How to Write a Personal Narrative?

A personal narrative is one of the most enjoyable tasks to write because it allows you to talk about a significant event in your life. We mean, how often do you get a chance to tell a funny story or show off a great experience and get a high grade for it? Our helpful tips will help you get started.

How to Write a Personal Narrative

Step 1: Think of a memorable occasion.

A personal narrative may focus on any event, be it one that lasted for a few seconds or several years. Your topic may reflect your personality, or it may reveal an event that shaped your worldview and opinion. However, your story should have a clear message. If nothing comes to mind, see some examples of personal narrative on or try one of the following examples:

  • A discovery made excitingly.
  • An experience that was challenging or changed you.
  • Something hilarious that happened to your family or you.
  • The lesson you have learned the hard way.

Step 2 – Planning your personal narrative.

Start the writing process with brainstorming. Then, take a few minutes to write down a few memorable events. It does not have to be a big event: blowing up the first chewing gum bubble would work. Or it can be something major, like being lost in the woods. If you think that there are not many exciting events in your life, try to find at least one example for the following:

  • When you laughed to tears.
  • An episode that made you feel sorry for your action.
  • A painful memory.
  • When you were surprised.
  • The scariest moment.

Then go through your event list and narrow it down by choosing those with a transparent chronological scheme and those that allow you to use colorful, entertaining, or engaging descriptions and details.

At last, decide if your theme makes sense. For example, a funny story can represent a lesson learned the funny way or the irony of life; a scary story demonstrates how you learned from mistakes. Finally, decide on the central theme of your last topic and stick to it as you write.

Step 3 – Do not tell, but show.

Write your personal narrative in the first person. In storytelling, the writer is the narrator to write it with your eyes and ears. Get the reader to experience what you have experienced, not just read what you have experienced.

Do this by pretending that you are reliving your event. Write down what you hear, see, feel, and smell as you contemplate your story.

Step 4: Write the personal narrative in chronological order.

Before you start writing your paper, make a short outline that will show the sequence of events. It will help you stay on track. Your personal narrative must include the following:

  • Characters: Who is involved in your story? What are their characteristic features?
  • Time: Since the event has already happened, write the story in the past tense. Some authors tell their stories using the present tense, but usually, it is a bad idea.
  • Voice: Are you trying to be funny, serious, or dark? Are you retelling the story of a six-year-old child?
  • Conflict: In any good story, there must be conflict, which can take many forms. A conflict may arise between you and your neighbor’s dog, or it can be two feelings that you have at the same time, such as guilt against being popular.
  • Descriptive language: try to expand your vocabulary and use expressions and words that you do not usually use. It will make your personal narrative more exciting and fun, and you will become a better writer.
  • Key point: The story you are writing should have a satisfying or exciting ending. Do not try to describe the apparent lesson directly. It is better if it comes from discovery or observation. For example, never write, “I have learned not to judge people by their appearance.” Better say, “Probably the next time I come across an older woman with a big crooked nose and greenish skin, I will smile at her. Even if she squeezes a twisted broom.”