Definition of a Personal Narrative
A personal narrative can be defined as,
“A personal account which offers details, analysis and a personal opinion from a particular happening or event, experienced by the writer”.
Each one of us has experiences stuck fast into our memories, which are creditable of sharing with the audience and in case of narrative writing a writer gets an opportunity to assume and write about themselves.
Writing Personal Narratives
Writing a personal narrative simply means writing a story, resembling to an autobiographical account. The narrative essay makes a point, which is usually pointed out, in the opening paragraph. Personal narratives are told from a defined perspective, which is usually of the author’s. Personal narratives repeatedly provide sensory details to get the reader caught up in the fundamentals and sequencing of the story.
Since a narrative relies on delicate experiences, it typically is in the shape of a story. When the writer uses this method, he or she must be in no doubt to take account of all the conversations within the story. These may include the design, setting, characters, climax, and ending. A personal narrative is usually packed with the details that are vigilantly selected to explicate, sustain, or beautify the story.
Whether in a novel or essay form, a personal narrative tends to convey readers into time and space of the globe portrayed by the author. Through reflecting upon an incident, and through recreating the experience for the audience, a personal narrative can permit you to build up new, delicate, and gratifying standpoints.
Famous Personal Narrative Examples
- Seven Roads to Hell: A Screaming Eagle at Bastogne by Donald R. Burgett
- Submarine! by Edward L. Beach
- American Guerrilla Behind Japanese Memories by Roger Hilsman
- Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
- The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
- Memoirs of a Goldfish by Devin Scillian
- Elsie’s Bird by Jane Yolen
- Drinking: A Love Story by Caroline Knapp
- Red Scarf Girl: A Memoir of the Cultural Revolution by Ji-li Jiang
Steps for Writing a Personal Narrative
Choose the Experience or Event to be Reported
Identify the experience that you want to write about. Once the incident has been chosen, keep these three basic principles in mind.
- Remember the audience that you will be writing for. A better narrative is one that interestingly recreates an incident for its readers rather than plainly telling the story.
- Ensure that your experience is meaningful to the readers. For this to hold true, find a generalization that your story supports. This generalization does not necessarily have to include the entire humanity; it can target a particular age group or people from a specific background.
- Bear in mind that the story that you are going to write about is not plainly a story to be told, it has to have a meaning and must provide details clearly as to support, explain and enhance the story.
Draft Your Recollections
Now, spend enough time on drafting your recollections about the details of your experience. Here is the time to create an outline of the basic parts of your narrative.
Scribble Down Random Sentences and Paragraphs
With the help of your outline, explain each part of your narrative. Rather than telling the audience dryly of what happened, try to recreate the experience creating life into it. For this, it is important to think like the audience because the information that you present is the only one that they have got.
Add the Small Details
Also, keep in mind that the minute details that might seem unimportant to you are not necessarily going to be unimportant to the readers. Those details might spice up your personal narrative.
Revise Your Draft
After completing the first draft, read your narrative as to have an idea whether the entire point has been clearly made and whether the experience is recreated through the writing. Present your narrative to others and get possible advice and opinion of whether they think you have made your point in the entire piece or not.
Leave Out the Unnecessary Details
Identify areas where more information and details are needed, cut off from places where additional information is somewhat making the narrative seem less appealing. Rewrite the entire narrative clearing out the mistakes that have been pointed out. Once you are done with the second draft, there are fewer chances of further errors.
Basic Outline and Format of a Personal Narrative
Introduction: Transport the Importance of Your Experience
It is ideal to begin with a paragraph that will introduce the experience and will communicate its significance. This technique promises that your audience will know how important the experience is to you, as the author, as they go through the entire piece.
Another effective technique is to begin your narrative right away and explaining its significance at the very end. This approach allows the reader to develop their own perspective and give a suitable importance to the experience on their own.
Body Paragraphs: Connect Perspectives
Provide a later explanation in the body paragraphs where you explain about the significance and how important it is to you. This will help your readers to connect both perspectives. This approach might connect a great deal of significance to your experience.
Conclusion: Ending Your Narration
End your personal narrative by telling the readers the deduction, analysis or effect on your life or thoughts of the experience.
Personal Narrative Ideas and Topics
Following are a few personal narrative ideas and topics to help you get started on your narrative writing.
- A childhood memory
- Achieving a goal
- A failure
- An event that caused a prominent change in your life
- A realization
- My best friend
- The biggest mistake I have ever made
- The most embarrassing moment in my life
- My happiest moment in my life
Personal Narrative Writing Prompts