How to write a narrative essay. Detailed instructions

How to write a narrative essay

Prior to writing a narrative essay it is logical to ask “What is a narrative essay?” Narrative essay is a story about a real-life experience. Such stories can be interesting and exciting, and they often appeal to our imagination.  However, the author of a narrative essay goes even further. The story aims at a certain meaning like a lesson that can be drawn from an event described in the essay. A distinguishing feature of a narrative essay is that it makes a point and tries to prove it. Being essentially a story, narrative essay has all storytelling characteristics: it is often filled with details (which serve to embellish the story and support the author’s point), it usually includes dialogues, and it almost always has such parts as climax and ending.

The procedure of writing a narrative essay can be greatly simplified if you are guided by certain well proved rules. So we are happy to offer you a few tips on how to write a narrative essay intended to streamline the writing process. They include a five-step sequence and a few small advices on the topic.

1. Prewriting
During this stage of writing a narrative essay, the author thinks of his or her life experience trying to recall an event corresponding to the assigned task. For example, a student maybe assigned to write an essay about a problem that he or she successfully solved or a conflict with relatives that occurred earlier in life. It would be better if the event you are going to write about was a truly meaningful experience and it is still significant to you. In this case you have an emotion connection with the theme and will be able to craft a better story.

Having selected the most suitable of the topics, try to recall details of the event like its environment including the season, weather and background events like elections taking place at the same time, and people and objects involved. Don’t disregard any detail as together they can produce a vivid picture. In is often useful to make an outline of the narrative flow as well.

2. Drafting
Draft is the foundation of the essay and it is here where you determine the overall character of your paper. In order to compose a truly interesting and exciting story, try to follow some hints based on vast practical experience:

  • If feasible, try to write a narrative essay in the first person. Such an approach imparts the story a feeling of presence and personal participation, which engages the reader.
  • If you mention an object, try to describe it carefully and realistically without glossing it over or omitting details.  The reader is not familiar with the environment in which the action takes place, so the phrase “an old Land Rover Defender with its headlights on” contributes to the reader’s image much more than just “a car”.
  • Being non-fiction writings, narrative essays still may have fiction elements that will enrich the story without making it false. Besides, the author’s plot-building ability can make the same story much more interesting and engaging.

3. Revising

In this stage, the author’s job is to review, reorganize and modify the essay in order to make it more impressive and convincing. For that purpose, it is recommended to reread the paper considering the following hints:

  • Is the logic of your narration easy to understand? Does the action unfold in a clear and comprehensible manner? Are the transitions in the narrative flow really necessary and timely or are they confusing?
  • Are all the details necessary or do some of them just distract the reader?
  • The word choice may be either descriptive or purely informative. In a narrative essay, the former is obviously preferable. Consider the words you have chosen to describe the scene.

        If the revision has revealed any shortcomings (which is the most probable result of a thorough revision) polish your essay by fixing them. If the narration flow does not appear sufficiently clear and logic, improve the story by including more details. Hammer home the key points of your essay.

4. Editing
The editing phase too involves rereading, but this time it acquires the form of proofreading. That is you check the grammar and spelling and brush up your style. Also you may encounter remaining defects in your text or you may invent some trick to improve the paper.

5. Publishing
Making your essay public is a bit scary moment, even it only means reading it to the class. But at the same time this moment is pleasant and exiting as you are proud of the completed job. It is at this point when you will receive the first criticism of your work, both negative and positive

In the end, it won’t hurt if you have your essay revised by sending it to an experienced writer or to a friend. You are sure to get a valuable feedback.

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