Narrative Essay Writing Tips

Objective: Write a 3-paragraph narrative about a time that you had an important decision to make.

Complete all 5 steps of the writing process:

  1. Prewriting
  2. Drafting
  3. Revising
  4. Editing
  5. Publishing

Progress Monitoring

Teacher must initial before student proceeds to next step.

  Date completed: Teacher initials:
Prewriting (research completed and references provided)    
Drafting (1st draft completed)    
Revising (revision checklist and 2nd draft completed)    
Editing (peer editing and 3rd draft completed)    


  • First paragraph describes the decision that you had to make. It sets the background for why you had to make the decision. It captures the reader’s interest.
  • Second paragraph describes your decision making process. It explains how and why you made the decision, and who else was affected by your decision. It helps the reader to understand what you were thinking about when you made the decision.
  • Third paragraph describes the outcome of your decision. It includes a personal reflection and sensible closure.
  • Each paragraph should be at least 7 sentences.
  • Narrative essay should be written from a first-person perspective.

Prewriting Directions: Answer the following questions. Use plenty of detail. The answers to these questions will help you to formulate your narrative essay.

  1. Explain an important decision you had to make.
  2. Why did you have to make this decision?
  3. Why was this decision so important?
  4. When did this happen? (How old were you, what grade were you in, or how many years ago)
  5. List at least 3 events that led up to you having to make this decision:
  6. Who else was involved in your decision process? How did they help or influence your decision?
  7. Who was affected by your decision, and how were they affected?
  1. Explain at least 3 distinct reasons for your decision.
  1. Explain at least 3 outcomes that resulted from your decision.
  1. Looking back, do you believe you made a good decision? Why or why not?
  2. Looking back, what would you have done differently?
  3. What advice would you give to someone who was faced with a similar decision?

Grading Rubric:

  4 3 2 1
Ideas and Content 3 paragraphs   Less than 3 paragraphs
Paragraphs contain excellent content and detail Paragraphs contain adequate content and detail Paragraphs need more content and detail Paragraphs severely lack content and detail
Content covers all criteria Content covers almost all criteria Content is missing several criteria Content irrelevant to criteria
Clear and concise in purpose Clear in purpose Somewhat unclear in purpose Unclear in purpose
Organization Every paragraph has a clear purpose Every paragraph has a purpose Some paragraphs are unclear in purpose Most paragraphs are unclear in purpose
Complete title heading Mostly complete title heading Incomplete title heading No title heading
Fluency, Voice, and Word Choice Sounds natural and expressive when read aloud Sounds natural when read aloud Sounds stilted or rambling when read aloud Difficult to read aloud
Varied sentence structure Similar sentence structure throughout Frequent run-on sentences or short, choppy sentences Frequent sentence fragments or lack of sentence structure
Words are descriptive and add expression and imagery Words are descriptive Words are repetitive Words fail to describe
Conventions Few errors in punctuation, capitalization, and other grammatical concepts Occasional errors in punctuation, capitalization, and other grammatical concepts Frequent errors in punctuation, capitalization, and other grammatical concepts Excessive errors in punctuation, capitalization, and other grammatical concepts
Writing Process Includes all requirements Missing 1 requirement Missing 2-3 requirements Missing 3 or more requirements