8 Tips on How to Write a Descriptive Narrative Essay

Every day unfolds a new experience worth a story. When did you last write a narrative or a descriptive narrative on any experience? Well, many people will be puzzled by the question. Some striking episodes in life compel people to write them for remembrance or reference. That is why descriptive narrative essays are part of various college assignments.

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Although the two words are often used together, there is a difference between narration and description. However, when applied together in writing they form a descriptive narrative essay.

Let us compare narrative vs. descriptive. Narration is the storytelling of an experience or event. It gives details of an experience, person, or event without demonstrating the event. The author gives the readers a plot of the storyline from his point of view. The setting may be vaguely explained or absent.

On the other hand, description uses language power and the five-human sense to show the meaning of the subject. You should create a vivid picture using words about a person, object a place, or an experience in a way that the reader visualizes the information to get a picture of what is described.

So, what is the difference between a narrative and a descriptive essay?

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A narrative essay is a storytelling of a personal experience of an event as written by the individual. An example of a narrative essay is “My First Day in school.” The story is author-oriented so it mainly depends on the author’s view. A narrative may not necessarily follow any specified format like an essay. Here is a simple guide on how to write a narrative paragraph.

A narrative paragraph normally has at least nine sentences. It begins by stating the topic. For instance,” my happiest day in school…’ Use striking words that trigger the interest of the reader. Create suspense and maintain it throughout. Introduce your characters and the story setting. For example, ‘the teacher started calling out names outside the principal’s office.” or “I had just celebrated my fourteenth birthday…’

The sentences flow chronologically and information is given from the author’s point of view. Hence, the use of 1st person (I or We). At times one may use the third person if need be. Importantly, stick to one tense for easier flow.

What is a Descriptive Narrative?

It is an essay that describes a person, place, object, or experience in an expository manner. The writer paints a vivid picture of the subject under the description in such a way that the reader aligns themselves with the experience.

The quality of a descriptive essay will depend on how the author creates a mental picture for the reader. So, a student must use figurative languages such as simile and onomatopoeia. A description of rain for instance will be interesting with ‘pitta-patter of the raindrops’ than just ‘heavy raindrops.

However, too many descriptive words make the essay boring. Shorter and focused vocabularies are preferred instead. A descriptive essay is about showing. So, details that will appeal to the sight, smell, hearing, taste, and touch senses of the readers are emphasized.

A descriptive narrative essay allows students to freely create content on something or describe a personal experience in an engaging manner. To achieve these objectives, ensure your essay captures the interest of the reader. You should therefore create a picture of the subject being described. Make the reader live the experience or event.

The mode of presentation varies between narrative and descriptive essays. A narrative essay rotates on the author’s experience. It revolves around one motif which is the authorial point of view. In descriptive narrative, you give information on something in a manner that your reader gets a visual idea about the subject. For instance, one may be told to write a descriptive essay on a book. It is almost the same as writing a report about an event or analyzing a book.

There are Four Common Types of Narratives

  1. Linear Narrative-This is where events are described chronologically. You walk the reader through the daily life of the character. Events unfold according to time.
  2. Non-linear Narrative-the storyline is entwined such that the flow is woven back and forward. Use flashbacks and other devices to create suspense. Emphasize more on emotions and themes rather than time.
  3. Quest Narrative-The protagonist focuses on the objective. These characters may face many obstacles in their quest to achieve the set goals.
  4. Viewpoint Narrative. The driving force is to give a certain point of view or a personal experience. This type is subjective since the structure and style rotate around the author’s opinion.

Whatever type you are going to deal with, make it interesting. A good and engaging descriptive narrative should maintain the qualities of an essay. It must be logical and have an organized structure. An exciting narrative must follow essential narrative essay tips or elements.

There are 7 elements of a narrative essay tips

  1. Plot -This is the main event, person, or object being told about.
  2. Setting – This is where the story is happening. It may also be a season or time at which the events take place or an era. Depending on the type of narrative, a story can have a large setting. For instance, a narrative can have a city, school, or hospital setting. Alternatively, a setting can be intimate such as a kitchen, living room, or even a flower garden. Whichever setting you choose, make it real and familiar to the reader.
  3. Characterization- this refers to the beings an author creates to steer the themes in the story. Choose characters that fit your theme and objective.
  4. Conflict -It is the struggle or opposition that characters face in a narrative. It is created and developed to climax before reaching a solution.
  5. Point of View- This refers to the owner of the story. Who is the story all about?
  6. Themes -These refer to the main issues discussed in the narrative. As you write, bring out your themes in a way that the reader will also grasp them automatically when reading the essay. Themes may include love, family, violence, betrayal, and education.
  7. Literary Devices -They are tools that the writer uses to connect all parts of the narrative to produce a captivating descriptive narrative. A winning narrative should apply stylistic devices such as simile, alliteration, personification, metaphor, symbolism, humor, irony, figurative language among others. How you write the narrative matters a lot in bringing out the purpose of the narrative. So, ensure you use the relevant and value-adding devices. Also, keenly focus on diction, voice, and syntax to produce a properly aligned essay.

Descriptive narrative essays range from personal experience, places, events, or objects. Four examples of descriptive narrative essays are;

  1. My Best Sporting Achievement
  2. The Saddest Moment in My Life
  3. My Favorite Movie Series
  4. The Most Famous Movie Actor or Actress

If you want to write a striking and inspiring descriptive narrative essay, then you need proper preparation. You must have good storytelling skills. Prove to your lecturer and the readers that you possess excellent knowledge of the subject you are describing.

The narrative essay becomes exciting to both the writer and the reader if it is written professionally. The two should feel connected by the storyline and walk the story together in weaving the events. So, seek help to write a wonderfully descriptive narrative essay that earns marks.

Sometimes you may be given the freedom to choose an area you would like to narrate about. The best will be about yourself, a friend or a relative or something you like or are fond of. In other instances, you will be given a specific subject to describe. Whatever the case, aim at giving out your best. Strive to work on the story that earns you good marks.

Descriptive Narrative Essay

The following tips on how to write a descriptive narrative essay offer a must-follow guide for a successful essay.

1.     Choose an Exciting Topic

When doing an essay assignment, you may be given a specific topic or an option to choose your favorite topic. If the latter comes, go for the areas you like most or you feel much intrigued to talk about. Select an experience you can freely share with the public. If you feel inspired sharing the experience then you will pour your heart out uncompelled.

2.     Read Other Inspiring Narrative Essays

Go through other people’s narrative essays to equip yourself with more information.  Extensive reading will supplement what you already have. It also boosts your themes and character formation for an intriguing narrative descriptive essay. Study the structure and format used in these essays and their objectives.

Every structure or format applied in writing has a purpose. It is therefore important to understand their use to avoid copying their style blindly and lose the target of your essay.

3.     Write a Captivating Title

The title you choose is the key to your descriptive narrative essay. If you selectively coin striking words, they will instantly attract readers and like a spark, glue them to read your essay to the end. Go for words that cultivate interest. The title should invoke excitement at first sight.

4.     Do Extensive Research

As stated earlier, a narrative essay has an authorial point of view. It relies on the author’s experience. A descriptive narrative will require you to do extensive research on the subject. Enquire all episodes or occurrences. Do not ignore those that may appear minor because they may be vital connectors of your storyline. Treat specific memories with equal weight and interest to gather all the necessary thoughts.

If you are writing a personal description narrative, you can do a memory recap from your photos, personal journal, and family events records. They are a good source of information as they help you refresh your mind and re-live the occasion. To find a descriptive narrative for another person, search from online and written materials. An interview with the person will help you gather more especially the information that escape the writer’s pen. Engage the subject in a free informal talk so that they can talk about their experiences without sieving too many details. Let them enjoy releasing what they have to the world.

5.     Draw an Outline

Make a skeleton of your descriptive narrative you are about to write. A descriptive narrative essay outline gives an overview of what the reader will see in the body. Draw an inviting, well-planned sketch of what you intend to show. Here are some areas that will appear in your outline;

  • Introduction
  • Hook sentence
  • Context or background information
  • Thesis statement
  • Body paragraphs -Think of at least three paragraphs. Start with the event leading to the actual moment. Provide all the necessary details including feelings, emotions, and any observation worth description.

In the subsequent paragraph, create tension by introducing the conflict. Develop the anxiety that will hook your readers to follow the unfolding events. A relief that brings hope once in a while is also important. So, relate your description with the standard ideas known to the readers so that they understand your narrative. Do not be fictitious in the description.

The next paragraph will describe the result of the actual moment. What is the lesson learned? Put yourself in the readers’ position and search for the questions they would ask. Try to answer them.

  • Conclusion-Give a summary of the key areas of the narrative. Rewrite the thesis statement and end with a concluding remark.

6.     Draft on How to Write a Descriptive Narrative Essay

Before you do the actual writing, it is important to create a draft from which you will polish a detailed essay. A guiding draft of a descriptive narrative essay has the following three sections:

  • Introduction – Start with a hook sentence. The opening sentence should hook the reader to read the whole narrative. Next, introduce the event. What is the narrative about? Give a clue that creates interest to read more. Finally, forward your thesis statement giving a summary of the narrative. Mention the subject and the purposes of your description. Inform the reader with a general but clear statement that the narrative is about and the objective.
  • Body – There are normally three paragraphs but you can have more depending on the content. Body paragraphs should begin with topical sentences that describe the subject. Give a detailed description of the subject. Engage all the sensory details to make your narrative more real and believable.

Connect paragraphs with transition sentences. They indicate an end of one paragraph and consequently introduce the next. Information in the body paragraphs should flow and be interconnected as follows:

  • Give background information on the context of the narrative. Answer questions such as, what is it about and why?
  • Start the actual event.
  • Bring out the characters. Who are they and what are their roles?
  • Indicate the setting. What type of setting are you writing about?
  • Midway action or scene
  • Introduce the secondary characters and their importance in the narrative. How are they related to the main or primary characters?
  • Release the consequent events. They should relate and connect with the initial event without gaps.
  • Introduce the major conflict in the narrative.it should create suspense and curiosity to read more of the narrative.
  • Introduce the end of the event or the experience that brought conflict
  • Show the climax of the event. It should be built systematically rather than an abrupt hike.
  • Draw the resolution. How is the conflict solved? Let the reader experience the sigh of relief together with the characters of your descriptive narrative.
  • Conclusion- Show the judgment or final decision. Do not leave your readers in confusion or suspense about the end of the conflict. Show the decision that resolved the conflict. Let them know that you are winding up the event. Finally, have a summary of the key points of your story. Without appearing redundant, write your thesis as a way of emphasizing the argument and objectives in your narrative. Rewind the event and the lesson learned from the narrative.

7.     Narrate the Story

Begin your story by introducing your characters and setting. Then describe the time when it occurred and the place. Also, give reasons for the occurrence. Describe the incidence and make it captivating to capture the interest of readers.

Brainstorm ideas on the topic to amass as much information as possible. For instance, if you are writing on food, list all the ingredients then describe each in depth. Remember and imagine the people involved, places of occurrence, and all the details concerning the event or subject under description.

Make a wise choice of clear and concise words that are relevant to the topic. Select vocabularies that bring out a clear, vivid picture of the subject being described.it is interesting to talk about Ferrari instead of a prestigious car or stallion instead of just a horse.

Use language and tone that align with the topic.

A narrative can be of humor, sorrow, seriousness, or bitterness among others. Allow your language to flow naturally and be convincing. The prose style is commonly used but you may engage dialogue only when it helps grow the conflict action in the narrative.

Engage the five senses in the description. They are sight, hearing, smelling, touch, and taste. This brings out the life to the narrative.

A well-crafted descriptive narrative should touch the emotions of your readers. Create moving content such that it invokes tears, laughter, or sorrow. Provide a good lead that your readers will easily follow. Make them feel deeply connected with you and the subject.

Although it is a narration of experience, a descriptive narrative essay should maintain the qualities of an essay. All the information will require careful selection and writing. Give supportive information of every episode. Why do you think the event happened? What triggered it to happen? Provide detailed explanations to make it meaningful and real.

Descriptive Narrative Essay

Your final draft should have the standard format. A descriptive narrative essay has three parts namely introduction, body, and conclusion.

The introduction entails all background information about the narrative. You can however substitute with any information that you think is relevant to the story. Describe the topic briefly and the thesis statement. Use simple language that creates visual content in the reader’s mind.

The body of an essay has at least three paragraphs the paragraphs of your descriptive narrative essay should connect purposefully. Let the information flow seamlessly. Describe the events according to the time they happened to ease understanding. Weave your narrative in a manner that the reader will easily follow the plot.

Finally, have a well-written conclusion. This is a collection of summarized points as discussed in the entire essay.it also gives a personal opinion concerning the subject described in the narrative. Always remember to state your thesis and briefly explain it in slightly different words but the same meaning.

It is also important to reflect on the purpose of the narrative. Why did you decide to write the descriptive narrative? Tell the audience how the subject impacts your life.

Your last sentence should make a concluding remark. It recaptures the thought of your readers so that you conclude the matter together and in agreement.

8.     Reflect on the Narrative

After you have written the final copy of your descriptive narrative essay, read it through to check any mistakes. Analyze it from your perspective. How do you feel about the narrative? What are your thoughts? Are the feelings you had then the same as you describe them now? Is there another way of interpreting the story? The answers to these questions will give you a non-biased reflection of your narrative.

Check whether the paragraphs are well arranged and interconnected. Confirm that all the details provided are adequate and relevant. When editing, do thorough proofreading to ensure that word concise and grammar rules have been adhered to. When you finish the review, you can comfortably publish your descriptive narrative essay for public consumption.


A descriptive narrative essay can be an uphill task for many students. Failure to get the instruction right may lead to a poorly written essay that consequently gives a low grade. It is therefore important that you study how to write a descriptive narrative essay.

As a serious student, save yourself the worries by hiring descriptive narrative essay experts to assist you. We will write for you a perfect descriptive narrative essay that gives you good grades. Just order at your comfort.


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