How do you write a personal narrative essay: sharing experience


Writing a personal narrative is a way to involve the reader in a personal experience and make them feel the way you, the narrator, felt at the time of the incident. It is always important to start your story strongly so you capture the reader’s attention immediately.

How to start your personal narrative essay

  • Find a personal topic
  • Start it off strong to catch the reader’s attention

  • Pick your narrator
  • The narrator should be in first person unless the assignment says otherwise

  • Determine the order of the paper
  • Do not hesitate to experiment with the chronological order of the story. Flashbacks and reflection are effective writing tools.

  • Make sure to write down important events
  • Important events can help set the tone of your paper. Tone is important when writing successful personal narrative essay.

  • Set up an outline
  • And outline can help you easily go through your story. This goes along with the tone. An outline gives a general idea of where the beginning, middle, and end will be.

Piecing the Puzzle Together

Once the outline of the essay is set up, it is time to piece the puzzles together. Begin with a first person point of view opening that will drag the reader in and make them want more. Personal experiences can be elaborated on to add the detail that holds the reader’s attention.

  • Start the rough draft
  • Avoid “I am going to tell you…” lines and start with something like “the breeze was blowing on my face whipping my hair around in a messy tussle.” This makes the story stronger and immediately brings the reader’s attention to what the narrator has to say.

  • Start the first part of your story
  • Remember to use first person narration. You want a strong beginning to build up to the middle.

  • Start the middle
  • The middle of the story should be the main body of your paper. It should introduce the peak of the story to the readers.

  • Start the end
  • Your conclusion usually involves a short recap of events that led to the happy, sad, or otherwise ending. The ending should be captivating to the reader.

How to add detail

  • Dialogue
  • Having dialogue in your store ensures the readers know the events are truly happening. Avoid bending the truth and stick to the story. No fabrications, they can take away from your paper.

  • Senses
  • Always make sure you describe how something felt, what it sounded like, what it smelled like, what you saw and even how something tasted. Maybe something left a bitter taste in your mouth by meeting someone new. Always include the senses to create reality.

  • Similes and metaphors
  • Similes and metaphors are a great way to add detail. Instead of saying, “I spilled my papers on the floor” you can say, “suddenly papers went flying all over the place like confetti at a party.” This adds detail and avoids boring sentences.

The Final Draft

After assembling your personal narrative essay, proof read your rough draft. Fix any mistakes you find then have a friend read over the paper. Sometime a fresh set of eyes can help find errors you may have missed. Once you have both proofread the copy, ask for constructive criticism. This can help you fix anything that came out wrong or may just need a little more jolt to it.

Do not forget that sometimes taking a break from writing can give you the ability to find things that can be reworded to make the personal narrative better. Now that your eyes are refreshed you may see something that can be taken out or added.

Finish off the final draft by checking for proper grammar, punctuation, and spelling. All of these are important and can add to the emphasis of the paper. Check for wordiness and change it if necessary. Once all of this is done, your personal narrative essay is finished.



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