We have been telling each others stories even before the dawn of civilization. If it weren’t for stories our earliest ancestors told, there would be no way for the rest of us to tell what happened in the past. Stories get passed around. In homes, no matter what they’re made of. On the roads and the streets no matter where they lead a stranger. Stories get told to people for people, no matter how well they know each other or not at all. Because after all, we’re all strangers, until we hear each other’s stories. Until these stories make sense of our world and until we share the same understanding of the world we live in, and the time we’re living it at. Stories are very powerful, that’s why they have to be told in any way or form. For some, it’s best to tell them through conversations, for others, stories have better justice when they get narrated and written down.
Naturally, we have an inherent capability to tell stories through conversations and that’s what happens almost everyday, when we see our friends, families, colleagues, etc. It comes naturally because talking to each other is part of our everyday existence. However, narrating a story through writing is usually considered as an academic practice. Throughout your primary, secondary until your college education, you’re almost always asked to tell a story through essay writing, and your essay or writing assignments would typically involve telling a story from your personal experience before you’re asked to move on to other themes. You may think you have had enough of writing anything biographical, but a narrative essay is one way to practice the art of telling stories so that you can also develop the skill for field research, and your writing skills as a whole. It is therefore important that you learn how to choose a topic that will highlight your writing style and strength, then get a solid outline drafted on paper so when the time for editing your work comes, you will have an organized draft put together, enough for you to structure an impressive narrative essay.
Your narrative essay would more than just pass as the author telling his story because essays like these often border on personal, experience and sometimes beyond anecdotal because when you choose a topic that’s close to you, with a proper structure and use of language, chances are, you’ll either move the reader to the brink of tears or make him or her laugh out loud and everything in between will be just as intense and special. That’s what writing a narrative essay does. It allows students to freely express themselves in creative, touching ways since it tells a story with the goal of making a point, because it all boils down to storytelling as one of the most basic ways people communicate their experiences with each other.
Various academic disciplines use narratives, so learning how to write them properly cannot be emphasized enough. For example, students in psychology often have to read case histories and records to gain better understanding and learn more about different disorders. History majors need to study historical accounts of events that shaped history. You may think a personal narrative isn’t really educational but that’s where you’re wrong, because they can just as easily hone your writing skills and help you appreciate the importance of narratives that you would have to read (and write) as an academic requirement in the future.
Narrative essays are told from a defined perspective which is often the author’s, so there is feeling as well as specific and often sensory details to get the reader involved in the elements and chronology of the story. The verbs and adjectives used should be as vivid as they are precise.
It’s typical for narrative essays to be written from the author’s standpoint but that doesn’t warrant his or her manipulation of the perspective to be considered. It’s just that creativity in these type of essays often becomes more obvious when it manifests through the writer’s point of view.
Art doesn’t always mean freedom to choose. In the case of narrative essays, just like descriptive essays, what you have written only becomes meaningful and effective when the language is carefully, specifically and artfully chosen. You can have all the metaphors in the world but if they fail to make sense and make an impact, you will have lost your purpose for writing your narrative. Use specific language to evoke specific emotions and senses in the reader.
There are students who dread the idea of narrative essays, not because they thinks it’s not cool but because they can be very personal and therefore difficult to write, in the sense that simply recalling some bad experiences can be rather painful. In the academe, and in real life professions, narratives can be useful for communicating important ideas. As what has been mentioned previously, it’s worth noting that medical case histories counts as narratives. In the courtroom, prosecution and defense are at each other’s necks using narratives for their closing arguments. If you learn early in writing a good narrative in school, you have more than a fair chance of handling different situations in almost any profession, on top of receiving good grades.
Read the writing prompts that have been assigned to you and read them carefully, because this will allow you to consider the length of the essay that your teacher or professor have assigned. Choose the prompt that inspires you the most, for obvious reasons, and not because it may seem the easiest. Try to “rack” your brains or get something from what you can remember that would match the prompt you have selected so that you can personally tie your personal experience with it. Carefully decide what specific point you want to make out of your narrative.
That’s right. Narrative essays comes with a thesis statement, no matter how personal they are. You will use that as your point or reason for the kind of story you chose to tell. In 1995, French Elle Magazine Editor-in-chief Jean Dominique Bauby suffered a stroke which eventually became his demise as the prognosis turned out to be locked-in-syndrome, wherein the mental faculties remain intact but most of the body is paralyzed. Bauby composed and edited his memoir “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly” entirely in his head, and dictated it one letter at a time. The memoir was littered with the author’s anger, longing and sadness but also an enduring zest for life despite his condition, wherein he opens with “Through the frayed curtain at my window, a wan glow announces the break of day. My heels hurt, my head weighs a ton, and something like a giant invisible diving bell holds my whole body prisoner” and then later on writes, “I need to feel strongly, to love and admire, just as desperately as I need to breathe.” His narrative tells the experience of someone whose body is paralyzed but thinks and feels no less strongly and deeply than he had before he was claimed by a sickness that although not unheard of, wasn’t really common, especially at the time.
Tell the story in order of chronology. If it lacks organization, sense and proper order of events, you will lose your reader in a maze, so make sure that you write things as they happened and keep a smooth flow in logical progression. Never miss out on important points. Don’t expect your reader to figure out for themselves how you got from one point to another, unless the point can be assumed safely and obviously. Outlines and one draft after another is fine, because if it’s not yet good enough for you, if you think it’s missing something, chances are, you’re right. Anyway, it usually takes 2-3 drafts for even the most seasoned writers to come up with the right article and one that’s free of errors. Don’t forget to have fun and enjoy the whole experience. Otherwise the task is going to be more difficult than it’s supposed to be, and you are more likely to do your best work when you enjoy the topic you have chosen and when you’re looking forward to get your narrative told.