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How to Write an Effective Narrative Essay

Can anything be easier or more enjoyable than writing about oneself? The process of writing a narrative essay is an excellent chance to realize your dreams. Everyone has experienced some important event(s) and has some precious memories that are well worth sharing with others. At times, it can be difficult to recall every minute detail of a given situation because memories can become confused. Hence, a lot of time may need to be devoted to the prewriting phase of such a project.

It is realistic to compare writing a narrative essay to telling a story. An essay of this type mostly involves presenting a story from the viewpoint of the writer. Because of this, the writer needs to provide sufficient detail to enable readers to feel as if they are part of the narrative or story. This genre of writing requires an expressive style and vivid verbs. It is important that the main point or idea of a narrative essay is clearly formulated and this is usually placed in the first sentence. It can, however, appear at the end of the introductory paragraph.

As noted already, narrative essays are about sharing experiences. This is why they remind us of stories and they should have the elements usually found in a story. These include characters, a plot, settings, a high point, and the story’s finale. The detail in such an essay should be vivid and any arguments should be properly supported. Do not forget that every piece of information should relate in some way to the main point of the essay.

Essentially, a narrative essay should:

  • Be based on a particular viewpoint;
  • Provide factual information to support that viewpoint;
  • Include plenty vivid detail;
  • Include dialogue;
  • Include a variety of adjectives and adverb modifiers.

A narrative report is not just another type of narrative paper. Its aim is to discuss or describe a certain phenomenon. When a writer is preparing such a report, they should think of it as an essay writing project. The style of a report, however, need not be elevated. There is no need to think in a critical manner as one would for an essay. These assignments do not generally attract high marks. Book reports are good examples of narrative reports. They provide precise but brief information about a particular book, the characters in it, the actions of the characters, the plot, the setting, and so on. Put another way, book reports describe the events within the pages of a book. 

Still, book reports do not provide intricate information about a particular book. They do not provide the reader with any ideas, facts, or main opinions expressed within the pages of a book. Furthermore, these reports do not discuss in detail the happenings within a book. For example, what is the particular book about? Does it deal with politics? Perhaps it is about some scientific discovery or world poverty? Reports often do not convey a book’s central idea or the viewpoint of the author in relation to it.

When you are asked to write a narrative essay, you need to choose a good topic before you begin. Then, there are three important rules you should adhere to:

  1. Do your best to involve your readers in your story. Usually, it is best to recreate events for readers rather than merely retell them.
  2. Your narrative should be based on an idea that you support throughout. This idea could relate to yourself, to people of different ages, to a certain social group, and so on. This will allow readers to learn something new from the experience you relate.
  3. While the primary aim of a narrative-style essay is certainly to tell a story, careful attention should be given to detail. Your essay should have facts to prove any opinion(s) you put forward, the key idea should be supported, and the story should appear reasonable and logical.

Main Characteristics of a Narrative Essay

A narrative essay has the following peculiarities:

  • A narrative essay should be based on solid facts. This makes it easier to convey your message to readers. Additionally, the information you provide should make a good impression on readers.
  • It is written from the writer’s perspective, e.g., “I” - the first person (singular). However, you may write from the third person perspective, e.g., “it,” “he,” or “she.”
  • Characters, setting, a plot, a high point, and a finale are key elements of a narrative essay.

The following are some topic ideas for narrative essays:

  • Your first day at school or college
  • A memorable trip you took
  • Something you completely failed at

Remember it is important to choose a good topic since this will help you write a great essay.

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