Narrative Essay: Get Started With Our Simple Guide

Updated Nov 2020

Have you ever started working on a particular essay type and discovered that you were confusing it with another type? Don’t feel scared or nervous; there are some types that do look similar but actually are not. Here we will consider a very simple but quite tricky for many students academic writing task, which is called a narrative essay.

For us to be able to distinguish a narrative essay from other types, we need to know what it actually means. So first let answer one simple question “What is a narrative essay? before digging deeper into its characteristics and other crucial info every student should know. You may be wondering what kind of beast is that, but in simple terms, a narrative essay is nothing more than a story told from a certain point of view.

Read also: Personal Narrative Essay Topics Ideas for Writing the Best Paper

Narrative Essay VS Short Story: Defining and Distinguishing

One might observe that writing a narrative essay might seem akin to short essay writing, but “defined point of view” is what puts an end to their similarities.

A story always looks at events from different perspectives and then combines all information got to create a well-woven story.

In contrast, narrative essays are projected from a single perspective, the one held by a narrator. It could be related to a general issue of discussion, which simultaneously makes up for one aspect of your life’s experience - and you will be asked to dwell on that alone.

Hence, you know what to look for when you pick an essay and try to discern its category.

Narrative Essay

The Main Elements of a Narrative Essay

In this part of our article, we would look at some essential components of any narrative paper. What are the elements you would expect to see?

  • Plot

This is described as an arrangement of occurring events. A well-constructed narrative essay would have a thrilling, attention-grabbing plot. It should not be just straight to the chase such that readers already know the end once they start reading. That’s not a good plot. A plot should be made in such a way that each aspect of write-up creates suspense and anticipation for the next part.

  • Perspective

Now, keeping in mind an initial narrative essay definition, there has to be only one opinion. In this case, it’s yours. As the “narrator,” your opinion should be the upholding “chassis” for the whole story.

  • Characters

For many narrative essay papers, the characters form an important aspect of the full story. They must be clearly identified, given their own distinct style and woven into the essay in a way that makes it hard to predict their next move. And keep in mind to do this based on ONE perspective.

  • Theme

Usually, a theme is set by your teacher or lecturer, the one who gives you the task. The idea would be influenced by a current topic of discussion in the class, except stated otherwise.

  • Setting/Scene plan

Your readers should be able to go through each paragraph and be transported into an entirely different universe at each turn, without losing track of the main plot. By default, a narrative essay isn’t supposed to be boring in any way.

Read Also: 14 Types of Essays

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Typical Structure of a Narrative Essay

Now that we have affiliated ourselves with components of any narrative essay, our next question to answer would be related to “how to write a narrative essay?” To get a clear picture on how to compose this essay, there is one more thing we would need to look at – structure.

What does the structure of a typical narrative work look like? The best thing that may help us answer that would be a narrative essay outline. Having an outline for your essay is one of the biggest favours you can do for yourself. It acts as a map, helping you chart through and avoiding unnecessary sentences that could water down your story.

Let’s get on to it. A typical but informative outline would show you the following parts of the essay:

  • Introduction

Also known as opening remarks, an introduction sets the stage for what is to come next. Here, it’s about revealing just some interesting details without giving away the whole plot. Your introduction needs to be captivating and precise. It’s easy to know a good story from afar just by glancing at its introduction. It also needs to be rooted in the main idea of your whole narration.

  • Body

Several paragraphs usually make up this part. Depending on the aspect of your life you will write about, it should not exceed 3-4 paragraphs. Extremely long essays can get boring with time, and length makes it difficult for a reader to grab valuable lessons for themselves.

  • Concluding part

The concluding segment is not a place to start another story! It’s meant to help you ‘wrap up’ the stage you had set from the beginning. This means that it also must be concise, precise and deeply rooted in the central theme.

In many ways, narrative essays are akin to expository essays. This is why we should be mindful of the things that set the former ones apart in order not to waste time and energy coming up with the wrong results. If you don't know which expository essay topics choose, try to read other examples and create something unique.

Read also: 60+ Personal Narrative Essay Topics + Bonus Tips

Tips to Consider in Writing Narrative Essays

Having talked at length about technicalities, let’s examine some essential tips that would be helpful in drafting a narrative essay:

  1. Choose characters wisely: always go for the main characters. The accessory ones may not have much of background info and putting them in the spotlight of your essay would make the story look scanty. Furthermore, you only need the essential features of these characters, not all of them. This helps your reader in better understanding.
  2. Stay within a topic: beating around the bush or digressing would confuse anyone going through the work. Do your best and not forget about what your problem is about and theme you were given.
  3. Spelling and Punctuation: have you observed how one comma in the wrong place can upset everything? This happens not only in narrative but virtually any college paper. The same applies to misspell: be cautious of these aspects, especially if you are a fast writer. And always proofread your work before asking someone to look through.
  4. Be creative: there is no need to bore people out. Do not omit exciting details because you are trying to be ‘precise’ – you will end up with a military script. Our idea is to balance both; have the right amount of precision and still retain a creative flavour of your narrative essay.

Few Words about Us

At EduBirdie, we strive towards excellence. By providing the best narrative services in the industry, we set the pace and standards for others to follow. We are always glad to help our clients through implementing all we wrote about because that’s what we represent – the best.

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