How to Write Narrative Essay: Tips To write an Effective Narrative Essay!!

Doesn’t it feel like being asked to write a narrative essay is like being asked to become an author?

Do you feel like you’re not up for the challenge?

I’ll be covering the guidelines for writing a Narrative Essay with 11 Steps.


Make Sure You Like The Topic: 


Why would a story matter to you in the first place? Have you ever thought about that? Try to make it so that the story matters to you. If you’re emotionally disengaged, it will be obvious in your writing. Think of whatever you love, a topic that you constantly think about. Got one in mind?


Well, it’s obvious that because you spent so much time thinking about it, you’re likely to have a lot to say about it, with vivid language.


Compare that to being assigned something that bores you to no end.


Like, your result will be lifeless and bland, because you’ll treat it like a chore. It’s usually passion that drives the best work. But, if you can’t think of anything, come up with a bunch of ideas and narrow it down to the one that hooks you the most – it’s better than nothing.


Plan and Start with a First Draft: 

You have to plan everything before starting like a heist film, for instance Oceans 11.

In our case, it’s best to start with an outline in order to organize our thoughts to help everything flow.

Formulas exist because they work, and bad formulas constantly get replaced by better versions.

So, despite how much you might want to break out of the mold, first master the structures that already exist.

Once you’re ready, start your first draft.


If you look at this visual, you’ll see the perfect example of the formula you should be using. This is the universal essay structure you should be working with. The narrative essay is no different.

There is an introduction, which hooks the reader, introduces the setting, characters, plot, and anything relevant to the progression of the story. The body is where the action happens, and where the climax rises, reaches its peak, and resolves.

The conclusion then deals with the part that asks, “What did we learn from this?”


Storyline Elements: 

Make sure the story contains the elements of: 

A Plot, Characters, A Setting, The Conflict, The Resolution And other things that help the text attract the attention of readers and make them psychologically invested.

Your plot should be divided into: A setup, the main part, and the climax.

Think of any coming-of-age film.

The hero and his problems are introduced (that’s the setup), the journey to resolving the conflict is the main part, and the climax is where it all builds up and is released.

The first thing that came to mind is the movie Hot Rod, the 2007 US comedy film that exploits this structure.

The setup and the main character Rod Kimble aspires to be a stuntman like his deceased father.

The conflict is that his stepfather Frank considers him a weakling and a loser, constantly beating Rod in sparring. However, Frank needs a heart transplant and the cost is $50,000.

After a series of hilarious events, the climax ends with Rod raising the money while doing a jump, despite falling and having an out-of-body experience.

That said, The plot could feature: Individual against individual - ex: Rivalry between people.

Individual against nature - ex: Natural disasters like tornadoes, and being lost in the rainforest.

Individual against society - ex: Going against what most people accept.

Individual against his own demons - ex: Battling guilt, or loss.

Make the characters real by adding dimensions to their personalities. One dimensional characters are forgettable and often feel like Non-Playable Characters in video games.

If you must use a one dimensional character, make that dimension extremely memorable.


The Point of View:

Your role in the story must be understandable. Basically, work as a defense attorney for why the role is the way it is, by presenting evidence and witness testimony in the form of details about the past. These details should try to justify the behavior of the character. When you do that, you humanize the character, but only if you remember to keep their personalities consistent.

J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye features an example of this in the character of Holden Caulfield, whose actions are immature in the eyes of an adult, but “justifiable” in the eyes of the 16-year-old Holden.


Proving and Supporting

Just Like the previous element, don’t only show your opinion, but offer arguments to support it. Convince the reader that the actions make sense, even if the protagonist isn’t justified in his actions.

The sense comes from a detailed logical chain, but avoids describing too much.


Avoid Irrelevant Details:

If there are details added that neither progress the plot nor help describe anything of value, you risk cluttering your work and confusing the reader.

The worst offender has to be the infamous fanfiction titled My Immortal – a Google search will expose you to this notorious monstrosity, consisting of what not to do when writing a narrative.

Other examples of irrelevant details include writing mostly about golf, when the narrative is supposed to be about your character becoming a basketball player.


Clear Writing:

Don’t try to show off your vocabulary, because that just makes us think you’re very interested in the Thesaurus.

To get most people to like what’s written, make sure the writing is easy to swallow. Keep it simple.

Expensive vocabulary will stay expensive if used sparingly.

If you don’t, you risk coming off as those mocked on Reddit’s iamverysmart.


Describe Events Chronologically:

Despite the popularity of a broken chronology in many films, it’s best done by experts, because otherwise having a narrative be out of sequence might be way too confusing to readers.

Like, don’t try to copy Pulp Fiction and impress the reader with how you arranged the timeline out of order, because this requires excellent knowledge of storytelling format.

i.e. where the emotions progress within the formula and how to organize the timeline to match it.

If you’ve ever studied music, you’ll know about something called Chords – which is like playing several notes at the same time – and Chord Progressions – which is where you take Chords and play them in a sequence that creates a musical story, where the sounds exhibit joy, sadness, curiosity, aggression, etc.


Read Some Narrative Essay Examples:

Now, if you’re most people, chances are you’ll be too lazy to do so, but there’s a general rule that if you want to be good at something, you copy what the experts are doing.

So, study the structure of popular narratives and align your writing to their format.


Double-Check The Provided Requirements:

For full marks, it is really important that you follow the given instructions. If the instructions are unclear, do not hesitate to contact whoever assigned it to you and have them explain what to do.

Revise Your Essay:


Look through it again to make sure you didn’t make grammar & spelling errors, otherwise it will be painful to read.

Do not skip over this step unless you have someone else doing it for you.

I highly recommend a resource called Grammarly.

It will identify the grammatical errors and propose alternative words that would fit the text better.

I hope these steps will simplify your writing process.


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