A step-by-step guide on how to effortlessly start your personal narrative and captivate your readers

How to start personal narrative

Are you trying to write a personal narrative but don’t know where to start? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! In this article, we will show you how to begin your personal narrative in a way that grabs the reader’s attention and sets the stage for your story. Whether you’re writing an essay for school or trying to publish your personal narrative in a magazine, the tips and steps given here will help you create a compelling narrative that readers won’t be able to put down.

First, choose a topic that is important to you and has shaped who you are today. Your personal narrative should be dedicated to a specific moment, experience, or feeling that has had a significant impact on your life. Think about what has changed for you, what you’ve learned, or what you want to share with others. This will be the main focus of your personal narrative.

Next, create an outline to help you structure your story. Start by writing a paragraph or two that introduces your topic and gives your readers a sense of what to expect in your narrative. This introduction should hook them and make them want to keep reading. Then, outline the main events or actions in your story, including any relevant background information or details that will help the reader understand what’s going on.

Once you have your outline, it’s time to start writing your first draft. When writing a personal narrative, it’s important to use a first-person voice to make your story more relatable and engaging. This means using “I” and “me” instead of “he,” “she,” or “they.” It’s also important to show your story through action and dialogue, rather than simply telling the reader what happened.

After you’ve written your first draft, take some time to revise and make changes. Read through your story and make sure each paragraph flows smoothly into the next. Check for any grammar or spelling errors, and make sure your sentences are clear and easy to understand. If you’re not sure about a word choice or sentence structure, don’t be afraid to ask for help or consult a writing guide.

Finally, proofread your narrative and check off each item on your checklist. Make sure your story follows a logical sequence and that each paragraph is focused on a specific aspect of your topic. Add any necessary transitions to help the reader move from one idea to the next. Pay attention to the pacing of your narrative and make sure there are no abrupt shifts or inconsistencies.

In conclusion, starting your personal narrative doesn’t have to be daunting. By following these tips and steps, you can create a compelling and effective narrative that captures your readers’ attention from the very beginning. Remember to choose a topic that is important to you, create an outline to guide your writing, use a first-person voice, and take the time to revise and proofread your work. With these tools in hand, you’ll be well on your way to crafting a personal narrative that resonates with your audience.

How to Write a Narrative Essay

Writing a narrative essay is a great way to express your thoughts, experiences, and feelings. It allows you to tell a story and engage your readers. Whether you are writing a personal narrative or an assigned essay, these tips and example will help you get started.

1. Choose a Topic

When choosing a topic for your narrative essay, think about a significant moment or experience in your life. It could be a trip you took, a milestone you achieved, or a lesson you learned. Make sure the topic is meaningful to you and something you can write about with passion.

2. Create an Outline

Before you start writing, create an outline to organize your ideas and ensure a logical flow in your essay. Divide your essay into paragraphs and think about the main points you want to cover in each. This will help you stay focused and avoid rambling.

3. Start with a Strong Introduction

Begin your narrative essay with a captivating introduction that grabs the reader’s attention. Set the scene, introduce the main characters, and establish the purpose of your story. Use descriptive language to paint a vivid picture and make your readers feel like they are there with you.

4. Follow a Narrative Structure

A narrative essay typically follows a chronological sequence of events. Start with the exposition, where you introduce the background and context of your story. Move on to the rising action, where you build tension and develop the plot. Then, present the climax, where the main conflict or turning point occurs. Finally, conclude your essay with a resolution or reflection.

5. Show, Don’t Tell

In a narrative essay, it’s important to show rather than tell. Use sensory details, dialogue, and imagery to bring your story to life. Instead of simply stating your emotions or experiences, use descriptive language to make your readers feel what you felt.


I remember the day vividly. It was a bright summer morning in New York City, and I was playing my guitar in Central Park. As the sun kissed my face and the sound of birds filled the air, I felt a sense of pure bliss. The music flowed through me, and for that moment, nothing else mattered. It was a magical experience that reminded me why I loved music so much.

6. Revise and Proofread

Once you’ve written your first draft, take the time to revise and proofread your essay. Check for grammar and spelling mistakes, ensure your sentences flow smoothly, and make sure your ideas are clear. A well-revised essay will make a strong impression on your readers.

7. Get Feedback

Before you consider your essay done, seek feedback from others. Share your essay with a trusted friend or family member and ask for their honest opinion. Consider their suggestions and make any necessary changes to improve your essay.

By following these steps and tips, you can create a compelling narrative essay that will captivate your readers and leave a lasting impression. Happy writing!

Why Do We Write Personal Narratives

Personal narratives are written accounts of personal experiences, and they allow us to reflect on and understand our own lives. But why do we write personal narratives? Here are a few reasons why:

  1. Self-reflection: Writing a personal narrative forces us to look inward and reflect on our experiences. It allows us to examine our emotions, thoughts, and actions, and gain a deeper understanding of ourselves.
  2. Storytelling: Humans have an innate desire to share stories, and personal narratives provide a platform for storytelling. By sharing our own experiences, we can connect with others and create a sense of community.
  3. Preserving memories: Writing about significant moments or turning points in our lives helps to preserve our memories. By putting our experiences into words, we are able to remember them more vividly and share them with others in the future.
  4. Exploring emotions: Personal narratives allow us to express and delve into our emotions. By putting our feelings into words, we can better process and understand them.
  5. Creating meaning: Writing personal narratives helps us make sense of our experiences and find meaning in our lives. By analyzing the events and choices that have shaped us, we can gain insights into our values and beliefs.

Overall, personal narratives are a powerful form of writing that can help us make sense of our lives, connect with others, and preserve our memories. Whether you’re writing a personal essay, memoir, or simply journaling, these tips and steps can help you create an effective personal narrative:

  1. Choose a topic or prompt that resonates with you.
  2. Create an outline or a rough plan.
  3. Start with a captivating introduction or opening scene.
  4. Share the main events or turning points in your story.
  5. Use descriptive language to show, rather than tell, your experiences and feelings.
  6. Follow a logical order or structure.
  7. Include reflection or analysis on the events.
  8. Revise and edit your first draft multiple times.
  9. Proofread your final draft for any errors or typos.
  10. Have someone else read through your narrative and provide feedback.
  11. Make sure your voice and personal style shine through.
  12. Consider the intended audience or purpose of your narrative.
  13. Publish your narrative, whether it’s for personal or public use.

By following these steps and tips, you can create a compelling personal narrative that engages readers and effectively conveys your experiences and emotions.

5 steps to writing a narrative essay

Writing a narrative essay is a popular assignment in academia, as it allows the writer to explore their own personal experiences and tell a story in a clear, engaging way. If you’re unsure where to start, these 5 steps will help guide you through the process of writing a narrative essay.

Step 1: Choose a topic

Before you start writing, think about what moment or experience in your life you want to tell your readers about. Consider what feelings and emotions you want to convey and what message you want to get across. The topic you choose is the foundation of your essay, so make sure it’s something that has significance to you.

Step 2: Create an outline

A well-organized outline is essential for a narrative essay. It helps you structure your thoughts and ensures your story follows a logical progression. Outline the main points you want to cover in each paragraph, starting with an engaging introduction and ending with a satisfying conclusion.

Step 3: Write a draft

When writing your draft, focus on telling the story in your own unique voice. Use descriptive language to show, rather than tell, your readers what happened. Include details and sensory imagery to make your narrative come to life. Don’t worry about making it perfect on your first draft, just get your ideas down on paper.

Step 4: Revise and proofread

After you’ve written a draft, go through it and make any necessary changes. Check for clarity, coherence, and correct any grammar or spelling errors. Pay attention to how your essay flows and make sure your ideas are presented in a compelling way. Proofread your essay multiple times to ensure it’s error-free and ready to be read.

Step 5: Publish and share

When you’re happy with your final draft, it’s time to publish and share your narrative essay. You can choose to submit it to a magazine or literary publication, or simply share it with friends and family. Remember, the most important thing is that you’ve told your story in an effective and engaging way.

Follow these steps and you’ll be well on your way to writing an engaging and memorable narrative essay. Just remember to be true to yourself and your experiences, and don’t be afraid to make changes and revisions as needed. Happy writing!

Step 1: Topic Choice or Prompt Given

When starting a personal narrative, the first step is to select a topic or work with a prompt that has been given to you. This step is crucial as it sets the foundation for the rest of your writing process.

Here are a few tips to help you choose or work with a topic:

1. Think about your experience: Consider moments in your life that have shaped who you are today. Reflect on your past and identify experiences that have had a significant impact on you.
2. Follow your feelings: Choose a topic that evokes strong emotions in you. Writing about something that you are deeply passionate about will make your narrative more impactful.
3. Consider popular topics: Look for topics that are common in personal narratives. For example, writing about a life-changing travel experience or overcoming a particular challenge can be engaging for readers.
4. Read-through examples: Read personal narrative essays or articles in magazines or online platforms. This will give you an idea of how others have written their narratives and can inspire your own writing.
5. Make a topic checklist: Create a checklist of potential topics and ideas. Write down points or scenes you might want to include in your narrative. This will help you organize your thoughts and choose the most suitable topic.

Once you have chosen a topic or worked with a prompt given to you, it’s time to start outlining your personal narrative. The topic choice is a crucial first step in creating an effective narrative that captures the readers’ attention and conveys your story and voice.

Next, follow the steps of the writing process, including drafting, revising, and proofreading, to make sure your personal narrative is well-written and polished. Don’t be afraid to seek feedback from others, as their perspectives can help you improve your narrative.

Remember, the topic choice or prompt given is the starting point of your personal narrative. So take the time and dedicate yourself to finding the right topic that represents your life experiences and aligns with your writing goals.

Good luck!

Step 2 Make an outline

Once you have chosen a topic for your personal narrative, it’s important to create an outline before diving into writing your essay. An outline helps you organize your thoughts and ensures that your essay follows a logical structure.

Start by identifying the main points you want to include in your narrative. These can be specific moments or experiences that are relevant to your chosen topic. For example, if you’re writing about a trip to New York City, your main points might include the sights you visited, the people you met, and the feelings you had during the trip.

Next, think about the order in which you want to present these points. Consider the flow of your story and how it will best capture the reader’s attention. You might decide to follow a chronological order or to arrange your points in a way that creates suspense or builds up to a climax.

Once you have your main points and their order, create a dedicated paragraph for each point in your outline. This will help you stay focused as you write your essay and ensure that all important details are included.

Remember to use an effective narrative voice throughout your essay. Personal narratives are often written in the first-person voice to show the reader that your story is based on your own experiences and feelings.

As you create your outline, keep in mind the prompt or the given topic for your essay. Make sure that each paragraph contributes to the overall theme or message you’re trying to convey. If a point or scene doesn’t support your main topic, consider making changes or removing it.

Writing an outline can also help you check for any gaps in your story. Make sure your outline includes all the necessary details and transitions to help the reader understand the progression of your narrative.

Once your outline is done, read through it and revise if necessary. This is also a good time to check for any spelling or grammar mistakes. An organized and well-structured outline will make the writing process much smoother and help you stay focused on your narrative.

By following these steps and creating a clear outline, you’ll be better prepared to start writing your personal narrative. It will serve as a roadmap, guiding you through your essay and making sure you don’t miss any important moments or details. Happy writing!

Step 3: Write your narrative essay

Now that you have gone through the previous steps of choosing a topic and creating an outline, it’s time to start writing your narrative essay. This is where you get to tell your story and share your personal experiences with the readers.

When writing a narrative essay, it’s important to follow a few key steps to ensure that your story is engaging and well-written. Here are some tips to help you along the way:

1. Start with a captivating introduction: Begin your essay with a hook that grabs the reader’s attention and sets the tone for the rest of the story. You want to draw the reader in and make them want to keep reading.

2. Use a first-person point of view: Since this is a personal narrative essay, it’s best to write from your own perspective using the first-person pronouns “I,” “me,” and “my.” This helps create a more intimate and relatable storytelling experience.

3. Show, don’t tell: Instead of simply stating your feelings or experiences, try to show them through vivid descriptions and sensory details. This allows the reader to experience the story alongside you and makes for a more engaging narrative.

4. Create a logical and organized structure: Divide your essay into paragraphs that each focus on a specific moment or aspect of your story. Make sure to include transitions between paragraphs to ensure a smooth flow of ideas.

5. Check your word choice and tone: As a writer, you have the power to create the atmosphere and mood of your narrative. Think about the emotions and feelings you want to convey and choose your words accordingly. Read through your essay to make sure it reflects the tone you desire.

6. Proofread and revise: Once you have a draft of your essay, take the time to proofread it for any grammar or spelling errors. Make sure that your ideas are presented clearly and effectively. You may also want to ask someone else to read through your essay and provide feedback.

Remember, a narrative essay is your chance to make an impact on the reader and share a meaningful experience. Don’t be afraid to take risks, be vulnerable, and let your unique voice shine through. Your story has the power to inspire, entertain, and provoke thought, so make sure you give it the attention it deserves.

Step 4: Revise your narrative essay

Once you have completed the first draft of your personal narrative essay, it is important to revise and make necessary changes to ensure that your story is clear, engaging, and impactful. Revising your essay allows you to improve the flow, structure, and overall effectiveness of your writing. Here are some tips to help you revise your narrative essay:

1. Read through your essay

Start by reading through your essay carefully, paying attention to the organization of your ideas and the overall flow of your story. Look for any moments that might be confusing or need further clarification. Take note of any points that could be strengthened or expanded upon.

2. Check for coherence and consistency

Ensure that your essay follows a logical sequence and that each paragraph connects to the next. Make sure that your thoughts and ideas are presented in a cohesive and consistent manner. Check for any inconsistencies in details, descriptions, or events.

3. Consider your audience and purpose

Think about who your intended audience is and what you want to achieve with your essay. Make sure that you have effectively communicated your intended message and that your writing resonates with your readers. Consider if there are any parts that might be unclear or irrelevant to your main story.

4. Polish your writing

Pay attention to your choice of words and phrasing. Make sure that your writing is clear, concise, and engaging. Look for opportunities to add more descriptive language or vivid imagery to make your story come alive for your readers. Consider if there are any words or phrases that could be replaced with more precise or impactful alternatives.

5. Show, don’t tell

Instead of simply telling your readers what happened, show them by using specific details, actions, and dialogue. Bring your story to life by creating scenes that allow your readers to visualize the events and the experiences you are trying to convey. This will make your narrative essay more engaging and memorable.

6. Seek feedback

Once you have revised your essay to the best of your abilities, consider sharing it with others for feedback. Seek out trusted friends, family members, or even fellow writers who will provide honest and constructive feedback. Their input and suggestions can help you identify areas for improvement and make your essay more effective.

Remember, revising your narrative essay is an important step in the writing process. By carefully reviewing and refining your work, you can create a personal narrative that captures the attention of your readers and effectively communicates your story.

Step 5: Proofread and publish your narrative essay

After you have followed each step in the process of writing a personal narrative essay, it’s important to proofread and make any necessary revisions before publishing your work. This final step is crucial to ensure that your narrative essay is clear, well-structured, and free from errors.

1. Read through your essay: Start by reading through your narrative essay from beginning to end. Look for any grammatical or spelling errors, awkward sentences, or unclear passages. Pay attention to the flow and coherence of your writing.

2. Revise for clarity and coherence: Make any necessary changes to improve the clarity and coherence of your essay. Check if your paragraphs are well-organized and if your ideas flow smoothly from one point to the next. Ensure that your writing effectively conveys your intended message.

3. Check for consistency: Make sure that your narrative essay is consistent in terms of tense, point of view, and voice. Keep in mind the timeline of your story and ensure that you maintain consistency throughout.

4. Proofread for grammar and punctuation: Carefully proofread your essay for grammar and punctuation errors. Check for correct verb tenses, subject-verb agreement, proper use of punctuation marks, and spelling mistakes. Use a grammar checker or enlist the help of a dedicated proofreader for this step.

5. Show, don’t tell: Check if you have effectively used descriptive language and vivid details to engage the reader in your narrative. Rather than simply stating what happened, show the reader through rich descriptions, dialogues, and sensory details.

6. Consider feedback: If possible, have someone else read your essay and provide feedback. They may suggest improvements or point out areas where your writing could be further strengthened. Consider their suggestions and make any necessary revisions.

7. Publish your narrative essay: Once all the necessary revisions have been made, it’s time to publish your narrative essay. You can choose to submit it to a magazine, online platform, or literary journal. Alternatively, you may decide to share it with a smaller audience, such as friends or family. The choice is yours!

Publishing your narrative essay allows you to share your story and experiences with others. It provides an opportunity for your writing to be read and appreciated by a wider audience. Whether you choose to publish it in a popular magazine or simply share it with a few friends, the act of publishing your narrative essay can give you a sense of accomplishment and fulfillment.

Remember, the process of writing a narrative essay doesn’t end with the final draft. It’s important to proofread and revise to ensure that your essay is the best it can be. By following these steps and using the tips provided, you can create an effective and engaging narrative essay that captures the attention of your readers.

Show Don’t Tell

Show Don’t Tell

When it comes to writing personal narratives, one of the most important ideas to keep in mind is the concept of “show don’t tell”. This principle is a crucial step in making your narrative writing more engaging and impactful.

So, what does it mean to “show” rather than “tell”? Well, it’s all about allowing the reader to experience the story through the use of descriptive details, vivid imagery, and compelling examples. Instead of simply stating what happened or how you felt, you paint a picture with your words and allow the reader to draw their own conclusions.

For example, let’s say you’re writing a personal narrative about a transformative moment in your life. Instead of saying, “I felt happy,” you could describe the scene: “As I stood on top of the mountain, a wide smile spread across my face. The warm sun kissed my cheeks, and I felt a sense of joy and accomplishment that I had never experienced before.”

By using specific details and sensory language, you not only transport the reader to that moment but also allow them to feel your emotions along with you. This kind of storytelling is much more effective in creating a connection with the reader and making your narrative memorable.

When starting your personal narrative essay, it’s important to choose a topic or experience that has significant meaning to you. This way, you’ll be more passionate and engaged in the writing process, which will shine through in your words.

Before you start writing, take some time to brainstorm and outline your essay. This will help you organize your thoughts and choose the most important points to include in your narrative.

When writing in the first-person voice, be sure to follow a checklist of actions to help you create an effective narrative. Proofread and revise your work multiple times to make sure it flows smoothly and conveys your intended message.

When you have a final draft, it’s always a good idea to have someone else, such as a friend or a dedicated proofreader, read through your essay. They might catch mistakes or suggest changes that you haven’t thought of.

Remember, personal narratives are not just about telling a story; they are a way for you to reflect on your own life experiences and share them with others. By using the “show don’t tell” technique, you can create a more engaging and impactful narrative that will resonate with readers.

Narrative Checklist

Step 1: Choose a topic

Think about moments in your life that have had a significant impact on you. Is there a particular experience or event that stands out? This could be a time when you faced a challenge, learned a valuable lesson, or had a life-changing realization.

Step 2: Outline your story

Before you start writing, it’s important to have a clear outline of your story. What are the main points you want to include? What changes do you want to show in your story? By creating an outline, you can ensure that your narrative has a clear structure and flows smoothly from one scene to the next.

Step 3: Start with a strong opening

The beginning of your narrative is crucial – it should grab the reader’s attention and make them want to keep reading. Consider starting with a vivid description, an intriguing question, or an interesting anecdote that sets the stage for your story.

Step 4: Show, don’t tell

When writing your narrative, try to avoid simply telling the reader what happened. Instead, use descriptive language and sensory details to create a vivid picture in their minds. Show them what you saw, heard, felt, and experienced, rather than just telling them.

Step 5: Use the first-person point of view

In personal narratives, it’s common to write in the first-person point of view (using “I” and “me”). This helps to create a personal connection between the reader and the writer, making the narrative feel more authentic and relatable.

Step 6: Revise and proofread

Once you’ve written your first draft, it’s important to revise and proofread your narrative. Read through it multiple times to check for any errors or areas that could be improved. You could also ask someone else to read through it and provide feedback.

Step 7: Follow the prompt

If you’re writing your narrative for a specific prompt or assignment, make sure to carefully read and follow the instructions given. Pay attention to any word limits or specific requirements.

Step 8: Read popular narratives

To improve your own narrative writing skills, it can be helpful to read published narratives by other writers. Look for examples in books, magazines, or online publications like The New York Times or Wired. Pay attention to how these writers use voice, structure, and storytelling techniques to engage the reader.

Step 9: Create a dedicated writing time

To make progress on your narrative, set aside specific times for writing. This helps create consistency and ensures that you’re giving yourself enough time to fully explore your ideas and feelings.

Step 10: Don’t be afraid to revise and make changes

Remember that writing is a process, and your first draft won’t be perfect. Don’t be afraid to revise and make changes as needed. Your narrative will likely go through several drafts before it’s ready to be published or shared with others.

By following this narrative checklist, you can ensure that you’re taking the necessary steps to create a compelling and engaging personal narrative.


Writing a Personal Narrative for Kids – Episode 4: Writing a Draft

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