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How to Write a Thesis for a Narrative Essay

Last Updated: February 26, 2024 Fact Checked

This article was co-authored by Alicia Cook . Alicia Cook is a Professional Writer based in Newark, New Jersey. With over 12 years of experience, Alicia specializes in poetry and uses her platform to advocate for families affected by addiction and to fight for breaking the stigma against addiction and mental illness. She holds a BA in English and Journalism from Georgian Court University and an MBA from Saint Peter’s University. Alicia is a bestselling poet with Andrews McMeel Publishing and her work has been featured in numerous media outlets including the NY Post, CNN, USA Today, the HuffPost, the LA Times, American Songwriter Magazine, and Bustle. She was named by Teen Vogue as one of the 10 social media poets to know and her poetry mixtape, “Stuff I’ve Been Feeling Lately” was a finalist in the 2016 Goodreads Choice Awards. There are 7 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been fact-checked, ensuring the accuracy of any cited facts and confirming the authority of its sources. This article has been viewed 105,679 times.

In a narrative essay, your thesis will be a bit different than in an argumentative or explanatory paper. A narrative essay is basically you writing a story for the reader. The purpose of a narrative essay is to make a certain point, using personal experiences or life events to convey your main point or theme. [1] X Trustworthy Source Purdue Online Writing Lab Trusted resource for writing and citation guidelines Go to source However, just as in a standard paper, your thesis will still appear in the introduction of your narrative essay.

Part 1: Preparing to Write the Thesis

Step 1 Brainstorm ideas to find your topic.

  • Come up with a topic that is important to you and that you feel you can talk about in a personal way.

Step 2 Pick an event to help convey your topic.

  • Another way to find a personal event is to look through your old social media posts, as they often chronicle important or meaningful events in your life.

Step 3 Write down all the details you can remember of that event.

  • Remembering the details of the event through your five senses will also help to trigger other details or images you may have forgotten.
  • For example, maybe you remember the taste of coconut after your grandmother's funeral, which will then help you remember that you all ate your grandmother's favorite coconut cake at the gathering after the funeral. You can then try to find that recipe and use it as a way to jog other memories of your grandmother.

Step 4 Create an outline for your narrative essay.

Part 2: Creating Your Thesis

Step 1 Write a short phrase for each major section of your essay.

  • For example: “In this essay, I will discuss the issue of grief by discuss my grandmother's sickness, discuss my grandmother's death, talk about what happened afterwards.”
  • Adjust your first attempt so it is grammatically correct: “In this essay, I will discuss the issue of grief by discussing my grandmother's sickness, my grandmother's death, and what happened afterward.”

Step 4 Refine your thesis.

  • You may want to create a thesis that is a bit more sophisticated and less stilted by removing the more formal phrase, “I will discuss”.
  • For example: “Grief affects everyone's life at one point or another, and it certainly has affected mine; when my grandmother became sick and passed away, I had to learn how to deal with the aftermath of her death.”

Step 5 Remember that your thesis should always cover the main topics of your essay.

  • Avoid packing too many ideas into one sentence. Your thesis should help ease the reader into your essay, not confuse them.

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does a narrative essay need a thesis statement

Thanks for reading our article! If you’d like to learn more about writing essays, check out our in-depth interview with Alicia Cook .

  • ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/general_writing/academic_writing/essay_writing/narrative_essays.html
  • ↑ https://writingcenter.unc.edu/tips-and-tools/brainstorming/
  • ↑ https://www.grammarly.com/blog/narrative-writing/
  • ↑ https://www.indeed.com/career-advice/career-development/how-to-write-narrative-essay
  • ↑ http://writingcenter.unc.edu/handouts/thesis-statements/
  • ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/general_writing/the_writing_process/thesis_statement_tips.html
  • ↑ https://writing.wisc.edu/handbook/process/thesis/

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Thesis Statement for Narrative Essay

does a narrative essay need a thesis statement

In a narrative essay, the journey of your story is pivotal, but it’s the thesis statement that gives your tale its essence and purpose. Serving as a guidepost, the thesis captures the core message or emotion, ensuring readers are primed for what’s to come. Whether you’re narrating a personal experience or weaving a fictional tale, your thesis should be clear, evocative, and compelling. Dive in to explore examples, discover writing techniques, and imbibe tips to craft the perfect narrative essay thesis.

What is a Narrative Essay Thesis Statement? – Definition

A narrative essay thesis statement is a concise summary or main point of your personal story or experience. Unlike argumentative or analytical thesis statements, it doesn’t necessarily present an argument or a point of debate. Instead, it sets the tone for the narrative and provides a glimpse into the lesson, theme, or insight the story intends to convey. Essentially, it captures the essence of your narrative and gives readers an idea of what to expect.

What is the Best Thesis Statement Example for Narrative Essay?

While “best” is subjective and can vary based on the specific narrative, a compelling example might be:

“Despite the biting cold and fatigue, reaching the mountain’s summit at sunrise illuminated not just the world below, but also a truth: challenges, no matter how insurmountable, can be conquered with perseverance and a dash of courage.”

This statement provides a hint about the narrative’s setting (mountain summit at sunrise) and its central theme (overcoming challenges through perseverance and courage).

100 Thesis Statement Examples for Narrative Essay

Thesis Statement Examples for Narrative Essay

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  • “The summer of ’09 wasn’t about the places I went, but the journey of self-discovery I embarked on.”
  • “In the midst of city lights, I found solace not in people but in the night’s embrace.”
  • “The relentless waves on that fateful day taught me about nature’s might and the fragility of life.”
  • “Grandma’s tales, woven with age-old wisdom, became my compass in life’s unpredictable journey.”
  • “Amidst the hustle of the market, I learned that life’s most profound lessons can come from unexpected places.”
  • “The old treehouse was more than wood and nails; it was a testament to childhood dreams and boundless imagination.”
  • “Lost in a foreign land, I discovered the universal language of kindness and smiles.”
  • “The train journey painted a tapestry of landscapes, emotions, and fleeting encounters.”
  • “Under the autumn sky, I found that letting go can be as beautiful as holding on.”
  • “The melody of mom’s lullaby was my anchor in stormy nights and sunny days alike.”
  • “A chance encounter in a coffee shop served as a reminder of the serendipities life often throws our way.”
  • “As leaves crunched underfoot in the forest, I felt the weight of the world lift off my shoulders.”
  • “Through the pages of my childhood diary, I journeyed back to dreams forgotten and hopes untarnished.”
  • “In the quiet corridors of the museum, art whispered tales of ages gone and worlds unseen.”
  • “The mountain’s shadow at dusk taught me that even in darkness, there’s an inherent light waiting to shine.”
  • “At the crossroads of choices, I found that destiny is but a collaboration between chance and decision.”
  • “Amongst the ruins of ancient cities, I felt the pulse of time and the stories etched in stone.”
  • “The carnival’s lights and sounds were a dance of joy, chaos, and the spectrum of human emotions.”
  • “In the heart of winter, I learned that endings often herald new beginnings.”
  • “The winding path through the meadow was a reminder that life’s journeys are seldom straight.”
  • “By the lakeside, with ripples as companions, I understood the profoundness of simple moments.”
  • “In the silence of the library, words spoke louder, echoing tales and truths of generations.”
  • “The chrysalis’s metamorphosis mirrored my own transformation – from doubt to self-belief.”
  • “As sand slipped through my fingers, I grasped the fleeting nature of time.”
  • “The orchestra’s crescendo was a celebration of unity, diversity, and the magic of coming together.”
  • “Within the walls of my childhood home, memories played in vivid colors and comforting echoes.”
  • “The pathway lit by fireflies was an enchanting journey through nature’s wonders.”
  • “On the city’s outskirts, the countryside taught me about life’s simple pleasures and unadulterated joys.”
  • “The ocean’s horizon was an emblem of endless possibilities and adventures yet to unfold.”
  • “Amidst the symphony of raindrops, I found rhythm, solace, and life’s refreshing melodies.”
  • “In the tapestry of the bustling bazaar, every thread wove a story of hopes, dreams, and daily triumphs.”
  • “Racing against the wind on that hilltop, I felt an exhilarating freedom and the weightlessness of being.”
  • “Beneath the canopy of stars, I was a mere speck, yet infinitely connected to the vast universe.”
  • “The gentle hum of the countryside at dawn brought lessons of patience and the beauty of the mundane.”
  • “As snowflakes adorned the earth, I was reminded of nature’s ability to transform the familiar into wonder.”
  • “Locked in a dance with my shadow, I confronted my fears and emerged stronger.”
  • “Every stroke of my paintbrush on canvas was a step towards understanding my inner chaos and colors.”
  • “The aroma from grandma’s kitchen wasn’t just about food, but a mix of tradition, love, and cherished memories.”
  • “Navigating the city’s labyrinthine alleys, I discovered hidden gems and facets of my own adaptability.”
  • “With every sunset on the beach, I learned about endings, reflections, and the promise of tomorrow.”
  • “Amidst the pages of an old book, I embarked on journeys to realms unknown and feelings unexplored.”
  • “The echo in the valley wasn’t mere sound; it was nature’s way of teaching me about resonance and reactions.”
  • “In the theater’s dim light, the play unraveled not just a story but facets of human emotions and complexities.”
  • “On the rollercoaster, as I soared and plunged, I experienced the highs and lows of life in mere minutes.”
  • “Gazing into the campfire’s flames, I saw tales of passion, change, and the cyclical nature of existence.”
  • “The footsteps on a snow-clad path were more than impressions; they were my journey’s evolving narrative.”
  • “In the ruins of an old castle, I felt the weight of history and the stories that walls can whisper.”
  • “The kaleidoscope wasn’t just a toy, but a lesson on perspective and the ever-changing patterns of life.”
  • “Aboard the night train, every passing landscape and shadow spoke of transitions and the journey of life.”
  • “The empty theater, with its echoing silence, taught me about presence, absence, and the spaces in between.”
  • “Gazing at my reflection in the serene lake, I pondered on identity, change, and the depths beneath the surface.”
  • “The forgotten trail in the forest was a testament to nature’s resilience and life’s unexpected detours.”
  • “On the pottery wheel, molding clay, I understood the balance of control, creativity, and surrender.”
  • “Within the confines of a photograph, I found a world of memories, emotions, and frozen moments.”
  • “Beneath the city’s neon lights, I discovered a mosaic of dreams, struggles, and undying hopes.
  • “Sailing on the tranquil sea, each wave whispered tales of depth, vastness, and the mysteries of the deep.”
  • “The aroma of the first rain on parched earth wasn’t just a scent, but a renewal of life’s promises.”
  • “Through the corridors of my old school, I journeyed back in time, reliving lessons beyond textbooks.”
  • “The meandering river, with its twists and turns, mirrored life’s unpredictability and the beauty of going with the flow.”
  • “The intricate dance of fireflies on a summer night showcased nature’s synchronicity and the magic of small wonders.”
  • “In the heart of the desert, amidst endless sands, I realized the value of persistence and the oasis of hope.”
  • “Each note from the old piano was more than a sound; it was an echo of love, memories, and bygone days.”
  • “Scaling the urban walls, the graffiti wasn’t mere paint; it was a voice, a rebellion, and a canvas of urban tales.”
  • “The ancient bridge, standing tall against time, was a testament to endurance, connections, and bridging divides.”
  • “Beneath the wizened banyan tree, I found tales of time, roots of wisdom, and the shade of legacy.”
  • “The labyrinth of mirrors in the carnival wasn’t just a maze but a reflection on perspectives, realities, and self-discovery.”
  • “On the cobbled streets of the old town, every stone had a story, an echo of footsteps from a time long gone.”
  • “The spectrum of autumn leaves was not just a display of colors but a lesson in change, acceptance, and renewal.”
  • “The cocoon, in its silent transformation, taught me about growth, patience, and the wings of change.”
  • “In the stillness of the frozen lake, I saw beauty in pauses, depths in calm, and the strength beneath the surface.”
  • “The mosaic on the cathedral floor wasn’t just art; it was a confluence of faith, history, and countless footprints.”
  • “The whispering winds atop the cliff carried tales of freedom, infinity, and the wild dance of nature.”
  • “The diary, with its faded pages, was a portal to youthful dreams, heartaches, and the purity of first experiences.”
  • “Amidst the bustling market square, I discerned life’s barter of dreams, efforts, and the currency of human connections.”
  • “The silhouette of birds at dusk was a painting of transitions, homeward journeys, and the cyclic rhythm of days.
  • “Walking through the quiet library halls, I felt a silent dialogue with countless authors, ideas, and epochs gone by.”
  • “The symphony of the city, from honks to hushed whispers, was an orchestra of life’s chaos and harmonies.”
  • “Each footprint on the moonlit beach spoke of transient moments, eternal tides, and the dance of time.”
  • “The annual rings on the old tree stump bore witness to seasons, storms, and the silent growth of years.”
  • “With every strike of the blacksmith’s hammer, metal sang a song of transformation, will, and fiery passion.”
  • “The abandoned mansion, with its cobwebbed chandeliers, whispered tales of opulence, time’s decay, and forgotten tales.”
  • “The tapestry of constellations in the night sky wasn’t just stars; it was a map of dreams, myths, and cosmic wonder.”
  • “Amidst the pages of a handwritten letter, I found not just words, but heartbeats, distance, and undying bonds.”
  • “The vintage carousel, with its painted horses, spun tales of childhood, nostalgia, and the cycles of joy.”
  • “On the fog-covered moors, every misty silhouette held a mystery, an allure of the unknown, and nature’s veiled beauty.”
  • “The keys of the old typewriter were more than letters; they were conduits of emotions, stories, and a bygone era’s charm.”
  • “In the quiet of the woods, every rustling leaf and chirping cricket sang a lullaby of nature’s embrace and serenades.”
  • “The tapestries in the old hall weren’t just decor; they were woven tales of valor, love, and historical tapestry.”
  • “The chessboard, in its monochrome squares, was a battlefield of strategies, patience, and life’s checkmates.”
  • “Amid the hustle of the train station, every departure and arrival was a chapter of hellos, goodbyes, and life’s journeys.”
  • “The blooming lotus in the muck was not just flora; it epitomized resilience, beauty in adversity, and nature’s wisdom.”
  • “The street musician, with his soulful tunes, strummed stories of dreams, hustle, and the universal language of music.”
  • “Gazing at the distant mountains, I saw challenges, majesty, and the alluring call of horizons yet explored.”
  • “The hourglass, with its fleeting sands, was a silent reminder of time’s passage, moments grasped, and the inevitability of change.”
  • “In the rhythm of the heartbeat, I heard life’s cadence, fragility, and the unyielding pulse of existence.
  • “The echoing chime of the ancient bell tower wasn’t just a sound; it was a call to remembrance, history, and moments that once were.”
  • “The cascade of water in the hidden waterfall narrated tales of nature’s might, hidden gems, and the music of wilderness.”
  • “As petals unfurled in the first bloom of spring, I saw life’s rebirth, new beginnings, and the eternal cycle of existence.”
  • “Amidst the ruins of a forgotten citadel, I felt the palpable presence of erstwhile grandeur, time’s passage, and stories etched in stone.”
  • “The winding pathways of the old garden maze weren’t just hedges; they symbolized life’s puzzles, choices, and the thrill of discovery.

Crafting narrative essay thesis statements is an art of encapsulating vast experiences, emotions, and lessons into a singular, guiding sentence. Each statement becomes the beacon, illuminating the depths of the tale, ensuring that readers are anchored and deeply engaged, from the first word to the last.

Thesis Statement Examples for Personal Narrative Essay

Narrative essays centered around personal experiences often dive deep into emotions, lessons, and realizations. A Good thesis statement acts as a snapshot of the core emotion or takeaway, allowing readers a quick glimpse into the writer’s soulful journey.

  • “In my quest for my family roots, I unearthed more than lineage; I discovered stories that defined generations.”
  • “Living in four countries in five years taught me resilience, adaptability, and the universal language of kindness.”
  • “Adopting Luna wasn’t just about getting a pet; it was a lesson in love, responsibility, and understanding life through feline eyes.”
  • “The summer of ’89 wasn’t just a season; it was my initiation into the world of rock music, rebellion, and teenage epiphanies.”
  • “Learning to dance was never just about the steps; it was my journey of embracing imperfections and finding rhythm in chaos.”
  • “As a caregiver to my grandmother, I realized that roles reverse, and sometimes, love means becoming a parent to your parent.”
  • “Backpacking solo taught me more about self-reliance, the beauty of fleeting encounters, and the silent revelations in solitude.”
  • “Battling an illness wasn’t just a physical challenge; it was an emotional odyssey of fears, hope, and rediscovering inner strength.”
  • “Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro wasn’t just about reaching the summit; it was a metaphorical ascent of confronting my fears and limitations.”
  • “Building my first robot was not just an academic project; it was a dance of creativity, failures, and the magic of invention.”

Thesis Statement Examples for Narrative Essay Writing

Narrative essay writing captures moments, stories, or experiences with a wider scope, often resonating with universal truths. The Strong thesis statement must encapsulate the essence, laying down the central theme or emotion the narrative seeks to convey.

  • “The city’s heartbeat at midnight is more than nightlife; it’s an orchestra of dreams, hustlers, and silent wishes under the stars.”
  • “The forest, with its myriad sounds, isn’t just nature’s realm; it’s a symphony of life, balance, and unspoken tales.”
  • “A potter’s wheel doesn’t just shape clay; it’s a dance of hands, earth, and the beautiful journey of creation.”
  • “Festivals in a multicultural neighborhood aren’t just about celebrations; they’re a tapestry of traditions, unity in diversity, and the magic of shared joys.”
  • “The old bookstore, with its musty pages, wasn’t just a shop; it was a treasure trove of histories, fantasies, and timeless conversations.”
  • “Watching a total solar eclipse isn’t just an astronomical event; it’s a humbling spectacle of cosmic alignments, darkness, and ethereal light.”
  • “A farmer’s day isn’t just about toil; it’s a testament to patience, harmony with earth, and the silent prayer for bounty.”
  • “Ancient monuments aren’t just stone and art; they are timekeepers, storytellers, and guardians of civilizations long gone.”
  • “Migratory birds, with their seasonal journeys, don’t just traverse distances; they weave a tale of instinct, survival, and the incredible navigational wonders of nature.”
  • “The vibrant hues of a sunset aren’t merely a visual delight; they paint the sky with the day’s adieu, promises of tomorrow, and the cyclical dance of time.

How do you write a thesis for a narrative essay? – Step by Step Guide

  • Identify the Central Theme or Message: Before you write your thesis, ask yourself: what is the main point or message I want to convey through my narrative essay?
  • Be Precise: A thesis statement should be a concise sentence or two that clearly outlines the main point or message of your essay. Avoid unnecessary words or overly complex sentences.
  • Position Appropriately: Although narrative essays are flexible, it’s common to place the thesis statement at the end of the introduction, setting the scene for the narrative to unfold.
  • Connect Emotionally: Given that narrative essays often delve into personal experiences, it’s important for your thesis to evoke emotion or a sense of anticipation in the reader.
  • Ensure It’s Debatable: Even though it’s a narrative essay, your thesis should still be debatable. This doesn’t mean it should be controversial, but rather it should encourage readers to think or feel a certain way.
  • Revise as Needed: As you develop your narrative, you might find your focus shifting slightly. Make sure to adjust your thesis accordingly to ensure it aligns with the content of your essay.
  • Seek Feedback: Share your thesis with peers or mentors to get their perspective. Sometimes, an outsider’s view can provide clarity.

Can a narrative essay have a thesis statement?

Absolutely! While narrative essays primarily tell a story or share an experience, a thesis statement offers readers a preview of the essay’s main theme or message. It provides direction and sets the tone for the entire narrative. Even though it’s not argumentative in nature, a thesis in a narrative essay effectively conveys the essay’s purpose or the writer’s reason for telling that particular story. It serves as an anchor, ensuring the narrative remains centered on its core message.

Tips for Writing a Personal Essay Thesis Statement

  • Introspect: Before you begin, spend some time introspecting. Understand the main emotion, lesson, or realization you want to convey. This will become the foundation of your thesis.
  • Be Authentic: Personal essays are about real experiences and feelings. Ensure your thesis genuinely represents your thoughts and isn’t something you believe readers will want to hear.
  • Use Active Voice: Active voice makes your statement sound assertive and clear. This clarity is essential for readers to grasp the main idea immediately.
  • Avoid Clichés: While it can be tempting to use commonly accepted phrases or ideas, originality will make your thesis and essay more memorable.
  • Stay Relevant: Ensure your thesis is directly relevant to the personal narrative you’re sharing. Every part of your essay should reflect or relate back to the thesis.
  • Seek Clarity: A good thesis is not about using highfalutin words. It’s about being clear and precise, ensuring readers instantly understand the essay’s central theme.
  • Test Your Thesis: Before finalizing, ask yourself: “If someone reads only my thesis statement, will they understand the crux of my personal essay?” If the answer is yes, you’re on the right track.


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  • How to Write a Thesis Statement | 4 Steps & Examples

How to Write a Thesis Statement | 4 Steps & Examples

Published on January 11, 2019 by Shona McCombes . Revised on August 15, 2023 by Eoghan Ryan.

A thesis statement is a sentence that sums up the central point of your paper or essay . It usually comes near the end of your introduction .

Your thesis will look a bit different depending on the type of essay you’re writing. But the thesis statement should always clearly state the main idea you want to get across. Everything else in your essay should relate back to this idea.

You can write your thesis statement by following four simple steps:

  • Start with a question
  • Write your initial answer
  • Develop your answer
  • Refine your thesis statement

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Table of contents

What is a thesis statement, placement of the thesis statement, step 1: start with a question, step 2: write your initial answer, step 3: develop your answer, step 4: refine your thesis statement, types of thesis statements, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions about thesis statements.

A thesis statement summarizes the central points of your essay. It is a signpost telling the reader what the essay will argue and why.

The best thesis statements are:

  • Concise: A good thesis statement is short and sweet—don’t use more words than necessary. State your point clearly and directly in one or two sentences.
  • Contentious: Your thesis shouldn’t be a simple statement of fact that everyone already knows. A good thesis statement is a claim that requires further evidence or analysis to back it up.
  • Coherent: Everything mentioned in your thesis statement must be supported and explained in the rest of your paper.

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See an example

does a narrative essay need a thesis statement

The thesis statement generally appears at the end of your essay introduction or research paper introduction .

The spread of the internet has had a world-changing effect, not least on the world of education. The use of the internet in academic contexts and among young people more generally is hotly debated. For many who did not grow up with this technology, its effects seem alarming and potentially harmful. This concern, while understandable, is misguided. The negatives of internet use are outweighed by its many benefits for education: the internet facilitates easier access to information, exposure to different perspectives, and a flexible learning environment for both students and teachers.

You should come up with an initial thesis, sometimes called a working thesis , early in the writing process . As soon as you’ve decided on your essay topic , you need to work out what you want to say about it—a clear thesis will give your essay direction and structure.

You might already have a question in your assignment, but if not, try to come up with your own. What would you like to find out or decide about your topic?

For example, you might ask:

After some initial research, you can formulate a tentative answer to this question. At this stage it can be simple, and it should guide the research process and writing process .

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Now you need to consider why this is your answer and how you will convince your reader to agree with you. As you read more about your topic and begin writing, your answer should get more detailed.

In your essay about the internet and education, the thesis states your position and sketches out the key arguments you’ll use to support it.

The negatives of internet use are outweighed by its many benefits for education because it facilitates easier access to information.

In your essay about braille, the thesis statement summarizes the key historical development that you’ll explain.

The invention of braille in the 19th century transformed the lives of blind people, allowing them to participate more actively in public life.

A strong thesis statement should tell the reader:

  • Why you hold this position
  • What they’ll learn from your essay
  • The key points of your argument or narrative

The final thesis statement doesn’t just state your position, but summarizes your overall argument or the entire topic you’re going to explain. To strengthen a weak thesis statement, it can help to consider the broader context of your topic.

These examples are more specific and show that you’ll explore your topic in depth.

Your thesis statement should match the goals of your essay, which vary depending on the type of essay you’re writing:

  • In an argumentative essay , your thesis statement should take a strong position. Your aim in the essay is to convince your reader of this thesis based on evidence and logical reasoning.
  • In an expository essay , you’ll aim to explain the facts of a topic or process. Your thesis statement doesn’t have to include a strong opinion in this case, but it should clearly state the central point you want to make, and mention the key elements you’ll explain.

If you want to know more about AI tools , college essays , or fallacies make sure to check out some of our other articles with explanations and examples or go directly to our tools!

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A thesis statement is a sentence that sums up the central point of your paper or essay . Everything else you write should relate to this key idea.

The thesis statement is essential in any academic essay or research paper for two main reasons:

  • It gives your writing direction and focus.
  • It gives the reader a concise summary of your main point.

Without a clear thesis statement, an essay can end up rambling and unfocused, leaving your reader unsure of exactly what you want to say.

Follow these four steps to come up with a thesis statement :

  • Ask a question about your topic .
  • Write your initial answer.
  • Develop your answer by including reasons.
  • Refine your answer, adding more detail and nuance.

The thesis statement should be placed at the end of your essay introduction .

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The Ultimate Narrative Essay Guide for Beginners

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A narrative essay tells a story in chronological order, with an introduction that introduces the characters and sets the scene. Then a series of events leads to a climax or turning point, and finally a resolution or reflection on the experience.

Speaking of which, are you in sixes and sevens about narrative essays? Don’t worry this ultimate expert guide will wipe out all your doubts. So let’s get started.

Table of Contents

Everything You Need to Know About Narrative Essay

What is a narrative essay.

When you go through a narrative essay definition, you would know that a narrative essay purpose is to tell a story. It’s all about sharing an experience or event and is different from other types of essays because it’s more focused on how the event made you feel or what you learned from it, rather than just presenting facts or an argument. Let’s explore more details on this interesting write-up and get to know how to write a narrative essay.

Elements of a Narrative Essay

Here’s a breakdown of the key elements of a narrative essay:

A narrative essay has a beginning, middle, and end. It builds up tension and excitement and then wraps things up in a neat package.

Real people, including the writer, often feature in personal narratives. Details of the characters and their thoughts, feelings, and actions can help readers to relate to the tale.

It’s really important to know when and where something happened so we can get a good idea of the context. Going into detail about what it looks like helps the reader to really feel like they’re part of the story.

Conflict or Challenge 

A story in a narrative essay usually involves some kind of conflict or challenge that moves the plot along. It could be something inside the character, like a personal battle, or something from outside, like an issue they have to face in the world.

Theme or Message

A narrative essay isn’t just about recounting an event – it’s about showing the impact it had on you and what you took away from it. It’s an opportunity to share your thoughts and feelings about the experience, and how it changed your outlook.

Emotional Impact

The author is trying to make the story they’re telling relatable, engaging, and memorable by using language and storytelling to evoke feelings in whoever’s reading it.

Narrative essays let writers have a blast telling stories about their own lives. It’s an opportunity to share insights and impart wisdom, or just have some fun with the reader. Descriptive language, sensory details, dialogue, and a great narrative voice are all essentials for making the story come alive.

The Purpose of a Narrative Essay

A narrative essay is more than just a story – it’s a way to share a meaningful, engaging, and relatable experience with the reader. Includes:

Sharing Personal Experience

Narrative essays are a great way for writers to share their personal experiences, feelings, thoughts, and reflections. It’s an opportunity to connect with readers and make them feel something.

Entertainment and Engagement

The essay attempts to keep the reader interested by using descriptive language, storytelling elements, and a powerful voice. It attempts to pull them in and make them feel involved by creating suspense, mystery, or an emotional connection.

Conveying a Message or Insight

Narrative essays are more than just a story – they aim to teach you something. They usually have a moral lesson, a new understanding, or a realization about life that the author gained from the experience.

Building Empathy and Understanding

By telling their stories, people can give others insight into different perspectives, feelings, and situations. Sharing these tales can create compassion in the reader and help broaden their knowledge of different life experiences.

Inspiration and Motivation

Stories about personal struggles, successes, and transformations can be really encouraging to people who are going through similar situations. It can provide them with hope and guidance, and let them know that they’re not alone.

Reflecting on Life’s Significance

These essays usually make you think about the importance of certain moments in life or the impact of certain experiences. They make you look deep within yourself and ponder on the things you learned or how you changed because of those events.

Demonstrating Writing Skills

Coming up with a gripping narrative essay takes serious writing chops, like vivid descriptions, powerful language, timing, and organization. It’s an opportunity for writers to show off their story-telling abilities.

Preserving Personal History

Sometimes narrative essays are used to record experiences and special moments that have an emotional resonance. They can be used to preserve individual memories or for future generations to look back on.

Cultural and Societal Exploration

Personal stories can look at cultural or social aspects, giving us an insight into customs, opinions, or social interactions seen through someone’s own experience.

Format of a Narrative Essay

Narrative essays are quite flexible in terms of format, which allows the writer to tell a story in a creative and compelling way. Here’s a quick breakdown of the narrative essay format, along with some examples:


Set the scene and introduce the story.

Engage the reader and establish the tone of the narrative.

Hook: Start with a captivating opening line to grab the reader’s attention. For instance:

Example:  “The scorching sun beat down on us as we trekked through the desert, our water supply dwindling.”

Background Information: Provide necessary context or background without giving away the entire story.

Example:  “It was the summer of 2015 when I embarked on a life-changing journey to…”

Thesis Statement or Narrative Purpose

Present the main idea or the central message of the essay.

Offer a glimpse of what the reader can expect from the narrative.

Thesis Statement: This isn’t as rigid as in other essays but can be a sentence summarizing the essence of the story.

Example:  “Little did I know, that seemingly ordinary hike would teach me invaluable lessons about resilience and friendship.”

Body Paragraphs

Present the sequence of events in chronological order.

Develop characters, setting, conflict, and resolution.

Story Progression: Describe events in the order they occurred, focusing on details that evoke emotions and create vivid imagery.

Example: Detail the trek through the desert, the challenges faced, interactions with fellow hikers, and the pivotal moments.

Character Development: Introduce characters and their roles in the story. Show their emotions, thoughts, and actions.

Example: Describe how each character reacted to the dwindling water supply and supported each other through adversity.

Dialogue and Interactions: Use dialogue to bring the story to life and reveal character personalities.

Example: “Sarah handed me her last bottle of water, saying, ‘We’re in this together.'”

Reach the peak of the story, the moment of highest tension or significance.

Turning Point: Highlight the most crucial moment or realization in the narrative.

Example:  “As the sun dipped below the horizon and hope seemed lost, a distant sound caught our attention—the rescue team’s helicopters.”

Provide closure to the story.

Reflect on the significance of the experience and its impact.

Reflection: Summarize the key lessons learned or insights gained from the experience.

Example: “That hike taught me the true meaning of resilience and the invaluable support of friendship in challenging times.”

Closing Thought: End with a memorable line that reinforces the narrative’s message or leaves a lasting impression.

Example: “As we boarded the helicopters, I knew this adventure would forever be etched in my heart.”

Example Summary:

Imagine a narrative about surviving a challenging hike through the desert, emphasizing the bonds formed and lessons learned. The narrative essay structure might look like starting with an engaging scene, narrating the hardships faced, showcasing the characters’ resilience, and culminating in a powerful realization about friendship and endurance.

Different Types of Narrative Essays

There are a bunch of different types of narrative essays – each one focuses on different elements of storytelling and has its own purpose. Here’s a breakdown of the narrative essay types and what they mean.

Personal Narrative

Description: Tells a personal story or experience from the writer’s life.

Purpose: Reflects on personal growth, lessons learned, or significant moments.

Example of Narrative Essay Types:

Topic: “The Day I Conquered My Fear of Public Speaking”

Focus: Details the experience, emotions, and eventual triumph over a fear of public speaking during a pivotal event.

Descriptive Narrative

Description: Emphasizes vivid details and sensory imagery.

Purpose: Creates a sensory experience, painting a vivid picture for the reader.

Topic: “A Walk Through the Enchanted Forest”

Focus: Paints a detailed picture of the sights, sounds, smells, and feelings experienced during a walk through a mystical forest.

Autobiographical Narrative

Description: Chronicles significant events or moments from the writer’s life.

Purpose: Provides insights into the writer’s life, experiences, and growth.

Topic: “Lessons from My Childhood: How My Grandmother Shaped Who I Am”

Focus: Explores pivotal moments and lessons learned from interactions with a significant family member.

Experiential Narrative

Description: Relays experiences beyond the writer’s personal life.

Purpose: Shares experiences, travels, or events from a broader perspective.

Topic: “Volunteering in a Remote Village: A Journey of Empathy”

Focus: Chronicles the writer’s volunteering experience, highlighting interactions with a community and personal growth.

Literary Narrative

Description: Incorporates literary elements like symbolism, allegory, or thematic explorations.

Purpose: Uses storytelling for deeper explorations of themes or concepts.

Topic: “The Symbolism of the Red Door: A Journey Through Change”

Focus: Uses a red door as a symbol, exploring its significance in the narrator’s life and the theme of transition.

Historical Narrative

Description: Recounts historical events or periods through a personal lens.

Purpose: Presents history through personal experiences or perspectives.

Topic: “A Grandfather’s Tales: Living Through the Great Depression”

Focus: Shares personal stories from a family member who lived through a historical era, offering insights into that period.

Digital or Multimedia Narrative

Description: Incorporates multimedia elements like images, videos, or audio to tell a story.

Purpose: Explores storytelling through various digital platforms or formats.

Topic: “A Travel Diary: Exploring Europe Through Vlogs”

Focus: Combines video clips, photos, and personal narration to document a travel experience.

How to Choose a Topic for Your Narrative Essay?

Selecting a compelling topic for your narrative essay is crucial as it sets the stage for your storytelling. Choosing a boring topic is one of the narrative essay mistakes to avoid . Here’s a detailed guide on how to choose the right topic:

Reflect on Personal Experiences

  • Significant Moments:

Moments that had a profound impact on your life or shaped your perspective.

Example: A moment of triumph, overcoming a fear, a life-changing decision, or an unforgettable experience.

  • Emotional Resonance:

Events that evoke strong emotions or feelings.

Example: Joy, fear, sadness, excitement, or moments of realization.

  • Lessons Learned:

Experiences that taught you valuable lessons or brought about personal growth.

Example: Challenges that led to personal development, shifts in mindset, or newfound insights.

Explore Unique Perspectives

  • Uncommon Experiences:

Unique or unconventional experiences that might captivate the reader’s interest.

Example: Unusual travels, interactions with different cultures, or uncommon hobbies.

  • Different Points of View:

Stories from others’ perspectives that impacted you deeply.

Example: A family member’s story, a friend’s experience, or a historical event from a personal lens.

Focus on Specific Themes or Concepts

  • Themes or Concepts of Interest:

Themes or ideas you want to explore through storytelling.

Example: Friendship, resilience, identity, cultural diversity, or personal transformation.

  • Symbolism or Metaphor:

Using symbols or metaphors as the core of your narrative.

Example: Exploring the symbolism of an object or a place in relation to a broader theme.

Consider Your Audience and Purpose

  • Relevance to Your Audience:

Topics that resonate with your audience’s interests or experiences.

Example: Choose a relatable theme or experience that your readers might connect with emotionally.

  • Impact or Message:

What message or insight do you want to convey through your story?

Example: Choose a topic that aligns with the message or lesson you aim to impart to your readers.

Brainstorm and Evaluate Ideas

  • Free Writing or Mind Mapping:

Process: Write down all potential ideas without filtering. Mind maps or free-writing exercises can help generate diverse ideas.

  • Evaluate Feasibility:

The depth of the story, the availability of vivid details, and your personal connection to the topic.

Imagine you’re considering topics for a narrative essay. You reflect on your experiences and decide to explore the topic of “Overcoming Stage Fright: How a School Play Changed My Perspective.” This topic resonates because it involves a significant challenge you faced and the personal growth it brought about.

Narrative Essay Topics

50 easy narrative essay topics.

  • Learning to Ride a Bike
  • My First Day of School
  • A Surprise Birthday Party
  • The Day I Got Lost
  • Visiting a Haunted House
  • An Encounter with a Wild Animal
  • My Favorite Childhood Toy
  • The Best Vacation I Ever Had
  • An Unforgettable Family Gathering
  • Conquering a Fear of Heights
  • A Special Gift I Received
  • Moving to a New City
  • The Most Memorable Meal
  • Getting Caught in a Rainstorm
  • An Act of Kindness I Witnessed
  • The First Time I Cooked a Meal
  • My Experience with a New Hobby
  • The Day I Met My Best Friend
  • A Hike in the Mountains
  • Learning a New Language
  • An Embarrassing Moment
  • Dealing with a Bully
  • My First Job Interview
  • A Sporting Event I Attended
  • The Scariest Dream I Had
  • Helping a Stranger
  • The Joy of Achieving a Goal
  • A Road Trip Adventure
  • Overcoming a Personal Challenge
  • The Significance of a Family Tradition
  • An Unusual Pet I Owned
  • A Misunderstanding with a Friend
  • Exploring an Abandoned Building
  • My Favorite Book and Why
  • The Impact of a Role Model
  • A Cultural Celebration I Participated In
  • A Valuable Lesson from a Teacher
  • A Trip to the Zoo
  • An Unplanned Adventure
  • Volunteering Experience
  • A Moment of Forgiveness
  • A Decision I Regretted
  • A Special Talent I Have
  • The Importance of Family Traditions
  • The Thrill of Performing on Stage
  • A Moment of Sudden Inspiration
  • The Meaning of Home
  • Learning to Play a Musical Instrument
  • A Childhood Memory at the Park
  • Witnessing a Beautiful Sunset

Narrative Essay Topics for College Students

  • Discovering a New Passion
  • Overcoming Academic Challenges
  • Navigating Cultural Differences
  • Embracing Independence: Moving Away from Home
  • Exploring Career Aspirations
  • Coping with Stress in College
  • The Impact of a Mentor in My Life
  • Balancing Work and Studies
  • Facing a Fear of Public Speaking
  • Exploring a Semester Abroad
  • The Evolution of My Study Habits
  • Volunteering Experience That Changed My Perspective
  • The Role of Technology in Education
  • Finding Balance: Social Life vs. Academics
  • Learning a New Skill Outside the Classroom
  • Reflecting on Freshman Year Challenges
  • The Joys and Struggles of Group Projects
  • My Experience with Internship or Work Placement
  • Challenges of Time Management in College
  • Redefining Success Beyond Grades
  • The Influence of Literature on My Thinking
  • The Impact of Social Media on College Life
  • Overcoming Procrastination
  • Lessons from a Leadership Role
  • Exploring Diversity on Campus
  • Exploring Passion for Environmental Conservation
  • An Eye-Opening Course That Changed My Perspective
  • Living with Roommates: Challenges and Lessons
  • The Significance of Extracurricular Activities
  • The Influence of a Professor on My Academic Journey
  • Discussing Mental Health in College
  • The Evolution of My Career Goals
  • Confronting Personal Biases Through Education
  • The Experience of Attending a Conference or Symposium
  • Challenges Faced by Non-Native English Speakers in College
  • The Impact of Traveling During Breaks
  • Exploring Identity: Cultural or Personal
  • The Impact of Music or Art on My Life
  • Addressing Diversity in the Classroom
  • Exploring Entrepreneurial Ambitions
  • My Experience with Research Projects
  • Overcoming Impostor Syndrome in College
  • The Importance of Networking in College
  • Finding Resilience During Tough Times
  • The Impact of Global Issues on Local Perspectives
  • The Influence of Family Expectations on Education
  • Lessons from a Part-Time Job
  • Exploring the College Sports Culture
  • The Role of Technology in Modern Education
  • The Journey of Self-Discovery Through Education

Narrative Essay Comparison

Narrative essay vs. descriptive essay.

Here’s our first narrative essay comparison! While both narrative and descriptive essays focus on vividly portraying a subject or an event, they differ in their primary objectives and approaches. Now, let’s delve into the nuances of comparison on narrative essays.

Narrative Essay:

Storytelling: Focuses on narrating a personal experience or event.

Chronological Order: Follows a structured timeline of events to tell a story.

Message or Lesson: Often includes a central message, moral, or lesson learned from the experience.

Engagement: Aims to captivate the reader through a compelling storyline and character development.

First-Person Perspective: Typically narrated from the writer’s point of view, using “I” and expressing personal emotions and thoughts.

Plot Development: Emphasizes a plot with a beginning, middle, climax, and resolution.

Character Development: Focuses on describing characters, their interactions, emotions, and growth.

Conflict or Challenge: Usually involves a central conflict or challenge that drives the narrative forward.

Dialogue: Incorporates conversations to bring characters and their interactions to life.

Reflection: Concludes with reflection or insight gained from the experience.

Descriptive Essay:

Vivid Description: Aims to vividly depict a person, place, object, or event.

Imagery and Details: Focuses on sensory details to create a vivid image in the reader’s mind.

Emotion through Description: Uses descriptive language to evoke emotions and engage the reader’s senses.

Painting a Picture: Creates a sensory-rich description allowing the reader to visualize the subject.

Imagery and Sensory Details: Focuses on providing rich sensory descriptions, using vivid language and adjectives.

Point of Focus: Concentrates on describing a specific subject or scene in detail.

Spatial Organization: Often employs spatial organization to describe from one area or aspect to another.

Objective Observations: Typically avoids the use of personal opinions or emotions; instead, the focus remains on providing a detailed and objective description.


Focus: Narrative essays emphasize storytelling, while descriptive essays focus on vividly describing a subject or scene.

Perspective: Narrative essays are often written from a first-person perspective, while descriptive essays may use a more objective viewpoint.

Purpose: Narrative essays aim to convey a message or lesson through a story, while descriptive essays aim to paint a detailed picture for the reader without necessarily conveying a specific message.

Narrative Essay vs. Argumentative Essay

The narrative essay and the argumentative essay serve distinct purposes and employ different approaches:

Engagement and Emotion: Aims to captivate the reader through a compelling story.

Reflective: Often includes reflection on the significance of the experience or lessons learned.

First-Person Perspective: Typically narrated from the writer’s point of view, sharing personal emotions and thoughts.

Plot Development: Emphasizes a storyline with a beginning, middle, climax, and resolution.

Message or Lesson: Conveys a central message, moral, or insight derived from the experience.

Argumentative Essay:

Persuasion and Argumentation: Aims to persuade the reader to adopt the writer’s viewpoint on a specific topic.

Logical Reasoning: Presents evidence, facts, and reasoning to support a particular argument or stance.

Debate and Counterarguments: Acknowledge opposing views and counter them with evidence and reasoning.

Thesis Statement: Includes a clear thesis statement that outlines the writer’s position on the topic.

Thesis and Evidence: Starts with a strong thesis statement and supports it with factual evidence, statistics, expert opinions, or logical reasoning.

Counterarguments: Addresses opposing viewpoints and provides rebuttals with evidence.

Logical Structure: Follows a logical structure with an introduction, body paragraphs presenting arguments and evidence, and a conclusion reaffirming the thesis.

Formal Language: Uses formal language and avoids personal anecdotes or emotional appeals.

Objective: Argumentative essays focus on presenting a logical argument supported by evidence, while narrative essays prioritize storytelling and personal reflection.

Purpose: Argumentative essays aim to persuade and convince the reader of a particular viewpoint, while narrative essays aim to engage, entertain, and share personal experiences.

Structure: Narrative essays follow a storytelling structure with character development and plot, while argumentative essays follow a more formal, structured approach with logical arguments and evidence.

In essence, while both essays involve writing and presenting information, the narrative essay focuses on sharing a personal experience, whereas the argumentative essay aims to persuade the audience by presenting a well-supported argument.

Narrative Essay vs. Personal Essay

While there can be an overlap between narrative and personal essays, they have distinctive characteristics:

Storytelling: Emphasizes recounting a specific experience or event in a structured narrative form.

Engagement through Story: Aims to engage the reader through a compelling story with characters, plot, and a central theme or message.

Reflective: Often includes reflection on the significance of the experience and the lessons learned.

First-Person Perspective: Typically narrated from the writer’s viewpoint, expressing personal emotions and thoughts.

Plot Development: Focuses on developing a storyline with a clear beginning, middle, climax, and resolution.

Character Development: Includes descriptions of characters, their interactions, emotions, and growth.

Central Message: Conveys a central message, moral, or insight derived from the experience.

Personal Essay:

Exploration of Ideas or Themes: Explores personal ideas, opinions, or reflections on a particular topic or subject.

Expression of Thoughts and Opinions: Expresses the writer’s thoughts, feelings, and perspectives on a specific subject matter.

Reflection and Introspection: Often involves self-reflection and introspection on personal experiences, beliefs, or values.

Varied Structure and Content: Can encompass various forms, including memoirs, personal anecdotes, or reflections on life experiences.

Flexibility in Structure: Allows for diverse structures and forms based on the writer’s intent, which could be narrative-like or more reflective.

Theme-Centric Writing: Focuses on exploring a central theme or idea, with personal anecdotes or experiences supporting and illustrating the theme.

Expressive Language: Utilizes descriptive and expressive language to convey personal perspectives, emotions, and opinions.

Focus: Narrative essays primarily focus on storytelling through a structured narrative, while personal essays encompass a broader range of personal expression, which can include storytelling but isn’t limited to it.

Structure: Narrative essays have a more structured plot development with characters and a clear sequence of events, while personal essays might adopt various structures, focusing more on personal reflection, ideas, or themes.

Intent: While both involve personal experiences, narrative essays emphasize telling a story with a message or lesson learned, while personal essays aim to explore personal thoughts, feelings, or opinions on a broader range of topics or themes.

5 Easy Steps for Writing a Narrative Essay

A narrative essay is more than just telling a story. It’s also meant to engage the reader, get them thinking, and leave a lasting impact. Whether it’s to amuse, motivate, teach, or reflect, these essays are a great way to communicate with your audience. This interesting narrative essay guide was all about letting you understand the narrative essay, its importance, and how can you write one.

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Purdue Online Writing Lab Purdue OWL® College of Liberal Arts

Narrative Essays

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This page is brought to you by the OWL at Purdue University. When printing this page, you must include the entire legal notice.

Copyright ©1995-2018 by The Writing Lab & The OWL at Purdue and Purdue University. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, reproduced, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission. Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our terms and conditions of fair use.

The Modes of Discourse—Exposition, Description, Narration, Argumentation (EDNA)—are common paper assignments you may encounter in your writing classes. Although these genres have been criticized by some composition scholars, the Purdue OWL recognizes the widespread use of these approaches and students’ need to understand and produce them.

What is a narrative essay?

When writing a narrative essay, one might think of it as telling a story. These essays are often anecdotal, experiential, and personal—allowing students to express themselves in a creative and, quite often, moving ways.

Here are some guidelines for writing a narrative essay.

  • If written as a story, the essay should include all the parts of a story.

This means that you must include an introduction, plot, characters, setting, climax, and conclusion.

  • When would a narrative essay not be written as a story?

A good example of this is when an instructor asks a student to write a book report. Obviously, this would not necessarily follow the pattern of a story and would focus on providing an informative narrative for the reader.

  • The essay should have a purpose.

Make a point! Think of this as the thesis of your story. If there is no point to what you are narrating, why narrate it at all?

  • The essay should be written from a clear point of view.

It is quite common for narrative essays to be written from the standpoint of the author; however, this is not the sole perspective to be considered. Creativity in narrative essays oftentimes manifests itself in the form of authorial perspective.

  • Use clear and concise language throughout the essay.

Much like the descriptive essay, narrative essays are effective when the language is carefully, particularly, and artfully chosen. Use specific language to evoke specific emotions and senses in the reader.

  • The use of the first person pronoun ‘I’ is welcomed.

Do not abuse this guideline! Though it is welcomed it is not necessary—nor should it be overused for lack of clearer diction.

  • As always, be organized!

Have a clear introduction that sets the tone for the remainder of the essay. Do not leave the reader guessing about the purpose of your narrative. Remember, you are in control of the essay, so guide it where you desire (just make sure your audience can follow your lead).

Narrative Essay

A narration is simply the telling of a story. Whenever someone recounts an event or tells a story, he or she is using narration. A narration essay recounts an event or tells a story to illustrate an idea. A narration essay may be entertaining or informative.

Five Basic Steps to Writing a Narrative Essay

  • Purpose: Why are you telling the story? Every narration must have a point or purpose, usually to entertain or to inform.
  • Context: You should establish the context of your narrative early in the essay. You can follow these basic guidelines: who, what, where, when.
  • Point of View: A narrative essay may be written in the first-person (I) or third-person (he, she, it) point of view; do not use second person (you). If you were part of the action, the first-person provides the best perspective. If you are relating an event based upon other sources, use the third-person point of view. In some circumstances, you may be forced to choose the point of view (if, for example, you were a witness, but not a participant). Once you have decided upon a point of view, stay consistent with it.
  • Details: Include enough details for clarity; however, select only the facts that are relevant.
  • Organization: A narrative usually follows a chronological time line; however, you may find flashbacks a creative option as long as the narrative can be clearly followed by the reader. Most narratives are told in the past tense. You should keep tenses consistent.

Thesis Statements for Narrative Essays

To create a thesis statement, combine the claim and the supporting details in one sentence. The direction of your essay can change depending on the pattern in which you organize the supporting details.

Once you have drafted a narrative, it’s always a good idea to ask someone else to read it. And, of course, you yourself will want to review what you have written from the standpoint of a critical reader.

Questions to Keep in Mind When Checking a Narrative

PURPOSE AND AUDIENCE. Does the narrative serve the purpose it is intended to serve? Is it appropriate for its intended audience? Does it need any additional background information or definitions?

THE STORY. Does it consist mainly of actions and events? Do they constitute a plot, with a clear beginning, middle, and end? Is every action in the narrative necessary to the plot? Have any essential actions been left out?

THE POINT. Does the narrative have a clear point to make? What is it? Is it stated explicitly in a thesis? If not, should it be?

ORGANIZATION. Is the storyline easy to follow? Are the events in chronological order? Are there any unintentional lapses in chronology or verb tense? Are intentional deviations from chronology, such as flashbacks, clearly indicated?

TRANSITIONS. Are there clear transitions to help readers follow the sequence of events? Have you checked over each transition to see that it logically connects the adjoining parts of the narrative?

DIALOGUE AND POINT OF VIEW. If there is no dialogue in the narrative, would some direct speech help bring it to life? If there is dialogue, does it sound like real people talking? Is the narrative told from a consistent, plausible point of view?

DETAILS. Does the narrative include lots of concrete details, especially sensory details (visual, olfactory, tactile, and auditory)? Does it show as well as tell?  Can your reader imagine themselves there?

THE BEGINNING. Will the beginning of the narrative get the reader’s attention? How? How well does it set up what follows? How else might the narrative begin?

THE ENDING. How satisfying is it? What does it leave the reader thinking or feeling? How else might the narrative end?

Michael| 2018

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/4.0/.

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5.3.3: Generating a Narrative Thesis

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Turning a Story into A Statement

For a narrative essay, your focus, or main idea, should illustrate the importance or significance of your related experience, whether personal or not. Ask yourself what the point of telling the story is. This is how you can start to pinpoint a thesis statement. Your narrative must have happened in the past, so how does writing about this intend to inform, persuade, or entertain your reader? How will you develop, people, and detail your narrative? What support will you show and how do you intend to order your story: chronologically, spatially, or emphatically?

Sample Thesis Statements From Narrative Essays

In fifth grade, I and my dignity took a tumble when I had a wardrobe malfunction in front of my entire class.

  • This thesis statement would allow my essay to expand upon the event and how my reputation was affected. I could also explore my internal and external feelings after the embarrassment!

I had no blueprint for how to escape Damascus, but the fear I had for my children compelled me to figure it out as I went.

  • This thesis statement shows that my essay will focus on the maneuvering the author experienced when escaping the Syrian war, which would be a harrowing—if not inspiring—narrative to read.

The Writing Center • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Thesis Statements

What this handout is about.

This handout describes what a thesis statement is, how thesis statements work in your writing, and how you can craft or refine one for your draft.


Writing in college often takes the form of persuasion—convincing others that you have an interesting, logical point of view on the subject you are studying. Persuasion is a skill you practice regularly in your daily life. You persuade your roommate to clean up, your parents to let you borrow the car, your friend to vote for your favorite candidate or policy. In college, course assignments often ask you to make a persuasive case in writing. You are asked to convince your reader of your point of view. This form of persuasion, often called academic argument, follows a predictable pattern in writing. After a brief introduction of your topic, you state your point of view on the topic directly and often in one sentence. This sentence is the thesis statement, and it serves as a summary of the argument you’ll make in the rest of your paper.

What is a thesis statement?

A thesis statement:

  • tells the reader how you will interpret the significance of the subject matter under discussion.
  • is a road map for the paper; in other words, it tells the reader what to expect from the rest of the paper.
  • directly answers the question asked of you. A thesis is an interpretation of a question or subject, not the subject itself. The subject, or topic, of an essay might be World War II or Moby Dick; a thesis must then offer a way to understand the war or the novel.
  • makes a claim that others might dispute.
  • is usually a single sentence near the beginning of your paper (most often, at the end of the first paragraph) that presents your argument to the reader. The rest of the paper, the body of the essay, gathers and organizes evidence that will persuade the reader of the logic of your interpretation.

If your assignment asks you to take a position or develop a claim about a subject, you may need to convey that position or claim in a thesis statement near the beginning of your draft. The assignment may not explicitly state that you need a thesis statement because your instructor may assume you will include one. When in doubt, ask your instructor if the assignment requires a thesis statement. When an assignment asks you to analyze, to interpret, to compare and contrast, to demonstrate cause and effect, or to take a stand on an issue, it is likely that you are being asked to develop a thesis and to support it persuasively. (Check out our handout on understanding assignments for more information.)

How do I create a thesis?

A thesis is the result of a lengthy thinking process. Formulating a thesis is not the first thing you do after reading an essay assignment. Before you develop an argument on any topic, you have to collect and organize evidence, look for possible relationships between known facts (such as surprising contrasts or similarities), and think about the significance of these relationships. Once you do this thinking, you will probably have a “working thesis” that presents a basic or main idea and an argument that you think you can support with evidence. Both the argument and your thesis are likely to need adjustment along the way.

Writers use all kinds of techniques to stimulate their thinking and to help them clarify relationships or comprehend the broader significance of a topic and arrive at a thesis statement. For more ideas on how to get started, see our handout on brainstorming .

How do I know if my thesis is strong?

If there’s time, run it by your instructor or make an appointment at the Writing Center to get some feedback. Even if you do not have time to get advice elsewhere, you can do some thesis evaluation of your own. When reviewing your first draft and its working thesis, ask yourself the following :

  • Do I answer the question? Re-reading the question prompt after constructing a working thesis can help you fix an argument that misses the focus of the question. If the prompt isn’t phrased as a question, try to rephrase it. For example, “Discuss the effect of X on Y” can be rephrased as “What is the effect of X on Y?”
  • Have I taken a position that others might challenge or oppose? If your thesis simply states facts that no one would, or even could, disagree with, it’s possible that you are simply providing a summary, rather than making an argument.
  • Is my thesis statement specific enough? Thesis statements that are too vague often do not have a strong argument. If your thesis contains words like “good” or “successful,” see if you could be more specific: why is something “good”; what specifically makes something “successful”?
  • Does my thesis pass the “So what?” test? If a reader’s first response is likely to  be “So what?” then you need to clarify, to forge a relationship, or to connect to a larger issue.
  • Does my essay support my thesis specifically and without wandering? If your thesis and the body of your essay do not seem to go together, one of them has to change. It’s okay to change your working thesis to reflect things you have figured out in the course of writing your paper. Remember, always reassess and revise your writing as necessary.
  • Does my thesis pass the “how and why?” test? If a reader’s first response is “how?” or “why?” your thesis may be too open-ended and lack guidance for the reader. See what you can add to give the reader a better take on your position right from the beginning.

Suppose you are taking a course on contemporary communication, and the instructor hands out the following essay assignment: “Discuss the impact of social media on public awareness.” Looking back at your notes, you might start with this working thesis:

Social media impacts public awareness in both positive and negative ways.

You can use the questions above to help you revise this general statement into a stronger thesis.

  • Do I answer the question? You can analyze this if you rephrase “discuss the impact” as “what is the impact?” This way, you can see that you’ve answered the question only very generally with the vague “positive and negative ways.”
  • Have I taken a position that others might challenge or oppose? Not likely. Only people who maintain that social media has a solely positive or solely negative impact could disagree.
  • Is my thesis statement specific enough? No. What are the positive effects? What are the negative effects?
  • Does my thesis pass the “how and why?” test? No. Why are they positive? How are they positive? What are their causes? Why are they negative? How are they negative? What are their causes?
  • Does my thesis pass the “So what?” test? No. Why should anyone care about the positive and/or negative impact of social media?

After thinking about your answers to these questions, you decide to focus on the one impact you feel strongly about and have strong evidence for:

Because not every voice on social media is reliable, people have become much more critical consumers of information, and thus, more informed voters.

This version is a much stronger thesis! It answers the question, takes a specific position that others can challenge, and it gives a sense of why it matters.

Let’s try another. Suppose your literature professor hands out the following assignment in a class on the American novel: Write an analysis of some aspect of Mark Twain’s novel Huckleberry Finn. “This will be easy,” you think. “I loved Huckleberry Finn!” You grab a pad of paper and write:

Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn is a great American novel.

You begin to analyze your thesis:

  • Do I answer the question? No. The prompt asks you to analyze some aspect of the novel. Your working thesis is a statement of general appreciation for the entire novel.

Think about aspects of the novel that are important to its structure or meaning—for example, the role of storytelling, the contrasting scenes between the shore and the river, or the relationships between adults and children. Now you write:

In Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain develops a contrast between life on the river and life on the shore.
  • Do I answer the question? Yes!
  • Have I taken a position that others might challenge or oppose? Not really. This contrast is well-known and accepted.
  • Is my thesis statement specific enough? It’s getting there–you have highlighted an important aspect of the novel for investigation. However, it’s still not clear what your analysis will reveal.
  • Does my thesis pass the “how and why?” test? Not yet. Compare scenes from the book and see what you discover. Free write, make lists, jot down Huck’s actions and reactions and anything else that seems interesting.
  • Does my thesis pass the “So what?” test? What’s the point of this contrast? What does it signify?”

After examining the evidence and considering your own insights, you write:

Through its contrasting river and shore scenes, Twain’s Huckleberry Finn suggests that to find the true expression of American democratic ideals, one must leave “civilized” society and go back to nature.

This final thesis statement presents an interpretation of a literary work based on an analysis of its content. Of course, for the essay itself to be successful, you must now present evidence from the novel that will convince the reader of your interpretation.

Works consulted

We consulted these works while writing this handout. This is not a comprehensive list of resources on the handout’s topic, and we encourage you to do your own research to find additional publications. Please do not use this list as a model for the format of your own reference list, as it may not match the citation style you are using. For guidance on formatting citations, please see the UNC Libraries citation tutorial . We revise these tips periodically and welcome feedback.

Anson, Chris M., and Robert A. Schwegler. 2010. The Longman Handbook for Writers and Readers , 6th ed. New York: Longman.

Lunsford, Andrea A. 2015. The St. Martin’s Handbook , 8th ed. Boston: Bedford/St Martin’s.

Ramage, John D., John C. Bean, and June Johnson. 2018. The Allyn & Bacon Guide to Writing , 8th ed. New York: Pearson.

Ruszkiewicz, John J., Christy Friend, Daniel Seward, and Maxine Hairston. 2010. The Scott, Foresman Handbook for Writers , 9th ed. Boston: Pearson Education.

You may reproduce it for non-commercial use if you use the entire handout and attribute the source: The Writing Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

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How to Write a Thesis for a Narrative Essay

Amy sterling casil, 25 jun 2018.

How to Write a Thesis for a Narrative Essay

Although narrative essays tell a story, the events of the story on their own aren't enough to compose a narrative essay. All narrative essays should have a point, a point that is often best communicated in a thesis sentence. The Santa Barbara City College Writing Center advises students to set the scene and provide a "hook" to get the reader's attention. Depending on the type of narrative you're sharing with the reader, the thesis sentence could offer a lesson learned, identify a theme or simply start the story with the first event.

Explore this article

  • Scene Setting
  • Lessons Learned

1 Scene Setting

Set the scene for readers by letting them know relevant details of the the who, what, where and and where of your essay. For example, if you are assigned to write a narrative about a physical challenge, an effective thesis sentence would look at your personal reason for sharing the essay's story. Looking at what is unique about the story you tell in your essay is crucial part of setting the scene. An opener might be, "My father teaching me how to swim the summer I turned 8 made me appreciate my dad's patience and willingness to spend time with me."

The best "hook" for readers is appropriate to the story you are sharing in your narrative essay. An honest "hook" is always effective as a thesis sentence. One way to start an essay is with a related quote that engages the reader or makes them laugh in some way. Relating to the father-son bicycle story, a potential quote hook could be the Desmond Tutu quote, “Give a man a fish and feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and feed him for a lifetime. Teach a man to cycle and he will realize fishing is stupid and boring."

Include the underlying essay theme in your thesis sentence. For example, if you are writing a narrative about a great one-day trip you took with friends, the thesis could be, "Spending time with close friends gives memories that can last forever, even if the trip is just one day." Condense the main idea(s) of your narrative into a few sentences that support your theme.

4 Lessons Learned

Many narrative essay assignments ask students to write the story of an experience where they learned a valuable lesson. The thesis sentence for these types of narratives should include the lesson or moral of the story. For example, a thesis for an essay about how you responded to peer pressure could be, "I learned that I shouldn't do whatever my friends wanted me to do the night I got caught driving without a license."

  • 1 Purdue Online Writing Lab: Tips and Examples for Writing Thesis Statements
  • 2 New York Times: Climber Still Seeks Larger Meaning in His Epic Escape
  • 3 WeLoveCycling Magazine: 10 Motivational Cycling Quotes From Famous People

About the Author

Amy Sterling Casil is an award-winning writer with a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from Chapman University in Orange, Calif. She is a professional author and college writing teacher, and has published 20 nonfiction books for schools and libraries.

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Definition of Narrative Statement

Definition of Narrative Statement

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The Art of Narrative

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4 Steps to writing a thesis statement

How to Write a Thesis Statement in 4 Steps

Learn what a thesis statement is, why thesis statements are important to your essay, and how to write a thesis statement in four easy steps!

does a narrative essay need a thesis statement

It’s no secret that a solid thesis statement is an essential part of any essay. If your writing doesn’t have a defined thesis, nothing else will matter. The thesis statement is the first element of your paper that you’ll be judged on. If your thesis is not clear and straightforward, you’ll lose your reader. So, let’s talk about how to write the perfect thesis statement in four simple steps. But first, let’s start from the beginning. 

What is a thesis statement?

What is a thesis statement?

A thesis statement is one or two sentences at the beginning of your essay that tells your reader the main idea of your paper and maps out the supporting details of that main idea. The thesis statement will focus your writing, and it will help readers link the subtopics of your essay to your central focus. 

In short, the thesis statement is one to two sentences that communicates the main idea, argument or central point of your essay. There are different types of essays, but each one will need a thesis statement. Let’s go over a few different types of essays. 

Three Types of Essays 

What is an analytical essay  .

In an analytical essay, the author is analyzing a topic breaking it down into its component parts. In an analytical essay, you might dissect another author’s argument about a subject. You can also use an analytical essay to write about a book, movie, or other lengthy text. 

The thesis statement of an analytical essay will answer a ‘how’ or ‘why’ question. For example, a while back, I wrote a blog post on how Jane Austen uses the theme of effective communication in her novel, Pride and Prejudice . If you flip that statement and form the question- How does Jane Austen demonstrate the theme of effective communication in Pride and Prejudice ? That’s the question I answered with my essay by analyzing the novel, its characters, and plot.  

What is an expository essay?  

In an expository essay, the author will explain their topic. They will elaborate on a subject or investigate an issue. You’ll also see the term expository essay used as a blanket term to describe all types of essays. Another name for an expository essay is an explanatory essay. 

So, expository can be a general term and may describe an analytical or argumentative essay. A thesis statement for an expository essay will be much like an analytical essay. You could answer a question and lay out the reasons for an outcome with a ‘because’ statement. 

For example: 

You shouldn’t drink and drive because alcohol impairs your judgment and motor skills which could cause harm to you or others and damage to property. 

What is an argumentative essay?  

In an argumentative essay, the writer is taking a stance and defending their opinion. They are making an argument about the topic of the essay. In an argumentative essay, you’ll be evaluating and presenting data that reinforces your opinion. 

In these essays, the term position statement is sometimes used to mean the thesis statement. If you hear a person use the term position statement, they’re talking about the thesis statement. To write your thesis or position statement, you’ll state your opinion and preview the details you will use to back it up. 

With that out of the way, let’s talk about the four steps you can use to write a perfect thesis statement that will fit the needs of any of these essay types. 

4 Steps to Writing the Perfect Thesis Statement

4 Steps to Writing the Perfect Thesis Statement

Step 1: Ask a question about your research subject. 

This question will guide your research and will lead you to a central idea for your essay. 

The first step in writing a thesis statement is investigating the subject of your essay. Whether that’s a text, like a book or a movie, or science topic like volcanos. The point of an essay is to relay some information to your reader. You need to decide what this information will be. The best place to start is with a question about your topic, something that genuinely interests you. Having a research question will make your research a lot easier and your writing clearer. 

Let’s go back to the example of volcanos. You don’t want to write an essay that focuses on just volcanoes because that’s too broad a subject. In writing, broad means boring. You’ll want to start drilling down on the topic and asking more specific questions. 

Maybe you want to know why volcanoes erupt. But, that question is still too broad a topic for most essays. You’ll need to ask narrower questions like why do people build cities close to volcanoes? Or, what is the chance of another eruption on the scale of Mt. Saint Helens, in the US? These questions will narrow the scope of your research and ease the writing process. 

Step 2: Formulate the Main Idea of your essay. 

The answer to your research question is your main idea or thesis. 

Once you’ve asked your question, you need to find the answer to it through research. Depending on the scope of your essay, this could take a few hours or a few years. The point of research is to come to some conclusions that answer your initial questions. 

You may find that your original research question changes as you look into your topic, and that’s fine. Nothing is set in stone until you start the writing process. Once you start writing, though, you don’t want to change the direction of your paper. 

When you have an answer to your research question, you can formulate a central idea. Your main idea is the main point of your essay, and it’s also called a thesis. 

Write out this thesis, and you’re half done with your thesis statement!

Step 3: Develop your Supporting Details 

Identify the facts that support, or prove, your main idea.

This isn’t to say, decide on your main idea and go out looking for data to prove it. This is working backward and will lead you to make a false assumption through confirmation bias. The concept of confirmation bias is that if you start with an idea you want to prove, then you’ll only look for information that confirms your view. When you do find data that disproves it, you’ll likely ignore it. 

You should already have supporting details once you develop your main idea. The supporting details are the data that led you to your main idea. You should also look for information that disproves your main idea. Be honest, and let your research guide you to a conclusion. Never start with your conclusion in mind. 

Once you’ve reached your conclusion, collect the most substantial data points that led you to that main idea, the answer to your research question. 

Step 4: Combine your Main Idea with your Supporting Details into one statement

Clearly state your main idea and preview your supporting details in one or two sentences. 

The job of your thesis statement is to layout, for the reader, your thesis or main idea early in your essay. You need to state your main idea as clearly as possible. You also need to preview the supporting details that will make up the body of your essay. Depending on the length and complexity of your article and main idea, you may need more than one sentence to accomplish this. 

We can take the above example of my analytical essay on Pride and Prejudice to examine how to formulate a thesis statement. Through reading the book, I decided there was a theme of communication. By drilling down on that topic, I discovered that each character had possessed a flawed way of communicating, which led to most of the conflict in the novel. 

The following sentence is a thesis statement developed from that conclusion: 

In her work, Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen explores the theme of effective communication. ⇠ Main Idea Through various characters’ means of expression, she demonstrates how the lack of communication skills can lead to a breakdown of romantic, friendly, and familial bonds. ⇠ Supporting Details

In the above thesis statement, the first sentence states the main idea. In the second sentence, I preview my supporting details- the data that proves my main idea. 

Thesis Statement Checklist 

A thesis statement should… 

  • Be clear and concise 
  • In the intro paragraph(s) of your essay
  • Not be too broad 
  • Be An opinion not a fact 
  • Preview your supporting details 
  • Answer your research question

A Formula for Thesis Statements 

Thesis Statement formula

While there’s no single way to write a thesis statement, here’s a simplified way to help guide your thinking: 

State your Main Idea + Preview your Supporting Details = Thesis Statement 

Examples of Thesis Statements 

The following are examples of thesis statements pulled from the article 25 Thesis Statement Examples That Will Make Writing A Breeze by J.Birdwell Branson. You can read the full list here. As you read each of these examples, identify the main idea and the supporting details in each one. 

“Because many children are unable to vaccinate due to illness, we must require that all healthy and able children be vaccinated in order to have herd immunity.”

“Educational Resources for Low-Income Students Schools should provide educational resources for low-income students during the summers so that they don’t forget what they’ve learned throughout the school year.”

“School uniforms may be an upfront cost for families, but they eradicate the visual differences in income between students and provide a more egalitarian atmosphere at school.”

“The rise in populism on the 2016 political stage was in reaction to increasing globalization, the decline of manufacturing jobs, and the Syrian refugee crisis.”

Check out the twenty-one more great examples at Servicescape.com 

Write your own Thesis Statement using our Controlling Idea Writing Exercise

Writing the Perfect Thesis Statement

Read more about Thesis Statements: 

The Oxford Essential Guide to Writing

The Oxford Essential Guide to Writing

“Whether you’re composing a letter, writing a school thesis, or starting a novel, this resource offers expert advice on how to think more creatively, how to conjure up ideas from scratch, and how to express those ideas clearly and elegantly… Some features include:

• How to use journals to store ideas and explore potential topics • Examples of style and technique from such masters of form as Mark Twain, H.L. Mencken, E.B. White, and Annie Dillard • Advice on using outlines to shape your material—and drafts and revisions to refine them • Selecting the proper words to convey both information and point of view • A useful appendix on punctuation, ranging from commas to underlining and capitalization”


Tips and Examples for Writing Thesis Statements – Purdue University 

Writing Tips: Thesis Statements – the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign

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This website is dedicated to English Literature, Literary Criticism, Literary Theory, English Language and its teaching and learning.

Narrative Thesis Statement

A narrative thesis statement is a statement having the central idea of your narrative essay. It sets the direction and focus of the story.


Table of Contents

A narrative thesis statement is a statement having the central idea of your narrative essay . It sets the direction and focus of the story, making the readers go through the author’s experiences and intentions even before reading the essay.

Whether a narrative thesis statement is reflective, descriptive, or persuasive, it captures the essence of the narrative. It may reflect the personal growth or resilience of the writer as seen in the examples of overcoming childhood challenges in some stories.

In fact, a narrative essay thesis statement comprises the core message and the narrative trajectory of the story or the essay, inviting the readers to a captivating journey the author shows through this statement.

Type of Narrative Thesis Statement

However, the type of the narrative thesis statement depends on the type of essay, topic, context, and above all the assignment type. Here are some types of narrative thesis statement examples generally written in composition courses.

These types of narrative thesis statements provide different approaches to storytelling, focusing on personal growth and reflection though the objective could be to inform, teach or even persuade the readers.

Elements of a Narrative Thesis Statement

  • Clear and Concise: A narrative thesis statement should be succinctly articulated, presenting the central theme or focus of the narrative in a straightforward manner.
  • Reflective or Descriptive : It should offer a glimpse into the content, reflecting its key aspects or describing the journey readers are about to take.
  • Personal Perspective: Often, a narrative thesis reflects the author’s perspective, conveying his/her emotions, experiences, or insights into events.
  • Provide Roadmap to the Essay: The thesis serves as a roadmap, outlining the main events or ideas that the narrative will explore, and guiding readers through the structure of the essay.
  • Coherence and Unity: A good thesis statement ensures that various elements of the narrative are connected and contribute to a unified whole, creating coherence.
  • Engaging the Readers: An effective thesis captivates readers’ interest by offering a glimpse of the intrigue of the narrative, encouraging them to delve further into the story.
  • May Contain a Persuasive Element: In some cases, a narrative thesis might incorporate a persuasive element, aiming to influence readers’ perspectives or evoke particular emotions.

Process/Steps of Writing a Narrative Thesis Statement

1. understand the purpose and scope:.

  • Clarify the purpose of your narrative essay or story.
  • Determine what you want to convey or explore through your narrative.
  • Consider the scope of your narrative.
  • Decide whether you will focus on a specific event, time, or some broader theme.

2. Reflect on Personal Experiences or Choose a Descriptive Setting:

  • If your narrative will be reflective, reflect on some personal experiences that taught you a valuable lesson.
  • If you go for a descriptive narrative, choose a compelling setting that can serve as a background to your story.

3. Identify the Main Theme or Message:

  • Determine the main theme or message
  • What do you want your readers to take away from your story?

4. Brainstorm Key Points and Ideas:

  • Engage in brainstorming to generate key points, events, or experiences
  • Consider the chronological order or logical progression

5. Write a Clear and Concise Statement:

  • Summarize your chosen theme, personal experiences, or descriptive setting
  • Ensure that your thesis statement effectively communicates the central idea

6. Revise and Refine:

  • Review your narrative thesis statement and evaluate its effectiveness
  • Revise and refine the statement as needed to enhance its clarity, coherence, and impact.

Remember, the process of writing a narrative thesis statement is iterative and repetitive. It may require multiple revisions to write a final statement that is comprehensive, coherent and cohesive.

Examples of Narrative Thesis Statements and Details

Suggested readings.

  • Hadiani, Dini. “The Students’Difficulties In Writing Thesis Statement.” Semantik 2.1 (2017): 80-86.
  • Miller, Ryan T., and Silvia Pessoa. “Where Is Your Thesis Statement and What Happened to Your Topic Sentences? Identifying Organizational Challenges in Undergraduate Student Argumentative Writing.” TESOL Journal 7.4 (2016): 847-873.
  • Moore, Kathleen, and Susie Lan Cassel. Techniques for College Writing: The Thesis Statement and Beyond . Cengage Learning, 2010.

More from Essay Writing:

  • Expository Thesis Statement
  • Background Information

Related posts:

  • Essay Writing, Objectives, and Key Terms in Essay Writing
  • Essay Type-3
  • Informative Thesis Statement

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How to Write a Good Narrative Essay: Tips, Examples, & Step-by-Step Guide

How to write a narrative essay? To do that, you need to know what a narrative essay is. It is an academic text usually written as a story and containing all the usual elements of a story. Narrative essays are often personal, experiential, and creative. Still, they should be made according to the rules of academic writing.

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Want to know how to write a good narrative essay for college or middle school? In this guide by Custom Writing experts, you’ll find a step-by-step guide, narrative essay examples, advice on choosing a topic, outlining and writing your text, as well as useful narrative essay tips.

❔ What Makes a Good Narrative Essay?

  • 👣 Narrative Writing Guide
  • 💡 Writing Tips

🔗 References

A narrative essay is usually a story about your own or somebody’s experience. We tell stories every day. So, when you ask “How to write a narrative essay,” you should think of a story you want to write about. Stories don’t need to be very accurate. They should be engaging, that is their most important quality. If written as a story, your narrative essay should contain all the necessary parts of it: an introduction, a rising action, a climax, a falling action, and a denouement.

The Main Elements of a Narrative Essay Are: Introduction, Rising Action, Climax, Falling Action, & Lessons Learned.

Check out information below to learn what each part of a good narrative essay includes:

📌 Introduction

The introduction of a narrative essay consists of exposition and conflict:

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  • The exposition presents the setting (time and place), characters, and mood.
  • The conflict is the main problem that drives the plot. It is an internal or external challenge the main character faces.

📌 Rising action

The rising action includes the events that lead up to the climax. They usually make the issue worse.

The climax is a turning point in the plot. It is the moment when opposing forces confront each other, make significant decisions, or take action.

📌 Falling action

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The falling action refers to the events that occur after the climax, such as character development, answers to key questions, etc.

📌 Denouement

The denouement, also known as resolution, reveals how things turn out in the end, leaving readers with questions, answers, frustration, or satisfaction.

👣 How to Write a Good Narrative Essay

Below are five simple writing steps for a narrative essay. Here are simple things you should do before you start writing your story:

  • Think about your narrative essay topic and how your life experience correlates with it. Even a small fact, idea, or goal can become a good story idea.
  • Think about your emotions. The more passionate you will be – the more effective your assignment.
  • Recall your story’s details : people and objects, setting, and season. Think about the sequence of events and remember; no detail is too small. Remember: the small details reveal big ideas!

Step 1. Choose Your Narrative Essay Topic

If you are free to select your own topic for a narrative essay, you still need to read what is expected from you carefully and to follow the requirements stated in the assignment. These are the most common characteristics of a narrative essay for college students to mind when choosing a topic:

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  • A challenge or conflict: an exciting or dangerous incident that creates suspense.
  • A protagonist: a character facing the challenge or conflict as mentioned above. If you are not the protagonist and the story is a third-person, it is better to choose a relatable character.
  • Evolution, growth, and change: when protagonists live through a conflict or challenge, their personality changes. Difficulties spark insights that may be used as a moral of the story.

To come up with a successful narrative topic, brainstorm the following directions of thought:

  • Think of a problem that bothers you and you’d like to share
  • Have you had any memorable experiences that have changed your view on life?
  • What kind of stories raises your interest? You can invent something similar.

Step 2. Make Your Narrative Essay Outline

A narrative essay is a less formal kind of academic paper. Still, it shall also conform with arrangement rules. This outline template will help you structure a narrative essay according to the traditional format.

Narrative Essay Outline

  • Background information about the protagonist
  • Thesis statement
  • Setting (place and time)
  • Preceding events
  • Secondary characters
  • Action and culmination
  • Outcome or morale
  • Summary of main events
  • Thesis restatement

Narrative Essay Introduction

The components of an introduction are:

  • Hook. Your narration needs to be moving, personal, and reflective. But in the first place, you shall engage your reader with the story. A hook sets the necessary tone from the beginning. An intriguing revelation or confession is the best choice here.
  • Background. Who is the protagonist of your story? Additional information helps the reader to put themselves into your shoes.
  • Thesis . It is an argumentative sentence where you specify the point of the piece of writing.

Narrative Essay Body

The components of a body are:

  • Setting. Make a visual and emotional description that suggests what experiences you will share. State when and where the action takes place.
  • Preceding events. In continuation of the previous point, sketch the circumstances under which the scenario unfolds.
  • Characters. Describe the secondary characters of your story.
  • Action and climax. Use the chronological order format throughout the main part. All the events shall culminate with a climax, the most emotional point of the plot.
  • Morale. What was the result of everything described above? What lessons can be learned from your story?

Narrative Essay Conclusion

The components of a conclusion are:

  • Summarizing paragraph . List the key points of your narration.
  • Thesis restatement. Reiterating your purpose in different words relating to the content of the main body finalizes your paper.

Step 3. Write Your Narrative Essay Introduction

Well, you have chosen the topic of your future writing and created your narrative essay outline. What’s next? Start writing your narrative essay with an introduction.

The introduction is an important part of your essay paper as it grabs the reader’s attention. And here are some basic guidelines for a narrative essay introduction.

  • Start with an introductory phrase. It has to be short and catchy. An unexpected point of view is always interesting to get acquainted with.
  • State the thesis. It doesn’t need to be as formal as in other types of academic papers. However, it’s worth saying a couple of words on why you decided to tell this particular story to the reader.
  • Write supporting sentences. Give reasons why the story you are sharing is significant.
  • Remember that the reader was not there when the story happened. He (or she)  is trying to catch up with it while reading. Be polite and thoughtful, don’t get into useless details or get swept away by the story, leaving your reader wondering and wandering.

Step 4. Create Your Narrative Essay Body

Your entire story is concentrated in body paragraphs: from three to as many as you wish.

Check the general guidelines on how to write a good narrative body!

  • Provide one idea per paragraph. Don’t try to put too many details in each of the logical parts.
  • Follow some logical pattern when presenting your narrative. Chronological is the easiest one.
  • Search for your personal writing style. It can be philosophical (careful! That requires specific knowledge), ironical, critical, romantic. Whatever you choose, it has to be you from top to bottom. The writing style is like an autograph. Work on it.

Step 5. Make a Narrative Essay Conclusion

You’re almost there. You just need to write good concluding sentences for your essay.

The conclusion is as important as an introduction. It leaves the aftertaste. Here you should make some final comments about your narrative. Restate some of the essential ideas and details and mention the most important lessons learned from your shared experience.

How to End a Narrative Essay?

  • Summarize. If you don’t like summarizing, or it doesn’t fit the style of the story, wrap it up with a rhetorical question or plans for the future.
  • Give your readers an idea. Think about the central message of the story and remind them of it.
  • Leave your readers experiencing a pleasant aftertaste. Give them a feeling that they need to sit back and think about the problems you brought up.

Step 6. Revise & Format Your Narrative Essay

Huh! You’ve done it. You finished the assignment. Now take a deep breath, go for a walk, or have some sleep. And then revise it. Here are some questions you should keep in mind when you review, reorganize, and modify your narrative essay to make it the best possible.

If you have any questions on how to format your narrative essay in MLA or APA, use our complete citation style guidebook .

Narrative Essay Checklist

  • Does the reader easily understand the progression of events? Do the transitions confuse or facilitate your readers?
  • Do I involve my readers in my experience? Should I add some details or remove extraneous ones that distract the attention?
  • How adequately did I convey the primary message of the essay? Does the experience described and its significance to me have a connection?

By the way, do you know which part of the writing process is usually the most underestimated? Proofreading . At this point, you should check and correct punctuation and grammar mistakes, improve clarity, and writing style. Ask your friend to read your narrative paper. You’ll get a fresh look at your writing.

📚 Narrative Essay Topics

If you need specific ideas to write your story about, explore the following narrative essay topics:

  • The most exciting day of your life .
  • A serious life lesson you learned.
  • A rebellious act that made a change .
  • A revelation that made you a different kind of person .
  • A moment you took a stand for yourself.
  • A situation when you protected someone.
  • An exciting discovery .
  • A moment when you had to overcome fear .
  • A dangerous situation you managed to escape.
  • What type of learner are you?
  • Detail how you used to handle stress at high school .
  • Describe the situation that helped you to understand the notion of race and ethnicity.
  • Discuss your experience of keeping to a financial plan .
  • Outline the day you attended court and how it influenced you.
  • Describe your experience of riding a bicycle .
  • Detail the parenting style of your parents and its impact on your personality.
  • Tell about the day you or your friend tried challenging gender norms .
  • Discuss your experience with writing.
  • Describe your traveling experience and the lessons you learned thanks to it.
  • Narrate how getting a degree changed your life.
  • Give details about your visit to a jazz concert .
  • What was the most embarrassing episode in your life?
  • Describe the peculiarities of the celebration of the traditional Thai New Year .
  • Tell a story that illustrates the influence of culture on human life.
  • Discuss the challenges you’ve faced when buying your first laptop .
  • Specify the situation when you faced racism .
  • What was the most memorable event in your childhood?
  • Write about your experience of trying dance movement therapy and its results.
  • Describe the case when you had a conflict and how you managed to resolve it.
  • Your experience of learning English.
  • Tell about your high school challenges and how you overcame them.
  • Give details about your experience of a cover conflict .
  • Recall and describe the moment of happiness .
  • Depict the last live concert you visited and the impression it made.
  • Write about your job experience.
  • Describe your visit to Australia and what you’ve learned from it.
  • Detail your experience of starting college and how it changed your life.
  • Tell about your first date .
  • Explain how a vacation in Mexico City added to your life experience.
  • Discuss the effect of the logic course on your life.
  • Describe your experience of bullying and its impact on your life.
  • Give details about your experience of global lockdown and how it changed your life values.
  • Tell a story that shows the role of technology in your life.
  • How was your first day at college?
  • Describe the most memorable event that had a positive impact on your life .
  • Narrate the story that happened to you on Christmas .
  • How did you meet your best friend ?
  • Write about the case of jealousy in friendship and how you managed to cope with it.
  • Describe your experience of adopting a cat from Humane Society .
  • Tell the story that shows how practicing mindfulness changed your life.

😸 Narrative Essay Examples

Example #1: live-saving experience.

In this essay, I would like to narrate a story that occurred with me and my friend when we were visiting a large shopping mall. It was the weekends, and our meeting in the café was planned in advance, but my friend suggested that we can go to the mall as she needed a new dress. I agreed with her and arrived a little earlier than it was arranged. I took a seat on the bench near the mall, sipping my cappuccino and looking around while waiting for my friend. The next 20 minutes were one of the most stressful and important in my life as I significantly contributed to saving a human life.

Example #2: Creating a Business with a Friend

I have been in business for more than ten years. I have seen crises, success, failures, tears, sweat, and hard work everywhere. Nevertheless, each time it was also about opportunities to grow both as an individual and as an entrepreneur. But I had one that was particularly memorable emotionally. This is a story about creating a business with a friend. I worked in various fields, and I started four of my companies with friends.

💡 Narrative Essay Tips

Do you need more tips for narrative writing? Keep reading!

  • Keep it clear. Avoid complex words and syntax.
  • Search for the balance when describing details . Don’t go into them too deeply. At the same time, even a single lost detail can skew the reader’s understanding.
  • Use the first-person narrative . Good narrative stories are usually written in the first person. When you use “I”, you’re engaging your readers with an immediacy of the story.
  • Use dynamic words and active voice . Think about your writing as it was the speech: what words, idioms, slang, and turns of phrase would you use? Try not to sound too clinical – no passive constructions.
  • Limit references . When you look through citation style guides, you’ll find the recommendations to include citations into your assignment. But not in a narrative essay – it is disruptive. When you find a useful piece of content, just cite it in the reference list after the essay.

Thank you for reading! Whenever you feel that you could use some help in writing your paper, take a closer look at these tips – you’ll definitely be able to develop your own signature style once you start following them. Keep up the good work!

  • Essay Writing: Purdue Online Writing Lab
  • How to Write an Making an Argument: Creating a Thesis (BMCC Writing Center)
  • Beginning the Academic Essay: Harvard College Writing Center
  • Conclusions: University of North Carolina Writing Center
  • Editing and Revision Tips: Indiana University Northwest
  • Narrative Essays // Purdue Writing Lab
  • Narrative Essay: Definition, Examples & Characteristics
  • Narrative Essays – National Geographic Learning – Cengage
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I will comment as soon as i finish reading your samples

Thanks guys it helped alot. i have my exam in 2 hours!

Custom Writing

Glad to hear that! Thank you for your feedback!

Thanks for sharing this 🙂

Thanks for your feedback!

Thanks alot

Thank you for your feedback!

Thank you for your feedback, Mariam!

Thank u so much… your tips have really helped me to broaden my scope on the idea of a narrative. This is so thoughtful of you… Thanks again!❤

Thank you for your kind words, Maathai!

This passage is really good, it helps me a lot. I think I can get a good result in my next exam if I follow these tips. I hope you can give some more other examples of essay writing. Thank you.

Glad to help, Yuki 🙂

Thanx for the tips. Tomorrow I’m writing p3 pre-exam n ur tips are superb

Joy, I’m glad you found the tips useful!

Jemma Kuster

Jemma Kuster

Narrative Essay Thesis Statements: Tips and Examples

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does a narrative essay need a thesis statement


A narrative essay, put simply, is an essay that tells a story. Narrative essays are usually both creative and personal, which makes it difficult to know where to start and how to incorporate the traditional elements of essays that we might be more familiar with. 

When we think of essays in general, one important component is the thesis statement, which tells us the main idea or argument of an overall work. In a narrative essay, however, a thesis does not follow the same rules it does in other types of writing. A narrative essay thesis statement can do one or both of the following: (1) convey a theme, lesson, or main idea, or (2) introduce the action of the story you want to tell. 

How you write your thesis will depend on the purpose of your essay, any instructions or prompt you may have received, and what flows with your writing style. In most cases, when writing a narrative essay, you will be focusing on a single event or experience that was important to you. If your goal is to convey a lesson, theme, or moral from that experience, you might think about the following questions: 

  • Why am I telling this story?
  • What happened or changed in my life as a result of this event?
  • What did I learn from this experience?
  • What is the most important idea/lesson that I want my reader to take away after reading my essay?
  • What point am I making with this, in general?

Once you have an idea of what you want to say, all that is left is to turn that thought into a thesis. Let’s take a closer look at some examples of narrative essay thesis statements to see how that works:

  • Over the few months I spent with those mice, I learned that unexpected instructors can often have the most to teach us. 
  • That single failing grade was enough to shift my perspective on personal responsibility. 
  • Overcoming grief is a slow process that never truly ends, but confiding in the people in our lives can make it less painful. 

These statements tell us a main idea, lesson, or theme from their respective narrative. Still, it can be hard to understand how these sentences would fit into an essay when looking at them in isolation. Here are two examples from well-known narrative essays so you can see what thesis statements look like in actual paragraphs:

“I was less playing a particular kind of animal than enacting a form of wildness that I recognized in myself.” – From “The Wild, Sublime Body” by Melissa Febos, published in The Yale Review. The full essay can be accessed here.
“Beyond those things our culture might specialize in money, and celebrity, and natural beauty. These are not universal. You enjoy work and will love your grandchildren, and somewhere in there you die.” – From “This is the Life” by Annie Dillard, originally published in  Image: A Journal of the Arts and Religio n. The full essay can be accessed here.

Both of these excerpts convey the main idea of their respective essay. They are not extremely direct, but they give us a hint at what we should be taking away from these essays nonetheless.

But what about thesis statements that simply introduce the action of a story, or do that while telling us a theme or main idea? These can also be a great, flexible option for your writing. Here is another contextual example:

“I foresaw no particular problems or difficulties. I was as strong as a bull, in the prime, the pride, the high noon of life. I looked forward to the walk with assurance and pleasure.” – From “The Bull on the Mountain” by Oliver Sacks, published in The New York Review. The full essay can be accessed here.

Not only do these sentences introduce the story’s action (the narrator will soon begin to walk), but they also hint at an underlying message. We know immediately that the narrator’s assuredness and pride will likely come before a fall, even though it is not stated. 

Drafting a thesis statement is difficult, especially for a creative medium like a narrative essay. Remember that writing is a process of revision; you can always return to your “thesis” after you’ve written some or all of your essay. This may help you eliminate any awkwardness in how your thesis flows with the rest of your writing. You can also test for awkward or too-direct phrasing by reading the surrounding sentences out loud and making sure they sound natural in your voice.

Keep in mind that the examples here are not exhaustive; there are infinite ways to tell a compelling story, and it is up to you to find what works for your goals. Continuing to seek out and read other narrative essays can help you understand what makes them tick and how you can achieve similar things in your writing.

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Dr. Mark Womack

Essay 1 — Literacy Narrative

Write a 300—500 word (1—2 page) autobiographical narrative that focuses on an experience you’ve had with reading, writing, or language.

Literacy Narrative A literacy narrative uses the elements of story (plot, character, setting, conflict) to recount a writer’s personal experience with language in all its forms–reading and writing, acquiring a second language, being an insider or outsider based on literacy level, and so on. Your narrative should focus on a single incident or event. You might explore a positive or negative experience you’ve had in learning to read or write and show how that experience changed the way you thought about the value and importance of literacy. Or you might present a breakthrough moment in your development as a literate person and explain how that moment created a new sense of yourself as a reader, writer, or learner.

The following questions may help you think of an event for your literacy narrative:

  • What obstacles have you encountered (and perhaps overcome) in learning to read or write?
  • What are your most vivid memories of reading or writing?
  • What unexpected problems with learning to read or write have you encountered in school?
  • What issues have arisen from: learning a second language? being bilingual? speaking a nonstandard dialect? having a speech or hearing impediment or a learning disability?
  • What teachers or mentors have helped or hindered your development as a literate person?

Thesis Your paper must have a thesis. For your literacy narrative, your thesis will be an explicit statement of the insight your story provides about the significance of reading, writing, or language. The thesis will state what you learned from the experience or how it changed you.

Evidence To make the insight articulated in your thesis powerful and convincing, you must support it with concrete evidence. Your narrative will provide evidence from your own experience to support your thesis. The more vivid and compelling your story is, the stronger your evidence will be.

Structure The structure of a good college essay depends entirely on its Thesis Statement. A well-structured essay presents an explicit thesis early on that forecasts the essay’s structure. Every element of the essay helps support and develop that thesis. The Introduction engages the reader’s interest in the issue the thesis raises. Each paragraph in the Body of the essay develops and supports a single point that helps confirm the thesis. (Body paragraphs should always begin with a one-sentence statement of the paragraph’s main point: a Topic Sentence.) The Conclusion restates the essay’s thesis and summarizes its argument. In a well-structured essay, a reader could read just your thesis and your topic sentences and have a perfectly comprehensible outline of your essay.

Style Make your prose as clear and concise as possible. Don’t waste your time (and mine) trying to sound impressive. Write, instead, in a conversational voice: the clear, plainspoken, engaging voice of a person talking about a subject they find interesting. Don’t let your essay run longer than what you have to say. Make every word count. One sentence that has something to say is better than a paragraph that doesn’t.

Audience Think of the audience for your essay as an individual, not a vaguely defined group of people. Imagine a single reader just as intelligent and well-informed as yourself. Your essay should hold that reader’s interest and provide them a new insight into the importance of reading, writing, or language.

Drafts You will develop your essay through pre-writing exercises and multiple drafts. You will submit a Mind Map for your essay on January 22 . You will turn in an Informal Outline on January 27 . Your outline will help you write a First Draft. Your First Draft will suck big-time (all first drafts do), but its awfulness will show you what you need to work on to make subsequent drafts better. On January 31 , your fellow students will assist you in a Peer Review workshop by pointing out just where your draft needs improvement. You will submit your Final Revision on February 14 .

Proofreading Before you submit the Final Revision, proofread your essay carefully and thoroughly, correcting any errors in spelling, punctuation, grammar, and MLA formatting. Slapdash spelling, sloppy punctuation, semiliterate grammar, or slipshod MLA formatting seriously undermines your credibility as a writer–your ethos, in rhetorical terms. Therefore, essays with excessive errors in spelling, punctuation, grammar, or MLA formatting will receive no higher than a D. If you need to know how to spell a word, look it up in a dictionary. Do not trust a computer to proof your spelling. Spell-checkers tell you whether you’ve spelled a word correctly, but they can’t tell whether you’ve used the correct word. (For example: “They proofread there essays carefully” contains a misspelling.) If you have questions about grammar, punctuation, or MLA format, consult A Writer’s Reference or ask your instructor.

Evaluation In evaluating your essay, I will consider each of the following: your essay’s thesis, its structure, its use of evidence, and its prose style. (See the “Grading Criteria for Major Essays” on the Syllabus.)

Essays Any Time

How to Write a Narrative Essay Introduction: Does a Narrative Essay Need a Thesis Statement

Essay writing is a craft whose skills you have to develop over time. An authentic essay should clearly communicate the intended message. It’s a composition that should express the intended idea and back it up with credible explanations, facts, and analysis.

There are various essay types that you could come across. They include descriptive, argumentative, expository, and narrative essays. Expository and argumentative essays express factual information and main points. However, Descriptive and narrative essays accord you as a writer to write creatively.

In this article, we will concentrate and expound on narrative essays. This article helps you know how to write a narrative essay introduction, and most importantly, provides you with tactics on how to be a better narrative essay writer in general.

How to write a Narrative Essay introduction

A narrative essay is an essay that assumes a storytelling form, and as a writer, you have the independence to express yourself on the subject matter.

That said, a narrative essay is personal and experiential in nature. Typically, a narrative essay should have an introduction, a plot, a setting, characters, climax, and the conclusion.

When writing a narrative essay, the introductory paragraph is pretty vital. It is from this paragraph that a reader decides whether the whole paper is worth reading.

Therefore, ensure that your introductory paragraph catches the reader’s attention and offers a glimpse of what your narration aims to address.

Also see: Can an Essay Be One Paragraph?

Below is a list of guidelines to direct you into composing a thrilling and compelling introductory paragraph for your narrative essay.

  • Start your essay with a hook as the introductory sentence

Remember, you want your introductory sentence to attract the reader’s attentiveness and keep them engaged. To do that, begin your introductory sentence with a creative hook.

For example, you may formulate your hook sentence by employing a quote, rhetoric question, anecdotes, statistics, a shocking statement, or an interesting fact.

  • Usher in the principal characters

Since the reader needs to have a general idea of what and who your narrative is about, introduce and distinguish your main characters concisely.

Give the reader a picture of what the principal characters look like and their position in your story.

  • Outline the setting of your narrative

The setting describes where and when your narration took place. Here, ensure that you render the reader with sensory details to help them create a clear picture of the scene.

How you describe your setting should trigger the reader’s senses of smell, taste, sight, touch, and hearing.

  • Cover the overview and theme of your narrative in the end sentence

Your last sentence in the introduction forms your thesis statement. In this sentence, you should inform the reader what to anticipate in the rest of the narrative essay without giving any specific details.

Does a Narrative Essay Need a Thesis Statement?

A narrative essay needs a thesis statement. Although different from the thesis statements in analytical, descriptive, or argumentative essays, a narrative essay should have a thesis statement. This statement should be included in the essay’s introduction and is meant to tell the reader what to anticipate by reading the narration.

For your thesis statement to be clear and robust, it should meet several desirable features. For example, a good thesis statement for a narrative essay should be declarative, specific, can be demonstrated and argued, confident, and should fully express the essay’s subject.

How Do You Write a Narrative Essay Outline?

Like any other type of essay, a narrative essay should follow a functional outline structure. In attempting to write a compelling narrative essay that communicates clearly to the reader, drafting your essay outline is one of the most vital steps.

The outline acts as your plan, which makes the writing organized and less stressful.

To help you craft an effective outline with the correct critical elements for your narrative essay, below is a clear structure that you should consider employing.

  • Introduction

Start the introductory paragraph with a hook, followed by the stage of your narrative and the thesis statement as the closing sentence. A hook should be the first sentence of your narrative essay and should be reflective, personal, and intriguing to captivate the reader’s attention.

After the hook, introduce the stage of your essay where you introduce the setting, scene, main characters, and a general overview of your essay.

The last and most crucial element of your introduction is the thesis statement. A thesis statement summarizes the essay’s main point by providing the reader with a sneak peek of what the narrative essay is all about. In general, your introduction should be intriguing, short, precise, and relatable.

The body is the main element of your narrative essay because it describes the beginning, the growth, and the end of your narration. Depending on the word count and the narration’s plot, a narrative essay’s body contains three paragraphs.

In the first paragraph, ensure that you launch the story by introducing its background. The second paragraph under the body is the heart of your narration, where you narrate the story up to the climax. Finally, the third paragraph is where you wrap up your narration. Here, ensure that the story ends naturally.

Overall, ensure that you give detailed descriptions and accurate information relevant to your story in the body. In addition, ensure that the body is fascinating and serves the reader with clear emotions.

Also see: Are Essay Mills Legal?

The conclusion is the final part of your narrative essay outline. This part acts as the summary to your story and where you unite the reader and the story. Here, you could state the moral of the story, state its significance, and call the reader to action to ensure that they meditate more on the subject.

Tips to Writing an Excellent Narrative Essay

You may be writing a narrative essay for your lecturer to grade, or you are a professional essay writer writing for their audience. In either of the cases, you need to write a fascinating article that will capture the reader’s attention and pass your intended message. To help you with that, below are essential tips you could utilize.

  • Read narrative essays from other writers . For you to be a pro narrative essay writer, you need to be an extensive reader. Read a wide range of essays with different subjects written using distinct styles and arguments. From doing so, you will develop more writing confidence and even grow your creativity and ability to narrate.
  • Analyze the essay question thoroughly . Before you start to write a narrative essay, ensure you understand the essay question to get a clear grasp of what you ought to write about. From the essay question, be alert to distinguish between directive, limiting, and content terms. You can therefore brainstorm on the question and choose the suitable topic to write on.
  • Create an outline . Create an outline where you include the introduction, the body, and the conclusion. Draft a structure where you include your main ideas and how you want them to follow each other chronologically. This process will simplify your writing in a significant way.
  • Do extensive research . For your essay to be authentic, you have to convince your reader of your arguments by providing them with reasoning, facts, and evidence where possible. To do so, you have to carry out comprehensive research on the subject matter from credible sources and have a good grasp of the story you are narrating.
  • Edit and proofread your essay . Before you submit your narrative essay for marking or publishing, proofread the essay severally while editing. By doing so, you will discover and correct any spelling, punctuation, and grammatical errors in your essay. Moreover, you will be able to check whether your points make sense and smoothly follow each other as you designated.

Narrative essay writing can be complicated if you don’t have confidence and a clear writing plan.

However, by reading this article, you will be better positioned to write authentic and sound narrative essays. Moreover, you will know how to write a narrative essay introduction.


  1. What is a Narrative Essay

    does a narrative essay need a thesis statement

  2. How to Write a Narrative Essay

    does a narrative essay need a thesis statement

  3. 😍 How should a thesis statement be written. How to write a Thesis

    does a narrative essay need a thesis statement

  4. ShowMe

    does a narrative essay need a thesis statement

  5. Narrative Essay Thesis Statement Examples

    does a narrative essay need a thesis statement

  6. How To Write A Thesis Statement (with Useful Steps and Tips) • 7ESL

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  1. Writing a Thesis Statement. #shorts

  2. How to write a Narrative Essay


  4. Thesis Statement Assignment for Narrative Essay

  5. How to write a thesis statement (with simple and advanced examples)

  6. How to Write a Narrative Essay & Easy Steps


  1. How to Write a Thesis for a Narrative Essay: 9 Steps

    2. Begin your thesis with the main idea or theme you are trying to convey in the essay. [6] A possible beginning may be: "In this essay, I will discuss the issue of grief.". 3. Add examples to support your main theme or idea. Start by composing the simplest, most direct thesis and then edit it.

  2. How to Write a Narrative Essay

    Interactive example of a narrative essay. An example of a short narrative essay, responding to the prompt "Write about an experience where you learned something about yourself," is shown below. Hover over different parts of the text to see how the structure works. Narrative essay example.

  3. Thesis Statement for Narrative Essay

    A narrative essay thesis statement is a concise summary or main point of your personal story or experience. Unlike argumentative or analytical thesis statements, it doesn't necessarily present an argument or a point of debate. Instead, it sets the tone for the narrative and provides a glimpse into the lesson, theme, or insight the story ...

  4. How to Write a Thesis Statement

    Step 2: Write your initial answer. After some initial research, you can formulate a tentative answer to this question. At this stage it can be simple, and it should guide the research process and writing process. The internet has had more of a positive than a negative effect on education.

  5. A Complete Narrative Essay Guide

    Everything You Need to Know About Narrative Essay What is a Narrative Essay. When you go through a narrative essay definition, you would know that a narrative essay purpose is to tell a story. ... Thesis Statement: Includes a clear thesis statement that outlines the writer's position on the topic. Approach: Thesis and Evidence: Starts with a ...

  6. How to Write a Narrative Essay in 5 Steps

    Step 1: Topic choice (or prompt given) The first step in writing a narrative essay is to determine the topic. Sometimes, your topic is chosen for you in the form of a prompt. You might map out the topics you want to mention in the essay or think through each point you'd like to make to see how each will fit into the allotted word count (if ...

  7. Narrative Essays

    Use clear and concise language throughout the essay. Much like the descriptive essay, narrative essays are effective when the language is carefully, particularly, and artfully chosen. Use specific language to evoke specific emotions and senses in the reader. The use of the first person pronoun 'I' is welcomed. Do not abuse this guideline!

  8. Narrative Essay

    In order to write a well-structured narrative essay, you need to know how to start it. The introduction of a narrative essay plays a crucial role in capturing the reader's attention and setting the stage for the story that follows. ... an updated version of your thesis statement, reflections on all your experiences, and your final thoughts ...

  9. McDaniel College Writing Center

    Thesis Statements for Narrative Essays. To create a thesis statement, combine the claim and the supporting details in one sentence. The direction of your essay can change depending on the pattern in which you organize the supporting details. ... Does it need any additional background information or definitions? ...

  10. 5.3.3: Generating a Narrative Thesis

    This thesis statement shows that my essay will focus on the maneuvering the author experienced when escaping the Syrian war, which would be a harrowing—if not inspiring—narrative to read. This page titled 5.3.3: Generating a Narrative Thesis is shared under a CC BY 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Sravani Banerjee ...

  11. Thesis Statements

    A thesis statement: tells the reader how you will interpret the significance of the subject matter under discussion. is a road map for the paper; in other words, it tells the reader what to expect from the rest of the paper. directly answers the question asked of you. A thesis is an interpretation of a question or subject, not the subject itself.

  12. How to Write a Thesis for a Narrative Essay

    While narrative essays tell a story, the events don't compose the entire essay. Narrative essays should also have a point communicated in a thesis sentence. Setting the essay setting and beginning with a hook is important. The thesis may offer a learned lesson, identify the theme or open the story.

  13. How to Write a Thesis Statement in 4 Steps

    Step 1: Ask a question about your research subject. This question will guide your research and will lead you to a central idea for your essay. The first step in writing a thesis statement is investigating the subject of your essay. Whether that's a text, like a book or a movie, or science topic like volcanos.

  14. How to Write a Narrative Essay

    Keep in mind that you might need to modify your thesis later, adjusting it to the entire paper and thus writing a good narrative essay. Every essay should have a thesis statement with a clear claim and accurate supporting details. Such a statement is usually neither general nor too detailed; it provides information just enough to realize what ...

  15. PDF Unit 2 Narrative Essays

    These thesis statements do not tell the reader what happens. They only introduce the action that will follow. The paragraphs in the body will develop the story. ... Like academic essays, narrative essays need to have concluding ideas. In the conclusion, you finish describing the action in the essay. The final sentence can have two functions:

  16. Narrative Thesis Statement

    A narrative thesis statement is a statement having the central idea of your narrative essay. It sets the direction and focus of the story, making the readers go through the author's experiences and intentions even before reading the essay. Whether a narrative thesis statement is reflective, descriptive, or persuasive, it captures the essence ...

  17. How to Write a Good Narrative Essay: Tips, Examples, & Step-by-Step Guide

    The more passionate you will be - the more effective your assignment. Recall your story's details: people and objects, setting, and season. Think about the sequence of events and remember; no detail is too small. Remember: the small details reveal big ideas! Step 1. Choose Your Narrative Essay Topic.

  18. Narrative Essay Thesis Statements: Tips and Examples

    In a narrative essay, however, a thesis does not follow the same rules it does in other types of writing. A narrative essay thesis statement can do one or both of the following: (1) convey a theme, lesson, or main idea, or (2) introduce the action of the story you want to tell. How you write your thesis will depend on the purpose of your essay ...

  19. How is a thesis statement written in a narrative essay?

    A thesis statement for a five paragraph essay contains a general statement that is divided into three opinions which will be supported in the three body paragraphs of the essay. For a narrative ...

  20. PDF Narrative Essay

    A narrative's thesis statement is not exactly like the thesis statements used in argumentative or analytical essays. The thesis statement for a narrative essay does not necessarily need to outline the whole essay. Instead, it should be a sentence including one of two things: the overall theme of the narrative or a lesson learned.

  21. PDF Thesis Statements Deconstructed

    Thesis Statements Deconstructed. Thesis Statement - A thesis is. the roadmap for the paper, representing the path of your argument to the reader. It is a direct statement that explains the topic of your essay, what you believe about that topic, and why you believe it. It is most often placed at the end of the introductory paragraph.

  22. Essay 1

    The structure of a good college essay depends entirely on its Thesis Statement. A well-structured essay presents an explicit thesis early on that forecasts the essay's structure. Every element of the essay helps support and develop that thesis. The Introduction engages the reader's interest in the issue the thesis raises.

  23. How to Write a Narrative Essay Introduction: Does a Narrative Essay

    Does a Narrative Essay Need a Thesis Statement? A narrative essay needs a thesis statement. Although different from the thesis statements in analytical, descriptive, or argumentative essays, a narrative essay should have a thesis statement. This statement should be included in the essay's introduction and is meant to tell the reader what to ...