The purpose of a narrative descriptive essay is to tell a story vividly to appeal to the reader’s senses. The more sensory images, or description, that is used to tell a story, the more interesting it will be to readers. Narrative descriptive essays are commonly assigned in first-year college writing classes, and writing one involves many steps.
- Choose an effective, interesting topic. The story you want to tell should be interesting. While a simple vacation to Florida may have been fun and interesting to you, think about whether it will be to your reader. Choose a topic that includes lots of sensory impressions so that you have lots to describe.
- Make an outline of the basic story you want to tell. Obviously, you need a beginning, middle and end. Having an outline of the story will keep the essay organized and help keep you on track in telling the story.
- Decide on the type of description to include. What images do you want to impress upon the reader?
- Write a statement of purpose. You probably won’t have a traditional thesis statement in a narrative essay, but you should have a clear purpose. What story are you telling, and why are you telling it?
- Write a clear introduction that tells the reader what story will follow. Include the purpose in the introduction. The introduction should hook the reader and make him want to read the story. For this type of essay, use a catchy opening line that is linked to your story.
- Tell the complete story in the body. Clearly tell the story that you have mentioned in the purpose.
- Organize the body chronologically. Because you are telling a story, you obviously want to tell it in order. Choosing a different organizational method may be confusing to the readers.
- Use lots of descriptive language. You want to paint a picture for the reader so she feels she is part of the story. Use description to set the scene. Describe people, events and other things as they come up in the story.
- Describe sounds, appearances, smells and anything else to make the story more interesting and real.
- Describe only what is pertinent to the story and moves the story along. Do not describe something in the essay that really isn’t relevant to the story.
- Write a conclusion that sums up the essay and leaves the reader with a parting word. What do you want readers to take away from the story?