How To Write A Narrative Essay Outline

In the academic world, writing an essay often requires creating an outline before embarking on writing your final piece. An essay outline is an essential preliminary step that directs a writer on how to create and complete an essay coherently in chronological order.

A narrative essay outline is particularly important in narrative writing as it highlights all important details and steps that will guide you in writing a compelling narrative essay. While most students might find it difficult to create a relevant narrative essay outline, the good news is that the task is as easy as ABC once you get the correct guidance on how to create one.

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A narrative essay is a form of writing that aims to tell a story. This type of essay is often personal, anecdotal and experiential, and allows students to express themselves creatively to describe a personal experience. Therefore, to tell a complete story that evokes a reader’s emotions, a narrative essay outline is an important aspect of the writing process.

Furthermore, with the narrative essay outline, a student will find an easier way of telling a story without skipping any important steps or elements that complete the whole story. Thus said, this article aims to provide clear guidelines on how to write a relevant narrative essay outline so that you can better your narrative essay writing skills!

What is a Narrative Essay?

It would be best to first have an in-depth understanding of what a narrative essay is before delving into how to write a narrative essay outline. It would be pointless to jump directly on how to write a narrative essay outline before understanding what the essay requires from a student. Without further ado, we shall go into deeper details on the meaning and purpose of a narrative essay.

As mentioned earlier, a narrative essay is a form of academic writing that requires the students to tell a story. As the writer of the essay, your goal would be to create a lifelike experience for your audience or your instructor. Therefore, the essay requires that you tell a story from the first-person perspective while ensuring that you keep your audience engaged throughout the story. Moreover, you have to clarify why you are telling the particular story and why the story matters. To do this, you have to employ the right atmosphere, integrated with the descriptive techniques and vivid details.

While describing a personal experience might seem like an easy task, the biggest challenge is the length limit. Often times you will have to write a complex story that requires you to narrow it down to a short essay with key points while at the same time providing engaging details. For this reason, a narrative essay outline comes in handy. The narrative outline will help you select the important details of the story while leaving out the less important ones.

What Is A Narrative Essay Outline?

Typically, an college essay outline is a clear ‘map’ for your entire essay. Given this, a narrative essay outline provides a ‘map’ for the narrative essay or story.

A narrative essay outline is an essential part of essay planning that enables a writer to include all essential details of a story while remaining relevant to the topic of the essay. The outline shows what each paragraph within the essay will contain and in what order they will appear.

In addition to this, the narrative essay outline highlights how important points in the essay will fit together while maintaining a clear structure and order of events. In the end, a narrative essay outline enables the writer to handpick the most important details, organize them chronologically and convey the points.

How To Write An Narrative Essay Outline

Now that we understand the meaning and purpose of a narrative essay outline, we can jump directly to how to write one. First, it is important to understand that writing a narrative essay outline is a preliminary stage in essay writing that requires the writer to arrange key information to build on the story. Therefore, you should be ready to brainstorm on important points and arrange them in chronological order. The steps in writing a personal essay outline include the following:

  1. Brainstorm on the different stories you want to narrate
  2. Select the right topic
  3. Define the purpose of writing the selected story and topic
  4. Plan your narrative essay: ensure that you can create a rising action, the climax of the story, a falling action, and eventually draw logical conclusions from the story.
  5. Create a narrative essay outline

If you manage to follow the above narrative format, you are guaranteed to be on the right track towards writing a relevant narrative essay outline. The section below provides an in-depth guideline on how to outline a story that will keep your audience engaged throughout the narrative.

Narrative Essay Outline

This section provides a guide on how to create a relevant outline that highlights all key points in your story. The outline of a narrative essay should be pegged on the standard narrative essay format that takes the following structure:

  1. The introductory paragraph
  2. The body of the narrative essay or story
  3. The concluding paragraph

While the above format applies to all academic essays, a narrative essay adheres to a more specific narrative essay structure that helps the writer build on a story. Therefore, a story outline template or narrative essay outline template would require that you create an outline using the above structure as a backbone for brainstorming. Here’s how to write a story outline:

  1. The introduction of the story: jot down the main insight into the story and state the purpose of writing a story
  2. Paragraph 1 in the body of the story: jot down points that create a rising action to your story
  • Paragraph 2 in the body of the story: jot down points that create a climax in the story
  1. Paragraph 3 in the body of the story: jot down points that create a falling action to your story
  2. Conclusion: include lessons learned from your experience and the relevance of the experience to others.

Narrative Essay Outline Explained

The following section includes pointers on how to write an essay outline for college narrative essays.

A.    Introduction

The introduction of a narrative essay opens that story and prepares the reader for the narration.

The Introduction Of The Story

The introduction of the essay is the opening clause to your story and shares the main point and how the topic relates to you. This introduction story should accomplish three main goals:

  • Draw the readers in with a hook that grabs the reader’s attention: The first statement of the introductory paragraph should provide a hook that engages the readers in the story. The hook makes the reader eager to find out what progresses and how the rest of the story develops. To create a powerful hook, you can use a fact, quote, intriguing statement, or a question that will make the audience want to read further. In the narrative essay outline, the hook forms an important part of the story as it makes the reader want to know more about your personal experience.
  • Create a scene that will give the audience an idea of what is happening: In this paragraph, you should include a brief and simple statement that will give the readers a glimpse of what is going on. However, ensure that you do not give the whole story in the introductory paragraph. Instead, make sure that you give a hint without giving it all away. This way, you will keep your readers intrigued.
  • Define the purpose of writing the narrative essay and state the thesis statement: In the introductory paragraph, always define why the story is relevant to you but do not include the lessons learned. The end of the introductory paragraph should always include a thesis statement that declares the main argument in the essay. The main purpose of the thesis statement is to introduce a conflict that you are going to investigate in the paper and to spark the reader’s interest.
B.     Body

The body of the essay is an important section as it is where you provide a whole narration of your personal experience. Typically, a short narrative essay contains three paragraphs, although your instructor might provide a specific length that will require more paragraphs. Each paragraph should contain three parts as outlined below:

  1. The topic sentence: Each paragraph must begin with a topic sentence that introduces the main idea in the paragraph. This main idea is supported in the rest of the paragraph.
  2. The supporting sentences: the supporting sentences provide supporting statements that back up the topic sentence.
  • The transition sentence: the last sentence in each paragraph provides a transition sentence in which the writer relates the ideas in the current paragraph with ideas in the following paragraph. In this case, transition words and phrases become useful in linking ideas between paragraphs.

In a standard narrative essay, you will develop the body of your essay in the following order:

Paragraph 1 In the Body of the Essay

The first paragraph in your narrative essay sets up the story’s background while creating a rising action. Ensure that you use descriptive and concise language to make the reader want to know how the story develops as the essay progresses. The details in the first paragraph may include the setting, the onset of the story, and main characters that play a huge role in the story’s development. Ensure that all details provided are integral to the narrative essay.

Paragraph 2 In the Body of the Essay

The second paragraph in the body of the narrative essay provides the climax of the story you are narrating. In this paragraph, you can use facts or two short anecdotes to tell the story up to the climax or a turning point in the narrative. This part of the story should be described using vivid and relevant details that create a scene as well as an engaging mood.

 Paragraph 3 In the Body of the Essay

The third paragraph in the body of the narrative essay should wrap up the story. Ensure that you describe the ending of the story with a falling action. You can also use facts of anecdotes to show how your resolution of the whole experience. A majority of narrative essay examples provide an ending to the story created in the essay’s body.

C.     Conclusion

The Concluding Paragraph

In the conclusion of your narrative essay, you are supposed to give the final comments of the whole experience. In this paragraph, you should restate the thesis statement provided in the introduction, including some key ideas in the body of the narrative essay.

In addition to this, you can stress the lessons learned in the whole experience and how you resonate with similar experiences. Most personal narrative examples provide lessons learned and how the experience changed the life of the writer. The conclusion of your narrative essay should also leave your readers with something to think about.

Extra Tips On How To Write A Personal Narrative Essay

While you might now be in a better position to create a narrative essay outline, the following extra tips will help you develop a relevant and logical narrative essay.

  1. Use vivid and relevant details: a narrative essay should create scenes in the reader’s head by using vivid and relevant details. However, do not over-use literary symbols.
  2. Write in chronological order: A narrative essay should include all events sequentially to make your paper organized and enable the readers to follow the timeline of events.
  3. Avoid deviating from the narrative: If you are describing a personal experience, ensure that your main first-person narration throughout the story. Again, a personal narrative outline will help you to avoid deviating.
  4. Ensure that you use simple and easy-to-read language.


In conclusion, writing a narrative essay outline may appear difficult at first but it becomes easier with time and more practice. Hopefully, the above guide will provide an insight into how to write a good narrative essay outline that will transition to a good narrative essay. Following this guide will provide a stepping stone into composing one of the best personal narrative essays. For more information on how to write a narrative essay, you can always reach us.




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