Cathy A.
Cathy A.

Narrative Essay Writing - An Ultimate Guide for Beginners

12 min read

Published on: Apr 6, 2020

Last updated on: Dec 23, 2022

Narrative Essay

On This Page On This Page

No matter which level you are at, you will always have to write essays your whole life. Essay writing is not just an essential part of academics but of practical life as well.

Whether to do it for grades or money, essay writing will always be a part of your life. Every student in his school or college life are given essays like an argumentative essay, descriptive essay, persuasive essay, cause and effect essay, narrative essay, expository essay, compare and contrast essay, etc. to write

Luckily, the basic structure and outline for all these essays are similar with only a few changes in the body section. This blog is written to specifically talk about the features of a narrative essay and how it is written.

Narrative Essay Definition

It is a type of essay in which a writer shares his personal experience in an innovative and creative manner like a short story to make it interesting for the readers.

Just like other essays, narrative essays are very common writings in school and college. Students are asked to draft these essays in order to share their personal experiences and events in their own way.

Often, a descriptive essay, narrative essay, and short story are confused. The writing structure and the elements in these writings have a minor differences.

A narrative essay tells a story to his reader according to the writer's point of view on a certain event with specific details.

Order Essay

Paper Due? Why Suffer? That's our Job

Purpose of a Narrative Essay

This style of writing focuses on storytelling and is all about sharing experiences. Your goal as a writer is to share a true-life tale with your readers while also expressing why you're telling that particular story and why it's significant.

In a narrative essay, the only goal is to take readers on a journey through the tale; you don't make claims or criticize them. Simply telling a story allows readers to reach their own decisions. This is what makes it unique among types of essays.

Types of Narrative Essays

Here are the two types of narrative essays;

Descriptive Narrative Essay?

The most inventive approach to complete this task is to make a descriptive narrative essay. The major objective of a descriptive narrative essay is to describe an event, circumstance, or memory using vivid details.

Writing a descriptive narrative paper is based on the principle of "show rather than tell." The author's objective is to evoke the readers' senses and create a clear picture of the event.

A well-written descriptive essay is often straightforward. It cuts a complex narrative down to its essentials, allowing the reader to figure out the rest.

Good writers avoid exaggeration and stick to their goal. There are always limitations on how much information you can provide your readers; keep this in mind when compiling your essay.

Autobiographical? Narrative Essay

This sort of task demands that you write about a real-life experience from your life. This form of essay should concentrate on one specific event, as opposed to a descriptive essay.

An autobiographical essay, unlike a descriptive essay, places a greater emphasis on the narrative and its goal rather than the specifics.

Narrative Essay Characteristics

The following are the basic characteristics that distinguish this form of writing:

  • Non-fiction tells stories about things that have actually happened, unlike fiction.
  • The narrator is the author (1st person);
  • A plot outline is typically implied, but it may also be indicated in narrative terms.
  • Provides the details in chronological sequence;
  • Demonstrates deep knowledge of events, people, and settings;
  • Thinks of ways to inform people, not of ways to persuade or instruct.

Narrative Essay Topics

Following are some narrative essay topics for university students:

  • Time of your life when you heard the best news of your life.
  • What was the most horrific incident of your life?
  • Write about the worst trauma of your life and how it has impacted you.
  • Write about the biggest achievement of your life.
  • Write about your earliest memory in school.
  • What is your “Home” for you?
  • Write about the moment when you have been the kindest in your life?
  • Write about the opportunities you missed in your life.
  • Write about the social stereotype that affected you the most.
  • How mental health issues are causing an increase in suicides.

To find a good and impressive topic for your narrative essay, here are some things to consider;

  • Consider your past experiences and memories for a moment. Look for something that really excites you.
  • Consider what troubles you and what tales you'd want to tell others.
  • Take a stroll to clear your head and come up with some fresh ideas.
  • Learn about what your peers have posted about, what they are interested in, and what they talk about on the Internet – social media, online publications, blogs, and other resources can all help you understand this. This might also assist you in developing a few ideas.
  • Use freewriting to help you get your narrative going; it's a really useful technique for getting your tale off the ground. All you need is a pen and paper to give it a go.

Follow these steps to get some fantastic ideas and then select the one that appears to be the most interesting.

The final advice is to pick something that is both intriguing and appealing enough to pique your readers' interest.

Narrative Essay VS Short Story

Narrative essays and short stories are often considered as one but they have certain differences. Their purpose might be the same as telling a story but the structure and some other elements differ.

  • The story you tell in a narrative essay is based on the true facts of your personal experiences and memory. While for a short story, you make the content up, create characters, and build events in relevance to the story.
  • For a narrative essay, a writer makes a thesis statement that is generally present in the introductory paragraphs' last line. In contrast to this, a short story doesn't have a thesis statement.
  • A short story doesn't require a fixed structure to be followed. You can totally start with a conclusion and give events that led up to it. A narrative essay, on the other hand, follows a fixed format. It is written with an introduction, body paragraphs in the middle and a conclusion at last.

Elements of a Narrative Essay

There are certain components that altogether make a strong narrative essay. These elements are as follows:

  • Plot

Creating a strong and unpredictable plot for your narrative essay can be daunting. A strong plot and its impact on the story are an essential part of compelling stories.

A plot in the story is to give a sequence of events you mention in your essay. The plot basically includes background information, the conflict, climax, and conclusion.

A plot of an essay works as an outline and plans out the flow of the essay.

  • Setting

When you read an essay and start to feel that you are in the story observing and feeling things, that's the setting of the story. In narrative writing, this element is the most important.

You have to engage your readers and take them with you. The setting plays with time, placement, and environment in which the writer or the main character works.

This setting is the element that either makes your narrative essay high-quality or makes it flat and monotonous. Setting plays an important role in making a literacy narrative essay engaging.

  • Characters

Characters are the people in your study whose actions and reactions are related to you. The characters present in your essay are there to form a story.

Readers fall in love with the characters of your story and can best relate to them. They keep your audience awake at night.

To make your long or short narrative essay amusing, present every character smartly but precisely.

  • Point of View

Are you telling your story yourself? Making a point of view in this essay type is mandatory. It states the basic motivation behind your essay to the readers and why is the specific story being told to you.

Creating a point of view can be tricky but if made well, your narrative essay will be remarkable.

  • Theme

Obviously, there will be a theme in the essay that you will be following. Make sure that the theme is clear and understandable. A theme strongly focuses on narration making it meaningful and descriptive. For example, writing a narrative essay on a rainy day will be of interest if you will not describe its theme.

  • Conflict

Conflict is the problem or issue faced by the characters. It gives life to your characters and motivates them. This conflict plays with the plot and theme leading to the narration of the story.

It is because of the conflict that your readers get to know the characters and their purpose.

How to Start a Narrative Essay?

Your narrative essay starts somewhere. Either you give your narrative essay a really catchy or interesting opening or you just randomly start writing and do not give an extra effort to the starting.

The fate of your essay is in the hands of the starting of your essay. If you want to have a maximum number of readers of your work then you really need to grab their attention and make them read your essay with interest and charm.

A good story or a narrative essay will make sure that the readers enjoy reading them and for that, they will make an exciting start and will have a grip on their reader's attention the whole time.

In order to make your narrative essay effective, pay extra close attention to the start of it.

A first attention grabber is a hook that is the first line of your essay. It is called a hook as it is a tool to grab readers and to make them stay and read the entire essay.

Hooks that can be used in the narrative essay to provoke the reader's interest in your reading can be:

  • Relevant quote
  • Statistics
  • Facts
  • Anecdote
  • Question

Narrative Essay Outline

Like all other academic writings, a narrative essay is written following an outline. Knowing how to create a good essay outline is important for a good essay.

To write this essay type, a classic narrative essay format is used; an introduction, followed by a body of paragraphs, and a conclusion.


A narrative essay starts with an introduction to the topic, or the story. The opening line of an introductory paragraph, a hook, is used in relevance to the theme of the story that is going to be presented.

Followed by the hook comes the information about the story or narration. Provide some basic ideas of your story to your readers to engage them in your writing. After doing so, provide a thesis statement.

A thesis statement is the one element that distinguishes a short story from a narrative essay. A thesis statement of this essay is anything that is considered a narrative report.

It could be an argument or just a confession on which the entire essay is based. Put forward the key ideas to entice readers and introduce them to the essay topic.


To make readers understand the main ideas and thesis statement of an essay, body paragraphs are written. For the body of a narrative essay, you present the plot, characters, setting, and other details that all work together to prove and give meaning to the thesis statement.

Whenever you are starting a paragraph make sure to add a topic sentence to specify it with certain information.

This essay is a personal narrative essay in which all the experienced events and situations lead up to the conclusion of the essay. Make sure to maintain a flow in the essay by properly making a transition in the paragraphs.


The conclusion of a narrative essay gives the climax of the story and concludes it. This conclusion is based on the writer’s opinion and understanding of the events in comparison with the thesis statement made in the beginning.

Therefore, it is important to know how to write a conclusion that would impress your readers and give a proper closure to your essay.

A writer summarizes the whole essay in the conclusion section by rephrasing the key idea. A good conclusion is never bigger than an introduction.

Order Essay

Tough Essay Due? Hire Tough Writers!

Writing a Narrative Essay Step by Step

Follow this guide step by step to draft your perfect narrative essay. You know you cannot compromise your grades, and achieving good grades in essay writing will eventually result in overall academic success.

Choose a Story

To begin with, a narrative essay is written on a story that you want to share with the audience.

When you are to write a narrative essay, think of ideas of stories that can be told to the readers.

If you are specified, for example, given a topic by an instructor to write a narrative essay on the summer breaks then you have not much to do. Just choose an event or situation that you think should be talked about and write about it.

But if you have to come up with your own topic, decide on the most interesting thing that happened to you, put it in a story, and present it in your essay.

A key to an interesting story is to write it with sensory details for your readers so they get engaged and attached.

A Rough Draft

Write a rough draft of your essay first before heading to the final draft. You cannot simply start an amazing essay and end it perfectly in the first go.

Roughly write the ideas and information that will go into your essay and plan the whole thing out.

Here, create an outline for your essay to follow. This gathered detail and information about events will be divided according to the outline.


Keep in mind that a strong narrative essay is based on elements such as plot, characters, setting, theme, conflict, etc. These elements will make your essay worth reading so describe them well.


Identify the tone of your essay. Is the story you are sharing is happy or has a sad ending?

The events mentioned in your body paragraphs may take different tones. No matter the event is good, bad, sad, or happy, make sure to address it with a complementing tone and words.

Use appropriate words according to the theme. It is better to use good words but do not use difficult words that are not known by your readers.

There are very few people who will go and check the meaning of the word that is new to them in the reading. Others will just quit reading.


No, your essay cannot be perfect to submit after you have finished writing it. While writing, you overlook many things unintentionally.

Proofreading is to check for mistakes and errors in the essay and another chance to refine your essay. Go through your essay many times to ensure quality. A flawless essay will be effective and remembered by the readers making you a credible and impactful writer.

Narrative Essay Example

We have gathered some narrative essay examples for you to craft a perfect and professional essay. Follow the examples to achieve better grades in academics.

Narrative essays can be written well if you know the drill. This blog will help you understand what a narrative essay is and how it is written.

If you are still confused, writers at EssayWriter.college provide guidance and expert help for students to write all their academic assignments. Take our professional’s help to score well in high school or college essays, book reports, research papers, and many more.

Place your order through an easy process and get high-quality essays and papers.

Cathy A.


Cathy A. (Marketing, Literature)

Cathy has been one of our most reliable authors for more than five years. With extensive knowledge in mass communication gained from her Master's degree, she always produces high-quality work that meets the needs of her clients. In fact, they often leave her 5-star reviews for being an outstanding writer who is very passionate about her craft.

Cathy has been one of our most reliable authors for more than five years. With extensive knowledge in mass communication gained from her Master's degree, she always produces high-quality work that meets the needs of her clients. In fact, they often leave her 5-star reviews for being an outstanding writer who is very passionate about her craft.

Share this article

Your first order with us is FREE!

Can’t Write It?

Learn More