How to Write a Narrative Essay: 5 Helpful Tips

A narrative essay is, to an extent, an anomaly in academic writing. Unlike an expository essay, it does not dissuade academic writers from exercising their creative faculties. Nor does it require them to conduct extensive research and be strictly objective in their writing. However, narrative pieces still require academic writers to abide by the fundamental linguistic requirements of academic writing, such as excluding any instances of slang and other “informal” linguistic elements. This article expounds upon the atypical nature of a narrative essay and divulges the steps to write one.

18.02.2022

How to Write a Narrative Essay: 5 Helpful Tips

A narrative essay is, to an extent, an anomaly in academic writing. Unlike an expository essay, it does not dissuade academic writers from exercising their creative faculties. Nor does it require them to conduct extensive research and be strictly objective in their writing.

Furthermore, it allows the usage of first-person pronouns “I,” “we,” and “us” throughout its length, which academics consider to be against the statutes of academic writing. All these characteristics work collectively to make it stand apart from “typical” academic essays.

However, narrative pieces still require academic writers to abide by the fundamental linguistic requirements of academic writing, such as excluding any instances of slang and other “informal” linguistic elements. This article expounds upon the atypical nature of a narrative essay and divulges the steps to write one.

What is a narrative essay?

A narrative essay is an academic essay through which a writer presents the readers with a narrative. In other terms, it is an essay that offers the readers a story or an account as seen from the writer’s viewpoint. The narratives in such essays can be fictional or non-fictional and include anecdotes, personal experiences, and the ilk. Notes of a Native Son, a collection of ten essays written by an eminent American author, James Baldwin, and published in 1955, is an example of narrative writing. In the essays, Baldwin, by recounting his personal experiences and opinions on diverse subject matters, mulls over the issue of racial prejudice in the then-contemporary US.

How to write a narrative essay?

Good narrative writing is not just about elucidating an account or a story. It also entails making the readers aware of the underlying morals of a narrative. Thus, academic writers must have a thorough grasp of narrative writing guidelines. Mentioned below are the steps that a writer should heed to write narratively.

1. Organizing the details

Unlike expository or argumentative essays, narrative pieces do not require one to conduct extensive research. However, the narrative that they are planning to construct should have its events proceed chronologically. Thus, instead of sitting down and beginning the writing process sans any preparation, writers should first orderly lay down the details they want to include in the essay.

2. Specifying the narrative essay structure

Like other academic essays, narrative pieces follow the 5-part essay structure. It consists of an introductory paragraph, three body paragraphs, and a synopsis. Before commencing the writing process, writers should first consult with their supervisors or professors to determine whether there are structure-specific requirements for essays. In case there are none, writers can proceed with the aforementioned structure or pick a different essay structure of their choice.

3. Crafting a thesis statement

Thesis statements are integral to all academic essays, irrespective of their writing purpose, and narrative pieces are not different. The purpose of a thesis statement is to provide a countenance to an essay by accentuating its central idea and relaying it to the readers. However, a narrative thesis statement deviates from the norm as it does not need to summarize the entire text. Instead, it can either distill the theme of an essay or mention its inherent moral. However, being fundamentally a thesis statement, it still needs to look and read like a typical specimen. This implies that it should entice the readers and direct the flow of the essay during the writing process.

4. Writing the first draft

Once all the preparations are done, the next step is to prepare the first draft. Writers should not strive for perfection when preparing the first draft. Instead, they should ensure to include all the relevant details of the narrative, reassess the order of the narrative events, and write a fitting conclusion.

5. Editing and proofreading

Editing and proofreading are two crucial processes that no writer should skip or undertake casually when writing an essay. Good writing is as much about writing as it is about editing. Editing and proofreading an essay ensures that it is devoid of grammatical, linguistic, contextual, and tonal errors.

One should keep in mind not to edit and proofread during the writing process. Doing so can undermine the overall quality of the manuscript. Also, depending upon the priority of the essay, writers can either edit and proofread themselves or approach professional services.

Conclusion

Writing a narrative essay that weaves a story effectively takes copious amounts of practice. It should have a hook to intrigue the readers. Its body paragraphs should tightly knit together all the narrative events, and its synopsis should bring everything together for the readers to reminisce. Thus, one should devise a practice routine as well as follow this guide to excel at narrative writing.

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Narrative essay writing

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