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Home » A Narrative Essay Outline: Craft Your Perfect Essay

A Narrative Essay Outline: Craft Your Perfect Essay

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As with any other type of essay, a narrative essay outline is essential to write a high-quality piece. While it might seem like a straightforward task at first, putting together an outline can actually be quite challenging.

This is because the narrative format provides more flexibility in writing as well as requires a writer to use creative skills.

In this article, we will share some tips on how to write a narrative essay and guide you through the narrative writing process.

What Narrative Is?

Before we get into the nitty-gritty of how to write a narrative essay, let’s first answer the question: What is a narrative essay? A narrative essay is a story revolving around the central point of your essay. It can be personal, or it can be fictionalized. Narrative essays are more creative compared to academic essays.

The goal of a narrative essay is to tell a story. The best way to do this is to use sensory details. These are details that appeal to the five senses: smell, taste, sight, touch, and sound. When you can appeal to all five senses in your essay, it will be much more engaging and enjoyable for the reader.

Now that we’ve answered the question: “What is a narrative essay?”, it’s time to move on to the next step: narrative essay outline.

Narrative Essay Structure And Outline

There are several things to keep in mind when creating an outline for your narrative essay. First, you need to make sure that your outline is maintaining a logical flow. This means creating a clear introduction, body, and conclusion.

  • Introduction and Thesis statement: In a narrative essay, the writer tells a story about his/her personal experience, the experience of other characters, or the writer’s personal development.
  • Body Paragraphs support the thesis statement with a vivid description, observations, and examples. You should use your main argument or idea in body paragraphs.
  • The Conclusion Paragraph restates the thesis statement and leaves the reader with a final thought or impression. You should mention your essay’s key points here.

Second, you need to make sure that your outline includes all the important elements of the story. This includes the setting, characters, plot, and resolution.

Third, you need to make sure that your outline is concise and to the point. This means including only the information that is absolutely necessary to tell the story. You should write the whole essay in the third person if it’s not a personal narrative essay. Also, try to avoid using passive voice.

Fourth, you need to make sure that your outline flows smoothly. This means ensuring that each sentence transitions smoothly into the next. Limit references, as narrative essays are not research papers!

Finally, you need to make sure that your outline is error-free. This means proofreading it carefully for any grammar or spelling errors.

By following these tips, you can be sure that your narrative essay outline is perfect. With a well-crafted outline, you can be confident that your essay will be successful.

Introduction and Narrative Essay Thesis Statement

In a narrative essay, you tell a story, often about a personal experience, but you also make a point. So, the purpose is not only to tell an entertaining tale but also to expound on the importance of the experience in question.

The thesis statement for a narrative essay does this by summarizing the main point of your essay in one sentence. It also serves as a good hook for the rest of your essay because it encapsulates everything that’s to come.

For example, if you’re writing about an important lesson you learned from a recent breakup, your thesis might be

“Though breakups are never easy, I learned that I’m stronger than I thought.”

By starting with this sentence, you immediately engage your reader and give them a sense of what’s to come. Not only that, but you also set up the stakes for the rest of your story – if you can get through this tough experience, then perhaps your breakup wasn’t so bad after all.

From there, you can flesh out the rest of your essay with relevant details about what happened and how it made you feel. In doing so, you’ll be able to not only tell an interesting story but also make a compelling argument for why that story is important.

Body Paragraph: Beginning and Story Setting

Every great story has a beginning, middle, and end, but not every story is told in chronological order. In a narrative essay, the writer has the freedom to choose when and how to tell the story. However, this does not mean that the task of writing a narrative essay is easy. In fact, crafting an effective narrative requires careful planning and attention to detail. 

When deciding how to begin their essays, writers must first consider their audience.

  • Will the reader be able to follow along if the story starts in the middle?
  • Is it important for the reader to understand the characters’ backstories?

Answering these questions will help writers determine the best way to begin their narrative. 

Once they have decided on a beginning, writers must set the stage for their story. This means creating a world that feels real and believable to the reader.

Writers can do this by using vivid details and sensory language. For example, rather than simply saying “the house was old,” a writer might describe “the peeling paint, the drafty windows, and the musty smell.” These specific sensory details will help transport readers into the world of the story. 

With a strong beginning in place, writers can start to craft an engaging and compelling narrative.

Body Paragraph: Plot and Rising Action

After the introduction and setting come the rising action and plot of the story. You can add more key details related to your story in the second body paragraph.

The rising action is the part of the narrative essay outline where things start to get interesting. This is typically where the conflict of the story is introduced. For example, in a story about a breakup, the rising action might be when the relationship starts to unravel.  

The plot is the main sequence of events in the story. This is where the majority of the action takes place. In a narrative essay, the plot is often driven by the characters’ actions and choices. For example, in a story about a breakup, the plot might be how the protagonist tries to win back their ex-partner. 

Together, the rising action and plot create tension and conflict, which keeps readers engaged with the story. 

Body Paragraph: Climax and Falling Action

The climax is the highest point of tension in the story. This is typically when the conflict is resolved. For example, in a story about a breakup, the climax might be when the protagonist finally decides to let go of their ex-partner. 

The falling action is the part of the story where things start to wrap up. This is typically where the aftermath of the climax is explored. For example, in a story about a breakup, the falling action might be when the protagonist starts to rebuild their life without their ex-partner. 

The climax and falling action provide a sense of resolution to the story and leave readers feeling satisfied. 

Body Paragraph: Conclusion

The conclusion is the final section of the narrative essay. This is where the writer reflects on the significance of the story. For example, in a story about a breakup, the conclusion might be about how the experience has changed the protagonist. 

The narrative essay conclusion should tie all of the loose ends of the story together and leave readers with a sense of closure. 

Ending with a strong conclusion is important because it gives readers a sense of resolution and leaves them feeling satisfied. 

The perfect narrative essay outline follows a clear and concise format.

  1. It begins with an introduction
  2. Sets the stage for the story
  3. Introduces the conflict
  4. Explores the rising action and plot
  5. Builds to the climax
  6. Ends with a conclusion.

This structure allows writers to craft a narrative that is engaging and easy for readers to follow.  

When writing a narrative essay, it is important to keep in mind the following tips: 

-Start with an interesting hook to grab readers’ attention.

-Use concrete details and sensory language to set the stage for the story.

-Create tension and conflict through the rising action and plot.

Resolve the conflict in a satisfying way through the climax and falling action.

Reflect on the significance of the story in conclusion.

-End with a strong conclusion that leaves readers feeling satisfied. 

By following these tips, writers can create a narrative essay that is both enjoyable to read and easy to follow.

Writing a Personal Narrative Essay

This type of essay allows writers to share a story about an important event in their lives. It could be an experience, a person, a place, or an event told in the first person.

You can use the elements of the outline above to write an engaging personal narrative story, or you can check the personal narrative essay outline below.

When choosing a topic, it is important to choose something that is significant and meaningful to you. The essay should also be well-organized, with a clear beginning, middle, and end. In addition, it should contain a vivid description and sensory details to bring the story to life.

The personal narrative essay outline below may also provide you with some insights into the narrative writing process:

  1. Introduce your topic – a memorable event from your life
  2. Describe the events leading up to and surrounding the main event
  3. Reflect on what happened and how it affected you
  4. Share any lessons learned from the experience
  5. Finish with a brief conclusion that wraps up your thoughts on the topic

Writing a personal narrative essay can be a challenging and rewarding experience. By following the tips above, you can craft an essay that is both enjoyable to write and easy for readers to follow.

Narrative Essay Outline: Narrative Arc

You can write a narrative essay in a more effective way by visualizing the narrative arc. The narrative arc is the structure of a story. It is the sequence of events that make up the plot. The narrative arc is based on Freytag’s model, and you can use it to write a perfect narrative essay outline consisting of five paragraphs.


The opening of the story, where the setting, characters, and conflict are introduced.

Start writing your story’s atmosphere, which will guide your whole essay. Use the introduction hook, detailed description, and dynamic words in the introductory paragraph to grab the reader’s interest.

Rising Action

The events that lead up to the climax of the story.

During this narrative essay step, work through the cognitive tension to find a solution to the conflict or a problem.


The turning point of the story, where the protagonist confronts the conflict.

This is the breaking point of your narrative essay outline. The protagonist overcomes the problem, which leads to the resolution.

Falling Action

The events that follow the climax and lead to the resolution of the story.

The falling action is the narrator’s reflection on what happened. It is also a time for the reader to process the events of the story.


The ending of the story, where the conflict is resolved.

The resolution is the conclusion of your story. It is the end of the journey for the protagonist. In this final step, the narrator learns from the experience and grows as a result.

The narrative arc is a helpful tool for writers to use when planning a story.

By understanding the narrative arc, writers can create an essay that is compelling and easy for readers to follow.

Elements of Narrative Essays

If you want to write the best stories, you should understand the essential elements of narrative essays.

These include the following:


The protagonist (main character) of a narrative essay is typically someone close to the writer, such as a friend, family member, or co-worker. Or if it is a personal narrative, then write is the character.

The reader should be able to empathize with the character and understand their motivation.

Theme or motif:

The theme of a narrative essay is the central message or idea that the writer wants to communicate.

It should be something that the reader can relate to, such as love, loss, hope, or courage.


Dialogue is an important element of narrative essays, as it can help to bring the story to life.

Writers should use dialogue sparingly, however, and only when it is necessary to advance the plot or develop the characters.

By including these elements in your narrative essay, you can create an essay that is both engaging and memorable.

How Many Pages Should the Narrative Essay Be?

The length of a narrative essay varies depending on the requirements of the assignment.

Such essays should be between 500 and 1000 words. You can use the abovementioned outline examples to write a short story or even a book!

Sample Narrative Essay Outline

By following this simple Narrative Essay Outline, you can easily organize your thoughts and create a well-written essay.

Here is a basic Narrative Essay Outline you can use to write your college, high school, or middle school assignment:


– Hook: A story or incident that captures the attention of the reader.

– Background information: Contextual information about the story.

– Thesis statement: The point of the essay.

Body paragraphs:

– First body paragraph: Describes the first event in the story.

– Second body paragraph: Describes the second event in the story.

– Third body paragraph: Describes the third event in the story.


– Restate thesis statement: The point of the essay.

– Reflect on the experience: What did you learn from it? How did it change you?

– Leave the reader with a strong impression: A final thought or call to action.

You can write a narrative essay by using the narrative essay outline template above as well as our article on 25 awesome essay hooks to make it even better 🙂

Also, check the narrative essay examples of the winners of the NYT 2022 contest, as learning from professional writers is important for gaining more insights into how to craft the perfect narrative essay.

By following these tips, writers can create a good narrative essay that is both enjoyable to read and easy to follow.

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