How to Write a Narrative Essay

A narrative essay is written in the first person and often includes storytelling. Follow these steps for writing one that will engage your readers.

A narrative essay is defined as an essay written from the writer's perspective. This type of essay is written in a story format and is usually explanatory and descriptive, allowing the writer to give details and tell stories about the subject. Things, events, experiences, ideas, and people are possible subjects. 

It is usually an opportunity for the writer to showcase their creative prowess because they can use any literary device at their disposal to communicate and explain their experiences to the readers.

Narrative essays are written in a way that the writer provides information written as a personal account to the readers. Narrative papers are usually written in the first-person point of view, allowing the writer to tell the story inclusively. 

It allows the writer to be expressive and fluid in language, dialogue, and style. Although essentially prose, the writer can decide to recount some experiences using the dialogue style of other genres of literature, like drama and poetry. 

To be a great narrative essay writer, you need to be great at telling stories, have a solid repertoire of words, and be excellent at expressing yourself. This prose form of writing gives room for a lot of explanation.

What Is a Narrative Essay?

A narrative essay is a type of essay in which the writer tells a story from his point of view or personal experience. It provides sensory details to grab readers’ attention and aids the reader’s understanding of the story. 

Although very similar to storytelling, narrative writings have a more formal structure than short stories, as it is more tilted towards academic writing. Like storytelling, narrative essays allow the writer to take the reader along the story's journey.

As with any other academic essay, a narrative essay follows a specific structure, has a motif, and revolves around a central idea. It is usually written in paragraphs containing characters and dialogues. 

One interesting thing to note about narrative essays is that it is very experiential. In reading, the reader should be able to understand the writer’s point of view and experiences from a very subjective perspective. You tell a story that has a point from your experiences. 

The plot of a narrative essay is usually chronological and has a purpose, a theme, a central idea, dialogue, and descriptive details. It is also important to note that narrative essays' purpose is to tell and share stories. 

Elements of a Narrative Essay

To write compelling and creative narrative essays, there are five essential elements that the writer must employ. These elements are pivotal to what makes narrative writing outstanding and enjoyable. They are key pillars of a narrative essay structure. They include; plot, setting, character, conflict, and theme. All these five elements contribute primarily to the story's success and understanding of how to write a narrative essay. 

In a narrative essay, the plot is the sequence of events that affect one another through the cause-and-effect principle. It is simply a sequential arrangement of events in a way that one event is linked to another and brings meaning to the audience. 

The plot comprises five elements: the exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution. These five elements are simply the pillars upon which a story is written from start to finish. A potentially good story can turn out bad if these elements are missing. 

Setting refers to the time and place in which the story in a narrative essay takes place. Setting can also mean the physical environment of the story’s character. This element is crucial because it gives more details about the character, paints the context, and can help readers understand the story better. The time in a narrative essay’s setting can be in the past, present, or future. 

Character refers to a story's person, thing, creature, or animate representation. The role of a character in a narrative essay is to drive the conversation forward. 

There are often different categories of characters in a narrative essay. These categories are based on the character’s development, importance, and role. Characters are pivotal in an essay because most stories revolve around them, and they help bring stories to life. 

Conflict is easily and unarguably one of the essential features or elements of a narrative essay. It is simply a struggle between the characters of a story. Conflict helps give meaning and style to a narrative essay.

How to Choose a Topic for Narrative Essay 

Choosing a topic for your narrative composition should be an enjoyable process. First, you need to understand and recognise the goal of narrative essays, which is to tell stories. You need to know what stories you are comfortable telling and what you want the readers to get from reading your essay. 

When choosing a topic, it is best to consider that the better you know the topic, the easier it is for you to write a narrative essay. So, pick a topic about a subject you know and are quite familiar with. 

When choosing a topic for your narrative essay, you must have a list of different topics. All you have to do is create a list of potential topics and comprehensively scrutinize which of them you are more comfortable writing about, which will take less of your time, and which will help you get your desired grades. 

After you have decided on this, you must properly research the topics. This research aims to know if the topics are something you can write about. Research also allows you to find out about the topic before you dive into writing your narrative essay.

When choosing your topic, remember that a poor topic choice will make a badly written essay while an excellent topic choice can produce an outstanding one.

To write a narrative story, topic choice is crucial, and if you want to achieve your desired results, you want to pay quality attention to choosing the best topic to suit your purpose. 

Narrative Essay Examples 

Below, you will find an example of a narrative essay that can help you properly craft ideas to write a narrative essay. 

Yesterday was a very important day in my life. Easily one of the best I have experienced. Something remarkable happened, and It was not something I expected, making the experience breathtaking.

I woke up hearing a knock on my door; standing up to check, it was him looking straight at me at the door. The sight at which I saw shocked me to my marrow. Never in a million years will I have imagined seeing him in this position. He did not need to speak because his eyes had already told me everything I needed to know. All he had to do was stare into my eyes, and I could read a million words that he had to say without him moving his lips for a bit.

After we were done with our silent speech, he broke the ice with these exact words “Baby, will you marry me?’ I screamed ‘Yes,’ and that was a moment that I will forever have imprinted in my memories. 

Yesterday was indeed a day that I will never forget. A day that I would forever live to remember.

This is an example of a narrative essay. Although short, it contains the major and the most important elements of a narrative essay, as mentioned above.

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