Narrative essay, at a glance, might seem like stories that you are used to reading. But, it is not. There is a subtle difference to it. It usually follows a chronological order, when you describe an incident in details. Furthermore, it is based on motifs rather than fiction writing. A motif is the central theme of the essay, which you must decide before you start writing the content.
In this blog, we will take a look at the authentic format of the narrative essay, good writing practices and certain examples. So, let us delve right into it.
What is a Narrative Essay?
A narrative essay reflects a true account of an incident in a person’s life. You provide a brief account of the sequences of events in the incidence and share the moral of the story in the end. The aim of the narrative essay is to evoke an emotional response from the readers, and to spread a message.
Now that you have the answer to ‘What is a narrative essay?’ let us take a look at the outline.
The Authentic Narrative Essay Format
Writing a narrative essay gets easier when you know the authentic format. If you take a look at the personal narrative essay examples online, you will find that the structure is:
- Introduction with a hook, a thesis statement and an overview of the topic
- Body with detailed insight into the background, the people involved, the onset of the event, the climax and the ending
- Conclusion, where the moral of the narration is highlighted with an important message to the readers.
Once, you take this template into account, writing a narrative essay will be easy for you.
How to Write a Good Narrative Essay?
Students often wonder, “How to write a good narrative essay?” “How to put together all the small events and form a cohesive narrative?” Let us check out some of the most important points you must consider while crafting the essay.
1. Start with an Intriguing Introduction
Use a question or a quote to start off your essay. For instance, you can write “Some wounds are deeper than the cuts on our body" if the topic is based on personal depression. When you put forward such a sentence, people will be able to relate easily. Following this, you should state the central idea of the essay, which is based around an anecdote (a chapter of your life).
2. A Captivating Body
Students tend to drag the body section, which is why many readers lose interest after going through a few lines. In order to engage your readers, you must use descriptive sentences to discuss the event or the people involved. Proper sequencing of events is crucial here for the seamless reading experience. Illustrate every little aspect of the incident to add flavor to the write-up.
In addition to this, you can allow the readers to be passive participants in your story, by asking them questions like, “Do you feel the same way?”, “Did I do the right thing?” Moreover, you should employ accurate transition words, so that the readers do not feel that they have hit a bump. And remember to express your opinion at each juncture.
3. A Brief Conclusion
The conclusion should be succinct. Most importantly, you must share the moral of the story in this section. Your message should be along the lines, “If you are ever in this position, it is wise to follow my footsteps”. This will enable the readers to deal with similar circumstances in life.
So, if you want to write a personal narrative essay from scratch, you should abide by the guidelines stated above.
20 Personal Narrative Essay Ideas
Listed below are 20 narrative essay topics for college. As you go through them, it will help you come up with your own personal narrative ideas and prompts.
1. An account of hostel life
2. Life lessons learnt from my parents
3. My favorite artist
4. Handling depression
5. One place I would like to visit again
6. My favorite movie character
7. The first personal narrative essay I wrote
8. A personal setback
9. My addiction to technology
10. One attribute in a person you respect the most
11. How do I motivate myself?
12. Reasons why I take fitness routine seriously
13. My first cooking experience
14. My experience in resolving dilemmas
15. The time you found out that other people wanted to be like you
16. My childhood heroes
17. Incidents that changed your opinion on other people
18. Why do you like to write?
19. Did any social media posts affect your thinking?
20. Your take on memes that popular on the Internet today
Which narrative prompts did you find interesting?
Personal Narrative Essay Examples
Now, you must be anxious to know how to interweave the story with the authentic writing style. Well, you have the format to guide you. Nevertheless, here are examples of narrative essays for college.
Let us assume; the topic is "The Most Important Lesson I Have Learnt”
In life, you never stop learning. Whether it is technical knowledge, or life lessons, the edification process continues. However, there are lessons that stand out from the rest and leave an everlasting effect on you. Here, I will share one such incident which had a significant impact on my life. I learnt it after six years of playing the guitar.
Everybody hits a roadblock in their career at some point of time. I too was a victim of the same. I would not make any progress in my technical skills. Neither was I getting anywhere as far as songwriting was concerned. I was on the verge of giving up, when I happened to come across YouTube videos of homeless musicians mesmerizing the crowd with their creativity. I thought, despite losing everything, these people had so much passion and willpower to succeed. Yet, I had all the comforts of the world, and I wanted to quit.
I learnt that life never bestows good days in front of the people who do not hustle. It really was an eye-opener for me, as I saw talented artists putting hours of effort, to hone their skills. Their motto was ‘Perfection’. In this regard, the movie ‘Whiplash’ had a profound effect on me. The perseverance of a talented young drummer Andrew Neiman was second to none. He kept it, and proved his commitment, in spite of repeated failures and reprimands from Conductor Terence Fletcher. The enthralling performance at the JVC Jazz Festival, proved the fact hard work always pays off.
After witnessing a series of stunning instances, I wondered, “How did I ever think of calling it a day?” I felt ashamed. I picked up the guitar and vowed that I will never put it down again. Another important aspect that I picked up was ‘never try to compare yourself with others’. It will only demotivate you. Instead, you should focus on improving yourself. And, you should try to emulate all the good traits from others and apply that to your life.
This was a short essay. Now, it’s time for us to have a look at a long narrative essay example. It is a masterpiece by David Foster Wallace, where he recounts his experience as press at the Illinois State Fair. Although essays are typically written within 1000-1500 words, this essay is an exception.
Hopefully, now you have an idea on how to write narrative essays. As you practice writing and look at further examples of narrative essays for college, you will be able to master it. And, you will see that your teachers are also appreciating your write-ups.
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