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How to write narrative essays


Narrative essays are probably the most fun out of any essay form to write, because they allow the most creative freedom- after all, you are essentially telling a story, and humans have been storytellers since the beginning. In addition, this is such a universal human element that writing it can be quite a deep experience- but this also makes things more difficult than otherwise. When writing a narrative, one must keep to his or her own style, and use detail and imagery to keep the reader interested. Narratives allow another person to recreate an experience in their head, so you need to be able to keep a consistency of reality between your experiences and their recreation.

Authorial Style

One of the things that you do with narratives that you do not do, as much with expository or even persuasive essays is that narratives are about you. In addition, this makes it okay to speak in the first person, and really find your voices. Voices, in this context, mean many things, but it is important to invest a part of you into the story. The story told by you should therefore be unlike if the story was told by somebody else, and this can translate into a conversational tone or perhaps a more aloof form of storytelling- whatever you think shows you the best.

Detail and Imagery

Since narratives are about the recreation of an experience, you absolutely must keep in mind how the little things matter. Small details really flesh out your private world, and this is what breathes life into your story. Imagery, focus on what is taking place in a scene- engage all of the five sense to make the experience seem as vivid as possible. What are your thought processes at the time? What kind of emotions are you trying to invoke? Add detail to create those emotions in your reader.


The corollary of the need to add detail is an explanation of what to add detail to. This creates consistency between the prose and the intended experience. In addition, what to describe is just as important as what to not describe- do not go into detail onto what kind of blender is in the kitchen if the focus is on the kitchen table, unless you are trying to portray the mind wandering. Instead, make sure you are giving the important details that will make your essay memorable.