Narrative Essay Outline

Narrative Essay Outline

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When someone mentions the word essay, the first thing that comes to most people’s minds is volumes and volumes of words, making arguments and placing sufficient evidence. It’s almost like a philosophical inquiry to them. It doesn’t have to be this way. Essays are not always as abstract as people may picture them to be. Essays can even be used for casual activities such as story-telling. This form of essay is what is called a narrative essay. It combines the art of story-telling and the skill of essay writing.

Everyone is bound to meet this form of essay in their life. If in academia, you will meet it in one of your class assignments. If in the professional world, you are bound to encounter it in situations where you have to describe an event or an idea. This article will delve into how to write a narrative essay outline.

What Is a Narrative Essay?

It is basically the type of writing where the author tells a story, either non-fictional or of personal nature. Since the author is the narrator of the story, most narrative essays are written in the first person. A narrative essay could take the form of an anecdote or an experience that the author relates to. Thus, it is an essay that’s personal in nature.

As much as this type of essay is a story of sorts, it is not to be identified with traditional short stories. Whereas conventional stories have a causal fictional character, narrative essays are formal and chronological. They are an enactment of events that occurred in reality. With short stories, one could play around with different characters and also add some elements of fiction. Narrative essays have to conform to things as they actually happened.

Narrative essays have a thesis statement in their introductions. The intent of the essay should be highlighted in the thesis statement.

The Structure of the Narrative Essay Outline

The following is a simple structure of a narrative essay outline worksheet:


  • Captivating hook
  • The relevance of the subject to the author and the reader
  • Thesis

Body Paragraphs

  • The setting of the story
  • The background of the events
  • Characters
  • Real examples/illustrations
  • Foreshadowing of outcomes
  • Unfolding of events
  • Outcome of events
  • The verdict


  • Summary of key points
  • Restatement of thesis
  • Lessons learned
  • The relevance of the subject
  • Call-to-action (where applicable)

This is a simple narrative essay outline example that you can use as a model to create your own narrative essay outline template. It is quite simple and direct. It doesn’t need much effort. Writing a working outline for a narrative essay is essential to your writing. It enables you to know which points apply to different parts of the essay. It also helps you stick to the arguments that relate only to the subject of your narrative essay.

Let’s expound more on the individual parts of the outline.

Narrative Essay Outline Introduction

The introduction of the narrative essay should always be captivating. To illustrate: if the entrance to a kid’s park is dull, will the kids be motivated to go in and check what it has to offer? Every kid would be disinterested since in their minds they were looking forward to something exciting right from the entrance. The same applies to your narrative essay. If the introduction is dull and boring, your reader won’t be hooked. Some may even not go further than the introduction. In another sense, you won’t even be psyched up to write the essay. The introduction of your essay is thus an important element.

To attract the intended audience effectively, you have to write a captivating topic sentence that will serve as a hook. An effective catch is one that makes the reader feel as if they relate to the point being addressed. It should be intriguing and strong.

To illustrate: “Good leaders work hard, but great leaders work smart.”

This in itself is a strong hook. Anyone who would read it would want to know more about which smart activities make a leader great. Others who may know something about this subject will also be hooked since they will feel that they relate to it.

Immediately after the hook, there should be some supporting statements (about two sentences) so that you can place your thesis statement.

Your thesis statement should give the direction of your whole essay. It states your intention as the writer and the thought that you will try to prove in the entire essay. Therefore, the thesis statement is best placed at the end of the introductory paragraph so that the readers can get tuned to the author’s mind.

In all these, ensure that the introduction of your essay is:

  • Captivating
  • Interest-arousing
  • Brief
  • Concise
  • Relatable
  • Direct

Narrative Essay Outline Body Paragraphs

After carefully crafting your introduction, the next step is coming up with the body paragraphs. This is the most critical part of the essay in that it delivers your message and arguments in relation to the subject at hand. Your story starts, develops and ends in this part of the essay.

Generally, there are three paragraphs in the body, and each paragraph has five sentences. But this depends on the extent and length of the narration.

As written in the outline for narrative essay, you should start by giving the setting and background of the story. Every story has a setting and background against which it is narrated. For example, it may be a rural setting, religious setting, political setting, etc. Ensure that you mention the right background so that the readers understand what they are reading better.

In our case, we can use a political setting since it befits the leadership context.

The second aspect that should be included in your narrative essay outline is the characters of the story. It makes practical sense to introduce every character that is part of the essay. It’s not just sufficient to mention their names but you should also describe their personalities, attributes, and roles. But in all these, ensure that the attributes you give to these characters relate to the subject matter of your narrative essay. You don’t want a situation where you give a particular character the attribute of being kind and generous, yet s/he is the villain in the story.

The third aspect that you should consider in the body paragraphs is the real-life examples of events. This can be done effectively through the use of anecdotes. Since it is a narrative essay, they would make a great addition. Besides, they will even help you expand your main points and how things unfolded.

While at it, entice the readers with a little foreshadowing. Give them a sneak peek of what is to unfold.

After the real-life examples of events and foreshadowing, go ahead and narrate the facts as they unfold. Let each character have a part to play in the plot and give a detailed description of everything that is unfolding. Follow this closely with the outcome of the events that unfolded.

To illustrate:

“The shrewd administrator was able to win the hearts of the citizens since he used an open-door policy in his administration.”

“The close contestant of the shrewd administrator, though able and competent, wasn’t able to win because he repelled people with his aloofness.”

With the above outcomes, there is a final verdict that should be made with respect to the subject.

The following is an illustration of a plausible verdict:

“The open door policy can be considered as the smart move that the shrewd administrator used to win the hearts of the citizens. Although both administrators were hardworking, we can say that the shrewd administrator was smart to know that hard work is not all that counts. He knew that the citizens needed a person who can sit and listen to their needs. Indeed, he proves that great leaders work smart.”

How to Write a Narrative Essay Outline Conclusion

The conclusion marks the end of the narrative. At this point, you shouldn’t add any new point or argument. You should restate your main points and make a summary of them. The moral of the narrative should follow this after reiterating the thesis statement. In this case, you will be giving support to your thesis and reaffirming your stand on the subject. As the author, you should mention the lessons that you have learned from the story so as to stimulate your readers to draw their own lessons.

Give a brief explanation as to why the point raised was of relevance. For example, in our illustration of the good and shrewd administrators, it would be a call for all leaders to always think out of the ordinary when serving their subjects.

If necessary, add a call-to-action to your essay before you end it. In our case, it could be: “Leaders should put the plight of the citizens at heart. Implementing an open door policy in administrative matters should be done to effect this.”


By applying this narrative essay outline example while writing your narrative, you are sure of crafting an engaging essay. Do you have more guidelines for writing a narrative essay outline? Share with us below.

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