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Jun 19th 2014

Step By Step Guide to Write a Narrative Essay [Infographic]

This article explains a few of the finder points for writing a narrative essay. It starts by describing what can and cannot be done within a narrative essay, and then goes on to give you a step-by-step method for writing your essay. A narrative essay is often used as a method for writing personal essays, which is all about holding a mirror up to your life, however, this does make it tricky to see the PC screen.

Defining a narrative essay


The bare and basic narrative essay will take the reader from one point to another. The most common way of doing this is to take people through a timeline; which is a series of events in chronological order. You do not need to work via a timeline, you can bounce between the past, present and future as much as you like.

Imagine that the word narrative is a parent’s hand. That hand guides the child (the reader) through a series of events/points, getting the child from one point/location to another.

It does not have to flow via a timeline

You will commonly see narrative essays follow a timeline because it is easier to write and makes it easier for students to understand. However, you may be writing a narrative essay about how a person gained their fear of the dark. You could narrate the story from mildest scary incident to the most frightening experience, which is a series of events that may have occurred when the person was a child and when the person was an adult.

It does not have to be fictional

Professors tend to receive a lot of fictional narrative essays because some people seem to think a narrative essay has to be fictional. It is often because the word “narrative” is used when discussing fictional stories. Sometimes the true-life stories are the most fun, such as the time you broke your foot playing footsie with your date because you play to win!

It does not have to be in the first person

A narrative essay about yourself or an experience you have been through may well be in the first person, but a narrative essay does not have to be in the first person. There are some people that like writing in the first person. They find writing in the third person harder than keeping Spiderman’s baby in his crib.

Events do not have to make sense

As a general rule, it is better to have your essay make sense, if your essay is written a little like Pulp Fiction, then try to bring it together in the end and connect the threads (a little like Quentin Tarantino did in the Pulp Fiction movie). You may not score as highly if your narrative essay has events that do not make sense unless you are being graded on creative writing. Try not to use flawed logic such as by saying you are ghost hunter and the reason nobody has ever seen a ghost is because you are good at your job.

Events do not have to be fluent or even related

Jumping from one point, event, situation, idea, etc, to another is okay, just so long as the narrative is taking the reader from a starting point to an ending point. It is possible to write a narrative essay as if it were in building blocks, where one building block is placed upon the next to provide evidence or direction for your narrative essay. You can enter snippets of information wherever you like in your essay so long as it follows the narrative in a way that is going to get people from the starting point to the conclusion, such as telling people you have fresh ground coffee because you dropped it on the floor.

Why tell me all this sludge?

The points that were made above are all things you do not need to know. They are elements of a narrative essay that do not really matter. It is quite easy to simply write an essay in the first person, that is fluent, that follows a timeline and that flows from one point to the next easily. However, if you want to make your essay more of a challenge, then try pushing the envelope by adopting some of the ideas noted above because they may all be legitimately housed within a narrative essay (and you will not lose marks because of them when you are graded).

The following infographic gives you essential and valuable information and details to create a narrative essay. With the step by step guide, you will not have a hard time in creating your essay writing. It can give you the detailed guide that you can effectively use to organize your ideas, structure your paper and to finally start writing.

With this useful and very easy to follow guide, you do not have to grope in the dark just to start creating a quality narrative essay. To start off, you need to write the points and arguments that you want to establish in your essay. Create the introduction, the body and the conclusion. In this infographic, you can also find essential tips that you can incorporate when you are writing your narrative essay. Make your essay coherent, simple and easy to understand. After you have finally drafted your work, do not forget to proofread your essay to check for any grammatical or spelling error. If there are revisions needed, make the necessary changes.

Step-by-step guide

  1. Write down where your essay starts and ends
  2. Write the points needed to get the reader from the starting point to the ending point
  3. Consider how you connect the points and events to move the reader towards the ending (conclusion)
  4. Start by writing your essay in simple terms as if it were a skeleton essay
  5. Flesh out your essay with more details and information
  6. Proofread your essay for easy mistakes first
  7. Proofread for fluency and flow
  8. Be sure that the conclusion you planned was actually reached and was not merely implanted into the essay


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