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Narrative Essay: Ideas and Tips

Reading a Fairytale

This type of an essay can be considered to be the easiest one to complete by those, who hate spending hours doing some research and citing every thought while composing the original essay and those who would rather order it at However, it might only seem to be easy to write a story. Some students think that they are able to do this, as they tell stories to their mates and families every day, and will be mistaken. Why is that and what are the distinctive features of the narrative essay?

Notice and Share

As it is clear from the name, the paper should all be about the storytelling. It is the chance for the writer to step out and share the episode of their life. What should be remembered to do it successfully?

It Is a Story

This means that the paper should contain all the elements of the actual short story, like the characters, the setting, as well as it should have the plot with the climax and a logical ending.

It Should Let Your Reader Imagine Everything

What makes the story convincing are the details, the little things we notice and remember in the certain state of mind and certain situations. If you do not remember the details well enough, you can imagine the story to be real and add what you find to be suitable. It will be a much better approach than…

Overwhelming the Reader with Unnecessary Details

All of the mentioned people, thoughts and brief descriptions should fit the story and only add to it to make the reader understand what is required to feel the story. Do not mention anything that does not support or explain the story, do not take your reader into the maze of thoughts. Do you best to make the reading feel like a walk in a park, not swimming in a storm.

Bad Weather

Some Tips to Follow

Add Some Generalization

Of course, you do not need to specify things like that biologically we all have two hands. Generalization should be used as the hook to involve the reader, inspire the reader to have some emotional reaction. For example, most people love their families or are very nervous before the exam. Use it and make the reader walk in your shoes at least until the end of the essay.

The Story Should Be Realistic

You might not have met your best friend forever on your first day in college or your grandma might have never baked cinnamon rolls: it does not matter, as the reader does not know such details. You can imagine the whole story if you wish, but do not make the reader find it out. Unless you were given a specific topic that allows such tricks, it will be better to avoid kidnapping an alien or slow dancing with Scarlett Johansson as a main character.

Chose a Topic You Care About

There is no better way to write a good story than to share something you care about. Describe your perfect Christmas celebration or the scariest experience you can imagine, choose anything that will be suitable for the paper.

Keep It Clear and Understandable

This is not the type of paper to show off with the advanced vocabulary. Imagine that you are sending an e-mail to a friend you do not know very well, a new person or a pen-friend you have just made. Simple sentences, clear ideas, enough details to grasp the sense and no description of each movement and thought you had (or imagine you would have) in the described situation.

Incoming E-mail

Select the Best Form

First of all, choose between a first or a third-person narrative style. The second-person narrative can work wonderfully for a novel or an actual short story, but not an essay. The key is to talk about you, and not the reader. At the same time, think through the tense you are going to use. Past tense will be great for the romantic and dreamy story, while the present one is perfect for any scary story or a story with an intrigue or a plot twist. Just check on the effect of both:

“I came back home at around three and could smell the ginger bread baking already. My sister was back! She was the only one who traditionally cooked them every year before Christmas, and I was so happy that the tradition remained this year, too.”

“I silently step outside, listening to the smallest whispers of the wind or the sounds of leaves trembling. I know the dog could be anywhere, but all I need to do is to make ten more steps and get into the house. I can barely breathe.”

Start with an Effective Hook

Now, when you know what you are going to talk about, which form you are going to use and what details you will definitely highlight, all you need to do is start writing. However, there are a lot of ways to lose a reader until the first paragraph ends, therefore, a good hook is a must when it comes to the narrative essay.

Why Do You Need a Hook?

A good hook sentence grabs the reader and does not let them go until they are done with the reading. It prepares the reader to experience the feelings you need them to experience, think of something you want them to think about. It can be compared to a person that takes the reader’s hand and guides them through your narration. Isn’t it exactly what we need?

Here is a brief list of ideas for a hook:

A Quote

You can use a well-known quote and wrap it in the text or simply quote someone you know (this option works best for the funny stories). For example:

“It is funny that I remember reading this book on that morning and stumbling upon the quote “…””

“My dad often said, “Make the effort to do something three times, and if it does not work – let go.”

A Question

It can be both a rhetorical question, oriented at the reader, and an expression of disbelief or distrust. For example:

“What would you do if you have got a sufficient sum of money and a free month?”

“I was told I was being silly trying to change something, but how can you just sit and watch your brother being sentenced?”

Interesting Fact

You can name one fact or list a few in case it is needed, just make sure that it relates to the story and is very likely to intrigue your reader. For example:

“Every cell in the person’s body is replaced in about 7 years’ time. Does it mean that in three years I will not be myself and will not have to be blamed for what I have done?”

“The Sun is only a small star comparing to other ones. The temperature of the paper inflaming is not 451 °F exactly but 440 °F to 470 °F. Everything I knew mixed up in my head as I was trying to open the door with a broken key.” 

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