Home Student & Career Tips How to Write an Outstanding Narrative Essay

How to Write an Outstanding Narrative Essay [Updated]

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This article contains the a list of the updated steps on how to Write a Narrative Essay.

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Essay

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There are different types of essays and of all the various types, narrative essays seem to be the most loved, it gets more attention from readers because everyone likes stories.

The definition may vary in general but regardless, narrative essays tell 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.

Narrative essays are used to test your ability to express your experiences in a creative and compelling way, and to follow an appropriate narrative structure. They are often assigned in high school or in composition classes at university. You can also use these techniques when writing a personal statement for an application.

Structure of Narrative Essay

The structure of narrative essays is traditional.

Although there are not many set rules for structuring a narrative essay, your essay certainly needs an introduction, a body and a conclusion.

  • Introduction paragraph: This is basically written to warm up the audience and give the main point of what the story is about. The opening of the essay needs to let the reader know the essence of what you will be talking about and your point of view. Your introduction paragraph should also capture the reader’s attention with something dramatic. Thus, you should try as much as possible to be creative while still maintaining the originality of your story. The norm is 3–5 paragraphs.
  • Three body paragraphs: This is the section where the subject is discussed or narrated in detail. The body of the story needs to give the reader a very vivid idea of what happened and how you  feel about that. You can tell the story chronologically.
  • The final paragraph is the conclusion: The final paragraph needs to wrap up and state the point of the story, whether it is a lesson, an idea or just a learning experience. This is section should sum up all that is contained in other parts of the essay in at most 3–5

STEPS ON HOW TO WRITE AN OUTSTANDING NARRATIVE ESSAY

It is not enough to know the meaning of the narrative essay and what it entails. Knowing how to go about writing it is very important. Therefore, if you desire to write a captivating narrative essay, this article contains information on how to do that and below are steps to writing a catchy narrative essay.

A. PRE-WRITING PHASE

Before you start writing, there are important processes to follow to make the writing phase easier and faster.

1. Choose A Topic

Except in application and scholarship essays where you’re given a topic to write by the Institution, other times it is your responsibility to choose a topic. Thus, before writing a narrative essay, you should look for a topic that can help you do your best.

Take your time to think about what subject your audiences will be most interested in as well. You can only give a perfect narrative essay if the topic is familiar to you and you can talk about it for hours with interest and passion.

If you feel an emotional connection to the topic, your narrative essay will be more effective.

Another thing to consider when choosing a story is the plot. It is advised you go for stories with a manageable plot. The story must be specific and concise. The story also needs to be fairly contained and concise.

For instance, instead of writing about your University days which will be too vast, it is advisable to write about a particular event that occurred in your University days, examples are: Your fresher’s night experience, your first date, your final year examination encounter, etc. All these topics have story lines that can easily be managed to capture the minds of your readers without boring them.

More so, once you’ve chosen a topic, spend time recalling details, including the year, season, setting, sequence of events, people, and objects involved. Creating an outline of the story’s narrative flow is always very helpful when writing.

2. Outline the Storyline Elements

Most stories contain elements such as the plot, characters, setting, and other components. These elements help each text capture the readers’ attention and make them think about it. Make sure your narrative story contains all these elements and is written in accordance with all standards of English grammar.

While narrative essay is non-fiction meaning it has to be real, a first-hand experience, fictional aspects must not be overlooked too.

B. WRITING PHASE

3. Start With the Draft

Writing a good story from start to finish without any preparation isn’t easy and not always advisable. Therefore, you can create a narrative essay outline, draft and then refine it until you are satisfied that all the information is met. This format is used by many people, including authors.

Every story has a beginning, middle, and an end.

Writing up a quick list of the major plot in the story is a good way of ensuring you go straight to the point. It helps to limit things as much as possible.

Listing the major scenes that need to be a part of the story will help you get organized and find a good place to start.

4. Use a Consistent Point Of View

Generally, narrative essays are written in first person plural, making use of “I” statements and past tense respectively. In some cases, you might be required to narrate your story in third person plural. This is why it’s important to find out the requirements and instructions if it’s a school assignment. Don’t change perspectives throughout the story. This is because readers and listeners should clearly understand your position in the story.

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5. Describe Events Chronologically

A good narrative essay must be written in such a way that the events follow a sequential order to prevent confusion and to enable anyone who reads it to follow the thoughts of the writer.

C. POST WRITING PHASE

6. Review Your Essay

Revision and proofreading are the most important part of writing. Nobody gets it right on the very first draft, not even the most experienced writers.

After writing the essay, review your work for spelling errors, rewrite sentences that are unnecessary and ambiguous, modify, and reorganize your work with the goal of making it the best it can be. In revising a narrative essay, you should reread the work with these considerations in mind.

To achieve this effectively, get the draft finished ahead of time so as to have enough time to go back through your story carefully and see it again. Revise for clarity first. Are your main points clear? If not, make them clear by including more details or narration in the writing. Hammer home your points.

Checking punctuation and spelling is the last thing you should be worried about in your narrative essay.

7. Publishing a Narrative Essay

The final stage after writing and reviewing is to publish or submit your essay.

Bearing in mind the personal nature of this type of essay, sharing it with the rest of the class or even with the public can come with mixed feelings. It is normal to hesitate before publishing your essay. The important thing is to learn from the experience and make improvements on subsequent ones using the feedback.

EXAMPLE OF A NARRATIVE ESSAY

1. Canopy Walkway

As a child, I had always dreamt of going on an adventurous tour involving mountain climbing, kayaking, and lots more but the opportunity never presented itself till adulthood.

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If you have ever climbed a mountain or embarked on a canopy walk, you know how exciting it is to realize you are about to get on top of the longest canopy walk in Africa for the first time especially when you do not know what to expect or what the experience will be like.

I could still remember how excited I was on our way to Parkview conservation centre but all that excitement disappeared as we walked through the bush paths leading to the canopy walkway.

It happened about two years ago, a few days before my birthday. My friends had offered to give me a special pre-birthday treat at Parkview conservation centre, and after a short period of hesitation, I accepted their invitation. There was nothing much I had doing at that time, so I thought a change of surroundings would be a wonderful opportunity to unwind and cool off from work.

As I walked through the bush paths leading to the canopy walk I felt a pang of fear but being in the company of friends was more than enough consolation. On getting to the entrance of the walk way the tour guides gave brief orientation on the do’s and don’ts. I watched keenly as the first set of seven tourists ascended the canopy walkway without their picnic boxes. That was one of the rules. To be on the walkway, both hands were meant to be free inorder to grip the wire gauze firmly for balance.

After the third batch ascended the walkway, we were next. The first step I made on the walkway was rather scary. The walkway swayed vigorously as though it was collapsing but within split seconds everything became normal.

While on the walkway, I began to process all the tour guide was saying. I felt she was bluffing when she said the canopy walkway was about 22.5 feet’s above ground level and 401 metres with 7 stops.

Half into the second lap of the walk, It dawned on me that the walk was truly an hour walk as stated by the guide. I didn’t want all that to hinder me from enjoying the tour and I decided to take my mind off from all the distractions and enjoy every bit of the walk. From that moment I began to notice the beautiful sights. Both sides of the walkway was covered with a pine forest. The trees were incredibly high and thick, their knotted large roots cut the ground with Monkey’s skillfully jumping from one tree to the other. The air was fresh and clean.  After about a 30 minutes’ walk, I heard the sound of flowing water. For the first time since I climbed the walkway, I was forced to look down. Being acrophobic, I was determined not to look down till I got off the walkway but I couldn’t resist the temptation.

Watching the blue coloured water flowing across the forest was a beautiful sight.

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After about an hour of walking, we got off the walkway. I only managed to take a few pictures of the walkway before monkeys started to disturb. Not quite long we got off the canopy walkway and the weather became cloudy and within a split second, the firmament became open and freely let out as much liquid as possible. While under the shades at the family garden across the other side of the walkway, I couldn’t help but to imagine what our date would have been if we were still on the walkway since it’s prohibited to go on the walk during rainy seasons.  Well, since I wasn’t, why break my head worrying about that?

Going on the canopy walk with my friends was the best outing I ever embarked on and it gave me the courage to believe more in myself.

Subsequently, I went on more canopy walks and climbed several mountains. But I never again had the same feeling as at that very moment I got on the walkway and felt like it was about to collapse.

Finally, my childhood dreams became a reality in adulthood and my phobia for altitude became a thing of the past after my third tour with friends.

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