5 Key Things To Remember Writing A Narrative Essay


Writing a great narrative essay is a critical talent for students in most disciplines, especially in the humanities because it allows for some creative descriptions and word choice that make your paper much more interesting. Rather than presenting a simple summation of facts, the narrative essay aims to tell a story. Here are five keys to remember when working on this kind of assignment:

  1. Write Clearly and Concisely
  2. Using complex or complicated syntax or words can greatly affect how your reader will respond to your essay. All great writing is in clear and concise English, so you shouldn’t veer from this bit of advice. Ideas should easily be expressed in sentences and paragraphs. Your reader will appreciate your content much more and won’t find himself having to reread each line to get meaning.

  3. Don’t Jot Down All Your Actions
  4. Even though you are writing a kind of story in this assignment, you shouldn’t narrate every little movement you make in its telling. For instance, “As I walked through the door and turned to look at the television, I looked around and saw all the portraits on the wall.” Too much detail takes away from your writing. A more improved version could read, “I immediately noticed the portraits on the wall, when everyone else was focused on the television.”

  5. Avoid 2nd Person Perspective
  6. The second person narrative should have no place in this kind of paper. It should be written and described from what the first person experienced. Writing in the second person runs the risk of sound as though you are writing directions (as in this essay) for someone to follow.

  7. Use Active and Dynamic Words
  8. This kind of assignment doesn’t really lend itself to technical jargon. It comes off as sounding too clinical. If the opportunity arises you might want to use slang words or idiomatic phrases you would use in regular speech. Also be sure to use active verbs and colorful nouns that express your point more clearly without tripping up the reader. Instead of saying, “It was very cold so we couldn’t go further,” say “The frigid air stopped us completely.”

  9. Limit Your References
  10. Some style formats suggest that you include citations within your text, but these can be very distracting in this writing assignment. So be sure to limit your references to keep the flow of your paper. Find ways to re-write your essay fluidly to keep readers from stopping.

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