What is a Narrative Essay?

‘It’s all about telling a story, innit?’

The term ‘narrative’ derives from the word ‘narration.’ It delves into the art of storytelling and tells the audience about something the writer has experienced before.

A narrative essay, in essence, is all about diving deep into your creative persona and telling a story that you’ve experienced first-hand. It allows you to get more inventive and personal.

Why are you given something as such to write about in college, though?

Usually, a narrative essay is assigned to a student to test their core ability to express how much creativity they possess. It also helps them learn the core narrative structure properly.

How Do You Write a Narrative Essay?

Even though it focuses mostly on an experience that you’ve had before, a narrative essay, like any academic article, will have a basic structure. Also, as you are writing it for your college, it won’t be right if you did it however you want. It has to look professional and readable.

When I work on a narrative essay, I usually focus on three elements. These are -

1: The Topic

When it comes to choosing a topic, there’re two different types of prompts that you can select from. The first one is known as the specific prompt. As the name implies, this type of subject will be much more to-the-point and ask a very subjective question to you.

An example or two of such would be -

  • Write a story about how you spent the first day at the school.
  • Discuss your favorite holiday destination.

On the other hand, an open-ended prompt will let you choose whatever you want to write by yourself. I mean, yes, there will be some restrictions on the nature of the topic. But you can still choose whatever story you want to write regarding the same.

Here’s what this type of prompt or topic can entail -

  • Write about an achievement that has made you proud of yourself.
  • Talk about an instance that gave you an important life lesson.

Thus, in this case, you will need to think harder about what you want to write. Do you want to give away too much information about your personal life? Or is there something else that you want to go for? Make sure to choose whatever you want to do first before getting started.

2: The Tone of Writing

The tone of these essays has to be creative, personalized, and conversational. When the reader is going through the same, they should feel like you are talking to them, face-to-face.

The formatting has to be done similarly like you do with any other essay. For example, it will have an introduction, a body, and a conclusion, respectively. 

However, the presentation of the information you are giving has to be different. Like, you can write by using ‘you’ to represent the reader and ‘I’ to represent yourself.

Furthermore, the language can go a little lavish and informal. Nonetheless, I will suggest you to avoid using any form of slang or colloquial word here, as it won’t be professional that way.

3: The Theme of the Essay

If you’re writing about a personal experience, I would ask you to include a sense of conflict in it. That way, you can express the dichotomy you encountered during the incident and how you found a way to win through it. The theme of the essay should be mature, as you’re talking about something you’ve learned from it - which adds to your character development.

Just make sure that you are not adding too much detail in the story, as it might bore a reader. It would be best if you only give a sneak peek to your story and focus on how it developed you.



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