What Is Narrative Essay Writing?
Narrative essay writing is a type of tasks that many professors, especially those of English, love to a great extent. It is connected with the fact that students are rarely limited by strict requirements when assigned to compose a personal narrative essay and demonstrate their writing skills and individual style. It might seem strange, but as a rule, the only requirement that students receive is to describe a sequence of events chronologically or, in other words, tell a story. This narrative essay definition implies that such papers usually have personal and experiential nature. Nevertheless, students may either write a paper devoted to real events or absolutely made-up anecdotal situations.
Tips and Guidelines for a Personal Narrative Essay
What is a narrative essay? You already know the answer. Now, you need to find how to produce it.
Therefore, here is what you definitely need to remember when engaging in narrative essay writing:
- The paper should obligatory be a story. Otherwise, you have written a book report, research paper, reflection, or whatever else come to your mind, but definitely not a narrative essay. The story told to an audience in gripping manner is the foundation of such papers.
- Although the requirements are not stringent, the paper still needs to meet certain criteria. A correct narrative essay structure is one of them. It should include all elements of a narrative essay, namely, an introduction, setting, one or more characters, distinct plot, climax in its development, and, of course, conclusion.
- Another important element of narrative essay structure, which you should remember about, is a thesis statement. Its necessity means that your story should have a purpose or, better to say, an overarching idea that you would like to share with a reader. A mere account of events will not bring you an excellent grade.
- Most probably you will decide to unveil the events from your, the author's, standpoint. However, creativity in narrative essay writing is always welcome. Therefore, you can choose another perspective and make another person or, if you want, even an object be the narrator of your story.
- Students are usually assigned to write a first person narrative essay. It means that the usage of "I," "me," "my" is not only encouraged but even required. This is another frivolity that narrative essay writing allows as opposed to other types of academic writing assignments.
- Narrative essay writing requires students present the event in an organized manner. There always must be a distinct introduction and conclusion. Do not provide excessive descriptions and unnecessary details. Otherwise, you will not be able to engage an audience in reading.
- Obligatory make use of transition words for a narrative essay to turn your paper into coherent and smooth piece of writing. It is what will definitely please your instructor.
- Finally, be sure to mind the language that you use. It should be clear and concise. If you need to write a story, it does not mean that the vocabulary should be flowery and verbose and the sentence structures overly complicated. Keep them simple and neat.
How Long Should a Narrative Essay Be?
Still wondering how long should a narrative essay be? The answer depends on your professors, and these are they who decide how much reading the want to do. However, as a rule, the length is limited to 2000-2500 words or 7-8 pages. Not to get points deducted, just be attentive to the prompt that the instructor gives you. Be sure to write neither too much nor too little. In the former case, you will seem a person who cannot collect own thoughts and express ideas precisely. In the latter, you will be considered a lazy student who did not even get bothered to read the requirements correctly. Yet, remember that you are usually allowed to write more by 10% of the required length.
Here are a couple of points that you should remember about these papers in terms of length. First, if you have hard times to reach the word count minimum, under no circumstances should you resort to fillers, i.e., words and phrases that bring no meaningful information to the text, for instance, "It is necessary to point out the fact that..." Instead, brainstorm another idea or example to include in your essay. Second, exceeding the word count limit should be justified. If you need to do it to make your narrative essay look complete and ending logically, do it. If you write more just to impress a professor, it is a bad idea. To write a lot is not the key to how to write a personal narrative successfully.
Types of Narrative Essay
If you do not know how to begin a personal narrative essay, here is a simple suggestion. Start from determining the objective that you want to reach while composing this piece of writing. Based on this criterion, many types of narrative papers are distinguished. So, are you willing to tell about a special moment of your life or explain something? Do you want a reader to accept your point of view or just describe something beautiful that you have recently seen? Once you set an objective, you will know at what direction to move and what type of narrative you should opt for.
These are some of the existing narrative types:
- News narrative essay
- Fable/Parable narrative essay
- Biography narrative essay
- Autobiography narrative essay
- Captivity narrative
- Memoir narrative essay
- Legend narrative essay
- Myth narrative essay
- Epic/Epic poem narrative essay
- Fantasy narrative essay
- Realistic fiction narrative essay
- Historical fiction narrative essay
- Novel/Novella narrative essay
- Folk tale narrative essay
- Nonlinear narrative essay
- Tall tale narrative essay
- Short story narrative essay
- Quest narrative
- Play narrative essay.
Elements of Narrative Essay
To create a positive impression on a reader, the text should be diverse and rich in charming images. You will be able to rich this effect if you include various elements of a narrative essay in your paper.
Some of them are:
- Plot, which is a skeleton of your paper, is a sequence of events that are connected with each other. Plot develops throughout the story, and this process has 5 stages, namely, exposition, climax, rising action, falling action, and, of course, resolution.
- Exposition is an opening part of the story where a reader gets acquainted with characters, finds out where the events will unfold and what the main problem, i.e., conflict, is. In other words, exposition is an introduction.
- Rising action is a part of a story where the conflict escalates, suspense enhances, and the reader is being hooked and intrigued.
- Climax is a the most important and, at the same time, dramatic moment of the plot development. The conflict reaches apogee, and the conflicting sides clash. Thus, you may consider climax to be the turning point of the story.
- Falling action is the period when the burning questions get their answers and all loose ends are tied up. The conflict, as well as suspense, is no longer strong.
- Resolution is the end of the story. The conflict may be figured out and remain unresolved forever, but the reader reaches the final point.
- Conflict is a kind of struggle that exists between some elements, people, forces, etc. It constitutes the main issue of the story and works as a trigger for plot development. Conflicts might be internal and external. The former is a struggle within a mind of main character, for example, when he/she faces a dilemma. The latter concerns a struggle between a character and outside component of a story, for instance, nature, another character, institution, etc.
- Setting is a location and time where and when the events of the story unfold.
- Characters are the participant of the story. These might be people, fictional creatures, animals, objects, etc. There is always a protagonist, who is a main hero/heroine engaged in a conflict, for example, Snow White, and antagonist, who continues the opposing force or the other side of the conflict. In the mentioned fairytale, Evil Queen is an antagonist. There are also static and dynamic characters. The former remains unchanged throughout the story, while the latter undergoes permanent alterations in the course of plot development.
- Theme is a lesson learned or a moral of the story. It is the idea that should be expressed in a thesis statement.
Transition Words for a Narrative Essay
Development of plot should be smooth and logical. Surely, it does not mean that all event should be presented one by one. In fact, students are allowed to ruin chronological order for the sake of conveying a message. Smoothness requirement, in turn, implies that a student must use transition words for a narrative essay, which are phrases and words that denote a shift, be it a change in time or place. Here are a few examples how this kind of words are incorporated in a story.
Check out to learn how to apply them too:
- In a dialogue: I can't believe we have to leave! How has it been ten hours already?
- In action: When she woke up, she was determined to get ready quickly, but the number of dresses in a wardrobe did not agree. So, she spent more than two hours choosing the perfect one. However, it was totally worth it. During the interview, she felt confident and beautiful. At that moment, she was capable to conquer the entire world!
- In exposition: He was dreaming of this moment so often that he already knew the breed of their dog and decided what the names of their children would be.
- In sensory descriptions: The sky was not ready to stop crying. It did no care that a little girl was already soaking wet. Her toes and fingers become wrinkled, cold, and blueish.
- In summaries: The summer passed quickly, too quickly. There was time for studying, reading, endless messages, nighttime phone calls, lonely walks, and sad songs. There was no time for a long-awaited meeting, though.
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After reading this article, you definitely know how to start a narrative essay and what narrative essay structure is like. Now, you should choose an experience about which you will tell and create an outline or plan on the basis of which the paper will be composed. Mind that the experience should be considerable and meaningful in order to give a rise to an interesting story. Write a draft, edit and proofread it up until the moment you feel the paper is perfect and, thus, ready for submission.
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