Narrative essays tell a story, which is great for training your creativity. Your story can be fictional or not, depending on what was asked by the teacher. At first, starting a narrative essay may seem difficult, but you can make things easier by defining the topic and planning your story. Then you'll be able to write her introduction easily.
Method 1 of 3: Choosing the Narrative Topic
Step 1. Carefully read the task description to understand what needs to be done
It's best to read the task description more than once to know exactly what you should be doing. See if there's a request or question you need to answer. Also, carefully read the list of requirements to receive the maximum score.
- If the instructor gives a rubric, read it to identify what he or she expects to give top marks. Then you can compare your essay with the rubric before handing it in.
- If you have questions about the task, talk to the instructor.
Step 2. brainstorm to find story ideas for your storytelling.
At first, let the ideas flow freely without trying to define the topic. Choose whether you want to write a personal or fictional story. Once you've made a good list of possible topics, you can choose the one you prefer. For example, you might write about the first slumber party you went to, the day you brought home a puppy, or a fictional story about a boy who is having trouble building a campfire at camp. Here are some ways to brainstorm:
- Make a list of the first things that come to mind when you think about the essay proposal or question given.
- Make a mind map to organize your ideas.
- Use free writing to discover story ideas. Just write whatever comes into your head without worrying about grammar or whether it makes sense or not.
- Make an outline to help put your ideas in order.
Step 3. Choose a significant event to detail in the story
Review your list of ideas to find an event that fits what was proposed. Then set the topic to a specific event so that that event fits into a newsroom.
- Don't try to tell too much in an essay, as this makes it difficult for the reader to follow the story.
- For example, let's say the task proposal is: "Write about a difficulty you had that taught you about perseverance." You can write about a fracture that sparked reflection on what life is like for people with disabilities. Make things clearer by talking about the physical therapy you had to do and the difficulties you had to face.
Step 4. Decide what theme or message your story will deliver
Relate your story to what was asked and think about how it feels to you. Also, think about how you want the reader to feel after reading your essay. Use these responses to identify the main theme or message of your story.
For example, the story of recovering from a fracture may be about overcoming difficulties and persevering to reach a goal. You might want the reader to feel inspired and hopeful after finishing the story. To accomplish this, focus on the successes you've had during this process and end the essay with a positive thought
Method 2 of 3: Planning Your Story
Step 1. Make a list of characters with description of each one
Start with the main ones. Write their name, age and a description. Define their motivations, desires and relationships with each other. Once you've created this character outline for the main characters, make a brief list of the supporting characters you'll include and the most important details about them.
- If you're one of the characters in your story, it's still necessary to do this. How much detail you write about yourself is up to you. However, it helps to write a description of yourself telling what your interests and desires were at the time the story happened, especially if it's been a while.
- The description of a main character should look something like this: “Karina, 12 – basketball player who suffers an injury. She wants to recover so she can get back on the court. She is a patient of André, a physiotherapist who is helping her recovery.”
- A description of a minor character would look something like this: “Dr. Lopez is a very nice middle-aged orthopedist who took care of Karina's injury in the emergency room.”
Step 2. Describe the scenario of the story using a few short sentences
Identify the different places where the story takes place and its time period. Write down all the places you're going to include in the story, even if you're not going to describe them all in the same amount of detail. Write down some descriptions that you associate with a particular location (or locations).
- For example, a story about recovering from a sports injury might have settings such as the basketball court, the ambulance, the hospital, and the physical therapist's office. Even if you want to show all the scenarios to the reader, you will spend more time in the main scenario.
- You can use descriptions like “noisy floor” “full of spotlights”, “with crowded bleachers”, “team colors on seats”, “smell of sweat and sports drink” and “wet shirt stuck to my back” to talk about the court of basketball.
- Your story can have many different scenarios, but you don't need to give the same level of detail to all of them. For example, you would only be in the ambulance for a few minutes, so you don't need to describe it completely. However, you can tell the reader that you felt "cold and alone in that all gray and noisy ambulance."
Step 3. Map out the plot of your story by defining the beginning, middle and end
Narrative essays generally follow a story arc. Start telling it by introducing the characters and the setting and then put the incident that will trap the reader in the action of the story. Then keep elevating the action until you reach the climax of the story. Finally, describe the resolution and what the reader should conclude about it.
- For example, you might introduce a young basketball player who is about to make a big move. The incident that really starts the story may be her injury. Then, the action sequence is the effort she makes in physical therapy to get back to playing. The climax could be the day of testing to join the team. You can finish the story when she finds her name on the approved list for the team, and at that point, she realizes she has the ability to overcome any obstacles.
- Use Freytag's triangle or an organizer chart to help you plan your essay. Freytag's triangle is a triangle with a long line on the left and a short line on the right. It's a tool that helps you plan the beginning of your story (exposure), an incident that starts to trigger the events of the story, the escalating action, the climax, the decreasing action, and the resolution of the story.
- You can find the Freytag triangle model or organizer graphics for narratives on the internet.
Step 4. Write the climax of your story in detail or just an outline
The climax is the highest point in history. The beginning and much of the middle of your story will build up to that point. Afterwards, the ending will resolve the conflict that motivates the climax.
- The most common types of conflict are person versus person, person versus nature, and person versus self. Some stories have more than one type of conflict.
- In the story of the young athlete who is injured, the conflict can be person versus herself, as she is trying to overcome her pain and limitations.
Step 5. Choose your story point of view (first or third person)
Your point of view will depend on who is telling the story. If it's a personal story, the point of view will always be in the first person. Therefore, you can also use first person to tell a story from a character's point of view. You should use third person to tell stories about characters and other people who aren't you (or when you don't want to take their point of view).
- In most cases, a personal narrative will use the “I” point of view in the first person. For example: "Last summer I learned to fish with my grandfather."
- If it's a fictional story, you can use the third person. Write using your character's name and appropriate pronouns for him. For example: "Mia unlocked the padlock and managed to open it."
Method 3 of 3: Writing Your Introduction
Step 1. Start writing with something that engages the reader
Open the story with a sentence or two that appeals to the reader. To do this, put together something that introduces the topic of the story and hints at what will be told in a way that engages whoever is reading it. Here are some techniques to catch the reader's attention:
- Start the essay with a rhetorical question such as "Have you ever had to face the loss of something important to you?"
- Make a quote that fits your theme. An example: "According to Rosa Gomez, 'You don't know how strong you are until an obstacle comes and destroys your plans."
- Share an interesting fact related to your story, such as "About 70% of children stop playing sports at 13, and I was almost one of them."
- Use a brief anecdote that relates to your story as a whole. In the example of the essay about overcoming an injury, you can put a passage of your best moment playing basketball before you get hurt.
- Start with a shocking sentence. Example: "As soon as they put me in the ambulance, I knew I might never play basketball again."
Step 2. Introduce the main characters in the story
The reader needs to have a clear idea of what the essay is about. Name the characters and describe them briefly. You don't need to tell them all of their details in the introduction, but the reader should generally know who they are.
- Let's say you are the main character. You can write "Since I'm tall for a 12-year-old girl, I easily beat the split on the court." This gives the reader a picture of who you are and your interest in sports, as well as your abilities.
- If it's a fictional story, you can introduce your character like this: “As she walked to the school's debating podium, Alice showed confidence in her steady steps, her high-waisted but popular-designed jeans, and her long hair fluttering from his shoulders." This not only helps the reader to imagine Alice, it also shows that she cared about her appearance. The fact that she wears popular design pants indicates that her family is not wealthy.
Step 3. Describe the setting for creating a setting for your story
The scenario includes the “where” and “when” of writing. Make it clear when this story happened. Also, give sensory details to help the reader imagine what it would be like to be there.
- You can say, "I was in seventh grade and I knew I had to make the varsity team if I wanted to attract the attention of high school coaches."
- Sensory details activate our vision, hearing, touch, smell and taste. Example: “My sneakers made noise when I walked on the wooden court while I dribbled the players to get where I wanted: near the basket. The sweat made the ball want to slip through my fingertips and drops of it fell down my face, bringing its salty taste to my lip.”
Step 4. Include an overview of the story and its theme in the last sentence
You can also preview events in the story, depending on what you think will look good in your narrative. That statement will act as a thesis for your essay. She will tell the reader what to expect, but without giving away everything that will happen.