12 Narrative Essay Materials

Narrative Essay Prompt

Choose one of the following topics to write your own narrative essay.  The topic you decide on should be something you care about, and the narration should be a means of communicating an idea that ties to the essay’s theme. Remember in this essay, the narration is not an end in itself.

FRIENDS

  1. Gaining independence
  2. A friend’s sacrifice
  3. A significant trip with your family
  4. A wedding or a funeral
  5. A incident from family legend

THE WORLD AROUND YOU

  1. A storm, a flood, an earthquake, or another natural event
  2. A school event
  3. The most important minutes of a sporting event

LESSONS OF DAILY LIFE

  1. A time you confronted authority
  2. A time you had to deliver bad news
  3. Your biggest social blunder

FIRSTS

  1. Your first day of school
  2. The first performance you gave
  3. A first date

Writing Your Narrative Essay

To get started writing your essay:

  1. Review “What is an Essay?”
  2. Take time to review possible subjects
  3. Use prewriting to help you narrow your topic to one experience.

Remember that “story starters” are everywhere. Think about it—status updates on social media websites can be a good place to start. You may have already started a “note”on Facebook, and now is your chance to develop that idea into a full narrative. If you keep a journal or diary, a simple event may unfold into a narrative. Simply said, your stories may be closer than you think!

When drafting your essay:

  1. Develop an enticing title – although don’t let yourself get stuck on the title. A great title might suggest itself after you’ve begun the prewriting and drafting processes.
  2. Use the introduction to establish the situation the essay will address.
  3. Avoid addressing the assignment directly. (For example, don’t write “I am going to write about my most significant experience,” because this takes the fun out of reading the work!)
  4. Think of things said at the moment this experience started for you—perhaps use a quote, or an interesting part of the experience that will grab the reader.
  5. Let the story reflect your own voice. (Is your voice serious? Humorous? Matter-of-fact?)
  6. Organize the essay in a way that
    • Establishes the situation [introduction];
    • Introduces the complication(s) [body]; and
    • States the lesson you learned [conclusion]
  7. To avoid just telling what happens, make sure your essay takes time to reflect on why this experience is significant.

 

Prewriting and Draft

For this assignment, you will work through the prewriting and drafting stages of your writing process in a narrative essay.

Directions:

  1. Review the grading rubric as listed on this page.
  2. Choose a writing prompt on the “Narrative Essay Assignment: Writing Prompt” page.
  3. Create a prewriting in the style of your choice for the prompt. Review the prewriting videos on the “My Writing Process: Prewriting and Draft” page if needed.
  4. Develop a draft essay according to the following formatting guidelines: (Papers submitted that do not meet these formatting requirements will be returned to you ungraded.)
    1. Minimum of 3 typed, double-spaced pages (about 600-750 words), Times New Roman, 12 pt font size
    2. MLA formatting (see the “Formatting Style for Papers” page as needed)
    3. Submitted as either a .Microsoft Word doc, .or rtf file
  5. Submit your prewriting and draft as a single file upload.

Be sure to:

  • Decide on something you care about so that the narration is a means of communicating an idea.
  • Include characters, conflict, sensory details.
  • Create a sequence of events in a plot.
  • Develop an enticing title.
  • Use the introduction to pull the reader into your singular experience.
  • Avoid addressing the assignment directly. (don’t write “I am going to write about…” – this takes the fun out of reading the work!)
  • Let the essay reflect your own voice (Is your voice serious? Humorous? Matter-of-fact?)
  • Avoid telling just what happens by making sure your essay reflects on why this experience is significant.

 

*If you developed your prewriting by hand on paper, scan or take a picture of your prewriting, load the image onto your computer, and then insert the image on a separate page after your draft.

Grading Rubric: Narrative Essay Prewriting and Draft

Criteria Ratings Point Total: 50
Presentation

2 pts: Paper is double-spaced throughout using Times New Roman 12 pt. font. Full name, class, Instructor’s name, your location, and time of class, date, and description of assignment are in upper-left-hand corner. The essay should be paginated (show page numbers) as well. Title should not be bolded or underlined.

0 pts: Essay is not consistent with presentation guidelines above.

2 pts
Title

1 pts: The title is three or more words and hints at the essay’s main point.

0 pts: No marks

1 pts
Introduction

10 pts: Introduction sets up the problem the author struggles with. This could be internal, external or both.

0 pts: No marks

10 pts
Essay body

10 pts: The body presents the “complication” that sets the plot in motion.

0 pts: No marks

10 pts
Transformation

10 pts: Conclusion shows the transformation from the introduction and thus the “moral” of the story.

0 pts: No marks

10 pts
Audience

2 pts: The “moral” of the story is objective and reflects a universal lesson that all readers can benefit from.

0 pts: No marks

2 pts
Show, don’t tell

5 pts: Author “shows” the events with vivid and compelling language rather than simply tells the story.

3 pts: Some showing, mostly telling.

0 pts: No marks

5 pts
Prewriting and brainstorming

10 pts: Shows good exploration and effort.

2 pts: Did some brainstorming.

0 pts: No marks

10 pts

 

Writing Community Review

For this assignment, you will need to share your Narrative Essay draft with your writing community via the discussion. Then you will choose a peer’s essay from your writing community and conduct a review.

Directions:

1. Review the grading rubric for this assignment as listed on this page (see below).

To post your Narrative Essay draft to the discussion:

  1. Copy and paste your draft in a new Google Doc. If you aren’t familiar with Google Docs, try this resource by Google to assist you.
  2. Title the Google Doc with your first initial, last name, and Narrative Essay, ex. “RSmith Narrative Essay.”
  3. Set the share and edit permissions of the Google Doc to “Anyone with the link.”
  4. Copy and paste the URL address of the Google Doc into a new discussion post.

To review a peer’s Narrative Essay in your writing community:

  1. Select the URL address of the peer’s essay from the discussion you want to review.
  2. Develop your response to your peer’s writing by focusing on each of these points:
  • What makes the essay memorable? What did you like best?
  • What is the meaning of the story? Why was the experience important to the audience?
  • How did the writer structure the essay? Is there a beginning (problem), a middle (complication), an end (transformation)?
  • What details may be missing and are needed for clarity?  Is there something that the writer implies but does not actually carry out in the narrative?
  • Does the essay focus on one event only? Is the topic narrowed enough to support a well-focused essay?
  • What specific places in the essay did your peer succeed in narrating a singular experience?
  • Where might the essay need cuts, adds, or reorders?
  • Using the 6+1 Traits Rubric, are there any weaknesses in the essay that stand out?
  • Using the Dartmouth Writing Program “Attending to Grammar” link, do you recognize a grammar problem with the essay? If so, where?
  • What other supportive suggestions can you identify to improve the writing?

3. Copy and paste your response at the end of the peer’s Narrative Essay in their Google Doc.

Grading Rubric: Narrative Essay – Writing Community Review

Criteria Ratings Point Total: 10
Student chooses a peer’s essay to review

2.5 pts: Full marks

0 pts: No marks

2.5 pts
Student addresses the meaning of the story

2.5 pts: Full marks

0 pts: No marks

2.5 pts
Student addresses essay structure

2.5 pts: Full marks

0 pts: No marks

2.5 pts

Student makes supportive suggestions for

improving the essay

2.5 pts: Full marks

0 pts: No marks

2.5 pts

 

Narrative Essay Final Draft

For this assignment, review the feedback posted from your writing community in the prior assignment: Narrative Essay – Writing Community Review.  Work your way through the revising and proofreading stages of your writing process, and submit your final version of the essay.

Directions:

1. Review the grading rubric as listed on this page.

2. Review the feedback posted on your Google Doc from the Narrative Essay – Writing Community Review.  

3. Work through the revise stage of the writing process.

4. Work through the proofread stage of the writing process.

5. Create a final version of your Narrative Essay according to the following formatting guidelines*:

  • 3-4 typed, double-spaced pages (about 600-750 words), 12 pt font size, Times New Roman;
  • MLA formatting (see the “Formatting Style for Papers” page as needed); and
  • Submitted as either a .doc, .docx, .rtf file.

*Papers submitted that do not meet these requirements will be returned to you ungraded.

6. Submit your final version of your Narrative Essay as a single file upload.

Grading Rubric: Narrative Essay – Final Version

Criteria Ratings Point Total: 100
Presentation

8 pts: Paper is double-spaced throughout using Times New Roman 12 pt. font. Full name, class, Instructor’s name, your location, and time of class, date, and description of assignment are in upper-left-hand corner. The essay should be paginated (show page numbers) as well. Title should not be bolded or underlined.

0 pts: Essay is not consistent with presentation guidelines above.

8 pts
Title

2 pts: The title is three or more words and hints at the essay’s main point.

0 pts: No marks

2 pts
Introduction

20 pts: Introduction sets up the problem the author struggles with. This could be internal, external or both.

0 pts: No marks

20 pts
Essay body

20 pts: The body presents the “complication” that sets the plot in motion.

0 pts: No marks

20 pts
Transformation

20 pts: Conclusion shows the transformation from the introduction and thus the “moral” of the story.

0 pts: No marks

20 pts
Audience

10 pts: The “moral” of the story is objective and reflects a universal lesson that all readers can benefit from.

0 pts: No marks

10 pts
Show, don’t tell

20 pts: Author “shows” the events with vivid and compelling language rather than simply tells the story.

12 pts: Some showing, mostly telling.

0 pts: No marks

20 pts

Reflection

Now that you have completed your Narrative Essay, take a few minutes to reflect on the experience and write about your process and what you learned. Write a reflection on your Narrative Essay writing experience using complete sentences.

Directions:

1. Review the grading rubric as listed on this page.

2. Consider the following questions.

  • What was most the challenging aspect of creating this essay?
  • What did you learn about yourself as a writer?
  • What might you do differently the next time you write this type of essay knowing what you know now after writing this essay?

3.  Write your reflection on each question listed above, using complete sentences. Your final reflection assignment should fit the following guidelines:

  • 1-1.5 typed, double-spaced pages, 12 pt font size, Times New Roman;
  • Submitted as either a .doc, .docx, .rtf file.

4. Submit your reflections as a single file upload.

Grading Rubric: Narrative Essay – Reflection

Criteria Ratings Point Total: 15

Student writes a thoughtful response to each question using complete sentences.

Assignment adheres to formatting guidelines.

For each question:

5 pts: Full marks

0 pts: No marks

15 pts

 

 

License

Icon for the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

Enhanced College Writing by Lumen Learning is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

Share This Book