Tips for writing a narrative essay

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Tips for writing a narrative essay

A narrative essay is quite simply a story written about an individual experience. A narrative essay can provide a way to get to know and understand yourself better. It can also create a correlative awareness between experiences you have had and issues that are relevant in the world. A good narrative essay should be entertaining, provide insight about your own experiences, and create a sense of shared history to better link us together, which can lead to a better understanding of self in relation to others. Our shared stories are essential to human ontology.

Here are some guidelines:

  • Make a point. Your story should include a thesis that allows the reader to know what the story is about. The thesis statement for a narrative essay is a little different than other essays. Your thesis should include either the overall theme of the story, or a lesson learned.
  • Your story must include an introduction, plot, setting, climax, characters, and conclusion.
  • Your introduction should include a hook. An opening sentence written with the intention to capture the interest of your reader.


You are free to write about anything you choose. However, I want to encourage you to first consider if any of the topics we have read about for class relate to any of your personal stories. These themes may provide a starting point and will instantly connect your story to the content of our class discussions.

I will be focusing on overall organization and cohesion of the paper, checking to see that it flows naturally. Please make sure that your story relates to your thesis. Remember to include an introduction, characters, a climax, a setting, plot and a conclusion. Do not give me a story about growing up, or a story that takes place over a summer, or a personal statement about who you are. Your story should focus on a specific experience in your life. Be descriptive and detailed. An entire story can be written about 5 min of your life. Set the story up so the reader gets a picture of what, where, why, who, when, and then tell that specific story.


  • 750 words (3 pages), typed, double-spaced, 12 font, 1-inch margins. MLA format!

Tips for writing a narrative essay