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Narrative Essays: a Simple Guide

Narrative Essays

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During your education, you need to write narrative essays all the time. This task is popular in elementary school as well as in colleges. Assignments of this kind are all about storytelling. You need to share a story that actually happened in your life and reflect it, thinking about it with your readers. The process of writing, in general, includes choosing a topic, making a draft, revising, and polishing it.

Choose a Good Topic

First of all, choose your story. This story will illustrate some more global issue because this essay type consists of two main components: a story itself, and the analysis of it.

Usually, when writing narrative essays, you don’t need any additional sources or research. Just as with other essays, you still need to support your ideas, but in this case, your evidence is your story. These essays allow you to improve your storytelling skills and demonstrate your ability to analyze experiences.

Your topic must be interesting to you and narrow enough so that you can cope with it easily. Remember that you have to be concise and specific. The point is that if you choose a broad topic, you won’t be able to make it solid and filled with interesting details. If you want to write a good essay, you need details as well as right setting, characters, and plot.

Another important thing about narrative essays is that your essay should be mostly about you. Of course, you can add other characters, but make sure they are really necessary for the understanding of your story. If they are not directly related to your plot and general idea, we suggest getting rid of them and writing about your personal experiences only.

Always Check the Prompt

Narrative assignments may be completely different to each other, depending on the prompt. Even if you’re sure your story is great, check your prompt and make sure you understand the assignment correctly. Most often, you will have to write stories about events that transformed your character, taught you important lessons, or gave you a completely new understanding of familiar things.

Write Your Draft

Begin with writing an outline, you will really need it to make your story solid and to create a proper structure. Talking about structure, it corresponds to the classic essay model, which has an introduction, a body, and a conclusion.

  • Be concise and specific. It’s not really hard if you can focus on important things. For example, if you want to tell about playing football for a new team, it may seem like you have too much to say, but in fact, you can just pick your very first game from that year and focus on your brightest memories and strongest feelings
  • Your outline isn’t a part of your assignment unless you’ve been given such instructions. Sometimes it’s enough to just list most important scenes and draw up the structure of paragraphs to understand what your essay will look like.

Narrative essays differ from many other essay types for your opportunity to write in the first person. Usually, you can’t write “I think…” or “it was important for me.” When writing narrative essays, you have this great opportunity and we suggest using it. No matter what you’re writing about, it may be a dialog or your memories of something that happened in the past, you can always write in the first person, and your story will benefit from it. We also suggest never switching perspective throughout the story. This method is really difficult and requires you to have advanced writing skills.

Describe the setting, and pay special attention to vivid details. Not only must your readers read your essay, but they must feel the story. The only way to make your essay good enough is paying attention to details. Here you may do a little research. What is the place where your story happened? Maybe it has an interesting history, or maybe it’s associated with interesting events that illustrate your general idea?

Remember that good stories often have two characters or two forces that are a protagonist and an antagonist. The antagonist can be a person, a condition, a situation, or everything that you have to overcome. To understand what the antagonist is, you must understand what the protagonist is, what it wants, and what is its agenda.


First of all, make sure you described your story properly. Read your draft and compare it with your initial purpose and topic. You need your readers to learn something from your story, so its general meaning must be clear. Narrative essays need thesis statements — phrases that indicate your general idea clearly.

Check your dialogues and make sure they have a right structure. After this, check your grammar, spelling, and punctuation — we suggest looking for an editor.