How To Structure A Narrative Essay

Writing a narrative essay is an essential talent for field research. Rather than summing things up for your reader, it presents your experience and allows them to draw their own conclusions. The narrative essay makes it point by subtly guiding the reader, rather than battering them the way a rhetorical essay would.

By observing these basic ideas, you can improve your narrative essay.

1. Clarity

Complex words and syntax are a hindrance to clarity and should be avoided. Ideas should be clearly distributed between sentences and paragraphs.

Example: Although I have never been to the races before, I was very excited to behold them, yet also somewhat nervous, because of the type of people who go there.

Improved: I’d never been to a horse race. I was excited to go, but also a little nervous, since I wasn’t sure about the people at the track.

2. Don’t describe each and every one of your own movements

Example: As I went in the door, I turned and saw a TV. I looked around and saw posters on the wall. As I went further in I noticed everyone was watching M*A*S*H.

Improved: I immediately noticed the posters on the wall, though everyone else’s eyes were focused on a TV playing M*A*S*H.

3. Avoid the second-person narrative

An important part of the narrative essay is the fact that the writer experienced the events described.

Example: As you go in the door, you will turn and see a TV. You look around and see posters on the wall. As you go further in you notice everyone is watching M*A*S*H.

Writing in the present tense is okay, however.

4. To interest the reader, dynamic word choice is key

Avoid sounding too clinical. Use the same slang, idiom, and turns of phrase you would use in speech. Avoid passive constructions.

Example: I am presented an array of unpleasant photos in which many casualties are shown after automobile accidents.

Improved: They showed me a book stuffed with gruesome pictures of people who’d been in car wrecks.

5. Limit references

MLA format recommends including citations in the text, but in a narrative essay this is disruptive. If a work was helpful, cite it in a ‘Works Consulted’ list after the essay. Explain yourself as you go along, rather than trying to refer your reader back to a previous statement.

Example: When I first saw the comic book fans jumping up and down, I thought as they would, “Lord, what fools these mortals be” (Gaiman 1989.) I later learned why they do this.

Improved: The fans jump up and down. When I first saw this, I wondered what they were doing and my mind conjured a quote from Shakespeare that Neil Gaiman used in his “Sandman”: “Lord, what fools these mortals be.” However, I watched a bit longer and realized the company spokesmodels were throwing free merchandise. The fans wanted to get the most from their day at the convention.

The narrative essay is a keen rhetorical tool because it allows the readers to draw their own conclusions, but falling into the traps above deprive it of its effectiveness. By avoiding these errors, you can subtly guide your reader in your desired direction.

 

Narrative essay is a term, which most people know as a “story”. College students are often required to write narratives as the course paper. Sometimes, it is necessary to write a narrative story to get a job position, requiring creativity application. It doesn’t matter what the purpose of the narrative essay is, you have to know basic rules how to write it effectively. Below you will find general tips for correct structure of the narrative essay.

The Introduction

The main rule for the introduction is to get the reader’s interest. That is why you should start your paper with the “hook”. A “hook” is a short statement about your story that will catch reader’s attention. It can be a relevant quotation, appropriate question, fact or definition, related to the topic of your narrative essay.

  1. Then you should set the description of the scene. It is necessary to provide the information that will help the reader to understand your story.
  2. Give a short description of major characters.
  3. Write about the time and the place your story took place.
  4. Let the reader know whether the story happened to you or it is a fiction.
  5. If it is a real story, clarify your role in it.
  6. State if you were just a witness or were directly involved into it.
  7. One more aspect, which should be obligatory to any essay introduction, is the thesis statement. The role of thesis statement in the narrative essay is a bit different from the other essay styles.

 The Thesis Statement

  • begins with writing about the story events;
  • presents a learned lesson or a moral;
  • identifies a theme, which serves as a link to the overall experience.

The Essay Body Paragraphs

The body paragraph should show, using a lot of descriptions. A well-written story always includes a lot of details that will help the reader to understand writer’s experience. Try to use all five sentences while writing your story. Describe scenes, smells, sounds and feelings. Add as many details as possible. Here is an example “My heart jumped when the dark shape of the brown bear headed towards me from the forest”.

  • This is a good example how to provide maximum information about what the writer felt at the moment described in the story. It is definitely more informative and picturesque than the phrase “When I was hiking, I suddenly saw a bear”.
  • You should keep in mind that a narrative story is a personal type of experience. It serves as an evidence to support your thesis statement. The events showed in the story should demonstrate the lesson that you have learnt, or significance of the described event for you.
  • Don’t forget to use chronological description of the events. Your story should be told from the starting moment until the last one. Do not make your story too complicated. Use the most clear and common way to tell it. Use transition words that will clearly indicate which event happened fist, next and the last. The most widespread transitional words include: next, after, before, during, finally, when, later, etc.
  • Break your narrative essays into the paragraphs. It will show the change of actions in the story or move the reader from action to the reflection and vice versa. Keep the connection between paragraphs. For example, one paragraph can end with the words “I decided to run away from the bear, hoping that it hadn’t noticed me”. The sentence “There are many strategies that can be useful how to get away from a bear and running away is one of them” can start the next paragraph. The word repetition connects both paragraphs.

Did you Know we can Write your Essay for You? 

The Conclusion

Conclusion is also important. When you write a narrative essay, it functions to present the moral of the story. The narrative essay conclusion usually consists of the final action of the event with detailed analysis of information presented in the essay or your reflection of the significance of the described event. If you succeed in answering the following questions, you can consider your essay to be a successful writing.

Conclusion Features

  • What lesson have you learned?
  • How do you evaluate your experience?
  • How has the event described in the essay affected your life?

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