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First Person Narrative Essay Advice and Tips

July 15, 2015 - Posted to Study

Content first person

First Person Narrative Essay

The first person narrative essay can actually be an enjoyable assignment. After all, it can be a great opportunity for you to tell an interesting, funny, touching, or exciting story about yourself. These essays can usually be written in the first person, and you are often permitted to use a more conversational tone than you would on other essays. For many students, this allows the words to come to “flow” easier, and for the writing to progress quickly. Some narrative essays are written about a specific event in your life. Others are essentially miniature autobiographies. Just because a narrative essay is one of the essay types that are more favored by students does not mean that there are no issues that students could potentially run into. This is why we have written this brief guide for students first learning how to write a personal narrative essay for college. If you keep reading, you will be able write your first narrative essay with ease and confidence.

Choose a Topic that is Appropriate

There are two aspects to this. The first is probably obvious to most students, but it bears mentioning. Please remember that every personal story is not appropriate for sharing in a classroom environment. So, be judicious about the information that you choose to include in your narrative essay. The second part of this rule is to make sure that your narrative essay topics have a relevance to the class that you are taking. You will possibly have narrative essay assignments for multiple classes. This means that you will have to come up with narrative essay ideas for each one, so that you can relate your experience to the subject matter. If you are having a difficult time coming up with a relevant topic idea, try focusing on the emotional state of the individuals you are studying. For example, if you are studying a piece of romance literature where the protagonist has their heart broken, you may be able to relate that to a narrative essay about a time when somebody betrayed you or did not return your feelings.

Make Sure the Narrative has a Beginning Middle and an End

It is important to remember that much about the personal essay format is about successful storytelling.  This means that in your narrative, you must include all of the elements that you would in a short story. This means introducing characters, building up suspense, writing an interesting climax, and then ending with a resolution. Don’t make the mistake of jumping right into your essay without building up to things, and don’t come to a conclusion without providing the readers with some insight about how your situation ended. This could be a few sentences about what happened immediately after your story, or a paragraph about how the incident affects your life today.

Be Vigilant about Organization, Spelling, and Grammar

Don’t let the casual nature of the narrative essay convince you that you can be casual about proper writing. You will still need to pay close attention to spelling and grammar. In fact, you may wish to be even more vigilant. Do not simply rely on your spelling and grammar checking software. Read your essay line by line to make sure that each sentence is grammatically correct, and that it makes sense. Some people advise reading your essay backwards. The thought is that if you read your essay only from beginning to end, you will focus on the story and not the mechanics. Another option is to use a professional writing service like for proofreading and editing. Organization is also very important. Please don’t make the mistake of assuming that you will be able to simply crank out your essay, just because you are familiar with the story. Take the time to write down notes and an outline. Then, make sure your time is organized enough that you dedicate enough time to producing a narrative essay that is both interesting and well written.

Enjoy the Writing Process

Narrative essays are a great way to recall interesting, exciting, and even humorous events from your past. Why not enjoy the process and the opportunity to entertain others with your personal story.

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