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How to Write: Narrative Essays

Welcome to the second entry in the How to Write series on narrative essays. Personal narrative essays are one of my least favorite type of essay to write because I swear I don't know how to talk about myself and make it interesting. Just like the previous entry I will start with a definition followed by some quicks and ending with an example essay in MLA format.


A narrative essay is an essay that tells a story. They are usually written about a personal experience. Unlike most academic writing, narrative essays allow you to be very personal.

Quick tips:

As with most essays, you want to keep your writing clear. When telling a story, it is easy to have things be hard to understand. Make sure your story is written in chronological order or in an order that will make sense to the reader. Don't bounce around in the story as you might do if you were talking. Be descriptive so the reader can visualize the story you're telling, but don't add unnecessary details. The best tenses for narrative essays are first person and third person.

Example Essay (in MLA format):

Quick disclaimer, I wrote this essay in about 20 minutes, so it is not my best work. It's just to give you an example of what a basic narrative essay should look like. I wrote the essay using the prompt "A trip that included something unexpected or surprising."

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