This is it! You have been assigned to write a personal narrative piece, and this means that you are going to talk about the most interesting topic in the world – yourself! From the first glance, you might think that writing about yourself is as easy as pie. You don’t have to dive into complicated sources, try to figure out the meaning of scientific concepts, provide arguments, and so on. However, once you sit at your desk and get ready to write, you feel stuck all of a sudden. Where to start? How to make it engaging and interesting?
Have no worries. Today we will discuss personal essays and provide you with a list of top tips on how to compose one.
The first thing to know: What is a personal narrative paper?
In short, this is the first essay in your life where you can use a pronoun “I.” Well, seriously though, this assignment is a story about yourself. In general, these papers reveal writers’ experiences in a way that evokes emotions and reactions. The readers should relate to you as a character of the story to wrap their minds around it.
Looking at personal narrative essay samples that can be found online, one will easily conclude that they can be whichever you can imagine. Such a format provides writers with freedom of actions so that you can allow your creative juices flow.
In most cases, professors provide learners with topics, hints, and instructions. For example, you can receive a brief theme that may sound like “tell a story that changed your understanding of something valuable in life” or “talk about a situation when you made a complicated decision.” Having a topic at hand, you might reflect on your individual experience that fits.
- Your topic
If you already have one, create a list of details you would like to include. Use the list to make a rough outline – this will help you to keep everything in mind.
Give your readers something that will encourage them to continue reading. Make your first paragraph intriguing! A slight touch of a riddle will work as a promise that something is waiting for them ahead. For example, you can throw them into the middle of a story from the very first sentences – this will make them feel involved.
The best personal narrative examples show and don’t tell. And this is the best thing you can do to let your readers feel like a part of the story. Retelling a situation from your life is not enough. Give them details, add style, tone, add your feelings and thoughts about the event. You might also describe the surroundings and the way the characters of your story look. To present your emotions better, you might use verbs and adjectives – this will fill your piece with actions and make it dynamic.
Remember – if you don’t tell something, there is no guarantee that your readers understand that. They don’t have to! They cannot read your thoughts, after all. Don’t make your readers puzzled – provide explanations and details when necessary. For example, if you are telling a story about your family, you should show how you and other members are related. You can do that directly or indirectly – this is the question of your writing art and style.
Add dialogues, descriptions, and flashbacks. These things will make your story richer, just make sure that all of them are in the right place.
It’s unlikely that your personal essay will have a sequel, so you need to end it properly. The last part of your writing is crucial since it shapes the impression of the entire piece. This is your last chance to leave an imprint on readers’ hearts and make them remember you!
The best thing is to tie all the parts of your story in a bunch, briefly explain how this situation impacted your further life, and add a slight emotional bloom.
Remember, when you are done with your draft, you need to read it over and over again to make sure that it is structured and clear. Give it to someone else – a member of your family or a friend – and ask for an honest critique. Edit your paper before the submission, and make sure that there are no grammar mistakes in there! Nothing spoils a good story more than embarrassing errors.
And here is the last tip for you – have fun when writing! This is the most essential thing in your narrative essay. If the readers feel that the author enjoyed the process of writing, they will definitely feel the same. Good luck!