As the name suggests, narrative essays tell or narrate stories, anecdotes, experiences, whether these are personal or non-personal, individual or collective. Very often, students in US academic institutions are asked to talk about their personal experiences as part of such assignments. Narrative essays are normally expected to make a point, to come with life lessons, or to cause readers to appreciate certain life truths, human traits, importance of certain things or memories.
An essential step facilitating work on such essays is writing narrative essay outline, which helps organize content, present it in an appropriate order, estimate each section’s size, but also ensure that all key parts of narrative essay structure are present.
Narrative Essay Outline
Narrative Essay Outline Parts
Below is narrative outline template that reveals the structure and key elements required in a narrative essay. Use it as an example or checklist while working on your outline.
Introduction consists of the following parts:
Hook – captivating readers is essential, especially in a narrative essay, that often wants to be personal, moving, reflective, or inviting feelings of appreciation or admiration. Also, it is highly advisable to set a proper tone from the very first lines of text. You could start with shocking confession, with an uncharacteristic and intriguing description of people or setting.
Thesis – an indispensable element of any introduction, since it states what claim or point is made in a paper. It should always be an arguable sentence that describes shortly and comprehensively paper’s essence. It is typically among the last sentences in an introduction – all following content comes to prove this statement.
Introductory background – introduction would also typically contain additional information that helps take readers into the author’s world and help them visualize, imagine, or recreate narrated facts. This could be information about this story’s relevance for you or for everybody else. For instance, it could be mentioning that this story is about your first encounter with a negative manifestation of human nature and describing how shocking this was for you as a child, adolescent, young adult.
Main body, as a part of narrative essay outline, should have such constituents:
Setting. Authors might or might not have details about time and place in the introduction – if not, these should be normally described at the beginning of the essay body. If already partially provided previously, here, one should normally offer a more comprehensive description, covering missing details. Typically, both time and space are mentioned given how informative these are in initializing a certain scene. A place could be defined by the country where action happens – the USA or some place abroad.
Background of events – this part shines light upon some preceding occurrences or circumstances that are important for better understanding of facts. Such info would normally accompany a setting description to fully initialize readers but could also be mentioned somewhat later, as needed.
Characters. Main characters are often introduced along with the setting or early enough in a story, while secondary ones could be introduced later, as the story unfolds. Speaking about character types, there are protagonists – central figures around which narration revolves and antagonists – figures that come in opposition with protagonists not necessary evil. Protagonist or antagonist descriptions may include appearance, beliefs, thoughts, worldviews, manners, behavior, feelings, dreams, their past, society’s attitude and interaction with them.
Unfolding of events or action – this part describes facts in chronological order. It normally starts with the plot rising action – a description of the plot as it complicates and leads to the conflict. Conflict is defined as any form of struggle faced by protagonists – it could be an internal struggle or a conflict with external forces, such as people, authorities, circumstances.
Verdict – it comes as a final critical decision: an interpretation of the story from author’s or protagonist’s perspective, why everything happened as it did, who was wrong (if applicable), what would have been the implications if participants had behaved otherwise or if things had unfolded otherwise.
Experts suggest such a structure of typical conclusion:
Summary of key points – this conclusion section could briefly revisit described facts or situations, role of certain characters, conflict’s essence, it could list key moral judgements derived, lessons learned, attitude changes inflicted on the author or protagonist.
Thesis restatement. An important element of any conclusion is restating the thesis – doing this shows that author’s effort of proving claim made in the introduction has a finality. However, a restatement of the thesis shouldn’t be formulated with exactly the same words. In addition, it should be a restatement through the prism of content that has been covered making appropriate connections with content.