How to Write a Personal Narrative
What is a personal narrative?
A personal narrative is a story about personal experience, interpreted from a personal point of view. It is very often associated with emotions, impressions and memories. A good personal narrative paper is characterized by vivid language, well-described events and facts, and a clear message. Writing a personal narrative requires imagination and concentration. On the one hand, you need to use your literary skills but on the other, you should be quite logical and precise.
How to write a personal narrative – vital tips
Choose a story
Probably, your instructor has assigned to write a personal narrative focused on a given topic and you are stuck with it, aren’t you? Which personal experience should you select? You can describe an experience which is very important to you (singular events, or events which are unique and will never happen again), but you can also refer to your daily life experiences (things that you have done very often are easy to be remembered and described). At any rate, you should not choose a story which provokes strong (more particularly, negative) emotions in you.
Write a personal narrative outline
One of the most difficult things on earth is to communicate your personal experiences. Well, language is never enough to express all that we have felt or thought at a given moment. Because of this, it is strongly recommended to put your thoughts and memories in a specific order so that they will form a logical sequence. Remember that you will probably change your text a few times, so don’t worry too much about a personal narrative outline and the first draft. You can write down names, numbers, dates - everything which is somehow connected with your experience. Then put them in order and try to clarify the temporal and spatial dimensions (i.e., the context) of the event: when it began and when it ended, and where it happened.
Be personal in your narrative
Your personal narrative exposes your own feelings, thoughts, etc. Don’t try to represent the event from another point of view (of another person; for example, a relative or a friend). Only what you think is important here. However, do not be too passionate or subjective.
Tell your reader the truth about what has happened. This type of essay does not aim at promoting your skills, abilities or achievements. A personal narrative is not an advertisement. Be honest and loyal to the facts.
Employ metaphors in the personal narrative
Use a wide range of literary devices. Avoid using mundane language; it will make the reader bored. Incorporate metaphors, allegories, similes, hyperboles in your text, thus your language will become more vivid and attractive. This is exactly what your teacher wants to test and improve: your ability to write in a literary way, as a potentially gifted writer.
Formulate a message
The story should also have a basic message which will make the reader think about a definite topic. You can say, for instance, what one should do or what he shouldn't; or, why the event described by you is so unique (or not); or, do you want to experience the same thing again, or not; and so forth. An appropriate place for the message is the conclusion of the paper.
Personal narratives are always hard to write. The tips set forth above aim to clarify how to write a personal narrative. In all cases, be careful in classes and communicate with your teacher: there is no better advisor than them.
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