How to Write a Personal Narrative Essay

By Editorial Team Last updated: Oct 11, 2023

How to Write a Personal Narrative Essay

San José State University's Writing Center defines personal narrative essay is a story that you choose to communicate to readers because it expresses your knowledge of oneself, others, and society. We recall a stories as humans, so your personal narrative essay is a great way to turn an ordinary experience into constructive commentary that is applicable to a broader audience. Writing a fascinating personal narrative essay necessitates focusing on both the essential points of information to be delivered and the numerous details that make the narrative essay interesting. These pointers can also be applied to any form of personal tale essay.

How to Write an Effective Personal Narrative Essay

Because a personal narrative essay is about a personal experience, write it in the first person. A personal narrative is a story about yourself, and wonderful personal narrative essay subjects include experiences you've had, people you know, reactions to books or other literature, and many more possibilities.

Related: The New York Times' Winners of Personal Narrative Essay Contest

Suggestions for Selecting a Personal Essay Topic

Finding a good topic is the first step in learning how to write a personal narrative essay. You must choose a topic about which you are passionate.

  • Consider occurrences in your life that might create a wonderful story. What are some of your life stories that always make people laugh or keep them entertained?
  • Consider a time when you learned something from a personal experience. This type of learning event would make an excellent personal narrative essay.
  • Consider remarkable experiences you had with a friend or relative, and how those experiences influenced your connection with that individual.

Tips for Writing an Effective Personal Essay

A effective personal essay elicits an emotional response from the reader. Keep these pointers in mind to make the most of it.

  • Understand your reader. Consider who will be reading this personal essay and how that person will react.
  • Write to elicit an emotional response from the reader. Tell an emotional narrative that elicits a sympathetic response.
  • Make numerous references to sensory experiences and emotions. Sensory nuances like this help the reader connect with the scene you're describing.
  • Make use of rich facts and pictures. The more specific your description, the better the reader will be able to visualize the scenario you are describing.

Read alsoWriting Tips for a Personal Narrative Essay

Essay Formatting Suggestions

Although there aren't many hard and fast guidelines for writing a personal narrative essay, you will need an introduction, body, and conclusion.

  • The beginning paragraph of your essay should convey to the reader the substance of what you will be describing as well as your point of view. Your opening paragraph should also pique the reader's interest with something dramatic.
  • The story's body should provide the reader a clear picture of what happened and how you (the author) feel about it. You might recount the story in chronological order, or you can categorize the information by importance or genre.
  • The final paragraph should summarize and convey the story's message, whether it be a lesson, an idea, or simply a learning experience. Take a look at several conclusion samples to get some ideas.
  • Take some time to brainstorm and jot down some ideas before you start writing. Then, to keep your essay on track, make an outline.

Essay Writing Guidelines

In order to write a strong narrative essay, you must include intriguing material in an engaging manner.

  • Make a video of yourself telling the story. This will assist you in organizing your story and making the writing flow.
  • Incorporate anecdotes and dialogue into your writing. Consider what the characters in the story truly said and did.
  • To connect phrases, use transition words such as "hence," "although," or "for example."
  • To make your writing more intriguing, change up the structure of your phrases. Consider including some compound sentences, difficult sentences, or interrogative sentences.
  • Make your language alive, detailed, interesting, dynamic, passionate, and accurate. Work hard to say exactly what you want to say in the most effective way possible.
  • When you're finished, go back through the essay and highlight everything that isn't relevant to the story. Then think about removing this superfluous data.

Get Motivated with Narrative Writing Examples

Here is a sample of writing from a personal narrative essay. Take note of the tone and words that set the tone. The heat and humidity are nearly palpable.

"It was the middle of spring, and the incident occurred across the street from my house. There was a lake nearby that my brother and I enjoyed exploring on occasion. The dampness and water drips reminded me of a fully operational sauna. The onslaught of heat and the scorching rays of the sun was unrelenting."

Take some time to read narrative essay samples before starting your own personal essay. You'll see that this sort of creative nonfiction shares many similarities with memoir examples. It all comes down to telling a true narrative in a way that feels as engrossing as fiction.

Read also: Writing a Travel Memoir: Some Points to Consider

Essays of Other Types

An essay is a brief piece of writing that can be analytical or speculative. The majority of essays are written from the author's perspective. The term "essay" first appeared in print in 1588, when Michel de Montaigne published Essais, and it refers to a short work written on a certain subject.

There are numerous types of essays, and the following is a brief description of a few of them.

  • Persuasive or argumentative essay - A persuasive or argumentative essay chooses a point of view and backs it up with data, statistics, and other proof. Its goal is to persuade the reader to accept the proofs and conclusions. In other words, the reader should share the writer's point of view.
  • A comparison essay will compare and contrast two objects, highlighting their similarities and contrasts. The writer will need to conduct research in order to uncover as many similarities and differences as feasible.
  • Descriptive essays answer the following questions: how, what, why, when, and where. They can be written about anything: a place, a person, an animal, an event, a product, or a memory. The writer will communicate his or her feelings and perceptions with the reader.

Transferable Writing Skills to Other Types of Essays

Writing a personal narrative essay entails delivering a story to your reader in such a way that he or she is captivated. It all comes down to picking the correct topic and presenting your story with emotion and detail. You can use these similar abilities to create a "about me" essay or any other type of essay.

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