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How to write a narrative paper for an English class

A narrative is a paper that will transport the reader to other worlds exactly as you portray them. Writing a narrative paper for an English class will give you the skills to develop new and rewarding perspectives in the field of writing.

Foundational qualities of narrative essays:

  • Narrative papers recreate an experience
  • Narrative papers can be passed on your experiences (past experiences or those in the present) or they can be based on someone else’s experiences
  • Narrative papers communicate a lesson learned from an experience or a main idea within an essay.

As you write a narrative paper you should follow these steps:

  1. Figure out the experience you want to write about for your paper
  2. Spend time thinking about why this experience was significant
  3. Draft your recollections of the experience and include as many details as you can
  4. Create an outline that contains the basic parts of your narrative paper

As you write about your experience remember the following guidelines:

  • Use the outline you drafted to describe each part of the narrative
  • Use descriptions and vivid details to recreate what happened for your reader rather than telling them
  • Think like your reader will and remember that your reader wants to experience things as you did
  • Bear in mind that some details you deem unimportant may not be known by your reader and are therefore quite important

As you communicate the experience it is beneficial to begin with an introductory paragraph that communicates the significance of the event to the reader. This helps your reader understand why this experience was important as they read through the narrative.

If this style of writing does not suite you then you can begin your essay by jumping into your narrative and concluding with a paragraph about why it was a significant experience. This approach lets your reader develop their personal understanding of the experience and feel a deeper connection to you as the writer.

You can also introduce your experience in your first paragraph but hold off on introducing the significance of it until the end. Using this method you can heighten the sensitivity of the reader to the significance of the event.

Do not forget to revise. You should spend some time away from your essay after you finish writing the first draft and then return to it and read over it looking to see whether or not it effectively recreates the experience for other readers.

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