The Ultimate Guide to narrative essay writing

A narrative essay is one in which you tell a story from your point of view or personal experience, providing specific details to get readers involved and understand your point. The way of telling this story is called narrative. The narrative turns a story into information and influences the way how readers will perceive it. In other words, the narrative builds your story.

Now, the question arises: how can you write a narrative essay in order to impress your teacher or the person who reads your narrative? Do you really need to seek help from an essay writing service to make your point? Let us guide you in understanding the concepts related to narrative essay writing.

Purpose of writing a narrative essay

Narrative essays are about telling stories to your readers. It’s their important purpose. You, the writer, tell others about your personal experience but also make the readers understand why you tell your narrative and why your story is important to share. In a narrative essay, you simply guide a reader and allow them to draw their own conclusions. You don’t criticize anything and don’t try to persuade them with arguments or prove them anything.

Characteristics of a narrative essay

All the writers should understand that the narrative essay is not like a short story. It is considered as an academic paper and also should be written as such. If that proves too difficult for you then you can always ‘buy an essay’ for easing the pressure on your shoulders.

There are some other characteristics of a narrative essay that should also be noted:

  • Informal, written in the 1st person.
  • With a purpose to inform, not argue, or teach.
  • Describes a person, a scene, or an event in detail and chronological order.
  • Non-fictional, tells about the actual experience.
  • Includes the elements of a story but follows the structure of an essay.

Elements of a narrative essay

Every narrative should have five elements to become a story: plot, setting, character, conflict, and theme. It may seem difficult for you at first. Allow us to explain it to you by breaking down the elements with a suitable example.

  • Plot: it’s the events happening in your essay (story). For example, you write about how you learned swimming and describe what you did/how it influenced your mood and swimming skills.
  • Setting: it’s when and where the events happen; in other words, it’s location and time. For example, you learned swimming in the pool of your local school, in the winter of 2013.
  • Character: it’s a protagonist who drives a plot of your story. Also, there can be supporting characters. Thus, you are the protagonist of your essay about swimming, and the supporting characters are your friends May and Jerry who went to the pool with you.
  • Conflict: It’s a problem the character resolves, a moment of tension he needs to win through. In our example, the conflict was the challenge for you to swim with legs and arms together.

    Theme: it’s the moral of a story. What have you learned? What do you want the readers to understand? Back to the example with the essay about swimming: you’ve learned to swim; you want to encourage readers to learn new things, be brave, and not afraid of challenges.

Another thing that you should know as an essay writer is that the combination of these five elements is what creates the “narrative arc”, which are the five phases that your story must go through. These elements must be present in your narrative essay in order for the narrative essay to be counted as your story.

Narrative arc

The narrative arc is the pattern that your narrative essay follows. This pattern consists of five elements. The explanation of this concept will help you to step further towards your goal of writing a well thought and excellent narrative essay.

You have all heard the Cinderella story, Right? Let us try to explain this concept with the help of that story.

  • Exposition: It’s the introduction of your story, with the background information about the main characters and setting. Cinderella: awful life, evil stepmother, and sisters.
  • Rising action: It’s the moment when conflict appears, a trigger that creates tension and makes the readers understand what your story is about. Cinderella: gets invited to the ball, makes clothes.
  • Climax: It’s the main event of your story, the height of tension, when the protagonist faces the truth, needs to make a choice, etc. Cinderella: goes to the ball, meets a prince.
  • Falling action: It’s the result of that choice, the moment of conflict resolution. Cinderella: time to go, back to the awful life but with the new experience.
  • Resolution: It’s the conclusion of your story, with a moral or point of view you wanted to share. Cinderella: the prince finds her, they live happily.

Structure of the narrative essay

You need to structure a narrative essay by the rules of academic writing. For that, use a standard 5-paragraph essay format:

  • Write an introduction. Don’t forget to add a hook, a thesis statement, and a description of your topic. This part will use the exposition part of your narrative arc.
  • Craft three paragraphs of your college essay body. This part will be the rising action, climax, and falling action. Tell about the setting, the characters, events that happened, conflict, and its aftermath.
  • Write a conclusion, the resolution of your narrative arc. Explain the moral of your story, why it’s significant, and what the audience might want to do after reading it.

It should be noted that your language should be descriptive and sensory as you write these parts of your essay. Sensory means that your words must appeal to the sense of any person. They should have the ability to “draw” images with words so readers could imagine themselves in the described situation.

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