A narrative essay is more of a short story where the author uses transitions, flashbacks, and other literary devices. There is normally a plot, a narrator, or a protagonist. Some of the characteristics of narrative essays include:
This is a narrative essay format where one describes the way an event took place right from the beginning through to the end. There is normally some form of transition so that the reader can make a connection.
- There is a plot, characters and other details that surround them
Any narrative essay writer should ensure that they include all the details of an event in such a way that all these concepts are included in the paper. A high school narrative essay has a simpler plot and fewer characters as compared to a university narrative essay.
- Personal experiences are described
Essays on narrative experiences are filled with personal experiences. It is common to use the pronoun ‘I’ and the protagonist is the writer of the essay. They write my narrative essay on what they saw or experienced.
- Literary techniques are employed
A complete school narrative essay uses literary devices to attract the interest and appeal to the emotions of its audiences. Good narrative essays go to the extent of placing some of these devices strategically.
- The story always has a moral
When you write a narrative essay, always ensure that there is a moral to the story, or the whole paper will not make sense.
- The ending contains suspense or is a complete part of a continuous experience
Writing narrative essays requires prowess in developing endings that leave the reader yearning for more.
If you want to know how to write a narrative essay, think of:
- Why should I write these narrative papers? What is my position in the paper?
- Who are my audiences? Personal narrative essays may be explicit, and it is important to include only relevant details. For example, narratives on fighting and drugs are not suitable for young children. A college narrative essay may be explicit because it is meant for adults.
- What ways should I cite my research materials if any? Should I have narrative essays APA citation? Is narrative essays MLA citation suitable?
- Where do example narrative essays of this kind applicable?
After answering these questions, check out sample narrative essays from other writers to have an idea over that which is needed.
Narrative Essay Writing: Do’s and Don’ts
DO: Tell a story that you love something that you know will catch the attention of the reader because it caught yours. You could even discuss your personal experiences or history or even events that you have gone through. Give a vivid yet complete description of an experience in an interesting manner.
DO: Always have an outline. It may be an experience that you have already gone through, but you need to have some form of organization. Focus on a particular line of thought so that you remain on the topic and have flow. An outline helps you find the transition from one paragraph to the next.
DO: Narrative essay writing requires the clever use of literal language. Decide on the type of similes, metaphors and other literal devices that you can add to make your work more interesting.
DO: Check for grammar and spelling once you are done. You may be writing about a personal experience, but your grammar has to be on point.
DON’T: Avoid copying an experience that somebody else went through. Be very direct with the way you handle a variety of issues and make sure you are honest.
It is important to realize that narrative essay topics vary but they all have a personal touch to them. Always make sure that you maintain honesty when writing such papers.
Writing Narrative Essays
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Writing a narrative essay is an essential talent for field research. Rather than summing things up for your reader, it presents your experience and allows them to draw their own conclusions. The narrative essay makes it point by subtly guiding the reader, rather than battering them the way a rhetorical essay would.
By observing these basic ideas, you can improve your narrative essay.
Complex words and syntax are a hindrance to clarity and should be avoided. Ideas should be clearly distributed between sentences and paragraphs.
Example: Although I have never been to the races before, I was very excited to behold them, yet also somewhat nervous, because of the type of people who go there.
Improved: I’d never been to a horse race. I was excited to go, but also a little nervous, since I wasn’t sure about the people at the track.
2. Don’t describe each and every one of your own movements
Example: As I went in the door, I turned and saw a TV. I looked around and saw posters on the wall. As I went further in I noticed everyone was watching M*A*S*H.
Improved: I immediately noticed the posters on the wall, though everyone else’s eyes were focused on a TV playing M*A*S*H.
3. Avoid the second-person narrative
An important part of the narrative essay is the fact that the writer experienced the events described.
Example: As you go in the door, you will turn and see a TV. You look around and see posters on the wall. As you go further in you notice everyone is watching M*A*S*H.
Writing in the present tense is okay, however.
4. To interest the reader, dynamic word choice is key
Avoid sounding too clinical. Use the same slang, idiom, and turns of phrase you would use in speech. Avoid passive constructions.
Example: I am presented an array of unpleasant photos in which many casualties are shown after automobile accidents.
Improved: They showed me a book stuffed with gruesome pictures of people who’d been in car wrecks.
5. Limit references
MLA format recommends including citations in the text, but in a narrative essay this is disruptive. If a work was helpful, cite it in a ‘Works Consulted’ list after the essay. Explain yourself as you go along, rather than trying to refer your reader back to a previous statement.
Example: When I first saw the comic book fans jumping up and down, I thought as they would, “Lord, what fools these mortals be” (Gaiman 1989.) I later learned why they do this.
Improved: The fans jump up and down. When I first saw this, I wondered what they were doing and my mind conjured a quote from Shakespeare that Neil Gaiman used in his “Sandman”: “Lord, what fools these mortals be.” However, I watched a bit longer and realized the company spokesmodels were throwing free merchandise. The fans wanted to get the most from their day at the convention.
The narrative essay is a keen rhetorical tool because it allows the readers to draw their own conclusions, but falling into the traps above deprive it of its effectiveness. By avoiding these errors, you can subtly guide your reader in your desired direction.