Online College Courses for Credit

Writing narratives

Writing narratives

Author: Dan Reade

    Distinguish between narratives and informational writing.


    Explain common structures for narratives or creative texts (e.g. starting in the middle, sequencing events, etc.).


    Explain literary and narrative techniques (e.g. repetition, pacing, reflection, etc.).


    Explain figurative and sensory language.


This packet should help a learner seeking to understand how to write a paper and who is confused about how to write a narrative. It will explain how narratives are different than informational papers and how to structure them. 

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Basics of the Narrative Essay

The PDF below provides a basic introduction to narrative essays. It explains both biographical and autobiographical narrative essays and gives advice on how to effectively use both forms. The PDF concludes with a series of questions to allow students to determine their understanding of the material.


Source: Creative Commons: Crystle M. Bruno

Writing the Narrative Essay

While the term narrative essay may sound hard, it is in fact quite easy. Narrative essays are stories. The following video provides a quick introduction to several narrative essay techniques, including point-of-view, conflict, and structure.

Source: Dan Reade

Literary Techniques

Literary Techniques are those tools or tricks of the trade that authors use to get the most out of their narratives. The video below describes five common techniques, including repetition, pacing, and allusion.

Source: Dan Reade

Sensory and Figurative Language

Sensory and figurative language are two ways to describe details within a narrative. The video below details both types of language.

Source: Dan Reade


In this packet, we've talked about narrative essays and various tools used to write them. Among other things, we've covered:

  • Narrative essay structure
  • Literary techniques
  • Sensory and figurative language

With these basic tools, you should be able to develop a strong and engaging narrative essay.

Source: Dan Reade