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- How to write a narrative essay | Example & tips
How to Write a Narrative Essay | Example & Tips
Published on July 24, 2020 by Jack Caulfield . Revised on December 6, 2021.
A narrative essay tells a story. In most cases, this is a story about a personal experience you had. This type of essay , along with the descriptive essay , allows you to get personal and creative, unlike most academic writing .
Table of contents
What is a narrative essay for, choosing a topic, interactive example of a narrative essay, frequently asked questions about narrative essays.
When assigned a narrative essay, you might find yourself wondering: Why does my teacher want to hear this story? Topics for narrative essays can range from the important to the trivial. Usually the point is not so much the story itself, but the way you tell it.
A narrative essay is a way of testing your ability to tell a story in a clear and interesting way. You’re expected to think about where your story begins and ends, and how to convey it with eye-catching language and a satisfying pace.
These skills are quite different from those needed for formal academic writing. For instance, in a narrative essay the use of the first person (“I”) is encouraged, as is the use of figurative language, dialogue, and suspense.
Narrative essay assignments vary widely in the amount of direction you’re given about your topic. You may be assigned quite a specific topic or choice of topics to work with.
- Write a story about your first day of school.
- Write a story about your favorite holiday destination.
You may also be given prompts that leave you a much wider choice of topic.
- Write about an experience where you learned something about yourself.
- Write about an achievement you are proud of. What did you accomplish, and how?
In these cases, you might have to think harder to decide what story you want to tell. The best kind of story for a narrative essay is one you can use to talk about a particular theme or lesson, or that takes a surprising turn somewhere along the way.
For example, a trip where everything went according to plan makes for a less interesting story than one where something unexpected happened that you then had to respond to. Choose an experience that might surprise the reader or teach them something.
Narrative essays in college applications
When applying for college , you might be asked to write a narrative essay that expresses something about your personal qualities.
For example, this application prompt from Common App requires you to respond with a narrative essay.
In this context, choose a story that is not only interesting but also expresses the qualities the prompt is looking for—here, resilience and the ability to learn from failure—and frame the story in a way that emphasizes these qualities.
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An example of a short narrative essay, responding to the prompt “Write about an experience where you learned something about yourself,” is shown below.
Hover over different parts of the text to see how the structure works.
Since elementary school, I have always favored subjects like science and math over the humanities. My instinct was always to think of these subjects as more solid and serious than classes like English. If there was no right answer, I thought, why bother? But recently I had an experience that taught me my academic interests are more flexible than I had thought: I took my first philosophy class.
Before I entered the classroom, I was skeptical. I waited outside with the other students and wondered what exactly philosophy would involve—I really had no idea. I imagined something pretty abstract: long, stilted conversations pondering the meaning of life. But what I got was something quite different.
A young man in jeans, Mr. Jones—“but you can call me Rob”—was far from the white-haired, buttoned-up old man I had half-expected. And rather than pulling us into pedantic arguments about obscure philosophical points, Rob engaged us on our level. To talk free will, we looked at our own choices. To talk ethics, we looked at dilemmas we had faced ourselves. By the end of class, I’d discovered that questions with no right answer can turn out to be the most interesting ones.
The experience has taught me to look at things a little more “philosophically”—and not just because it was a philosophy class! I learned that if I let go of my preconceptions, I can actually get a lot out of subjects I was previously dismissive of. The class taught me—in more ways than one—to look at things with an open mind.
If you’re not given much guidance on what your narrative essay should be about, consider the context and scope of the assignment. What kind of story is relevant, interesting, and possible to tell within the word count?
The best kind of story for a narrative essay is one you can use to reflect on a particular theme or lesson, or that takes a surprising turn somewhere along the way.
Don’t worry too much if your topic seems unoriginal. The point of a narrative essay is how you tell the story and the point you make with it, not the subject of the story itself.
Narrative essays are usually assigned as writing exercises at high school or in university composition classes. They may also form part of a university application.
When you are prompted to tell a story about your own life or experiences, a narrative essay is usually the right response.
The key difference is that a narrative essay is designed to tell a complete story, while a descriptive essay is meant to convey an intense description of a particular place, object, or concept.
Narrative and descriptive essays both allow you to write more personally and creatively than other kinds of essays , and similar writing skills can apply to both.
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An Experience That Taught You a Lesson Essay
When it comes to a life experience, they either break us or make us stronger, depending on how you want to look at them. This is the best thing about these good and bad experiences, they are completely subjective. You can either be completely devastated by a turn of events or you can become saner and positive with a calamity.
Whichever way you take it, these life experiences impart valuable lessons and help us human beings generalize things. When similar things happen to us in the future or to someone else, we can always draw parallels and learn lessons from them. That’s why it is said that you either win or you learn; there is no third outcome of a situation.
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An Experience That Taught Me A Lesson
As far as I was concerned, life experiences that taught a lesson were not my cup of tea. I was an introvert and I have never concerned myself with going out to exotic places or meeting new people and learn their cultures. That was how I spent my life till that day when life occurred.
I was in high school and as expected, I was miles away from social activities and organized sports. I had some interest in swimming and I could have done great, but I was shy and did not consider it a rewarding experience for my comfort.
Before that episode, I was strong as an ox. Be it summer or winter, I could tolerate anything and hardly showed up after. That’s why I was too worried about what was about to happen to me. I was worried about learning from life lessons. It was about to be an experience that taught you a lesson.
One day I returned from my school and felt a burden in my gut. I drank plenty of water and took OTC medicine to relieve myself from the pain.
When we reached the hospital, I was already silently crying with pain. When I left our car and got up in the wheelchair, I was already feeling like a long-time patient. There was a premonition that something was going to happen and it did.
The doctor came and she asked me to point with my finger at the origin of the pain. I did and she touched the place and then asked the nurse for scans.
Later, it turned out to be appendicitis, again a valuable lesson. I could not believe it. I was strong and could ward off any germ or disease with a smile. How could that happen to me? My mom was worried about me. I knew what it was. But I felt helpless and weak and that was most disturbing for me.
Till the operation, I was only getting fluids through IV and I wanted to eat burgers and fries. I asked the nurse how long I would be able to eat burgers and fries. She smiled and asked me to take it easy. She assured me that it wouldn’t take long.
Operation Burger & Fries
They wheeled my bed into the operation room. My mom was standing outside. She kissed me like I was going far away from her. I wanted to cry but I held on to my own. It was hard. The doctor noticed that and told me how brave and strong I was. That was when it snapped.
I started crying and they let my mom in. We were having arguments about whether McDonald’s was better than Burger King or not. The doctor asked me to take a deep breath and start counting from 10 to backward. I went out somewhere around 5.
When I woke up, I felt weak and nauseous. I felt something coming from my belly but it was empty and it ended up in a ratchet. Everything was blurry but I could make out my mother sitting beside my bed.
When she saw me moving, she sat up and asked me if I was still up for those burgers and fries. I said I didn’t want to have those. I said I wanted to go to school. She knew what it was. It was a change.
Passion For Life
Two days later, I was discharged from my hospital. It took a couple of days before my stitches were all done. The decision making was clear. After returning to school, I went to the coach and asked him if he could get me on the swimming team and helped me learn. He patted my shoulders and smiled.
I am now a professional swimmer and have participated in two Olympics competitions. It was a valuable lesson for me. Whenever new friends ask me what led me to swim professionally, I often reply “appendicitis”.
It took an illness to show me the true colors of life and how to never waste time and talents because like health and age, everything is precious. Life is precious.
The Most Important Lesson I’ve Learned In Life (Short Essay Sample)
It happened years ago. We were living in a big nice house. I was going to the best elementary school in the city with my siblings. We had everything we could have wished for and we were still asking for more.
Mr. Sanchez used to mow our lawns. He was very hardworking. Often, he would bring his son that was my age. He had modest toys and modest clothes and he had a hard time fitting in with us. Mainly because I was too proud to consider him my equal. His name was Gabriel and he was a smart boy, despite all his “shortcomings”. He was also going to elementary school.
Days went by and we spent our time around each other but without any close connection. Fast forward to a couple of years and my father’s business hit the rock bottom. His partner took away all the money and left the country. Not long ago, we had to leave our big house and settle into a small one. I was in college and I had to leave that too because we were having a hard time meeting other expenses.
Mr. Sanchez was very kind during that time. He and Gabriel came once a week and helped me and my siblings get things in order. That was when Gabriel and I became good friends. He was going to state college but he was much smarter than me.
We started talking in the evenings and became good friends. Later we came up with a business plan and founded a start-up. I feel no shame in confessing that Gabriel was much more instrumental in the rise of our company.
Later, all of my father’s debt was paid off and we were again a happy, prosperous family. I was a truly rich man because now I had a great friend by my side for my whole life.
This experience taught me that we should never look down upon people based on their economic conditions. It was a valuable lesson for me. It does not take a life experience for people to go from rags to riches or the other way around. What is important is someone’s person and behavior toward his other fellows in real life.
All personal experiences in one’s life are truly life lessons. They show us that a lot of colors and the action of life exists under the surface. What we think to be true and good may turn out to be bogus and false. The best thing about these life experiences is that they teach us to be better and smarter than our original selves.
That’s why change happens. When people go through valuable lessons learned in life, they have plenty of time and resources to go through what happened and how they can learn from it. If it was good, how it can be redone; if it was bad how it can be avoided. The essence of these experiences is to enlighten us.
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THE LESSONS I HAVE LEARNED SAMPLE ESSAY
Sample by My Essay Writer
W hen going through post-secondary school, writing is a substantial component in ensuring good grades. This is because while students may have the right ideas, they may not know how to effectively communicate this information. In order to successfully complete the assignments that are asked of students, they need to develop the proper strategies that will facilitate a clear communication, and help the person who is marking them to understand that the student knows the material well, and can communicate that information in an effective way. In this essay, I will discuss three skills that I have learned in this course, including critical thinking skills, developing an argument , and communicating myself clearly, which I consider to be the pillars of successful writing. I will discuss how these skills will benefit me in future courses, while giving specific examples about how I managed to learn these skills during this current course. Critical thinking, developing an argument, and clear communication are building blocks of this course, and they are vital to my future academic success.
As one of the most important skills that I have developed, critical thinking will be valuable in the execution of my future studies. I developed this skill in this class by writing essays on topics that had more than one opinion to argue. It was important in these essays to take a look at each issue by examining many sources that had something to say about the topics. This analysis typically required reading many academic and news sources. After feeling like I had developed a solid understanding of the various opinions, I was then able to ascertain the two main arguments. It was important for me to consider the two sides thoroughly, and this allowed me to come to my conclusions. This critical thinking is a skill that will be required of me in future courses, as a solid argumentative essay always acknowledges the other side of the debate, and refute its claims.
In order to be successful at examining both sides of an argument by thinking critically about the material, I need to know how to develop an argument clearly. I learned in this course that an argument can be developed by examining how I feel about each perspective that is being argued. This is what I needed to do when writing each of my essays for this class. I needed to figure out which side I agreed with most, and this often included a thorough ethical examination. For example, when reading about material dealing with a major political event, I needed to examine who this event effects, and how each side argues its claims. The more ethical argument gets my vote every time, and this is typically synonymous with an argument that is most logical. Developing my argument will be needed in my studies because I will need to be able to defend the argument that I chose, particularly if I decide to write my Master’s Thesis. However, it will also help with a basic degree.
Critical thinking and developing an argument is useless if I do not know how to properly communicate myself. This is where writing outlines really helped me. The outline allowed me to develop my thesis statement and then topic sentences. This provided a framework that facilitated the ease of communication to my reader. Furthermore, drafting annotated bibliographies allowed me to evaluate my sources, and think about how they will fit into my paper. The better I was at developing my own understanding of the topic, and how I will present it to my reader, the easier it was for my reader to understand my position. If I had not gone through these processes, my writing would have been more free-form, which does not often facilitate communicating myself clearly. Without being able to clearly communicate, the person who is marking my future papers will think that I do not have a solid understanding of what I am writing about, and this could result in very poor marks. Clear communication is therefore one of the most important skills that I have learned in this course.
Breaking down the structure of writing an effective essay was the most important lesson I learned in this course. All three of the skills mentioned in this essay fall into the broader category of essay structuring. This course allowed me to see the basics of writing an essay, and that is a skill that will be helpful throughout my schooling because it is one that is vital for me to achieve the types of marks that I need to be a success. These three skills act as pillars from which I can build a further understanding of essay writing, and this foundation is necessary for me to have a successful academic future.
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By Hanna Robinson
Hanna has won numerous writing awards. She specializes in academic writing, copywriting, business plans and resumes. After graduating from the Comosun College's journalism program, she went on to work at community newspapers throughout Atlantic Canada, before embarking on her freelancing journey.
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Home / Essay Samples / Life / Choices
Valuable Lessons Learned in Life
Childhood Lessons , Choices
- Words: 992 (2 pages)
Please note! This essay has been submitted by a student.
Table of Contents
If you want something, go get it, moving on is vital, traveling helps you level up, keep a diary and someday it will keep you, cherish your friends and family, life is too short to be anything but happy, health is the real wealth, get quality help now.
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Essay about What I Have Learned in My English Writing Class
How to write an essay on what i learned in my writing class.
Writing was a difficult part of literacy for me growing up. I never really liked writing nor did I think I was any good at it. First, I had a hard time thinking of what to write let alone how to get those thoughts on the paper. Even when the teacher provided us with prompts I had a hard time thinking of how to tackle the thoughts I had or simply I didn’t have any thoughts on the topic. I floundered in writing for many years. I took a creative writing class in high school and enjoyed it. However, outside of that class I lacked the professional writing skills that my teachers wanted to see, such as indentations, punctuation and spelling. I had no organizational skills and my papers were choppy at best. At some point, someone, can’t recall who, told me to write
Summary Of Working At Mcdonald's By Amitai Etzioni
All through this course, I have taken in various systems for composing different sorts of essays. This class has truly enhanced my written work abilities; I can now effectively think of enough words, which was a major issue for me before this class. I couldn't have done these without the inside and out rules gave all through this class from the instructor's assignments and lecture notes.
How I Learned With My Writing
As the semester approaches a conclusion, I have discovered for myself that I happen to exhibit not simply on how I have endured this semester, but then again also what I have gained in knowledge of. In the past four months, I would consider that I obtain an accomplishment of achievement in improving my writing techniques. The most important principle that I have discovered so far ensues on how to become an improved writer. With each writing assignment, I learned additional methods and skills, which tweaked my capabilities to develop my thoughts in detail on paper, to write clearly, and to organize my essays efficiently. In previous years, I would frequently catch myself irritated believing I had terrible writer’s block standing in my path of writing an organized essay. This created a feeling as if I could not distinguish how to write properly and the reasoning behind my hatred for writing. During high school, I learned the Modern Language Association (MLA) formats for bibliographies and parenthetical citations, consequently at the beginning of the fall semester, I knew only this format. I was able to learned the correct format for the American Psychological Association (APA) style when doing each assignment at hand.
Reflective Essay About My Writing
My experience throughout this class as a writer has been remotely good. I have learned many new ways about how to write an essay because one of my strengths is having a strong memory of the topic and another strength I have in writing is that I am much more experienced on how to describe a subject in great detail and because of this I know what I am capable of doing. I unfortunately still have some weaknesses in writing such as, procrastinating on starting the actual working process and because of this I start to panic on not getting done in time. Over all my writing skills throughout the class has not been what I expected but I did learn more about how to properly write an essay, which will help me out more later on in my future classes.
My Writing Weaknesses
An essay is a great way to express your knowledge in a topic and also learn new skills involving reading and writing. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses when it comes to writing. To turn those weaknesses into strengths, I have practiced my writing and took the advice given by my peers and professor. Throughout this course, I have overcome many of my writing weaknesses such as citations, thesis statements, and transitions. Although there are still skills to improve upon, I have improved these skills by taking my time with each essay, proofreading them thoroughly, and reflecting on my work when finished.
My Writing Class Analysis
Coming into this class at the beginning of the semester, I expected a lot of writing but not so many other extra assignments. My main target was improving the quality of my introduction and conclusion paragraphs in my essays. I learned a few new ways of arranging introduction and conclusion both in class and at the Writing Resource Center.
Personal Statement: Dificulty Level
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Reflective Essay Class
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Summary Of Reflective Essay
I have truly enjoyed this semester in Mrs. Jones’ English 1105 class. This is my second time having her as an instructor and over the past two semester she had helped me immensely in sharpening my writing skills. During this semester we wrote serval different essays, each focusing on different aspects of English and Writing. The first essay of this class was one that was in MLA format while I became comfortable with MLA in my English 1101 course this was a good refresher on it, in this essay we also learned about visual analyses. Essay number two was about memes and fallacies and this was our first essay in APA format. On our third and final essay we had more free range on the topic and style of our paper. Each of these essay helped me improve
How Do I Learn Write? Essay
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How I Am A Reflective Essay
Throughout this semester, this class has taught me many things. I have learned the process of drafting and revising, how to structure my essays, how to write to a specific audience, how to make a thesis, and how to use outside resources. In the three essays I chose to put in my portfolio, I believe I have support to back up the fact that I have learned these things.
Throughout this semester, there were many obstacles that I had to face regarding the different assignments assigned. However, I was able to effectively complete all of these tasks to the best of my ability regardless of the amount and specific requirements each one possessed. I also managed to gain a better understanding of the certain processes required to create successful essays. I realized that it was extremely important to stay on task, manage my time wisely, and organize my information in a way that would make the writing process easier. This realization and understanding ultimately allowed me to easily take on more extensive assignments, such as the Rhetorical Advocacy Project.
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Interactive example of a narrative essay. An example of a short narrative essay, responding to the prompt “Write about an experience where you learned something about yourself,” is shown below. Hover over different parts of the text to see how the structure works.
The Most Important Lesson I’ve Learned In Life (Short Essay Sample) It happened years ago. We were living in a big nice house. I was going to the best elementary school in the city with my siblings. We had everything we could have wished for and we were still asking for more. Mr. Sanchez used to mow our lawns. He was very hardworking.
In this essay, I will discuss three skills that I have learned in this course, including critical thinking skills, developing an argument, and communicating myself clearly, which I consider to be the pillars of successful writing.
Make a list of three ‘take aways’ from this lesson: 1 Key point, as you understood it 2 Key point, as you understood it 3 A point that puzzled you or that you did not understand or about which you need/want more info Make each point into a sentence; Use each sentence as the first line of a paragraph; expand on it in the rest of the paragraph.
Lessons learned is a collaborative technique that allows you to learn from past projects and ensure the same mistakes don't arise in the future. Learning about this method may help you review projects so you can identify strengths and areas for improvement in your own professional projects.
This essay has been submitted by a student. Table of Contents Life is not always a bed of roses, it has its own ups and downs. Struggles are a part of life, it cannot be avoided. For every struggle, we learn a lesson and later call it an experience.
An essay is a great way to express your knowledge in a topic and also learn new skills involving reading and writing. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses when it comes to writing. To turn those weaknesses into strengths, I have practiced my writing and took the advice given by my peers and professor.
The lesson I have learned from this is to pay attention to what your intuition tells you. If you think you are doing something wrong, or you know it’s bad, then it most likely is. The other mistake was not distancing myself from the bad influences, and unfortunately continuing on to making the decision of shoplifting.