How To Write A Narrative Essay: A Step-by-Step Guide Sample Paper

A narrative essay is one of the most common tasks we all were assigned during our study. One of the best things about it is that writing a narrative essay can’t be boring: it’s one of the most creative tasks you can do for your course. It is a great storytelling exercise that allows you to explore your own vision of the subject and show your understanding to the teacher. You don’t simply write down the dry facts: the narrative essay format means that you need to show your own opinion on the subject, in a way your readers will be thrilled to see.

The creative approach to the college narrative essay means that some rules are less strict than in other types of essays. We can’t say exactly how long should a narrative essay be. It depends on the teacher’s demands, on the subject, on the details you want to put into your text. The standard length is around 600 words, but you can always discuss it with your teacher.

Writing a narrative essay is a fun process, especially when you know what to do exactly. This step-by-step guide will help you through every stage, from choosing the topic to getting your A. Let’s get started!

What Is a Narrative Essay?

Getting a perfect definition of narrative essay isn’t an easy task. It may vary from college to college. But the broadest definition that will fit any school is a describing, storytelling text that allows you to express your opinion on the subject, possibly in a more emotional way than it is appropriate for the other essay types. In a nutshell, a narrative essay is a story you want to tell. It may use scientific facts, statistics, and other facts & figures stuff, but it should be written in a way appealing to human beings.

It’s always a good idea to get some inspiration before you start. Often, the teacher asks you to write a personal narrative essay. It’s the easiest way to tell an emotionally rich story because you perfectly know what you feel. The task is only to transfer these feelings to the paper and make them understandable for others.

What to Write About?

If the topic isn’t strictly defined, you may choose whatever excites you to no end. Imagine a thing that has impressed you so much that you want to share this experience with everyone now. Passion is a very important part of choosing your topic because it’s very hard to make the audience feel emotions if you don’t feel anything except boredom yourself.

You need to pick a story that matters. Something that the others can relate to and get a kind of epiphany from. Try to brainstorm the topic by writing down all such stories you can remember and then choosing the one you really want to tell. Some of them may appear great at the first sight but then require too much personal information you don’t want to share. Some may be just reserved for other occasions and longer texts.

If you don’t know how to write a narrative essay about yourself, don’t worry. There are plenty of examples on the Internet. Of course, you don’t have to rewrite some other’s stories, but you may see the events that people consider important and think about similar ones in your life.

Structure of a Narrative Essay

The narrative essay structure is more or less similar to the other types of essays. You need an introduction, a conclusion, and 3 to 5 paragraphs between them. Each paragraph should describe one thought logically connected with the previous and the next ones.

To make the structure neater, you may use a short draft. Write one sentence for each of your paragraphs and see if they are connected in a proper way. If you are satisfied with your outline, you may broaden the paragraphs, turning them into the full text. Such preparations are important because you need to divide your space evenly, giving roughly the same amount of words to each paragraph. This method has been used by lots of famous writers for their books and short stories.

It will be great to add one main storyline element into each paragraph. It should be something bright, a detail or action that captures the attention of the readers and prompts them further. It may be something that you were emotionally attached to during that event or your own conclusions. The storyline elements should enhance your role in the story, show your attitude to it, and the importance of this story for you personally. If the situation needs an explanation of your behavior, add an extra paragraph to show the readers the causes and consequences of your decision. It will open your personality up and give the audience a new reason to think about your essay more.

If there are several events in your story, describe them chronologically, giving a paragraph for each one. Make sure that the logical connection between them is clear and doesn’t need further explanation to the readers.

Leave the last paragraph for proving and supporting your topics. Your emotional attitude should be enhanced with facts and reasons. The audience should understand both what did you feel and why did you do what you did.

Types of Narrative Essays

The types of narrative essays depend on the narrative styles you choose. Some of them are most fitting for the narrative essay format, such as linear narrative that presents the events that happened chronologically. The non-linear narrative style that shifts the order of events may be a bit tricky to use, but you may try to put your main personal conclusion into the first paragraph and then explain it later. It is true for some short stories that give the final scene first and then explain what happened before. A viewpoint narrative is more about your emotional experience than about the actual description of the events, but it can also be useful for the essay if applied carefully. It shows everything from your inner perspective: not the thing that happened, but your feelings about it happening.

Narrative essays are a great start to polish your writing skills. They can later help you with your future motivation speeches and speeches in general, letters added to your CV to get your dream job, or even pitches presenting your startup to future investors. Narrative essays are a fun way to teach you to show your emotions to others, make them feel what you feel, and support your ideas. Use this opportunity and enjoy your great marks!

A Complete Guide To Writing A Compare And Contrast

This guide will walk you through the basic steps of writing a college compare and contrast essay, from choosing the topic and drawing the outline to checking facts and polishing style. Writing a compare and contrast essay is not much harder than comparing anything in your life. Actually, it is just an extended list of pros and cons with your own opinion as a conclusion. The two subjects should, of course, be comparable at all and fall into the same categories. You may compare two writers, two scientists who worked on the same topic, two people who faced the same problem and solved it differently. Anything, from pets to dishes to ideas fits the compare and contrast essay format.

Writing about two things isn’t twice as hard as about one. Just follow our guide and see that there are plenty of ways to start a compare and contrast essay and strict but easy rules to finish it. Let’s learn them! Now, when we know what does compare and contrast essay means, we can outline its structure. Like all the other essays this one starts with an introduction, ends with a conclusion, and has 4-5 paragraphs in between. Each paragraph should be dedicated to the one trait that defines both comparison subjects and is different for each of them. It’s a good idea to use a roughly equal amount of sentences while describing both subjects, even if you know the traits of one of them better. You should be fair in your essay and not show that you prefer one subject over another.

To start writingyou need to brainstorm a topic of the essay and the main traits you will compare. Remember that both subjects should either be well-known or you should dedicate an extra paragraph introducing them to the audience. Usually, compare and contrast essay topics are connected to acute social issues such as vegans vs meat eaters or pro-life approach vs pro-choice one. If you want to make your essay milder, you may use more neutral comparisons that are more of a matter of taste, such as cats vs dogs or Mozart vs Beethoven. Still, don’t try to make your paper too neutral. You need a kind of hook for compare and contrast essay. Unlike narrative essays, this type is a bit more limited, so the topic itself should be thought-provoking or, at least, have interesting and non-standard arguments for and against both subjects.

What is a compare and contrast essay in a nutshell? A formalized argument where you present both sides simultaneously. Make a list of the possible facts these sides can use. You may create a list of similarities and a list of differences, or write down all the points and check each of them separately. Use the most drastic differences for your first paragraph to catch the audience’s attention. But remember that the best arguments are the different values of the same category. E.g. you take the attitude to dogs and see that John loves dogs and even plans to have one, and Kate is scared of them and won’t even visit the house where the dog lives. The dogs are the joining factor, but the attitude to them is the “contrast” part. You may use diagrams or graphs to organize your arguments. Later you may even neat them up and add them to your essay to make everything more understandable with the visual aid.

After choosing your compare and contrast essay topic it’s time to start making the draft of your exact structure. Take your word limit (if you have one. If you don’t the college essays are usually limited to roughly 600 words). Divide it evenly between your main argument points. Don’t forget to leave a few sentences for the introduction, conclusion, and, if you need it, a short explanation of the subject of your essay. Write down the main idea of each paragraph. If we take the previous example, one of the paragraphs will be named “Attitude to dogs”. When everything is done and you love the order of your paragraphs (putting the most interesting, vivid, or thought-provoking at the beginning and something to attract the audience again at the end), it’s time to add flesh to your “skeleton”. Start writing about each point!

Effective comparisons are the hook for compare and contrast essay you are making. Use the ones that the audience can relate to. Fun facts are fun, but if you want your readers to be truly fascinated, get down to the serious things. You may back up your points with extra pieces of evidence, research, or (if you aren’t writing about a historical person or event) your own experience. Quote the people you are describing and include as much information as possible while staying within your word limit. Transitional words are the markers of your compare and contrast essay. They transfer your audience from one subject to the other smoothly and add extra credibility (and points!) to your essay. Try using “likewise”, “similarly”, and “both” for comparison, and “whereas” and “nonetheless” and “unlike” for contrast and you’ll instantly see your text as more classy and professional.

Finishing writing doesn’t mean finishing your work. Writing a compare and contrast essay is a big job, but proofreading isn’t a less important one. Read your essay aloud, get the wordy or clumsy sentences, and rewrite them. Grammar checking tools are your best friends now because they will eliminate any mistakes that you may not grasp. You may ask a friend to double-check your essay or read it by yourself the next morning after “rebooting” your brain. We are rarely unbiased concerning our own works, so we need either another person or time to rest to see some silly mistakes we could miss for the first time. Writing a compare and contrast essay is a common task in college. It teaches us to structure our thoughts, see both sides of the problem, and logically divide similar and different traits. Such skills are a great aid in the future life when you need to make real decisions, often even hard ones. Compare and contrast essays aren’t about just arguing. They help you to see the pros and cons of each side and choose yours with confidence.

How To Write A Good Synthesis Essay Argumentative Essay

Writing a synthesis essay may look a bit more complicated than a narrative or compare and contrast ones. It demands solid research and assembling the different results into a single topic. Synthetic essays teach us to find connections between seemingly not connected issues and see the underlined similarities, causes, and results of something hidden.

This is one of the most serious types of essays because it demands extra research and assembling work. It may be a good idea to look for examples of synthesis in writing before you start to understand how the whole thing works. But if you are ready to start right away – let’s go!

What is a synthesis essay?

As we said before, a synthesis essay is an attempt to create something whole and integral from the scattered parts. If you look for examples of a synthesis essay, you’ll see that they are mostly divided into three types: argument synthesis essays, review essays, and background synthesis essays. Let’s look closer at each of the three types.

The argument synthesis essay starts from the initial statement. You say something in the very introduction and then make big research to prove it right. The main idea here isn’t only to find different sources supporting your idea but to organize them in a logical manner. Show the connections between the facts you gathered. Do they have something in common, can they cause each other, or are they all just manifestations of a bigger idea?

The review essay can be used if you are going to continue research on the topic. The review essay is dedicated more to gathering sources than to organize them. Reviewing something is one of the most popular topics for synthesis essays because it needs less work in comparison with the other types. The goal of the review synthesis essay is to show that the topic is important and there are enough papers to support your claim. If you need a deeper look at the topic, you may write a review essay first and the argument one later.

An explanatory or background synthesis essay may look similar to the argumentative one, but the main difference is that it doesn’t advocate any point of view. You work as an independent observer, presenting the topic from all angles. It doesn’t need a strong thesis statement, the readers are free to make their own conclusion after learning all the material you gathered for them. This type isn’t very popular in the college, because you are expected to show your own opinion, but in the future, while analyzing business ideas or new projects, the skill of background synthesis may be priceless.

In general, all the types of synthesis essays are connected with a single purpose: making insightful connections between different sources and creating a full picture, with or without a personal attitude. By the way, we used synthesis in the previous sentence, finding the main similarity in the different types. See, it’s easy!

How to start a synthesis essay?

Each essay starts with the topic, but the topic of a good synthesis essay should fulfill some extra requirements. It should be broad and well-researched to let you find different sources and different points of view. The narrow topic will usually be synthesized all along, so you won’t do any work (and won’t earn a good mark though). Free choice of topic is the trickiest here because you’ll need extra time for preliminary reading and preparing your sources. Unless you are writing a review essay and this is your main task.

A good synthesis essay outline consists of an introduction with a good thesis statement (with or without showing your point of view, depending on the type), 5 or 6 paragraphs describing different sources with a clear logical transition between them, and the conclusion that actually synthesizes the sources, putting them together and outlining all the connection. Don’t stick to the number of paragraphs: if you have a word limit but too few good sources it’s better to use only the best ones but work with them thoroughly.

The thesis statement is the most personal part of your essay and it should catch the attention of the audience instantly. It is the main idea of your essay and the source choice will greatly depend on it. Dedicate some extra time to brainstorming your good thesis statement. It may be as daring as thought-provoking as you wish if you can support it with credible sources. Remember, that the thesis statement is a single complete sentence, and try to put the essence of your paper into one.

Choose your sources depending on your thesis statements. It’s important to study both supporting and opposing sources because disproving the main arguments against your thesis statement can also become an important part of your paper (especially with the lack of good supporting sources). Write down the key quotes and use them to enhance your statements. A good rule of thumb is to use one quote per paragraph to show the teacher that you did the research and not to overload your text with extra quotes.

Starting a synthesis essay is important, but the conclusion should be an equally powerful part of your text. To figure out how to conclude a synthesis essay you should re-read all the logical connections you put into the text and merge them into one strong statement. Your conclusion should be very descriptive and full. To check if you have a good conclusion, send the introduction and conclusion paragraphs to your friend, omitting all the sources part. If they are able to understand what it is all about and agree that you may have a point with your thesis statement, you did well.

Synthesis essays are the task that should be done thoroughly and with great attention to the details. But they are one of the most rewarding tasks: to write a synthesis essay you should use all your logic, all your information-searching skills, and the ability to see the hidden connections behind the obvious facts. Synthesis essays develop your critical thinking: a skill that is essential in our modern world, overloaded with information.

Good Tips for Your Writing

  • Analyze no more than two sources within one paragraph. If you write too many references, the reader may get confused and lose the logical argumentation.
  • Give your opinion to each viewpoint. Don’t rely on the other’s words only. You need to explain how certain authors treat the topic of discussion and give your evaluative thought.
  • If you analyze the idea which is opposite to yours, describe it without offense.State its strong and weak sides. You should try to be objective as much as possible.
  • Prepare a strong thesis statement which is based on your opinion.
  • Don’t lose your voice while evaluating other thoughts.It means that you have to begin and finish with one clear tentative objective. A synthesis essay is not a production for reflection. You should be sure in what you are convincing the reader.

Interesting Methodologies for Your Paper

There are lots of techniques which can help you cope with writing synthesis essay examples.

Some students like to use only one methodology. However, it is the best variant to combine several techniques in one paper.


It is not the most difficult means of writing a sample synthesis essay, but it does require lots of efforts. You need to know the main information about each source and select the most significant data.

The negative side of the summary is that there is no critical approach. You don’t analyze the facts but just mention them. The positive aspect is that it gives you a basic ground for relevant examples and proofs.

Giving reasons

You can use each reference as a source for examples and specific evidence.

Choose several reasons which prove your thesis and use them as examples. It is an effective method for research paper because you are never run out of instances. Furthermore, by citing other works, you show that your work is based on thorough research.

Strawman methodology

It is an interesting strategy which can be useful not only for a synthesis essay.

Here you need to use an argument which is opposite to your tentative objective. And you don’t use it to show that you are wrong. You add it to show that other opinions are flawed. The most considerable advantage of the Strawman methodology is that you illustrate your awareness of other sides of the argument and you show weak as well as strong sides.

In the end, you need to prove the reader that the counterargument is not effective enough to change your strong thesis.

error: Content is protected !!