Narrative Composition Structure

How to Write a Narrative Composition

Structure & Tips



A narrative composition/essay tells a story. In most cases, this is a story about a personal experience you had. This type of essay, along with the descriptive composition, allows you to get personal and creative.

A narrative essay is a way of testing your ability to tell a story in a clear and interesting way. You’re expected to think about where your story begins and ends, and how to convey it with eye-catching language and a satisfying pace.


What’s the difference between a narrative composition and a descriptive composition?

The key difference is that a narrative essay is designed to tell a complete story, while a descriptive essay is meant to convey an intense description of a particular place, object, or concept. Narrative and descriptive essays both allow you to write more personally and creatively than other kinds of essays, and similar writing skills can apply to both.


Characteristics of a narrative composition


These skills are quite different from those needed for formal writing. For instance, in a narrative composition the use of:

  • past tenses (past simple and past perfect)
  • the first person (“I”) is encouraged
  • figurative language (metaphors, idioms, etc.)
  • dialogue
  • suspense
  • descriptive elements (adjectives, adverbs, etc.)
  • sensory elements: here you have some examples of sensory elements.

List of descriptive elements

Descriptive Adjectives

acrobatic adorable adventurous
brave bright brilliant
concrete conventional delirious
foolhardy gregarious grim
handsome handy intelligent
intrepid joyful jubilant
keen kooky lanky
lazy limp luxurious
mediocre mellow miserable
nocturnal organic ornate
ordinary powerless practical
precious questionable quirky
radiant rustic sly
sophisticated stunning tattered
thorny verdant weathered


Descriptive adverbs

amusingly angrily apathetically
assertively begrudgingly blissfully
chillingly coyly darkly
dazzlingly deafeningly dutifully
eagerly faintly frivolously
greedily hastily intelligently
kindly lavishly lazily
listlessly masterfully meagerly
methodically neglectfully normally
offensively passionately pleasantly
pointlessly quickly rapidly
rashly secretly seriously
swiftly tactfully teasingly
tragically vacantly vividly
weirdly youthfully zealously


Past participles

acclaimed accomplished amazing
amused battered beaten
bleeding boring broken
confusing chosen complicated
condemned crystallized customized
depressed disgusting distressing
disturbing dreaming driven
dyed embarrassing exciting
fascinated frustrating humiliating
interesting irritating lying
melted overwhelmed puzzling
relaxing riveting satisfied
scared shocking sickening
sweeping threatening thrilled
tired worried wrinkled

Examples of sensory elements


  • The man had flowing brown hair and overgrown stubble
  • His chocolate eyes turn caramel in the sun
  • When he walks, he has a slight limp in his left leg but tries to hide it



  • Freshly ground coffee
  • An orange split open, filling the air with a citrus spray
  • A foggy bathroom smelling of warm soap and lavender



  • The snap of a crisp apple, and the sweetness that comes after.
  • The bite of harsh salt
  • A tongue coated in rich grease from a thick steak



  • Picking gravel out of a raw cut on your arm
  • Feeling chalk scrape across the chalkboard, and the powder it leaves behind on your fingers
  • The cold dusting of fresh snow across your face as it flurries down



  • The jungle buzzed and chirruped with insects as the sunset
  • The cacophony of voices grew to a deafening roar in the overcrowded lobby
  • Rain pattered softly on the window as wind whistled through the cracks like a wailing spirit






How to Format And Structure A Narrative Composition?

The narrative writing format consists of an introduction, a thesis statement, the main body, and a conclusion. The first two are an overview of what your whole text will talk about; the main body will introduce and develop your characters, locations, and dialogues to further sum up the story in the conclusion.

Your essay must have a clear introduction, body paragraphs that are not only sequential, but also transitional, and an ending that leaves the reader with something to think about.

The introduction must contain a hook sentence that catches the attention of the reader, a thesis statement explaining what your essay is going to be about, and a clear description of why the topic is relevant to you. The main body should include an overview of the background and setting, all of the key people involved, some semblance of foreshadowing as well as the onset of the event and the climax, finally the resolution.

The conclusion has to address the moral of the story or the event’s significance; it could be used to add a call-to-action as well.


How to Start a Narrative Composition?

Start the narrative writing with an exciting hook and engaging sensory details. You must set your essay’s tone from the beginning to grab the readers’ attention.

Following are different ways to start the essay:

  • Start with a mystery.
  • Use a quote from someone famous to catch your reader’s attention.
  • Add a funny, interesting or moving anecdote.
  • Ask questions; in this way, your writing will feel direct and more personal.
  • Start with a shocking statement or statistics that makes readers curious.



The review/proofreading of your writing is compulsory. Make sure you take at least 5 minutes to proofread your writing before submitting it or send it for its correction. This way you can spot mistakes o upgrade you writing.

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