Tell your story: Narrative Essay:


A narrative essay has a purpose, so you need to have intent and a reason for telling a particular story. Did the time in your life change you in some way? Did you learn a valuable lesson? What is the reason for telling this story?

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Main idea/Thesis:

Whatever your purpose for writing the essay, you will let the reader know in your opening paragraph as you introduce the story. Stating the main idea, also known as a thesis, lets the readers know what to expect as they read. Your thesis may look like this: “The day I applied to college, my outlook on life changed.” Another example might look like this: “Choosing to have a child opened my eyes to other goals.” As you write your essay, keep your thesis in mind, and this will help keep you on track as you write.

Story Elements:

A narrative essay will have the same elements as a short story or novel. You will have a plot, the series of events that form the story, and a climax, a moment near the end of the story where the conflict in your story is most tense. Narrative essays should also have characters and a resolution to the conflicts.

Descriptive Language:

You can use descriptive language in your narrative essay. In week three, you practiced describing an object and a setting. Descriptive language helps your reader connect to your story and have a lasting impact.

Narrative Essay Instructions:

  • The following criteria reflect the areas needed for a successful narrative essay.
  • The essay should have a clear purpose and a main idea/thesis statement within the first paragraph.
  • The narrative should share a larger lesson with the audience than simply retelling an event.
  • A strong narrative centers on a conflict building from introduction to body to a thought-provoking resolution.
  • It should use descriptive language to bring the reader into the experience.


  • 600 word narrative essay
  • Microsoft Word document formatted in APA (see below)

Before you submit your paper, review this revision checklist:

Paragraph or Essay Structure:

  • Appropriate title indicates the essay’s topic.
  • Paper addresses all the requirements. (see rubrics)
  • Paper is logically organized and flows well
  • Introduction includes relevant background information and the main idea/thesis.
  • Body paragraphs discuss main purpose and move the story forward
  • Each paragraph has a clear topic sentence and moves the essay forward
  • Effective conclusion does more than simply repeat the introduction

Sentence Structure:

  • All sentences present complete thoughts, containing a subject and a verb..
  • Correct all comma splices, run-ons, and fragments.
  • Sentences have variety.
  • Language and Tone:
  • Language is appropriate for audience (no slang)
  • Point of view is consistent
  • Word use is appropriate

Grammar & Mechanics:

  • Sentences correctly punctuated.
  • Words are properly capitalized (including “I”)
  • No words inadvertently omitted.
  • Subject and verb of each sentence agree.
  • Spelling errors corrected including words spell check does not catch (their/there/they’re; its/it’s)


  • Paper is double-spaced
  • 12pt Times-New Roman font
  • 1” margins