How to Write a Narrative Essay: Best Tips That Work

narrative essay

What Is a Narrative Essay?

A narrative essay definition typically recounts a real-life story, with the possibility of altering some elements for clarity or dramatic effect, though it's not a strict requirement. It's interesting to note that you can structure a fictional tale as a narrative essay.

Narrative essays, as the name suggests, revolve around the presence of a narration within the text. Unlike argumentative assignments that defend a position or analytical writings that analyze another text, a narrative essay weaves a cohesive story. These essays often take a personal approach, delving into specific episodes from the authors' lives, making them a popular choice for college papers.

Distinguished from many other composition types, narratives allow the incorporation of literary devices like metaphor and onomatopoeia. The creative freedom in narrative works arises from the fact that you're crafting a story, offering a departure from the conventional approach of presenting and dissecting others' statements or work.

narrative essay body

Narrative Essay Format

The format and narrative essay structure play pivotal roles in crafting a captivating story that resonates with readers, evokes emotions, and leaves a lasting impact. Whether you're penning a personal essay or delving into fiction, adhering to the following guidelines from our narrative essay writing service on how to craft a monograph can help you fashion a compelling narrative:

Introduction: This section sets the stage for your story, introducing key characters and the setting. It should employ a hook to grab readers' attention, prompting them to delve further. When uncertain about starting, vividly describe the setting or pose an intriguing question.

Plot: The plot encompasses the sequence of events constituting your chronicle, progressing through a clear beginning, middle, and end. Each part should build upon the previous, with a well-defined conflict or problem that the protagonist must navigate. Check out quality narrative essay examples to see how to arrange the plot in practice. 

Characters: Characters are the driving force of the storyline, requiring depth with distinct personalities and motivations. The protagonist should possess a clear goal, while the antagonist presents challenges to overcome.

Setting: This denotes the time and place where the story unfolds, demanding detailed descriptions to establish a mood that aligns with the narrative's themes.

Dialogue: Conversation between characters, known as dialogue, should be realistic, unveiling their personalities and motivations. It also serves to propel the plot forward.

Climax: The climax marks the peak tension or conflict in the story, acting as the turning point that leads to conflict resolution.

Resolution: The resolution serves as the story's conclusion, offering a satisfying end to the conflict and tying up loose ends.

By adhering to these guidelines, you can construct a structure that immerses readers in your tale, allowing them to embark on a journey and become integral to the unfolding action. Remember, a well-structured narration has the power to engage and resonate profoundly. Don’t forget to check out the Chicago style citation guide to be able to work with quotes in a more quality fashion. 

Narrative Essay Outline


A. Hook: How to start a narrative essay in the best way possible? Commence with a captivating statement, question, or anecdote that introduces the topic and captivates the reader's attention. For instance, “The stage bathed me in sunlight as I took that nerve-wracking step, my heart racing with eager anticipation.”

B. Background Information: Offer contextual details for the narrative, such as the setting or the characters involved. Illustratively, “Weeks of meticulous preparation culminated in this moment, with lines rehearsed and every detail perfected for the upcoming school play.”

C. Thesis Statement: Articulate the primary point of the essay and provide a glimpse of the unfolding events. As an example, “This particular encounter underscored the significance of embracing risks and venturing beyond my comfort zone, revealing unforeseen rewards and fostering personal development.”

Main Body

A. First Event: Portray the initial event in the narrative, intricately detailing the setting, characters, and actions. For instance, “With the delivery of my opening lines on stage, a surge of adrenaline swept through me, accompanied by a profound sense of pride as the culmination of my hard work unfolded.”

B. Second Event: Elaborate on the subsequent event in the storyline, illustrating how it builds upon the first occurrence and propels the narrative forward. As an illustration, “Progressing through the play, I found a growing ease in my role, forging connections with fellow actors and contributing to the seamless flow of the performance.”

C. Turning Point: A pivotal turning point in the narrative is a juncture where something unexpected or momentous alters the course of events. To exemplify, “In the concluding act, my character confronted a challenging decision, demanding spontaneous improvisation and a reliance on instinctual trust.”

D. Climax: Depict the apex of the story, the moment of highest tension or conflict. For example, “As the play climaxed, I delivered my concluding lines with unwavering confidence and emotional depth, basking in a profound sense of accomplishment and fulfillment.”


A. Restate Thesis: Recapitulate the primary point of the essay and elucidate how the unfolding events in the narrative reinforce it. For instance, “In retrospect, this encounter underscored the invaluable lesson that venturing beyond one's comfort zone and embracing risks can pave the way for unforeseen personal development and gratifying outcomes.”

B. Reflection: Engage in contemplation regarding the significance of the experience and the insights derived from it. For example, “Upon reflection, I recognize that this encounter not only enriched my understanding of acting and performance but also imparted profound lessons about resilience and self-confidence.”

C. Call to Action: If you're contemplating how to conclude your essay, consider culminating with a call to action or a parting thought that leaves the reader with something compelling to ponder or act upon. For instance, “I urge everyone to confront challenges head-on and welcome new adventures, as these endeavors harbor the potential for remarkable experiences and personal growth.”

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How to Write a Narrative Essay in 5 Steps?

Generate Narrative Essay Ideas

If you find yourself unsure about how to title a narrative essay, it's beneficial to spark some ideas. An effective approach is to explore writing prompts available online: Reed regularly updates its site with fresh prompts each week, and our Facebook group features new writing prompts every Wednesday.

Alternatively, take a moment to reflect on pivotal experiences in your life. Consider these questions to prompt inspiration:

  • When did an event reshape my worldview, personal philosophy, or political beliefs?
  • Who has offered me profound advice or played a significant role in enhancing my life?
  • What moment of adversity did I overcome, emerging stronger and wiser?
  • What do I hold as crucial and wish others would value, too?
  • Which life event of mine remains not entirely comprehended?
  • What is a continuous pursuit or aspiration in my life?
  • What have I perhaps taken for granted, only to now realize its true significance and feel gratitude?

Create a Narrative Essay Outline

Creating a solid outline is the first and foremost prerequisite of how to write a good narrative essay. Here's a guide on how to write a good outline:


  • Hook: Start with a captivating opening to grab the reader's attention.
  • Background: Provide context for the story, introducing the setting and characters.
  • Thesis Statement: Clearly state the main point or lesson the narration will convey.

Body Paragraphs:

  • First Event: Describe the initial event, including details about the setting, characters, and actions.
  • Second Event: Detail the next significant event, building on the first and progressing the story.
  • Turning Point: Highlight a moment of change or realization that shifts the storyline.
  • Climax: Describe the highest point of tension or conflict in the story.


  • Restate Thesis: Summarize the main point and how the events support it.
  • Reflection: Reflect on the significance of the experience and lessons learned.
  • Closing Thoughts: End with a compelling thought or call to action.


  • Ensure smooth transitions between paragraphs to maintain the flow of the story.


  • Use literary devices like dialogue, descriptive language, and sensory details to enhance the narration.

Proofreading and Editing:

  • Review your outline for coherence, ensuring each section contributes to the overall narration.
  • Edit for clarity, grammar, and style.
  • Remember, your outline serves as a roadmap for your composition, helping you maintain a logical progression and effectively convey your story.

Open up with Storytelling

Many narrative essays commence with a compelling story to immediately captivate the reader. Beginning your draft with a relevant anecdote, especially one connected to your thesis statement, creates an engaging introduction. Consider incorporating surprising dialogue, an unusual situation, or a vivid setting to pique the reader's interest. While research or advice can be utilized, it's essential to swiftly connect them to an anecdote to provide a clear direction for your essay.

The placement of the thesis statement in a personal narrative essay can vary. In some instances, it may appear explicitly and early, while in others, it might be more implicit or positioned towards the essay's center. Experiment with different placements, ensuring that the content preceding the thesis is consistently intriguing. A directionless or uninteresting introduction can deter the reader from reaching the thesis and understanding the core argument, emphasizing the importance of maintaining reader engagement throughout.

Come to the Point

After establishing your introduction and thesis, proceed with detailing your experiences, arguments, and any research you've conducted. While adhering to the outlined structure, feel free to deviate if a more natural flow emerges during your writing process. But if you have doubts about writing narrative essay, you can leave 'write my essay' request and our writers will write you an essay with a perfect structure that will allow you get A+ grade.

Throughout your narrative essay, elucidate why your experiences hold significance for the reader. This is the juncture where you can cultivate insight, aiming to uncover a fundamental truth. Insight can manifest in various ways, such as:

  • Realizations derived from connecting different events in your life.
  • Advice gleaned from your lived mistakes and experiences.
  • Moments of personal transformation influencing your ideas or philosophy.
  • Deeper understandings about life, love, spirituality, the universe, and more.

By incorporating these insights, your manuscript not only recounts events but also offers valuable reflections and perspectives that enhance the reader's understanding and engagement.

Edit and Proofread Numerous Times

Upon completing the initial draft of personal narrative essays, the refinement process in editing can elevate its quality. Remember, the first draft does not need to be flawless; its primary requirement is existence. When engaging in the editing phase, pay attention to the following aspects:


  • Ensure the coherence of each argument.
  • Evaluate the logical flow of ideas.
  • Confirm that your stories are lucid and easily comprehensible.


  • Assess the sequential arrangement of ideas.
  • Verify that each element supports your thesis effectively.
  • Examine whether the chosen structure enhances the presentation of your arguments.


  • Evaluate the overall fluidity of your prose during reading.
  • Strive for a balanced mix of long and short sentences.
  • Eliminate unnecessary words that may hinder clarity.

Literary Devices:

  • Reflect on the integration of literary devices such as similes, metaphors, symbols, or juxtaposition.
  • Ensure these devices contribute to a more vivid illustration of your ideas.


  • Scrutinize each word for correct spelling.
  • Check the accuracy of punctuation usage.
  • If submitting your paper, adhere to formatting guidelines.

Remember, your essay may undergo several revisions before reaching its final form. Above all, prioritize the clarity of your composition, recognize the significance of every word used, and strive for a deeper understanding of your own life.

Narrative Essay Example

To provide you with a tangible demonstration of the knowledge imparted in this guide, we'd like to present a narrative essay example.

Pages of Transformation: A Journey Through the School Library

In the quiet corridors of my high school, there was a place that held secrets, whispers of dreams, and echoes of laughter – the school library. My journey into the world of books began with Mrs. Anderson, the librarian, who was as mysterious as the tales she guarded.

One rainy afternoon, seeking refuge from the tempest outside, I found myself standing in front of the library doors, hesitant and curious. The scent of aged paper and the soft rustle of pages greeted me as I entered, and I felt like an explorer stepping into uncharted territory.

I approached the librarian's desk, where Mrs. Anderson, with her silver hair neatly pinned, looked up from her book and smiled. That simple, welcoming smile marked the beginning of my love affair with books. She handed me a weathered copy of "To Kill a Mockingbird" and said, "Every adventure begins with the turn of a page."

As I delved into Harper Lee's masterpiece, the characters became my companions, and the fictional town of Maycomb turned into my refuge. The library transformed into a sanctuary where I could escape reality and embark on endless adventures.

What started as a simple visit to escape the rain evolved into a routine. I became a regular visitor, exploring genres from fantasy to historical fiction. Mrs. Anderson, with her infinite wisdom, guided me through the realms of literature. We discussed plots, dissected characters, and she encouraged me to pen down my thoughts in a little notebook she gifted me.

One day, as I was engrossed in the world of magical realism, Mrs. Anderson shared a secret with me. The library, she revealed, held stories beyond the ones confined within its covers. It was a repository of dreams, a portal to different eras, and a bridge connecting souls through shared narratives.

Inspired by her words, I decided to contribute to this literary haven. I started a book club, bringing together fellow students who shared the same hunger for stories. Our discussions echoed through the shelves, breathing life into the silent companions that lined them.

In my final year of high school, Mrs. Anderson retired, leaving the library in my care. I felt a mix of emotions – gratitude for the worlds she introduced me to and the responsibility to continue her legacy. I embraced the role, organizing events, expanding the book collection, and fostering a community bound by the love for reading.

As I stood behind the librarian's desk, I realized that the library was not just a physical space; it was a vessel of transformation. It had shaped me from a curious student to a storyteller, a guardian of narratives, and a curator of dreams.

My narrative journey, seeded in the library's quietude, had grown into a tapestry of experiences. Each book, each discussion, and every shared tale had woven into the fabric of my identity. The library was not just a place; it was my cocoon of metamorphosis, and Mrs. Anderson, the guardian of its magic.

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