English Composition I
Home Page >> Writing
Assignments >> Personal Narrative
This is the actual essay assignment. The information sheet explaining this type of essay is here.
For this assignment, you will be writing a narrative that fits the title:
"The Stupidest Thing I Ever Did."
You can interpret that title however you'd like, but the essay should somehow fit the title.
- To produce an acceptable narrative essay, the writer should:
- -- use grammatically appropriate sentence structures
- -- Organize the essay so that it is a story with a clear beginning, middle and end
- -- Use appropriate paragraph breaks to control the flow of information
- -- Use transitions both within and between the paragraphs
- -- Develop and explain the essay content completely
- -- Communicate a clear and specific purpose to an audience
Remember that the writer of a personal narrative needs to keep several factors in mind:
- Purpose --
- There needs to be a reason, not only for writing the narrative, but also for why the reader should read it.
- Audience --
- The writer needs to know who his/her audience is and how their needs will affect the way the narrative is composed and presented.
- Focus --
- The writer needs to be in control of the information being presented to the reader.
- Be sure to use your introduction to “sell” your audience on your topic. Be sure that the audience understand very quickly exactly what your narrative will be about (the time I got in trouble, the horrible car accident that happened when I was 16, the time I almost killed my sister, etc.) with the necessary background information to fully understand that narrative. DON’T worry about announcing the thesis or “moral” of the story in the introduction that will develop as the story develops.
- Use your conclusion to “wrap up” the topic and the narrative. Unlike a more traditional essay, a narrative doesn’t usually announce the thesis in the conclusion. If you’ve followed the writing process, it should come through the story without having to be made too obvious.
- Focus THIS narrative on THIS particular incident. Focus on the actual marriage ceremony, not the years of dating beforehand or the divorce afterwards. You can't tell us everything in one narrative. Focus on A story and leave the other stories for other essays.
- Give the reader appropriate background, but don't go overboard. Give the reader only the background they HAVE to have to understand the story. You would want us to know that you were having an argument in the car, because it explains why the accident happened. However, we don’t need to know the whole backstory about why you were arguing that’s a distraction.
- Don't go overboard on how the situation has affected every aspect of your life, as that would be a cause/effect essay focusing on the effects, not a personal narrative focusing on the actual event itself. A narrative is simply a story about what happened, not why it happened or what effects came years afterward.