How To Write A Narrative Essay Step By Step - Complete Guide

Every time when you are dealing with your academic tasks, especially with your summer homework you notice the most assigned task is a narrative essay.


A narrative essay is like a descriptive essay but carries some unique aspects. Like any story which has a plot, conflict, and characters in it.As many of you write a narrative essay with the hope to develop writing skills. At some point, you feel like missing something. Learn how to select a good topic and how to outline, format your narrative essay in a simple form.

Let’s explore the basics of a narrative essay with a complete step-by-step narrative guide that helps you know everything about it.

What Is A Narrative Essay?

A narrative essay is a type of essay that aims to build a story in creative and quite often, moving ways. In short, testing your abilities to tell a story in an interesting way. Usually based on one person's point of view and having a solid theme on which the whole story is based upon. It is an In-depth analysis and covers five to six pages to get the reader to understand your point. This type of essay is quite challenging as it transmits both fictional and factual stories.

For fictional stories, those based on imaginations and factual stories based on reality. Sometimes it covers novels and other kinds of poetry. It gives a chance to an individual to write about personal experiences which might be any incidents or happy moments.

Types Of Narrative Essay

Narrative essay writing seems to be a difficult task if your concepts are blurred and you don’t know how to communicate with the mind of the reader. To clear this concept, here are the most common types to be put in narrative form.

  • Non-Fictional or Autobiographical Narrative Essay

    An important type of narrative essay in which stories are based on real-life information, truth, and facts.

  • Fictional or Non-linear Narrative essay

    A type of narrative essay in which stories are based on the writer’s thoughts, feelings, imaginations and presented in the form of novels, plays, folktales, etc.

  • Poetry Narrative essay

    It is a type of narrative essay which involves both fictional narratives as well as non-fictional narrative essays.

Purpose Of A Narrative Essay

The major purpose of a narrative essay is to share stories in a descriptive form. Why are you sharing the story?. Grab the attention of the audience with your story. Either in the form of a laugh, fear, or sympathy. The more wisely you tell your story, the more attention you get. You must have a unique style of presentation and communication skills for sure. You Must know about Topics For Narrative Essay.

For writing a clear purpose of your narrative essay you must consider the following aspects.

  • To express or communicate.
  • To entertain.
  • To show outcomes for yourself.
  • To conclude results for the audience.

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What Are The Characteristics Of A Narrative Essay

Always remember a well-written essay attracts Flashback readers with your words, sentences and has the following characteristics;

  • Must have a clear purpose of writing
  • The opening sentence must start with a summary of the purpose.
  • Involve your audience in the story.
  • Focused on characters, structure, theme, etc
  • Include detailed observation of people, voices, and places.
  • Relates information in sequence.
  • First-person involves only.
  • Connect the past to the present
  • Communicate the narrative statements.
  • Use of Personal Pronouns, dialogues, and sensory language.
  • Use a quote from someone famous to catch your audience’s attention.
  • Add funny or moving dialogues.

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Format Of Narrative Essay

A well-written narrative essay uses a standard format that starts with one opening paragraph known as introductory lines, three or four paragraphs in the central body also known as the main part, and one ending paragraph with a unique conclusion. It contains the following elements to maintain the sequence of the essay.

  • Developing The Plot.

    Any kind of incident that you decide to share in a story is known as a plot. It’s all about setting a mind map of your story.

  • Setting

    It’s about the location where the incident occurred, which might be your house or another place.

  • Characters

    In your story, there are two types of characters involved: one is the main character and the other is the side character. All those characters are mentioned in the story.

  • Conflict

    A problem that arises in your incident is a conflict and must be resolved in the story.

  • Theme

    It defines the whole purpose of the story and the reason to choose the topic

How To Write A Narrative Essay In MLA Format

MLA format narrative essays follow the author-page style of detailed citations. This shows that one must follow the mentioned rules.

  • The title page is not included unless it is not required.
  • Use font Times New Roman, size 12 pt, and double-spacing.
  • Set your all sides margins to 1 inch.
  • Use the tab key to indent your paragraphs.
  • The page number must be included in the upper right corner.

Mla Format Narrative Essay

MLA stands for Modern Language Associations. It is a formatting style followed in high schools and universities. And considered as the best formatting style for a narrative essay. Your essay should be formatted like this: Author's First name, Last name. "Title of Source." Title of Container, Numbers, Publisher, Publication Date, Location, etc.

Mla Format Narrative Essay Example

Narrative Essay Outline

Narrative essay writing is much easier than other types of essays. It does not require certain rules like being formal, not expressing your feelings, etc. Do you want to know about narrative essays for college ? Read More how to write a narrative essay for college . All you have to do is create a solid outline by considering the following essential parts.

Introduction – An introduction is the main part of a narrative essay in which we write a purpose for the story, and include attractive paragraphs to grab the attention of the reader. Either it creates or breaks your narrative essay image. So it must be written attractively. Your introduction paragraph must have these 3 essential elements in it.

  • The hook statement

    Start your introduction with a strong hook. The hook is an engaging line which grabs the reader’s attention. It is in the form of famous quotes, dialogues, or interesting statements that engage the reader to read further.

  • Setting up the scene

    Every story whether it is real or fictional has a background that is created by individuals. Set a detailed background of your story so that readers understand clearly.

  • Narrative Essay Thesis Statement

    This part is considered the most important as it provides a complete image of the essay. It is the main theme of the essay in which the whole story revolves.

Main body _ It is the section in which you elaborate your story. You must consider 3 paragraphs with starting action, climax, and falling actions.

  • Starting Action

    As you are starting a story make sure that the action is true to your character.

  • Climax

    The climax must be descriptive as it is the breaking point of the story. Includes all the emotions and feelings that engage the audience.

  • Falling Action

    The falling action, therefore, follows that part of the story and shows the way those choices affect the characters going forward.

Conclusion Of A Narrative Essay– Every story has an ending either happy or sad known as a conclusion. It gives the outcomes of the story. Make an effective conclusion and end with powerful words. Your essay must have a unique ending that provides a sense of awakening to the reader. Put some attractive quotes at the end which makes a rising effect in the mind of the listener.

Here are the main points to consider while concluding your narrative essay.

  • Write a summary of the key points.
  • Focus on the central message.
  • Convey a solid message to your audience.
  • Flashback your supporting ideas.
  • Connect to the essay background and relate your closing paragraph to the starting one.

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Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What Should A Reflection Do In A Narrative Essay?

    Reflection in narrative helps in writing personal experience, which enables one to analyze thoughts and actions and the outcomes attached to them. Therefore, the purpose of reflection is to share a personal experience and analyze its impact on the writer's life.

  2. How Many Paragraphs In A Narrative Essay?

    Well, it all depends, but generally, a good narrative essay follows a five-paragraph essay outline. One introductory paragraph, three main body paragraphs, and the last conclusion paragraph.

  3. Which Sentence Most Likely Comes From A Narrative Essay?

    The most likely sentence that comes from a narrative essay is that who tells any kind of story clearly and interestingly. For example;

    • I looked up at the audience and tried to swallow my fear, wiping my sweaty hands on my skirt.
    • The best way to ensure that the eggs don't scorch is to keep an eye on them and stir continuously.

Narrative Essay Outline Worksheet

This worksheet template helps you craft a good outline for your essay. Download it and use it while crafting an outline for your essay.

Narrative Essay Outline Worksheet (PDF)

Narrative Essay Outline Example

Once you have learned the basics of crafting an outline, you can easily craft a perfect narrative essay. Follow the outline examples given below to get some help.

Narrative Essay Outline Format (PDF)

Narrative Essay Outline Structure (PDF)

Narrative Essay Outline MLA Format (PDF)

5 Paragraph Narrative Essay Outline (PDF)

Sample Narrative Essay Outline for Middle school (PDF)

High School Narrative Essay Outline Template (PDF)

Narrative Essay Outline for College (PDF)

Personal Narrative Essay Outline (PDF)

Descriptive Narrative Essay Outline (PDF)

Literacy Narrative Essay Outline (PDF)

Reflective Narrative Essay Outline (PDF)

Historical Narrative Essay Outline (PDF)

Biographical Narrative Essay Outline (PDF)