Narrative Essay



Download 52,81 Kb.
Date conversion08.07.2017
Size52,81 Kb.

Narrative Essay


As a mode of expository writing, the narrative approach, more than any other, offers writers a chance to think and write about themselves. We all have experiences lodged in our memories, which are worthy of sharing with readers. Yet sometimes they are so fused with other memories that a lot of the time spent in writing narrative is in the prewriting stage.

When you write a narrative essay, you are telling a story. Narrative essays are told from a defined point of view, often the author's, so there is feeling as well as specific and often sensory details provided to get the reader involved in the elements and sequence of the story. The verbs are vivid and precise. The narrative essay makes a point and that point is often defined in the opening sentence, but can also be found as the last sentence in the opening paragraph.

Since a narrative relies on personal experiences, it often is in the form of a story. When the writer uses this technique, he or she must be sure to include all the conventions of storytelling: plot, character, setting, climax, and ending. It is usually filled with details that are carefully selected to explain, support, or embellish the story. All of the details relate to the main point the writer is attempting to make.

To summarize, the narrative essay


  • is told from a particular point of view

  • makes and supports a point

  • is filled with precise detail

  • uses vivid verbs and modifiers

  • uses conflict and sequence as does any story

  • may use dialogue

The purpose of a narrative report is to describe something. Many students write narrative reports thinking that these are college essays or papers. While the information in these reports is basic to other forms of writing, narrative reports lack the "higher order thinking" that essays require. Thus narrative reports do not, as a rule, yield high grades for many college courses. A basic example of a narrative report is a "book report" that outlines a book; it includes the characters, their actions, possibly the plot, and, perhaps, some scenes. That is, it is a description of "what happens in the book." But this leaves out an awful lot.

What is left out is what the book or article is about -- the underlying concepts, assumptions, arguments, or point of view that the book or article expresses. A narrative report leaves aside a discussion that puts the events of the text into the context of what the text is about. Is the text about love? Life in the fast lane? Society? Wealth and power? Poverty? In other words, narrative reports often overlook the authors purpose or point of view expressed through the book or article.

Once an incident is chosen, the writer should keep three principles in mind.


  1. Remember to involve readers in the story. It is much more interesting to actually recreate an incident for readers than to simply tell about it.

  2. Find a generalization, which the story supports. This is the only way the writer's personal experience will take on meaning for readers. This generalization does not have to encompass humanity as a whole; it can concern the writer, men, women, or children of various ages and backgrounds.

  3. Remember that although the main component of a narrative is the story, details must be carefully selected to support, explain, and enhance the story.

Conventions of Narrative Essays


In writing your narrative essay, keep the following conventions in mind.

  • Narratives are generally written in the first person, that is, using I. However, third person (he, she, or it) can also be used.

  • Narratives rely on concrete, sensory details to convey their point. These details should create a unified, forceful effect, a dominant impression. More information on the use of specific details is available on another page.

  • Narratives, as stories, should include these story conventions: a plot, including setting and characters; a climax; and an ending.

Narrative Essays


The first important thing to remember about a narrative essay is that it tells a story. The author may write about

  • an experience or event from his or her past

  • a recent or an ongoing experience or event

  • something that happened to somebody else, such as a parent or a grandparent

The second important thing about a narrative essay is that the story should have a point. In the final paragraph, the author should come to an important conclusion about the experience that has just been described.

Sample Narrative Essay


Learning something new can be a scary experience. One of the hardest things I've ever had to do was learn how to swim. I was always afraid of the water, but I decided that swimming was an important skill that I should learn. I also thought it would be good exercise and help me to become physically stronger. What I didn't realize was that learning to swim would also make me a more confident person.

New situations always make me a bit nervous, and my first swimming lesson was no exception. After I changed into my bathing suit in the locker room, I stood timidly by the side of the pool waiting for the teacher and other students to show up. After a couple of minutes the teacher came over. She smiled and introduced herself, and two more students joined us. Although they were both older than me, they didn't seem to be embarrassed about not knowing how to swim. I began to feel more at ease.

We got into the pool, and the teacher had us put on brightly colored water wings to help us stay afloat. One of the other students, May, had already taken the beginning class once before, so she took a kickboard and went splashing off by herself. The other student, Jerry, and I were told to hold on to the side of the pool and shown how to kick for the breaststroke. One by one, the teacher had us hold on to a kickboard while she pulled it through the water and we kicked. Pretty soon Jerry was off doing this by himself, traveling at a fast clip across the short end of the pool.

Things were not quite that easy for me, but the teacher was very patient. After a few more weeks, when I seemed to have caught on with my legs, she taught me the arm strokes. Now I had two things to concentrate on, my arms and my legs. I felt hopelessly uncoordinated. Sooner than I imagined, however, things began to feel "right" and I was able to swim! It was a wonderful free feeling - like flying, maybe - to be able to shoot across the water.

Learning to swim was not easy for me, but in the end my persistence paid off. Not only did I learn how to swim and to conquer my fear of the water, but I also learned something about learning. Now when I am faced with a new situation I am not so nervous. I may feel uncomfortable to begin with, but I know that as I practice being in that situation and as my skills get better, I will feel more and more comfortable. It is a wonderful, free feeling when you achieve a goal you have set for yourself.


  1. The sample essay begins with a general statement, "Learning something new can be a scary experience." This statement introduces the subject of the essay, which is a particular learning experience that the author had. The use of "I" in the essay indicates that what is being described is a personal experience.

  2. The essay is essentially a story about something that happened. The author gives sufficient details about the people, place, and events so that the reader gets a clear idea of how the author feels about them. In the essay, the author "stood timidly" and the teacher "smiled" and was "patient." These words indicate the author's fears and the sense of security provided by the teacher who helped the author get over her fear.

  3. In the final paragraph of the essay, the author reflects on the larger meaning or importance of the experience described. The author concludes that learning to swim has helped her to feel more confident about herself in other new situations. The idea that self-confidence comes from conquering your fears is something that all people can relate to. This is the point of the story.

  4. The essay is well-organized. After the introduction, the author describes the experience as it happened in time -- going to the pool the first day, having the first lesson, and the result of the subsequent lessons. The author might have chosen, however, to talk about the things she learned in order of their importance or difficulty.

  5. The writing in an essay should be lively and interesting. Try to engage the reader's interest by adding details or personal observations. Sharing personal thoughts and details invites the reader into author's world and makes the story more personal and more interesting.

What is a Narrative Essay?


When writing a narrative essay, one might think of it as telling a story. These essays are often anecdotal, experiential, and personal—allowing the student to express herself in a creative and, quite often, moving way.
GUIDELINES

If written as a story, the essay should include all the parts of a story.

This means that you must include an introduction, plot, characters, setting, climax, and conclusion.



When would a narrative essay not be written as a story?

A good example of this is when an instructor asks a student to write a book report. Obviously, this would not necessarily follow the pattern of a story and would focus on providing an informative narrative for the reader.



The essay should have a purpose.

Make a point! Think of this as the thesis of your story. If there is no point to what you are narrating, why narrate it at all?



The essay should be written from a clear point of view.

It is quite common for narrative essays to be written from the standpoint of the author; however, this is not the sole perspective to be considered. Creativity in narrative essays often times manifests itself in the form of authorial perspective.



Use clear and concise language throughout the essay.

Much like the descriptive essay, narrative essays are effective when the language is carefully, particularly, and artfully chosen. Use specific language to evoke specific emotions and senses in the reader.



The use of the first person pronoun ‘I’ is welcomed.

Do not abuse this guideline! It is allowed but is not necessary and should not be overused for lack of clearer diction.



As always, be organized!

Have a clear introduction that sets the tone for the remainder of the essay. Do not leave the reader guessing about the purpose of your narrative. Remember, you are in control of the essay, so guide it where you desire (just make sure your audience can follow your lead).


Things to remember


One important item to remember about a narrative essay is that it tells a story. The author may write about

  • an experience or event from his or her past

  • a recent or an ongoing experience or event

  • something that happened to somebody else, such as a parent or a grandparent

Another important tidbit about a narrative essay is that the story should have a point. In the final paragraph, the author should come to an important conclusion about the experience that has just been described.

The essay is essentially a story about something that happened. The author gives sufficient details about the people, place, and events so that the reader gets a clear idea of how the author feels about them. In the final paragraph of the essay, the author reflects on the larger meaning or importance of the experience described. The essay is well-organized. After the introduction, the author should describes the experience as it happened in time. The author could also chose, however, to talk about the things they learned in order of their importance or difficulty. The writing in an essay should be lively and interesting. Try to engage the reader's interest by adding details or personal observations. Sharing personal thoughts and details invites the reader into author's world and makes the story more personal and more interesting.

Narratives are stories.  Narratives are plots.  They are essays that tell a story — hopefully in an interesting way — that also convey themes.  Often, if you are asked to write a narrative essay , you will not be asked to research a theory or topic.  Rather, you will be asked to use your imagination instead of a bibliography.  You may need to research for this narrative essay ; nonetheless, the writing of it may come more easily to you for you do not need to quote specific words from primary sources.

Before you begin writing your narrative essay , it helps to brainstorm ideas for where you want your narrative to go.  Because you are able to invent plot, you can write anything your imagination invents.  As a result, you will want it to appear coherent and plausible.  Many narrative writers use diagrams to begin. Start with the main idea (person, subject, object), and circle it.  Then, write lines from the circle for descriptive words for that one main idea.  Let each spoke continue outward farther and farther, until you have a spider-looking diagram with many thoughts.  You can pick any of those for your narrative and follow it.

Ultimately, you will have written a narrative (story) that reads more pleasurably than academically.  Because of the nature of the narrative essay , you will usually be assigned to write one only in creative writing or literature seminars.  Often in composition and freshman writing courses, people also are assigned narrative essays to write.  If you are given this assignment, it is important to remember that a narrative essay is still an essay .  It is not a novel excerpt or a novella.  It is a self-contained essay with a theme (or thesis) still at the focus of the writing.  And even though it is more creative than academic, grammar and syntax are still vital to the success of the essay .

Getting Started



General guidelines: - think of a story you want to write about; - choose the most interesting fact/idea for thesis; - make notes of the parts that are to be the brightest; - make an outline.

Tip on writing custom narrative essays:

  • Great idea is to talk to somebody about the story you are to describe before you begin to write. The person you talk to can have an absolutely different point of view or memory about the fact. His/her perspective can add some interesting details to your essay.


Writing the Introduction

General guidelines:

- Start with an introductory phrase. It has to be short and catchy. An unexpected point of view is always interesting to get acquainted with. - State the thesis. - Write supporting sentences. Give reasons why the story is significant.



Our tips on writing a narrative essay:

  • Professional writers love the saying: “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. Remember that the reader was not there when the story happened. He is trying to catch up with it while reading. Be polite and thoughtful and don’t get into useless details or get swept away by a story, leaving your reader wondering and wandering.


Writing the Main Body

Your entire story is concentrated in these paragraphs – from three to as many as you wish.



General guidelines:

- A rule familiar to a lot of essay writers is to give one idea per paragraph.


- A story has to follow some logical pattern. Chronological (time order) is the easiest one.
- Every new paragraph underline the significance of experience and the universal truth the story brings to the audience.

Our tips on writing a narrative essay:

  • Amazing how many people think about the idea, but prefer to avoid thinking about its shape. Your personal writing style is important. It can be philosophical (careful – requires some knowledge), ironical, critical, romantic…. Whatever you choose, it has to be you from top to bottom. Writing style is like an autograph. Work on it.


Writing the Conclusion

The Conclusion is as important as introduction, for it leaves the aftertaste.



General guidelines:

- You can summarize.


- If you don’t like summarizing, or it doesn’t fit the style of the story, wrap up with a rhetorical question or plans for future.

Our tips on writing a narrative essays:

  • Give your readers an idea. Think about the main message of the story and remind it. One of the purposes of a custom narrative essay is analytical thinking. Leave your readers with a feeling that they need to sit back and think about the problems you bring up. Leave them a good aftertaste.


Using Concrete Details for Narratives

Effective narrative essays allow readers to visualize everything that's happening, in their minds. One way to make sure that this occurs is to use concrete, rather than abstract, details.



Concrete Language

Abstract Language

…makes the story or image seem clearer and more real to us.

...makes the story or image difficult to visualize.

…gives us information that we can easily grasp and perhaps empathize with.

…leaves your reader feeling empty, disconnected, and possibly confused.

The word “abstract” might remind you of modern art. An abstract painting, for example, does not normally contain recognizable objects. In other words, we can't look at the painting and immediately say "that's a house" or "that's a bowl of fruit." To the untrained eye, abstract art looks a bit like a child's finger-painting--just brightly colored splotches on a canvas.
Avoid abstract language—it won’t help the reader understand what you're trying to say!

Examples:

Abstract: It was a nice day.


Concrete: The sun was shining and a slight breeze blew across my face.

Abstract: I liked writing poems, not essays.


Concrete: I liked writing short, rhythmic poems and hated rambling on about my thoughts in those four-page essays.

Abstract: Mr. Smith was a great teacher.


Concrete: Mr. Smith really knew how to help us turn our thoughts into good stories and essays.

1. Writing a Narrative Essay. Getting Started


Definition: Narrative essay is a story about your experience – imaginary, or real. It can also tell a story of somebody’s life.

General guidelines:

- think of a story you want to write about;


- choose the most interesting fact/idea for thesis;
- make notes of the parts that are to be the brightest;
- make an outline.

Our tips on writing custom narrative essays:

  • Great idea is to talk to somebody about the story you are to describe. Your interlocutor can have an absolutely different point of view or memory about the fact. His/her perspective can add some interesting details to your essay.

2. Writing a Narrative Essay. Introduction

Definition:

Introduction is an important part of your essay paper as it grabs the reader’s attention.



General guidelines:

- Start with an introductory phrase. It has to be short and catchy. An unexpected point of view is always interesting to get acquainted with.


- State the thesis.
- Write supporting sentences. Give reasons why the story you are sharing is significant.

Our tips on writing a narrative essay:

  • Professional writers love the saying: “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.

  • Remember that the reader was not there when the story happened. He is trying to catch up with it while reading. Be polite and thoughtful and don’t get into useless details or get swept away by a story, leaving your reader wondering and wandering.

3. Writing a Narrative Essay. Main Body

Definition:

Your entire story is concentrated in these paragraphs – from three to as many as you wish.



General guidelines:

- A rule familiar to a lot of essay writers is to give one idea per paragraph.


- A story has to follow some logical pattern. Chronological is the easiest one.
- With every new paragraph underline the significance of experience and the universal truth the story brings to the audience.

Our tips on writing a narrative essay:

  • Amazing how many people think about the idea, but prefer to avoid thinking about its shape. Your personal writing style is important. It can be philosophical (careful – requires some knowledge), ironical, critical, romantic…. Whatever you choose, it has to be you from top to bottom. Writing style is like an autograph. Work on it.

4. Writing a Narrative Essay. Conclusion

Definition:

Conclusion is as important as introduction, for it leaves the aftertaste.



General guidelines:

- You can summarize.


- If you don’t like summarizing, or it doesn’t fit the style of the story, wrap up with a rhetorical question or plans for future.

Our tips on writing a narrative essays:

  • Give your readers an idea. Think about the main message of the story and remind it. One of the purposes of a custom narrative essay is analytical thinking. Leave your readers with a feeling that they need to sit back and think about the problems you bring up. Leave them a good aftertaste.

Essays
Thesis statement-sentence that states what you’re trying to prove

Basic parts-introduction/body/conclusion (read pg. 194/195-Least you should know about English)

Essay- no such thing as a typical essay. An essay is a piece of writing that tries to prove a point. They can be serious or funny, and the best ones are thought provoking. Essays are written in prose (ordinary language). Most are non fiction but often narrative essays are fictional. It is a composition (created in parts that make up a whole-ie. Several paragraphs) It is personal (shares a writers unique perspective on the issue/point) Lastly, it is analytical and instructive.

Narrative essays are stories in essay form, written to prove or illustrate a point. They use an authors personality and voice to do this. They usually have an “I get it now” or “aha” factor. In other words once a person reads the essay they clearly understand the point. An effective narration allows readers to experience events through the writer, and share that experience through emotion, description and information. They contain details that appeal to the five senses and elicit a “gut” response.

Narrative Essay and Prompts

     When you write a narrative essay, you are telling a story. Narrative essays are told from from a defined point of view, often the author's, so there is feeling as well as specific and often sensory details provided to get the reader involved in the elements and sequence of the story. The verbs are vivid and precise. The narrative essay makes a point and that point is often defined in the opening sentence, but can also be found as the last sentence in the opening paragraph. (For test taking purposes, it can be wise to put if first so that the person grading does not miss it.

     Since a narrative relies on personal experiences, it often is in the form of a story. When the writer uses this technique, he or she must be sure to include all the conventions of storytelling: plot, character, setting, climax, and ending. It is usually filled with details that are carefully selected to explain, support, or embellish the story. All of the details relate to the main point the writer is attempting to make.

     To summarize, the narrative essay



  • is told from a particular point of view

  • makes and supports a point

  • is filled with precise detail

  • uses vivid verbs and modifiers

  • uses conflict and sequence as does any story

  • may use dialogue

How to Write a Narrative Essay

 

Narratives are stories.  Narratives are plots.  They are essays that tell a story — hopefully in an interesting way — that also convey themes.  Often, if you are asked to write a narrative essay , you will not be asked to research a theory or topic.  Rather, you will be asked to use your imagination instead of a bibliography.  You may need to research for this narrative essay ; nonetheless, the writing of it may come more easily to you for you do not need to quote specific words from primary sources.



Here is a short reference guide on how to write the narrative essay .

  1. Decide on a topic

  2. Discuss the topic with your teacher/professor and peers either in class or in a group discussion or private tutorial

  3. Brainstorm several different ways the narrative can go (see spider diagram below)

  4. Start writing

  5. Do not stop writing.  Let your writing flow onward in a stream of consciousness type of way.

  6. Reread the essay .

  7. Edit for grammar and the technical rules of writing.

  8. Let someone else edit/read over your essay for content and grammar.

Before you begin writing your narrative essay , it helps to brainstorm ideas for where you want your narrative to go.  Because you are able to invent plot, you can write anything your imagination invents.  As a result, you will want it to appear coherent and plausible.  Many narrative writers use diagrams to begin. Start with the main idea (person, subject, object), and circle it.  Then, write lines from the circle for descriptive words for that one main idea.  Let each spoke continue outward farther and farther, until you have a spider-looking diagram with many thoughts.  You can pick any of those for your narrative and follow it.

Ultimately, you will have written a narrative (story) that reads more pleasurably than academically.  Because of the nature of the narrative essay , you will usually be assigned to write one only in creative writing or literature seminars.  Often in composition and freshman writing courses, people also are assigned narrative essays to write.  If you are given this assignment, it is important to remember that a narrative essay is still an essay .  It is not a novel excerpt or a novella.  It is a self-contained essay with a theme (or thesis) still at the focus of the writing.  And even though it is more creative than academic, grammar and syntax are still vital to the success of the essay .




The database is protected by copyright ©sckool.org 2016
send message

    Main page