Writing a Personal Narrative Essay: How to Tell Your Story?

A personal narrative allows you to share your personal experiences professionally and creatively. Whether the essay is part of a college admission process or for a school paper, this is a skill. Learning and knowing how to write a personal narrative story is the ticket to crafting unique, captivating, and creative narratives.

Personal narrative essays are unlike other essays in that they are more personal and narrative. This article will explain “what is personal narrative writing” and how to write a captivating one.

What is a personal narrative writing?

Personal narrative writing is a mashup of different writing styles where one describes their experiences. On the one hand, “personal” means something peculiar to you, and “narrative” means you’re telling a story. This type of essay has a story-driven focus akin to short stories and fiction, complete with a plot and characters. However, unlike in fiction, a personal narrative essay tells the story of real people and shares real experiences.

There is a good chance you have written a personal narrative at one point or the other. For instance, the essay you wrote as part of your college admission process is a personal narrative essay.

Good personal narrative: how to write a personal narrative essay

One differentiating thing about a personal narrative essay is that it is not an academic, thesis-driven, intro-body-conclusion essay. Here, you are telling a personal story, using your creative voice to write something you own. Therefore, below are practical steps on how to write a personal narrative essay:

  1. Choosing a topic

You have certainly had a lot of experiences, and you cannot put all of them down in the essay. That is why choosing a topic first is essential to help structure and guide your writing. Therefore, choose a comfortable topic you don’t mind discussing, such as a memory or childhood story. If you’re finding it hard to select a topic, think about why you are writing the essay in the first place.

  1. Create an outline

While a personal narrative essay does not have a particular format, it will help if you put your paper into sections. First, determine the details you want to include in the paper; then, section them into the introduction, body, and conclusion. Working with an outline in any kind of essay helps give the paper structure and organization.

  1. Start writing

You can now start writing your story, beginning with the introduction to get your readers’ attention. The introduction will carry your thesis, which you hope to achieve with your paper. Then, end this section with a transition sentence that will lead your readers to the body of the paper.

In the body, you will go into the details of your narrative, which will depend on your topic and thesis. The body of an essay is typically three paragraphs long, but that depends on how much information you are presenting. After the body, write your conclusion, which is a summary of the story that leaves a lasting impression on your readers. It should refrain from introducing new points but reinstate your initial thesis, followed by several uniquely-stated supporting points.

  1. Proofread, edit, and finalize

Finally, review and edit your narrative essay, ensuring you describe your experience to your readers in vivid language. Also, look for grammar or spelling mistakes and errors that might remove the professional tone from the paper. You can also give someone else to proofread for you and give feedback, say a colleague or even your professor.


So, there you have it; the meaning of personal narrative essays and the six steps to writing one. Writing a personal narrative is not hard, mainly because it is simply you telling your story – in your voice.

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