Narrative descriptive essay

"For future reference- a descriptive essay is NOT a narrative but narrative IS a descriptive essay! You should avoid writing about an event in a descriptive essay since it will tend to become more of a narrative than a descriptive essay."

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If you’re looking up on how to write a better narrative or descriptive essay, a narrative/descriptive essay is a form of descriptive writing where you narrate a story based on your personal experience or point of view and literary make the reader start visualizing as you narrate. It doesn't require as much research, providing specific and sensory details that help readers understand your point of view is sometimes the most challenging and stressful part!

At one point in your educational career, you might find yourself needing to write a narrative descriptive essay. Developing a narrative/descriptive essay can be a “quick effort” essay as long as you understand that the essay ought to be descriptive in nature. Telling a story about a personal trait or about an event that left you feeling alienated will render it more manageable for you to tell a story interestingly, and even you might end up getting carried away and even exceeding the word count by hovering at 1000 words for a 500-word narrative descriptive essay.

A well written narrative descriptive essay should paint a vivid picture for the reader, and give them the feeling that they were present for whatever the situation was; whether it’s visiting a particular place, reading a specific book or writing about a person, the reader should be able to feel like they experienced whatever the writer did, simply by reading the essay. The writer should be able to bring a subject to life for the reader.


narrative/descriptive essay


With descriptive writing, you will be required to:

•    State what happened

•    State what something is like

•    Give the story so far

•    State the order in which things happened

•    Say how to do something

•    Explain what a specific theory states

•    Explain how things work

•    Note the method used

•    Say when something occurred/timeframe

•    State the different components

•    State different opinions

•    List crucial if not all details

•    List the details in no specific fashion

•    State the links between items

•    Provide all the necessary information


How to write a descriptive piece of writing narrative essay.

1.    Choosing a Topic


Deciding on the right topic is the first step to writing a winning narrative descriptive essay. Picking a topic that you feel passionate about and that you find enjoyable will always be an advantage when it comes to the writing process, which makes you feel immensely connected. It’s possible to enjoy writing a descriptive essay as if you choose the right topic and stay on topic. The biggest hinder to writing essays is often accepting what you enjoy instead of being dictated by perceived success/what you should enjoy. You can decide whether you want to base your essay on a person-whether your mother, father, a friend, or a fictional character from a favorite book or movie, a place that you find interesting, or even an object that has made an impact in your life. Go with whatever you feel will make a winning descriptive essay.


2.    Brainstorming and Researching

After choosing your topic, it’s time to do some research and brainstorm ideas. Whatever the topic you’re writing about, you’ll need some points to guide you in writing your essay. If you’re writing about a favorite character from a book you read, for example, you might find that you need to re-read the book to refresh your mind and, in the process, note down some essential points. Also, note down your emotions about how certain events in the book, concerning the character, make you feel. If you’re writing about a place, you might need to plan a visit there and take some points also. Remember, the main aim of a descriptive essay is to try and paint a vivid picture for the reader and make it as realistic as possible. You can use columns to note down the different senses that describe your topic. Whether it’s sound, taste, touch, smell, or sight, note down your feelings in the various columns about your topic. 

Close your eyes and imagine an apple. What do you see?

You should be able to create an image in your mind and have only a concept. This is vital, especially when you have to write vivid descriptions. You should be able to close your eyes and visualize something so real and present that it feels as if you could touch it. You can be unable to create vivid descriptions mostly when you face distractions or strong emotions of any kind, but creating the vivid descriptions can be much easier when you’re relaxed and in a rested state, calm or on the borderline of sleep.  It helps when there are background sounds that reinforce the image you’re trying to visualize. Smell, textures, temperatures ... any sensory input that reinforces the concept.

For example: When you’re trucking, you can sleep while your friends are driving (and vice versa). On the outskirts of sleep, you can entertain yourself by visualizing the scenery outside the truck passing by. You can hear the road, feel the movement of the truck, and see the imaginary roadside flying by.

3.    Create an Outline for the Essay


Having done some research and using your points, you can create an outline for your descriptive essay. Your points will guide you on what should be in each paragraph. At this point, you should be able to decide what will be included in the introduction, body, and conclusion of the essay. You can come up with a rough draft of how the essay will be structured.


4.    Come Up with a Thesis Statement


A thesis statement explains the scope of the essay to the reader. It explains the theme of the essay and should be included in the introduction. It usually guides the writer during the writing process and helps regulate the conveyed information to ensure that one sticks to the purpose of the essay. 

5.    Writing the narrative descriptive essay 


The introduction introduces the reader to the subject. Starting with a strong introduction is an excellent way to draw in your reader. Remember to keep it brief and, at the same time, captivating and interesting. A boring introduction will most likely not motivate the reader to continue reading. You should end your introduction with your thesis statement.

The main body of your essay is where all the action should be and is where you will build your essay. It should explain and further support your thesis statement. Each paragraph should address differing points within the outline. Ensure you have painted a clear image for the reader by being overly descriptive. You can use tools like adjectives, metaphors, and similes to express your emotions. Remember to show, not tell. This is breaking down an image until the reader gets the feeling that he/she was there. Include every detail you feel is relevant in describing a certain situation or object. Create a mental picture for the reader and give him/her the feeling that they were there. Express your emotions and discuss your thoughts on the topic. Remember to include the senses you noted earlier as a way of further describing your topic. 

The conclusion to your narrative descriptive essay should tie up your thoughts on the topic. Remember to restate your thesis statement. Ensure that you end with a definite conclusion that will remain on the mind of the reader. Avoid adding any new ideas to the conclusion and evaluate the thoughts stated in the essay.


Revising, Editing and Proofreading.

Once you’re done with the writing process, the next step is to edit the essay. Go through the entire essay from the beginning and ensure that all your ideas flow together nicely. Ensure that your essay adequately addresses your thesis statement since one can quickly lose focus during the writing process. Re-arrange sentences where necessary. Remember, this is not the rough draft of your essay, and any corrections can be made and then transferred to the final draft once everything is corrected. Keep the reader in mind and assess whether he/she will be able to fully grasp the idea and concept of what your essay is about. 

Check that you used the correct grammar and punctuation and corrected any mistakes you might have made. Ensure that you have used the metaphors, similes, and any other tools correctly. Ensure that your essay meets all the requirements, if any. 

Avoid using language problems like abstract language, euphemisms, dichotomies, etc. so that you can communicate clearly to the reader.

If you feel satisfied that everything fits together, you can hand the essay over to a trusted person for further correction and editing. Have the person inform you of any mistakes and assess whether corrections are necessary. When you’re done, you can comfortably hand in the final draft of the essay.


Aspects of a Compelling Narrative.

A narrative is a term that is mostly termed as a ‘story, ’ and they are generally written for college or also for personal use ‘personal narratives’ which tell a story to illustrate some truth. 

1.    The introduction


•    The hook: Ensure that you have started your paper with a thesis statement related to the story you are about to narrate. The thesis statement should capture the reader’s attention, for example: make use of relevant quotes, use of questions, use facts, and definition.

•    Set the scene: Make sure that you have provided the information that the reader will need to understand the story: Who act to be the major characters? Where is the narrative taking place, and when is it taking place? Be clear if it is a story concerning something that has prior happened to you or the writer or if it is fiction.

•    Thesis statement: A thesis statement of a narrative essay does play a different role as compared to that of an argument or expository essay. The thesis of a narrative essay can begin with the events of a particular story for example ‘It was indeed a cloudy and snowy outside when we started walking down the 5th avenue’; provide a moral or lesson learned from the story: ‘I will never hike again when it’s snowing’; or identify a connecting theme that does connect the account to a significant experience typically which everyone can connect with for example “traveling brings both struggle and happiness.”


2.    Body Paragraphs


•    ‘Show and don’t tell’

Excellent storytelling techniques involves details and descriptions to assist the reader in understanding what the writer did experience. Make sure you have used all the five senses which starts with the eyes (the sense of sight): You do not want to restrict yourself by just the look of things, but you want to describe how things appear by the use of words and by doing something you will enable the readers to see exactly what you are narrating about. Do not adequately describe the picture to your readers; instead, make sure you have focused on just a few essential details and give the reader space to paint the rest of the picture you’re trying to describe. Secondly: Make sure that the details you will provide are the best of all those you have in mind since its all about quality and not quantity and the reader can see very little, but their brain will visualize the rest, and this applies to all the other aspects of making them hear, to taste, to touch and to smell.

This makes us to quick-forward to:

•    The sense of smell

 This is notably the most nostalgic when compared to all the other senses that we possess. A human being can relate to some childhood memories when he or she comes in to contact as far as smell is concerned to a scent which brings back memories, For example, when you smell green grass now, you can remember the childhood memories during summer and the smell of overcooked potatoes when you visited grandmother over 20 years ago. The smell is associated with flashbacks in narrative writing, and the flashback helps the reader to understand a past even concerning the present story. Let’s not drift away from the topic- For narrative wiring, the evocation of the senses of smell is a wonderful way of saying lots of words using very few words. For example, pizza that’s about to go bad, the smell of dust when it’s raining and others that you can relate to (I refer to the ones that I have listed)


•    The sense of sound


When narrating about proximity to the ocean then you can use shrieking gulls, waves breaking corals and the swaying of palm trees and if you are describing the sound that comes from an explosive you can use the word ‘boom’ when explaining how the explosion could be heard, ‘bang’ for a gunshot or the slamming of a door and finally when you are representing a party where people were having fun and popped champagne as a sign of a jovial mood, then you can say ‘popping champagne’ since a champagne bottle goes ‘pop.’ Other adjectives that can be used to describe sound are: boisterous, low-pitched, shrill, brittle, mellifluous, silent, calm, melodic and smooth among many others.


•    The sense of taste

This sense can only be evoked under three circumstances; one who is eating and the other is drinking. When people are either eating or drinking or both, then this sense can be used effectively and also when people are actively using their mouths, e.g., when kissing. You can use this sense the best way you can, and you only need to be very creative in doing so for example: when narrating a story about the main character going home to his wife and hungry enough you can say that the main character could taste the chicken the wife was cooking over a kilometer away, if you are explaining the smell from the sea, you can as well say the taste of the breeze from the blue sea.


•    The sense of touch

Touch can either be friendly, pleasurable, and even painful. Touch can cause sensations such as feelings of coldness, hotness, smoothness, roughness, pressure, ticklish, itchiness, painful, vibrations, and more. You can describe all the, for example, cracked jawbone, a greasy bearing, a cold look, a warm handshake, a smooth path, etc.

•    The sixth sense

This concerns the unscientific and subconscious ability of the mind to analyze data in the fastest way possible, and this would, however, take the brain much longer to decode. Using this sense when narrating can be the main source of revelation of dramatic dealings to come.


•    Supporting Evidence

Your experience us the evidence as far as a narrative essay is concerned, and this proves your thesis statement. Lessons learned, and the importance of specific actions to you should be demonstrated by the events in your story

•    Time passage

Start with how the story started following a chronological order to the end of your story (It all started by, next this happened, finally it had to come to this, during which this happened, after which all these came to pass when this happened, and later all this had to happen).

•    Transitions

In writing a narrative piece of writing, the introduction of a new paragraph marks the change in the story, and this means that all sections should be interconnected for a smooth flow of a story.

3.    The Conclusion

Any conclusion as far as a narrative essay is concerned should be inclusive of a closing action of the overall event, and also it should be inclusive of some reflection or analysis of the importance of the events discussed to the writer.

Questions arising can include: What lesson did you learn? Were the events discussed in the narrative having or had any impact in your life now or in the past?

4.    Point of View: Always use the first person when writing a narrative essay. (I walked, I run, I ate) and most events are narrated in the past tense (I went fishing, She drove past the mall) Use present tense when referring to the events at the moment which means reflecting on those past events (Now I understand why walking at midnight in the Bronx is dangerous)


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