An informal essay is written for pleasure. Don't presume that it can not be informative, but it should mainly reveal your ability to write informally and in this way express your point of view on some problems, or some events. The main features of the informal essay different from other types are its informal style and less rigid, but well-organized plan.
The readers should have the perception of conversation when they are reading your essay. One of the most important things is to preserve the sense of your personality. The reader should apprehend your philosophy as well as your vision.
Many students design their informal essays as the fictional story, from the beginning to the end, with some intervals on description. You should spend several minutes on the designing of your initial story. This is your first draft. Start at the beginning of the story you are trying to unfold and progress up to its end. At this stage do not bring in emotions or feelings. Try to emphasize on the dates and the events. Certainly each of us has had some important and memorable events, such as the first trip to Europe or the first day at the college.
It might also come useful to remember the techniques of the informal essay.
Compression allows you to stress on the most important points and events of your story, while omitting or compressing into several words irrelevant and secondary ones.
Time inversion - another technique that is often used in writing the informal essay. The events of 1951 may come before the events of 1940, for example. Needless to say that you have to use this technique cautiously, as too much inversion might weaken the structure of your essay and eventually ruin your assignment.
The cornerstone of this process is a clear, comprehensive and well-organized plan. You should always bear in mind what type of essay you would like to complete.
Look at the following illustration:
Time order: The start of the event -> The middle -> The end of the event.
Now we inverse the time order, so the final illustration looks as following: The middle of the event -> The recollection of the start of the event -> The end of the event.
This technique of informal essay writing allows you to attract the attention of the reader by presenting the most important moment of the story. Once the readerÂ has been attracted and intrigued, you can "transport" him/her to the beginning of the story and make them acquaint with the missing information before you proceed to the end of the story. This technique is very effective, but you should notify the reader when you intend to proceed and when you intend to look back in time.
Creation of the suspense.
Have you read many interesting books where writers try to preserve the suspense up till the end of plot? Have you watched interesting movies where directors try doing the same with their audience? Yes, but how do they do it? Only few people could tell an even fewer can create the suspense in their papers. It is widely regarded as one of the most difficult tasks. Still, it might not be so difficult if you bear in mind some very simple principles.
Certainly, you have got to create the suspense in order to attract your readers, to make them stay, to induce them to continue reading your custom essay. However, several authors can either satisfy your expectations or preserve suspense until the final strokes of the paper. The most important point in the creation of suspense is the creation of uncertainty. You should create exhilarating and thrilling atmosphere of something unknown, something unexpected and even unpredictable. This technique, named foreshadowing, is one of the most widely used techniques in the writing of the fiction stories. It can also be applied in writing the informal essays.
During this process you can also use another technique- withholding. Every time when the readers ask themselves various questions on the progress of the events in your essay, you withhold the information.
Narrowing of the plot.
Imagine that you are getting on the train and your friend is chatting with another person about his work. We have got two separate but interconnected stories.
Every event in our life comprises several different stories that can be interconnected with others. If you look at the different stories and distinguish them, yet at the same comprehend the integrity of the story and the reader can see how the story unfolds, then you can use them as an additional technique in your informal essay.
Tips on Writing a Narrative Essay
In a narrative essay, the writer tells a story about a real-life experience. Everyone enjoys a good story—especially one that captures the imagination. However, the narrative essay goes further. In it, the writer places a personal experience within the context of a larger theme, such as a lesson learned. When writing a narrative essay, the writer wants not only to tell a good story, but also convey why the story has meaning.
The Five-Step Writing Process for Narrative Essays
At Time4Learning, we are great believers in the writing process. The writing process empowers you to write with better results by giving providing concrete, proven steps to follow. Here, we examine how to write a narrative essay using the five-step writing process. You should find the following suggestions helpful.
1. Prewriting for the Narrative Essay
The prewriting phase in narrative essay writing is particularly important. When planning how to start a narrative essay, think about your life experiences in the context of the assignment’s theme, for example ‘write about achieving a goal.’ When selecting an experience to write about, keep in mind that even a small incident (or goal, in this case) can make a good essay topic if it has significance for you. If writers feel an emotional connection to their topic, their narrative essay will be more effective.
Once you’ve chosen a topic, spend time sorting through your memories and recalling details, including the year, season, setting, people, and objects involved. Think about the sequence of events and remember; no detail is too small. Often it’s the small details that communicate big ideas! Creating an outline of the story’s narrative flow is very helpful.
2. Drafting a Narrative Essay
When creating the initial draft of a narrative essay, follow the outline, but focus on making the story come alive, using the following techniques:
- Personal narrative essays are most naturally written in the first person, and using “I” gives the story an immediacy that engages the reader.
- In telling the story, don’t gloss over the details. Readers have no prior knowledge of the story, and many times even one detail accidentally left out will skew their understanding.
- Use vivid descriptions and words that illustrate. In narrative writing, the writer’s job is to involve the reader, rather than simply inform. Take a look at this sentence: “Losing the game felt like the bottom of my world dropped out.” It conveys so much more about the significance of the writer’s experience than simply saying, “I was disappointed that we lost the game.”
- While narrative essays are non-fiction, elements of fiction should not be ignored. True stories also benefit from the writer’s ability to use plot-building techniques.
3. Revising a Narrative Essay
In the revision phase, students review, modify, and reorganize their work with the goal of making it the best it can be. In revising a narrative essay, students should reread their work with these considerations in mind:
- Does the essay unfold in an easy-to-understand progression of events? Do the transitions make sense or confuse the reader?
- Does the essay involve the reader in the experience? Could there be more detail, or is there extraneous detail that distracts the reader’s attention?
- Is the word choice descriptive, or merely informative?
- Has the larger message of the essay been conveyed effectively? Has a connection been made between the experience and its meaning to the writer? Will the reader be able to identify with the conclusion made?
In structuring a narrative essay, it’s the writer’s choice when to reveal the significance of the experience. Some writers make this connection to theme in the opening paragraph. Others like to focus on the experience and reveal its significance at the end. Writers should experiment which way works best for the essay. Clueing in the reader upfront helps their understanding, but saving the revelation to the end can leave the reader with more to think about.
4. Editing a Narrative Essay
At this point in the writing process, writers proofread and correct errors in grammar and mechanics, and edit to improve style and clarity. Having a friend read the essay is a good idea at this point, and allows the writer to see their work from a fresh perspective.
5. Publishing a Narrative Essay
Due to its personal nature, sharing a narrative essay with the rest of the class or even with friends and family can be both exciting and a bit scary. Remember, there isn’t a writer on earth who isn’t sensitive about his or her own work. The important thing is to learn from the experience and use the feedback to make the next essay even better.
Time4Writing Teaches Narrative Essay Writing
Time4Writing essay writing courses offer a highly effective way to learn how to write the types of essays required for school, standardized tests, and college applications. A unique online writing program for elementary, middle school, and high school students, Time4Writing breaks down the writing process into manageable chunks, easily digested by young writers. Students steadily build writing skills and confidence, guided by one-on-one instruction with a dedicated, certified teacher.
At the elementary level, Time4Writing has a dedicated 8-week Narrative Writing Course that walks beginning essay writers through every step of the writing process to make sure that mastery is complete. Our middle school Welcome to the Essay and Advanced Essay courses teach students the fundamentals of writing well-constructed essays, including the narrative essay. The high school Exciting Essay Writing course focuses in depth on the essay writing process with the goal of preparation for college. The courses also cover how to interpret essay writing prompts in testing situations. Read what parents are saying about their children’s writing progress in Time4Writing courses.