What Does a Narrative Essay Consist Of?

There are many styles of essay writing that you can use to address a topic. One of these styles, called the narrative essay, is essentially a way of communicating information using a story. Humans have always used storytelling to communicate, so it is natural that the narrative essay has become a common format in writing. What is great about a narrative essay is that it allows the writer to approach the topic from a personal point of view. There are a few different elements that make up the narrative essay.

First or Third Person

A narrative essay is usually written from the first-person perspective. First person means that you write using your own perspective. First person allows you to share your own thoughts and feelings. Because you are writing from your own perspective, words like “me,” “my,” “I,” “we” and “mine” are commonly used. Third person perspective can also be used, but it is not as common. Third person would be written as though by a third person not involved in the narrative, so it would use "he," "she" and "they."

Elements of a Story

When writing a narrative essay, you should think of it as a traditional story, meaning that it should contain an introduction, a plot, a setting, characters and a conclusion. Not every narrative essay follows this pattern. For instance, if you were asked to write a narrative essay on a historical topic, you would not necessarily need to follow a story line. But doing so when appropriate gives your essay organization and helps you create an engaging essay.


A good narrative essay contains sensory descriptive elements. Sensory description follows the adage of “show, don’t tell.” This means that the writer should be describing an element or situation rather than telling the reader what the element or situation is. For instance, rather than telling the reader that the day was too hot, describe the heat of the day. The point is to allow the reader to experience the story as they read it, rather than just being told the story.


Whether you use a storyline format or not, a narrative essay is organized and clear. Include an introduction that tells the reader what to expect. The essay should be organized in a way that introduces the topic and then supports the topic with information. An essay that wanders or is disorganized confuses the reader.


Every essay should have a clear topic. Sometimes this topic is provided for you by a teacher or employer. The essay should make a point about this topic. Without a point, there is no reason for the essay to exist. For example, an essay about your first trip to France might include a point about what you learned from the experience.

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