upon in the plot.
  • Use descriptive language to hook your audience into your story: Use sensory language to paint vivid images and sequences in the reader’s mind.
  • Show, don’t tell your audience: Use actions, thoughts, and dialogue to reveal character motivations and emotions through storytelling.
  • Create a vivid setting that is clear to your audience before getting too far into the plot: Describe the time and place of your story to immerse the reader fully.
  • Build tension: Refer to the story map earlier in this article and use conflict, obstacles, and suspense to keep the audience engaged and invested in your narrative.
  • Use figurative language such as metaphors, similes, and other literary devices to add depth and meaning to your narrative.
  • Edit, revise, and refine: Take the time to refine and polish your writing for clarity and impact.
  • Stay true to your voice: Maintain your unique perspective and style in your writing to make it your own.

NARRATIVE WRITING EXAMPLES (Student Writing Samples)

Below are a collection of student writing samples of narratives.  Click on the image to enlarge and explore them in greater detail.  Please take a moment to read these creative stories in detail and the teacher and student guides which highlight some of the critical elements of narratives to consider before writing.

Please understand these student writing samples are not intended to be perfect examples for each age or grade level but a piece of writing for students and teachers to explore together to critically analyze to improve student writing skills and deepen their understanding of story writing.

We recommend reading the example either a year above or below, as well as the grade you are currently working with, to gain a broader appreciation of this text type.

narrative writing | Narrative writing example year 3 1 | Narrative Writing: A Complete Guide for Teachers and Students | literacyideas.com

NARRATIVE WRITING PROMPTS (Journal Prompts)

When students have a great journal prompt, it can help them focus on the task at hand, so be sure to view our vast collection of visual writing prompts for various text types here or use some of these.

  • On a recent European trip, you find your travel group booked into the stunning and mysterious Castle Frankenfurter for a single night…  As night falls, the massive castle of over one hundred rooms seems to creak and groan as a series of unexplained events begin to make you wonder who or what else is spending the evening with you. Write a narrative that tells the story of your evening.
  • You are a famous adventurer who has discovered new lands; keep a travel log over a period of time in which you encounter new and exciting adventures and challenges to overcome.  Ensure your travel journal tells a story and has a definite introduction, conflict and resolution.
  • You create an incredible piece of technology that has the capacity to change the world.  As you sit back and marvel at your innovation and the endless possibilities ahead of you, it becomes apparent there are a few problems you didn’t really consider. You might not even be able to control them.  Write a narrative in which you ride the highs and lows of your world-changing creation with a clear introduction, conflict and resolution.
  • As the final door shuts on the Megamall, you realise you have done it…  You and your best friend have managed to sneak into the largest shopping centre in town and have the entire place to yourselves until 7 am tomorrow.  There is literally everything and anything a child would dream of entertaining themselves for the next 12 hours.  What amazing adventures await you?  What might go wrong?  And how will you get out of there scot-free?
  • A stranger walks into town…  Whilst appearing similar to almost all those around you, you get a sense that this person is from another time, space or dimension… Are they friends or foes?  What makes you sense something very strange is going on?   Suddenly they stand up and walk toward you with purpose extending their hand… It’s almost as if they were reading your mind.

NARRATIVE WRITING VIDEO TUTORIAL

narrative writing | Copy of Copy of Copy of HOW TO WRITE POEMS | Narrative Writing: A Complete Guide for Teachers and Students | literacyideas.com

Teaching Resources

Use our resources and tools to improve your student’s writing skills through proven teaching strategies.

When teaching narrative writing, it is essential that you have a range of tools, strategies and resources at your disposal to ensure you get the most out of your writing time.  You can find some examples below, which are free and paid premium resources you can use instantly without any preparation.

FREE Narrative Graphic Organizer

narrative writing | NarrativeGraphicOrganizer | Narrative Writing: A Complete Guide for Teachers and Students | literacyideas.com

THE STORY TELLERS BUNDLE OF TEACHING RESOURCES

narrative writing | story tellers bundle 1 | Narrative Writing: A Complete Guide for Teachers and Students | literacyideas.com

A MASSIVE COLLECTION of resources for narratives and story writing in the classroom covering all elements of crafting amazing stories. MONTHS WORTH OF WRITING LESSONS AND RESOURCES, including:

NARRATIVE WRITING CHECKLIST BUNDLE

writing checklists

OTHER GREAT ARTICLES ABOUT NARRATIVE WRITING

narrative writing | Narrative2BWriting2BStrategies2Bfor2Bjuniors2B28129 | Narrative Writing for Kids: Essential Skills and Strategies | literacyideas.com

Narrative Writing for Kids: Essential Skills and Strategies

narrative writing | narrative writing lessons | 7 Great Narrative Lesson Plans Students and Teachers Love | literacyideas.com

7 Great Narrative Lesson Plans Students and Teachers Love

narrative writing | Top narrative writing skills for students | Top 7 Narrative Writing Exercises for Students | literacyideas.com

Top 7 Narrative Writing Exercises for Students

narrative writing | how to write a scary horror story | How to Write a Scary Story | literacyideas.com

How to Write a Scary Story

The content for this page has been written by Shane Mac Donnchaidh.  A former principal of an international school and English university lecturer with 15 years of teaching and administration experience. Shane’s latest Book, The Complete Guide to Nonfiction Writing , can be found here.  Editing and support for this article have been provided by the literacyideas team.

Questions? Call us: 

Email: 

  • How it works
  • Testimonials

Essay Writing

  • Essay service
  • Essay writers
  • College essay service
  • Write my essay
  • Pay for essay
  • Essay topics

Term Paper Writing

  • Term paper service
  • Buy term papers
  • Term paper help
  • Term paper writers
  • College term papers
  • Write my term paper
  • Pay for term paper
  • Term paper topic

Research Paper Writing

  • Research paper service
  • Buy research paper
  • Research paper help
  • Research paper writers
  • College research papers
  • Write my research paper
  • Pay for research paper
  • Research paper topics

Dissertation Writing

  • Dissertation service
  • Buy dissertation
  • Dissertation help
  • Dissertation writers
  • College thesis
  • Write my dissertation
  • Pay for dissertation
  • Dissertation topics

Other Services

  • Custom writing services
  • Speech writing service
  • Movie review writing
  • Editing service
  • Assignment writing
  • Article writing service
  • Book report writing
  • Book review writing

Popular request:

  • How To Write A Narrative Essay: Definition, Tips, And A Step-by-Step Guide

May 25, 2022

Do you have a narrative essay assignment, but it is proving a hard nut to crack? It often sounds simple because students are asked to narrate something unique about their lives, but most of them end up getting stuck even before starting or midway. For some, the difficulty results from poor writing skills, but others simply lack enough time. No matter what reason is making the process challenging, we have the best solution on how to write narrative essay like a pro.

how to write a narrative essay

This post is a step-by-step guide on writing a narrative essay. It differentiates narrative essays from other categories of essays and provides the best structure for quality papers. It also lists expert tips to help you craft a high quality essay that will impress your school teachers or professor. Do not get content with standard or failing grades; use this guide to prepare a high-quality narrative paper.

Table of Contents

Whats a narrative essay, goal of writing a narrative essay, different types of narrative essays, how to write a narrative essay step by step, best narrative writing format, how do you start a narrative essay, how long is a narrative essay, expert tips on how to write a good narrative essay.

A narrative essay is a form of academic writing, where you tell a story about yourself. The papers are often experimental, anecdotal, and personal, allowing the student to express himself/herself in a creative and moving way.

It is used in both fictional and non-fictional writing, where you have to communicate a story with settings, characters, and conflicts.

In any narrative form of writing, you need to have a clear central point/ theme around which the entire story revolves about. To put it differently: consider a narrative essay to be like other simple essays, but differs fundamentally in that it is a narration with incidents and dialogues.

When your class teacher asks your class to write a narrative essay, you need to be able to establish the purpose before starting the assignment.

Whether the story is fiction or factual, narrative writing focuses on showcasing a series of events in the most engaging manner. This means that you want the reader to get moved by the story, which can be achieved by showing anger, sympathy, laughter, or fear, among other expressions.

The best advice to make your narration stand out is making it as vivid as possible. Narrate the events from a personal point of view. So, ensure to employ storytelling elements, including a beginning, middle, and end. The plot and character should also be employed in the narrative essay structure.

Narrative writing is often confused with short stories because they share the same characteristics, such as plot and characters. However, they differ fundamentally in that narrative essays require you to use facts to tell a story, mainly based on personal memory. However, short stories require you to make up everything, from characters to the setting.

It is important to appreciate that narrative essays can fall into three categories:

Poetry: This type of writing can be either fictional or non-fictional, and requires you to express ideas and feelings in a unique style and rhythm. The commonest are the sonnets and epics. Fiction: This is an imaginary type of narrative writing, which is based on the student/ writer’s feelings, ideas, and thoughts. Then, they are presented in a series of events. Non-fiction: A non-fiction type of essay is classified as a narration if it is based on real happenings and facts. A good example is a journal or diary.

The best way to write a narrative essay is to create a good structure and follow it closely to stitch a story that will move your readers. Here are the main steps to follow:

  • Meeting a famous person.
  • Traveling to Ireland for the first time.
  • My secret place.
  • Near-death experience.
  • Select Your Story Once you have selected the preferred topic, the next step is picking a good story. Ensure that it relates well to the theme or topic. Also, try to make the story realistic without exaggeration.
  • Bring Out the Story’s Antagonist It is prudent to get the story’s antagonist and a sort of a conflict. If your narrative lacks an antagonist, it is likely to become boring. In most cases, the writer (you in this case) is the protagonist. The antagonist (character) tries to stand in the way of the protagonist from achieving his/her mission.
  • Explain the Scene You also have to explain the story’s scenes as clearly as possible. This is crucial to ensure readers are able to imagine the setting. Often, students lose marks for not describing the scenes. Detailing the scene also helps to make the story more interesting.
  • Make the Essay’s Events Chronological As you prepare the narration, make sure that the events are presented in a chronological manner. So, take your time to determine what happens first and link it carefully with the subsequent scenes. Take the example of a narrative essay on a topic such as “Meeting an Influential Person.” In such a case, you should start by describing the scene that preceded the meeting, perhaps you had “just gone to the mall” and then “bumped into the influential person.” From there, you probably went to the coffee shop, held a conversation, and proceeded to his famous mansion.
  • Make the Final Copy From steps one to eight, you were working on the draft, and it is time to move to the next level. So, you need to comprehensively revise it, check the theme and storyline. Finally, proofread and edit the essay to make the final copy that will be submitted to your professor.

To make your work even more outstanding, here are more details on how to write a great narrative essay:

As we indicated already, you need to craft a good format to serve as a guide for your narrative essay. Here is a sample writing format that you can use to prepare a narrative report.

  • The topic of the narrative essay.
  • Introduction of the essay: Here, you should provide an overview of the narrative essay in only a few sentences.
  • The main body of the narrative essay: Like in other types of essays, you should structure the assignment into paragraphs and use them to bring out facts, details, and supporting arguments.
  • Conclusion: This is the last part of the essay, and you need to sum up the writing. Make sure to wrap up the essay well, mainly by highlighting the moral of the story.

To start writing a narrative essay, you need to carefully read the assignment prompt from your college teacher. Go ahead and brainstorm the ideas on what the essay might be about, and let the imagination take over. At this early point, you should take notes of possible characters, locations, and the preferred conversations These are the ideas that you might build on to finally decide what to write a narrative essay about using the nine steps we described earlier on.

As you learn how to start a narrative essay, make sure to also establish the different ways of bringing out your thesis statement that comes at the start of the essay. The thesis will be evident all through the essay as you develop your story.

A good narrative essay is usually five pages long, but this can vary depending on your school professor.

For example, there are some schools that require the essays to be 500 words only. So, make sure to stick to the word limit recommended by your professor.

The bottom line about narrative essays is that they should be short, precise, and informative. So, put the points directly in a concise way and follow the right format.

Here are some tips from the best essay writers on how to write a good narrative essay:

Keep your essay as concise as possible. Make sure to have a clear outline of events before starting to write. Only describe the important characters. For the less important characters, make the description brief. Include vibrant details to spice the story, but stay true to the course. Stay consistent and avoid mixing up the tenses. Write the paper in the first person. Make sure to support your essay with appropriate details. Highlight the important moments of your story. Hone your skills by reading other writers’ narrative essays.

Seek Help From Assignment Writing Service

Now that we have provided the guideline for writing a narrative essay, are you ready to get started and work on the assignment? If you find it challenging, perhaps because there are dozens of other things to do or the topic is tough, consider using expert writers and to buy custom essays .

Our professional writers have the skills and experience to prepare top grade papers for students. Even if your assignment has a tight deadline, our writers are fast and will be able to close the task on time. Again, you can count on our affordable online service to prepare even other types of custom essays, such as descriptive and compare & contrast papers. All that you need is to visit our site and say, “write my essay.”

how to write narrative essay fast

Take a break from writing.

Top academic experts are here for you.

  • How To Write An Autobiography Guideline And Useful Advice
  • 182 Best Classification Essay Topics To Learn And Write About
  • How To Manage Stress In College: Top Practical Tips  
  • How To Write Article Review Like Professional
  • Great Problem Solution Essay Topics
  • Creating Best Stanford Roommate Essay
  • Costco Essay – Best Writing Guide
  • How To Quote A Dialogue
  • Wonderful Expository Essay Topics
  • Research Paper Topics For 2020
  • Interesting Persuasive Essay Topics

Frequently asked questions

How do i write a college essay fast.

If you’ve got to write your college essay fast , don’t panic. First, set yourself deadlines: you should spend about 10% of your remaining time on brainstorming, 10% on outlining, 40% writing, 30% revising, and 10% taking breaks in between stages.

Second, brainstorm stories and values based on your essay prompt.

Third, outline your essay based on the montage or narrative essay structure .

Fourth, write specific, personal, and unique stories that would be hard for other students to replicate.

Fifth, revise your essay and make sure it’s clearly written.

Last, if possible, get feedback from an essay coach . Scribbr essay editors can help you revise your essay in 12 hours or less.

Frequently asked questions: College admissions essays

When writing your Common App essay , choose a prompt that sparks your interest and that you can connect to a unique personal story.

No matter which prompt you choose, admissions officers are more interested in your ability to demonstrate personal development , insight, or motivation for a certain area of study.

The Common App essay is your primary writing sample within the Common Application, a college application portal accepted by more than 900 schools. All your prospective schools that accept the Common App will read this essay to understand your character, background, and value as a potential student.

Since this essay is read by many colleges, avoid mentioning any college names or programs; instead, save tailored answers for the supplementary school-specific essays within the Common App.

Most importantly, your essay should be about you , not another person or thing. An insightful college admissions essay requires deep self-reflection, authenticity, and a balance between confidence and vulnerability.

Your essay shouldn’t be a résumé of your experiences but instead should tell a story that demonstrates your most important values and qualities.

When revising your college essay , first check for big-picture issues regarding your message and content. Then, check for flow, tone, style , and clarity. Finally, focus on eliminating grammar and punctuation errors .

If your college essay goes over the word count limit , cut any sentences with tangents or irrelevant details. Delete unnecessary words that clutter your essay.

If you’re struggling to reach the word count for your college essay, add vivid personal stories or share your feelings and insight to give your essay more depth and authenticity.

Avoid swearing in a college essay , since admissions officers’ opinions of profanity will vary. In some cases, it might be okay to use a vulgar word, such as in dialogue or quotes that make an important point in your essay. However, it’s safest to try to make the same point without swearing.

If you have bad grades on your transcript, you may want to use your college admissions essay to explain the challenging circumstances that led to them. Make sure to avoid dwelling on the negative aspects and highlight how you overcame the situation or learned an important lesson.

However, some college applications offer an additional information section where you can explain your bad grades, allowing you to choose another meaningful topic for your college essay.

Here’s a brief list of college essay topics that may be considered cliché:

  • Extracurriculars, especially sports
  • Role models
  • Dealing with a personal tragedy or death in the family
  • Struggling with new life situations (immigrant stories, moving homes, parents’ divorce)
  • Becoming a better person after community service, traveling, or summer camp
  • Overcoming a difficult class
  • Using a common object as an extended metaphor

It’s easier to write a standout essay with a unique topic. However, it’s possible to make a common topic compelling with interesting story arcs, uncommon connections, and an advanced writing style.

Yes. The college application essay is less formal than other academic writing —though of course it’s not mandatory to use contractions in your essay.

In a college essay , you can be creative with your language . When writing about the past, you can use the present tense to make the reader feel as if they were there in the moment with you. But make sure to maintain consistency and when in doubt, default to the correct verb tense according to the time you’re writing about.

The college admissions essay gives admissions officers a different perspective on you beyond your academic achievements, test scores, and extracurriculars. It’s your chance to stand out from other applicants with similar academic profiles by telling a unique, personal, and specific story.

Use a standard font such as Times New Roman or Arial to avoid distracting the reader from your college essay’s content.

A college application essay is less formal than most academic writing . Instead of citing sources formally with in-text citations and a reference list, you can cite them informally in your text.

For example, “In her research paper on genetics, Quinn Roberts explores …”

There is no set number of paragraphs in a college admissions essay . College admissions essays can diverge from the traditional five-paragraph essay structure that you learned in English class. Just make sure to stay under the specified word count .

Most topics are acceptable for college essays if you can use them to demonstrate personal growth or a lesson learned. However, there are a few difficult topics for college essays that should be avoided. Avoid topics that are:

  • Overly personal (e.g. graphic details of illness or injury, romantic or sexual relationships)
  • Not personal enough (e.g. broad solutions to world problems, inspiring people or things)
  • Too negative (e.g. an in-depth look at your flaws, put-downs of others, criticizing the need for a college essay)
  • Too boring (e.g. a resume of your academic achievements and extracurriculars)
  • Inappropriate for a college essay (e.g. illegal activities, offensive humor, false accounts of yourself, bragging about privilege)

To write an effective diversity essay , include vulnerable, authentic stories about your unique identity, background, or perspective. Provide insight into how your lived experience has influenced your outlook, activities, and goals. If relevant, you should also mention how your background has led you to apply for this university and why you’re a good fit.

Many universities believe a student body composed of different perspectives, beliefs, identities, and backgrounds will enhance the campus learning and community experience.

Admissions officers are interested in hearing about how your unique background, identity, beliefs, culture, or characteristics will enrich the campus community, which is why they assign a diversity essay .

In addition to your main college essay , some schools and scholarships may ask for a supplementary essay focused on an aspect of your identity or background. This is sometimes called a diversity essay .

You can use humor in a college essay , but carefully consider its purpose and use it wisely. An effective use of humor involves unexpected, keen observations of the everyday, or speaks to a deeper theme. Humor shouldn’t be the main focus of the essay, but rather a tool to improve your storytelling.

Get a second opinion from a teacher, counselor, or essay coach on whether your essay’s humor is appropriate.

Though admissions officers are interested in hearing your story, they’re also interested in how you tell it. An exceptionally written essay will differentiate you from other applicants, meaning that admissions officers will spend more time reading it.

You can use literary devices to catch your reader’s attention and enrich your storytelling; however, focus on using just a few devices well, rather than trying to use as many as possible.

To decide on a good college essay topic , spend time thoughtfully answering brainstorming questions. If you still have trouble identifying topics, try the following two strategies:

  • Identify your qualities → Brainstorm stories that demonstrate these qualities
  • Identify memorable stories → Connect your qualities to these stories

You can also ask family, friends, or mentors to help you brainstorm topics, give feedback on your potential essay topics, or recall key stories that showcase your qualities.

Yes—admissions officers don’t expect everyone to have a totally unique college essay topic . But you must differentiate your essay from others by having a surprising story arc, an interesting insight, and/or an advanced writing style .

There are no foolproof college essay topics —whatever your topic, the key is to write about it effectively. However, a good topic

  • Is meaningful, specific, and personal to you
  • Focuses on you and your experiences
  • Reveals something beyond your test scores, grades, and extracurriculars
  • Is creative and original

Unlike a five-paragraph essay, your admissions essay should not end by summarizing the points you’ve already made. It’s better to be creative and aim for a strong final impression.

You should also avoid stating the obvious (for example, saying that you hope to be accepted).

There are a few strategies you can use for a memorable ending to your college essay :

  • Return to the beginning with a “full circle” structure
  • Reveal the main point or insight in your story
  • Look to the future
  • End on an action

The best technique will depend on your topic choice, essay outline, and writing style. You can write several endings using different techniques to see which works best.

College deadlines vary depending on the schools you’re applying to and your application plan:

  • For early action applications and the first round of early decision applications, the deadline is on November 1 or 15. Decisions are released by mid-December.
  • For the second round of early decision applications, the deadline is January 1 or 15. Decisions are released in January or February.
  • Regular decision deadlines usually fall between late November and mid-March, and decisions are released in March or April.
  • Rolling admission deadlines run from July to April, and decisions are released around four to eight weeks after submission.

Depending on your prospective schools’ requirements, you may need to submit scores for the SAT or ACT as part of your college application .

Some schools now no longer require students to submit test scores; however, you should still take the SAT or ACT and aim to get a high score to strengthen your application package.

Aim to take the SAT or ACT in the spring of your junior year to give yourself enough time to retake it in the fall of your senior year if necessary.

Apply early for federal student aid and application fee waivers. You can also look for scholarships from schools, corporations, and charitable foundations.

To maximize your options, you should aim to apply to about eight schools:

  • Two reach schools that might be difficult to get into
  • Four match schools that you have a good chance of getting into
  • Two safety schools that you feel confident you’ll get into

The college admissions essay accounts for roughly 25% of the weight of your application .

At highly selective schools, there are four qualified candidates for every spot. While your academic achievements are important, your college admissions essay can help you stand out from other applicants with similar profiles.

In general, for your college application you will need to submit all of the following:

  • Your personal information
  • List of extracurriculars and awards
  • College application essays
  • Transcripts
  • Standardized test scores
  • Recommendation letters.

Different colleges may have specific requirements, so make sure you check exactly what’s expected in the application guidance.

You should start thinking about your college applications the summer before your junior year to give you sufficient time for college visits, taking standardized tests, applying for financial aid , writing essays, and collecting application material.

Yes, but make sure your essay directly addresses the prompt, respects the word count , and demonstrates the organization’s values.

If you plan ahead, you can save time by writing one scholarship essay for multiple prompts with similar questions. In a scholarship tracker spreadsheet, you can group or color-code overlapping essay prompts; then, write a single essay for multiple scholarships. Sometimes, you can even reuse or adapt your main college essay .

You can start applying for scholarships as early as your junior year. Continue applying throughout your senior year.

Invest time in applying for various scholarships , especially local ones with small dollar amounts, which are likely easier to win and more reflective of your background and interests. It will be easier for you to write an authentic and compelling essay if the scholarship topic is meaningful to you.

You can find scholarships through your school counselor, community network, or an internet search.

A scholarship essay requires you to demonstrate your values and qualities while answering the prompt’s specific question.

After researching the scholarship organization, identify a personal experience that embodies its values and exemplifies how you will be a successful student.

A standout college essay has several key ingredients:

  • A unique, personally meaningful topic
  • A memorable introduction with vivid imagery or an intriguing hook
  • Specific stories and language that show instead of telling
  • Vulnerability that’s authentic but not aimed at soliciting sympathy
  • Clear writing in an appropriate style and tone
  • A conclusion that offers deep insight or a creative ending

While timelines will differ depending on the student, plan on spending at least 1–3 weeks brainstorming and writing the first draft of your college admissions essay , and at least 2–4 weeks revising across multiple drafts. Don’t forget to save enough time for breaks between each writing and editing stage.

You should already begin thinking about your essay the summer before your senior year so that you have plenty of time to try out different topics and get feedback on what works.

Your college essay accounts for about 25% of your application’s weight. It may be the deciding factor in whether you’re accepted, especially for competitive schools where most applicants have exceptional grades, test scores, and extracurricular track records.

In most cases, quoting other people isn’t a good way to start your college essay . Admissions officers want to hear your thoughts about yourself, and quotes often don’t achieve that. Unless a quote truly adds something important to your essay that it otherwise wouldn’t have, you probably shouldn’t include it.

Cliché openers in a college essay introduction are usually general and applicable to many students and situations. Most successful introductions are specific: they only work for the unique essay that follows.

The key to a strong college essay introduction is not to give too much away. Try to start with a surprising statement or image that raises questions and compels the reader to find out more.

The introduction of your college essay is the first thing admissions officers will read and therefore your most important opportunity to stand out. An excellent introduction will keep admissions officers reading, allowing you to tell them what you want them to know.

You can speed up this process by shortening and smoothing your writing with a paraphrasing tool . After that, you can use the summarizer to shorten it even more.

If you’re struggling to reach the word count for your college essay, add vivid personal stories or share your feelings and insight to give your essay more depth and authenticity.

Most college application portals specify a word count range for your essay, and you should stay within 10% of the upper limit to write a developed and thoughtful essay.

You should aim to stay under the specified word count limit to show you can follow directions and write concisely. However, don’t write too little, as it may seem like you are unwilling or unable to write a detailed and insightful narrative about yourself.

If no word count is specified, we advise keeping your essay between 400 and 600 words.

In your application essay , admissions officers are looking for particular features : they want to see context on your background, positive traits that you could bring to campus, and examples of you demonstrating those qualities.

Colleges want to be able to differentiate students who seem similar on paper. In the college application essay , they’re looking for a way to understand each applicant’s unique personality and experiences.

You don’t need a title for your college admissions essay , but you can include one if you think it adds something important.

Your college essay’s format should be as simple as possible:

  • Use a standard, readable font
  • Use 1.5 or double spacing
  • If attaching a file, save it as a PDF
  • Stick to the word count
  • Avoid unusual formatting and unnecessary decorative touches

There are no set rules for how to structure a college application essay , but these are two common structures that work:

  • A montage structure, a series of vignettes with a common theme.
  • A narrative structure, a single story that shows your personal growth or how you overcame a challenge.

Avoid the five-paragraph essay structure that you learned in high school.

Campus visits are always helpful, but if you can’t make it in person, the college website will have plenty of information for you to explore. You should look through the course catalog and even reach out to current faculty with any questions about the school.

Colleges set a “Why this college?” essay because they want to see that you’ve done your research. You must prove that you know what makes the school unique and can connect that to your own personal goals and academic interests.

Depending on your writing, you may go through several rounds of revision . Make sure to put aside your essay for a little while after each editing stage to return with a fresh perspective.

Teachers and guidance counselors can help you check your language, tone, and content . Ask for their help at least one to two months before the submission deadline, as many other students will also want their help.

Friends and family are a good resource to check for authenticity. It’s best to seek help from family members with a strong writing or English educational background, or from older siblings and cousins who have been through the college admissions process.

If possible, get help from an essay coach or editor ; they’ll have specialized knowledge of college admissions essays and be able to give objective expert feedback.

When revising your college essay , first check for big-picture issues regarding message, flow, tone, style , and clarity. Then, focus on eliminating grammar and punctuation errors.

Include specific, personal details and use your authentic voice to shed a new perspective on a common human experience.

Through specific stories, you can weave your achievements and qualities into your essay so that it doesn’t seem like you’re bragging from a resume.

When writing about yourself , including difficult experiences or failures can be a great way to show vulnerability and authenticity, but be careful not to overshare, and focus on showing how you matured from the experience.

First, spend time reflecting on your core values and character . You can start with these questions:

  • What are three words your friends or family would use to describe you, and why would they choose them?
  • Whom do you admire most and why?
  • What are you most proud of? Ashamed of?

However, you should do a comprehensive brainstorming session to fully understand your values. Also consider how your values and goals match your prospective university’s program and culture. Then, brainstorm stories that illustrate the fit between the two.

In a college application essay , you can occasionally bend grammatical rules if doing so adds value to the storytelling process and the essay maintains clarity.

However, use standard language rules if your stylistic choices would otherwise distract the reader from your overall narrative or could be easily interpreted as unintentional errors.

Write concisely and use the active voice to maintain a quick pace throughout your essay and make sure it’s the right length . Avoid adding definitions unless they provide necessary explanation.

Use first-person “I” statements to speak from your perspective . Use appropriate word choices that show off your vocabulary but don’t sound like you used a thesaurus. Avoid using idioms or cliché expressions by rewriting them in a creative, original way.

If you’re an international student applying to a US college and you’re comfortable using American idioms or cultural references , you can. But instead of potentially using them incorrectly, don’t be afraid to write in detail about yourself within your own culture.

Provide context for any words, customs, or places that an American admissions officer might be unfamiliar with.

College application essays are less formal than other kinds of academic writing . Use a conversational yet respectful tone , as if speaking with a teacher or mentor. Be vulnerable about your feelings, thoughts, and experiences to connect with the reader.

Aim to write in your authentic voice , with a style that sounds natural and genuine. You can be creative with your word choice, but don’t use elaborate vocabulary to impress admissions officers.

Admissions officers use college admissions essays to evaluate your character, writing skills , and ability to self-reflect . The essay is your chance to show what you will add to the academic community.

The college essay may be the deciding factor in your application , especially for competitive schools where most applicants have exceptional grades, test scores, and extracurriculars.

Some colleges also require supplemental essays about specific topics, such as why you chose that specific college . Scholarship essays are often required to obtain financial aid .

Ask our team

Want to contact us directly? No problem.  We  are always here for you.

Support team - Nina

Our team helps students graduate by offering:

  • A world-class citation generator
  • Plagiarism Checker software powered by Turnitin
  • Innovative Citation Checker software
  • Professional proofreading services
  • Over 300 helpful articles about academic writing, citing sources, plagiarism, and more

Scribbr specializes in editing study-related documents . We proofread:

  • PhD dissertations
  • Research proposals
  • Personal statements
  • Admission essays
  • Motivation letters
  • Reflection papers
  • Journal articles
  • Capstone projects

Scribbr’s Plagiarism Checker is powered by elements of Turnitin’s Similarity Checker , namely the plagiarism detection software and the Internet Archive and Premium Scholarly Publications content databases .

The add-on AI detector is also powered by Turnitin software and includes the Turnitin AI Writing Report.

Note that Scribbr’s free AI Detector is not powered by Turnitin, but instead by Scribbr’s proprietary software.

The Scribbr Citation Generator is developed using the open-source Citation Style Language (CSL) project and Frank Bennett’s citeproc-js . It’s the same technology used by dozens of other popular citation tools, including Mendeley and Zotero.

You can find all the citation styles and locales used in the Scribbr Citation Generator in our publicly accessible repository on Github .

how to write narrative essay fast

The Plagiarism Checker Online For Your Academic Work

Start Plagiarism Check

Editing & Proofreading for Your Research Paper

Get it proofread now

Online Printing & Binding with Free Express Delivery

Configure binding now

  • Academic essay overview
  • The writing process
  • Structuring academic essays
  • Types of academic essays
  • Academic writing overview
  • Sentence structure
  • Academic writing process
  • Improving your academic writing
  • Titles and headings
  • APA style overview
  • APA citation & referencing
  • APA structure & sections
  • Citation & referencing
  • Structure and sections
  • APA examples overview
  • Commonly used citations
  • Other examples
  • British English vs. American English
  • Chicago style overview
  • Chicago citation & referencing
  • Chicago structure & sections
  • Chicago style examples
  • Citing sources overview
  • Citation format
  • Citation examples
  • College essay overview
  • Application
  • How to write a college essay
  • Types of college essays
  • Commonly confused words
  • Definitions
  • Dissertation overview
  • Dissertation structure & sections
  • Dissertation writing process
  • Graduate school overview
  • Application & admission
  • Study abroad
  • Master degree
  • Harvard referencing overview
  • Language rules overview
  • Grammatical rules & structures
  • Parts of speech
  • Punctuation
  • Methodology overview
  • Analyzing data
  • Experiments
  • Observations
  • Inductive vs. Deductive
  • Qualitative vs. Quantitative
  • Types of validity
  • Types of reliability
  • Sampling methods
  • Theories & Concepts
  • Types of research studies
  • Types of variables
  • MLA style overview
  • MLA examples
  • MLA citation & referencing
  • MLA structure & sections
  • Plagiarism overview
  • Plagiarism checker
  • Types of plagiarism
  • Printing production overview
  • Research bias overview
  • Types of research bias
  • Example sections
  • Types of research papers
  • Research process overview
  • Problem statement
  • Research proposal
  • Research topic
  • Statistics overview
  • Levels of measurment
  • Frequency distribution
  • Measures of central tendency
  • Measures of variability
  • Hypothesis testing
  • Parameters & test statistics
  • Types of distributions
  • Correlation
  • Effect size
  • Hypothesis testing assumptions
  • Types of ANOVAs
  • Types of chi-square
  • Statistical data
  • Statistical models
  • Spelling mistakes
  • Tips overview
  • Academic writing tips
  • Dissertation tips
  • Sources tips
  • Working with sources overview
  • Evaluating sources
  • Finding sources
  • Including sources
  • Types of sources

Your Step to Success

Plagiarism Check within 10min

Printing & Binding with 3D Live Preview

How to Write an Essay Fast ­– A High-Quality Paper

How do you like this article cancel reply.

Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.

How-to-write-an-essay-fast-01

Essay writing, particularly crafting a college essay under a tight deadline, can be a daunting and stressful experience.  The challenge intensifies when you are expected to complete an essay in just a few hours or days. Time becomes a valuable commodity, and maximizing it efficiently becomes critical for success. To navigate this high-pressure situation, you’ll need all the guidance and assistance you can get. Read on to discover how to write an essay fast without compromising on quality.

Inhaltsverzeichnis

  • 1 How to write an essay fast – In a nutshell
  • 2 Definition: How to write an essay fast
  • 3 Basic essay format: How to write an essay fast
  • 4 The 5 steps of How to write an essay fast
  • 5 How to write an essay fast: Example
  • 6 Essay checklist

How to write an essay fast – In a nutshell

  • Always plan your time before writing an essay
  • Brainstorm and outline the structure your essay will take
  • Aim to revise your essay a few times before submitting it

Definition: How to write an essay fast

Essay writing is a fundamental skill for college students, regardless of their major. You’ll be obliged to compose an essay at some point during your degree. This can be a compulsory assignment where you must write on a predetermined topic or an essay on your chosen topic. Either way, essay writing is something you can’t avoid as a student.

Ireland

Basic essay format: How to write an essay fast

Essay writing isn’t merely a linear listing of concepts. It also necessitates a well-structured framework and format to compile all research in one place. Each essay must include an introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion to contain all the pertinent material.

The 5 steps of How to write an essay fast

Follow these procedures on how to write an essay fast to meet the deadline, whether you have a week, a few days, or just a few hours remaining.

How to write an essay fast: Step 1: Organize

Having a basic schedule of how much time you invest in each section of your essay helps you avoid lingering longer than necessary in an area. Set deadlines with built-in breaks regardless of the time you have.

When planning on how to write an essay fast, time allocation should be as follows: 

  • Brainstorming: 10 %
  • Outlining: 10 %
  • Writing: 40 %
  • Revising: 30 %
  • Taking breaks in between: 10 %

If you have a few hours:

  • Brainstorming: 15–30 minutes
  • Outlining: 15–30 minutes
  • Writing: 2–3 hours
  • Revising: 1–2 hours

If you have a few days:

  • Brainstorming: Day 1
  • Outlining: Day 1
  • Writing: Days 1, 2, and 3
  • Revising: Days 2 and 3

How to write an essay fast: Step 2: Brainstorm

The second step in devising a plan on how to write an essay fast should be brainstorming. Complete these tasks to quickly brainstorm your topic:

Top 5 things I want colleges to know about me

  • I’m an honors student
  • I play football
  • I am the eldest in a family of four
  • I beat cancer
  • I love cooking, comics, and science

Adjectives related to my personality and character

  • Responsible

2 things that make me different from other applicants

  • Extensive knowledge of history that has won me many trivia competitions
  • Self-taught fluent Korean and Spanish speaker

How to write an essay fast: Step 3: Outline

Outlining is the third step on how to write an essay fast. Use a narrative framework if you have a single story on overcoming a challenge or personal growth. This essay genre narrates a story chronologically. This structure is simpler if you are short on time.

If several of your stories share a common theme, use a montage framework to link them. Use this outline if you have more than a few hours to work on your paper.

How to write an essay fast: Step 4: Write

Unique storytelling sets you apart from others and helps your essay stand out. Keep these in mind on how to write an essay fast:

  • Emphasise key instances rather than summarizing a lengthy time frame.
  • Be open and honest with your feelings and thoughts.
  • Be authentic and strike the right tone.
  • Keep the spotlight on you and not on someone else.
  • Describe sensory details to evoke vivid images.

How to write an essay fast: Step 5: Revise

Finishing up on the conclusion doesn’t mean you’re done with the essay. Always review your paper for completeness and allow sufficient time for revising your essay. You should strive for three rounds of revision to review the content, clarity, and grammar.

Prioritize clarity and precise grammar if you’re pressed for time.

How to write an essay fast: Example

Overcoming a challenge, a sports injury narrative.

This essay describes how a student overcame a hardship, specifically a sports injury, using a narrative structure. As this topic is often overused, the essay must contain a vivid description, a compelling opening and conclusion, and an insightful analysis.

Essay checklist

Topic and framework

  • I’ve chosen a topic with personal significance.
  • This essay reveals something distinct from the rest of my application materials.
  • My narrative is lucid and well-structured.
  • I’ve concluded with a creative or insightful ending.

Writing style and tone

  • I’ve created an attention-grabbing introduction with vivid visuals.
  • My essay is demonstrative rather than descriptive.
  • I’ve used the proper tone and style.
  • I’ve used detailed, vivid, and difficult-to-replicate personal stories.
  • My article demonstrates my positive characteristics and values.
  • This essay is about me, not another individual or entity.
  • My writing contains self-reflection and insight.
  • I’ve kept to the word limit, staying within 10% of the maximum word count.

How to write an essay fast?

When planning on how to write an essay fast:

  • Set yourself deadlines

How to write an essay fast and meet the word count?

If your college essay exceeds the word count, trim sentences that contain digressions or irrelevant information.

How to write an essay fast and revise thoroughly?

While editing your college essay, first consider the essay’s message and overall structure. Then, evaluate the text’s flow, tone, style, and clarity. Lastly, concentrate on correcting grammar and punctuation errors.

We use cookies on our website. Some of them are essential, while others help us to improve this website and your experience.

  • External Media

Individual Privacy Preferences

Cookie Details Privacy Policy Imprint

Here you will find an overview of all cookies used. You can give your consent to whole categories or display further information and select certain cookies.

Accept all Save

Essential cookies enable basic functions and are necessary for the proper function of the website.

Show Cookie Information Hide Cookie Information

Statistics cookies collect information anonymously. This information helps us to understand how our visitors use our website.

Content from video platforms and social media platforms is blocked by default. If External Media cookies are accepted, access to those contents no longer requires manual consent.

Privacy Policy Imprint

how to write narrative essay fast

How to Finish an Essay Fast(er)? 10 Fast MUST-KNOW Tips & Tricks

how to write narrative essay fast

There are several reasons why one might want to finish their essay faster. Maybe a student just wants to be done with the task as quickly as possible. After all, academic life is pretty overwhelming and packed with assignments and events.

To be honest, the fastest way to get a narrative essay done is to ask an essay writer service for help. It takes a couple of minutes to place an order on an essay writer service, and then you are free to do anything else. But if you want to know how to finish an essay fast on your own, the following tips will help you.

A woman on her staircase trying to find out how to finish an essay fast

Conduct Preliminary Research

It is possible to do everything in 20 minutes only if you know the topic you are writing about perfectly . For example, if the subject of an informative essay is something like “the impact of technology on social communications” or “the most impactful event of the 20th century,” you probably know how to write a 1000-word essay quickly without extensive research for that topic.

Yet, if you need to check something or refer to a source, do it before writing. Use course materials or sources your professor gave, as well as search engines such as Google Scholar . Put in notes and references directly into the document. Use the Google Scholar feature that allows you to copy and paste already formatted references.

Turn Off All Distractions

It might seem like a no-brainer, but many students still forget about this point. If you need to study fast or revise something, it is necessary to turn all distractions off .

The same goes for writing a paper in a hurry. Turn off your phone and social media notifications . Make sure there’s no TV noise, music, or anything that steals your attention. Concentrate on one thing at a time.

Get Resources Ready

Have everything you need right beside you. That includes any resources you are going to reference, books you might need to check with, or lecture notes .

There is no time for searching for something at the stage of actual writing. Also, have all the drafts and documents open. Do not forget about APA, MLA , or other style guidelines for an essay.

Plan Your Time

To finish a narrative essay in 20 minutes, you need to divide your time into at least three chunks . The first one is outlining and planning, then writing and editing.

You can also set the timer to make sure that you do everything according to the plan. You need to know exactly what you are going to do at each step . You can divide time like: five minutes to plan and outline, 10 minutes for writing, and five minutes for proofreading.

Don’t Neglect the Outline

Plenty of essays follow the standard outline. The expectation of an informative essay is that it will educate readers on the topic. Creating an outline will help you to know exactly what to write in each part .

Use a standard outline from the best colleges : It includes an introduction, the main body of three paragraphs, and a conclusion. Plan out how many words will be in each part according to the volume of the assignment . You can also put the references and any draft ideas right in the outline.

Devise a Thesis Statement

Read through the question you were asked once again and make sure you understand what the lecturer wants you to cover. It is what your thesis statement needs to address.

The thesis statement goes in the introduction and tells what the paper is about and what are the key points you are going to dwell on. Look at more tips here . It should be an intriguing, interesting and solid sentence. After all, it shapes the paper in general, including the arguments or the main points of the essay.

As a hook, one can use interesting life examples, personal stories or claims, depending on the topic and the subject.

A student learning how to finish an essay fast

Start With the Main Body

One of the secrets that many undergraduate and graduate students miss is starting from the middle. The introduction and the conclusion are usually much harder to formulate.

They should address what you’ve covered in the main body. It is much easier to write those parts when your main body is already finished. This way one will know exactly what has been addressed and what are the main focal points of the paper.

Start working on the paper with the main body as it is easier and more convenient.

Use Voice Typing

Another great hack to write something quickly is to use the Google voice typing feature. It is generally much faster to say something than to write or type the same line . And you can proofread it as you go.

Even a Master’s student might be a slow typer, and when the time is strictly limited, every minute counts. Consider this feature as a helping tool when you need to do something fast.

Use Proofreading Tools

When you are in a hurry, it is easy to miss something — for example, a typo or a small mistake. And these tiny errors can influence your grade. Of course, you should read the narrative essay yourself once it’s done and figure out whether it is logical and concise.

Make sure that each paragraph of the main body starts with the claiming sentence. Also, eliminate errors as you go. Consider using the Grammarly proofreading tool to make sure that everything is perfect . It is free to use and helps you spot grammatical, spelling, and style errors.

Check the Formatting

Now it is time to create a title page and make sure that the whole paper is formatted correctly.

Doublecheck the word count, check the references one more time, as well as the citations . Also, make sure that the document is formatted according to the assignment’s requirements. Looks like you are good to go!

Writing a narrative essay quickly is quite possible. You need to prepare all the materials and resources and have a distinctive plan. In order to finish an essay fast, start with the middle, use technology to type faster and proofread, and do not get distracted .

  • college essays
  • writing essays
  • writing essays in colleges

Daniel Reed

Leave a reply.

Your email address will not be published.

Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.

Related Posts

how to write narrative essay fast

How to Write an Essay: Tips From An English Major

In an article about two essays about New York City, a post card with the words "New York City" across a cityscape. The post card is in a grey rain puddle.

Their Lost New York: Essays by F. Scott Fitzgerald and Lewis Mumford

in an article about writing a thesis statement, a person writing in a notebook at their desk

How To Make a Good Thesis Statement

in article about finding an essay writer, darwin essay banner

One Service To Improve Your Writing Grades

someone writing on a computer

5 Most Common Mistakes in Academic Writing

In article about the Southern states, a photo of Providence Canyon

How Can a Journey Across the Southern U.S. Help Your Essay Creativity?

in article about essays, someone writing in an empty notebook

Learn More About Common Types of Essays

In an article about plagiarism, someone writing an essay on a desk with a laptop, headphones and book

How To Avoid Plagiarism

Don't miss.

how to write narrative essay fast

It’s Time to Talk About Filipino Food

For an article about the Percy Jackson Disney Plus series, two young boys stare into the sky. A young girl with braids stares off in a suit of armor. A lightning storm goes on in the background and a beast carries a figure by its neck.

TV’s Future Golden Boy: Percy Jackson, The Hero You’ve Been Waiting For

Illustration of Taylor Swift in Kansas City Chiefs Jacket in storm clouds.

Taylor Swift and the Maritime Superstition of Football Fans

how to write narrative essay fast

‘Star Trek’: Jake Sisko’s Coming of Age Story

Women wearing Latine fashion with colorful filters.

Latine Streetwear Fashion: An Evergreen Vogue and Indigenous Resistance to Whiteness

IMAGES

  1. Step-by-Step Guide How to Write Narrative Essay (2023 Update)

    how to write narrative essay fast

  2. Narrative Essay Examples sample, Bookwormlab

    how to write narrative essay fast

  3. How to make a good narrative story. How to Create a Good Story Title

    how to write narrative essay fast

  4. 4 Easy Ways to Write a Personal Narrative (with Pictures)

    how to write narrative essay fast

  5. How to Write a Narrative Essay

    how to write narrative essay fast

  6. Tips on How to Write a Narrative Essay: Expert Advice at KingEssays©

    how to write narrative essay fast

VIDEO

  1. How to write a Narrative Essay?

  2. Narrative Essay Plot Structure

  3. Narrative Essay Writing

  4. Narrative Essay Assignment

  5. Narrative Essay

COMMENTS

  1. How to Write a Narrative Essay

    Knowledge Base Essay How to write a narrative essay | Example & tips How to Write a Narrative Essay | Example & Tips Published on July 24, 2020 by Jack Caulfield . Revised on July 23, 2023. A narrative essay tells a story. In most cases, this is a story about a personal experience you had.

  2. How to Write a Perfect Narrative Essay (Step-by-Step)

    Part 1 Understanding a Narrative Essay. A narrative essay is a form of writing where you share a personal experience or tell a story to make a point or convey a lesson. Unlike other types of essays, a narrative essay aims to engage your audience by sharing your perspective and taking them on an emotional journey. To begin, choose a meaningful ...

  3. How to Write a Narrative Essay in 5 Steps

    Step 1: Topic choice (or prompt given) The first step in writing a narrative essay is to determine the topic. Sometimes, your topic is chosen for you in the form of a prompt.

  4. How to Write a Narrative Essay: Tips, Outline, Examples

    15 min read Share the article Defining What Is a Narrative Essay We can explain a narrative essay definition as a piece of writing that tells a story. It's like a window into someone's life or a page torn from a diary. Similarly to a descriptive essay, a narrative essay tells a story, rather than make a claim and use evidence.

  5. How to Write a Narrative Essay

    1. What Is a Narrative Essay? 2. Types of Narrative Essays 3. The Features of a Narrative Essay 4. Narrative Essay Structure 5. How to Write a Narrative Essay? 6. Tips To Make Your Narrative Essays More Engaging 7. Narrative Essay Examples 8. Narrative Essay Topics What Is a Narrative Essay?

  6. 3 Great Narrative Essay Examples + Tips for Writing

    A narrative essay is one of the most intimidating assignments you can be handed at any level of your education. Where you've previously written argumentative essays that make a point or analytic essays that dissect meaning, a narrative essay asks you to write what is effectively a story.. But unlike a simple work of creative fiction, your narrative essay must have a clear and concrete motif ...

  7. How to write a narrative essay [Updated 2023]

    1. Pick a meaningful story that has a conflict and a clear "moral.". If you're able to choose your own topic, pick a story that has meaning and that reveals how you became the person your are today. In other words, write a narrative with a clear "moral" that you can connect with your main points. 2.

  8. What Is a Narrative Essay? Learn How to Write A Narrative Essay With

    Last updated: Sep 22, 2021 • 5 min read Not every form of essay writing involves meticulous research. One form in particular—the narrative essay—combines personal storytelling with academic argument. Narrative essay authors illustrate universal lessons in their unique experiences of the world.

  9. How to Write a Narrative Essay

    1. Pick a Topic. If you've been asked to write a narrative essay, you should have been given a prompt. This will set the overall theme or topic that your essay should be about. Examples of narrative essay prompts include: Write about a time when you overcame adversity.

  10. How to Write a Narrative Essay

    By Chris Heckmann on October 23, 2022 Narrative essays are important papers most students have to write. But how does one write a narrative essay? Fear not, we're going to show you how to write a narrative essay by breaking down a variety of narrative writing strategies.

  11. What is a Narrative Essay? How to Write It (with Examples)

    Table of Contents What is a narrative essay? Choosing narrative essay topics Key elements in a narrative essay Creating a narrative essay outline Types of narrative essays How to write a narrative essay: Step-by-step guide The Pre-writing Stage The Writing Stage The Editing Stage Narrative essay example Frequently asked questions

  12. How to Write a College Essay Fast

    10% brainstorming 10% outlining 40% writing 30% revising 10% taking breaks between stages If you have a few hours … If you have a few days … If you have a week … Prevent plagiarism. Run a free check. Try for free Brainstorm: Your values and related stories To brainstorm your topic fast, start by doing the following exercises.

  13. PDF Strategies for Essay Writing

    understand why it's worth writing that essay. A strong thesis will be arguable rather than descriptive, and it will be the right scope for the essay you are writing. If your thesis is descriptive, then you will not need to convince your readers of anything—you will be naming or summarizing something your readers can already see for themselves.

  14. Narrative Essay

    Let's better understand this with the help of a few good narrative essay topics. Here are a few topics. 1. Write about your last day of school. 2. Write about your favorite book and your interpretation of its message. 3. An awkward encounter that led to a long-lasting friendship. 4.

  15. Narrative Essay Writing Guide + Examples

    8 min read Reviewed By: Jacklyn H. Published on: May 12, 2020 Got a narrative essay writing assignment? If so, think of it as an opportunity to polish your storytelling skills. Every student has to write a narrative essay at some point in their academic career. But if you have never written one before, you might not know where to start.

  16. What Is Narrative Writing? A Guide

    Updated on August 4, 2021 Writing Tips. Narrative writing is, essentially, story writing. A narrative can be fiction or nonfiction, and it can also occupy the space between these as a semi-autobiographical story, historical fiction, or a dramatized retelling of actual events. As long as a piece tells a story through a narrative structure, it ...

  17. How to Write an Essay in Under 30 Minutes: 10 Steps

    1. Take 15 minutes to write the essay. Now that you have your thesis statement and your outline, focus on composing content for each part of the essay. [7] Try to spend two to three minutes on each body paragraph. Then, take three minutes on your conclusion paragraph and go back to your introduction.

  18. How To Write a Narrative Essay: Guide With Examples

    Here are some common types of narrative essays: Personal Narrative Essays: Focus on a personal experience or event from the author's life. Use the first-person perspective to convey the writer's emotions and reflections. Fictional Narrative Essays: Can take many forms, from science fiction and fantasy to adventure and romance.

  19. Step-by-Step Guide How to Write Narrative Essay (2023 Update)

    Tip 1. Research What is narrative writing for a student? It is an excellent opportunity to create a fascinating story about things that interest them. It is not obligatory to select a scientific topic about innovations or discoveries. On the one hand, one can write about love, friendship, hobbies, and many other things.

  20. Narrative Writing: A Complete Guide for Teachers and Students

    A narrative can spark emotion, encourage reflection, and convey meaning when done well. Narratives are a popular genre for students and teachers as they allow the writer to share their imagination, creativity, skill, and understanding of nearly all elements of writing. We occasionally refer to a narrative as 'creative writing' or story writing.

  21. How To Write Narrative Essay Like An A+ Student

    Here are the main steps to follow: Choose a Good Topic. Like other types of essays, you need to start by getting an appropriate topic for narrative writing. So, select a topic such that it can be easily converted into a story. Make sure that the topic connects well with the targeted audience.

  22. How do I write a college essay fast?

    First, set yourself deadlines: you should spend about 10% of your remaining time on brainstorming, 10% on outlining, 40% writing, 30% revising, and 10% taking breaks in between stages. Second, brainstorm stories and values based on your essay prompt. Third, outline your essay based on the montage or narrative essay structure.

  23. How to Write an Essay Fast ­- A High-Quality Paper

    How to write an essay fast: Step 3: Outline. Outlining is the third step on how to write an essay fast. Use a narrative framework if you have a single story on overcoming a challenge or personal growth. This essay genre narrates a story chronologically. This structure is simpler if you are short on time.

  24. How to Finish an Essay Fast? 10 Fast MUST-KNOW Tips

    To finish a narrative essay in 20 minutes, you need to divide your time into at least three chunks. The first one is outlining and planning, then writing and editing. You can also set the timer to make sure that you do everything according to the plan. You need to know exactly what you are going to do at each step.

  25. A new book argues for good friction in business

    NTSB via Getty Images. Good morning. Over the long weekend, I read The Friction Project, a new book out from two of my favorite business school professors, Robert Sutton and Huggy Rao of Stanford ...