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Tips for Writing a Personal Narrative Essay

Writing an Impactful Personal Narrative Essay

❶Read narrative essays for inspiration. Not Helpful 31 Helpful

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Example of Narrative Writing
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Those are the details we need. Typically, narrative essays are "non-fiction," which means that you can't just make up a story. It needs to have really happened. Force yourself to stay as true as possible to the straight story. Outline the plot before you begin. Where does your story start? Where does it end? Writing up a quick list of the major plot points in the story is a good way of making sure you hit all the high points.

Every story needs a beginning, a middle, and an end. It helps to limit things as much as possible. While it might seem like we need to know a bunch of specific details from your senior year, try to think of a particularly tumultuous day from that year and tell us that story.

Where does that story start? Not the first day of school that year. Find a better starting point. If you want to tell the story of your prom night, does it start when you get dressed? Does it start when you spill spaghetti sauce all down your dress before the dance?

While that might seem like the climax of a story you want to tell, it might make a better starting place. Go straight to the drama. You don't need to write up a formal outline for a narrative essay unless it's part of the assignment or it really helps you write.

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. Use a consistent point of view. Generally, narrative essays will be written in first person, making use of "I" statements, which is a little unusual compared to other assignments you'll be given in school.

Whether you're giving us scenes with dialog, or discussing what happened in past-tense, it's perfectly fine to use first person in a narrative essay. This is a difficult and advanced technique to try to pull off, and it usually has the effect of being too complicated. There should only be one "I" in the story. In general, narrative essays and short stories for that matter should also be told in past tense.

So, you would write "Johnny and I walked to the store every Thursday" not "Johnny and I are walking to the store, like we do every Thursday.

If so, be consistent with your pronouns throughout the story. Describe the important characters. Who else is important to the story, other than yourself? Who else was present when the story took place. Who affected the outcome of the story? What specific, particular details can you remember about the people in the story? Use these to help build the characters into real people. Particular details are specific and only particular to the character being described. While it may be specific to say that your friend has brown hair, green eyes, is 5 feet tall with an athletic build, these things don't tell us much about the character.

The fact that he only wears silk dragon shirts? Now that gives us something interesting. Try writing up a brief sketch of each principal character in your narrative essay, along with the specific details you remember about them. Pick a few essentials. Find the antagonist and conflict. Good narratives often have a protagonist and an antagonist, which is what creates the conflict.

The protagonist is usually the main character in most narrative essays, that'll be you who is struggling with something. It might be a situation, a condition, or a force, but whatever the case, a protagonist wants something and the reader roots for them.

The antagonist is the thing or person who keeps the protagonist from getting what they want. Who or what is the antagonist in your story? To answer this question, you also need to find out what the protagonist wants. What is the goal? What's the best case scenario for the protagonist? What stands in the protagonist's way? The antagonist isn't "the bad guy" of the story, necessarily, and not every story has a clear antagonist.

Also keep in mind that for some good personal narratives, you might be the antagonist yourself. Just as important to a good story as the characters and the plot is the setting. Where does the story take place?

In the city or the country? Describe the location that the story takes place and let the setting become part of your story. Do a freewrite about the location that your story takes place. What do you know about the place? What can you remember? What can you find out? If you do any research for your narrative essay, it will probably be here.

Try to find out extra details about the setting of your story, or double-check your memory to make sure it's right. Good writing is in the details. Even the most boring office environment or the dullest town can be made compelling with the right kinds of details in the writing. Remember to use particulars—unique details that don't describe anything else but the specific thing you're writing about, and let these vivid details drive the story.

You might tell us something like, "My dad was always sad that year," but if you wrote "Dad never spoke when he got home from work. We heard his truck, then heard as he laid his battered hardhat on the kitchen table.

Then we heard him sigh deeply and take off his work clothes, which were stained with grease. Make sure your theme is clearly illustrated in the story. After you've written your rough draft, read back over it with an eye for your theme. Whatever the purpose of your telling us the story that you're telling us needs to be made very clear.

The last thing you want is for the reader to get to the end and say, "Good story, but who cares? Get the theme into the very beginning of the essay. Just as a researched argument essay needs to have a thesis statement somewhere in the first few paragraphs of the essay, a narrative essay needs a topic statement or a thesis statement to explain the main idea of the story. This isn't "ruining the surprise" of the story, this is foreshadowing the important themes and details to notice over the course of the story as you tell it.

A good writer doesn't need suspense in a narrative essay. The ending should seem inevitable. Use scenes and analyses.

All narratives are made of two kinds of writing: Scenes happen when you need to slow down and tell specific details about an important moment of the story.

Scenes are small moments that take a while to read. An analysis is used to narrate the time between scenes. They are longer moments that you read over more quickly. I didn't know what to tell him. I fidgeted, kicked an empty paint bucket that was rusted over at the edge of the lot. We got a turkey, cornbread, cranberries. The store was crazy-packed with happy holiday shoppers, but we walked through them all, not saying a word to each other. It took forever to lug it all home.

Use and format dialogue correctly. When you're writing a narrative essay, it's typically somewhere between a short story and a regular essay that you might write for school. You'll have to be familiar with the conventions of formatting both types of writing, and since most narrative essays will involve some dialogue, you should make formatting that dialogue correctly a part of your revision process. Having a friend read the essay is a good idea at this point, and allows the writer to see their work from a fresh perspective.

Due to its personal nature, sharing a narrative essay with the rest of the class or even with friends and family can be both exciting and a bit scary. The important thing is to learn from the experience and use the feedback to make the next essay even better. Time4Writing essay writing courses offer a highly effective way to learn how to write the types of essays required for school, standardized tests, and college applications.

A unique online writing program for elementary, middle school, and high school students, Time4Writing breaks down the writing process into manageable chunks, easily digested by young writers. Students steadily build writing skills and confidence, guided by one-on-one instruction with a dedicated, certified teacher.

At the elementary level, Time4Writing has a dedicated 8-week Narrative Writing Course that walks beginning essay writers through every step of the writing process to make sure that mastery is complete. Our middle school Welcome to the Essay and Advanced Essay courses teach students the fundamentals of writing well-constructed essays, including the narrative essay.

The high school Exciting Essay Writing course focuses in depth on the essay writing process with the goal of preparation for college. The courses also cover how to interpret essay writing prompts in testing situations. Tips on Writing a Narrative Essay. With the help of my incredible teacher, I have brought my writing to a new level.

Its purpose is to make the reader agree with the proofs and conclusions. In other words, the reader should share the viewpoint of the writer. A comparison essay will compare two things and point out their similarities and differences.

The writer needs to find as many similarities and differences as possible so he will need to do some research. It does not matter in what order the facts are presented, as long as they are easy to understand by the reader. Descriptive essays answer the questions: They can be written about any subject; a place, person, animal, event, thing, or memory.

The writer will share with the reader what he feels and perceives. The tone should be sensory in nature so the reader can almost see, smell, taste, hear, and feel what the author experienced. A narrative essay tells a story that has a point to be made. The reader may receive an idea or a lesson from the essay.


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2. Drafting a Narrative Essay. When creating the initial draft of a narrative essay, follow the outline, but focus on making the story come alive, using the following techniques: Personal narrative essays are most naturally written in the first person, and using “I” gives the story an immediacy that engages the reader.

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Now, I will write a sample narrative essay, as if this clip were based on my experience. Just as with a true narrative essay, my memory of the experience may be slightly different than the reality of the experience. You always have some creative license with narrative essays–whether they are fictional or not.

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Descriptive Narrative Essay. The autobiographical essay would have you focus on the story without exaggerating details. In a descriptive narrative essay, you have more creative freedom. You must describe a situation, memory, or experience in vivid detail. Your goal is to paint a picture for the reader and tell a beautiful story. A narrative essay usually reflects something of a personal nature so many times it becomes a personal narrative essay. Narrative Essay. A narrative essay tells a story that has a point to be made. The reader may receive an idea or a lesson from the essay. The story is .

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To write a narrative essay, you’ll need to tell a story (usually about something that happened to you) in such a way that he audience learns a lesson or gains insight. To write a descriptive essay, you’ll need to describe a person, object, or event so vividly that the reader feels like he/she could reach out and touch it. Like all good stories, a narrative essay needs a beginning, middle, climax and end. It also needs characters and a plot, as well as a setting. All of these elements come together to ensure that the story flows properly and keeps people's interest.