4 Tricks for Writing a Narrative Essay

Think narrative essays are a walk in the park? Think again. Most students have fallen prey to the “narrative essays are easy” idea – after all, you’re pretty much free to write about anything you want. Plus, the content is usually made up of an event in your life, so why worry? It’s just like telling a friend a story. Here’s the problem, though. Narrative essays are more than stories. They’re examinations of meaning, intricate pieces that use personal stories to illustrate a point or teach a lesson. Sounding a little harder? Good! To save you from writing disaster, we’re going to wake you up with a few key tricks to crafting the perfect narrative essay!

  1. Have a central point. Narrative essays are not just retellings of cool events. They are designed to establish much more meaning than that. To craft a narrative essay, you have to center it on a main point, idea or umbrella statement. For example: “white lies are important for healthy relationships,” or even something as general as “honesty is the best policy.” Sometimes, your main point can develop from the story you choose; other times, you’ll need to find a story to fit your point. The key is to have a central point, lesson or statement, and have a vivid story that supports it.
  2. Pick a story that’s interesting, but also meaningful. Students will often hear that the most intriguing stories and dramatic events will get the highest marks. This is somewhat true; more captivating stories will receive more attention from the reader, and ultimately more positive reactions. However, a dramatic story is nothing without meaning. What did your skydiving adventure teach you about life? The biggest trick to narrative essay writing is finding an event that sparks the reader’s imagination, but also compelling proves the overall point of your essay.
  3. Explain the story-statement connection. After you’ve told your story, don’t jump into a three-sentence conclusion and go along your way. You need more of a connection than that. How did the story affect you? How did it illustrate your point? How might things have been different, if the event had happened differently? Make the story-to-statement connection in a clear, easy-to-understand way that all readers can relate to.
  4. Edit and proof. Everyone will preach this necessity, regardless of the essay assignment. Editing and proofreading saves hundreds of students every year from academic failures. Catching an error there, or an inconsistency here, can mean the difference between a great essay and an absolutely dismal one.