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Everything you need to know about narrative essay writing

June 22, 2020

A narrative essay is by right considered the most popular and wide-spread assignment any student needs to complete both at school and college. In general, it is a piece of writing that shares a story and allows telling about personal experiences in a structured and meaningful way.

Narrative Essay: Start Writing Like A Professional

Narrative essays always get extra attention from the audience because, well, we all love stories! It is one of the most effective ways to be understood and heard, and of course, a great chance for tutors to test your writing and language skills. Being able to narrate a story is a great skill not only during academic years but also in adulthood, so you need to master it as early as possible.

To write a good narrative essay, you need to know its structure, to have an interesting story to tell, and of course, to familiarize yourself with the guidelines we are going to share today. In case you don’t know how this essay should look like, download free examples online. They will boost your inspiration and will familiarize you with the main requirements for structuring and formatting.

When assigned with a narrative essay at high school or college, you can have a unique opportunity to learn how to tell stories, to apply your knowledge, and to understand a subject. Actually, many students love writing a narrative essay and don’t consider it an actual task.

However, even though a narrative essay doesn’t require as many analyses and sources as, for example, a compare and contrast essay, it must still follow particular rules. To get familiar with them, and to learn how to write a perfect narrative essay, just continue reading!

Narrative essay structure

As any other written assignment, a narrative essay should follow a functional outline, which contains all details of the paper and highlights the most important points. There is three main section your paper should consist of: introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion.


The introduction is the first thing the reader sees in your paper, and it’s your top priority to make the audience want to continue reading until the last letter. The introduction aims to familiarize the audience with the main features of your narration and to make them want to learn more.

Don’t make this part too long not to bore the audience but still include three main parts: the hook sentence, thesis statement, and general description of the plot.

As you probably know, hook aims to engage and intrigue the audience. Depending on the story, the hook may be a joke, a fact, or an open question. A thesis statement is the main idea of your narrative essay, which is referred to in each argument.

And don’t forget to describe what the essay is about in a few general sentences. If necessary, provide background details and data to let readers understand the story easier.

Body paragraphs

That is where the story unfolds. Here is an approximate list of paragraphs that you should include to the body section:

  • Overview of the background, location, setting, etc.;
  • Description of the characters involved;
  • The event itself;
  • The climax;
  • The ending.

Even though a narrative essay is simpler than the rest, you need to understand how to build a story in an engaging and remarkable way. Including a climax and resolution is one of the most helpful tools.


Finally, you need to round up the story and explain what is moral and what lessons you have learned. Tell the audience why the story is significant and whether it can be of use for others. Don’t forget to finish your essay with a call-to-action: motivate others to share similar stories or write something like ‘so go home and hug your parents, they won’t be there forever.’

Tips for creating an outstanding narrative essay

Before you start working on the essay, we recommend getting familiar with the tips below. They were carefully collected by our writers with many years of experience. If applying all the below tips, you will greatly increase your chances of getting an A!

Choose the topic wisely

While a research paper or a compare and contrast essay may be based on a neutral topic, a narrative essay must involve your personality and experience. It must stir your emotions (both negative and positive), and to show others who you are. That is why it’s necessary to choose a topic, which you are passionate about.

Always begin with a draft

It’s impossible to write an essay from A to Z without any corrections. Even professional writers start with drafts! That is why you don’t need to worry about mistakes. Start with putting your thoughts on paper – you’ll be able to polish vocabulary and grammar errors later. 

Include all storyline elements

All good stories contain such elements as description, characters, engaging plot, setting, etc. If you want to attract the audience’s attention and engage them, it’s important to include all the above elements to your story.

Explain your role in the story

It’s important to let readers understand what your role in the narration is. That is why you need to provide all the details to explain your reactions and behavior in certain events. Tell about the things you felt when the event happened and why you acted a particular way. Then they’ll relate. If possible, support your words with examples, facts, and other references.

Include only meaningful details

One of the biggest mistakes that students make is including too many details to the story even though they don’t directly impact. These details make the text wordy and may easily confuse the audience. Make sure that the included details have a significant impact on the story. If not, avoid them.

Use clear and understandable language

You are writing a story, not an article for scientific research. That is why your tone and language should be easy to understand and clear. Considering the audience and use the vocabulary the readers are used to. If possible, let someone check the draft and say whether everything is clear and understandable.

Always proofread the essay

Read your final draft attentively to make sure that it follows the tutor’s requirements, has a proper structure, and doesn’t contain any mistakes. If you doubt whether your language and editing skills are good enough, use online software and multiple MS Word tools to check the text.

Read online examples

If you still have doubts, get familiar with online samples. There are literally thousands of narrative essay examples online for free. Read them, find inspiration, and start writing! However, it doesn’t mean that you need to copy-paste the example and submit it as your own. Nowadays, tutors often check papers on plagiarism software, and the last thing you need is to be accused of stealing someone else’s work.

Narrative essay topics

In case the tutor gave you the freedom to write about anything in the world, and you don’t know what topic to choose, start with the ideas below. They’ll surely help you to find the right direction:

  1. The most surprising gift that you have ever received;
  2. The time when you were scared to death;
  3. The time when you have learned a thing that completely changed who you are;
  4. The moment you met your soulmate;
  5. Tell about your first pet;
  6. The time when you have to move across the country;
  7. The best birthday party you have ever had;
  8. The funniest thing that ever happened to you;
  9. A party that was a real disappointment;
  10. The hottest summer day you can remember;
  11. The time when you were trapped in the car in the pouring rain;
  12. A weird conversation with a stranger;
  13. The time you were rejected;
  14. Your performance in a play or musical;
  15. The best moment on the football field;
  16. The best memory of a family dinner;
  17. The saddest experience you have ever had;
  18. Your summer trip to Disney Land;
  19. Tell me about your future. Where would you like to live? Where to work?
  20. The person you admire the most;
  21. Who is your role model, and why?
  22. Your favorite subject at school;
  23. The lesson you have learned recently;
  24. The biggest mistake you have ever made;
  25. The time when you had to tell lies because it was necessary to protect someone.
  26. What love and friendship mean to you;
  27. The most difficult decision you have ever made.

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At least once during school or college years, every student faces a narrative essay. It is one of the most popular and the simplest ways to evaluate your skills, so teachers love this assignment.

Unfortunately, they are used to giving tens of other tasks, and it becomes difficult to keep up with the schedule. In case you worry about grades or deadlines, don’t know how to create a powerful essay or simply don’t have a story to share – contact

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