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Writing a Narrative Essay

 
 
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A narrative essay tells a story. It can be a story about something that has happened to you, a retelling of an historical event, or a fictional story that you're using to illustrate a point. Here are some tips to help you write a successful narrative essay.

Conceptual illustration on how to write a narrative essay
  1. Know the story you're about to tell and the point of the story before you begin. Don't rely on the possibility of the story developing as you write. Make pre-writing notes to sketch out the following:
    • Narrator - Is this a first-person story, in which the narrator is in the story and uses the pronoun "I?" Or, is it a third-person story, in which the narrator refers to characters as him or her, and may be able to read the thoughts of all or some of the characters?
    • Characters - Who is the story about?
    • Setting - Where and when does the story occur?
    • Climax - What is the turning point or point at which the characters experience an important change?
    • Resolution - How does the story wrap up and what can the reader learn from the story?
  2. Begin with an introduction that establishes the setting, and, through a well-written thesis statement, the purpose of the essay. The thesis of a narrative essay is often a moral or lesson.
  3. Build to the climax or turning point of the essay by writing two or three paragraphs of rising action, in which a conflict is introduced and complications in the story are explained. The conflict can be any problem the character faces, and can be as simple as deciding what to have for breakfast, to determining the best way to join the North and the South at the end of the Civil War. There are four basic types of conflict:
    • Narrator - Is this a first-person story, in which the narrator is in the story and uses the pronoun "I?" Or, is it a third-person story, in which the narrator refers to characters as him or her, and may be able to read the thoughts of all or some of the characters?
    • Character versus character (two characters have opposing points of view)
    • Character versus self (the man character must make a difficult decision)
    • Character versus nature (the character must overcome some natural phenomenon)
    • Character versus society (the character takes actions that do not conform with society)
  4. At the climax, the character confronts the conflict and an outcome is determined.
  5. Once the conflict reaches its peak, write one or two paragraphs about the aftermath. What is the result of the climax? Consider if there are any minor conflicts the character must deal with that result from the climax.
  6. Write the conclusion of the narrative essay. This paragraph wraps up the main points and may briefly review the climax. The conclusion includes a restatement of the thesis and some sort of "take-away" for the reader. The take-away can be a prediction, a call to action, or a moral.

If you follow these steps, you are sure to write a successful narrative essay.

All articles in the Language Arts category:

     
Building Vocabulary Capitalization Rules Choosing a Topic
Common Foreign Phrases Common Prefixes Commonly Misspelled Words
Confusing Pairs of Words Critical Reading Eponyms
Expository Writing Five Paragraph Essay Forming Plurals
Idioms Metaphors Number Prefixes
Parts of Speech Phonics Rules Proofreading
Using Punctuation Marks Reading Comprehension Reading Novels
Revising and Editing an Essay Similes Spelling Long Words
Transition Words and Phrases Useful Spelling Rules Using Quotation Marks
Word Identification Writing a Book Report Writing a Narrative Essay
Writing a Persuasive Essay Writing a Research Paper Writing Numbers
Writing Techniques Writing Terms  
 
     
 

 
 
     
 
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