A narrative essay is a short story written in the first person. The key to writing a good narrative essay is to draw your readers into the story by creating vivid and compelling characters, as well as an emotional conflict to move the plot along.

Here are some of the basic elements that make up a narrative essay:

  • The narrator: Who is telling the story?
  • Is it the writer him or herself?
  • Is it someone else who witnessed the events described?
  • Is it a character who is part of the events?
  • What is his or her opinion on what happened?


narrative essay

What Is a narrative essay?

A narrative essay is a type of writing that tells a story based on real-life experiences.

Narrative essays can be funny, sad, or happy. They usually focus on a single experience in the author’s life, but they can also tell stories about several different events.

Writing a narrative essay gives you the chance to reflect on your life and share what you’ve learned with others.

Telling someone else’s story is also an important part of writing a narrative essay. If you’re telling someone else’s story in your essay, make sure you get their approval first because you might use some very personal details.


Narrative essays are similar to memoirs, which are another type of nonfiction writing that tells about the author’s life.

The biggest difference between memoirs and narrative essays is that memoirs are more organized and have a clear purpose or goal.

Memoirs often have titles like “My Life as an Actor” or “My Year of Training for the Olympics.”

Memoirs tell about the authors’ entire lives from beginning to end, but narrative essays aren’t always chronological.

Some people write narratives about certain periods of their lives, such as their childhood or adolescence.

What Is A Narrative Essay?

Narrative essays often follow one character through a series of events that unfold over time.

In this case, you should let your readers know if you are changing perspectives or if you are following one character throughout the entire narrative.

What Is A Narrative Essay For?

To put it simply, a narrative essay is a story. Your reader should be able to read your story and feel like they have been on an adventure. 


Just imagine your favorite books as a kid. Think of how hooked you were on the story — you could not wait to see what was going to happen next.

The same goes for writing an essay. When you are writing, you want your reader to feel the same way and become interested in what happens next. 

Here are things that you can do to ensure that happens:

Setting: Where does the story take place? Are there any particular settings that are important to setting the mood and tone of your story? 

Conflict: Every good story has conflict.

What made your story interesting and worth writing about was an obstacle that prevented your main character from getting what he or she wanted.

  • What was at stake?
  • What kept your characters motivated to continue on their quest?
  • What finally resolved their conflict, was it happily or tragically?

Get started – This is the hardest part of writing a great essay. You have no idea where to start, and it feels like there is so much information out there about the topic.

Here is a tip that will help: start by coming up with an interesting situation or problem. Write down all of the questions that come up in your head when you think about your problem or situation.

You can even write down ideas for answers, but then try not to write any of them down until after you finish writing your entire piece. Choose a focus – After you have all of your questions written down, choose one question to answer in your paper.

Essential Elements Of Narrative Essays

The first step in writing a narrative essay is to decide on your main idea or theme. This can range from the author’s thoughts, feelings, and experiences to a statement about humanity as a whole. 

Once you’ve come up with your idea, it’s time to start working on the structure.

Narrative essays have three parts: a beginning, a middle, and an end. Your essay will be most effective when these elements are properly developed. 


Before you begin writing, come up with an outline. This will help you organize your thoughts and keep everything straight. 

Start with the introduction, which is what grabs your reader’s attention and gets them interested in reading more of your essay.

The introduction should include background information on the topic and any relevant facts that will help readers relate to what you’re about to say. 

Next comes your body paragraphs.

This is where you expand on the details and provide examples of what you’re discussing in the introduction. Each body paragraph should have a topic sentence that gives the reader an idea of what they will learn in that paragraph.

Finally, the conclusion paragraph restates your main idea and sums up everything you’ve discussed in the body of the essay.

How To Start A Narrative Essay?

Narrative essays are often a favorite of many teachers and professors. It is extremely important to know how to start a narrative essay the right way. 


This can be done by following some basic steps.

The first step is to make sure that you understand what your professor wants in your narrative essay. The second step is to make sure that you are using your voice when writing this type of essay.

The third step is to make sure that you do not forget to tell a story, rather than giving a list of facts. The most important thing that you will have to do is learn how to tell a story.

You will want to make sure that your reader can easily follow along with your narrative essay and get the point of it all. You will want to make sure that they do not get confused or bored while reading it.

You should try and pull the reader into your world when you are writing this type of essay. This means trying not to overuse big words or hard-to-understand phrases, as well as using dialogue, action, and description within your narrative essay.

You should try and mix up the types of sentences used throughout your essay, as well as have various tone changes throughout your esay.

Quick Tips On Writing A Narrative Essay

Writing a narrative essay about your life can be difficult for many students. This is because the essay is supposed to be personal and well written. 

The following tips will provide you with the necessary tools to write an outstanding narrative essay.

  • Tone: The tone of a narrative essay should be told as if it were a story. It should also be somewhat informal, but not so much that it becomes hard to read. 
  • Topic Sentence: You will want to develop an interesting topic sentence for your essay by choosing an aspect of your life that was significant and/or interesting. You must choose something that happened to you, not just something that sounds interesting. 
  • Personal: As the name implies, a narrative essay should be personal. Many students make the mistake of telling a story that they have heard or read about rather than one from their own life.

When writing a narrative essay do not get caught up in trying to make it sound perfect. If it seems like you are trying too hard then your readers will have a difficult time relating to it.

Difference Between A Narrative Essay And A Short Story

There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to writing, but there are some guidelines that can make your work more interesting. One of these is the difference between a narrative essay and a short story.

As much as they may appear to be similar, they’re very different in their structure and objectives. Here’s how to tell them apart. 

Telling a story is not quite the same as writing a narrative essay.

A narrative essay is a story told in an essay format, which means that you have to focus on the plot with less room for tangents. 

A short story, on the other hand, has a specific literary purpose that doesn’t need to fit into an essay framework. The plot can be secondary or even non-existent in this type of literature, where the main idea is to introduce characters and allow them to develop through their words and actions. 

This goes back to one of the original purposes of literature: entertainment or art.

A short story usually centers on character development, while an essay focuses on explaining an issue or concept in detail. The characters in a short story are usually more complex than those found in an essay. 

Essay characters tend to be straightforward and clearly defined from the beginning of the piece with little room for development or change.

Elements Of A Narrative Essay

A narrative essay can be used to report on events that happened or to recount an experience. A narrative essay should have a beginning, middle, and end with an interesting point of view.


The point of view should be unique to the writer.

The following elements should be evident in all narrative essays: A clear thesis statement that is supported by facts and details. A thesis statement answers the question,

What is this essay about? Make sure your thesis statement has more supporting detail than just the topic sentence. 

Varied sentence structure. Varying sentence length, syntax, and structure helps keep your reader from getting bored.

Long sentences do not necessarily make your writing more sophisticated or complex; however, it does help maintain interest if you insert shorter, simpler sentences into the mix for variety.

Use conversational language for a more informal style to match your subject matter; use formal language for a more professional tone.

These details should also provide varied sentence structure and show specific evidence to support your thesis.

Function Of Narrative Essay

A narrative essay is an essay that contains a story. It tells a sequence of events, describing one event after another. It is entirely about real persons, places, and things.

Essay writing can be a stressful experience for many students because it requires them to express their thoughts through writing. In addition, essay writing also requires the ability to provide examples and incidents to support your thoughts.

The focus of a narrative essay is on the sequence of events that lead up to the main point or topic of the essay. In addition, the narrative essay gives insight into how the author feels about these events or how the events made him feel in general.

However, it must be borne in mind that an essay should not just be an account of the events that happened in chronological order. There should be the main focus to which all other details will relate.

The scope of this essay is not limited to one incident only but can cover any number of incidents that are related to each other as they occurred over time. 


A lot of different topics can be written using a narrative format. There are different types of narrative essays on different topics such as history, science, culture, and sports.

Personal Narrative Essay

In a personal narrative essay, you use a specific event from your life as an illustration of a broader point or lesson. You can start with the actual event, but then bring in another perspective on what happened or how you felt.

The purpose of a personal narrative essay is to allow you to share something about yourself with the reader. Personal narrative essays are particularly useful for showcasing your writing voice and personality.

A personal statement can be factual, but it doesn’t have to be. It can also reveal something about you that isn’t readily apparent from the rest of your application. 

Here’s one way to write a personal narrative essay that will help get you accepted into college:

Step 1.  Choose your topic carefully. Personal narratives can cover any aspect of your life, including major events (such as moving to a new city), everyday occurrences (like being teased by a classmate), and feelings (such as loneliness).

Step 2. Write about the event itself in the third person (he) or present tense (he sits at his desk) and focus on what happened rather than your emotions or thoughts at the time. Keep in mind that this part of the essay is just an introduction; it’s not supposed to be the whole story.