Art of Craftsmanship

Academic writing tips and guidelines

How to benefit from using narrative essay samples

Most undergraduates are highly familiar with the standard, boring five paragraph essay format. An introductory paragraph, three body paragraphs, and a strong conclusion; it can be very comforting to have a familiar structure on which you can rely, but that format does not allow for much complexity or narrative development. Unfortunately, too many students get through high school and most of college without learning anything else.

What is a narrative essay?

A narrative essay explodes the tired old five paragraph essay structure. Instead, a narrative essay is a work of both academic writing, and a piece of literary nonfiction. A narrative essay should follow some kind of chronological order, and should outline the progression of an event, or the development of an individual. Some narrative essays are autobiographical; many are simply biographical, with the writer describing the life and times of a third party to the reader. Some narrative essays follow a historical figure, or a celebrity or writer; others are more concerned with an average person, or someone infamous.

How does a narrative essay differ from a conventional essay?

A narrative essay has no specific rhetorical viewpoint. The writer has no persuasive goal. A narrative essay also is not informative, in the broader sense of the term. Instead, a paper with a narrative function should be illustrative, and tell the reader a fully developed and highly engaging story about its subject, which is usually a single individual or a family of people. In structure and language usage, a narrative essay more strongly resembles a short story or a memoir than it does a regular school paper. However, all of the facts displayed in a narrative essay must be true, and verifiable if a fact checker were to review the content and do some research on your subject.

How do use a narrative essay sample?

If you have never written such an essay before, it would be a good idea for your to read some examples and get a sense for what the format and style is like. Read a narrative essay that someone previously in your class has written. Track down published narrative essays by famous or especially accomplished writers and authors. Analyze the essays as works of art, as well as works of nonfiction; do not approach them as simple essay assignments. There are many possible ways of structuring your narrative essay. Part of the joy of the form is learning how to express yourself within it. Do not be afraid to get creative and break the old five paragraph rule.