How to Write a Narrative Essay: Format, Outline, Example

How to Write a Narrative Essay: Format, Outline, Example

A student’s life is golden. So most of us who had experienced those unbelievable and treasured moments on campus, or even remotely participated in every activity and event the academic life offered us, tend to think. And it’s true. Nothing can replace those memories of struggling and striving for good results. Getting good grades is also relevant in the whole process of education. Do you cope with your studies or have some problems you need to take care of? 

Some students complain about the lack of time which prevents them from fulfilling the assignments they are given. It mostly concerns such tasks as writing essays, as they require a lot of patience, knowledge, and time. You are probably already familiar with four types of essays students have to deal with:

  • argumentative;
  • descriptive;
  • expository;
  • narrative.

The last type of work is considered to be one of the most challenging ones. And it’s hardly surprising. Many students find writing a narrative essay difficult because they confront such complications as deadlines and constant revisions or double-checks. It can stop them from doing creative work with elaborate conversations, which must be included in this particular type of essay. It all depends. For some students, it’s not a big deal to do a research assignment because gathering and settling information might look less complicated. For others, on the contrary, it is a tedious process to work with. And when they start dealing with a narrative essay, it inspires young people to work with imagination and implement the task with great involvement and passion. 

So, if you get a chance to participate in the process of writing a personal narrative essay, you have a great opportunity to dive into a world of imagination and fantasy. All you need is to get acquainted with the narrative essay format and the main aspects of such style of an essay. 

What Is a Narrative Essay? 

A narrative essay is writing a story on a particular topic where you would express or share your own experience or views. In most cases, it's a fictional story that you create in a certain genre. It can be humorous, entertaining, serious, satirical. You can give any tone to your story and make it creative and fascinating for a reader. What is really important to take into consideration is the point and the moral of an issue. If you look through good narrative essay examples, you will see how personal they can be. Unlike with most academic works, you have an opportunity to experiment with your imagination and use different situations, even personal ones, to provide necessary information on a chosen topic. If you are new to this type of work and don’t have the skills to deal with it, use examples of narrative essays on the Internet. You will figure out how easy the procedure of writing is. Moreover, you may get a clear vision of some ideas for the topics provided by other students or writers. 

Types of Narrative Essays

With your narrative essay, you take a reader into the adventure of a real-life story or an imaginary one without throwing its weight around or strictly imposing your views, and the readers should develop their own conclusions concerning the matter you try to transmit. You don’t have to intrude into this process. Just create your story, use conversations or share your experience. Your task is to guide the reader but not make them believe in points you strongly support. 

And then, consider the types of essays you are going to create for your story. There are two types you can use to make your story heard.


Many students choose this particular form because it implies that the work will be the most interesting and creative. The purpose of your work is to make the reader feel and see all the details you provide in the text very clearly and vividly. You can compare the process with the painting. When you stand in front of the masterpiece and your senses are so exposed to colors and lines. You follow each detail with patience, and your mind creates pictures in your head that produce the whole story in a harmonized and consequent way. In the same manner, you should try to awaken the feelings and various emotions of the reader. Pay attention to this approach when you search for how to write a narrative essay or some paper examples.

Be aware of the limited amount of content you need to utilize in your work. So, make it structured and simple. Let the reader produce the story in their heads by themselves, discovering the sequence of actions and events. It will make them want to read your story to the end with excitement. 


In this particular style, you have to pay attention to your story and its purpose. Omit the vast number of details that you were allowed to use in the previous type. Unlike a descriptive one, autobiographical implies that you need to give a real story. Reveal something real from your experience and life and make the reader get acquainted with one specific event from your life. Whether it is a turning point in your relationship or a moment you get an insight, something happened with you that reinvented you as a person. The topic can be different. From the simplest experience, you can make a major event that seems to be a crucial moment now. However, try not to sugar cover it. Make it as real as possible. 

How to Structure a Narrative Essay

Learning how to craft an essay is not a difficult task to do. Especially if you attentively looked through examples of a narrative essay and a descriptive one. Those suggestions that you can find on the Internet, including those below, would be enough to make it clear how it works. Remember, your goal in writing is to offer the reader relevant information which you find crucial and meaningful and provide them with some value that is significant for them. Thus, both of you will benefit from your work, and the concerns of the reader will be heard. Here are some ways you can easily deal with the structure of your writing without putting in much effort. 


This part of an essay is considered the most important. If you make it the best you can, the success of the whole writing is guaranteed. Why is it so? Because you can hook the reader’s attention from the beginning making them want to know the rest of the story. To achieve this effect, make a narrative writing outline. It will help you to put your thoughts together and build a consistent story. Include thesis statements to highlight the main idea. It’s totally fine to use them at the beginning of your work in the introduction section with simple examples to support the idea which you try to convey. It would be better if you provided explanations for why you picked out the topic and described its significance.


Divide the text into paragraphs. It concerns the whole work, not only the body part. The introduction section can be finished with a thesis, so make sure the body part has the connection to the previous sentence to have logical and coherent content. Thus, you begin the second part of your assignment with topics supporting the idea and providing evidence from your personal narrative outlines. Create a general picture of the situation so the reader could easily be involved in the storytelling without taking part in it. Present the characters or people who will be in the story. Gradually you can work on the occurrence of the situation which takes place in your story. Don’t haste with it. Let the reader feel the consequences that follow and be a little intrigued, anticipating the final part. And then comes the ending part. 


When it comes to a conclusion, it’s very important to finish your writing by emphasizing the moral of your story and explaining why it was significant for you and why it made you write about it. Don’t be ashamed to express your attitude toward the present situation. In most cases, the reader is very eager to know the motive and intention to behave in a certain way in order to be a lesson for them in their life experience. A call to action is also appreciated. Find these methods in a sample of a narrative essay.

Why Is Choosing a Topic Essential in Successful Writing?

The major step toward brilliant writing is in how carefully you choose the topic. Simply choosing an issue which you are going to develop and work with doesn't guarantee you total success. However, after you consult your teachers or professors regarding what to write about and take a constructive approach to study and doing some research, you will find the whole process absorbing and captivating. You won’t have to ask this question “What is a narrative format?” Because you will be so enthusiastically engaged. You can intuitively follow all the requirements focusing mainly on the content of your essay.

But still how to choose a perfect topic which will make both you and a reader satisfied? Here are some suggestions which will help you in considering the subject.

Personal experience

Before you create a narrative outline template, you need to come up with ideas about what you want to discuss. Take time, and there is no need to hurry. First, think about what happened in your life so meaningful and memorable that it touches you even now. Would you mind taking a minute to picture it in your head and determine whether this material will be useful for a reader? Next, consider the lesson your experience may provide. If there are no doubts left, then you can turn to your teachers for consultation. After they approve your topic, don’t delay it. The time is limited for such tasks.

Topic for brainstorming

Do you want to create a top-notch paper that would leave nobody indifferent? Then subjects that cause numerous discussions and brainstorming among readers will do the best. There is no problem in developing writing with your personal stories. However, not everyone will get interested in such things. Use a more creative approach and think about what might catch people’s attention when getting acquainted with your work. What issues might make you want to participate in arguments and brainstorming sessions? Watch popular bloggers and find out the most relevant news today. Looking through the viewers’ comments may also help you realize what people are mostly concerned about. After deciding the topic, go to sources or use the information below to help you learn more about how to write in narrative form. 

Crucial issues

The same as with brainstorming topics, you can engage interesting controversial topics from daily news. However, such subjects can be found when participating in various discussions in classes or special clubs where people share ideas concerning matters which highly influence their lives. You can also include such global issues as the global economy, environmental pollution, or poverty can also be included. Don’t be afraid to experiment and consider whatever you find interesting and mind-blowing. Sometimes the very idea of a topic for a writing task can catch readers’ attention and touch their hearts. 

Relevant topics

You can discover the widest variety of options that might suit your needs and a narrative writing format for this criteria. The topic can be relevant for you personally. It may be your personal story that you have kept to yourself for such a long time. Now your memories flashed, and you felt an urge to share them with listeners. Don’t stop this desire. Let some passion lead the process of your work to create a masterpiece that nobody had done before. That is how it works. You get inspired by your refreshed memories or experiences and produce a story for the assignment task where you add so much value and meaning. 

Here are some ideas for the topics which you can incorporate into your work or use as an example to create your own style and variant:

  1. Learning a hard lesson.
  2. The biggest challenge in life.
  3. An insight that changed your life.
  4. A relationship experience.
  5. Coping with fear.
  6. Important event.
  7. A moment of joy.
  8. The happiest childhood memories.
  9. The greatest tragedy in life.
  10. A rebellious act.

How to Write a Narrative Essay Outline

Creating an outline is a very responsible task. It requires a lot of attention and several techniques, which you can find below. If you implement each step consistently, you will learn how to write a narrative essay quickly. Apply these simple rules in your work and get a good grade for practicing outline writing and creating a perfect essay.

The importance of the topic

It’s important to mention here once again that the topic matters very much for successful work. You can try to catch the reader’s attention from the start, and you will see that the result will be amazing. The subject chosen by you has to be significant and bring some value. Otherwise, the whole point of your work would be useless. Make sure you pick out something unique and relevant, not repeating somebody’s work. 

Striking introduction

The introduction, along with the topic, is something that drags readers’ attention immediately. If you manage to make it eye-catching, success is guaranteed. Work on the scene and give a little hint about what is going to happen in your story. Let the reader anticipate the rest with a little intrigue and excitement. Thesis statements will present your perception and attitude concerning the issues which you raised. This approach will let the reader be more engaged and interested.

Making drafts

It can be a fun thing to do since it doesn’t require following the rules. You make the draft for yourself to get the story settled and formed. This method of building your story can bring more clarity to the next stage of your work. Here at this point, you have a chance to improvise and put your thoughts in a different order to create something that will be reshaped and reinvented. First, involve your imagination in the process, then you can consider the format and the structure. 

Make sure you add all the necessary details and use relevant dialogues. The sequence of the events must be logical and clear. Otherwise, the reader might get confused and lose interest in reading. If you tell your personal story, incorporate the first person. The third person must tell someone else’s story. 

Create catchy conclusion

Like the introduction, the conclusion plays an important role in the full overview of your work. It would be beneficial for you if you composed such an ending that included some lesson or moral. In this case, you wouldn’t leave a reader disappointed. Compose the climax of your writing with appropriate key details, and provide the reader with a certain aftertaste that can make your work more memorable. 

When you learn how to format a narrative essay using the tips above, you will see that it’s not such a difficult process as it seemed initially. All you need to do for achieving goals is to get inspired by your work and put the plan into action for your story.