How to Write Narrative Essay

By: Henrique Bertulino

9 min



How to Write Narrative Essay

A narrative essay is a kind of essays that revolves around a plot. The plot must have a single central idea that fits within the narrative story well enough to develop characters accordingly. Your paper will describe every character in detail, covering all aspects of their personality. It should include their dialogues and experiences as well. Sensory details are a must for narratives as it allows readers to form clear imagery of the scene.

Most narratives' main aim is to ensure that there is a lesson or a major experience that the audience can connect with while reading. Writing such descriptive and engaging pieces is a challenge, but it can be fun too! It gives you complete control over the creativity of the plot. You get to be the author in every sense while you're just a high school student!

Components of a Narrative Essay

To write something, we need to be familiar with its core components, so it's time for us to take a deeper look into the crux.

The Exposition is Critical

Exposition is the background information that a reader needs to understand a good narrative essay. You can divide an exposition into two types. If you are writing a new story based on your personal experience, then your character's dialogues and thoughts are enough to give the reader a background. But if you are writing about a pre-existing tale, you need to dedicate the introductory paragraph to the exposition.

There is No Story Without a Complication

The audience loves a complication. You need to understand that your plot should lead to a conflict in a series of events. A complication enhances the plotline and makes the narrative more interesting. The audience will develop an interest in how your protagonist and antagonist come together due to a complication and a final face-off between them.


Everything that starts must conclude as well. The ending of your essay will do the trick for you. A resolution must come after the falling action, where your protagonist finds a solution to the complication. The way you mold the ending depends on the type of narrative essay you wrote. If it is a personal narrative essay, you can show a resolution at the end you followed in real life, reflecting the main point of your essay. If it is based on some other story, then your thoughts and comments should shape a fascinating end.

The Structure of a Narrative

To be a pro, you need to know the proper structure of an essay.


It is the part where you will try to catch the reader's attention. Come up with a strong hook to keep the audience engaged in your essay topic and provide a background and a gist of what your essay will focus on. The central theme comes into existence here! You will mention why a particular event was essential to the story.

Thesis Statement

It is a part of your introduction. You are to state every experience that the story has taught you or the character in your story in a single sentence. It will act as a summary of what's about to come. Make it interesting by using adverbs and modifiers. Avoid plagiarism when it comes to a thesis statement. It is unique to what you're working on, so don't paraphrase anything. Use your creativity.

Main Body Paragraphs

One thing that we can't ignore, and what provides the best detail to your story, are the main body paragraphs. You can write as many of these as you want, as long as they make sense. Build the plot, the suspense, and introduce your characters. Include their thoughts and feelings in every part of your writing to make it engaging. Write about the complications and conflicts that arise. Be specific but descriptive. Narratives are a type of descriptive essay which pays a lot of attention to detail! But, be careful. You need to stick to your plot and only provide relevant information.

Here Comes the Conclusion

A conclusion is critical. It is the final impression of your narrative. The audience will form a final point of view based on the way your conclusion presents the plot. Narrative essay writing is not just about the plot but also the way it ends. Make sure you write a conclusion that has a lasting impact on the reader and does justice to your plot!

Choose a Suitable Topic

What will you write if you don't have an exciting topic? It is a challenge to write on topics you don't believe in. So, instead of putting in half-hearted efforts into your task, give a lot of thought to your topic.

Look for an Inspiration

All of us need the inspiration to work on before we go ahead with any task. Things don't randomly pop up in our minds. You will have to look around and find your inspiration. It can be a part of your own life, such as a personal statement, you can seek guidance from another narrative by your favorite writer, or write an autobiography. The key to coming up with a good topic is to read as many narratives as you can. That way, you can establish links between your topic and the ones you have read. It will make writing easier by ten folds!

Start Brainstorming

The first and foremost part tip to get started with narratives is brainstorming. There is no narrative without an idea, so we will talk about it now! Brainstorming is an unavoidable part of writing. You can work on several types of essays, but you won't get anywhere with your work without brainstorming.

Keep Your Notepad Close

Any academic writing requires the writer to prepare notes. Before you begin, you need to organize your thoughts. If you don't, all hell will break loose! Keep a notepad with you and start throwing all your thoughts on the piece of paper. Once you're done, relax for a bit. Think about the ideas that you have come up with.

Prepare Notes

Keep your goal in mind. It is to write a good story. Note down every point about your characters, the plot, and the overall complication. Once your list is complete, add in minor details that you feel are important for the plot. Build your story in the form of notes first. Once you are done with everything you feel is important for the final draft, you can start revising your prepared notes.

Omit Unnecessary Parts

You can easily cut down the parts that you feel don’t add value to your work. Decide which literary devices you will use to bring an effect to your story. You will also have to revise your final draft, but if you make revisions on an initial step, you will save plenty of time later and won’t have to struggle with extreme errors. You will have a clear structure and ideas to follow in your mind.

Time to Start Writing

Now that you have your brainstorming points and topic in hand, it's time for us to go ahead with the written task!

Outline the Plot

Your essay outline requires a plot outline. Divide your story into parts such as a beginning, the middle, and the end. That way, you can allot the points that you have into the right parts. You need to follow a chronological order, so you should have a clear outline before you as a pathway to follow. You can effectively answer the Who, How, When, and Where you follow a proper pre-decided pattern.

Describe Everything and Everyone!

You can use the first person to write when you describe the plot from the point of view of a character narrating an event. Try to describe every twist and turn as well as the description of your protagonist and antagonist. You must find the conflict between them and describe all the leading events in proper detail. Don't forget that vivid details always do the trick of keeping the reader's attention to your task!

Be Consistent

Remember that you can't shift from one writing style to another. The plot must be consistent and revolve around the same topic from start to end. The language that you use and the writing style must be the same throughout. You can't change your tone in the middle of the essay. Otherwise, it will only repel the readers.

Dynamic Vocabulary

If you are looking to interest your readers even more, then using a dynamic list of words can do wonders for your writing. Not only will it impress your readers, but it will also help you put your point across interestingly. Try to use different words. You can include idioms and metaphors. A bit of slang doesn't hurt either in story writing as it adds crunch to the story and is more comfortable for the reader to relate to. Don't stick to similar phrases and vocabulary throughout your story. It makes the work seem repetitious and unimpressive.

Avoid Referencing

Narrative writing is mostly the first-hand experience of the writer or an imaginative story. So, you don't have to include countless references to show how you have cited from different sources. Keep your work original so that people recognize it for its creativity, not as a tribute to some other work.

Samples Can Help

There should be no shame in viewing narrative essay examples to make the task simple for yourself. If you face confusion while working on such tasks, you can always approach the internet and find something suitable to understand better how to write it.

Use Proper Grammar

Just because you're working on a narrative doesn't mean you can overlook important grammar rules. Every sentence should be structured properly and make sense. Every full stop and comma must be in its proper place. Students should view writing papers as a professional task. Otherwise, you will keep making such blunders that can't be overlooked. You don't want to lose marks on such small things. Pay attention to detail!

Improve Your Final Draft

You might have invested all your energy and effort into that final draft. But there is always room for improvement!

Go Ahead and Proofread

If you think your work is picture-perfect, then you are sadly mistaken. Proofreading is an essential step in any writing task. Make sure you go through every word, every sentence of your paper before you think it is complete. Proofreading will help you identify many minor errors that we usually overlook in a hurry. Don't skip this step if you don't want the instructor to skip your grade!

Check if the Structure Makes Sense

Your structure must be in chronological order. You don't want the reader to get sick of your work by going back and forth. Make sure the same type of information is mentioned in one paragraph. Don't repeat the information here and there, or your work will have fragments of a story that is just plain and dense.

Make the Ideas Go Together

Your ideas should not contradict each other in your story. The readers don't encourage paradoxical work. They appreciate clarity and things they can grasp easily. People read for comfort, not confusion. So make sure every idea and character goes together and works beautifully in the story.

Things To Avoid

Like everything else, there are certain limitations on narratives as well. Let's see the things one should avoid while working on a narrative.

  • Lack of suspense is something that makes narratives dull and boring. Make sure the work you present has the element of suspense to engage readers.
  • Dialogue confusion is not something you want in your writing. Make sure you decide what each character says in the story; otherwise, you will have a bad piece.
  • Don't go over the top with your information. Keep it subtle. The audience is reading a narrative, not an informative, factual essay, to enhance their knowledge.

With every tiny detail at your disposal, you can begin your work now and write one of the best essays that you possibly have so far! Put your creativity and effort together to produce a well-written piece of narrative that people fall in love with! 

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Henrique Bertulino

Head of Customer Success

I'm a medical doctor and brand manager. The process of getting into Med school and studying at it made me learn and apply many strategies to keep my productivity high while spending less time and effort. As a working student, I had to figure out how to study smarter, not harder. During this period, my interest in neurology and psychiatry, as well as my aspiration to help others, intensified. At Studybay, I use my knowledge, skills, and experience to develop helpful solutions for students and make their study paths more productive and fun.

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