Essay #1 – narrative topic [being unprepared] because you have been | ENG 131


Essay #1 – Narrative – We tell stories every day, to our friends, parents, and teachers. We tell them orally or we type them and post them on social media. Write an essay about an incident or experience in your life that has been meaningful to you. Bring your reader into the moment with you to witness your experience. Your task is to develop the essay with details that will demonstrate the significance of your experience.

Must be: 1000 words, typed, double spaced, standard margins, 12 point font, APA format.

Your name, course & section, Instructor’s name, due date, Narrative Essay should be in the top left or top right of first page. Start typing essay on same page.

What is a Narrative Essay?

            “Narrative” means telling what happened. An essay is different from a story in that the narrative in the essay is a tool that’s used to make a point. It’s pretty likely that you will not discover the point until you have spent some time working on it.

What makes a good personal narrative?

  • A good personal narrative will take the reader step by step through the experience.
  • A good personal narrative uses the senses to describe things. The reader wants to smell, touch, taste, hear and see the story unfold.
  • A good personal narrative incorporates dialogue and metaphors along with good sensory description.

See tips below to help you as you write your personal narrative.

  • Have a strong lead for your introduction paragraph.
  • Each paragraph needs a transition, topic sentence, detail sentences, conclusion sentence (indent at the start of paragraph by hitting the TAB button).
  • The personal narrative is about ONE SHORT MOMENT in time (30 minutes or less).
  • Expand on details. Your character and setting descriptions should be so detailed that I could draw a picture from your written description.
  • Have a reflection paragraph for your conclusion. In this reflection paragraph, look back on this moment and explain how it has affected you, the people around you, and/or the world around you. Be sure not to use YOU in this. You are reflecting, not telling the reader how to feel.
  • Re-read and have someone else read it. Check to make sure each sentence has a subject and predicate. Make sure you are in the same tense (past or present) the entire time, check comma placement, dialogue, etc.
  • Make only one small space between paragraphs.
  • Use strong word choice. Get rid of words such as said, good, bad, happy, etc.
  • Show me your emotion and explain WHY you were devastated or why you were overjoyed.
  • Take your time; do not wait until the last minute. You are capable of this task, I know you can succeed. Writing papers take time, but there is a great sense of accomplishment when hard work has been put into a paper.


  • [Being Unprepared] Because you have been sick, out of town, busy at work, or working on other homework, you didn’t have as much time to study for an important test as you needed.


Some Rubric Some Rubric Criteria Ratings Pts This criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeFormat5 ptsFull Marks: Presence of course & personal information at top of paper; appropriate word count, spacing and font; correct paragraph format (indentation)3 pts Partial Mark: 5-20 errors, but does not effect the clarity and logic of essay0 pts No Marks: Many errors that obscure visual appearance and adherence to format5 pts
This criterion is linked to a Learning Outcome Intro & Conclusion15 pts Full Marks: Introduction: clear and appropriate opening statement; background information; clear thesis Conclusion: closing statement; summary; restatement of thesis8 pts Partial Mark: the following may be present but unclear: Opening; thesis; background; summary; closing; restate thesis0 pts No Marks: Many errors that obscure meaning; absence of thesis, opening; lack of closing15 pts
This criterion is linked to a Learning Outcome Content (Body)20 pts Full Marks: new paragraph for new detail; signal phrase; quotations; in-text citation; explanation; clear sentences; word choice; clear logic; proof of revising10 pts Partial Mark: ideas may be incomplete or disorganized; not supported by quotes or poorly placed quotations; absent or incorrect source information; explanation unclear; little revising0 pts No Marks: Many errors that obscure meaning; no revising 20 pts
This criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeGrammar10 pts Full Marks: correct punctuation: comma, periods, quotation marks; syntax: clear sentence structure; proof of editing 5 pts Partial Mark: misplaced or absent punctuation; problematic sentence structure; very little editing0 pts No Marks: Many errors that obscure meaning; no editing10 pts
Total Points: 50PreviousNext

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