Writing a Narrative essay: Best Outline, Examples, and Format

Writing a Narrative essay: Best Outline, Examples, and Format

One of the most prevalent types of academic writing is the narrative essay. Students in various educational institutions regularly confront this type of work, so knowing how to handle it is critical to their success.

The narrative writing style’s major goal is to tell an engaging story. Even if it appears simple at first glance, telling an interesting tale can be difficult. Our experts have put together a step-by-step tutorial on how to write a narrative essay to assist you in overcoming this obstacle.

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What Is a Narrative Essay and How Do I Write One?

A narrative essay is an academic writing in which the author attempts to tell a tale. Your job as an author is to create the ideal atmosphere for your readers and give them a realistic experience. In most cases, a narrative essay is written in the first person.

Keep readers involved by placing them at the center of the plot. Narrative writing employs a variety of vivid details, descriptive tactics, and other strategies.

The most difficult aspect of creating a narrative essay is that its length is always limited. As a result, you must take a complicated story and reduce it into a short essay while providing enough depth to keep readers interested.

Purpose of a Narrative Essay

The primary objective of narrative writing is to share stories. As a writer, your job is to tell readers about a real-life experience while also making a strong case for why you’re presenting that story and why it matters.

What distinguishes it from other kinds of essays?

You don’t make arguments, criticize, or try to persuade readers in a narrative essay; all you do is guide them through the story. You’re simply giving a story and allowing the audience to form their conclusions.

Types of Narrative Essays

There are two types of essays that can be turned into a story:

Narrative Descriptive Essay

It is the most imaginative variation of the challenge. The fundamental purpose of a descriptive narrative essay is to use vivid details to depict an experience, situation, or memory. The basic principle of creating a descriptive narrative paper is “show, don’t tell.” The purpose is to elicit the readers’ many senses and produce a clear image of an event.

The structure of a well-written descriptive narrative paper is usually simple. It simplifies a complex story and leaves the rest up to the reader to figure out. Great essay writers stay true to their purpose and avoid hyperbole. Keep in mind that the amount of content you can supply to your audience is always limited; keep this in mind while deciding what to include in your work.

Autobiographical narrative essay

This type of essay demands you to tell a true story about something that happened in your life. It’s important to remember that this assignment should be focused on a single incident. Unlike a descriptive essay, an autobiographical essay focuses on the tale and its purpose rather than the facts.

Characteristics of a Narrative Essay

The following are the characteristics of this genre of writing:

  • Nonfiction is a type of fiction that is based on true occurrences
  • Written in the first person
  • Although it contains components of a story, it is written in a basic structure
  • Information is presented in chronological order
  • Describes an event, a person, or a setting in detail
  • Attempts to enlighten rather than debate or teach readers about something

How to Choose a Narrative Essay Topic

There are a few things to bear in mind while selecting a good narrative essay topic. First, you should thoroughly examine the provided instructions. Teachers will usually spell out exactly what you are expected to do.

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Basic qualities of your narrative paper

A conflict/challenge is an event that establishes the tone and propels the plot forward

A concerned character who tackles a problem or challenge against impossible circumstances is like a protagonist

Change or Growth: The protagonist changes to overcome the conflict or struggle. A realization could have prompted this shift. This realization could also result from the character’s growth throughout the story.

You’ll need to do some brainstorming to develop a great topic for a narrative essay. Some tips for brainstorming include:

  • Consider your previous experiences and memories, and try to find something extremely intriguing
  • Consider what irritates you and what stories you’d like to tell
  • Take a walk to recharge your batteries and produce some fresh thoughts
  • Use the Internet – social media, online publications, blogs, and other resources can help you learn about what your peers have shared, what they are interested in, and what they talk about. It can also assist you in coming up with a few suggestions.
  • Try freewriting — it’s a useful approach for getting your tale flowing. All you need to give it a shot is a pen and paper, and begin writing down your thoughts.

Follow these guidelines to develop amazing ideas, then choose the most appealing. The third piece of advice is to pick something of interest and appealing to your target audience.

Here are some narrative essay ideas:

  • Facing a Challenge and Overcoming Fear
  • A New Adventure or Discovery
  • Excitement for a Moment
  • Learning a Difficult Concept
  • A Heart-Pumping Adrenaline Rush
  • When You First Decided to Stand Up for Yourself
  • A Relationship Adventure
  • A Discovery changed your life
  • An Act of Defiance

These are a few common examples that students look into. Consider writing a tale on your own life experiences. The most vivid memories are usually the ones that tell a good story.

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Format and Structure of Narrative Essay

The format and structure of a narrative essay are typical. This type of paper, like other assignments, usually follows a five-paragraph essay format: one introduction paragraph, three body paragraphs, and a conclusion. Unlike other sorts of essays, however, the paragraphs in a narrative paper have a specific purpose:

Introduction – gives the reader a foretaste into the story, indicates the aim of writing, and provides an intriguing element to entice the reader to continue reading

  • The first paragraph of the body — The action, the story itself
  • The second paragraph of the body – climax
  • the third paragraph of the main body – falling action
  • Conclusion — the story’s lessons learned

Outline for a Narrative Essay

Here are some examples of how to start a narrative essay. We propose that you follow this precise sequence of steps while writing this academic assignment.

  • Inventive+ paraphrase
  • Choose an appropriate topic
  • Define your writing’s goal
  • Plan your essay – give it a beginning, middle, and end, and you should be able to draw logical conclusions from it
  • Make a rough outline

Let’s look at the narrative essay outline


Your story’s first clause must achieve three objectives:

The use of a hook draws readers into the story. You can use a question, a fact, a quote, or an interesting statement to build a powerful hook that will entice readers to continue reading.

Set the plot and give the reader a sense of what is going on. However, it should only hint into the plot; don’t give everything away and keep your readers interested.

Define your writing’s purpose. Finally, your narrative introduction should give the reader some insight into the plot. Give readers a taste of what’s to come, but don’t go into detail about the lessons you’ve learned from the experience just yet. Keep them engaged! Include a thesis statement in your introduction as a guideline.

Thesis Statement for a Narrative Essay

Another vital part of your essay is the thesis statement. It should be stated in the first paragraph and then reaffirmed in conclusion to strengthen the essay’s impact.

Your main point is stated in a thesis statement. Its primary objective is to introduce what your article will address and pique the readers’ interest.

A good thesis statement isn’t a statement of fact or universal truth, nor is it a proposal, advice, or query. It provides a sneak peek into the problem, a quick explanation, and predictions about the conclusion.

The Main Body

The most significant element of your paper is the main body. The section conveys the story, gives facts and details, and leads readers through the plot.

The body of a narrative essay can be three or more paragraphs long, depending on your paper’s overall word count.

key elements to consider in your narrative essay’s body paragraphs:

Include relevant and clear details: A narrative essay is about setting the scene and setting the tone for the reader to follow. Even the best essay writers devote hours to their work and are thorough in their attention to detail. However, don’t overuse literary symbols in your phrases.

Be conversational: Putting the reader in the middle of dialogue is a great approach to keep their interest. Dialogue is a fantastic method to bring a story to life and reinforce the environment it creates. Use this strategy wisely once often.

Write in chronological order: Unless the author is direct, it’s difficult for readers to understand the timing of events in a document. The greatest method to keep your paper organized is maintaining things in order.

If you’re talking about a personal experience, the first-person voice will be the most effective. Writing in the third-person narrative will make sense if you hear this story from a colleague.


You are asked to make some concluding comments regarding your story at the end of your report. It is where you can restate some of the story’s most important elements and concepts. Emphasize the lessons you’ve learned from a certain event and leave readers with something to consider.

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Examples of Narrative Essays

College narrative essay Example

The content of narrative essays can vary depending on your institution’s requirements. College Professors Look for the ability to adapt to various conditions, solve issues creatively, and learn from mistakes in their students.

Whether your narrative paper is a college application essay or a class project, your writing must reflect these features. You also want to show off your personality and creativity. Describe an instance in which you were confronted with a challenge, tell the tale of how you solved it uniquely, and tie it to your field of interest. If you deliver the story in this manner, it may be engaging and informative.

High School Narrative Essay Example

It’s all about demonstrating that you’re capable of making mature decisions in high school. You accept responsibility for your choices and learn significant life lessons as a result. Consider an instance in which you believe your actions were admirable and you made a mature decision. An example of a personal narrative essay will highlight your best qualities. Finally, employ other resources to assist you in achieving the best results. Look for an example narrative essay to see how others have handled the topic.

How to make a great narrative story

Make it simple to read and understand. As a result, avoid complex language and syntax.

Don’t go overboard with the details. A story should be told in great detail in a narrative essay. It’s also crucial not to overdo the details. Your word count will be limited, but you will still need enough space to develop your plot. As a result, avoid describing everything literally and instead concentrate on what matters and adds value.

Use the first-person narrative to tell your story. Narrative writing strives to describe true events and experiences in the author’s life. As a result, you should avoid writing in the second person.

Make use of dynamic words. A compelling and vibrant story should be the focus of a narrative. Don’t make it overly repetitive, and avoid using passive voice.

Limit the number of references you use. In-text citations and many references are required in most MLA papers. However, for a narrative essay, this is not a smart technique. Because this project is more personal, write it using your thoughts and feelings. If you used any other useful resources while writing, make a bibliography page to list them.

Final remarks

A narrative essay is one of the most creative and free-flowing essays. It does not bind you to a fixed linear format with no room for creativity. It is a pleasurable experience to write a narrative essay.

If you’re still having trouble deciding what to write about, consider your story as a developing experience. An experience that shaped you into the person you are now.

Your main goal is to take your readers on an adventure. Allow them to hear about your experience and learn something from it. The best stories always take the audience outside of their usual comfort zones.

Write a reflection to include in your narrative essay

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