5 Good Ways To Start A Narrative Essay: An Academic Writing Tutorial

When you are asked to compose a narrative essay, what your teacher means is that they wish you to relate a story that happened to you in such a manner that it teaches a lesson or allows the reader an insight. Unlike with fiction, where you are expected to make up the events of the story, in this type of work you must fit a true personal experience into a story arc.

This is one of the many forms of creative non-fiction that you find in areas such as journalism and memoirs. In journalism you are expect to tell true-life incidents in a manner that makes it an interesting read. Many books of memoirs and autobiographies are collections of narrative essays, but autobiographies deal with a person’s whole life, not just selected incidents.

As this is an essay and not a short story, your work must contain a thesis statement which will indicate what you learned from your experience. And the concluding paragraph must gather everything together and highlight the learning experience from the described event.

How to begin your essay

  1. When you are brainstorming for ideas about this project, make sure you look at all the family albums. Somewhere in these photographs is the memory you are looking for. It will also give you details about what the room was like or the weather. These details are what give your story its readability.
  2. Another helpful way of beginning your research is by interviewing family members or friends who also witnessed the event you intend to describe. They may have a totally different viewpoint. You thought your seventh birthday was the best day ever, but your brother felt left out of the festivities because he hates fairies or knights.
  3. When you commence writing you could begin with a rich description of flavor of the burger directly from the barbeque. You could talk about the way the rain pounded down. The dust specs in the sunbeam at your grandmother’s house. These are notions that your reader can relate to, experiences that he or she might also share.
  4. If you do not want to get under way with description, one of the most powerful beginnings to a story is dialogue. Begin with a quote from one of your interviewees. Make sure the way you write it down is “realistic” rather than “real”. While you want the reader to “hear” the voices of your characters, normal speech can be unedifying.
  5. Whatever you begin with it must lead towards the thesis statement.

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