A personal narrative essay talks about a person’s experience. It may be about something positive like your best birthday celebration, negative like the death of a pet or a loved one, or even simple memories such as an enjoyable walk in the park or getting wet in the rain. It aims to narrate the details of the experience and its effect on your life. To write a good personal narrative essay, you must place emphasis on the information that make the essay engaging to read. These are the things to consider when writing a personal narrative:
- It must have an emotional impact on the reader – the aim is to make the reader feel the experience, or at least to relive it using the imagination. Emotional language must be used.
- It must possess many references to things and elements that the senses can feel.
- It must include vivid details and descriptions.
- In the first paragraph, express to the reader the importance of what you are describing and your point of view.
- For the essay’s body, you need to give the reader a clear picture of what happened and the emotions that you felt during the time and now that you are looking back. You may write in chronological order or according to the importance of events that comprise the whole experience. Make sure that you do not confuse the reader when you write the experience according to the events’ importance.
- The essay may be a paragraph or two or more, as it will depend on your requirements.
- When you want to finish the essay, the closing paragraph should discuss the point of your story. You may write what the experience did to you – whether it gave you a fond memory that you can always remember, taught you a lesson or an idea, or just a story that you can always tell for fun.
As mentioned earlier, writing a good personal narrative essay involves the need to write interesting details. So to effectively write the narrative, consider doing these:
- Recall the experience first.
- Do your best to remember even the little details as they would help make the story more interesting.
- Once you have a complete recollection of the experience, it helps if you can record yourself telling the story. It is also important that you do not get too conscious about how you sound. Once you get conscious, you might get distracted and forget the details of the story. Listen to the recording once, twice, or more, to make sure that you get a clear flow of the story.
The writing part
- Make sure to begin writing after you have established a good recollection of the whole story.
- To make the essay more alive and interesting, you may include anecdotes or dialogue.
- Use words that are colorful, lively, illustrative, emotional, and exact. For example, if your personal narrative is about something exciting, make sure to use words that are often associated with happiness. That way, you will make the reader feel the same emotions you felt.
- Good transition is important to further engage the reader. Feel free to use words like: thus, therefore, however. This will help the reader maintain focus on the flow of your story.
Example of a personal narrative
Here is an example of the kind of writing that should be present when writing a personal narrative essay. Pay attention to the tone and the power of the words used. You can clearly feel the cold: “It was the middle of a cold, bitter January winter when the incident took place. The roadside and our driveway were filled with almost a foot of snow so we could not get out of the house without four layers of thick clothing. Wearing anything less than that to go out of the house for a second felt like being caged naked in a large meat freezer for an hour. Removing our mittens meant numbing our hands to the point that they felt they were being chopped off.” Remember that a narrative essay is just one kind of essay, and there are many others that have different requirements. Learn more about these other types of essays. We hope we have been helpful. If you find yourself stuck, please let us know so we can help.