Tag Archives: narrative writing

A Complete Guide on How to Write an Autobiographical Essay

a girl writing in the notebook sitting on the grass

One of the most common types of essays that students have to write is an autobiographical essay. Some students don’t find this task that difficult while others struggle with the basic requirements that need to be followed in the writing process.

Many students get confused asking the same question: “How to write an autobiographical essay about myself for a scholarship?” To help you with that, we have compiled several guides that will lead you through every step of the work and will provide you with useful tips. After reading this article, you will know what types of an autobiography essay are and how to complete each of them in properly.  

By the way, have you seen our guide for writing a scholarship essay? Open it in the new to tab, so that you won’t forget to read it.

What Is an Autobiographical Essay?

Every assignment that your teacher gives you has its purpose. In the case of an autobiographical essay assignment, it is meant to teach you:

  • How to describe events, characters, and atmosphere
  • How to put your emotions into your writing
  • How to be more genuine in your writing

When you are writing an autobiographical essay, you don’t need to make up a story, analyze literature or historical facts or compile statistics. This is the assignment which can really show your writing skills, as you need to describe one of the stories that happened in your own life.

The choice of the story, as well as the emotions that were put into writing, can tell a lot about your personality. If you struggle with writing this or any other type of essay, you can also check out our useful tips on how to improve your writing skills.

How to Pick the Topic

There are two types of autobiographical essays which high school students have to perform. The first one implies describing a single story from your life or a significant event. The second one requires writing a brief description of your life from your birth.

If you need to choose only one story to describe in your essay — pick the one that:

  • You have a vivid memory of
  • You have a lot to say about
  • Brings a lot of emotions while thinking about it


  • Your accomplishments – winning the competition, getting exceptional feedback on your achievements, creating the best piece of something (so far), meeting certain goals in studying, sports or hobby, etc.
  • Entertaining or unusual stories of your life – a funny or an interesting situation that has imprinted in your memory.
  • Some meaningful and significant event that happened for the first time in your life – meeting your soulmate, riding a bicycle or getting a pet.

You can make up some minor details to make your autobiographical essay sound more exciting, but the topic itself should genuinely and honestly describe some true story from your life.

How to Write an Outline

Every essay requires an outline. Before actually writing your essay, write down the main points of the story that you are about to tell and significant details that should be included.

Organize your ideas in the order in which you want to evolve them and start building your essay around this basis. If you are writing a complete autobiography, it’s necessary to use chronological order. But if you write about a particular event, you are not obligated to do this.

How to Write an Introduction for an Autobiographical Essay

Start an autobiography with a catchy sentence. The way you begin your story always defines the following content, so you need to get the reader’s attention and make your introduction interesting and exciting.

The first sentence of an autobiography might be:

  • An anecdote
  • A quote
  • An intriguing question
  • A short introductory sentence

You can also start from the end of the story and tell your readers about its finale first and then about previous events.

For example: “It was the day when I met my best friend and my soulmate.”

Don’t make your introduction part too long. The best option would be to jump in the actual story as soon as possible. This way you can keep your reader interested in the plot of the story.

A tip: Don’t forget that you should use a first-person narrative mode for an autobiographical essay. Use prepositions “I,” “me,” “my” when telling your story.

How to Write Your Story in a Compelling Way

If you struggle with the style of your essay and the number of details that you need to include, don’t worry, we can help you.

  1. Don’t be afraid of using vivid details as they help to make your story more interesting for the reader.
  2. Use the description of the setting and environment to help your readers imagine the situation better.
  3. Use the description of characters or yourself in the story. For example, the description of clothes, hair, mood, etc.
  4. Add a little humor to the text.
  5. Describe your emotions when talking about some significant events. For example, “When my father walked into the room holding a golden retriever puppy in his hands, I burst into tears of happiness.”

When writing an autobiography, it’s essential to define the key moments or individuals who had a significant role in your life. You need to make it clear why you choose to describe particular events – write about what you’ve learned from this experience or how your life has changed after that.

If you are going to write an autobiographical essay that covers the story of your life from birth to the current moment, speak about the most significant event or stages of your development. In this case, your essay shouldn’t be as detailed, but the chronological order and the reasons for mentioning particular events should be clear for the audience.

Do you find it challenging to focus on finishing your essay? We have a few pieces of advice for students who want to procrastinate less.

How to Write a Conclusion to Your Autobiographical Essay

When you need to finish your essay, it’s important to give a good impression as a conclusion is the most memorable part. Finish your story with the conclusion you made out of the story. For example, you can end your story about getting your first pet with:

“This puppy grew up fast and became my defender and companion, following me everywhere I go. I’ve never thought that I could get such a loving and devoted friend.”

After finishing your essay, proofread it and make your edits. No matter what type of paper you need to complete, each one has to be thoroughly checked for grammatical and punctuation errors, as well as for plagiarism. So don’t forget to perform these steps or ask a professional writing service to do that for you.


The 7 Secrets of Magnificent Narrative Writing

narrative writing

Navigating your way through the various options when it comes to essay writing can feel like you’re going through a minefield. Narrative, Descriptive, Expository, Persuasive … they can all seem like different ways of saying the same thing. In fact, some essay styles are very similar but each one has its own quirks and style rules which can help writers communicate with their audience and, once you understand them, they can even help you to craft the best piece possible.

1. Understand What a Narrative Essay Entails

Simply put, a narrative essay uses the act of story-telling in order to convey a message, teach a lesson, provide insight or educate the audience. Many times these stories are taken from a writer’s own personal experience, which can make starting the essay easier than writing other types of papers. Take full advantage of this when writing your rough draft. But a narrative paper also needs to involve the reader, so descriptions become especially important.

2. Let Your Rough Draft be Raw

The power of any personal story lies in how raw it is. When writing the rough draft, don’t hold anything back. If your story is a particularly powerful one, let yourself write the rough draft without restricting your language or descriptions. While you won’t want to leave your final draft scattered with F-bombs, including them in your rough draft will give you the creative wiggle room you need to tell your story in your own way and retain its powerful message. Cleaning up the language and tightening the writing can be done in the revision stages.

3. Make it Personal, But Keep it Professional

Although a narrative essay is built upon personal experience, the final result still needs to be polished and professional. A narrative essay isn’t an open letter, it still needs to build towards a specific conclusion, insight or position on a topic. When needed, include research data, anecdotal evidence and other forms of outside research in order to give greater weight to your main point. This also gives you the chance to leave your own story for a moment, capitalize on outside research, and then bring the readers back to your personal story in the conclusion.

4. Craft Descriptions With the Audience in Mind

Your readers won’t be coming into this paper with the same background knowledge you have on the subject. Be sure your descriptions are vivid and well written. Avoid using adverbs like very, almost, nearly or quite too often. Instead swap out phrases which use these adverbs with better descriptions. A house isn’t ‘quite old’, it’s seasoned, decrepit or ancient. Using more vivid language brings your words to life and makes the audience feel more involved.

5. Jump Into the Deep End

Beginning your essay with a bit of back story ay seem like a good idea, but getting right to the action will engage your readers from the first sentence. Begin your essay with a powerful statement or by jumping into your story just as the action is happening. You can backtrack and give the background information once you begin the body of your paper.

6. Know Where You’re Going

Using a personal story to write an essay makes you vulnerable to getting off track easily. Before you begin relating your own story, be sure you’ve hammered out the rough draft for both your introduction and conclusion ahead of time. This way you’ll always know what you want your final point to be. If you get lost on a tangent halfway through, you can refer back to your rough drafts to get back on track.

7. Know How to Cite

A narrative essay may be built upon a personal story, but citing other works can still play a major role. In many other essay types, it’s normal to cite as you go, including small references to papers, books or other resources as a part of the text. For a narrative essay, however, keep all citations until the end and include them in a Works Cited page at the end as opposed to including them within the main text. This will help your audience to follow your story easily without any disruption.