How To Write A Narrative Essay 😊😊

How To Write An  Narrative Essay for A grade score!

Here is a guide on how to write a compelling narrative essay. You can also use the tips to write your personal statement for school applications.

Certain times when you go back to school after a vacation, your teacher tells you to narrate your experiences. You will have to put down your experiences in writing. Now, that becomes a narrative essay or writing just in case you did not know.

If you are good at creative writing, a narrative essay presents the best opportunity to showcase your creative writing skills. Narrative writing evaluates how you can express your experiences creatively in a compelling manner while following a set narrative pattern or structure.

The major reason for a narrative essay is to explain and communicate fictional and factual stories. Keep in mind that whenever you relate your experiences to a friend or colleague, it usually comes in the form of narration. A major difference between factual and fictional narration is the amount of proof you have to give your listener.

Additionally, the purpose of the writer or storyteller differentiates the two narratives. In factual narration, the writer gives a comprehensive account of how an event occurred. This is unlike a fictional narrative where the storyteller moves away from real events or happenings.

Narrative essay writing is common among high school students and in composition classes with undergraduate students. A good thing about narrative essay writing is that you can apply the techniques when writing your personal statement for undergraduate and graduate school applications.

Most times, students confuse a narrative essay for a descriptive essay due to their similarities. However, a narrative essay has its unique aspects. To help you understand better what a narrative essay is and how you can write one, we have written this article for you.

Here, you will also learn the elements and types of narrative essays, the length of a narrative essay, and guidelines for writing narrative essays.

But before we continue, remember we have a team of professional writers that can help you to write any type of essay for your academic or professional pursuit. You can click on Order at the top right of this page and follow the instructions.

What is a narrative essay? 

A narrative essay is a type of essay whereby you use text to tell a story from your personal experience using characters, conflicts, and settings. It is called narrative because you use a particular way to tell your story and explain its events.

Every piece of writing (fictional or factual) involves some form of narrative writing in them. The reason is that they have a focal point on which the narrative centers on. Examples of narrative writing include novels, poetry, and anecdotes.

Most times, people confuse narrative essays with short stories. There are a few things that differentiate both on paper. A narrative essay requires you to tell a story using facts – you will create this story solely from your memory.

However, a short story will require that you make it up by creating characters and events that can suit the story.Unlike short stories, many writers may find narrative writing a bit challenging because they depend solely on their memories to build a story.

Narrative writing also requires a thesis statement. That is to say, the first paragraph of your story must tell the reader or listener the major idea of your story or writing. You will also have to prove the thesis statement as you narrate your story.

Purpose of A Narrative Essay 

Whenever you want to begin a narrative essay, make sure that you figure out the purpose of your writing. The style or approach you use can make your readers emotionally engage with your story either through fear, laughter, sadness, etc.

Generally, the major purpose of narrative essay writing is to tell a clear story from your experience to your readers or listeners. As you narrate your personal experience, you will also make your readers understand why you are telling the story and why they should share it.

In writing a narrative essay, you will have to use all the story elements including the beginning, middle, ending, plot, setting, characters, and climax. In addition to this, you will use different body paragraphs for each case so that your reader can understand and separate the different periods in your tale.

The plot of your narrative essay has to flow in accordance with the order of occurrence so that your story can have a purpose.A narrative essay is not persuasive – it does not persuade readers with arguments in order to prove a point.

Narrative essays let readers draw their conclusions as they read a story. Additionally, narrative essays do not make criticisms.

Elements Of A Narrative Essay

Every narrative essay has five elements that make it a story. The five elements of a narrative essay include plot, setting, character, conflict, and theme. Each of the elements is explained below.


The plot of a narrative essay is the structure of the narrative as it moves through time. Most times, the narratives follow the traditional plot structure. This traditional plot structure is as follows:

  • Exposition (the introduction of the setting and context of the characters)
  • Rising action (incidents that create conflict for the protagonist)
  • Climax (when the tension of conflict gets to the highest point)
  • Falling action (the events that come after the climax)
  • Denouement (how the conflict is resolved).

The basic narrative structure that drives the events of your story is your plot. For instance; a man died and after a few years, his wife died due to grief – this becomes a plot.


The setting of a narrative essay refers to the time and place the story is set in (when and where the events in the story happen). In order words, it focuses mainly on the location and time of a story.


If you are writing an essay, poetry, or a novel, your readers need to be given a sense of the personalities that the narrative is happening to.Generally, characters in narrative writing are the persons who are involved in the narrative. Whenever you create characters in your piece of narrative writing, it is known as characterization.

The main character of a narrative writing or story is called the hero or protagonist. Additionally, the character that opposes the protagonist is called the antagonist or villain.

If you explain your characters clearly and they feel so real, you will have succeeded in engaging your audience emotionally because a little disturbance in events will keep them on the edge of their seats.


Conflict in narrative writing refers to the problem or issue that characters encounter in a story. In other words, a conflict is a moment of tension that a character needs to win through.

Your narrative should be made on how the characters face the conflict in your story. There are four types of conflicts including person vs. person (a couple going through a marital crisis), person vs. self (a protagonist battling mental issues), person vs. nature (a protagonist suffering a natural disaster), and person vs. society (a person fighting for his/her rights).


The theme is created using other literary concepts because it is the most important concept of all. Your theme may even begin from your narrative writing prompt. Before you begin your narrative essay or writing, ask yourself; what can my readers or audience take away from the experience? If you can give them something to take, then you do not need to explain your theme. The events of the plot will point in its direction.

Simply put; a theme is the major point of a writer’s story. The theme explains the overall purpose of the story and the writer’s reasons for choosing the topic. You may still choose to call it the moral of the story.

Types of Narrative Essays

Narrative writing is as old as the human race. It has been in existence since the beginning of storytelling to ancient poetry. Before you begin your narrative essay, decide first on the type of writing that you want.

Below are the types of narrative essay writing that you should consider:

  • Linear narrative
  • Non-linear narrative
  • Descriptive narrative
  • Viewpoint narrative
  • Quest narrative


1.Linear Narrative 

A linear narrative is one in which you outline the events in your story in the order of how they happened – narration made in sequence. Here, an event will come from the previous event and lead into the next event.

A linear narration can be achieved through any narrative perspective – either through first-person narration, second-person narration, or third-person narration. This type of narrative writing is similar to realistic fiction whereby the writer immerses the reader in the daily life of the protagonist. If you are the reader, you will watch how the events happening in the character’s life unfold in an orderly manner.

A unique thing about the linear narration is that it is told in a time frame mainly employing past, present, and future tense.

2.Non-linear Narrative 

A non-linear narrative does not follow the sequential order of how events occurred. It employs flashbacks or flash-forwards to shift or change the sequence of the story.

If you choose the non-linear narration for your essay, you use it to show your emotional state or consciousness. You can also use a non-linear narrative to represent themes unfolding in different places and times or even build suspense.

3.Descriptive Narrative 

In a descriptive narration, you will connect images, ideas, and details and use them to communicate a sense of time and place in your story.

If you choose the descriptive narrative for your essay, you should be able to use clear details in making your description. When you make your description to be very clear, your readers or audience will easily picture the setting of the story and visualize the nature of the characters.

4.Viewpoint Narrative 

Viewpoint narration is one in which the main character narrates how an event happened from their own point of view or personal experience. This type of narration employs the ideas, opinions, and emotions of the writer.

In addition, it takes the form of first-person narration or third-person omniscient narration. Here, the third-person omniscient narrator switches between the point of view and personal thoughts of several central characters.

5.Quest Narrative 

In a quest narrative, a person (mainly the protagonist) works tirelessly to achieve a goal. The efforts made to pursue and achieve this goal likely become the entire purpose of the protagonist. However, the protagonist usually faces very difficult challenges in the pursuit and attainment of this goal.

The protagonist usually embarks on a long journey before they can achieve the goal.

How long should a narrative essay be?

There is no specified length for narrative essays. However, the length of the narrative essay you will write depends on certain factors including your institution, organization, teacher, etc.

Most times, a narrative essay could be 500 words in length or at least 1000 words. We recommend that you stick by the word count given for your narrative essay.

If you are not given a word count, you may decide to write up to a few hundred words. Do not exceed a few hundred words as it is the word limit for an ideal narrative essay.

Ensure that your narrative essay has a beginning, a conclusion, and three or more body sections. You should also state the most important characters, events, and locations whenever you are writing.

What are the guidelines for writing a narrative essay?

Writing a narrative essay may look like a piece of cake but consuming it could be challenging. If you find narrative essay writing a bit challenging, the tips we will give you here will help you to write a compelling narrative essay.

1.Choose a topic for your narrative essay 

Before you begin your narrative essay, your tutor will give you a prompt (instructions for the essay). The prompt will also determine the title or topic of your essay. Your topic may be specific (writing about a particular event) or open-ended (writing any event of your choice).

If you are choosing a topic by yourself, choose one that will engage the reader and make it to be very interesting. As you write your narrative essay, ensure that the events follow each other. You should also employ descriptive language and relevant details in your essay writing.

2.Outline the details of your essay 

Narrative writing does not require you to carry out research to support facts or your thesis statement as you will have to write about your personal experiences.Ensure that you arrange your thoughts so that you can make a claim for your thesis statement.

To do this, you should create an outline for your essay so that it contains the four major parts including an introduction, thesis statement, body, and conclusion.The introduction should be one paragraph. Ensure that you introduce the topic of your essay and tell your reader what you will discuss in the body of the writing. Be concise. Afterward, state your thesis statement.

The body of your narrative essay should have a minimum of three paragraphs. In the main body, think of the emotions you had (conflict), compare the feelings you experienced with some universal ideas to make your readers understand you more (climax), and state the lessons that your experiences taught you (resolution).

Make sure that you discuss each of these ideas in one paragraph. Let your ideas follow a sequential order so that your readers can understand your story.Depending on your story, your essay can have a happy or sad ending.

Ensure that you end your essay with a very powerful conclusion. When writing your conclusion, summarize the main points, restate the central message, and give your readers something to ponder on.

4.Revise your essay 

Once you complete your essay, take some time off before making a revision. You may choose to sleep for a while, take a stroll, or engage in something that has no connection with your essay. Afterward, come back to your essay and read it all over again carefully.

Ensure that your essay contains the main details and elements. If your essay is lacking in some areas, a revision is the best time to figure that out.

5.Edit your essay 

Proofreading your essay will enable you to spot errors (if any) in your work. You may discover some grammatical or typographical errors. The words you used in your essay may also be complex.

If you discover these mistakes, make sure that you correct them. In the case of complex words, consider using less complex words to increase readability. For quality assurance purposes, you can use tools such as Grammarly or ProWritingAid to check grammar, spelling, and double spacing in your essay.

Once you are done editing your essay, read it all over again for more clarity. Consider asking your friend, colleague, or teacher to read through your essay. By asking them to proofread it, they may discover some mistakes that require corrections. This will not only make your essay more compelling but make you hone your essay writing skills.

Frequently Asked Questions on how to write Narrative Essays

 How do I choose a topic?

When choosing a topic for your narrative essay, pick an event or situation that has had a strong emotional impact on you and that you can recount in detail. The event should have shaped your feelings, opinions, or beliefs in some way.

How long should my Narrative essay be?

Narrative essays typically range from 500 to 1,500 words, although a longer essay may be acceptable for advanced-level assignments. The narrative’s length should be based on the purpose of the essay; if the goal is to inform or explain a concept, the essay should be long enough to cover all critical aspects of the topic.

A detailed description generally requires a greater word count due to its level of detail and specificity. Depending on the type of subject that is being described, it may take anywhere from 250 to 2,000 words to adequately cover all the needed information. It is important to note that no matter what length your essay is, it should always be engaging and well written.

What tone or style should I use for my narrative essay?

The tone of your narrative essay should be reflective and thoughtful. Your language should be descriptive yet concise and evocative. Use vivid imagery to help the reader become immersed in the story you are telling.

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