Personal Narrative Writing, Essay, Story, and Examples

Personal Narrative: Writing, Essay, Story, and Examples

What Is a Personal Narrative?

What is a Narrative? Narratives are stories about ourselves that focus on our growth, lessons learned, and reflections on our experiences.

From stories about inspirational figures, we heard as children to essays, articles, or exercises where we are asked to express opinions on a situation, thing, or individual—personal narratives are everywhere.

According to Psychology Today, personal narratives allow authors to feel and release pain, while savoring moments of strength and resilience. These emotions provide a way for both authors and readers to connect, supporting healing in the process.

That all sounds great. But when it comes to writing it down, we often just have a list of experiences that need a clear structure to connect them.

How to Write a Narrative Essay?

 There are some steps to your narrative writing:

1. Create a Structure or Outline: Plan out the different parts of your story.

2. Write in First Person: Use “I” to tell your story, but try not to overuse it.

3. Bring Your Story to Life: Use details to make your characters and settings vivid.

4. Write in Chronological Order: Tell your story in the order that things happened.

5. Edit and Proofread Your Story: Revise your draft to improve clarity and correct errors.

6 Guidelines for Writing Personal Narrative Essays

Writing a personal narrative essay paper includes both objectivity and subjectivity. You should be able to understand the importance of an event. write about it, including your thoughts and feelings.

In personal narratives, you are both the subject and the storyteller, deciding how to tell your story.

1. Write Your Narrative Story

Include an introduction, characters, plot, setting, climax, and conclusion. The introduction sets the tone, the topic body presents the main points, and the conclusion shares the lessons learned

2. Give Your Personal Narrative a Clear Purpose

Reflect on your unique perspective on life. Establish your perspective, key points, and tone before you start writing. Having a clear purpose helps you focus your writing.

3. Show, Don’t Tell

When writing a narrative, show readers what happened instead of just telling them. As the storyteller, you should also be a character in the story. This shapes your perspective and impacts how readers see your plot. Avoid simply explaining events just because they happened to you. Use actions to show the story.

Dialogue Tags

To spot instances of telling rather than showing, use tools like ProWritingAid. For example, instead of:

“You never let me do anything!” I cried disdainfully.


“You never let me do anything!”

To this day, my mother swears that the glare I gave her as I spat those words could have soured milk.

4. Use “I,” But Don’t Overuse It

As the creator, use “I” to take responsibility for the story; however, don’t abuse it. Too many “I”s can make the story sound narcissistic and monotonous. ProWritingAid can assist with this.

5. Pay Attention to Tenses

Tense is crucial for clarity. Personal narratives often describe past events, so many authors use the past tense to separate their current narrating voice from their past selves. If you choose to write in the present tense, ensure consistency throughout your story.

6. Make Your Conclusion Satisfying

Give your readers an unforgettable closing scene. Build up the plot to a climax, which doesn’t have to be incredible or shocking, just interesting. Share takeaways or lessons learned by showing rather than telling. Instead of saying what you learned, narrate what you do differently now. This makes the moral of your story clear without sounding preachy.

Personal Narrative Examples

Here is a short illustration of an individual story as a tale. The three tones demonstrate the main sentence of the narrative’s start, center, and end. 

Breakdown of the Narrative

Exposition: The first paragraph introduces the protagonist and her surroundings.

Inciting Event: The protagonist decides to take the family rowboat.

Rising Action: The brother comes behind when the boat gets a hole.

Climax: The father attempts to rescue his daughter.

Falling Action: The father retrieves the boat, and the protagonist gets chastised.

Resolution: The protagonist reflects on the experience and describes her current life as a Park Ranger.

Personal Narrative – Key Takeaways

An individual narrative is a finished tale around one’s encounters. It is a first-person story where the events show a change from start to finish. Utilize all types of depictions and outlines to rejuvenate your own narrative to life.

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What does personal narrative mean?

A personal story is written from the perspective of a specific person. It recounts something that happened to an author.

What is an example of a personal narrative?

Here is a personal narrative  of the start of an individual story led by a kid who gets back to May each mid-year:

Every summer, my friend Lucas and I go fishing on Moosehead Lake in May. This year, we aimed to catch bass and trout. I was excited but nervous because of the scary stories my friends told me. Last year, my friend Chris fell in and got stuck under a log jam. Others said the fish were cursed. Now, lying in bed, I wonder what will happen on our trip. Maybe I’ll be the lucky charm that breaks the curse.

How are events organized in a narrative?

A narrative should be coordinated into a start, center, and end to frame a story circular segment.

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