How To Write A Narrative Essay Outline?

Narrative essays are all about telling or narrating stories, experiences, anecdotes, either personal or non-personal and individual or collective. Students from various institutes are asked to narrate their experiences in the form of assignments, which are also known as personal narrative essays.  

Making a point, coming up with a life lesson, or appreciating certain life truths, human traits, and the importance of certain things or memories is expected from the narrative essay.  

The narrative essay outline forms the basis of your narrative essay. The first and foremost step is the formulation of an outline. It is an essential step that helps us work on such essays. It assists in organizing your content and presenting it in an appropriate order.  

The outline helps in determining the size of each section and also in ensuring the key parts of your narrative essay structure.  

We will let you know everything you need to know how to write a narrative essay outline.

Narrative/Personal Essay  

What is basically a narrative essay? In simple words, a narrative essay or also known as the personal narrative essay is a type of academic writing which is based on telling a story. The goal of the author is to produce the right environment and a near to life experience for the readers.

The rule is to write the paper from the first-person perspective. Readers should be considered at the center of the plot, and the duty of the writer is to engage the readers. To make all this possible, narrative writing requires the right atmosphere, various vivid details, and descriptive techniques.

The most challenging part of writing a narrative essay is that it is limited in length. So, the task of the writer is to cut short a complex story and write it in a comprehensive way, including its important ideas with the necessary details to keep the readers intact with the essay.

Purpose/Aim of Narrative Essay

This is a kind of writing which is all about sharing stories. The aim of the writer is to tell real-life stories and experiences to the reader, with that he/she is supposed to mention or state the reason for telling the story.

The author needs to make it clear why the story matters, what's in it for the readers. This makes the key purpose of your essay. Your guidance to the readers is what makes the narrative essay different from other essays.  

The writer needs to guide the reader through the story. You don't need to make arguments or need to criticize in your essay. Always keep in mind that you are just telling a story; let the readers do the rest; let them draw their own conclusions. This is the significance of your paper.

Types of Narrative Essay

There are two basic types of narrative essays. Both are described below:

  • Descriptive narrative essay

This is known as the most creative form of narrative essay. The major aim of a descriptive essay is to describe an experience from an author's life; it can be a situation, memory, or any vivid event from an author's life.  

"Show, don't tell" is the phrase in which a descriptive narrative essay is described. The author should write a descriptive narrative essay in such a way that the reader can picture the whole paper.

These kinds of essays are mostly straightforward. A complicated story is always cut short and presented in such a comprehensive way with all the key elements so that the readers can draw the ends.

It is suggested to avoid over-exaggeration and always stick to the main points. In a narrative essay, there is a limit to the content you can provide the readers with, so choose wisely about what to include and what not to include in your descriptive narrative essay.

You can choose a narrative essay’s topic of your choice to make a mark in terms of your essay writing skills.  

  • Autobiographical

This is a kind of narrative essay which requires you to share a true story that actually took place in the author's life. This type of essay should stick to a specific event. But unlike a descriptive narrative essay, an autobiographical essay places a wider focus on the story itself and its goal but not the details.

Before start writing a narrative essay, make sure to read narrative essay examples in order to get an insight into this essay type.  

Narrative Essay Characteristics

Some basic characteristics of a narrative essay are mentioned below:

  • Written from the first-person perspective or authors viewpoint
  • It is written as a story with all the key points but follows a basic structure
  • It gives information in a chronological order
  • Details are used to describe an event, person or scene
  • It works on informing the readers instead of arguing, teaching or criticizing
  • Non-fiction in nature, it is about actual events

Narrative Essay Format and Structure

The narrative essay format and structure are based on the basic standards. Like other essays and papers, this type of assignment generally follows a five-paragraph format. It includes an introduction, followed by three body paragraphs, and the last one is the conclusion. This blog will enable you to get all the information in the world on how to write a narrative essay. 

But the specific, designated purpose of the paragraphs of a narrative essay makes it different from other essays.

The introductory paragraph provides an insight into the story; it also states the aim of writing and has an engaging material to hook the readers to the paper. Then comes the main body paragraphs, which focus on three basic things; rising action, climax, and falling action.

At the end comes the conclusion whose purpose is to summarize everything and provide with a lesson learned from the story.

Parts of Narrative Essay Outline  

The narrative essay outline structure is based on various parts. This helps in ensuring that the key elements are present and accurately used while forming the outline of your narrative essay. Further, it can also be used as a checklist when formatting your essay outline.

An introduction is made up of the following parts:


when writing a personal narrative essay, which often wants to be moving, reflective, or inviting feelings of admiration and appreciation, one needs to get the permanent attention of the reader. You need to set a proper tone from the very beginning for captivating readers.  

One can start the essay with an uncharacteristic description of people or setting or can put a shocking confession. A mysterious or curiosity stimulating statement can be added, which may act as a hook as well.


A thesis statement is an essential element of an introduction because it states the claims and points of the paper. The paper's essence is described by this statement in the most comprehensive way. The thesis statement mostly comes in the end; it is preferable to make it the last sentence of your introduction.  

Introductory background

Additional information is included in the introduction to assist the readers in the author's time and place. It helps them to visualize, imagine, or recreate the narrated facts. The additional information can be about the story's relevance for the readers; for example, it can be about one's first encounter with a negative situation and explaining how this was for him/her as a child or young adult.

Parts of Narrative Essay Outline
A Narrative Essay Outline


It isn't necessary for the author to have details about time and space, sometimes they have and sometimes they don't. But it is important to remember to mention or clarify this at the beginning of the essay if the writer doesn't possess the details.

If the details have been provided, then the writer needs to provide a comprehensive description of the details while trying to cover the missing details. Thou it is very rare that the author might not know about time or space as these details are the basics while initializing a certain scene.

Various narrative essay examples can be reviewed to see that the place can be defined by the country, city, or town where the action is happening.

Background of events

This part sheds light on the previous events, which have happened in the background and are important for building the understanding of the readers. The information presented in this part can be mentioned later in the essay, but it is normally put right along the setting description to fully help the readers.


There are two main character types; antagonists and protagonists. The protagonists are the central figures around which the story revolves, while the antagonists are the ones who oppose protagonists, but they are not a necessary evil.  

The main characters are introduced at an early stage, while the secondary characters are introduced later as the story unfolds.

Unfolding of actions

Facts are always described in chronological order. This part starts with the plot rising event, which is the description of the plot, how it complicates and leads to the conflict. Any form of the struggle faced by protagonists is known as conflict; it can be an internal struggle or an external struggle.


It is the final decision or opinion. This is the interpretation of the story from a writer's perspective, why everything happened the way it did, who was wrong, and who was writing. It would discuss the implications if characters acted otherwise of if things had gone in a different direction.

Summary of main points

In various narrative essay examples, we have seen that the conclusion begins with a summary of the main points. This type of conclusion involves a description of facts and situations. The role of various characters, conflicts, and various judgments can be derived and expressed.  

Lessons learned, changes in the attitude of the author, or main characters can be presented in this conclusion.

Thesis restatement

The key element of any conclusion is restating the thesis. It is important because it shows the author's effort in proving the claims that have been made at the beginning of the essay. However, the same words shouldn't be used while restating the thesis.

Its formulation should use words that are different and hold essential points which show how much claim has been achieved. The restatement should be according to the content of the essay; it should be making proper connections to cover all the key points.

Tips on how to write a narrative essay outline

There are a few tips that will help you find the answer to your question about how to write a narrative essay outline. These tips will help you make your narrative essay outline solid and standout.  

  • When choosing a topic, try to select one which is really worth addressing. For example, a general topic can be related, and you could specifically shed light on betrayal, different types of relationships, or what helps a relationship lasting for years.
  • Remember, if it is a personal narrative essay, you have to be sure while picking a proper personal narrative essay topic in which you have some interest, the one about which you have something important to say.
  • Narrative essays are not novels, so try to write short, and the outline should be even shorter. Outlines are basically a guide that is used to help the reader for quick overviews. An outline is used to check if all content is covered and is present in relative order.
  • Making outline concise helps achieve its purpose of the ramification of main points and situations of the narrative essay.
  • An author can also write keywords below each point of the outline. It needs to be detailed but comprehensive at the same time. Writers need to list everything which they want to cover.
  • The author needs to avoid unstructured text. As mentioned in the previous point, the author needs to write words below each point to cover the minor details as well.
  • Revise and rearrange – after listing all the main ideas, you need to revise and rearrange them. Scenes, action, episodes, and all other elements require some rearrangement, which brings a logical flow to your narrative essay.
  • Always think about the parts which can be excluded because if you reach the level of maximum words, then you know what to cut out. Try to write such parts, which are not that valuable at the end as this will save your time and effort.
  • You need to pin-point the scenes which can be described in greater detail. A plot may have different details and different speeds. So, there might be scenes where the author has to put in more details, and in some scenes, there might be minor details provided.
Tips on how to write a narrative essay outline
A Narrative Essay Outline

Do's and Don'ts  

When writing a narrative essay, you need to be careful regarding a few things which you should do and the ones you shouldn't.


  • Always remember to write the story from the author's point of view, which is also known as the first-person point of view. It can also be written as the third person only if necessary.
  • You need to provide the reader with a hook right at the beginning, which can be a fact, quote, question, definition just to get the reader's attention.
  • Your point should be clearly stated regarding the purpose of your paper.
  • One needs to follow the proper standard format for narrative writing.
  • Try to put in some spices in your story like a conflict to make it interesting for the reader.
  • Especially when writing a descriptive narrative essay, try to give all the details regarding all the five senses of the characters. While telling what the character heard, also tell what he saw, smelled, felt, etc.
  • Always follow a sequence while presenting events and details in your narrative essay. Ideally, use a chronological order while stating the events.
  • It is important for the writer to keep his/her language clear and easy to read.
  • You can also try to use descriptive techniques like transitions, power words, etc.


  • Never write your narrative essay from a second-person perspective.
  • Refrain from creating fictional stories and talk about the events which actually happened.
  • Try not to use a lot of formal languages, arguments, and slang as they disturb the structure and tone of your essay.
  • Don't write down everything; too many details are also not healthy. Try to be specific; you should know what to include and what detail to exclude. Stick to the main idea and the details which help in building up the plot of your story.
  • And yes, don't tell a story, show it, make them feel it.
Do's and Don'ts
A Narrative Essay Outline


In the end, we at Essaydays suggest you follow our guidelines to get the most out of your narrative essay. Choose the narrative essay topics wisely, follow the structure and the outline, put in the right details, and just be yourself to make your narrative essay stand out.

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