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Writing is a big part of the school and college education, whether it is creative with no set guidelines and premises or something scientific and logical. Every class takes advantage of the ability of students and how they can put their thoughts and knowledge into action.
That’s why students must learn how to research and write essays and papers, even if they do not want to pursue a career in writing.
What Is A Narrative Essay?
A narrative essay is an account of a personal experience or incident that changed the succeeding course of events for the writer and offers a moral lesson or insights for the readers. It is quite difficult from other forms of writing because it is full of subjectivity and relies heavily on emotions and sentiments.
It follows a standard structure with a clear opening where the writer sets the stage, the main body where all the elements are explained and played out, and then the conclusion that sums up the theme and lessons learned.
Another hallmark of a narrative essay is its ability to connect with readers. The primary purpose of writing a narrative essay is to entertain readers and tell them a story with deeper meanings and messages. This message is also called a theme or a central idea of the narrative.
How To Choose The Best Narrative Essay Question
In schools and colleges, students are often provided with multiple narrative essay questions. This practice allows them to pick the one they can write on better and easier. It also helps the class to have a variety and flavor in the narrative where peers can learn from each other by reading each other’s essays.
While it offers ease and convenience, it also puzzles the students because they fail to recognize the best topic and often get stuck with the wrong one.
In this section, we will help students choose the best narrative essay question.
Narrative Is About Telling Stories
The literal meaning of a narrative is a story with a definitive set of characters living in a certain time and space. Before picking a question to work on, students should look at the topic with the potential of imparting a lesson.
For instance, if the instructor has offered two questions to choose from where one is about visiting a place and another is about losing a loved one, then students should choose the one that resembles closely their personal experiences.
Since many travels during vacations and fewer people lose loved ones on average, students should pick the travel option because they can add personal details from their own experiences.
Outlining & Researching
Ask any professional writer and he will tell you that most of the time, writing is not about the “act” of writing but collecting, researching, and outlining the stuff so that the act of writing can get easier.
This is completely applicable in choosing the right question for the narrative essay. Students can pick a topic and research it.
They can start with an outline and see where it leads them. If it turns out to be a dead end, there are always other options to choose from.
That’s why starting without planning and researching can cost precious time and other resources to students who also need to work on other assignments.
Experiment Is The Key To Innovation
Whether it is about choosing a narrative essay question or writing on one, there is no limit to the permutations and combinations that students can employ. A common observation in the school-level narrative essay is that students do not experiment enough, leading to no innovation and predictable plots and characters.
Instead, they should invest their time in reading other literary giants and learn different techniques to see what works and what does not.
Their aim should be to create something novel and moving for the readers and instructors to secure maximum scores. For those who want to pursue writing as a career, it is necessary to understand the power of experiments and limitations.
Mind The Conventional Essay Structure
Narrative essays are often based on personal experiences and incidents that are exclusive to the writer only. This leads to the thinking that there is no standard structure for a narrative essay and that the writer can write as he pleases.
That is not the case when students are writing a narrative essay. Experts have chalked out a conventional structure for a narrative with an introduction that has the hook and thesis statement. Then comes the main body with multiple elements of the essay in the play, including the theme, characters, setting, and conflict. In the end, the conclusion gives the conflict a resolution and provides necessary lessons to the readers.
While choosing the question, the structure of the essay should be kept in mind.
Personal Narrative Essay Questions
When it comes to a narrative essay, the most preferred topics revolve around personal narratives. Here are some examples of personal narrative essay questions:
- An unforgettable mentor in college
- A frightful experience in the forest
- A funny situation that you devised and fell yourself into it
- The most memorable incident from your childhood
- Your first trip to a foreign country
- The worst episode of your college life
- The time you lost a friend forever
- The journey of learning a musical instrument
- An embarrassing accident in the mall
- The first time you participated in organized sports
- Attending a musical concert for the first time
- Helping people in need and getting satisfaction from it
- Discovering a secret about your family
- Connecting with a family member on a trip
- The most inspirational seminar in college
- The moment you feared for your life
- Getting lost in the wilderness and feeling good about it
- Cooking a meal for yourself for the first time
Cultural Narrative Essay Questions For College
Meeting people from new cultures and visiting far-off places from home can help people learn new things and appreciate the diversity in the world. That’s why essay questions concerning cultures and interaction gain a lot of traction.
Here are a few examples:
- Unique traditions in your friend’s family
- The most surprising tradition in the neighborhood
- Celebrating holidays in your culture
- What makes it important to connect with your culture and tribe
- Embarrassing yourself in a different country due to the lack of cultural appropriation
- When circumstances suppress culture and tradition
- The influence of media on culture and beyond
- Food and eating habits in your culture
- Cultures define a person or the other way around
- Cultural identity and its importance
- Denying primitive cultural segregation
- Life and death in your culture
- Place of charity and compassion in your traditions
Tips For Securing Maximum Scores In Narrative Essay Questions
Even after learning and understanding the structure and underlying elements of the narrative essay, students can still find themselves stuck on the first pages. Often, they need a push or a take-off velocity where they can start producing content.
We have found that sharing professional tips and tricks with students can help them find the inspiration or confidence to go on.
So, here are some exceptional tips and hacks.
Preparation Before The Writing Phase
Writing the narrative essay is the most important part of the essay. Even proofreading and editing come after you have written anything at all.
But, simply blurting out random thoughts on your paper is not essay writing which means it needs some discipline.
This comes from preparing all the material that you need to write beforehand. This way, not only the quality of writing will be improved but students will have fewer to no bottlenecks in the process to deal with. Whether it is researching or reading works of literary figures, it should be done to make the process smooth.
Clarity And Cohesion Between Sentences & Paragraphs
As mentioned in the previous section, essay writing is not about churning out meaningless words and phrases on paper. It is about working around a topic or a question and answering it in the best possible way.
Another thing that students lack in their essays is the bridging or cohesion between different segments of the essay. Since a sentence is made of different words and a paragraph is made of many sentences, it is necessary to bind the whole narrative together with a constant theme or a central idea. This is a surefire way to get maximum scores.
Writing In First-Person Point Of View
A narrative essay is about a person going through a significant point in space and time, facing and wrestling with opposition, and then coming out stronger and wiser. This sums up the theme or central idea of the essay as well.
No matter which question a writer chooses to write on, it is necessary to understand the perspective of the narrator. There are three major perspectives, first-person, second-person, and third-person.
In schools and colleges, students should stick to the first-person narrative because it is easy to handle and shows a sense of ownership.
Editing & Proofreading
No writing process at any level whatsoever is incomplete without due phases of editing and proofreading. First drafts are filled with errors and inconsistencies no matter how carefully and masterfully a writer goes through one.
Since the goal is to get started and reach a certain point, there is no escape from errors and mistakes.
That’s why editing and proofreading are the keys to finalizing a mediocre essay and turning it into gold. Students can employ online tools and software that can help them identify and address mistakes without breaking any sweat. Most of them are free!
Narrative essays should start with a hook to entice the readers into reading more. There are many ways to set the proverbial hook, one of them is asking a question. This way, the reader either answers that question and then would want to see whether he was right or wrong. Or, he wants to know more and continue to read on.
The necessary elements of a narrative essay are as follows:
The basic questions that a writer must answer in a narrative essay can be identified through elements. In addition to this, a thesis statement is an integral part of the narrative essay because it summarizes the theme in the introduction.
A narrative essay or any essay is incomplete without a relevant title or topic because it lets the readers know what the essay is about before they can read it. A good title is inviting and does not reveal much while hinting at important aspects of the essay.
The standard format of a narrative essay has the following steps:
- Rising Action
There are five major types of narrator’s perspectives in narrative essay writing:
- POV Narrative
- Historical Narrative
- Linear Narrative
- Non-Linear Narrative
- Quest Narrative
There is no denying that nailing the narrative essay question can be hard especially when writers are students in their early academic careers. This guide has shed ample light on different aspects of narrative questions and topics, from selection to preparation, and then writing and editing.
In addition to this, we have listed some important questions that students face in school and college. By familiarizing themselves with them at this stage, they can learn about different technical aspects. To get the best scores, it is necessary to learn and practice beforehand so that it will be easier when the time comes.