How to Start a Personal Story: 12 Steps (with Pictures)

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How to Start a Personal Story: 12 Steps (with Pictures)
How to Start a Personal Story: 12 Steps (with Pictures)

The objective of a personal report – or personal narration – is to tell, in a captivating way, a story lived by the author. When the personal account is well written, it has the power to entertain and, at the same time, provide informative content. So, to begin your story, choose a story you lived through and structure the ideas so that they lead the text to a remarkable outcome; and don't forget to write a sweeping opening that grabs the reader's attention right away.


Part 1 of 3: Choosing the Story to Tell

Start a Personal Narrative Step 1

Step 1. Try to remember an important episode in your life

It is critical that the story being told has a deep meaning for you. So ask yourself, "What actually happened in my life that was able to teach me something of value and bring about a major shift in perspective?" These are episodes of this magnitude that yield good personal stories.

Two good examples are the death of a loved one when you were a child and overcoming your first loss in a sports competition

Start a Personal Narrative Step 2

Step 2. Choose a story with morals that teaches the reader a lesson

A good personal report always teaches a lesson, as the author shares what he has learned from the experience he is reporting. Try to remember a fact – whether it's a life experience or a moral decision – that helped you grow as a human being.

For example, explain how hard it was to learn at the age of five that, in a competition, not everyone can finish first. If you prefer, tell about the wallet you found on the street and decided to return it to the owner, which gave rise to a great friendship, which is worth much more than all the money in the world

Start a Personal Narrative Step 3

Step 3. Start from a theme

So, instead of sticking to a simple storytelling, you can discuss a topic based on a life experience. To do this, choose a topic that interests you and explore it according to your point of view.

For example, it is possible to talk about love telling what it was like to grow up in a home with two parents. If you want to talk about freedom, tell me all the suffering you went through living in a refugee camp

Part 2 of 3: Structuring the report

Start a Personal Narrative Step 4

Step 1. Write in first person

Most of the personal accounts make use of the character narrator, which makes the development and understanding of the text easier. Therefore, when writing, construct the sentences using the pronoun “I”.

Most teachers prefer the report to be written in the past. In other cases, the decision to write in the past or present is at the author's discretion

Start a Personal Narrative Step 5

Step 2. Write a thesis

Even if it is a personal report, you will need to include a thesis in the first paragraph, right after the hook. It will serve to, in a nutshell, make a preview of the events of the story, describe the lesson that was learned or introduce the main theme that will be addressed in the report.

For example, if you are writing an account of your experience as a refugee, it is possible to talk about the theme “freedom” in the thesis: “My journey was only one among thousands. We arrived in a foreign country, carrying only hopes and memories”

Start a Personal Narrative Step 6

Step 3. Include evidence to support your thesis

Evidence is nothing more than the events reported in the body of the text. Write them chronologically so that the story is easier to understand. However, if you prefer to write non-linearly, remember to always use terms – such as “today”, “before”, “then” – so as not to waste the reader's time.

Set aside, for example, three paragraphs in the body of the text to expose the evidence related to the theme of the report. Going back to the refugee story, he could use one paragraph to tell what life was like in his home country, go on the trip in the second paragraph, and in the third paragraph tell what life was like in the refugee camp of the foreign country

Start a Personal Narrative Step 7

Step 4. Finish with the moral of the report

Most personal accounts end with a reflection on the impact that the experience in question had on the author's life. Use this last paragraph to tell what changed in your life and how the events reported were responsible for those changes.

Write about the lesson or moral you took from the story that was told or, if you prefer, tell what that experience brought positive to your present life

Part 3 of 3: Creating a strong opening for reporting

Start a Personal Narrative Step 8

Step 1. Start with a hook

Before starting to write, it is important to create a plan to better visualize the structure that the text will have. Start by thinking of opening the text with a hook that will grab the reader's attention. The purpose of the hook is to provide a perspective on what the text will look like, so it should be short, clear, and easy to understand.

The hook must be written on the first line of the introductory paragraph of the report. It normally has no more than two lines

Start a Personal Narrative Step 9

Step 2. Establish the scene

It is also possible to start the text in full action, showing the main character (“Me”) performing something within a very detailed and highly visual scene. In short, describe the scene and put yourself into action within it, in order to get the reader's attention.

For example: “I hid under the bed in my room. Elbows full of weevils, I listened to my father's muffled screams calling my name. As the creaking wooden floor brought him closer and closer to me, I told God that all I wanted was to have a normal family.”

Start a Personal Narrative Step 10

Step 3. Raise a question

If you prefer, start by asking a question that gets the reader to think. Just be careful to question something pertinent, addressing the reader directly. Ask a short, clear question that is easy to understand.

For example: "Have you ever thought what it would be like to never see the people you love again?" and “Do you know what it's like to be rejected by one's family?”

Start a Personal Narrative Step 11

Step 4. Use an interesting statement or fact

Humor and curiosity can also be used to catch the reader's attention right in the first line of the story. Pick up an interesting or funny fact that will link the topic to your story.

For example, start with a curious fact about paçocas and then tell how selling them at traffic lights during your childhood taught you important ethical and moral values. Telling something funny about competitions can help you introduce an account of how you learned to be a good loser

Start a Personal Narrative Step 12

Step 5. Start with a shorter story

Finally, consider the possibility of starting with a short story of no more than three lines that will provide some kind of lesson or moral that will help you introduce your own life experience. Remember that, in addition to exposing the main points that will be covered in the main story, this short story should make the reader think.

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