Learn how to create a narrative essay outline with our academic writing guide. We provide examples for you to receive the highest marks for your essays.
Sometimes writers suddenly get inspiration out of nowhere and are eager to write all the ideas down. However, even the most inspired writers should follow the basic rules in order not to come to a dead end. Therefore, every writer should prepare a narrative essay outline. If you strive to be a successful student, follow our tutorial on how to come up with an effective story outline.
A narrative essay outline has a thesis statement specifying a clear argument.
“I have studied French hard and now I am fluent in it.”
A good essay writer is supposed to start his work on the essay with a topic sentence. For instance, “A major hurdle for me in the class was my inability to speak French fluently.” There are many ways to start your story writing; however, you cannot avoid creating an outline as it ensures that the order of events is chronological.
Essay Outline Details
The narrative (story) arc is another way of calling an essay outline. Thus, a narrative begins with exposition in which background information is given, characters are introduced and setting is revealed: “Setting: St. Andrew High School, Stockton, CA, early September 2011. Characters: Chris Jenkins, protagonist, arrived from Lancaster, CA. Main features: of average height, dark hair, brown eyes.” Remember that an outline is mainly your personal notes to help you write a well-structured essay, so you can organize them they way that suits you best.
After the setting exposition and characters are clearly defined, the writer fills the unknown areas of the main character’s life with the argument, antagonists, complicated situation, and actions. “The central argument in the essay is the fact that Chris cannot speak French even though his vocabulary is rich and he knows all the grammar rules.”
You can also add to your outline, “In addition, he is constantly heckled by a class bully, Jeff Waldow.” The outline has the aim of showing not only the very conflict but also the leading antagonist.
The rising action provides details on a series of events that complicate things for the protagonist creating tension in the story. “Chris has wanted to invite his French-speaking friend Marine out, but he is in doubt as she might refuse. Marine goes on a date with Jeff.”
Conclusion Outline (Resolution)
The climax is a point of the greatest tension in a narrative leading towards the resolution – the final and one of the most important parts of the essay outline. “Marine realizes that Chris is special and she sees him now in a new way.”
A narrative essay can also end unhappily. “Marine confesses to Chris that Jeff and she are going to get married.”
You can choose whatever ending you like as long as you stick to the basic pattern: exposition-rising action-climax-resolution.
We have provided an example of a real outline for you (please see below). It is an outline of a five paragraph essay on the topic “Decisions we make in our life.”
Thesis statement: People have to make many difficult decisions during their lifetime. However, the decisions you have to make in childhood are the toughest ones.
Body Paragraph 1
Topic Sentence: The first time I opened my eyes to the world was in Newcastle.
Detail 1: Family information.
Example: I was brought up by my father and my grandmother.
Detail 2: First life challenges I had to face.
Example: I had to get to school on my own.
Example: In summer, I played on the streets of Newcastle.
Body Paragraph 2
Topic Sentence: I was born and raised in Newcastle, and suddenly I had to leave it all.
Detail 1: Leaving the people I grew up with was the hardest thing to do.
Example: I spent most of my life with my grandmother.
Example: I used to spend my free time with my cousins and close friends.
Detail 2: I did not want to leave my surroundings; it scared me.
Example: My neighborhood description.
Example: My family description.
Detail 3: A protest against my dreams (become successful in my hometown) being destroyed.
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Body Paragraph 3
Topic Sentence: The turning point that changed my life forever.
Detail 1: Having suddenly to leave everything.
Example: No time to say goodbye to everyone before leaving.
Detail 2: Forced to restart my life.
Example: New places.
Example: New people.
Detail 3: Getting used to new people who are completely opposite to you.
Example: College dorm.
Example: Proper student’s life in the first year of university.
The tough decision I had to make helped me to become more independent; it also taught me how to take my own decisions without being influenced by other people’s opinions.