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Narrative essays are quite common nowadays, so all students needto know how to write them. If you keep wondering how to start anarrative essay, remember that its type usually determines thestructure of your introduction. In most cases, any writingassignments referred to as narratives ask students to tellreaders about any specific personal experience. The main tasks ofthe introductory paragraph include grabbing readers’ attention,setting the right scene, and introducing the chosen topic. If thefirst part of any book that you read is boring, you’re not likelyto finish it, and your essay isn’t an exception. So, its startingpoint or beginning plays an important role. An introductoryparagraph attracts readers’ attention and makes them wonder whatyou will write next.


This paper is defined as a type of academic writing wherestudents narrate or tell the audience their story, which isnon-fictional and deals with their personal development. Unlikeother types of academic papers, the use of the first person isacceptable. Sometimes, narrative essays can be experiential andanecdotal, thus allowing authors to express themselves in a morepersonal and creative form.

Although you need to tell a personal story in your narrativeessay, you shouldn’t confuse this assignment with writing a shortstory. That’s because short stories are fictional and they allowwriters to add different characters, change the entire plot, andrewrite their end. On the other hand, narrative papers requireauthors to pull a cohesive arc from their personal events andmemories that really happened. Like other types of essays, thisstyle of academic writing requires a strong thesis statement inthe introduction, and the entire narrative must support it, whileshort stories don’t need any thesis and their authors aren’trequired to prove anything.


When completing this assignment, you may think of it as tellingthe audience a certain story. This essay is personal,experiential, and anecdotal, thus allowing you to expressyourself in a moving and creative manner. Use the followinghelpful guidelines if you have no idea of how to start anarrative essay:


  • If this paper is written as a story, it should include all ofits important parts, such as characters, settings, plot,introduction, climax, and conclusion. Are there any situationswhen your essay may not be written as a story? Only if teachersask you to write a book report because you need to focus onproviding readers with an informative narrative instead offollowing any patterns of a story.
  • Your essay must have a definite purpose, so make a point andthink of it as the thesis of your narrative.
  • Narrative papers are always written from a clear point ofview. It’s common for this assignment to be written from theauthor’s standpoint, but it’s not the only perspective that canbe considered. Creativity in such essays usually manifests itselfas an authorial perspective.
  • Use your concise and clear language. Just like descriptivepapers, the narrative ones are efficient only when authors choosetheir language particularly, carefully, and artfully. You shoulduse your specific language to evoke certain senses and emotionsin readers.
  • Use the first person, but don’t overuse it because of a lackof a clearer diction.
  • Be organized. You need a clear introductory paragraph thatsets the right tone for the rest of your narrative essay. Avoidleaving readers guessing about the main purpose of your essay.You’re in control of it, so guide this paper where you want.

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To understand how to start a narrative essay, you need to getmore info about the purposes served by its introduction.Basically, it sets the right stage for the whole story that youwant to tell the audience, thus creating the necessary contextthrough details and other background facts. A thesis statementthat introduces the main point of your narrative is an importantelement of this paragraph, which serves the following purposes:

  • Defining the main point. The introduction narrows the focusof any narrative essay. Since it needs to tell readers a certainstory, narrowing a focus means picking a specific event orexperience to be described. You should decide what you want theaudience to learn from your paper. With this purpose and story inyour mind, outline any important information, and this basicframework will help you write an engaging introduction that islinked directly to the content of your narrative essay.
  • Grabbing readers’ attention. Start with an interestinganecdote, fact, or quote to engage them from the very beginning.Avoid wordy and boring introductory sentences and get to theheart of your personal story, while keeping its overall purposein mind.
  • Stating a thesis. When it comes to scientific or academicpapers, it states a certain research focus or hypothesis, whilenarrative essays have a more creative approach, but their scopeis still defined with a thesis. It tells the audience the mainpoint of your paper, indicates its topic, and describes what youlearned from a particular experience in only one sentence. That’swhy readers will know what to expect in the main body of yournarrative essay.
  • Adding more details. Round out your opening essay sectionwith specific details that set the entire stage for your story.These detail sentences will become topic sentences for bodyparagraphs, and they also provide readers with the right contextso that the main body makes sense. They may feel lost whenreading your narrative if they aren’t aware of importantinformation upfront, including major events, people, andsettings. These starting details offer the framework necessary tomake your storytelling meaningful and powerful.


This paper always serves to tell the audience a specific story,and its introductory paragraph has quite an important impact onreaders. That’s why you need to understand the main elements thatcomprise the opening of any excellent narrative essay. Use thefollowing easy tips to write the best one:

  • Brainstorming. List a few stories before getting down towriting any of them. Narrative papers thrive on the stories thathave influential people or events that had an important effect onauthors.
  • Writing the first sentence. It always needs to hook readers,and there are different techniques that can be used to achievethis goal. If you feel stuck, start your introduction later.
  • Choosing the right theme. You always need to have aparticular purpose or theme running through the entire narrativeeven before you get started. It should make a strong thesisstatement at the end of your essay introduction.
  • Writing middle sentences. They must be used to develop astory with different background details to let readers understandthe whole context. These sentences allow you to go right into athesis.
  • Giving descriptions. All excellent narrative essays havegreat details, so write more facts than needed in the first draftand edit it using only the most relevant and vivid details.
  • Adding fictional elements. In fiction stories, majorcharacters are often introduced early on, and it’s no differentin a narrative paper. They can be some people you knowpersonally, so introduce them from the onset and avoid leavingreaders guessing.
  • Using quotes, dialogues, and anecdotes. To get more ideas onhow to start a narrative essay, use suitable quotes, dialogues,and anecdotes to introduce the main story. Ne sure that theydon’t overwhelm an introductory paragraph because your storyshouldn’t be detracted.
  • Getting right into the story. Although you need to add abrief background, it’s not necessary to spend a lot of time onit, so get right into your story. When writing the first draft,play around with editing and removing sentences to let this storymove faster. Do the same thing in an introductory paragraph ofyour narrative essay to get right into the action.
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When readers aren’t engaged in your essay writing, they don’twant to finish it. That’s why your paper needs to grab theirattention immediately. Whereas they get a great opportunity tolearn someone useful from a stellar narrative, technologicaldistractions may blend their mind. Try to start your essay froman interesting point. There are many ways in which a hooksentence in the introduction can be formulated, so try differentoptions.

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