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How to write Narrative Essays?

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Posted : 2019-01-14
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Caseyf Savage

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How to write Narrative Essays?

Not all essays have to be boring and the kind that nobody would want to read. Essays can be interesting too. More so when they are personal in nature and based on real or fictional stories. Such essays always manage to grab the attention of a wider audience and can be a lot of fun to write as well! And yes, they can be and are assigned by professors and teachers in schools and universities.

The narrative essay happens to be one such essay. It can actually be an interesting write and read. It can also help you ace grades but there’s a catch! For you to score well, you will have to know how to write one in the best way possible. Well, don’t worry about that. You don’t have to look far and wide to find out how to write narrative essays. We have curated the perfect guide for you in this blog. Check it out below.

What is a narrative essay?

A narrative essay is meant to be a personal account of an incidence or story that inspired you in some way or the other. However, it can’t be just any story. It has to be a specific incidence pertaining to the theme laid down by your professor. Narrative essays are always written in first person and can be longish in nature as compared to the rest of the essays.

Steps to write an excellent narrative essay

Although on the surface writing a narrative essay might seem like an easy task, it requires a lot more patience, meticulous planning and attention to detail. You have to be careful about what you write and how you write if you truly wish to wow your professor. Let us show you the steps to writing the perfect narrative essay so you always score well-

1. Read the prompt carefully

Despite the narrative essay being a piece of personal writing, when assigned academically you still have to stick to the prompt. That means you have to write your essay within the limits of the rules defined by your professor in the prompt. So before you start, give the prompt a thorough once-over to get an idea of what you are supposed to write on.

2. Brainstorm the topic

Within the purview of the prompt, several personal experiences may run through your mind as potential topics. However, not all of them would be fitting. When brainstorming over the topic, make sure you choose a personal story that really matters to you and fulfils the requirement of the prompt. Unless you’re involved in and truly feel what you write, you won’t be able to write the perfect essay. Also ensure your topic is capable of stirring your audience in a good way.

3. Create the right structure

Clear with the topic? Great! Now before you start writing in earnest, jot down all the key points of your story. After that, go ahead and create the right structure for your essay. This is step is very crucial as without a solid structure, your essay might seem haphazard. Ideally, your essay should be made up of three parts in total-

  • I. Introduction, which contains the hook and thesis
  • II. Main body, which contains the story divided into at least 3 paragraphs
  • III. Conclusion, which is a wrap up of your thesis along with an interesting takeaway

4. Write your first draft

As you can see by now you have everything you need to start writing your narrative essay. Hence, you should now proceed to creating the first draft. Writing a story from the start to the end is not an easy task and you may have to rewrite a few times before you get a polished copy that deserves to be submitted. Even famous writers use this technique to ensure all requirements are met. Just ensure that while you write, you only write in first person.

5. Include story elements in your essay

Since a narrative essay is a personal account, you have to ensure that it contains all the storyline elements needed to make it perfect. Your essay should contain elements such as a plot, characters, theme, setting, descriptions etc. If you include all these elements in your write-up, you story will flow smoothly and will earn you brownie points from your assessor.

6. Present your own point of view

Remember your narrative essay is your own story, written in first person. Hence, while writing it, don’t be shy to express your own opinions and points of view. In your essay, you should let your readers know every single detail of the account you’ve given as well as your reasons for doing what you did while the said incidence took place.

7. Support your stance

You might think that since you are writing a narrative essay, you no longer have to prove the arguments you have mentioned within them. That is wrong. Your narrate essay will describe your opinion as mentioned before. Mere mentioning of your opinion is not enough and you will have to back up each opinion with supporting arguments in the form of facts, figures or references. These will help in illustrating your thought process and justifying your conclusion.

8. Proceed chronologically

While writing your narrative essay, make it a point to follow a chronological order in the sequence of events you describe. This allows for a simple read and helps the reader gain clarity on your perspective. It also helps in avoiding any kind of confusion that may arise.

9. Highlight key points

In the course of your narrative essay, you will mention certain crucial moments – moments that define the central theme of your paper and align with the prompt. For the benefit of your assessor as well as your readers, highlight these crucial moments. This will help them stand out and drive home the point you are trying to make through your essay. They will also help your readers understand your story better.

10. Wrap up with an effective conclusion

A narrative essay is not meant to have an open ending. It is supposed to tie up every single episode you describe in its course in a concrete manner. Hence, the last paragraph of your paper should act as an effective conclusion to the whole thing. Make sure you repeat your thesis in the conclusion and also mention an interesting takeaway for your audience. An essay that’s complete is bound to get you great scores from your professor or teacher.

11. Review your essay

This is the last step you need to take in order to write a stellar narrative essay. Reviewing your essay includes proofreading and editing it and revising it as necessary. This can help make your essay absolutely flawless so ensure that you never skip this step. With that being said, it will be best to wait for a day or two after writing your essay to review it. You may not be able to catch the mistakes you have made if you review it instantly after writing.

Following these steps is a sure-shot formula to doing well on your narrative essay.

Narrative essay writing tips and tricks

We know that simply mentioning the steps of writing a narrative essay is not going to do for you. You need some tips and tricks as well so you can truly ace your essay with the confidence that you have done everything right. So let us present to you handy tips and tricks for your essay-

1. Write clearly

Probably the most crucial tip you can get for your narrative essay is to writer clearly. It’s quite easy to get lost in the story you are writing, which is why you should re-read what you’ve written to check that you’re following the right sequence. Things that can help you write clearly include the use of simple language and short sentences.

2. Ditch details that are unnecessary

While revising your essay, you may come across points that do not hold any relevance to your story. Eliminate such details from your write-up even if that means a reduction in the word count of your essay. Unnecessary details can confuse your readers and even lead to a decrease in your overall score.

3. Double check your essay requirements

Is your essay in line with the requirements laid down in the prompt? There’s only one way to know. Double check the requirements and then review your essay to see if your paper is written as per the criteria mentioned in the prompt. If you are confused about whether your paper meets the requirements, consult your teacher. They’re always willing to help.

4. Add spice to your essay

A narrative essay should by no means be dull and boring. Your essay should have enough spice to rouse your readers and keep their interest alive till the very end of your paper. You can make your essay an engrossing read by inserting relevant details that add a dramatic twist to your story! This could be in the form of characters such as an antagonist, an element of suspense, a joke, a coincidence and more.

5. Be descriptive

Chances are your narrative essay is going to have more than one character apart from you along with a specific setting. Make sure you describe each character in detail – from their appearance to their particular mannerisms. You should do the same thing with the setting, no matter how many times it changes during the length of your essay. Keep the details so they catch the fancy of your reader.

6. Editing tips

We told you earlier that editing your essay is a must. But editing can be a lengthy process and certain tips can make the process a whole lot easier for you-

  • ✍ Begin editing only after taking a break from your essay
  • ✍ While editing, shorten any complex sentences that you may find; long, complicated sentences can put off readers and make your point hard to understand
  • ✍ Try to edit out terms that may mean a lot of things and use a specific word instead; you don’t want your point to be lost
  • ✍ If you find that any ideas have been repeated, remove them; do the same for your arguments
  • ✍ Check the format and the citations thoroughly and verify them
  • ✍ Paraphrase difficult portions of your essay so they make more sense
  • ✍ If your essay doesn’t seem to be in the right order, restructure it

7. Proofreading tips

As crucial as editing, proofreading your paper can make all the difference between a good grade and a poor one. Here are some proofreading tips to help you-

  • ✍ While proofreading, check your paper for grammar issues; If you find mistakes, correct them instantly
  • ✍ Check misspellings and the use of wrong words and replace with the correct spelling and terms
  • ✍ Remove double spaces if you find unless specified in the prompt
  • ✍ Check the prompt to see if your essay matches all the formatting rules laid down in the instructions

A narrative essay can seem like a challenging task at first but it doesn’t have to be. Not unless you have this guide to help you out. Every point mentioned here will not make essay writing a much easier process but will also ensure that your professors/teachers are thoroughly impressed by you.

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