Narrative Essay

Step-by-Step Guide: How to Write a Narrative Essay


How to write a narrative essay is one of the questions that we frequently encounter from students. It is because narrative essay writing provides the writer with more creative freedom and encourages personal stories.

However, it doesn’t take away from the fact that these essays should have a structure and a specific purpose for writing.

Yet, how to write a narrative essay shouldn’t be something spectacularly foreign. You’ve probably encountered narrative essay writing during the college application process.

A few common essay writing prompts that most students might be familiar with include:

  • Describe an experience that shifted your perspective on things and revealed strength or weakness;
  • What is the most difficult decision you have ever heard to make? Describe it.
  • Provide an achievement or an accomplishment that you are proud of.

These are just some of the more familiar prompts of narrative essays for personal statements. Use them if you still aren’t sure what narrative essays are about.

Creating Compelling Stories | Definition

Simply put, a narrative essay allows you to tell a story. Yet, the emphasis isn’t only on the story but also the experience and surroundings.

It’s also about the lessons, morals, or themes drawn from these. Therefore, the narrative essay must be structured and well-thought-out, just like any other academic writing.

In learning how to write a narrative essay, order your thoughts clearly and create compelling stories that have a point.

When writing the narrative essay, think about the theme as the thesis for your essay. For example, the central theme in the first example above can recognize one’s strengths or weaknesses.

Think clearly and maintain creativity while adhering to all the academic writing rules. It is what gets you ahead with your narrative essay.

Storytelling and All Its Elements Are Included Here

In learning how to write a personal narrative essay for high school, it is important to remember the typical essay structure. Also, include literary devices covered within the syllabus.

Every great story has an introduction with a hook, a plot and sequence, characters, a climax, settings, scenes, and a fitting conclusion. Your narrative essay shouldn’t be any different.

The structure of the narrative essay should be unique due to the creative space allowed. The student should demonstrate mastery of the narrative technique and employ the appropriate structure.

When Not to Write These Essays as a Story

If your instructor requires a literature book report, don’t incorporate personal storytelling elements in your paper. For some narrative essay prompts, it would also not be appropriate to stretch too much creative space provided into storytelling.

Your Work Should Have a Purpose

In learning how to write a good narrative essay, it should be clear that writing direction and objectives are needed.

For example, one essay might require you to explore themes of strength and weakness. Another might require the student to incorporate humor, sarcasm, and other literary devices.

Whatever the case, the writing should have a clear guiding principle or theme to prevent the essay from veering off course.

Write from a Clear Perspective

Perspective might be solely based on the author’s viewpoint and experiences. Or it might be based on another object with the author only providing a description or commentary. For example, an essay can require you to write from a hypothetical perspective.

Clarity and Consistency Are Keys to Effective Writing

There is always a tendency by students to veer off course when writing narrative essays since the creative borders are much unhinged.

However, as you write, keep your focus on the central theme and create an outline first. Additionally, use the full range of rhetorical devices at your disposal to get your point across.

These may include:

  • Humor
  • Sarcasm
  • Memories
  • Allegories

Applying these devices to your writing while maintaining a writing theme will guarantee a superb paper.

Use the First-Person Pronoun “I” If You Have To

There is a high chance of referring back to yourself. So, you can use “I” when writing your essay, though do it judiciously. Overuse may turn off the reader and make them think you are too focused on yourself instead of the underlying theme.

Organization Is Always Key

How to write a narrative essay quickly?

Good organization is essential to successful writing. Organization starts with the central theme of your writing, which is the rudder that guides your paper.

A well-organized essay will deliver an impression of creativity, effective self-criticism, and the ability to communicate succinctly.

How Does the Typical Essay Structure Look Like?

How Does the Typical Essay Structure Look Like?

A narrative essay follows the regular structure of the usual academic essays. It includes an introduction, preferably with a hook that can latch the reader. Though the thesis statement may not be outrightly defined in this case, there should be a central theme undergirding any writing.

The main body should lay out points that support the writing narrative. Each paragraph should address a single idea at a time. The conclusion should provide a way forward or an answer to the central theme.

Is A Thesis Statement Required for These Essays?

While a thesis statement isn’t necessarily required here, a central theme should always guide your writing. It means that from the onset, the reader should be able to discern the writing objectives for your essay.

Formatting Your Paper Properly

The format of your narrative essay depends on the prompt provided and the exact question asked. You should frame the story in a way that provides the qualities being looked for by the prompt.

Formatting means ensuring that your writing flows logically and clearly. It has proper transitions that aid in providing the answers required.

Here’s an Example

Learn how to write a personal narrative essay by reading the example provided below. Here, only the introduction is covered.

The theme is dealing with the loss of a loved one and ultimately becoming a man. The writing employs colorful and vivid language to paint the scene and mood of grief around him.

The dead gloom of the cold, icy weather captured my mood at that very moment. It was as if the moment had already been written in the annals of time. My entire family was huddled close together, seeking warmth and comfort as the priest read my father his last rites. I wondered why this was so; it’s not like a corpse could hear the voice speaking above the 6-foot hole. Even with my mother and 3 sisters close by, there wasn’t enough warmth in the world that could replace what had been taken away from us.

My father was the glue that bound our entire family together, our knight in shining armor. At that moment, the fortress had fallen, the gambit had been played on us by cruel and unforgiving fate. Looking at the fear of the unknown hounding the most treasured women in my life at that moment, I didn’t hesitate to take up this new mantle of “keeper of the fort.”

You can find other narrative essay examples on our blog. Alternatively, check out our writing services to find more essay help in this area.


Here are a few FAQs for you. Remember, narrative essays are more personal than other essays. Yet, they are by no means simpler to write.

How Do I Start These Essays?

How Do I Start These Essays?

Like any ordinary essay, it is crucial to have a topic and a theme that you want to work on. After that, you can go into creating mind maps and an essay outline to guide your writing.

What Is the Correct Format for These Essays?

All narrative essays follow the structure of the introduction, main body, and conclusion. The paragraphs have to be logically linked together. The conclusion should tie up the entire theme and purpose of your writing.

What 5 Rules Should I Follow for This Writing Genre?

If you’re just learning how to write a narrative essay step by step, the following should be top of your mind:

  • Focus on a single theme for your essay;
  • Use colorful and expressive language;
  • Employ various literary devices such as sarcasm, irony, humor, etc.
  • Take time to plan out your writing and don’t write impulsively;
  • Always have someone to proofread your essay to catch any errors that might escape your own eyes.

What Does a Narrative Paragraph Entail?

A narrative paragraph shouldn’t be disjoined from the rest of your writing. Every paragraph should entail a logical transition from the previous and next paragraphs. Focus on a single idea at a time within one paragraph.

What Do Great Topics Entail?

A good narrative topic should be something that you can relate to. By their very nature, narrative essays should be fun to work on. They are a little less stringent on issues such as citation and presentation format. Choose something that can accommodate a personal writing touch.

If you need professional help writing your narrative essay, don’t hesitate to call us or sign up with our essay writing service!


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