A narrative essay is one of the most personalized types of essay you are going to write. The reason is, even in the texts where you are supposed to express your opinion, you are not present as such – it is only your words and rather abstract opinions.
Narrative essay tells the reader a story – and most likely it is the story the author, which makes it seen and felt through your eyes. Therefore, the most typical features of this kind of writing are as follows:
- It is told from a certain point of view, most often – that of the participant or an onlooker, but variations occur, e.g., book reports are also narrative essays. First person is most generally used.
- It doesn’t simply tell a story – it is supposed to do it with some purpose, to make a point and give supporting example.
- Direct speech usage is also appropriate.
- In short, it is similar to any work of fiction: it has plot, conflict, and characterization, makes use of details and descriptions, appeals to the reader’s feelings.
To put it in a nutshell, narrative essays have some fundamental differences from the majority of academic texts. They are concerned with “what”, no “why”. When a teacher asks you to write a book report, or describe your first day at college, he or she doesn’t expect you to write what the author tried to convey or express your opinion about the educational system.
Narrative essay is based on facts – the things that are usually presupposed to be known and thus left out from all the other kinds of essays. Here they are the centre of attention.
In addition, look through some typical topics for a narrative essay:
- Your most memorable success or failure.
- A good or bad thing you did.
- A moment when you realized something.
- An event that made you change your life.
- A memorable event from your childhood.
As you may see, virtually anything can serve as a topic for a narrative essay and be used for driving some point home. What did you learn from this or that experience? Why do you consider it to be so important? In what way do you think it influenced your life? Just be yourself, don’t write anything trite and banal, look at things from unusual angles and success will be yours.