Humanities › English How to Write a Narrative Essay or Speech Share Flipboard Email Print An Introduction to Essay Writing Introduction Choosing a Topic 400 Writing Topics 50 Argumentative Essay Topics 100 Persuasive Essay Topics Writing an Introduction How to Begin an Essay Writing a Great First Paragraph Strong Thesis Statements Attention-Grabbing Opening Sentences Check Your Knowledge: How to Support a Topic Sentence Structuring and Outlining How to Write a 5-Paragraph Essay Create an Outline Using a Venn Diagram Use Text Boxes to Outline and Organize Check Your Knowledge: Create a Simple Outline Types of Essays How to Write a Narrative Essay How to Write an Argumentative Essay How to Write an Expository Essay How to Write a Personal Narrative How to Write an Opinion Essay How to Write a Profile Editing and Improving Making Paragraphs Flow With Smooth Transitions Replace These Overused, Tired Words An Essay Revision Checklist ThoughtCo. By Richard Nordquist English and Rhetoric Professor Ph.D., Rhetoric and English, University of Georgia M.A., Modern English and American Literature, University of Leicester B.A., English, State University of New York Dr. Richard Nordquist is professor emeritus of rhetoric and English at Georgia Southern University and the author of several university-level grammar and composition textbooks. our editorial process Richard Nordquist Updated October 16, 2020 A narrative essay or speech is used to tell a story, often one that is based on personal experience. This genre of work comprises works of nonfiction that hew closely to the facts and follow a logical chronological progression of events. Writers often use anecdotes to relate their experiences and engage the reader. In doing so, you can give your narrative a level of emotional appeal. It can be serious or humorous, but this emotional appeal is essential if you want to give your audience some way to connect with your story. The most successful narrative essays usually share these three basic traits:They make a central point.They contain specific details in support of that point.They are clearly organized in time. Constructing the Essay Magazines like the New Yorker and websites like Vice are known for the pages-long narrative essays they publish, sometimes called long-format journalism. But an effective narrative essay can be as short as five paragraphs. As with other kinds of essay writing, narratives follow the same basic outline: Introduction: This is the opening paragraph of your essay. It contains the hook, which is used to grab the reader's attention, and the thesis or topic, which you'll detail in the next section.Body: This is the heart of your essay, usually three to five paragraphs in length. Each paragraph should contain one example, such as a personal anecdote or noteworthy event, that supports your larger topic.Conclusion: This is the final paragraph of your essay. In it, you'll sum up the main points of the body and bring your narrative to an end. Writers sometimes embellish the conclusion with an epilogue or a takeaway. Narrative Essay Topics Choosing the topic for your essay may be the hardest part. What you're looking for is a particular incident that you can recount in a well-developed and clearly organized essay or speech. We have a few ideas to help you brainstorm topics. They're quite broad, but something will surely spark an idea. An embarrassing experienceA memorable wedding or funeralAn exciting minute or two of a football game (or another sporting event)Your first or last day at a job or new schoolA disastrous dateA memorable moment of failure or successAn encounter that changed your life or taught you a lessonAn experience that led to a renewed faithA strange or unexpected encounterAn experience of how technology is more trouble than it's worthAn experience that left you disillusionedA frightening or dangerous experienceA memorable journeyAn encounter with someone you were in awe of or afraid ofAn occasion when you experienced rejectionYour first visit to the countryside (or to a large city)The circumstances that led to the breakup of a friendshipAn experience that showed that you should be careful of what you wish forA significant or comic misunderstandingAn experience that showed how appearances can be deceivingAn account of a difficult decision that you had to makeAn event that marked a turning point in your lifeAn experience that changed your viewpoint on a controversial issueA memorable encounter with someone in authorityAn act of heroism or cowardiceAn imaginary encounter with a real personA rebellious actA brush with greatness or deathA time that you took a stand on an important issueAn experience that altered your view of someoneA trip that you would like to takeA vacation trip from your childhoodAn account of a visit to a fictional place or timeYour first time away from homeTwo different versions of the same eventA day when everything went right or wrongAn experience that made you laugh until you criedThe experience of being lostSurviving a natural disasterAn important discoveryAn eyewitness account of an important eventAn experience that helped you grow upA description of your secret placeAn account of what it would be like to live as a particular animalYour dream job and what it would be likeAn invention you'd like to createA time when you realized your parents were rightAn account of your earliest memoryYour reaction when you heard the best news of your lifeA description of the one thing you can't live without Other Types of Essays Narrative essays are one of the major essay types. Others include: Argumentative: In argumentative essays, the writer makes the case for a specific opinion on a topic, using research and analysis to persuade the reader.Descriptive: This kind of writing relies on detail to describe or define a person, place, thing, or experience. Writing may be either objective or subjective.Expository: Like argumentative essays, expository writing requires research and analysis in order to expound upon a subject. Unlike argumentative essays, the intention is not to change the readers' opinion but to inform the readers. Sources Angelli, Elizabeth; Baker, Jack; and Brizee, Allen. "Essay Writing." Perdue.edu. 9 February 2018.Beck, Kate. "Instructions to Write a Narrative Essay." SeattlePI.com.Santa Barbara City College staff. "Structure of a Personal Narrative Essay." SBCC.edu.