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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. This type of essay , along with the descriptive essay , allows you to get personal and creative, unlike most academic writing .

Table of contents

What is a narrative essay for, choosing a topic, interactive example of a narrative essay, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions about narrative essays.

When assigned a narrative essay, you might find yourself wondering: Why does my teacher want to hear this story? Topics for narrative essays can range from the important to the trivial. Usually the point is not so much the story itself, but the way you tell it.

A narrative essay is a way of testing your ability to tell a story in a clear and interesting way. You’re expected to think about where your story begins and ends, and how to convey it with eye-catching language and a satisfying pace.

These skills are quite different from those needed for formal academic writing. For instance, in a narrative essay the use of the first person (“I”) is encouraged, as is the use of figurative language, dialogue, and suspense.

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Narrative essay assignments vary widely in the amount of direction you’re given about your topic. You may be assigned quite a specific topic or choice of topics to work with.

  • Write a story about your first day of school.
  • Write a story about your favorite holiday destination.

You may also be given prompts that leave you a much wider choice of topic.

  • Write about an experience where you learned something about yourself.
  • Write about an achievement you are proud of. What did you accomplish, and how?

In these cases, you might have to think harder to decide what story you want to tell. The best kind of story for a narrative essay is one you can use to talk about a particular theme or lesson, or that takes a surprising turn somewhere along the way.

For example, a trip where everything went according to plan makes for a less interesting story than one where something unexpected happened that you then had to respond to. Choose an experience that might surprise the reader or teach them something.

Narrative essays in college applications

When applying for college , you might be asked to write a narrative essay that expresses something about your personal qualities.

For example, this application prompt from Common App requires you to respond with a narrative essay.

In this context, choose a story that is not only interesting but also expresses the qualities the prompt is looking for—here, resilience and the ability to learn from failure—and frame the story in a way that emphasizes these qualities.

An example of a short narrative essay, responding to the prompt “Write about an experience where you learned something about yourself,” is shown below.

Hover over different parts of the text to see how the structure works.

Since elementary school, I have always favored subjects like science and math over the humanities. My instinct was always to think of these subjects as more solid and serious than classes like English. If there was no right answer, I thought, why bother? But recently I had an experience that taught me my academic interests are more flexible than I had thought: I took my first philosophy class.

Before I entered the classroom, I was skeptical. I waited outside with the other students and wondered what exactly philosophy would involve—I really had no idea. I imagined something pretty abstract: long, stilted conversations pondering the meaning of life. But what I got was something quite different.

A young man in jeans, Mr. Jones—“but you can call me Rob”—was far from the white-haired, buttoned-up old man I had half-expected. And rather than pulling us into pedantic arguments about obscure philosophical points, Rob engaged us on our level. To talk free will, we looked at our own choices. To talk ethics, we looked at dilemmas we had faced ourselves. By the end of class, I’d discovered that questions with no right answer can turn out to be the most interesting ones.

The experience has taught me to look at things a little more “philosophically”—and not just because it was a philosophy class! I learned that if I let go of my preconceptions, I can actually get a lot out of subjects I was previously dismissive of. The class taught me—in more ways than one—to look at things with an open mind.

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subject of narrative essay

If you’re not given much guidance on what your narrative essay should be about, consider the context and scope of the assignment. What kind of story is relevant, interesting, and possible to tell within the word count?

The best kind of story for a narrative essay is one you can use to reflect on a particular theme or lesson, or that takes a surprising turn somewhere along the way.

Don’t worry too much if your topic seems unoriginal. The point of a narrative essay is how you tell the story and the point you make with it, not the subject of the story itself.

Narrative essays are usually assigned as writing exercises at high school or in university composition classes. They may also form part of a university application.

When you are prompted to tell a story about your own life or experiences, a narrative essay is usually the right response.

The key difference is that a narrative essay is designed to tell a complete story, while a descriptive essay is meant to convey an intense description of a particular place, object, or concept.

Narrative and descriptive essays both allow you to write more personally and creatively than other kinds of essays , and similar writing skills can apply to both.

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Narrative Essays

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The Modes of Discourse—Exposition, Description, Narration, Argumentation (EDNA)—are common paper assignments you may encounter in your writing classes. Although these genres have been criticized by some composition scholars, the Purdue OWL recognizes the widespread use of these approaches and students’ need to understand and produce them.

What is a narrative essay?

When writing a narrative essay, one might think of it as telling a story. These essays are often anecdotal, experiential, and personal—allowing students to express themselves in a creative and, quite often, moving ways.

Here are some guidelines for writing a narrative essay.

  • If written as a story, the essay should include all the parts of a story.

This means that you must include an introduction, plot, characters, setting, climax, and conclusion.

  • When would a narrative essay not be written as a story?

A good example of this is when an instructor asks a student to write a book report. Obviously, this would not necessarily follow the pattern of a story and would focus on providing an informative narrative for the reader.

  • The essay should have a purpose.

Make a point! Think of this as the thesis of your story. If there is no point to what you are narrating, why narrate it at all?

  • The essay should be written from a clear point of view.

It is quite common for narrative essays to be written from the standpoint of the author; however, this is not the sole perspective to be considered. Creativity in narrative essays oftentimes manifests itself in the form of authorial perspective.

  • Use clear and concise language throughout the essay.

Much like the descriptive essay, narrative essays are effective when the language is carefully, particularly, and artfully chosen. Use specific language to evoke specific emotions and senses in the reader.

  • The use of the first person pronoun ‘I’ is welcomed.

Do not abuse this guideline! Though it is welcomed it is not necessary—nor should it be overused for lack of clearer diction.

  • As always, be organized!

Have a clear introduction that sets the tone for the remainder of the essay. Do not leave the reader guessing about the purpose of your narrative. Remember, you are in control of the essay, so guide it where you desire (just make sure your audience can follow your lead).

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Detailed Guide on How to Write a Narrative Essay with Tips

subject of narrative essay

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.

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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

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Narrative Essay

A narration is simply the telling of a story. Whenever someone recounts an event or tells a story, he or she is using narration. A narration essay recounts an event or tells a story to illustrate an idea. A narration essay may be entertaining or informative.

Five Basic Steps to Writing a Narrative Essay

  • Purpose: Why are you telling the story? Every narration must have a point or purpose, usually to entertain or to inform.
  • Context: You should establish the context of your narrative early in the essay. You can follow these basic guidelines: who, what, where, when.
  • Point of View: A narrative essay may be written in the first-person (I) or third-person (he, she, it) point of view; do not use second person (you). If you were part of the action, the first-person provides the best perspective. If you are relating an event based upon other sources, use the third-person point of view. In some circumstances, you may be forced to choose the point of view (if, for example, you were a witness, but not a participant). Once you have decided upon a point of view, stay consistent with it.
  • Details: Include enough details for clarity; however, select only the facts that are relevant.
  • Organization: A narrative usually follows a chronological time line; however, you may find flashbacks a creative option as long as the narrative can be clearly followed by the reader. Most narratives are told in the past tense. You should keep tenses consistent.

Thesis Statements for Narrative Essays

To create a thesis statement, combine the claim and the supporting details in one sentence. The direction of your essay can change depending on the pattern in which you organize the supporting details.

Once you have drafted a narrative, it’s always a good idea to ask someone else to read it. And, of course, you yourself will want to review what you have written from the standpoint of a critical reader.

Questions to Keep in Mind When Checking a Narrative

PURPOSE AND AUDIENCE. Does the narrative serve the purpose it is intended to serve? Is it appropriate for its intended audience? Does it need any additional background information or definitions?

THE STORY. Does it consist mainly of actions and events? Do they constitute a plot, with a clear beginning, middle, and end? Is every action in the narrative necessary to the plot? Have any essential actions been left out?

THE POINT. Does the narrative have a clear point to make? What is it? Is it stated explicitly in a thesis? If not, should it be?

ORGANIZATION. Is the storyline easy to follow? Are the events in chronological order? Are there any unintentional lapses in chronology or verb tense? Are intentional deviations from chronology, such as flashbacks, clearly indicated?

TRANSITIONS. Are there clear transitions to help readers follow the sequence of events? Have you checked over each transition to see that it logically connects the adjoining parts of the narrative?

DIALOGUE AND POINT OF VIEW. If there is no dialogue in the narrative, would some direct speech help bring it to life? If there is dialogue, does it sound like real people talking? Is the narrative told from a consistent, plausible point of view?

DETAILS. Does the narrative include lots of concrete details, especially sensory details (visual, olfactory, tactile, and auditory)? Does it show as well as tell?  Can your reader imagine themselves there?

THE BEGINNING. Will the beginning of the narrative get the reader’s attention? How? How well does it set up what follows? How else might the narrative begin?

THE ENDING. How satisfying is it? What does it leave the reader thinking or feeling? How else might the narrative end?

Michael| 2018

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/4.0/.

  • How it works

How to Write a Narrative Essay

Published by Grace Graffin at August 17th, 2021 , Revised On July 26, 2023

What is a Narrative Essay?

“Narrative essays let the authors account for their personal experiences in the form of a story.”

Unlike most other essay types , you can let your creativity and ideas flow freely in a narrative essay, although it should still be factual. They are a common assignment in high schools, colleges, and universities.

While you are certainly free to rely upon your imagination to express personal experiences in a narrative essay, it is equally important to follow the suitable narrative essay structure and format. Here are some strategies to write a narrative essay that would surely hook your audience.

Why Should I Write a Narrative Essay?

When assigned a narrative essay, many students are unsure about why they have been asked to write a narrative essay and of the significance of storytelling in academic writing. While the topic of a narrative essay can range from the most important to the most insignificant, it is not the topic but how you tell a story that will be evaluated.

This is partly because much of the writing discipline will be in containing what could be a detailed or complex story within a tight word limit.

You will achieve a higher grade in your narrative essay assignment if you follow a logical structure and tell your story clearly and intriguingly. Decide where your story must start and end and how you can get your thoughts across to the readers smoothly without losing the plot.

This writing style is very different from other forms of academic writing. Narrative essay writing involves the use of suspense, conversation, metaphorical language, and the use of first-person (’I’). It is possible to write about what happened to someone else, in which case you would use the third-person point of view (using ‘he’, ‘she’, and ‘they’ ).

How to Choose a Topic for Your Narrative Essay

You could receive extensive, moderate, or even very little guidance about the topic for your narrative essay assignment. If you get very little, then you will be required to find a topic to work with.

The topic you are assigned will be either specific or open-ended.

Examples of a specific topic

  • Write a story about your most notable achievement at college.
  • Write about your interactive experiences on your final day at university.

Examples of an open-ended topic

  • Reflect upon an experience where you learned from your mistake.
  • Write about a professional achievement you are proud of. How did it help you excel in your career?

Think about the story you want to tell. It is best to use a story that encompasses a surprise, a lesson, or a particular theme, so you can keep the readers interested throughout the essay.

For example , if you talk about an achievement that encompasses a twist or a challenge that you had to overcome, it will be far more engaging than a story where everything went according to plan. Narrate an experience that would end in a lesson for the readers.

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Writing a Narrative Essay for a College Application

Most colleges require candidates to submit a narrative essay describing their achievements or ambitions , along with their admission application.

College Application Topic Example

Please submit a one-page, single-spaced essay that describes why you have chosen to apply to Oxford University.

For a narrative essay for college application, think about a story or an experience that would enable you to express the qualities and achievements desired by the college you are applying to. For example , you could talk about your proven ability to learn from your mistakes, your calculated approach, and your love for the subject you wish to study.

Narrative Essay Structure

A narrative essay should follow an appropriate academic structure, even though it will be based on an experience from your life. Like other essay types , a narrative essay comprises an introduction paragraph , the main body , and a conclusion paragraph.

Narrative Essay Introduction

The introduction paragraph should start with the background statement to explain why the topic is essential to you. The last sentence of the paragraph introduces the theme of the essay.

Narrative Essay Main Body

The main body is where you tell the story, develop the plot, and provide facts and details of the experience you are talking about. Make sure to include all the points in a clear and exciting way. When did it happen? Who was involved? What was at stake? Staying true to your feelings and using appropriate transition words is the key to telling an interesting story.

Four points you should consider following in the narrative main body:

  • Include lifelike and relevant detail : In the narrative essay, you present a scene and aim to share the experience with the reader. Include plenty of detail where necessary but do not waste your word count. Each sentence must advance or enhance the story.
  • Use dialogue: The use of direct speech, that which is in quotation marks, makes events more real. Use it where most effective; if you use it too much, or include long monologues, it will lose its effect.
  • Apply chronological order: Tell the story as it happened. This aids clarity and ease of understanding. It is better if your readers read it twice because they enjoyed it, not because they could not understand it.
  • Focus on the story only: Keep checking as you write that everything you say relates to the story. It is easy to deviate, and doing so also takes away the reader’s attention.

It is important to note what is not included in the narrative essay main body; you will not be making any arguments , criticising, or trying to persuade your readers in any way. It is also unlikely that you will be required to quote other works and cite them.

Narrative Essay Conclusion

The concluding paragraph should link back to the background statement and the main theme of your essay, you can also restate some important points mentioned in the body here. The conclusion should emphasise how your experience helped you or others involved to attain an improved overall understanding of the situation.

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Example of a Narrative Essay

Here is an example of a narrative essay that explains “why you have chosen to apply to Oxford University.”

Important: Our essay writing help get better results for the students who use Research Prospect’s professional service; along with using writing service, you can also learn to write an impressive piece of your own.

Narrative Essay Example

Both Oxford University and I have a shared vision to explore nature’s limits by exceeding expectations. I have always favoured subjects like science and maths over the humanities. I consider some subjects more valuable, important, and handy than other subjects, such as English. But, while in the past, science was just one of my favourite pastimes, my recent experience with the World Science Festival Series has taught me that I am more interested in science than I ever was before. Thanks to this experience, I now know for sure that the Oxford University Student Science Training Programme is my future. I had never heard about the World Science Festival until one of my friends recommended it to me. At first, I thought of it as another one of those boring lectures that fails to keep the audience engaged and talks about ideas, theoretical works, and interactive explorations no one cares about. I imagined the use of PowerPoint, which is one of the main contributors to students‘ boredom. But to my happy surprise, Professor Brian Greene explained the string theory’s absurd concepts in the most engaging and exciting science talk. My friend, Mr. Robert Bruce – “but you can call me Bob” – and I were left with an overwhelming feeling of reverence and admiration because the talk was like nothing we had ever experienced before. Rather than explaining complex scientific theories and concepts, the speaker engaged us on our level. He explained superstring theory, the idea that minuscule strands of energy vibrating in eleven dimensions create every particle and force in the universe. And he did it in a way that novices could understand, so my friend and I started to imagine the different forces at work around us. By the time the talk ended, I was certain that I had more passion for pursuing science than any other subject. At the Department of Physics at Oxford University, I will be able to do just that. In a department that is well known for its high-quality research facilities and world-class faculty, I can continue the path towards achieving scientific excellence. While I am just at the beginning of my career in science, I am sure that the Oxford University Student Science Training Programme will help me make the most of my technological potential.

Narrative Essay Checklist

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

A descriptive essay provides an extensive description of a particular place, object, topic, or idea. On the other hand, a narrative essay is used to tell a complete story of a personal experience. However, both narrative and descriptive essays allow the authors to use their creativity and personal reflections. Other types of essays do not permit this style of writing.

How long is a narrative essay?

Narrative essays are generally 800-1000 words long. The length of your narrative essay depends on who you are writing the essay for. For example, the high school narrative essay will be shorter than a college application narrative essay.

When should I write a narrative essay?

Narrative essays are assigned to students to evaluate their creative storytelling skills in high schools, colleges, and universities. They may also form part of a college application. When you are asked to reflect upon your personal experiences in the form of a story, a narrative essay is usually the right response.

How to choose a suitable topic for my narrative essay?

If you have not been given direction on what the topic of your narrative essay should be, think about the scope and background of the task. Choose to tell a story that is relevant to the audience. A story that includes a lesson, a surprise, or a particular theme is the best kind of story for a narrative essay. You can build your story around any experience that made you a better person or taught you a valuable lesson.

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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

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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?”.

subject of narrative essay

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.

subject of narrative essay

  • 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.

subject of narrative essay

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)

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

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What is a Narrative Essay Examples Format and Techniques Featured

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What is a Narrative Essay — Examples, Format & Techniques

I was in the Amazon jungle the first time I wrote a narrative essay, enlightened and enraptured by the influence of ayahuasca. That’s not true. I’ve never been to South America nor have I ever taken ayahuasca. The purpose of that opening is to show how to craft a narrative essay intro — hook, line, and sinker. Narrative essays rely on hooking the reader, and enticing them to read on. But what is a narrative essay? We’re going to break down everything you need to know about these essays — definition, examples, tips and tricks included. By the end, you’ll be ready to craft your own narrative essay for school or for publication.

What’s a Narrative Essay?

First, let’s define narrative essay.

Narrative essays share a lot of similarities with personal essays, but whereas the former can be fictional or non-fictional, the latter are strictly non-fictional. The goal of the narrative essay is to use established storytelling techniques, like theme , conflict , and irony , in a uniquely personal way.

The responsibility of the narrative essayist is to make the reader feel connected to their story, regardless of the topic. This next video explores how writers can use structural elements and techniques to better engage their readers. 

Personal Narrative Essay Examples With Essay Pro

Narrative essays rely on tried and true structure components, including:

  • First-person POV
  • Personal inspiration
  • Focus on a central theme

By keeping these major tenets in mind, you’ll be better prepared to recognize weaknesses and strengths in your own works.

NARRATIVE ESSAY DEFINITION

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 these essays should take place in an established timeline, with a clear beginning, middle, and end. 

Famous Narrative Essay Examples

  • Ticker to the Fair by David Foster Wallace
  • After Life by Joan Didion
  • Here is a Lesson in Creative Writing by Kurt Vonnegut

Narrative Writing Explained

How to start a narrative essay.

When you go to sleep at night, what do you think of? Flying squirrels? Lost loved ones? That time you called your teacher ‘mom’? Whatever it is, that’s what you need to write about. There’s a reason those ideas and moments have stuck with you over time. Your job is to figure out why.

Once you realize what makes a moment important to you, it’s your job to make it important to the reader too. In this next video, Academy Award-nominated filmmaker J. Christian Jensen explains the power of the personal narrative. 

Narrative Writing and the Personal Narrative Essay  •  Video by TEDx Talks

Anything and everything can be the topic of your essay. It could be as benign as a walk to school or as grandiose as a trip to the moon — so long as that narrative exists within reality. Give your thoughts and opinions on the matter too — don’t be afraid to say “this is what I think” so long as it’s supported by storytelling techniques. Remember, never limit yourself as a writer, just keep in mind that certain topics will be harder to make engaging than others.

Narrative Essay Outline

How to write a narrative essay.

First step, game plan. You’re going to want to map out the story from beginning to end, then mark major story beats in your document.

Like all stories, your narrative essay needs a clear beginning, middle, and end. Each section should generally conform to a specifically outlined structure. For reference, check out the outline below.

Structure of A Narrative Essay

Narrative Essay Format  •  How to Write a Narrative Essay Step by Step

Make sure to reference back to this outline throughout the writing process to make sure you have all your major beats covered.

Purpose of narrative essay writing

Narrative essays give writers the ability to freely express themselves within the structure of a traditional story. Nearly all universities ask applicants to submit a narrative essay with their formal application. This is done for two reasons: they allow institutions to judge the linguistic and grammar capabilities of its applicants, as well as their raw creative side.

If you’re considering studying creative writing in an undergraduate or graduate program, then you’re going to write A LOT of narrative style essays. This process may seem indomitable; How am I supposed to write hundreds of pages about… me? But by the end, you’ll be a better writer and you’ll have a better understanding of yourself.

One thing that all successful essayists have in common is that they make radical, often defiant statements on the world at large. Think Ralph Waldo Emerson, Virginia Woolf, and Langston Hughes for example.

Being a professional essayist isn’t easy, and it’s near-impossible to be one who makes a lot of money. Many essayists work as professors, editors, and curriculum designers as well. 

This next video features the late, award-winning essayist Brian Doyle. He explains all the things you need to hear when thinking about writing a story.

Narrative Essay Examples “Lecture” via Boston University

We can learn a lot from the way Doyle “opens” his stories. My favorite is how he begins with the statement, “I met the Dalai Lama once.” How can we not be interested in learning more? 

This brings us all the way back to the beginning. Start with a hook, rattle off the line, then reel in the sinker. If you entice the reader, develop a personal plot, and finish with a resolute ending, you’ll have a lot of success in essay writing. 

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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.

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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.

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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 ! 

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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.

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Narrative Essay

Definition of narrative essay.

A narrative essay is a type of essay that has a single motif , or a central point, around which the whole narrative revolves. All incidents, happenings, and characters revolve around a single motif presented in the narrative. A narrative essay is similar to a simple five-paragraph essay, in that it has the same format. It is only different in that it is a narrative, having characters, incidents, and dialogues.

Difference Between a Narrative Essay and a Short Story

A narrative essay has a specific format, specific aspects to discover, and a specific motif. It revolves around that motif set by the writer prior to writing the essay. A short story , however, is different from a narrative essay in that it does not revolve around a pre-set motif, and that it does not have a specific format. Also, a short story always leaves readers at a critical juncture with the desire to discover more. In contrast , a narrative essay ends when the readers are fully satisfied. They do not wish to read anymore or do not want to discover anymore.

Elements of a Narrative Essay

A narrative essay has three required elements: character , theme , and dialogue :

Characters are an important part of a narrative essay. Even if the essay is autobiographical in nature, the person writing the essay is a character involving some other characters who act, behave, and do like all other characters presented in stories and novels .

Theme or Motif

A narrative essay revolves around a theme or a motif. This theme or motif is presented in its thesis statement, which breaks it down into three distinct pieces of evidence . These three distinct pieces of evidence are then further elaborated through characters in body paragraphs .

Dialogue is used to capture the conversation between characters. In a narrative essay, dialogue is the third important element, without which the characters lose their worth and liveliness.

How to Choose a Topic for Narrative Essay

There are four major steps to choosing the topic of a narrative essay:

  • Choose a theme or thematic strand around which to weave a story.
  • Outline the character, events, and happenings.
  • Think about the conversation of the characters and place them in a setting and plot
  • Synchronize the characters with the plot and the setting to see if they integrate with each other.

MLA and APA Formats in Narrative Essay

MLA and APA are used in all types of essays. However, APA is mostly used in social sciences, while MLA is used in humanities. Whereas the application of MLA in a narrative is concerned, it is used in the format, intext citation , and in the Works Cited page. The first page comprises the student’s name, class, tutor’s name, and date with the topic of the essay given after all of them. However, in APA, all this information appears on the cover page. Similarly, both MLA and APA differ in intext citation, with MLA having only the author’s name and page without any comma. In contrast, APA has the author’s name as well as page number with a comma and ‘p’ with a period before the number of the page, such as (Hardy, p. 45). Regarding the sources, MLA shows Works Cited page at the end, while APA shows Reference at the end.

Reflective Narrative Essay

As the name suggests, a reflection narrative is an essay that presents the reflections of a person who is writing that essay. He takes an incident from his life and gives it an organization on the pattern of an essay with a narrative having a beginning, middle, and an end. The essay may or may not have moral lessons, which does not make a lot of difference if the experiences carry the deeper meaning. What matters is that the writer reflects on his own life, taking out some significant moment to make it a storied essay or a narrative essay with a theme in it.

Examples of Narrative Essays in Literature

Example #1:  new directions (by maya angelou).

“Annie, over six feet tall, big-boned, decided that she would not go to work as a domestic and leave her “precious babes” to anyone else’s care. There was no possibility of being hired at the town’s cotton gin or lumber mill, but maybe there was a way to make the two factories work for her. In her words, “I looked up the road I was going and back the way I come, and since I wasn’t satisfied, I decided to step off the road and cut me a new path.” She told herself that she wasn’t a fancy cook but that she could “mix groceries well enough to scare hungry away and keep from starving a man.”

This paragraph is an example from a narrative essay of Maya Angelou. She has described how a girl looks, and how she behaves. She has also written direct dialogues to show that it is a narrative.

Example #2: Saturday Evening Post (by Russell Baker)

“When I burst in that afternoon she was in conference with an executive of the Curtis Publishing Company. She introduced me. He bent low from the waist and shook my hand. Was it true as my mother had told him, he asked, that I longed for the opportunity to conquer the world of business? My Mother replied that I was blessed with a rare determination to make something of myself. ‘That’s right,’ I whispered. ‘But have you got the grit, the character, the never-say-quit spirit it takes to succeed in business?’ My Mother said I certainly did.”

In this piece from a narrative essay by Russell Baker of the famed Saturday Evening Post , the author has fully described the efforts of his mother by her dialogue. Both character and dialogue are very clear.

Example #3: Only Daughter (by Sandra Cisneros)

“Once several years ago, when I was just starting out my writing career, I was asked to write my own contributor’s note for an anthology I was part of, I wrote: ‘ I am the only daughter in a family of six sons. That explains everything.’ “Well, I’ve thought about that ever since, and yes, it explains a lot to me, but for the reader’s sake I should have written: ‘I am the only daughter in a Mexican family of six sons.’ Or even: ‘I am the only daughter of a Mexican father and a Mexican-American mother.’ Or: ‘I am the only daughter of a working-class family of nine.’ All of these had everything to do with who I am today.”

In this essay, the author has given a full description of a daughter – how she looks and how she behaves.

Function of Narrative Essay

A narrative essay describes people, presents their conversations, and narrates their experiences to teach lessons to readers. In fact, it is like a story, but different in that it is weaved around a motif. A motif is given before the incidents of the essay. Readers become aware of this single theme, central idea, or motif once they go through the essay. Its major aim is to provide information about life experiences and lessons learned from those experiences.

Synonyms of Narrative Essay

Some of the words closely related to the narrative essay are reflective account, chronicle, chronology , and historical narrative. However, these words cannot be interchangeably used to replace this title.

Related posts:

  • Narrative Poem
  • Elements of an Essay
  • Definition Essay
  • Descriptive Essay
  • Types of Essay
  • Analytical Essay
  • Argumentative Essay
  • Cause and Effect Essay
  • Critical Essay
  • Expository Essay
  • Persuasive Essay
  • Process Essay
  • Explicatory Essay
  • An Essay on Man: Epistle I
  • Comparison and Contrast Essay

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Narrative Essay – A Guide For Your Academic Writing

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Narrative-essay-Definition

Narrative essays, which are often included as part of an academic essay , are crafted from a specific perspective, often that of the author, to captivate the reader with the story’s intricate details and progression. The use of vivid and distinct verb tenses enriches the narrative. The personalized, experiential, and frequently anecdotal character of these narratives offers students the liberty to convey their thoughts in unique and often emotionally resonant manners.

Inhaltsverzeichnis

  • 1 Narrative Essay – In a Nutshell
  • 2 Definition: Narrative essay
  • 3 What is a narrative essay for?
  • 4 Elements of a narrative essay
  • 5 Finding a topic for a narrative essay
  • 6 Narrative essay vs. Short story
  • 7 Example of a narrative essay

Narrative Essay – In a Nutshell

  • A narrative essay is a piece of writing meant to be informative and engaging as it unfolds a story or an event.
  • When writing a narrative essay, ensure you have adequate research or experience with the topic, so you don’t have to research too much.
  • Unlike many other essays , narrative essays often use first-person perspectives.

Definition: Narrative essay

A narrative essay is a kind of academic writing that examines an intriguing subject using the first-person experiences and observations of one or more people. It may be applied to create a narrative about a person’s life or describe a specific historical event or period.

To craft a captivating story that informs readers about the topic, the author employs both their own words and quotations from additional sources.

A narrative essay is a writing in which the author tells a story depending on what is best suited. The narrative form can be either spoken or written, fiction or nonfiction. Unlike other essay formats, these papers permit the use of the first person .

Ireland

What is a narrative essay for?

Telling a tale is the primary goal of a narrative essay. It may be something straightforward, like a tale of your summer adventures, or something intricate, like the story of your life. As a result, the narrative serves two purposes:

  • Entertaining the audience
  • Highlighting the significance of the experience.

Elements of a narrative essay

Like any other essay, the skeleton of a narrative must consist of:

  • A sensible title
  • An introduction
  • Body paragraphs
  • A conclusion .

The narrative length is as long as the narrator or writer wishes.

However, this essay has other sub-elements that make it remarkable and enchanting to the audience. It includes the:

  • Exposition (setting and character introduction)
  • Rising action (events that develop conflict for the protagonist)
  • Climax (the point at which the tension of the conflict reaches its peak intensity)
  • Falling action (the events that occur after the climax)
  • Denouement (the resolution of conflict)

Finding a topic for a narrative essay

To keep readers reading and interested when writing a narrative essay, your topic needs to be something you can write about engagingly. It is also crucial that the subject is one that can be thoroughly investigated and has great detail. You will have more facts to write about in your essay as you do more studying on the topic.

Finding a subject you are passionate about is essential while writing a narrative essay. This subject can cover everything from what you are doing right now to what you have done in the past. The easiest method to accomplish this is to conduct a study and discover what other people have done in similar situations.

Additionally, you ought to search online or in printed books for illustrations of other narratives dealing with the identical subject. When it comes time to put your narrative in writing, the more knowledge you have about your topic, the better.

Narrative essay vs. Short story

Example of a narrative essay.

Below is the beginning section of a narrative essay about the first time I saw a picture of myself.

Narrative-essay-example

What is the difference between narrative and essay?

A narrative emphasizes the significance of your personal experience and conveys a core topic or a key lesson in addition to narrating a story, while an essay is a researched write-up about a subject.

More often than not, essays explore remote subjects, compared to narratives that are given by someone who was present as the events unfolded.

What is the most important element of narrative writing?

The storyline is the most crucial component of every play, novel, short story, or genre of literature.

The story’s action, or plot, determines how the work is structured. The story’s development, progression, and progression over time are all part of the plot.

What is a good narrative essay topic?

Events like relocating, graduating, traveling, and weddings are suitable topics for personal narrative essays. So long as you have a memorable story you want to narrate, you can write this type of essay.

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Macdonald DeWitt Library at SUNY Ulster

Eng 101 oer: narration.

  • Reading to Write
  • Why We Write
  • Rhetorical Context
  • Brainstorming
  • Proofreading & Editing
  • Paragraph Development
  • Thesis Statements
  • Introductions
  • Conclusions

Transitions & Phrases

  • Peer Reviews
  • Exemplification
  • Classification
  • Cause/Effect
  • Grammar Resources

Learning Objectives

  • Determine the purpose and structure of narrative writing.
  • Understand how to write a narrative essay.

The Purpose of Narrative Writing

subject of narrative essay

The big distinction between factual and fictional narratives is based on a writer’s purpose. The writers of factual stories try to recount events as they actually happened, but writers of fictional stories can depart from real people and events because the writers’ intents are not to retell a real-life event. Biographies and memoirs are examples of factual stories, whereas novels and short stories are examples of fictional stories.

The Structure of a Narrative Essay

Major narrative events are most often conveyed in  chronological order , the order in which events unfold from first to last. Stories typically have a beginning, a middle, and an end, and these events are typically organized by time. Certain transitional words and phrases aid in keeping the reader oriented in the sequencing of a story. 

The following are the other basic components of a narrative:

  • Plot . The events as they unfold in sequence.
  • Characters . The people who inhabit the story and move it forward. Typically, there are minor characters and main characters. The minor characters generally play supporting roles to the main character, or the protagonist.
  • Conflict . The primary problem or obstacle that unfolds in the plot that the protagonist must solve or overcome by the end of the narrative. The way in which the protagonist resolves the conflict of the plot results in the theme of the narrative.

subject of narrative essay

Writing a Narrative Essay

When writing a narrative essay, start by asking yourself if you want to write a factual or fictional story. Then freewrite about topics that are of general interest to you.

Once you have a general idea of what you will be writing about, you should sketch out the major events of the story that will compose your plot. Typically, these events will be revealed chronologically and climax at a central conflict that must be resolved by the end of the story. The use of strong details is crucial as you describe the events and characters in your narrative. You want the reader to emotionally engage with the world that you create in writing.

As always, it is important to start with a strong introduction to hook your reader into wanting to read more. Try opening the essay with an event that is interesting to introduce the story and get it going. Finally, your conclusion should help resolve the central conflict of the story and impress upon your reader the ultimate theme of the piece.   

subject of narrative essay

What makes a great story? For legendary filmmaker Ken Burns, the answer is both complicated and personal. In this short documentary about the craft of storytelling, he explains his lifelong mission to wake the dead. Recently featured on The Atlantic.

Ken Burns: On Story from Redglass Pictures on Vimeo .

Student Sample Essay

My College Education  

The first class I went to in college was philosophy, and it changed my life forever. Our first assignment was to write a short response paper to the Albert Camus essay “The Myth of Sisyphus.” I was extremely nervous about the assignment as well as college. However, through all the confusion in philosophy class, many of my questions about life were answered.

I entered college intending to earn a degree in engineering. I always liked the way mathematics had right and wrong answers. I understood the logic and was very good at it. So when I received my first philosophy assignment that asked me to write my interpretation of the Camus essay, I was instantly confused. What is the right way to do this assignment, I wondered? I was nervous about writing an incorrect interpretation and did not want to get my first assignment wrong. Even more troubling was that the professor refused to give us any guidelines on what he was looking for; he gave us total freedom. He simply said, “I want to see what you come up with.”

Full of anxiety, I first set out to read Camus’s essay several times to make sure I really knew what was it was about. I did my best to take careful notes. Yet even after I took all these notes and knew the essay inside and out, I still did not know the right answer. What was my interpretation? I could think of a million different ways to interpret the essay, but which one was my professor looking for? In math class, I was used to examples and explanations of solutions. This assignment gave me nothing; I was completely on my own to come up with my individual interpretation.

Next, when I sat down to write, the words just did not come to me. My notes and ideas were all present, but the words were lost. I decided to try every prewriting strategy I could find. I brainstormed, made idea maps, and even wrote an outline. Eventually, after a lot of stress, my ideas became more organized and the words fell on the page. I had my interpretation of “The Myth of Sisyphus,” and I had my main reasons for interpreting the essay. I remember being unsure of myself, wondering if what I was saying made sense, or if I was even on the right track. Through all the uncertainty, I continued writing the best I could. I finished the conclusion paragraph, had my spouse proofread it for errors, and turned it in the next day simply hoping for the best.

Then, a week or two later, came judgment day. The professor gave our papers back to us with grades and comments. I remember feeling simultaneously afraid and eager to get the paper back in my hands. It turned out, however, that I had nothing to worry about. The professor gave me an A on the paper, and his notes suggested that I wrote an effective essay overall. He wrote that my reading of the essay was very original and that my thoughts were well organized. My relief and newfound confidence upon reading his comments could not be overstated.

What I learned through this process extended well beyond how to write a college paper. I learned to be open to new challenges. I never expected to enjoy a philosophy class and always expected to be a math and science person. This class and assignment, however, gave me the self-confidence, critical-thinking skills, and courage to try a new career path. I left engineering and went on to study law and eventually became a lawyer. More important, that class and paper helped me understand education differently. Instead of seeing college as a direct stepping stone to a career, I learned to see college as a place to first learn and then seek a career or enhance an existing career. By giving me the space to express my own interpretation and to argue for my own values, my philosophy class taught me the importance of education for education’s sake. That realization continues to pay dividends every day.

Key Takeaways

  • Narration is the art of storytelling.
  • Narratives can be either factual or fictional. In either case, narratives should emotionally engage the reader.
  • Most narratives are composed of major events sequenced in chronological order.
  • Time transition words and phrases are used to orient the reader in the sequence of a narrative.
  • The four basic components to all narratives are plot, character, conflict, and theme.
  • The use of sensory details is crucial to emotionally engaging the reader.
  • A strong introduction is important to hook the reader. A strong conclusion should add resolution to the conflict and evoke the narrative’s theme.

This is a derivative of  WRITING FOR SUCCESS  by a publisher who has requested that they and the original author not receive attribution, originally released and is used under CC BY-NC-SA. This work, unless otherwise expressly stated, is licensed under a  Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License .

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Narrative Essay: How-To, Structure, Examples, Topics

Posted: 29 May, 2017

Narrative Essay: How-To, Structure, Examples, Topics

Narrative essays are most often used in subjects where student experience is the key. They often sound like they're harder than they actually are. If you're worried about your essay, don't worry. This guide will help you get it written with ease.

Table Of Contents

What is Narrative Essay?

Narrative essay structure, how to write narrative essay, narrative essay topics, narrative essay examples.

A narrative essay is one that details an experience you've had, and outlines it for the reader in a linear format. It's not just describing what happened, but also detailing what you felt at the time, how it affected you, and what you've learned from it.

Of course, your essay will be unique, as it's detailing an event that happened in your life. However, following a basic structure will make it easier to read and follow.

  • Introduction: Introduce the topic, and the incident that you're going to describe. Explain why it's important to you.
  • Thesis statement: Quickly sum up what you learned as a result of the incident you're describing.
  • Main body: You'll now talk about the incident involved. As you do so, make sure you're including all the important points. Who was involved? Where did it happen? Why did it happen? Describe exactly what happened, including your thoughts and feelings on the matter.
  • Conclusion: Refer to your thesis again, and how your experiences impacted your understanding of the topic at hand.
  • Check the topic you've been given, and think about what personal experience you can use to write around it.
  • Write some notes on the experience. What happened? Write a rough outline of the event.
  • Do your research, and find evidence to support your learning in text.
  • Write your outline. If you use the structure above, it'll be easy to decide where everything will fit in your essay.
  • Sit down to write. Use the structure as a road map, and you'll find essay writing is a lot easier than it seems.
  • Proofread and edit. Even if you think your essay's perfect, give it one last read through before you turn it in. You'll be amazed at the errors that you can miss.

Narrative essays are, by definition, personal to you. That's why the topics will focus on something you've experienced in the past. For example, you may need to write about a time you felt disrespected, or when you feel you really succeeded in a job.

If you want some practice, here are some topics you can try writing about:

  • What was the scariest moment of your life?
  • Write about a time you disagreed with someone. How did you resolve it?
  • Describe a time when you had to work hard to achieve something.

These examples will all let you explore what you learned from these experiences, and describe how you use those lessons in your everyday life.

With this help, you should be able to write an excellent narrative essay. Tell the story, but focus on what came of the events in question.

Narrative Essay

Narrative Essay Examples

Caleb S.

10+ Interesting Narrative Essay Examples Plus Writing Tips!

Published on: Jun 23, 2018

Last updated on: Nov 29, 2023

Narrative Essay Examples

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Many students struggle with crafting engaging and impactful narrative essays. They often find it challenging to weave their personal experiences into coherent and compelling stories.

If you’re having a hard time, don't worry! 

We’ve compiled a range of narrative essay examples that will serve as helpful tools for you to get started. These examples will provide a clear path for crafting engaging and powerful narrative essays.

So, keep reading and find our expertly written examples!

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Narrative Essay Definition

Writing a narrative essay is a unique form of storytelling that revolves around personal experiences, aiming to immerse the reader in the author's world. It's a piece of writing that delves into the depths of thoughts and feelings. 

In a narrative essay, life experiences take center stage, serving as the main substance of the story. It's a powerful tool for writers to convey a personal journey, turning experiences into a captivating tale. This form of storytelling is an artful display of emotions intended to engage readers, leaving the reader feeling like they are a part of the story.

By focusing on a specific theme, event, emotions, and reflections, a narrative essay weaves a storyline that leads the reader through the author's experiences. 

The Essentials of Narrative Essays

Let's start with the basics. The four types of essays are argumentative essays , descriptive essays , expository essays , and narrative essays.

The goal of a narrative essay is to tell a compelling tale from one person's perspective. A narrative essay uses all components you’d find in a typical story, such as a beginning, middle, and conclusion, as well as plot, characters, setting, and climax.

The narrative essay's goal is the plot, which should be detailed enough to reach a climax. Here's how it works:

  • It's usually presented in chronological order.
  • It has a function. This is typically evident in the thesis statement's opening paragraph.
  • It may include speech.
  • It's told with sensory details and vivid language, drawing the reader in. All of these elements are connected to the writer's major argument in some way.

Before writing your essay, make sure you go through a sufficient number of narrative essay examples. These examples will help you in knowing the dos and don’ts of a good narrative essay.

It is always a better option to have some sense of direction before you start anything. Below, you can find important details and a bunch of narrative essay examples. These examples will also help you build your content according to the format. 

Here is a how to start a narrative essay example:

Sample Narrative Essay

The examples inform the readers about the writing style and structure of the narration. The essay below will help you understand how to create a story and build this type of essay in no time.

Here is another narrative essay examples 500 words:

Narrative Essay Examples for Students

Narrative essays offer students a platform to express their experiences and creativity. These examples show how to effectively structure and present personal stories for education.

Here are some helpful narrative essay examples:

Narrative Essay Examples Middle School

Narrative Essay Examples for Grade 7

Narrative Essay Examples for Grade 8

Grade 11 Narrative Essay Examples

Narrative Essay Example For High School

Narrative Essay Example For College

Personal Narrative Essay Example

Descriptive Narrative Essay Example

3rd Person Narrative Essay Example

Narrative Essay Topics

Here are some narrative essay topics to help you get started with your narrative essay writing.

  • When I got my first bunny
  • When I moved to Canada
  • I haven’t experienced this freezing temperature ever before
  • The moment I won the basketball finale
  • A memorable day at the museum
  • How I talk to my parrot
  • The day I saw the death
  • When I finally rebelled against my professor

Need more topics? Check out these extensive narrative essay topics to get creative ideas!

Narrative Essay Writing Tips

Narrative essays give you the freedom to be creative, but it can be tough to make yours special. Use these tips to make your story interesting:

  • Share your story from a personal viewpoint, engaging the reader with your experiences.
  • Use vivid descriptions to paint a clear picture of the setting, characters, and emotions involved.
  • Organize events in chronological order for a smooth and understandable narrative.
  • Bring characters to life through their actions, dialogue, and personalities.
  • Employ dialogue sparingly to add realism and progression to the narrative.
  • Engage readers by evoking emotions through your storytelling.
  • End with reflection or a lesson learned from the experience, providing insight.

Now you have essay examples and tips to help you get started, you have a solid starting point for crafting compelling narrative essays.

However, if storytelling isn't your forte, you can always turn to our essay writing service for help.

Our writers are specialists that can tackle any type of essay with great skill. With their experience, you get a top-quality, 100% plagiarism free essay everytime.

So, let our narrative essay writing service make sure your narrative essay stands out. Order now!

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.

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Telling the Story of Yourself: 6 Steps to Writing Personal Narratives

Jennifer Xue

Jennifer Xue

writing personal narratives

Table of Contents

Why do we write personal narratives, 6 guidelines for writing personal narrative essays, inspiring personal narratives, examples of personal narrative essays, tell your story.

First off, you might be wondering: what is a personal narrative? In short, personal narratives are stories we tell about ourselves that focus on our growth, lessons learned, and reflections on our experiences.

From stories about inspirational figures we heard as children to any essay, article, or exercise where we're asked to express opinions on a situation, thing, or individual—personal narratives are everywhere.

According to Psychology Today, personal narratives allow authors to feel and release pains, while savouring moments of strength and resilience. Such emotions provide an avenue for both authors and readers to connect while supporting healing in the process.

That all sounds great. But when it comes to putting the words down on paper, we often end up with a list of experiences and no real structure to tie them together.

In this article, we'll discuss what a personal narrative essay is further, learn the 6 steps to writing one, and look at some examples of great personal narratives.

As readers, we're fascinated by memoirs, autobiographies, and long-form personal narrative articles, as they provide a glimpse into the authors' thought processes, ideas, and feelings. But you don't have to be writing your whole life story to create a personal narrative.

You might be a student writing an admissions essay , or be trying to tell your professional story in a cover letter. Regardless of your purpose, your narrative will focus on personal growth, reflections, and lessons.

Personal narratives help us connect with other people's stories due to their easy-to-digest format and because humans are empathising creatures.

We can better understand how others feel and think when we were told stories that allow us to see the world from their perspectives. The author's "I think" and "I feel" instantaneously become ours, as the brain doesn't know whether what we read is real or imaginary.

In her best-selling book Wired for Story, Lisa Cron explains that the human brain craves tales as it's hard-wired through evolution to learn what happens next. Since the brain doesn't know whether what you are reading is actual or not, we can register the moral of the story cognitively and affectively.

In academia, a narrative essay tells a story which is experiential, anecdotal, or personal. It allows the author to creatively express their thoughts, feelings, ideas, and opinions. Its length can be anywhere from a few paragraphs to hundreds of pages.

Outside of academia, personal narratives are known as a form of journalism or non-fiction works called "narrative journalism." Even highly prestigious publications like the New York Times and Time magazine have sections dedicated to personal narratives. The New Yorke is a magazine dedicated solely to this genre.

The New York Times holds personal narrative essay contests. The winners are selected because they:

had a clear narrative arc with a conflict and a main character who changed in some way. They artfully balanced the action of the story with reflection on what it meant to the writer. They took risks, like including dialogue or playing with punctuation, sentence structure and word choice to develop a strong voice. And, perhaps most important, they focused on a specific moment or theme – a conversation, a trip to the mall, a speech tournament, a hospital visit – instead of trying to sum up the writer’s life in 600 words.

In a nutshell, a personal narrative can cover any reflective and contemplative subject with a strong voice and a unique perspective, including uncommon private values. It's written in first person and the story encompasses a specific moment in time worthy of a discussion.

Writing a personal narrative essay involves both objectivity and subjectivity. You'll need to be objective enough to recognise the importance of an event or a situation to explore and write about. On the other hand, you must be subjective enough to inject private thoughts and feelings to make your point.

With personal narratives, you are both the muse and the creator – you have control over how your story is told. However, like any other type of writing, it comes with guidelines.

1. Write Your Personal Narrative as a Story

As a story, it must include an introduction, characters, plot, setting, climax, anti-climax (if any), and conclusion. Another way to approach it is by structuring it with an introduction, body, and conclusion. The introduction should set the tone, while the body should focus on the key point(s) you want to get across. The conclusion can tell the reader what lessons you have learned from the story you've just told.

2. Give Your Personal Narrative a Clear Purpose

Your narrative essay should reflect your unique perspective on life. This is a lot harder than it sounds. You need to establish your perspective, the key things you want your reader to take away, and your tone of voice. It's a good idea to have a set purpose in mind for the narrative before you start writing.

Let's say you want to write about how you manage depression without taking any medicine. This could go in any number of ways, but isolating a purpose will help you focus your writing and choose which stories to tell. Are you advocating for a holistic approach, or do you want to describe your emotional experience for people thinking of trying it?

Having this focus will allow you to put your own unique take on what you did (and didn't do, if applicable), what changed you, and the lessons learned along the way.

3. Show, Don't Tell

It's a narration, so the narrative should show readers what happened, instead of telling them. As well as being a storyteller, the author should take part as one of the characters. Keep this in mind when writing, as the way you shape your perspective can have a big impact on how your reader sees your overarching plot. Don't slip into just explaining everything that happened because it happened to you. Show your reader with action.

dialogue tags

You can check for instances of telling rather than showing with ProWritingAid. For example, instead of:

"You never let me do anything!" I cried disdainfully.
"You never let me do anything!" To this day, my mother swears that the glare I levelled at her as I spat those words out could have soured milk.

Using ProWritingAid will help you find these instances in your manuscript and edit them without spending hours trawling through your work yourself.

4. Use "I," But Don't Overuse It

You, the author, take ownership of the story, so the first person pronoun "I" is used throughout. However, you shouldn't overuse it, as it'd make it sound too self-centred and redundant.

ProWritingAid can also help you here – the Style Report will tell you if you've started too many sentences with "I", and show you how to introduce more variation in your writing.

5. Pay Attention to Tenses

Tense is key to understanding. Personal narratives mostly tell the story of events that happened in the past, so many authors choose to use the past tense. This helps separate out your current, narrating voice and your past self who you are narrating. If you're writing in the present tense, make sure that you keep it consistent throughout.

tenses in narratives

6. Make Your Conclusion Satisfying

Satisfy your readers by giving them an unforgettable closing scene. The body of the narration should build up the plot to climax. This doesn't have to be something incredible or shocking, just something that helps give an interesting take on your story.

The takeaways or the lessons learned should be written without lecturing. Whenever possible, continue to show rather than tell. Don't say what you learned, narrate what you do differently now. This will help the moral of your story shine through without being too preachy.

GoodReads is a great starting point for selecting read-worthy personal narrative books. Here are five of my favourites.

Owl Moon by Jane Yolen

Jane Yolen, the author of 386 books, wrote this poetic story about a daughter and her father who went owling. Instead of learning about owls, Yolen invites readers to contemplate the meaning of gentleness and hope.

Night by Elie Wiesel

Elie Wiesel was a teenager when he and his family were sent to Auschwitz concentration camp in 1944. This Holocaust memoir has a strong message that such horrific events should never be repeated.

The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank

This classic is a must-read by young and old alike. It's a remarkable diary by a 13-year-old Jewish girl who hid inside a secret annexe of an old building during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands in 1942.

The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion

This is a personal narrative written by a brave author renowned for her clarity, passion, and honesty. Didion shares how in December 2003, she lost her husband of 40 years to a massive heart attack and dealt with the acute illness of her only daughter. She speaks about grief, memories, illness, and hope.

Educated by Tara Westover

Author Tara Westover was raised by survivalist parents. She didn't go to school until 17 years of age, which later took her to Harvard and Cambridge. It's a story about the struggle for quest for knowledge and self-reinvention.

Narrative and personal narrative journalism are gaining more popularity these days. You can find distinguished personal narratives all over the web.

Curating the best of the best of personal narratives and narrative essays from all over the web. Some are award-winning articles.

Narratively

Long-form writing to celebrate humanity through storytelling. It publishes personal narrative essays written to provoke, inspire, and reflect, touching lesser-known and overlooked subjects.

Narrative Magazine

It publishes non,fiction narratives, poetry, and fiction. Among its contributors is Frank Conroy, the author of Stop-Time , a memoir that has never been out of print since 1967.

Thought Catalog

Aimed at Generation Z, it publishes personal narrative essays on self-improvement, family, friendship, romance, and others.

Personal narratives will continue to be popular as our brains are wired for stories. We love reading about others and telling stories of ourselves, as they bring satisfaction and a better understanding of the world around us.

Personal narratives make us better humans. Enjoy telling yours!

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150 Best Topic Ideas For Narrative Essay

Table of contents

  • 1 How to Choose a Topic for a Narrative Essay?
  • 2 Some Tips for Writing Narrative Essays
  • 3.1 Narrative Essay Topics for High School Students
  • 3.2 Good Narrative Essay Topics for College Students
  • 4.1 Personal Narrative Essay Topics
  • 4.2 Personal Experience Narrative Essay Topics
  • 4.3 Narrative Essay Topics About Childhood
  • 4.4 Relationship Narrative Essay Topics
  • 4.5 Personal Narrative Essay About Friendship
  • 4.6 Cultural Narrative Essay Topics
  • 4.7 Personal Narrative Stories Ideas on Traveling and Holidays
  • 4.8 Narrative Argument Essay Topics

In academic practice, the narrative essay is probably one of the key elements to train students in expressing their opinions. It teaches well how to tell a story in a clear, concise manner, that’s why it is so welcome in the language and composition classes.

Narrative essays are not only valuable as such: their contribution lies in the ability to elaborate students’ storytelling and narration skills. To touch the reader’s nerves, you should opt for exciting narrative essay ideas. There are plenty of them – but don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! Below you’ll find a comprehensive list of essay ideas.

How to Choose a Topic for a Narrative Essay?

When you are selecting a topic for your essay , you should consider some aspects. As a teacher, you should opt for the best narrative essay topics that would be interesting and familiar to your mentees. If you are a mentee yourself, you can be assigned a specific task to write on the topic provided by your teacher or professor. In the opposite case, you have the freedom to choose a topic on your own.

We’ve collected some useful tips on how to efficiently select a narrative speech topic for your paper. They apply to the general principles of narrative essay topic choice. You can write about something special and personal for you, or describe events and subjects that are well-known to everyone. The following rules will be a perfect support for you in the creation of a powerful narrative essay.

  • Opt for relevant topics Always consider your audience when picking a topic if you are a teacher. The topic shall be cognizable and meaningful for your audience, be it higher school students or schoolchildren. They must be able to express their thoughts on the subject and relate their personal experiences to it.Obviously, the requirements for younger students are lower, and narrative writing topics shall deal mostly with descriptions or reporting. On the other hand, senior schoolers and students shall be able to write an essay that is also persuasive and reflective.
  • Choose your comfortable writing style Experience in studying affairs clearly demonstrates that successful subjects for a narration essay are those you feel comfortable with. Picking up the right idea is the key to a powerful paper as it determines the style of your writing.Think about what you love to tell about. Do you like to describe events in a detailed and vivid manner? Or maybe you are factual and concise? Are you a fan of reflections and self-analysis? Recollecting or imagining, projecting or analyzing, reporting or insightful – if you identify your features, they will be helpful narrative essay prompts.
  • Show your mastery Topics are essential, but that’s not the hard and fast rule: always factor into personal proficiency. This is what turns even a dull and merely informative topic into an engaging story. A narration essay is your chance to create a description that would allow your readers to pop into your experiences and share your fun or drama with you.Whether your narration concerns a film, a book, a relationship, a person, or a situation, try to complement it with a touch of personal attitude. Discourse upon the lessons you’ve learned, describe a turning point of your life or reflect on why an event from your past is so memorable. Try to convey this in the essay outline , and you’ll see how fascinating it might be. The more so as there are plenty of brilliant topics for narrative writing.

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Some Tips for Writing Narrative Essays

Narration may be both rewarding and challenging. To maximize your rewarding experience and minimize the tough aspects of essay writing, follow our tips recovered from the students’ practice.

  • Aim at telling a story

A narration essay stands foremost for a narration. Whether you are describing events, discussing situations, or recollecting the past, your story should be engaging and have a plot. You may introduce the elements that make your story individual. These include arguments, reflections, and opinions, but the focus of this type of essay is narrative.

  • Keep to an outline

The conventional structure is not required, however, it assists in organizing your thoughts properly and preserving accuracy and distinctiveness. The introduction and conclusion parts do not differ much from those in other academic papers. The body part, in turn, presents a story that may tackle moral, practical, psychological, or other problems. This clearly distinguishes your narration from all the others. This is why personal narrative topics shall be thoroughly picked.

  • Make a plan

Draft the events and characters to be introduced in your story. Don’t feel like you are limited by the structure you create. A plan is a guide rather than a mold for your text, so try making it comfortable for you. Drafting your essay before you start writing may also be helpful. This way you can break down the nuances and see what’s lacking for an immersive story.

  • Remain individual

While good narrative topics circulate in the school and college assignments, you are still able to make your essay personalized. To start with, you have your own stories to be told. Then, you might express your own opinions that are unconventional. Also, you can present the lessons you’ve learned from the story. In the end, your author’s style will surely add points to your paper.

  • Choose a writing narrative thoroughly

Stories may be told third-person or first-person. Weigh the pros and cons of each type of narration and opt for the one reflecting your objective. Personal experiences are usually written in first-person, and epic narratives may be third-person. Though, unconventional approaches may be an interesting artistic device making your essay even more intriguing.

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Narrative Essay Topics for Students

We’ve analyzed trainees’ experience in writing narrative paragraphs and selected narrative essay topics for college and school students. This profound list covers a wide range of subjects, so pick one!

Narrative Essay Topics for High School Students

High school students normally feel comfortable about describing their study routine. Below you’ll find interesting topics to convey some of the things at school familiar to every pupil.

  • My favorite class
  • An unexpected day-off
  • My favorite teacher
  • My most memorable participation in a sports event
  • My harshest debate competition
  • My best role in a school theatre
  • My after-school activities
  • My routine travel to school
  • My funny prom night adventure
  • My worst lost match
  • The craziest incident on my campus
  • The subject I don’t like
  • How I failed an exam
  • How I got through an exam
  • How I got caught cheating

Good Narrative Essay Topics for College Students

Just like high schoolers, students at colleges and universities are fond of talking about their everyday matters. Whether a topic about students’ affairs or reflection on new relationships, the most popular narrative topics for college students are collected here.

  • My first day at the higher school
  • My last day with my schoolmates
  • My favorite course
  • Meeting my better half
  • The story of my split-up
  • My brightest high school moment
  • How I met my old friend
  • My favourite professor
  • A funny adventure on my campus
  • The most symbolic episode from my college life
  • The day I moved
  • How I traveled to my college
  • My first impressions of the college campus
  • How I met my roommate
  • My first friends at college

Topics for essays on themes:

Personal narrative essay topics.

Each of us had moments in life the story of which would be interesting to others. Develop your narration mastery and tell the world a story about the very best, most memorable, extremely scary, or awkward situations. Our list is here to assist you.

  • The happiest event ever
  • The saddest moment in my life
  • The worst moment of my life
  • The best moment of my life
  • If I start my life all over again, I’d…
  • The most frightening episode of my life
  • The most dramatic decision I had to make
  • The life-changing event in my life
  • The greatest risk I took
  • The day I decided to move
  • The worst decision of my life
  • Getting lost abroad
  • The most disastrous trip
  • How I grew up in a city
  • How I grew up in a village

Personal Experience Narrative Essay Topics

Personal experiences are way more exciting for writers. Unfortunately, personal narrative essays are not always just as fascinating for listeners unless they are presented in an entertaining manner. We’re sure that the ideas for personal narratives below will help you pick your topic to maximize readers’ engagement.

  • The moment of my life I’m proud of
  • My first visiting an opera house
  • The weirdest accident I witnessed
  • How I first tried Asian cuisine
  • My most memorable birthday present
  • If I was a character in a book
  • The memory I wish I lived through again
  • If I was my favourite movie superhero
  • How I lost a thing that wasn’t mine
  • My first travel to the sea
  • What makes me unique
  • My first trip into the wild
  • My first job interview
  • My most significant loss
  • My most memorable Christmas

Narrative Essay Topics About Childhood

Childhood is probably the sweetest period of our lives and the one with the most number of insights. The most powerful experiences come from it, and most of our reflections are related to a child’s perception in this or that way. Check out our list of captivating topics about childhood and pick one.

  • My first memories ever
  • My first pet
  • The role model of my childhood
  • The first time I met my uncle/aunt
  • The first time I got to a hospital
  • My first big sports competition
  • My first day at school
  • The first time at a stadium
  • My best visit to a children’s entertainment park
  • My favourite preschool teacher
  • My first time on the airplane
  • My most memorable picnic
  • The scariest incident of my childhood
  • My childhood phobias
  • The funniest incident of my childhood
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Relationship Narrative Essay Topics

Writing about this huge layer of experience – relationships – is surely thrilling. We’ve picked just some of the great variety of narrative topics about relationships for you. Even if you don’t find here exactly what you want to talk about, you’ll definitely hit upon an appropriate idea.

  • My first romantic date
  • How my best friend changed my life
  • How I first met my best friend
  • The saddest moment in a relationship I experienced
  • A turning point in my important relationship
  • My role model relationship from a book/movie
  • My first romantic relationship
  • What my parents mean to me
  • The best advice about relationships I got
  • Why is my significant other so important to me
  • The situation that helped me fix my ruined relationship
  • The best memories I share with my friends
  • My first confession
  • How I helped someone with depression
  • A film/book about relationships that stroke me

Personal Narrative Essay About Friendship

Friendships often determine our paths in life, and most people love telling stories. These are about their adventures with friends or reflections on the effects of getting cozy with other people. From the list below, you may pick one of the best friendship topics for narrative essay papers.

  • My best friend from a summer camp
  • How I reconnected with my friend after a quarrel
  • How I covered my friend
  • How I first met my online friend live
  • How I helped my friend reconnect with his/her loved one
  • The coolest adventure with my best friend
  • The first time at my friend’s place
  • My worst quarrel with my friend
  • My best older friend
  • How my foe turned into my friend
  • The toughest situation I and my friend went through
  • My friend’s sister/brother
  • The situation where I had to choose between two friends
  • How I met a friend on the Internet

Cultural Narrative Essay Topics

How about writing on culture? The variety of topics is enormous, and you can write here in different styles and tonalities. Find out effective narrative paragraph topics dedicated to traditions, holidays, or cultural events below.

  • My favourite holiday
  • How we celebrate Christmas
  • The best Christmas present I got
  • My best Christmas
  • My saddest Christmas
  • The holiday which is most significant for me
  • Our family traditions for Easter
  • How I took part in holidays abroad
  • The scariest Halloween I ever had
  • Home alone on a holiday night
  • The most memorable cultural event I visited
  • The festival I love most
  • What I was thankful for this Thanksgiving Day
  • My family traditions
  • A foreign holiday tradition that I love most

Personal Narrative Stories Ideas on Traveling and Holidays

This segment of subjects covers individual experiences. Respectively, it has to do with reflections, opinions, and feelings. Our list of personal narrative ideas related to trips and celebrations is here for your convenience.

  • My best entertainment on winter holidays
  • My first traveling abroad
  • How I first visited a warm country in winter
  • How I missed my flight/train/bus
  • The happiest moment during the holidays
  • Making a new friend during the holidays
  • My first time traveling alone
  • My most memorable holiday ever
  • The saddest incident on a holiday
  • My best visit to a foreign city on holiday
  • My best travel to a big city
  • The worst quarrel while on holiday
  • The best encounters during the holiday
  • My best trip to a countryside
  • How I returned home after a long vacation

Narrative Argument Essay Topics

Strong argumentation is one of the indications of a successful academic paper and a prerequisite for a higher grade. You should pick a topic you are confident in to provide your effective arguments as your objective is to persuade your readers. Opt for a narrative essay topic that speaks to you.

  • The toughest decision between right and wrong
  • The choice I regret
  • How I helped a friend against the rules
  • Involvement in a conflict between other people
  • Getting caught lying
  • How I let down a friend following the rules
  • How I shifted the blame to someone else
  • The toughest yet most important experience
  • Helping someone for personal benefit
  • The prank I played on my friend
  • Ignoring bullying
  • How my friend took the blame for me
  • Does justice actually exist?
  • Ignoring the wrong behavior of others
  • Eavesdropping

When writing a narrative essay, it is important to choose an interesting topic that can engage your readers. Finding the right topic can be a challenge, but there is no need to worry as there are many resources available, such as online essay writers , that can help you choose the best topic for your narrative essay.

Whether a personal experience essay, a story about your best childhood birthday, a narration about your most meaningful travel, or the way you reacted to essential world events, are all worth writing. Bear in mind that each of them requires research, adhering to a structure, and planning. Focus on what’s inspiring for you and may be of interest to your readers, and you’ll get a list of the narrative ideas working best for you.

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50 Engaging Narrative Essay Topics for High Schoolers

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What’s Covered:

Narrative essays vs. analytical essays, how to pick the right narrative essay topic, elements of a strong narrative essay, engaging narrative essay topics for high schoolers, where to get your narrative essay edited for free.

Narrative essays are an extensive form of writing that gives readers the opportunity to follow along as a person goes through a journey or sets of experiences. Rather than providing analytic insight, narrative essays simply share a story and offer a first-person account. These essays may seem easy to write at first, but it takes a certain finesse to write a narrative essay that is interesting, cohesive, and well-researched. Whether you’re looking for a unique topic to write about, or just want some new inspiration, CollegeVine is here to help! These 50 narrative essay topics are engaging, unique and will have you writing in no time.

A narrative essay is a great way to express your personal experiences and opinions, but it is important to remember that this type of essay is different from an analytical paper. In a narrative essay, you do not need to provide background information or explain your thoughts and feelings; instead, you simply tell a story. It’s important to avoid too much telling in your writing; instead, use creative details and vivid imagery to make readers feel as if they are actually right there with you.

Where You Will Encounter Narrative Essays

This type of essay is typically encountered in high school, where students may be required to write personal statements to prepare for their Common App essay . Narrative essays are also commonly seen in AP Language and Composition. Therefore, it’s important you are aware of the style because you are bound to have a narrative essay assignment.  

Of course, before you start writing, it is important to pick the right essay topic. There are many factors involved in the process of picking the perfect narrative essay topic for your story.

You should always choose a topic that you are passionate about, since writing on something you care about will make the process much easier. Not only will it be more interesting to create your paper around something that truly interests you, but it will also allow you to fully express yourself in your essay. You also want to be sure that the topic has enough material to work with. If your chosen topic is too short, you will not have enough content to write a complete paper. For example, if you are writing about your experience getting lost at the mall, make sure that you have enough information to work with to craft an engaging narrative. 

The best topic for an engaging narrative essay is one that focuses on showing versus telling, has a clear structure, and provides a dialogue. These elements come together to form an engaging narrative essay. Regardless of what subject you pick, any topic may be turned into a fascinating, A+ worthy narrative using the tips below.

Show, Don’t Tell

To write a good narrative essay, it’s important to show, not tell. Instead of simply informing your audience, show them what you mean. For example, instead of saying “I was nervous,” you could say “My heart began to race and my stomach filled with butterflies.” Also make sure to use sensory details, such as sights, sounds and tastes, and include a personal reflection at the end of your narrative. 

Begin with a Strong Opening Line

A good narrative essay will begin with an attention-grabbing opening line. But make sure to avoid common clichés, such as “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” Instead, come up with something original and specific to you and your situation. For example: “My pre-calc teacher was obsessed with circles. I mean, he even used circular note cards.” Or, “It all started the day my mom brought home a guinea pig.”

Follows a Three-Act Structure

A strong narrative essay follows the same three-act structure as other essays. But in order to make it interesting, you’ll need to come up with a creative way to break things down into sections. For example, using the guinea pig example from above, you could write the following:

  • Act 1 – Introduction: The day my mom brought home a guinea pig.
  • Act 2 – Conflict: The day I had to say goodbye to my beloved pet.
  • Act 3 – Conclusion: Looking back at how much I miss him now that he’s gone.

Conclude with Personal Reflection

To conclude your narrative essay, you’ll want to explain what this specific experience taught you or how you’ve changed. For example, upon realizing that her pre-calc teacher was obsessed with circles, the writer of the previous example begins to notice circular shapes everywhere. Another way to conclude your narrative essay is by touching on how this experience impacted you emotionally. For example, after losing his guinea pig, the writer explains how much he missed it.

Use Dialogue

Include a conversation in your essay to make it come alive. For example, instead of simply saying that you met a new friend, talk about how you introduced yourselves or what they were wearing when you met them.

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The following list of 50 narrative essay topics is divided into categories. This will make it easier to find a topic that fits your writing style.

1. What is a childhood song that still sticks with you today?

2. Your first day of Kindergarten

3. Talk about a time when you’re siblings looked up to you

4. Describe the best birthday party you’ve ever had

5. Talk about the best day you ever spent with a childhood friend

6. Explain your first childhood hobby

7. Describe your first halloween costume

8. A family vacation gone wrong

9. Your first family reunion

10. Describe a tradition that is unique to your family

11. Describe your family to a person who’s never met them before

12. What frustrates you most about your family

13. If you could only keep one memory of your family, what would it be and why?

14. Describe a time your family embarrassed you in public

15. The most beautiful place in the world

16. Your favorite season and why

17. If you were a part of nature, what element would you be? Why?

18. When you go outside, which of your senses are you most thankful to have?

19. Describe the first time you witnessed a tornado 

20. Write a poem about your favorite season

21. Describe yourself as one of the four seasons

22. Describe a time in which you felt connected with nature

23. Describe the first time you played an instrument and how you felt

24. What major event would be much worse if music was removed, and why?

25. If you could only listen to one song for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?

26. What would a life without music look like?

27. If you could master one instrument, what would it be and why?

Relationships

28. What if you had never met your best friend?

29. Describe a time when you fixed a broken relationship

30. Talk about a movie that defined a relationship for you

31. Describe your first date

32. Describe the first time you made a friend

33. Describe your relationship with your parents

Self Reflection

34. Have you ever fooled someone? If so, describe what happened and how you felt about it

35. What is the worst thing you’ve done to someone else?

36. Write about the difference between how things seem and how they really are. 

37. Have you ever been embarrassed in some way? If so, describe the situation and how it affected you as well as those around you

38. Have you ever witnessed something really beautiful? Describe it

39. Is your glass half empty or half full?

Overcoming Adversity 

40. Have you ever been very afraid of something but tried your hardest to appear fearless? If so, describe that experience

41. When have you ever succeeded when you thought you might fail

42. What are your secret survival strategies?

43. Describe the last time you were stressed and why?

44. Describe a time when you were discriminated against

45. The most memorable class you’ve had and why

46. Your favorite study abroad memory

47. Describe your kindergarten classroom

48. Describe your first teacher

49. The first time you experienced detention

50. Your first field trip

Hopefully these topics will get you thinking about a personal experience that could make for a thoughtful and engaging narrative essay. Remember, a strong narrative essay must contain relatable details and a clear flow that keeps the reader entertained and engaged to read all the way to the end.

If you need some additional guidance on your narrative essay, use CollegeVine’s free peer review essay tool to get feedback for free!

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50 Narrative Essay Topics

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but a narrative essay can also tell an exciting story and create vivid pictures in the reader’s mind! We’ve got 50 narrative essay topics designed to prompt students to craft memorable written narratives. These can be modified for students in elementary, middle and high school. Feel free to print the entire narrative essay topics list for plenty of inspiration for your next narrative essay assignment!

Narrative Essay Topics

  • Your first day of school.
  • Your most exciting day of school
  • A field trip that your class took.
  • Your favorite summer vacation.
  • A trip that included something unexpected or surprising.
  • A time that you experienced something spooky.
  • A time that you experienced something truly frightening.
  • A time that you learned something new that changed you in some way.
  • The moment when you met someone who changed your life.
  • The day that you got your first pet.
  • A move from one place to another.
  • Something funny that happened to you.
  • Something funny that happened to one of your family members or friends.
  • Something embarrassing that happened to you.
  • Your favorite birthday party.
  • A birthday that was disappointing.
  • A big storm (rain, snow or even a tornado!).
  • A time that the power went out.
  • A summer day when the temperature got much higher than expected.
  • A time when you went to an amusement park.
  • A time when you got lost somewhere.
  • A memorable experience with a favorite family member.
  • A sad experience with someone about whom you care.
  • Your most exciting moment playing sports.
  • Your most exciting moment performing in a play, singing, playing music or dancing.
  • An experience that left you feeling frustrated.
  • An experience that was hard but ended up being worth it.
  • A time that you experienced rejection.
  • A weird encounter with a stranger.
  • A random act of kindness.
  • A time that you took a stand for someone or for an issue that you care about.
  • A moment when you thought you might get hurt but didn’t.
  • Breaking a bone (or otherwise suffering an injury).
  • Your first time away from home for the night (or longer).
  • A time when you experienced a historic event.
  • Where you were when a major event happened. (Note: You don’t need to have been at the site of the event; this prompt is about where you were when you found out about the event and how you reacted.)
  • A time when you rebelled against your parents or teacher.
  • A dangerous experience.
  • A misunderstanding between yourself and someone else.
  • A difficult decision that you had to make.
  • The end of a friendship or relationship.
  • The beginning of a friendship or relationship.
  • A time when you judged someone first and then realized that you were wrong about the person.
  • A time when someone judged you first and then realized that he or she was wrong about you.
  • A moment when you felt that you were starting to grow up.
  • A time when you saw one or both of your parents in a different light.
  • A time when you looked up to your older sibling.
  • A time when your younger sibling looked up to you.
  • A time when you were grateful to be an only child.
  • An experience that you think has only ever happened to you!

Looking for more essay topics? Compare and Contrast Essay Topics Descriptive Essay Topics Cause and Effect Essay Topics Persuasive Essay and Speech Topics

IMAGES

  1. How to Write a Narrative Essay

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  2. Sample Narrative Essay.pdf

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  3. Narrative Writing Template

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  4. How to Write a Narrative Essay (12 Best Examples)

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  5. How to Write a Narrative Essay

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  6. Tips On How To Write A Better Narrative Essay

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VIDEO

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  2. Narrative Application Essay Video 3

  3. Narrative and Descriptive Writing

  4. The Legend of Roro Jonggrang

  5. Narrative Essay Insights

  6. Narrative Essay Plus Parallel Structure

COMMENTS

  1. How to Write a Narrative Essay

    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. This type of essay, along with the descriptive essay, allows you to get personal and creative, unlike most academic writing.

  2. Narrative Essay Topics: 200 Best Ideas

    A narrative essay is a form of writing that recounts a personal experience or tells a story, often incorporating elements like characters, plot, setting, and a chronological sequence of events.

  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. Narrative Essays

    General Writing Academic Writing Essay Writing Narrative Essays Narrative Essays What is a narrative essay? When writing a narrative essay, one might think of it as telling a story. These essays are often anecdotal, experiential, and personal—allowing students to express themselves in a creative and, quite often, moving ways.

  5. How to Write a Narrative Essay: Tips, Outline, Examples

    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.

  6. How to Write 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.

  7. Narrative Essay

    A narration essay recounts an event or tells a story to illustrate an idea. A narration essay may be entertaining or informative. Five Basic Steps to Writing a Narrative Essay Purpose: Why are you telling the story? Every narration must have a point or purpose, usually to entertain or to inform.

  8. How to Write a Narrative Essay

    Narrative essay writing involves the use of suspense, conversation, metaphorical language, and the use of first-person ('I'). It is possible to write about what happened to someone else, in which case you would use the third-person point of view (using 'he', 'she', and 'they' ). How to Choose a Topic for Your Narrative Essay

  9. 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.

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

    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.

  11. 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 these essays should take place in an established timeline, with a clear beginning, middle, and end. ...

  12. What Is Narrative Writing? A Guide

    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's narrative writing.

  13. How to Write a Narrative Essay: Full Guide for Storytelling

    Some narrative essays can be as short as 500 words, whereas others may have a few hundred more. Sometimes, your narrative essay guidelines may require at least 1,000 words. ... Here you find good examples of different types of essay on any subject you need. View all view all. Plagiarism checker. Do the check. Academic editing. Do the check ...

  14. 3 Great Narrative Essay Examples + Tips for Writing

    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.

  15. Narrative Essay

    A narrative essay has three required elements: character, theme, and dialogue: Character. Characters are an important part of a narrative essay. Even if the essay is autobiographical in nature, the person writing the essay is a character involving some other characters who act, behave, and do like all other characters presented in stories and novels. ...

  16. Narrative Essay ~ A Guide For Your Academic Writing

    Definition: Narrative essay. A narrative essay is a kind of academic writing that examines an intriguing subject using the first-person experiences and observations of one or more people. It may be applied to create a narrative about a person's life or describe a specific historical event or period.. To craft a captivating story that informs readers about the topic, the author employs both ...

  17. DeWitt Library Subject Guides: ENG 101 OER: Narration

    The Purpose of Narrative Writing. Narration means the art of storytelling, and the purpose narrative writing is to tell stories. Any time you tell a story to a friend or family member about an event or incident in your day, you engage in a form of narration. In addition, a narrative can be factual or fictional.

  18. Narrative Essay: How-To, Structure, Examples, Topics

    Narrative Essay Structure. Of course, your essay will be unique, as it's detailing an event that happened in your life. However, following a basic structure will make it easier to read and follow. Introduction: Introduce the topic, and the incident that you're going to describe. Explain why it's important to you.

  19. Free Narrative Essay Examples

    Narrative Essay Definition Writing a narrative essay is a unique form of storytelling that revolves around personal experiences, aiming to immerse the reader in the author's world. It's a piece of writing that delves into the depths of thoughts and feelings.

  20. How to Write a Personal Narrative: Steps and Examples

    In a nutshell, a personal narrative can cover any reflective and contemplative subject with a strong voice and a unique perspective, including uncommon private values. It's written in first person and the story encompasses a specific moment in time worthy of a discussion. 6 Guidelines for Writing Personal Narrative Essays

  21. 150 Best Topic Ideas For Narrative Essay

    Topic Ideas 150 Best Topic Ideas For Narrative Essay Last update date: December 14, 2023 11 min read Table of contents 1 How to Choose a Topic for a Narrative Essay? 2 Some Tips for Writing Narrative Essays 3 Narrative Essay Topics for Students 3.1 Narrative Essay Topics for High School Students 3.2 Good Narrative Essay Topics for College Students

  22. 50 Engaging Narrative Essay Topics for High Schoolers

    Narrative essays are an extensive form of writing that gives readers the opportunity to follow along as a person goes through a journey or sets of experiences. Rather than providing analytic insight, narrative essays simply share a story and offer a first-person account.

  23. 50 Narrative Essay Topics

    A weird encounter with a stranger. A random act of kindness. A time that you took a stand for someone or for an issue that you care about. A moment when you thought you might get hurt but didn't. Breaking a bone (or otherwise suffering an injury). Your first time away from home for the night (or longer).