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How to write a good personal narrative

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How to write a good personal narrative
October 13, 2018 Anniversary Wishes 4 comments

personal narration examples, sample personal narrative Remember, a good narration always creates dramatic effects on the readers either make them laugh .

How to Start a Narrative Essay

The opening line for your narrative defines how many readers you will retain all the way to the conclusion. A good hook will ensure that your readers are absorbed right at the start. Your readers will appreciate your narrative if they start enjoying it from the beginning. They will want to read on throughout the rest of the essay to keep the high.

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Most readers have short attention spans which means that when they read, their concentration will reduce and disappear very rapidly. We can fully concentrate when reading only for a few minutes before we start scheming through the essay. We get easily distracted and wander off from the essay into our thoughts or elsewhere.

What a Narrative Essay Contains

This is an essay that is experiential, anecdotal, and personal in nature. It adopts a story telling theme where writers have the freedom to express themselves and bring out intimate details about the subject matter. Narrative essays have guidelines that must be observed by writers right from the beginning of the essay to the conclusion, which include the following:

If Writing a Story, Include All Parts of a Story

The following parts of a story essay are mandatory:

  • Introduction
  • Plot
  • Characters
  • Climax
  • Setting
  • Conclusion

Purpose

Give your essay a purpose, let’s say, it is the thesis for your story – there won’t be any sense in reading a baseless narration headed nowhere.

Perspective

Your essay should have a precise point of view, most commonly, narrative essays are written in the author’s perspective. Other perspectives can be applied in narrative essays with no restriction on any preferences.

Language

Your essay should be written in a lively and concise language. Carefully choose artful vocabulary for your narrative to be effective. Use specific words that aim to arouse specific emotions in reader’s as well as their senses.

Organization

Your narrative should be clearly structured with a clear introduction that has a strong initiation for your story to have a good impact on the readers. The purpose of your narrative should immediately come out clearly from the start of the essay. This is your essay and you can commandeer it in any direction, just be sure that you’re creative enough for the readers to effortlessly follow your lead.

First-person pronoun ‘I’

Not all instances allow the use of the first-person pronoun in essays. Though allowable in narrative essays, you should limit its use to avoid lack of diction. Minimize its use as much as possible because it offers a narrow and limited perspective whereby there might be a chance for a lot of information to escape.

How to Start a Narrative Essay

You have understood what a narrative essay is and the guidelines for writing one. The next stage for you to master is how to start your essay. In order for your essay to be impactful, you must pay close attention to how you do this.

Even though this type of essay doesn’t have stringent guidelines and structures to adhere to, they are not that easy to work around. Neither is there a requirement for real research for outside sources nor a thesis statement that needs to be supported yet students struggle with how to start.

The hook, basically the opening statement, is the first line of any essay you write it is the instrument of attack in your essay. For narrative essays, the hook is twice as important as it is to other types of essays. When you are sharing a personal experience, it should start off in a stimulating and engaging tone that will stir up the readers’ attention for them to want to go on listening.

For your readers to connect to your passion, you must bring them on board at the start of the story and the rest of the narrative should follow the tone to retain them. A good hook is the one that firmly grabs the attention of the reader and won’t let go.

There are several ways in which you can present your hook sentence. Writing is a wide field with no specific structure for how to structure your hook. Each writer should creatively present their writing boldly even though it might be a bit off and doesn’t match to any specific category.

The following are ways of ensuring your hook is up to the task:

Using a relevant quote – If you are stuck on coining your hook, a way out is to use a relevant quote from a notable person or any source of inspiration sentimental to you.

Related: How to write a Narrative Essay

Using statistics – providing some relevant statistics on the topic at hand is a good way of stirring up the reader’s attention

Telling an anecdote – giving a brief overview of your narrative in one short line can act as a good hook.

Asking an intriguing question – asking an insightful question can make readers curious about the answer and read on to answer it.

Stating a fact – stating facts is a very effective way of evoking emotions especially if it’s a new fact to the reader that can aid them to understand how your experience is relevant to the real world.

Providing a definition of a word – it will play a key role in the story’s plot and will definitely work in your favor as you will be proving an insight into the essay at the same time delivering your hook.

Why You Should Write a Good Narrative Essay

A good narrative essay is the most impactful essay and the one that’s able to captivate the reader all throughout the reading. Even though you’re not writing a technical paper full of statistics and detailed info, stating an informative fact and statistic once in a while is a good way of ensuring that your essay is of good quality.

When coaching on writing essays, most tutors don’t lay sufficient emphasis on the importance of having a captivating hook for your essay. You should always bear in mind that you could lose readers even before they reach your second paragraph if the hook is weak.

The following are properties of a good hook:

Building momentum. A good opening line is like a stone thrown off the side of a cliff. Depending on the initial launch, the stone will roll downhill on a predetermined path. The initial launch is considered our hook. Once you toss the stone, it will head downwards towards a determined target. The stone might get tossed and knocked about as it goes down gaining momentum with every inch it goes down.

Not starting the story early. A good opening statement is essential in timing how you get into your story. You should avoid jumping over details that are paramount in the build up towards your story. Bear in mind the expectation of the reader and match your storytelling with them. The expected chronological order of your story elements should be preserved in order to sell your story.

Broad-narrow perspective. Most readers prefer to be grounded in the general context before introducing narrow details concerning a particular context. Having a general perspective on the subject matter beforehand is a position anybody is comfortable with. Your readers will appreciate this factor in your essay.

Don’t overtake the reader. As the author of the essay, it’s easy to get readers confused especially with a hard to comprehend hook. This can be linked to the fact that not all information can be contained in the hook and readers will have to read on to get more and understand what you meant. The shortfall here is that if the readers get confused, they might not continue reading your essay. A good hook should be clearly understood with or without reading the rest of the essay.

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Begin with smaller mysteries. Puzzles are a good way to get the readers’ attention. Presenting a puzzle in the hook can play a great deal in your favor especially if the readers get the notion that they share with the narrator in the mystery. This would have forged a partnership bond where the narrator pulls the readers into the story. Starting with smaller mysteries that are solved in the first few instances of the essay makes the readers feel satisfied with your narrative and wait for the main course.

Minimal conversations. Narrative essays have the freedom of including dialogue between characters. Should you use dialogue in the introduction, be sure to draw back and offer more information about the context before you proceed. Extensive dialogues at the beginning of an essay tend to be difficult to catch on and follow. Bear in mind that the reader should get familiarized with the characters before they start indulging in their conversations.

Reference sources. This is the part where your participation is called for long before you can produce the best hooks. Get hold of magazines and newspaper articles, as many as you can, and take a look at each opening statement. Practice by reproducing them in different wordings.

Conclusion

The start of your narrative plays an important role in the impact it creates in the readers. As the common analogy in the business world supports, “first impression matters a lot”. Ensuring your hook is captivating as much as possible is of significance to the quality of your essay. Although you might have a good hook, you should be aware that the hook will require support from the rest of your essay. The body and conclusion should complement your hook by being of recommendable quality.

This guideline is sure to help you learn how to start a narrative essay.



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How to Structure a Personal Narrative. Personal Narrative Getting started! . How to write a good “hook” •Like a fish getting hooked by a.

A Step-by-Step Plan for Teaching Narrative Writing

how to write a good personal narrative

Narrative essays are on the list of basic essays that students have to be familiar with. For some, these are the hardest to write, for they require fantasy and writing style.

We examined the tips available online and now offer you the basic rules that professionals at our custom writing service use for writing a narrative essay.

To make these guidelines even more valuable, we also share some of our professional essay writing tips that come directly from our experience.

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Writing a Narrative Essay: Getting Started

First of all, let’s take a closer look at narrative essay definition.

A narrative essay is a story about your experience, either imaginary, or real. It can also tell a story of somebody’s life.

We tell stories every day. So, when you ask “How to write a narrative essay,” you should think of a story you want to write about and choose the most exciting concept for the thesis.

It is a great idea to talk to somebody about the story you are to describe. Your interlocutor can have an absolutely different point of view or memories about the fact. Their perspective can add some interesting details to your essay.

Don’t forget to make some notes of the parts that are to be the highlight of the essay and create an outline.

Before you start, here a simple steps to writing a narrative story:

  1. The planning phase: think about the essay topic and how your life experience correlates with it.
  2. Even a small fact, idea, or goal can become good narrative story ideas.
  3. Think about your emotions. The more passionate you will be – the more effective your assignment.
  4. Another good idea when you are wondering how to start writing a narrative essay is to recall details of your story: people and objects, setting and season, events sequence. Think about the sequence of events and remember; no detail is too small.

Remember: the small details reveal big ideas!

Writing a Narrative Essay: Introduction

Well, you have chosen the topic of your future writing, created an outline.

What’s next?

You should understand the narrative essay structure. Let’s start with an introduction.

The introduction is an important part of your essay paper as it grabs the reader’s attention. And here are some basic guidelines:

  1. Start with an introductory phrase. It has to be short and catchy. An unexpected point of view is always interesting to get acquainted with.
  2. State the thesis.
  3. Write supporting sentences. Give reasons why the story you are sharing is significant.

Professional writers at Custom-writing.org love the saying: “Don’t tell. Show.” It’s not interesting to read about the garage sale. But it is fascinating to see, feel and experience the one. Don’t be greedy on details.

Remember that the reader was not there when the story happened. He is trying to catch up with it while reading. Be polite and thoughtful and don’t get into useless details or get swept away by a story, leaving your reader wondering and wandering.

Writing a Narrative Essay: Check the Main Body Peculiarities!

Your entire story is concentrated in body paragraphs: from three to as many as you wish.

Check the general guidelines on how to write a good narrative body:

  1. Provide one idea per paragraph.
  2. Your story has to follow some logical pattern, and chronological is the easiest one.
  3. With every new paragraph emphasize the significance of experience and the universal truth the story brings to the audience.

It's amazing how many people think about the idea but prefer to avoid thinking about its shape. Your personal writing style is important. It can be philosophical (careful! That requires certain knowledge), ironical, critical, romantic. Whatever you choose, it has to be you from top to bottom. The writing style is like an autograph. Work on it.

Writing a Narrative Essay: Develop an Outstanding Conclusion

You’re almost there. You just need to write good concluding sentences for your essay.

The conclusion is as important as an introduction. It leaves the aftertaste.

You may ask…

How to write a conclusion for an essay?

And here’s the deal:

  1. Summarize.
  2. If you don’t like summarizing, or it doesn’t fit the style of the story, wrap it up with a rhetorical question or plans for future.
  3. Give your readers an idea. Think about the central message of the story and remind of it.
  4. Leave your readers with a feeling that they need to sit back and think about the problems you brought up. Leave them experiencing a pleasant aftertaste.

Writing a Narrative Essay: Revise and edit it

Huh! You’ve done it. You finished the assignment. Now take a deep breath, go for a walk or have some sleep.

And…

Revise it. And here are some questions you should keep in mind when you review, reorganize and modify your work with the goal of making it the best it can be:

  • Does the reader easily understand the progression of events? Do the transitions confuse or facilitate your readers?
  • Do I involve my readers in my experience? Should I add some details or remove extraneous ones that distract the attention?
  • How adequately did I convey the primary message of the essay? Does the experience described and its significance to me have a connection?

As you go through the narrative essay structure, think about your choice when to reveal the importance of the experience. You can make a connection to the thesis in the opening paragraph or focus on it at the end. Try both and figure out which option would work best for your narrative story writing.

Remember when you’re giving information upfront, it helps your readers understand the main idea deeper, but when you save the revelation to the conclusion, you’ll leave the reader with much to think about.

By the way,

Do you know which part of the writing process student is the most underestimated? The proofreading. At this point, you should check and correct punctuation and grammar mistakes, improve clarity and writing style.

Ask your friend to read your narrative paper. You’ll get a fresh look at your writing.

Writing a Narrative Essay: 5 Useful tips

Do you need more narrative writing tips? Keep reading!

What’s a narrative essay? It’s not only your experience summary. The narrative essay presents your thoughts about background you describing and allows your readers to draw their conclusion. Follow our advice to improve your narrative assignment:

  1. Keep it clear. Avoid complex words and syntax.
  2. Avoid describing every your movement. At the same time, even a single lost detail can skew reader’s understanding of the story.
  3. Don’t use the second-person narrative. Good narrative stories usually written in the first person. When you use “I”, you’re engaging your readers with an immediacy of the story.

  1. Use dynamic word and active voice. Think about your writing as it was the speech: what words, idioms, slang and turns of phrase would you use? Try not to sound too clinical. No passive constructions.
  2. Limit references. When you look through citation style guides, you’ll find the recommendations to include citations into your assignment. But not in a narrative essay – it is disruptive. When you find a useful piece of content, just cite it in reference list after the essay.

Thank you for reading! Whenever you feel that you could use some help in writing your paper, take a closer look at these tips - you'll definitely be able to develop your own signature style once you start following them. Keep up the good work!

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How to Start a Narrative Essay

how to write a good personal narrative


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“Those who tell the stories rule the world.” This proverb, attributed to the Hopi Indians, is one I wish I’d known a long time ago, because I would have used it when teaching my students the craft of storytelling. With a well-told story we can help a person see things in an entirely new way. We can forge new relationships and strengthen the ones we already have. We can change a law, inspire a movement, make people care fiercely about things they’d never given a passing thought.

But when we study storytelling with our students, we forget all that. Or at least I did. When my students asked why we read novels and stories, and why we wrote personal narratives and fiction, my defense was pretty lame: I probably said something about the importance of having a shared body of knowledge, or about the enjoyment of losing yourself in a book, or about the benefits of having writing skills in general.

I forgot to talk about the power of story. I didn’t bother to tell them that the ability to tell a captivating story is one of the things that makes human beings extraordinary. It’s how we connect to each other. It’s something to celebrate, to study, to perfect. If we’re going to talk about how to teach students to write stories, we should start by thinking about why we tell stories at all. If we can pass that on to our students, then we will be going beyond a school assignment; we will be doing something transcendent.

Now. How do we get them to write those stories? I’m going to share the process I used for teaching narrative writing. I used this process with middle school students, but it would work with most age groups.

A Note About Form: Personal Narrative or Short Story?

When teaching narrative writing, many teachers separate personal narratives from short stories. In my own classroom, I tended to avoid having my students write short stories because personal narratives were more accessible. I could usually get students to write about something that really happened, while it was more challenging to get them to make something up from scratch.

In the “real” world of writers, though, the main thing that separates memoir from fiction is labeling: A writer might base a novel heavily on personal experiences, but write it all in third person and change the names of characters to protect the identities of people in real life. Another writer might create a short story in first person that reads like a personal narrative, but is entirely fictional. Just last weekend my husband and I watched the movie Lion and were glued to the screen the whole time, knowing it was based on a true story. James Frey’s book A Million Little Pieces sold millions of copies as a memoir but was later found to contain more than a little bit of fiction. Then there are unique books like Curtis Sittenfeld’s brilliant novel American Wife, based heavily on the early life of Laura Bush but written in first person, with fictional names and settings, and labeled as a work of fiction. The line between fact and fiction has always been really, really blurry, but the common thread running through all of it is good storytelling.

With that in mind, the process for teaching narrative writing can be exactly the same for writing personal narratives or short stories; it’s the same skill set. So if you think your students can handle the freedom, you might decide to let them choose personal narrative or fiction for a narrative writing assignment, or simply tell them that whether the story is true doesn’t matter, as long as they are telling a good one.

Here are some examples of what that kind of flexibility could allow:

  • A student might tell a true story from their own experience, but write it as if it were a fiction piece, with fictional characters, in third person.
  • A student might create a completely fictional story, but tell it in first person, which would give it the same feel as a personal narrative.
  • A student might tell a true story that happened to someone else, but write it in first person, as if they were that person. For example, I could write about my grandmother’s experience of getting lost as a child, but I might write it in her voice.

If we aren’t too restrictive about what we call these pieces, and we talk about different possibilities with our students, we can end up with lots of interesting outcomes. Meanwhile, we’re still teaching students the craft of narrative writing.

A Note About Process: Write With Your Students

One of the most powerful techniques I used as a writing teacher was to do my students’ writing assignments with them. I would start my own draft at the same time as they did, composing “live” on the classroom projector, and doing a lot of thinking out loud so they could see all the decisions a writer has to make.

The most helpful parts for them to observe were the early drafting stage, where I just scratched out whatever came to me in messy, run-on sentences, and the revision stage, where I crossed things out, rearranged, and made tons of notes on my writing. I have seen over and over again how witnessing that process can really help to unlock a student’s understanding of how writing actually gets made.

A Narrative Writing Unit Plan

Before I get into these steps, I should note that there is no one right way to teach narrative writing, and plenty of accomplished teachers are doing it differently and getting great results. This just happens to be a process that has worked for me.

Step 1: Show Students That Stories Are Everywhere

Getting our students to tell stories should be easy. They hear and tell stories all the time. But when they actually have to put words on paper, they forget their storytelling abilities: They can’t think of a topic. They omit relevant details, but go on and on about irrelevant ones. Their dialogue is bland. They can’t figure out how to start. They can’t figure out how to end.

So the first step in getting good narrative writing from students is to help them see that they are already telling stories every day. They gather at lockers to talk about that thing that happened over the weekend. They sit at lunch and describe an argument they had with a sibling. Without even thinking about it, they begin sentences with “This one time…” and launch into stories about their earlier childhood experiences. Students are natural storytellers; learning how to do it well on paper is simply a matter of studying good models, then imitating what those writers do.

So start off the unit by getting students to tell their stories. In journal quick-writes, think-pair-shares, or by playing a game like Concentric Circles, prompt them to tell some of their own brief stories: A time they were embarrassed. A time they lost something. A time they didn’t get to do something they really wanted to do. By telling their own short anecdotes, they will grow more comfortable and confident in their storytelling abilities. They will also be generating a list of topic ideas. And by listening to the stories of their classmates, they will be adding onto that list and remembering more of their own stories.

And remember to tell some of your own. Besides being a good way to bond with students, sharing your stories will help them see more possibilities for the ones they can tell.

Step 2: Study the Structure of a Story

Now that students have a good library of their own personal stories pulled into short-term memory, shift your focus to a more formal study of what a story looks like.

Use a diagram to show students a typical story arc like the one below. Then, using a simple story—like this Coca Cola commercial—fill out the story arc with the components from that story. Once students have seen this story mapped out, have them try it with another one, like a story you’ve read in class, a whole novel, or another short video.

Step 3: Introduce the Assignment

Up to this point, students have been immersed in storytelling. Now give them specific instructions for what they are going to do. Share your assignment rubric so they understand the criteria that will be used to evaluate them; it should be ready and transparent right from the beginning of the unit. As always, I recommend using a single point rubric for this.

Step 4: Read Models

Once the parameters of the assignment have been explained, have students read at least one model story, a mentor text that exemplifies the qualities you’re looking for. This should be a story on a topic your students can kind of relate to, something they could see themselves writing. For my narrative writing unit (see the end of this post), I wrote a story called “Frog” about a 13-year-old girl who finally gets to stay home alone, then finds a frog in her house and gets completely freaked out, which basically ruins the fun she was planning for the night.

They will be reading this model as writers, looking at how the author shaped the text for a purpose, so that they can use those same strategies in their own writing. Have them look at your rubric and find places in the model that illustrate the qualities listed in the rubric. Then have them complete a story arc for the model so they can see the underlying structure.

Ideally, your students will have already read lots of different stories to look to as models. If that isn’t the case, this list of narrative texts recommended by Cult of Pedagogy followers on Twitter would be a good place to browse for titles that might be right for your students. Keep in mind that we have not read most of these stories, so be sure to read them first before adopting them for classroom use.

Click the image above to view the full list of narrative texts recommended by Cult of Pedagogy followers on Twitter. If you have a suggestion for the list, please email us through our contact page.

Step 5: Story Mapping

At this point, students will need to decide what they are going to write about. If they are stuck for a topic, have them just pick something they can write about, even if it’s not the most captivating story in the world. A skilled writer could tell a great story about deciding what to have for lunch. If they are using the skills of narrative writing, the topic isn’t as important as the execution.

Have students complete a basic story arc for their chosen topic using a diagram like the one below. This will help them make sure that they actually have a story to tell, with an identifiable problem, a sequence of events that build to a climax, and some kind of resolution, where something is different by the end. Again, if you are writing with your students, this would be an important step to model for them with your own story-in-progress.

Step 6: Quick Drafts

Now, have students get their chosen story down on paper as quickly as possible: This could be basically a long paragraph that would read almost like a summary, but it would contain all the major parts of the story. Model this step with your own story, so they can see that you are not shooting for perfection in any way. What you want is a working draft, a starting point, something to build on for later, rather than a blank page (or screen) to stare at.

Step 7: Plan the Pacing

Now that the story has been born in raw form, students can begin to shape it. This would be a good time for a lesson on pacing, where students look at how writers expand some moments to create drama and shrink other moments so that the story doesn’t drag. Creating a diagram like the one below forces a writer to decide how much space to devote to all of the events in the story.

Before students write a full draft, have them plan out the events in their story with a pacing diagram, a visual representation of how much “space” each part of the story is going to take up.

Step 8: Long Drafts

With a good plan in hand, students can now slow down and write a proper draft, expanding the sections of their story that they plan to really draw out and adding in more of the details that they left out in the quick draft.

Step 9: Workshop

Once students have a decent rough draft—something that has a basic beginning, middle, and end, with some discernible rising action, a climax of some kind, and a resolution, you’re ready to shift into full-on workshop mode. I would do this for at least a week: Start class with a short mini-lesson on some aspect of narrative writing craft, then give students the rest of the period to write, conference with you, and collaborate with their peers. During that time, they should focus some of their attention on applying the skill they learned in the mini-lesson to their drafts, so they will improve a little bit every day.

Topics for mini-lessons can include:

  • How to weave exposition into your story so you don’t give readers an “information dump”
  • How to carefully select dialogue to create good scenes, rather than quoting everything in a conversation
  • How to punctuate and format dialogue so that it imitates the natural flow of a conversation
  • How to describe things using sensory details and figurative language; also, what to describe…students too often give lots of irrelevant detail
  • How to choose precise nouns and vivid verbs, use a variety of sentence lengths and structures, and add transitional words, phrases, and features to help the reader follow along
  • How to start, end, and title a story

Step 10: Final Revisions and Edits

As the unit nears its end, students should be shifting away from revision, in which they alter the content of a piece, toward editing, where they make smaller changes to the mechanics of the writing. Make sure students understand the difference between the two: They should not be correcting each other’s spelling and punctuation in the early stages of this process, when the focus should be on shaping a better story.

One of the most effective strategies for revision and editing is to have students read their stories out loud. In the early stages, this will reveal places where information is missing or things get confusing. Later, more read-alouds will help them immediately find missing words, unintentional repetitions, and sentences that just “sound weird.” So get your students to read their work out loud frequently. It also helps to print stories on paper: For some reason, seeing the words in print helps us notice things we didn’t see on the screen.

To get the most from peer review, where students read and comment on each other’s work, more modeling from you is essential: Pull up a sample piece of writing and show students how to give specific feedback that helps, rather than simply writing “good detail” or “needs more detail,” the two comments I saw exchanged most often on students’ peer-reviewed papers.

Step 11: Final Copies and Publication

Once revision and peer review are done, students will hand in their final copies. If you don’t want to get stuck with 100-plus papers to grade, consider using Catlin Tucker’s station rotation model, which keeps all the grading in class. And when you do return stories with your own feedback, try using Kristy Louden’s delayed grade strategy, where students don’t see their final grade until they have read your written feedback.

Beyond the standard hand-in-for-a-grade, consider other ways to have students publish their stories. Here are some options:

  • Stories could be published as individual pages on a collaborative website or blog.
  • Students could create illustrated e-books out of their stories.
  • Students could create a slideshow to accompany their stories and record them as digital storytelling videos. This could be done with a tool like Screencastify or Screencast-O-Matic.

 

So this is what worked for me. If you’ve struggled to get good stories from your students, try some or all of these techniques next time. I think you’ll find that all of your students have some pretty interesting stories to tell. Helping them tell their stories well is a gift that will serve them for many years after they leave your classroom. ♦

 


Want this unit ready-made?

If you’re a writing teacher in grades 7-12 and you’d like a classroom-ready unit like the one described above, including slideshow mini-lessons on 14 areas of narrative craft, a sample narrative piece, editable rubrics, and other supplemental materials to guide students through every stage of the process, take a look at my Narrative Writing unit. Just click on the image below and you’ll be taken to a page where you can read more and see a detailed preview of what’s included.

 


 

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This is an essay that is experiential, anecdotal, and personal in nature. It adopts a story telling . Why You Should Write a Good Narrative Essay. why. A good.

Tips for Writing a Personal Narrative Essay

how to write a good personal narrative

The Personal Narrative Essay Outline

There are two times when you will write personal narrative essays – for a college admissions essay requirement and as a course assignment in an English com class. Usually such essays will be written in response to some prompt and will entail your depiction of an experience or experiences that in some way have shaped what you now believe or value, or even the person you have become. Some students find this type of essays to be the most difficult one. That’s why we have decided to give you some tips and help with it. Whether for admissions or assignment, the personal narrative essay outline is essentially the same and should at least roughly conform to the following structure.

Introduction

The Hook: Your first sentence should be compelling and make the reader want to continue. Let’s say you are going to present a tale about your travel abroad, specifically an experience of being “pick-pocketed” in Florence, Italy. You might begin with a startling fact about the number of incidents of this crime in a day in that city or the fact that child gypsies are sent out by their families to pick-pocket as a means of supporting those families. On the other hand you may start with a description of your feelings caused by this accident. It will be an intriguing start, because the reader would like to know what the reason for your fear or despair was.

Set the Scene: Here you want to give the reader the general place and time of the experience(s) you will be relating. Sometimes, the experiences may occur over a period of time (for example, growing up in poverty) or they will relate to a single incident (being in Italy for a week as a part of family vacation). You must always include such information in the introduction. The reader should know from the very beginning where and when the action takes place.

The Thesis Statement: They can be a bit different from the statement you would write for another type of essay. You can actually begin your story, for example, “The morning began like any other, with breakfast and decisions about what we would visit that day, but it certainly ended up differently,” or you can offer a lesson learned, “I now know why travelers are encouraged to protect their valuables with one of those pouches that can go inside their clothing,” or some theme that your story will portray, “Hardships and lack make us all innovators of sorts.” It should also be interesting so that the reader would want to know more and continue reading the essay.

The Body

Usually, the body paragraphs will tell the story of the experience. However, this is not always the case. Suppose your essay is about growing up in poverty and you have used the theme that this condition turned you into an innovator (your theme). Each paragraph will then provide the reader with an example of how you became an innovator. Perhaps you learned how to fashion “toys” from objects you found in the neighborhood; perhaps you learned how to mix unlikely combinations of food when there was very little in the cupboard; perhaps you started to design and make clothes when there was no money to buy them.

Remember that every argument should always be followed by examples.

Remember to use good transition sentences between your body paragraphs – they can come either at the end of a paragraph to introduce the next one, or at the beginning of the new paragraph with some reference back to the previous one. All the paragraphs should be connected and the narration should be logical.

The other point is this: you need to “show” the reader your story, not just “tell.” You can do this by injecting actual conversation or by descriptions that paint a picture. Remember that you should avoid direct and dry statements here. Show your story in bright colors and use more description paragraphs.

The Conclusion

Reflect on your experience(s) by asking yourself a couple of questions. What have you learned? How has your life been impacted? Would you act differently if you could relive that situation again? It’s very important to understand the lessons that you have received. It will explain your choice to write about this event and show that you are mature enough to learn from your experience, even if it’s bad.

Some Additional Tips

Usually these essays are written in the first person, so you will be using a lot of “I’s.” After you have written the piece, go back and see if you can replace some of those “I’s” by altering sentence structure. You may want to use passive constructions here also. There shouldn’t be many repetitions in the text.

You will obviously move from past to present and back to past tenses in this essay, and that is expected. Try to make it easy for a reader to understand when you give a retrospective and when the narration is in the present time. Don’t mess it up too much.

The Ideas On Writing

Some Personal Narrative Essay Ideas

1.       Choose an incident or experience that is a bit “extreme” – extremely frightening, extremely humorous, extremely sad or poignant, or different from the experiences that most people have. This will make your narration far more interesting to the reader. Try to avoid boring and obvious things. But also don’t forget to include the lessons you have learned from this extreme experience, otherwise the story will seem incomplete or even senseless.

2.       If you are responding to an essay prompt for college admissions, you will have options. For some students it makes the task easier, while others struggle even more with these given options. Read those options carefully and make a list of what you might write about for each prompt. Then review your lists and choose the one about which you have the most passion and emotions. This will make your writing more interesting as the chosen topic will be the most appealing for you.

3.       If you are looking at a college admissions essay, and you have time to generate topic ideas, set up a file on your phone. It is with you every day, and you can enter ideas as they come to you. Some people also prefer using notebooks for all their thoughts. Choose the variant that is more suitable for you and write down all the topics that come to your mind during the day. Then, when you get ready to choose a topic, you will have lots of options. You can also try mind mapping to choose the topic you want to speak about. There are a lot of tips and information about mind mapping on the web, so it’s not difficult to find out more about it.

4.       If the assignment is due shortly, and you do not have much time, sit quietly some place, go back to your childhood and move toward the present. What incidents or experiences really stick out in your mind? Which do you remember in great detail? These are your options. Consider using them.

This is a rather simplistic explanation for narrative essay construction, but it should get you started. You can find a great guide "how to write a personal narrative essay" on many college websites, so if you need more details, check those out! Also if you find yourself in a situation where you need professional help with writing your narrative essay – don’t hesitate and contact us! Our expert writers will perform an excellent paper for you no matter how short your deadline is and our support team will help you to place an order. They will also keep you informed of all the details of the ordering process. Thus you may be sure that your narrative essay will be written on time in an interesting and exciting way.

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Read examples of personal narrative. Learn from good examples of the genre online and in print. Search for the top personal narratives online.

how to write a good personal narrative
Written by Vohn
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