How to Write a Narrative Essay
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narrative essay

How to Write a Narrative Essay

Everybody has a story to tell. Daily, you may be conversing with family, friends, classmates, co-workers, or strangers, relaying stories and experiences. Given that kind of interaction, writing narrative essays for college should be a breeze for you.

Even if you don't consider yourself a good essay writer, getting into the theme and groove of the story will help you keep the words flowing – you might even have the problem of not wanting to edit anything out! But if you still need some tips to be able to craft the perfect narrative essay, the guide by our expert narrative essay writing service will show you how! So, let's start with an easy introduction to a narrative essay.

What Is a Narrative Essay?

So, what is a narrative essay? Think of a narrative essay definition as if you are telling a non-fictional hero story with a central character being you. These types of writing tend to include elements of a story while maintaining the structure of an essay. The primary purpose of the narrative essay is to inform the reader about a certain experience. Although it is possible there may be a lesson to learn from the experience, your objective as the author is to tell a story and not draw any conclusions as a narrator.

Types of Narrative Writing

People have been telling stories since ancient times. All types of stories share one thing in common; they are all part of narrative writing. Here are the four common types of narrative:

Linear Narrative

This type of narrative essay presents the story's events in chronological order. There are various ways to accomplish this through any narrative perspective. The text can be written in the first, second, and third person. The linear narrative is meant to create an effect of immersion for the reader. During the read-through of such a narrative, the reader becomes immersed in the protagonist's daily life by watching the events of the character's life unfold in chronological order. A linear narrative essay has a clear beginning, middle, and end, making it relatively easy to keep up with the events of the story. Various linear narrative essay examples can be found in Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. The novel shows different narrative perspectives. However, the events of the plot unfold in chronological order.

Non-Linear Narrative

As you may guess from the name, a non-linear narrative essay tells the story out of order, often employing flashbacks and other literary devices to shift the reader back and forth through the story's timeline. This is done to put emotional emphasis on some parts of the narrative and make thematic connections between events. A great example of a non-linear narrative is demonstrated in one of the most ancient classics, Homer's epic poem, The Odyssey. The presentation of events out of chronological order builds suspense throughout the long narrative poem, as the reader is left to wonder how Odysseus' ordeals began. Given the length of the poem, it is also used to keep the reader interested.

Quest Narrative 

The protagonist constantly moves towards a certain goal in a quest narrative essay. Typically, reaching that goal involves a long journey, as the object of their pursuit is far from their current whereabouts. The best examples of the quest narrative are J.R.R. Tolkein's The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings. In the novels, the protagonists embark on a long journey, which takes them through many dangers and challenges.

Viewpoint Narrative

A viewpoint narrative essay is designed to show a particular point of view or personal experience of one or more characters in the story. In a viewpoint narrative essay, the narrator's mood and feelings are expressed from their point of view. It shares similarities with an explanatory essay, as you can tell a story from another person's point of view. This narrative style often employs first-person narration. Sometimes, we may see third-person narration in which the omniscient narrator can switch between the points of view of different characters. This type of narrative allows for the possibility of an unreliable narrator. It may be used to build suspense uniquely by getting the reader to question the narrator. 

A great example of a viewpoint narrative is Lolita by Vladamir Nabokov. In this piece of narrative writing, the first-person narrative comes from Humbert Humbert, a man who has been a patient in a psychiatric clinic multiple times and tells the entire story in his own subjective way, which may not necessarily present the truth to the reader.

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Elements of Narrative Writing

narratve writing

Narrative essays should include the elements: plot, setting, theme, characters, conflict, and point of view. Experts from our write my essay service examine each element in greater detail below. Let us examine each of the elements in greater detail below.


This one should be no surprise, as every story has a plot. Think of it as the backbone of your narrative paper. It is the sequence of events in your narrative, which includes background information, conflict, the climax of the story, and the conclusion.


When you write narrative essay, the setting is an essential element of any story and should be included in your paper, so it follows a proper narrative essay format. The setting describes the story's world, a world around the narrator and the characters. A vivid description of the setting can be the difference between an average and a great essay.


Every narrative piece of writing has characters, and yours should be no different in this regard, as characters are an integral part of any story. Do your best to describe the characters so that the reader has a clear image of them in their mind.

Point of View 

The point of view should be consistent throughout the personal narrative essays. Remember that you are telling your own life story, and keep the narration in the first person. 


The message of your essay should be clear. It is a fundamental literary element, as everything in the essay revolves around its theme.


Conflict is the driving force behind the characters' actions in your narrative paper. It has a direct effect on the plot, as well as the theme of a narrative. Think of a defining conflict of your personal story when planning your narrative essay.

Narrative Essay Format

Careful formatting of the essay can be just as important as the quality of its contents. Here are some things to pay attention to when formatting your narrative essay.


Choose the narrative essay format style depending on the assignment requirements. Most educational facilities use APA, MLA, Harvard. It is best to double-check the guidelines with your educator to make sure you know exactly what format to use. In some cases, choosing the wrong narrative format for the paper may even result in its rejection.

Title page

Give the needed attention to the title page. It is going to be the first thing that the teacher will see. Therefore, it is in your best interest to make sure that grammar and spelling are flawless, especially on the title page.


Pay careful attention to how you format your references. There are different peculiarities of how it should look depending on the format. Make sure to create the reference page in the same format as your narrative essay.

There are general rules for writing a narrative essay. These rules can vary depending on the place you study and your educator. However, there is one universal principle you must follow to create an A+ level paper. Follow your instructions, use the right essay structure, avoid plagiarism, and be as descriptive as possible.

Different educational facilities may define a narrative essay differently. However, generally, it is a paper similar to a hero story. The topics can vary from describing a holiday vacation to telling a short story about your life's greatest adventure.

Narrative Essay Sample

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Narrative Essay Structure

As mentioned before, a narrative essay is similar to a hero story. It also shares a similar structure of a hero story, which is shown in the picture.

narrative essay structure

Let us take a closer look at what the elements of the narrative essay are:


As the name suggests, this is where the story's characters, the setting, and the central conflict are introduced. Make sure to provide a thesis statement after the detailed descriptions of the characters, as it will help the reader create a clear picture of them. Sometimes, the conflict is introduced in the next part of the narrative, which leads us to the rising action.

Rising Action

This is the part of the story where the characters start to take action regarding the conflict. In a hero's story, this is where the hero's journey begins. The beginning of this section is a great place to introduce conflict, as it motivates the characters to take steps toward resolving it. It is also where the central character starts to transform the challenges he or she faces into someone greater as the narrative approaches its peak. The main purpose of this part of the story is to create tension and keep the reader interested in what will happen next.


The tension has been building up to this point as the reader wonders what will happen next. It is a turning point in the story when the conflict is resolved through the central hero's actions. In classic hero stories, the hero defeats the villain, marking the end of the conflict. As the conflict gets resolved, the tension in the story is released, and things start to settle down.

Falling Action & Resolution

Any good story needs a good ending, which is where it happens. The conclusion of the narrative essay belongs to this part. This section may take several chapters in longer pieces of narrative writing, such as novels, and sometimes falling action and resolution are separated. The resolution has some similarities with the introduction. However, now you discuss the story's end by describing the characters and setting at the end of the story.

For a shorter piece of writing, such as a narrative essay, falling action and resolution can be combined because these two parts flow well together. They have a lot in common, occurring after the story's conflict has been resolved.

How to Write a Narrative Essay Step-by-Step Guide

How to write a narrative essay? Do not worry; we will demonstrate to you how to produce a narrative essay by going into much detail. By the end, you'll understand the significance of this assignment and how to create your own narrative essay outline.

How to Start a Narrative Essay

It may sound surprising, but an introduction can be the hardest part of an essay. Before deciding on your narrative essay topic, ensure you understand how to start a narrative essay. After this, take the time to brainstorm different topics for your future essay to help you decide on the one you like the most. Creating an outline for an essay is also a great idea, as it will help you structure your assignment correctly. Remember to follow the structure of the narrative essay as you start to write your introduction.

When describing your characters and setting, be as detailed as possible to give your reader the best possible understanding of what you have in mind.


The body of your essay should include the rising action and the story's main point (climax). As in the introduction, you should be as descriptive as possible; however, in this section, give extra attention to your characters' actions and describe them as best as possible. Details matter and can be the difference between a B+ and an A-level paper.

How to End a Narrative Paper

The conclusion of your narrative essay should have similarities with your introduction. Think of it as introducing events that happened after the turning point. Provide detailed descriptions of the setting and the characters' moods and feelings. In novels like Harry Potter, the conclusion of one novel can set the stage for the next volume and almost serve as the introduction to the next one if they are read back to back.

Narrative Essay Topics

For some students, choosing the topic of a narrative essay is rather difficult. And it is understandable, as there are so many potential topics that the sheer volume of ideas can be overwhelming. Some students, on the other hand, have trouble finding where to start.

Whatever the case may be, here is a list of topics that can be used to write your narrative essay. Alternatively, you can order essay online from our paper service and not deal with any of it at all.  Keep in mind that a topic from this list does not have to be the title of your essay. This list is meant to give you an idea of what you can write about.

List of topics:

  • Your most exciting day of school.
  • A field trip that your class took.
  • Your favorite summer vacation.
  • A trip that included something unexpected or surprising.
  • A time that you learned something new that changed you in some way.
  • The day that you got your first pet.
  • A move from one place to another.
  • Something funny that happened to you.
  • Something funny that happened to one of your family members or friends.
  • Something embarrassing that happened to you.
  • Your favorite birthday party.
  • A time that the power went out.
  • A summer day when the temperature got much higher than expected.
  • A time when you went to an amusement park.
  • A time when you got lost somewhere.
  • A memorable experience with a family member.
  • A random act of kindness.
  • Your most exciting moment performing in a play, singing, playing music, or dancing.
  • A random act of kindness.

To Sum Up

Writing a personal narrative essay can be a challenging task. However, where there is a challenge, there is a lot of potential for expression. Essentially, a narrative paper is a hero story and follows the same structure. Choose your topic and remember to provide detailed descriptions and give the reader a vivid picture of the characters and setting. When formatting your paper, make sure the grammar and spelling are perfect and it is plagiarism-free.

And if you need help creating good narrative essay topics, or maybe you're tasked with a descriptive essay instead, feel free to contact EssayService. You can hire a professional essay writer to assist you in writing or proofreading your piece. Buy essay online and get a top-quality paper.

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