Of all the essays there are, and there are many, students tend to like narrative essays the best. They are often based on personal experience, and writing them is a bit like telling a story. If you like writing and expressing yourself, you can do that through the narrative essay.
Unfortunately, that’s also one of the reasons writing narrative essays may be more challenging than you realize. For one thing, it’s easy to get caught up in sharing a great story or describing an emotional experience, and forget about the technical side of writing. Also, if you don’t pay close attention to your writing, your narrative essay can come off a bit self indulgent and difficult for audiences to read.
That’s a shame, because writing a narrative essay should be a great experience for you. It should also be a pleasure for your audience to read. In order to write an essay that shares a compelling story, and to write a quality essay that earns an excellent grade, keep reading. The following tips should make the process relatively easy.
Steps to Follow
Select a Topic That is Meaningful to You And Your Audience
With any essay, it is important to pick a topic that you can relate to. It makes writing much more pleasurable. Your audience will also have a better reading experience when your narrative is meaningful and personal to you.
Make Sure It’s Also Relevant to Your Class
On the other hand, you can’t write about just anything. Your assignment will almost always be related to something you are covering in class. The best topic is one that you can relate to, and that dovetails neatly into the subject matter you are covering. For example, in a child development class, you might write a narrative essay about a close relationship you had with a coach or mentor.
Consider Narrowing it Down
Some stories are simply too big for a narrative essay assignment. Instead, focus on a single event or interaction for your essay. Rather than attempting to write about a summer at camp, write about the rowing competition that you won.
List The Important Points to Share
Instead of taking formal notes, try writing out bullet points. Detail what it is you want to share with readers. Then add supporting points that will help drive those points home.
Yes! You Still Need a Thesis
Remember that an essay is an essay, and that they all need well thought out thesis statements. Take the time to determine what point you are trying to support. Then, state that clearly in your introduction.
Help your readers to picture your experience as they read. Use descriptive language, adjectives, even metaphors to help the reader to really understand your writing. Remember that you may be describing things that nobody else has experienced.
Pay Attention to Your Characters
Unlike other essays, narratives often have characters that other people don’t know. Describe your characters so that readers know who they are, and what role they play in the essay. Remember that nobody knows who ‘Bob’ or ‘my friend’ are.
Points to Think About
As you work on your narrative essay, here are a few points to keep in mind.
Don’t be afraid to share something meaningful. It’s a great way to show off your writing skills and create something really great.
On the other hand, keep in mind this is an academic assignment, and not therapy.
Talk to other people about what you are sharing, especially those who were there. They remember things you want to add to your essay.
Pay attention to your adjectives. Using the same ones over and over again is boring.
The more senses you involve in your essay, the more interesting your essay will be.
Mistakes to Avoid
To write the best possible essay, try to avoid making these mistakes:
Not providing enough detail and background information: Remember, your narrative is new to your readers.
Picking a topic that doesn’t really fit the assignment: Just because you want to share a particular story or experience doesn’t mean it’s a good fit.
Failing to follow the details provided to you in the assignment rubric.
Exaggerating your essay: This is almost always easy to detect.
Not asking for help: It’s perfectly fine to need assistance even on a more personal essay.
Dos And Don’ts
- Ask for assistance in picking a topic
- Work with your TA or professor to ensure you are headed in the right direction
- Attend study and peer review sessions. Feedback is very important
- Get extra help from note taking and grammar checking apps
- Find a great place to write without distractions
- Assume your essay with be an ‘easy A’
- Forget to pay attention to your use of vocabulary, transitions, and other important elements
- Turn in an essay that you haven’t edited thoroughly
- Share experiences that could cause someone else to be embarrassed
- Underestimate the time and careful attention you should give to this assignment