Writing a Narrative Essay

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A narrative essay tells a story. It can be a story about something that has happened to you, a retelling of an historical event, or a fictional story that you're using to illustrate a point. Here are some tips to help you write a successful narrative essay.

  1. Know the story you're about to tell and the point of the story before you begin. Don't rely on the possibility of the story developing as you write. Make pre-writing notes to sketch out the following:
  2. Begin with an introduction that establishes the setting, and, through a well-written thesis statement, the purpose of the essay. The thesis of a narrative essay is often a moral or lesson.
  3. Build to the climax or turning point of the essay by writing two or three paragraphs of rising action, in which a conflict is introduced and complications in the story are explained. The conflict can be any problem the character faces, and can be as simple as deciding what to have for breakfast, to determining the best way to join the North and the South at the end of the Civil War. There are four basic types of conflict:
  4. At the climax, the character confronts the conflict and an outcome is determined.
  5. Once the conflict reaches its peak, write one or two paragraphs about the aftermath. What is the result of the climax? Consider if there are any minor conflicts the character must deal with that result from the climax.
  6. Write the conclusion of the narrative essay. This paragraph wraps up the main points and may briefly review the climax. The conclusion includes a restatement of the thesis and some sort of "take-away" for the reader. The take-away can be a prediction, a call to action, or a moral.
If you follow these steps, you are sure to write a successful narrative essay.

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