Put those mediocre B-minus essays on the trash pile and level up to A-plus quality. Hopefully, with a little bit of guidance, you can successfully transition from a good writer, to a fantastic one. So put a bit of thinking into your projects, work a little harder, and don’t be afraid to try a few new strategies to turn your essay into a piece that will impress your teacher.
Throughout your academic career you will encounter first-person narrative essay assignments. The generally involve telling a personal story that often times connects with a theme being discussed in class. Here are some basic rules to writing a great first-person narrative essay:
This kind of assignment should test your creative abilities and your story-telling skills, as well as your skill in connecting some aspect from the class theme to your personal topic.
Remember that even if you have an exciting story you think would make for a better paper, you need to be sure your topic fits the assignment prompt. Make connections to make sure you don’t’ stray outside of the scope of what is being asked of you.
The best assignments tell a very specific story. Don’t try to write a novel. Stick to a single topic and take your creativity to bring it to life with luminous and vibrant details.
So what does it mean to include vibrant details? It means you use descriptive words to paint a picture of your experience. If you remember a dinner, include words that describe the smells or tastes. If you remember a ball game, include words that describe the sights and sounds of the park.
It’s generally a good idea to first outline your paper before starting, and this is a very helpful exercise with this particular assignment because it allows you to figure out your beginning, middle and ending.
This is a first-person paper. This makes it easy for you to check for mistakes in point of view. Don’t switch perspectives and risk confusing your reader from understanding who is narrating.
When describing characters you only need to focus on the ones that have major roles in your story. Don’t worry about a person you may have met but never got a name from. They probably don’t matter to the story.
All great stories have a challenge (sometimes in the form of an antagonist) that the main character must overcome. Identify this before you start writing to make sure you have picked a good topic.
You might want to try freewriting details about where the story takes place. This will help you identify what needs to be highlighted and what can be left out. Does the weather play a role in affecting a character’s mood? Does a neighborhood affect how you react to the antagonist?
The last step in writing a great first-person narrative essay is to thoroughly revise, edit and proofread your entire paper. No writer should ever submit a first draft. Be sure you save ample time to do each one of these steps accurately.
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