In academia, writing essays is the bread and butter of the institution. If you have not already written one in your earlier years, you are most probably going to meet with one soon. If you have questions like ‘what is an essay?’ And ‘What is a narrative essay’, this article is for you.
An essay is a long writing written basically to connect ideas and pass a point across. The essay can come in the form of a story or a report. It has an introduction, a body and a conclusion.
The introduction is termed as the opening paragraph in an essay. It gives readers an idea of what is being written and is supposed to capture the reader’s mind, preparing them for an interesting read. The introduction usually starts with a hook or a catchy statement geared towards getting the reader’s attention. What can be used to come up with the hook are indeed many. People use quotes from famous writers which in are close to what the main topic of the essay is, and others simply use questions. Some writers are also good at using an idea or some statistical research as their hook. Anything to catch the reader’s attention is welcome.
In addition to the hook, having a theses statement is important in having your essay written. You should get a theses statement which speaks about what your essay is going to be on. The theses statement is usually what differentiates an academic essay from any narrative or non academic piece of writing.
The body of the essay is the main part of the essay which has the salient points that the writer hoped to pass across in his writing. Each paragraph is given to a different point, and these points are explained and brought out in ways that are helpful to the reading process. The explanation of said points could be done with examples and illustrations, anything to let the point be heard and understood. While writing the body of your essay, it is very important to chip in transition phrases and words so that each of your paragraphs make sense as you write. You really do not want an essay that comes off as being disjointed.
Writing the body of the essay well requires planning. What is recommended is that you take some time off before you begin to write the essay to plan which points you are putting across and how you intend to have those points well explained. It is also in the body of your writing that you are required to keep your readers entertained. It is not advisable, depending on the kind of essay you are writing, to have a sober mood from the start of the essay to the end. Just as you would throw in a few witty statements to wake up any listener who might be asleep when you are reading a speech, you could also sprinkle a few humorous bits to make your essay lively. However, this tip is only subject to the type of essay you are writing and based on the seriousness of the topic being explained in the essay.
Your conclusion is the final paragraph of your essay. It is the paragraph which is supposed to leave an exciting after taste in the mouth of your readers. You might want to summarize the most important points you have written in the conclusion of the essay. Have these points summarized and refrain from adding any new information to the conclusion. If you do not, you might find yourself struggling to end your essay. Some schools of thought suggest that you keep your essay conclusion short and interesting, constituting a fine 10% of your total essay. If you follow this rule, you might figure out how to make everything inviting using based on the essay you have been given. The conclusion is one of the best parts of the essay. Choose to make it count.
After following these three basic essay partitions, you have basically written an essay which can be marked and graded according to points that the examining body feel are important. Always have these three parts in your essay no matter how long or short your essay is.
Essay Types and Narrative Essays
Essays have types. These types are based on the final objective of the essay written. There are four types that have been identified which overlap the least with each other. These types are:
- Descriptive essays
- Narrative essays
- Expository essays
- Persuasive essays
Each of them have special characteristics which result in the essay fulfilling simply the reason for which it was written.
- Descriptive essays – These essay types rarely stand alone, but when they do, they are mostly used to make writers paint vivid pictures in the minds of the readers. The essay type requires the use of strong describing words and phrases so that the writer seems to show the reader what exactly he is talking about, rather than just telling the reader about it. Descriptive articles are usually written to talk about a person, or a place or even a thing. The wording used are those that appeal the most to the five senses.
- Expository essays – These essays are written to pass across facts to the reader. The reader is then schooled on the topic of the expository essay. Most of the time, the reader has very little knowledge on the topic, or has probably ‘never analyzed it that way’. These essays are merely a presentation of hard facts. The writer must present these facts from a neutral stand point as much as possible, and never give an idea to what the writer believes to be true, correct or sure. All the writer does is lay down these facts the best way he can and leaves the final decision to the reader to choose which point favours them.
Good examples of expository essays are reviews on books, speeches and art forms. These reviews could even go in-depth to become critical essays and analytical pieces, ready to be published in journals or other important places to be read.
- Persuasive essays- Just like expository essays, facts are sent in and presented to the readers. What differentiates the two, however, is that with the latter, writers essentially debate the point they believe in using the facts and the use of emotional language to appeal to the reader to see things from the eyes of the writer, and at the end, agree with what he has to say. Persuasive essays are usually written as debates or argumentative pieces where writers may be asked to argue out a motion. This form of writing is quite difficult because the reader is expected to be presented with hard facts and evidence pointing him into the direction of the writer.
Narrative Essay writing and Personal Narrative Essays
The fourth but not the least essay type is a narrative essay. A narrative essay, for those who may have been wondering ‘what is a narrative essay’, is a form of essay that comes as a story or a report. It comes in many different variants, but can be suited to the purpose for which it is being written. Writers then have to come up with creative ways to make these stories interesting to the reader.
Personal Narrative essays however, are the essays which are written from the view point of the writer to give readers a glimpse of the person of the writer through his experience and how he reacted to them. An autobiographical narrative essay, which is another name for a personal narrative essay, or a personal statement, for that matter. It requires very authentic writing since the aim is to show the readers who the writer is.
Many schools and universities require personal narrative essays from students who hope to be enrolled in these schools. Apart from the usual grammar and plagiarism checks, these personal narrative essays are perused to find the authenticity of the writer, his ideas on life, his world view and how he reacts to issues.
Parts of A Personal Narrative Essay
Every essay, including personal narrative essays have the three main parts, which are the introduction, the body and the conclusion. This is standard for every essay written. However for narrative essays, especially, personal narrative essays, there are certain features which go w long way to identifying the essays as it is, which is a story about the writer, with a moral at the end of the day.
- The plot of the story- Every story has a plot. The plot determines how the story builds up from the beginning to the climax, and the resolution. Coming up with a good plot requires planning, which makes it easier to fit your plot into any word limit which has been given to you by the readers.
- The setting- The setting of the personal narrative essay gives an idea about when and where the event took place, whether it was several years in the past or a relatively current event that has taken place. The setting also gives the readers an idea about the place where the event occurred. Writers are encouraged to do more descriptive writing to give an idea of the setting and how it affects the story, rather than simply being told when and where the event occurred.
- The tone- when writing your autobiographical narrative essay, you should choose what tone or voice you hope to use. You should decide this based on the topic given, or your own chosen topic. You should also decide this based on audience you are writing to. No one wants a sad story that happens to be boring at the same time. People just want a well told story, and your tone has the propensity to have a great influence on the story.
- Characters – Your personal narrative essay could have characters who interact with each other, or you could be the only character in the writing. It is dependent on you. Be sure not to add in characters who do not contribute in anyway to the plot of the story. Each character has to be described with characteristics and features which give the reader a good idea of who the character is and what role he or she plays in the story.
- Conflict- Introducing conflict in your narrative essay makes the writing more interesting and so the writer is able to draw out a point or moral from the personal narrative essay he is writing. Choosing your conflict is the same as choosing the main subject of the essay. When you are sure the role the conflict plays in the story, you can understand the story better.
- Climax- usually the climax of the narrative essay is the point at which the conflict has reached its apex, and the only way out is either to resolve the conflict, or leave it as it is. For a personal narrative essay, there has to be a conclusion to the matter at hand, therefore every climax has to be handled in a manner that shows the ending of the conflict. Your personal narrative essay should have an ending with a moral.
- Resolution and ending- As previously mentioned, climax should come to a resolution in a narrative essay. The conclusion of the essay should have the moral statement or lesson and not simply an abrupt end to things. The conclusion can have a small summary on the events that took place in the story in addition to the moral of the story.
Maybe this is your first time of being asked to write a personal narrative essay. Choose to be authentic and creative and explore the potential of your story using the points stated above. Never leave your personal narrative essay without a moral. Do not let your readers be wondering how the story ending. You should tie up all loose ends neatly and prepare to read over your essay. Check it several times and have mistakes corrected.
Hopefully this article has been helpful in teaching you how exactly your narrative essay should come out. Do well to follow these tips and see how impressive your personal narrative essay would turn out.