Narrative Essay(Storytelling)

What is a narrative essay?

Narrative essay is an essay genre that entails the author narrating about a real-life situation, event, or experience. In most cases, students write about personal experiences.

 In that regard, a narrative essay is alternatively referred to as a “storytelling” essay. The reader, therefore, needs to be vivid enough to bring out the development of the story clearly to the reader.

Narrative Essay Format

  1. Use of the first-person language: When writing narrative essays we use first-person pronouns like ‘me’ and ‘I’. Remember we have stated that narrative essays are mainly about personal experience. However, third-person pronouns like “he” and “she” may be used where appropriate.
  2. Story format: A narrative essay contains all elements of a story namely introduction, story characters, plot, scenes, story climax, and the conclusion. However, in some cases, a professor may require the student not to write a narrative essay a story.
  3. Clear and concise flow: Ensure your narrative essay has flow and use a language that captivates the reader’s emotions.

 Narrative Essay Outline 

Recall we have just said that narrative essay is written in a story format. That is to mean they are written in a prose format.

In that regard, a narrative essay is written using the normal essay-writing outline described in our essay writing tips article. Therefore, a narrative essay outline is composed of three main parts:

  1. Introduction (Setting): The introduction introduces the story setting. Setting in storytelling is defined as the time and place where the story happened. The narrative essay writer should write one paragraph telling us details of when and where the story happened.
  2. Body (Plot): Body paragraphs explain the story plot. The plot is defined as sequences of events by providing details of the chronological order of how events downfolded. chronology means that the events must follow each other as they happened. A good narrative essay must have a minimum of three body paragraphs.
  3. Conclusion (Lessons learnt): Most professors and institutions will require you to use the famous 5-paragraph essay-writing format to write your narrative essay.

Narrative Essay Outline Examples

In that regard, the sample outline paragraphs are as follows:

#1 Introduction:  This is a single paragraph where the author introduces the setting of the story. 

#2 First paragraph: Since the body explains the plot, this is the first body paragraph where the author introduces the first events that led to the story. For example, you may talk about when you arrived at the scene and how party organizers ushered you to a party if the story is about a party. 

#3 Second paragraph: This is a continuation of how events unfolded after the first paragraph. For example, in the case of a party, how food and drink were served. 

#4 Third paragraph: The events that finalized the story appear here. You could narrate after party events here.  For instance, narrating how you danced and finally travelled home. 

#5 Conclusion: You should state your observations and lessons here. Remember narrative essay conclusion is all about the impact of the story. 

A 5 paragraph Narrative Essay Example

Below is a sample narrative essay about a visit to the zoo. The essay is composed of 5 paragraphs using the standard 5 paragraph essay.

A Visit to the Zoo

Last holiday, my family went to a zoo. My brother and I were very excited since it was the first time to visit a Zoo. My father was finally going to show us wild animals he watches in NAT GEO, his favourite Television program. The Zoo we visited was 3 miles from our home so  Though we stopped halfway to buy snacks in a supermarket after mum insisted we must have something to eat while in the Zoo. 

We arrived at the Zoo at noon after a half an hour drive. After safely parking the car, my father quickly walked to the ticketing booth and booked tickets for all of us. Mum volunteered to keep our tickets in her clutch bag citing my bother and I could easily lose them out of carelessness. We entered the gate and we were ushered in by a Zoo attendant who gave us a brief explanation of Zoo safety and a map. I was anxious and did not pay attention to the attendant’s details. After all, as always when mum and dad are with us, why should I bother!

The most awaited part of the trip arrived. The first cage on our right was a monkey cage. My father, while nodding, told us the monkey family was known as the Baboons. My brother and I were very excited as my father assisted us in giving the baboons two bananas. How the baboons sat, peeled the bananas, and ate it just like a human being was amazing. Mum took photos as we handed the bananas before we proceeded. 

Afterwards, we visited several cages though in a hurry since there were signs of rain. Next cage housed Ostrich. Its long neck and height were scaring. Opposite the Ostrich cage was crocodile’s that had a water section and dry land. A Cuban Crocodile with massive jaws and sharp-looking scales was basking in the dry land. It was scaring. We then visited deer, gazelle, and the most scaring snake cage. We finalized by riding a horse in an open field. Though the height was scaring, we really enjoyed the ride with my brother. It had already started drizzling. 

The trip was interesting but very short. Signs of raining ended our visit unceremoniously despite leaving home under the scorching sun. I remember mum kept regretting why she did not carry an umbrella for us despite deliberating about it. I learn never underestimate whether when on a trip. Though fun, I pitied how animals were confined in cages. I felt their freedom was compromised compared to game parks we had visited earlier. The joy we had after the trip was enormous. It goes without saying that family outings are important for family bonding

Narrative Essay Topics Examples for College Students

Common examples of narrative essay topics include:

  1. The first day in school
  2. The first flight experience
  3. My success journey