What Is a Reflective Narrative?

A reflective narrative is a writing piece that describes an experience. The style can be more fun to write than an essay that requires a large amount of research because the description is based on a reflection of an event in your life. Reflective narratives might be assigned in a class, but they can also be written by individuals in a journal, for example.

Reliance on Memory

Reflective narratives can be tricky to write because little, if any, of the information is based on research. Therefore, you must rely almost entirely on your memory. The information you provide from an experience, however, can be expanded through research. For example, if the topic of your narrative is a reflection about an experience acting on stage in high school, you can explain that getting over stage fright at a young age can help you with public speaking during adulthood.


The piece is often written as a story, because this is usually the most interesting and easy-to-follow format. It could also be written in a way that recounts each item that you learned and how you came to that knowledge. The most common method is a linear story, but many reflective narratives start with the result of what happened and then backtrack to the events that took place to cause the result.


Reflective narratives are often written as if you are telling a story to a close friend or a relative. The better you are at drawing in your audience and making the writing personable, the more you captivate your reader. If your write your narrative as if you are writing an instruction manual for a vacuum, your audience will become bored, lose focus and they may eventually stop reading.

Adding Spice

Like any interesting book or movie, the plot typically has a twist, drama or a problem and then a resolution. For example, instead of writing a reflective narrative about a time when you suntanned in your backyard, write a narrative about a time you suntanned on a beach in Mexico and witnessed a child struggling to swim in the ocean before a dog leaped into the water, swam to the child and then dragged him to safety.

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