How To Write a Narrative Essay Step by Step

How to Write Essays: One Semester of Essay Writing by Teacher for Inclusion (teacherspayteachers.com)

How to Write a Narrative Essay

Narrative Essay

Students tend to get stumped, followed with a dose of anxiety when they hear the word “essay”. In this blog post we will cover the question of how to write a narrative essay about a character step by step to alleviate your anxiety and the anxiety for your students while setting them up for a successful essay writing process. First, we will cover how to write a narrative outline, next we will cover how to create narrative essay topics, third we will cover how to write a narrative essay introduction, fourth, how to write a narrative essay conclusion, and somewhere in between we will talk about how to write a narrative essay with dialogue, and how to write a narrative essay about yourself, or how to write a narrative essay about someone else. If you follow these steps, students will be able to answer the question: how can I write a narrative essay?

How to Write a Narrative Essay Introduction

How to Write a Narrative Essay Outline

It is essential and crucial to the essay process that prior to assigning the narrative essay to students, that you first know how to write a narrative essay outline. The outline serves as the foundational pillars for crafting a successful paper. It is the road map to success when students begin writing their narrative essay. You must create an outline that is different from the typical essay outline. It does not have the typical thesis or prescriptive writing that other essays, such as the literary analysis have. You must know how to write a narrative essay introduction first. The introduction for the narrative essay includes a hook-something to capture the reader’s attention, a setting-where the story will take place, characters-who the characters are that will be in the story (physical and personality description) and a conflict-what issue is the character facing. I find it is easiest for the students if I set the essay up in a traditional essay outline format. Once you have created your outline you will have your students fill in notes on a skeletal outline.

It will look something like this:

I. Introduction:

A. Characters:

B. Setting:

C. Conflict:

A suggestion for filling in the information for the above is to use short engaging videos from Shmoop, or an actual narrative story such as, “Nothing Ever Happens On 90th Street”.

How to Write a Narrative Essay Outline

“Nothing Ever Happens on 90th Street”

“Nothing Ever Happens on 90th Street” by Roni Schotter is a narrative story about a girl who is writing a narrative for class. She is not sure how to write the narrative as she sits on the stoop of her New York home. It begins with her thinking that nothing ever happens on her street when one of many of the neighbors approaches her. The neighbor asks her what she is doing and when she says she is trying to write a narrative, the neighbor gives her some advice as to how to start the narrative essay for the introduction. For example, one character says to add details about characters and setting and discusses the importance of them to the story as a whole. This suggestion is followed up with a detailed description of the setting and what is happening on 90th street: dogs being walked, a movie star’s detailed description, stores up and down the street, a cat, etc. The character states what is needed in the essay introduction and the author carefully inserts an example of what that looks like. Suggestion by character: details, follow-up example by author: detailed description of street and characters. Students write down what is needed for the introduction in the essay.

How to Write a Narrative Essay Topics

One of the questions students have is how to write a narrative essay about yourself? and how to write a narrative essay about someone else? or basically overall, who to write a narrative essay about? Because we will be sharing these in class I let them know that if it’s a story about themselves to simply change their name, and if it is a story about someone else, to write from the point-of-view of the character. I have students take a look at the different types of story plots such as: the underdog, the chase, justice, coming-of-age, boy meets girl, and the quest. Once they have brainstormed and looked over the plot structure for each of these stories, they are then be able to choose what their story will be about. They should have a general idea of what the beginning, middle, and end of the story will be prior to beginning their writing. You can even have them fill out a plot structure diagram like the one above to plan their story writing. Once they have their outline filled out, and their story. Students will then share their story with their classmates who can provide feedback or suggestions.

How to Write a Narrative Essay Introduction

How to Write a Narrative Essay Introduction

Once students have their topic they will engage readers in the story with the help of a hook. To create a powerful hook, you can use a question, fact, quote, or an intriguing statement that will make readers want to read further.  One way I tell students how to write a narrative essay with dialogue can be in the introduction as a hook. Example: “I’m not quite sure whether it is a real memory or just some false belief that grew stronger and more convincing in me over time, but I remember my sister once trying to kill me…” Set the scene and give readers an idea of what is happening. However, it shouldn’t tell the entire story yet, just give a glimpse into it; don’t give it all away, and keep your readers intrigued. After this they should describe the setting and characters’ personality and physical description in detail.

How to Write a Narrative Essay Body

The main body of the narrative paper is the most important part…This is where students tell the story, share facts and details, and guide readers through the plot. The body of a narrative essay can consist of 3 or more paragraphs, and its length depends on the general word count of the paper. Students should Include vivid and relevant detail: A narrative essay is all about creating a scene as well as a mood to follow. Even the best essay writers can spend hours writing and are meticulous when it comes to including details.  Students need to know how to write a narrative essay using dialogue. Throwing the reader into dialogue is an effective way to refresh the audience’s attention. Dialogue is a great way to give a story life and support the story’s setting. Again, use this technique thoughtfully. An example would be if you have two San Franciscans talking to each other, using an English accent won’t work as a choice. Write chronologically: It’s hard for readers to understand the timeline of events in a paper unless the author is clear. Keeping things chronological is the best way to keep your paper organized. Avoid narration deviation: If you are talking about a personal experience, or if you are writing in the place of the character you must write in first-person.

How to Write a Narrative Essay Conclusion

How to Write a Narrative Essay Conclusion

In the conclusion of the paper, students are expected to give some final comments about their story. This is where they can restate some of the key details and ideas mentioned in the body. In addition, they should stress the lessons they’ve learned from a particular situation and leave readers with something to think about. Example: “As I go through these events over and over in my head, I realize how much it has taught me. Everything that happens in our lives has at least two sides. To see the real image, it is necessary to collect all of the details piece by piece—to see both sides. And, not all memories should be trusted. Sometimes, it is just our brains that try to make up false stories, isn’t it?” The conclusion should wrap up all loose ends and details from the story and leave the reader thinking about something profound.

How to Edit a Narrative Essay

I have students do self-edits as well as peer edits when it comes to narrative essays. Students use the rubric that was created for the narrative essay, and they go through a check-off list for each edit. This way it is ensured that they have dialogue, character description, setting, etc. They also are to make corrections in order to submit a polished essay. If you want an extended activity for this unit, you can also add a 6-panel storyboard where students can draw the main events of the story.

In this blog post we covered how to write a narrative essay step by step, how to write a narrative essay topics, how to write a narrative essay introduction, how to write a narrative essay with dialogue, how to write a narrative essay about yourself, how to write a narrative essay about someone else, and how to write a narrative essay conclusion.

Now when students ask, “How do I write a narrative essay?”, you can provide the answers to how to write a narrative essay step by step. How do you teach narrative essay? Do you use an outline? Do you use videos or other engaging ways to hold students’ attention? I would love to hear all about how you teach the narrative essay in the comments below!

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