Narrative Essay

A narration is simply the telling of a story. Whenever someone recounts an event or tells a story, he or she is using narration. A narration essay recounts an event or tells a story to illustrate an idea. A narration essay may be entertaining or informative.

Five Basic Steps to Writing a Narrative Essay

  1. Purpose: Why are you telling the story? Every narration must have a point or purpose, usually to entertain or to inform.
  2. Context: You should establish the context of your narrative early in the essay. You can follow these basic guidelines: who, what, where, when.
  3. Point of View: A narrative essay may be written in the first-person (I) or third-person (he, she, it) point of view; do not use second person (you). If you were part of the action, the first-person provides the best perspective. If you are relating an event based upon other sources, use the third-person point of view. In some circumstances, you may be forced to choose the point of view (if, for example, you were a witness, but not a participant). Once you have decided upon a point of view, stay consistent with it.
  4. Details: Include enough details for clarity; however, select only the facts that are relevant.
  5. Organization: A narrative usually follows a chronological time line; however, you may find flashbacks a creative option as long as the narrative can be clearly followed by the reader. Most narratives are told in the past tense. You should keep tenses consistent.

Thesis Statements for Narrative Essays

To create a thesis statement, combine the claim and the supporting details in one sentence. The direction of your essay can change depending on the pattern in which you organize the supporting details.

Supporting Details Organized Into Categories  

Laughter has always been an important part of my family; it has helped us to get comfortable after long separations, made it easier to deal with difficult times, and served as a form of entertainment.


Supporting Details Organized Into Time Frames Laughter has always been an important part of my life, supporting me throughout my childhood, teenage years, and my adult life.


Once you have drafted a narrative, it’s always a good idea to ask someone else to read it. And, of course, you yourself will want to review what you have written from the standpoint of a critical reader.

Questions to Keep in Mind When Checking a Narrative

PURPOSE AND AUDIENCE. Does the narrative serve the purpose it is intended to serve? Is it appropriate for its intended audience? Does it need any additional background information or definitions?


THE STORY. Does it consist mainly of actions and events? Do they constitute a plot, with a clear beginning, middle, and end? Is every action in the narrative necessary to the plot? Have any essential actions been left out?


THE POINT. Does the narrative have a clear point to make? What is it? Is it stated explicitly in a thesis? If not, should it be?


ORGANIZATION. Is the storyline easy to follow? Are the events in chronological order? Are there any unintentional lapses in chronology or verb tense? Are intentional deviations from chronology, such as flashbacks, clearly indicated?


TRANSITIONS. Are there clear transitions to help readers follow the sequence of events? Have you checked over each transition to see that it logically connects the adjoining parts of the narrative?


DIALOGUE AND POINT OF VIEW. If there is no dialogue in the narrative, would some direct speech help bring it to life? If there is dialogue, does it sound like real people talking? Is the narrative told from a consistent, plausible point of view?


DETAILS. Does the narrative include lots of concrete details, especially sensory details (visual, olfactory, tactile, and auditory)? Does it show as well as tell?  Can your reader imagine themselves there?


THE BEGINNING. Will the beginning of the narrative get the reader’s attention? How? How well does it set up what follows? How else might the narrative begin?


THE ENDING. How satisfying is it? What does it leave the reader thinking or feeling? How else might the narrative end?

Michael| 2018

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