The Narrative Essay
*What is a Narrative Essay?
• Narrative writing tells a story. In essays, the narrative writing could also be considered reflection or an exploration of the author's values told as a story. The author may remember his or her past, or a memorable person or event from that past, or even observe the present. • The author may write about:
-An experience or event from his or her past. -A recent or ongoing experience or event.
-Something that happened to someone else, such as a parent or a grandparent. *Basic qualities of a narrative essay:
• A narrative essay is a piece of writing that recreates an experience through time. • Unlike other essays, you may write in the first person (I, me, we) because it is a story about YOU! • In addition to telling a story, a narrative essay also communicates a main idea or a lesson learned.
*First steps for writing a narrative essay:
• Identify the experience that you want to write about. • Think about why the experience is significant.
• Spend a good deal of time drafting your recollections about the details of the experience. • Create an outline of the basic parts of your narrative.
*Writing about the experience:
• Using your outline, describe each part of your narrative. • Rather than telling your readers what happened, use vivid details and descriptions to actually recreate the experience for your readers. • Use descriptive language. This is made possible by using figurative language (similes, metaphors, personification), sensory words (words using your 5 senses), and vivid words (“the author ‘stood timidly,’ or “my grandmother looked at me with great concern as if I were the only person in the world that mattered.) • Don’t tell. Show. It’s not interesting to read about the garage sale. But it is fascinating to see, feel and experience one. Don’t be greedy on details. • Think like your readers. Try to remember that the information you present is the only information your readers have about the experiences. • Always keep in mind that all of the small and seemingly unimportant details known to you are not necessarily known to your readers.
*Communicating the significance of the experience:
• A narrative essay begins with an effective attention grabber. Ex: Learning something new can sometimes be a scary experience. • Your thesis statement should make clear to the reader the event that the essay will describe. Example: The day that my father convinced me to conquer my fear of heights by standing on the top of the Empire State Building was a day that I will never forget and that I will be forever grateful to him for. • The essay is essentially a story about something that happened. Just like any story that you read, your narrative essay must have a beginning, middle, and an end. The writer (you) should give detailed descriptions of the event by giving your reader a clear idea of the people, place, and events so the reader will get clear idea of how the writer (you) feels about them. Example: The teacher smiled and waited patiently, for which I was grateful. This type of language makes it clear to the reader the writer’s fears and sense of security provided by the teacher who helped her get over her fear. • The final paragraph, the conclusion, should reflect the writer’s new understanding, or the importance of the event or experience described. For example, the author may conclude that learning to swim has helped him or her to feel more confident about his or herself in other new situations. Basically, explain how this event or experience has changed you. • The essay should be well-organized as any other essay (see format). • The writing should be lively and interesting by engaging the reader’s interest by adding significant details and personal observations. Sharing personal...
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