Narrative Essays

A narrative essay intends to tell about an event or experience. Many competitive exams require you to write narrative essays on the given topics. The story developed in this essay type illustrates one or more points. The purpose of narrative essay is to show writer’s reflection on the importance of the event/experience, what the writer learned from it and how it affected the writer’s life.
Structure of narrative essay:
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Paragraph 1: ( Least or most important event with support)
Paragraph 2: ( More or less important event with support)
Paragraph 3: ( Most or least important event with support)
Examples of narrative essays:
  • An unusual vacation
  • Waiting in line story
  • Books or movies that have changed my world view
  • Who inspires me and why

Strategies to write a good narrative essay:
Consider the following aspects while writing a narrative essay:
  • Point of view:
    Use the same point of view throughout your essay. A narrative essay can use either the first person (I, we) or the third person (he, she, it) to describe the experience.
  • Tense:
    Usually, narrative essays are written in the past tense. The present tense is mostly used to depict a typical situation. An essay narrating a significant past experience/event is also written in the present tense.
  • Concrete details:
    Make use of concrete details to develop the story and support the illustrated points. To make the evidence specific, use the following: dialogue, specific descriptions, vivid verbs (to create a certain mood in the story), etc. A narrative essay can create a positive (calm, cheerful, sympathetic, nostalgic, etc.) or negative mood (suspicious, apprehensive, threatening, etc.)
    Do not confuse the mood of essay with writer’s tone/attitude towards the event narrated. Tone can be positive, negative or neutral.
  • Language:
    Use inversion for emphasis and sentence variety. Inversion is a change of the normal word order. In an inverted sentence, verb comes before the subject. E.g. There goes the morning train, Rarely have I read a more boring book, etc. The introductory paragraph should establish the context and relationship of writer to the narrated event. The conclusion ‘wraps up’ the lesson taught or idea illustrated in the essay.
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Evaluate your essay in terms of following parameters:
  • Content:
    Make sure that the event described and the facts stated in the essay are relevant to the given topic. Also, narrate the event or experience in a single tense throughout the essay.
  • Structure of the essay:
    Ensure that the event or events follow a proper logical sequence in your essay. The events/ experiences described should not deviate from the central theme of essay.
  • Choice of words:
    Make use of effective vocabulary to convey your points and ideas. Lastly, check your essay for any punctuation, grammatical or spelling mistakes.
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