What is Narrative Writing?

In this step, you must think about the events you want to add to your essay. The type of writing assignment you get will depend largely on the direction your teacher gives for the topic. You may be given specific guidelines or suggestions about what topics might work well.

  • If you are working with reluctant writers, try using narrative writing prompts to get their creative juices flowing.
  • Through a narrative viewpoint, you can explore facets of your protagonist’s personality and expose your readers to their thoughts.
  • You, the writer, tell about the personal experience but also make a point for readers to understand why you tell about it and why your story is important to share.
  • If I can’t make sound decisions with the tools already in my kit, then I risk falling for anything.
  • Describe the characteristics of someone who helps others.

The reader should also be able to identify the main protagonist and the antagonist . In this piece from a narrative essay by Russell Baker of the famed Saturday Evening Post, the author has fully described the efforts of his mother by her dialogue. It’s possible to focus on yourself, while offering the reader some sort of lesson or truth. Encourage them to move past terrible loss or maintain hope in a seemingly bleak foster system. When writing a narrative essay, remember that you are sharing sensory and emotional details with the reader. Metanarrative, sometimes also known as master- or grand narrative, is a higher-level cultural narrative schema which orders and explains knowledge and experience you’ve had in life.

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It aims to develop narrative writing skills by examining descriptions of people and places in the students’ own lives. Students then go on to create imaginary pictures of people and places by using some of the elementsof literary description such as simile, metaphor and repetition. Sometimes it’s a personal experience, and sometimes it can be something you’ve read or seen. It involves a series of related events or actions to provide information or insight about a story. It has different characters, dialogue, and detailed descriptions of the setting. They can be imaginary, factual or a combination of both. They may include fairy stories, mysteries, science fiction, romances, horror stories, adventure stories, fables, myths and legends, historical narratives, ballads, slice of life, personal experience.

Linearity is one of several narrative qualities that can be found in a musical composition. As noted by American musicologist Edward Cone, narrative terms are also present in the analytical language about music. The different components of a fugue — subject, answer, exposition, discussion, and summary — can be cited as an example.

True Narrative Essay

The conflict that makes up the plot sparks interest when it is able to produce an artistic effect and provoke emotion in the reader. Here’s how to write a personal narrative essay so that it will not only help you get a high grade but also wow and inspire the readers.

At this point, you should check and correct punctuation and grammar mistakes, improve clarity, and writing style. It can be philosophical (careful! That requires specific knowledge), ironical, critical, romantic. Whatever you choose, it has to be you from top to bottom. Remember that the reader was not there when the story happened. Be polite and thoughtful, don’t get into useless details or get swept away by the story, leaving your reader wondering and wandering. Make a visual and emotional description that suggests what experiences you will share. Additional information helps the reader to put themselves into your shoes.

Further reading

Don’t overlook the importance of understanding story elements and the value this adds to you as a writer who can dissect and create grand narratives. We also have an in-depth guide to understanding story elements here. This guide is for all the writers out there who want to create compelling, engaging, relatable characters that readers will adore… or despise.

characteristics of a narrative essay

Various theorists share this view of narrative appearing in disruptive rather than normative moments in music. The final word is yet to be said regarding narratives in music, as there is still much to be determined. After the climactic action, a few questions will often remain unresolved for the reader, even if all the conflict has been resolved. The resolution is where those lingering questions will be answered.


There are many reasons why studying narratives is important, whether the person is Filipino or not as… Among her interests are artificial intelligence, machine learning, and natural language processing. As a humanitarian and educator, she actively supports women in tech and promotes diversity.

  • The study of narratives is called narratology and deals with how narratives are assembled and interpreted.
  • However, there are several views on the concept of narrative in music and the role it plays.
  • If you’re in school, most teachers will assign at least one narrative essay for you to complete so you can practice your skills before trying anything else.
  • “The Martian” is set on Mars in the not-too-distant future.

It’s written in first person and the story encompasses a specific moment in time worthy of a discussion. Like the pencil above, your mind creates new branches dedicated to critical thinking, self-awareness, and empathy as you structure a life experience into a narrative essay. Making growth and development visible in your essay will also add complexity to your writing. Write a descriptive essay, you’ll use descriptive narrative techniques to discuss the topic you’re covering.

Features of Narrative Writing

While the gods of the second function were still revered in society, they did not possess the same infinite knowledge found in the first category. A Norse god that would fall under the second function would be Thor—god of thunder. Thor possessed great strength, and was often first into battle, as ordered by his father Odin. Like myth, they are rooted in the past, but unlike the sacred ephemeral space in which myths occur, legends are often individuals of human flesh that lived here on earth long ago, and are believed as fact. The structure is generated by letting the nodes stand for the states and the directed edges represent how the states are changed by specified actions.

characteristics of a narrative essay

You are to determine the best course to follow in order to tell your story and to reveal to your reader the significance of your reason for telling the story. A narrative essay uses personal experience, featuring characters and dialogue, to discuss a theme. Learning about the structure and features of narrative essays helps you recognize them while you read others’ writing. Do use emotional language in narrative essays, but don’t be melodramatic. Use the emotions you felt while living your story to help the audience relate to the topic of your paper. Exaggerated emotions come across as insincere and will disengage the audience. Assess students’ comprehension of showing rather than telling by reading their description of the test anxiety.


The choice of a narrator is another way that writers set the tone of a piece. Is the narrator someone who experienced the events as a participant, or one who witnessed the events but wasn’t an active participant? Is that narrator characteristics of a narrative essay an omniscient undefined person who knows everything about the plot including its ending, or is he confused and uncertain about the events underway? Is the narrator a reliable witness or lying to themselves or the reader?

  • Your story should be written from your perspective, with an emotional connection to it.
  • This is a much more artistic and well-crafted way of doing things and is less irritating for the reader.
  • As with most types of writing, a narrative has characters that the story follows.
  • The reason we do this often instinctively is because we understand that stories with dialogue are generally more interesting than those without dialogue.
  • How do you feel when conversing with someone who constantly talks about themselves?

The setting is the time and location in which the story takes place. These facts controlling ideas set the scene for the story and can determine what kind of conflict occurs.

Explore All Descriptive Text Articles

In a viewpoint narrative, the story is presented to the reader via the eyes of the narrator. Readers are given a detailed understanding of the feelings, beliefs, and values of the character or characters whose viewpoint is being represented in the story. For example, in Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre, Jane is the title character and the narrator who tells her own story from her own perspective. Those questions address topics such as astronomical events, historical circumstances, environmental phenomena, and a range of human experiences including love, anger, greed, and isolation.

It can be written to motivate, educate, or entertain and can be both fact or fiction. Good narrative writing skills are hard-won by students even though it is an area of writing that most enjoy due to the creativity and freedom it offers.

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