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Learn How to Write a Narrative Essay: Outline, Topic Selection and Revising Tips

Narrative essay definition is familiar to almost every student not depending on whether he is just entering a high school or is a sophomore. It is one of the most common essays and aims to render a picture, telling a story to the audience.

Any narrative essay has a plot, a conflict and main characters. Usually, such an assignment is based on stories from your own life, which are connected with the subject. It may be a funny narration or a challenge, which has changed your life for good.

Below you will find the main steps, which are needed to conduct an outstanding essay. Though even with all the guidelines it can be still difficult to create a perfect narrative essay. If you have found yourself in the situation where you can’t push yourself and create a masterpiece narrative, our essay writing services will do it for you!

Selecting the right topic

There are thousands and thousands of narrative essay topics, so you may find it quite difficult to choose a single one. Luckily, we know how to simplify this process and to help you choose a topic, which will reflect your personality.

Choosing a story, which depicts a certain topic

A good narrative paper consists of the story itself and the story analysis. Your essay may discuss a certain topic, concept or your personal story to illustrate the given issue.

In the majority of cases, your essay won’t require research on the subject and search of sources. You will need to use your own experience and story to prove certain points, which you are trying to render.

Such essays are assigned to test how well you are able to tell a story, connect various elements and make proper conclusions.

Get familiar with narrative essay examples

Reading essay examples online is a great way to understand the main ideas of the assignment and how to organize it properly. You can ask your tutor for examples or check online databases, which always have plenty of samples available.

The story should fit the assignment

Narrative essays are quite popular tasks not only at schools but also as a part of a college application. If you are getting into college, you will receive a prompt from the institution. It contains requirements on the subject and the plot of your narration.

Even if your story is crazy and wild, it should meet the requirements of the teacher or committee. Winning personal narrative essay examples describe issues, which:

  • Changed your character and personality;
  • Caused a failure and you had to solve its consequences;
  • Made you feel miserable and unhappy but you found a way out.

The story should contain bright details

The key feature of a narrative essay is a bright and vivid language, lots of details and images, which make the story live and engaging. You should use all of the sentences to tell how the flowers smell, how the music flows, etc.

Set your imagination free, boost your memory and let the words make a picture without giving freedom to your inner critic. The bigger your vocabulary is, the better your essay will be!

How to outline and write your narrative essay

You should always start with a narrative essay outline. Once you make a list of the main points of your story, you will make sure that nothing will be missed.

An outline is a great way to limit the things you are tempted to share. We know it may be important for you to tell about your whole summer, but it is better to choose a particular day or event and tell about it not to bore the reader with extra details.

Luckily, you don’t need to create a formal plan, and it won’t be evaluated, so you can draw an outline on a napkin, make a table or a chart: anything, which suits you better. To make the process of narrative essay writing easier for you, below we’ve prepared a detailed narrative essay outline that you can apply to most of the stories.

Be consistent

One of the specific features of a personal narrative essay is that you should use a first person when telling a story. Try to stick to only one ‘I’ and don’t change perspectives. It is an advanced tool, and not many students can master it.

Another important element is using the past tense instead of a present one. However, always stick to professor’s requirements if else is indicated.

Make characters’ description

Are there characters, who are also important for the story apart from yourself? Who was present, when the situation took place? Who influenced story’s result? Ask yourself such questions to detect whether there are other characters, who can be discussed in your story.

Instead of telling about character’s appearance, try to give the reader interesting details. Cross out the phrase ‘she has long hair and green eyes’ and say something like ‘she loves traditional dances and collects motorbikes’.

You can write a sketch as a narrative essay sample and then use it to reveal the personality of every discussed subject. You can also grab some techniques from a character analysis essay to make sure you will create an outstanding character for your narrative.

Distinguish the conflict and the antagonist

A good essay has a protagonist and an antagonist, which always creates a conflict. The protagonist is the main character of the story (that is usually you), who is trying to solve a particular issue. It can be a condition, a situation or any other matter. The antagonist is a person or a thing, which stops the protagonist from achieving the goal.

You need to understand that the antagonist is not always the bad guy of your story and your narration may not have the antagonist at all. Moreover, in some situations and stories, you can be the antagonist.

Depict the setting

If you want to learn how to write a narrative essay, remember about the location. Setting is very important for the story, so you need to describe where the event took place, how it looked like and what emotions you experienced.

Freewriting is a great technique, which helps to remember the slightest details. If you want to conduct research for your essay, here is when you may apply it: find out additional details about the location and the setting of the story.

Use bright details

Remember that your story is all about details and you can make even the most boring topic bright and catchy with a proper selection of words and details. Don’t forget to avoid generalized phrases and concentrate on specific details.

If you don’t know how to start a narrative essay, you can think of the ways to show the story and not tell it. This means that you need to provide vivid details and not just tell plain facts. Refer to your senses and render the smells, sounds and other things, which surrounded the story.

Revise the essay

Many students forget that revision is very important and greatly contributes to the final grade. You should remember that even the most experienced writers can’t create an outstanding paper from the first draft. So when your final draft is ready, you need to get back to the beginning and think whether the story can be improved.

– Clarity. Always remember about a narrative essay format, which makes sure that all of the aspects of your paper are clear and understandable. Stick to details but don’t forget that they should be understandable and follow each other in a logical way;

– Proofread. You should check the text to eliminate any spelling or punctuation mistakes, because they may harm even the best essay.

Clear illustration of the story

Once the first draft is ready, you need to read it thoroughly and check whether it is clear and understandable. You should make sure that the reader understands what you were trying to say.

To make that happen don’t forget to mention the theme of your work at the beginning of the narration. It should be a thesis statement, placed in the introductory section. In a few sentences explain what the story is about and what ideas you are trying to convey. Make sure they are understandable to the audience and clear to your teacher.

Some students think that a thesis statement ruins the story and makes it predictable. However, everything is completely different. Such a sentence helps the reader to catch your narrative essay ideas and understand what you are going to talk about.

Use analyses and scenes

Remember that all of the stories are built on two main aspects: analyses and scenes. Analyses are used to tell the story of the main scenes. They are usually read more quickly, although occupy more space. Scenes are applied, when you are willing to slow the speed down and concentrate on certain details of a concrete story moment. These are small situations and important details of the story. They are shorter but take more time to read.

Use dialogues properly

A narrative essay is a type of writing, which lies somewhere between a personal story and a regular school or college essay. If you get familiar with a good personal narrative essay example you will see that it contains lots of dialogues, references to someone’s words, etc.

That is why you need to master formatting peculiarities when including dialogues to your text. Usually, there are no specific formatting requirements, and you don’t need to use a particular formatting style. However, it is always better to ask your teacher for recommendations if else is not indicated.

Any phrase or sentence, which is said by the character aloud, needs to be placed into quotation marks and properly attributed to a speaking character. For example, ‘I saw her cry in the yard,’ said Elizabeth.

Every time a new character is speaking, you need to start a new paragraph. In case the dialogue is conducted by previously introduced characters, you can provide the speech in the same paragraph.

Final thoughts

Some students think that there is nothing simpler than writing a narrative essay. That is why they neglect tutorials and don’t want to waste their time looking for a narrative essay example college. However, it is a great source of information and inspiration, which helps to improve skills, get new ideas on the topic and see how your own text can be improved.

Don’t forget to follow a common structure, include a conflict to your text and clearly state the characters of the story. Another important advice is to explain the lessons you have learned and how they can help the audience in their own life.

We hope that our tips helped you to get a better understanding of the assignment, the features it should include and the importance of getting familiar with essay examples. In case you have any questions left, don’t hesitate to contact us any time of the day!

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