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Outlines For Descriptive Essays For Incidents

The Personal Narrative Essay Outline

There are two times when you will write personal narrative essays – for a college admissions essay requirement and as a course assignment in an English com class. Usually such essays will be written in response to some prompt and will entail your depiction of an experience or experiences that in some way have shaped what you now believe or value, or even the person you have become. Some students find this type of essays to be the most difficult one. That’s why we have decided to give you some tips and help with it. Whether for admissions or assignment, the personal narrative essay outline is essentially the same and should at least roughly conform to the following structure.

Introduction

The Hook: Your first sentence should be compelling and make the reader want to continue. Let’s say you are going to present a tale about your travel abroad, specifically an experience of being “pick-pocketed” in Florence, Italy. You might begin with a startling fact about the number of incidents of this crime in a day in that city or the fact that child gypsies are sent out by their families to pick-pocket as a means of supporting those families. On the other hand you may start with a description of your feelings caused by this accident. It will be an intriguing start, because the reader would like to know what the reason for your fear or despair was.

Set the Scene: Here you want to give the reader the general place and time of the experience(s) you will be relating. Sometimes, the experiences may occur over a period of time (for example, growing up in poverty) or they will relate to a single incident (being in Italy for a week as a part of family vacation). You must always include such information in the introduction. The reader should know from the very beginning where and when the action takes place.

The Thesis Statement: They can be a bit different from the statement you would write for another type of essay. You can actually begin your story, for example, “The morning began like any other, with breakfast and decisions about what we would visit that day, but it certainly ended up differently,” or you can offer a lesson learned, “I now know why travelers are encouraged to protect their valuables with one of those pouches that can go inside their clothing,” or some theme that your story will portray, “Hardships and lack make us all innovators of sorts.” It should also be interesting so that the reader would want to know more and continue reading the essay.

The Body

Usually, the body paragraphs will tell the story of the experience. However, this is not always the case. Suppose your essay is about growing up in poverty and you have used the theme that this condition turned you into an innovator (your theme). Each paragraph will then provide the reader with an example of how you became an innovator. Perhaps you learned how to fashion “toys” from objects you found in the neighborhood; perhaps you learned how to mix unlikely combinations of food when there was very little in the cupboard; perhaps you started to design and make clothes when there was no money to buy them.

Remember that every argument should always be followed by examples.

Remember to use good transition sentences between your body paragraphs – they can come either at the end of a paragraph to introduce the next one, or at the beginning of the new paragraph with some reference back to the previous one. All the paragraphs should be connected and the narration should be logical.

The other point is this: you need to “show” the reader your story, not just “tell.” You can do this by injecting actual conversation or by descriptions that paint a picture. Remember that you should avoid direct and dry statements here. Show your story in bright colors and use more description paragraphs.

The Conclusion

Reflect on your experience(s) by asking yourself a couple of questions. What have you learned? How has your life been impacted? Would you act differently if you could relive that situation again? It’s very important to understand the lessons that you have received. It will explain your choice to write about this event and show that you are mature enough to learn from your experience, even if it’s bad.

Some Additional Tips

Usually these essays are written in the first person, so you will be using a lot of “I’s.” After you have written the piece, go back and see if you can replace some of those “I’s” by altering sentence structure. You may want to use passive constructions here also. There shouldn’t be many repetitions in the text.

You will obviously move from past to present and back to past tenses in this essay, and that is expected. Try to make it easy for a reader to understand when you give a retrospective and when the narration is in the present time. Don’t mess it up too much.

The Ideas On Writing

Some Personal Narrative Essay Ideas

1.       Choose an incident or experience that is a bit “extreme” – extremely frightening, extremely humorous, extremely sad or poignant, or different from the experiences that most people have. This will make your narration far more interesting to the reader. Try to avoid boring and obvious things. But also don’t forget to include the lessons you have learned from this extreme experience, otherwise the story will seem incomplete or even senseless.

2.       If you are responding to an essay prompt for college admissions, you will have options. For some students it makes the task easier, while others struggle even more with these given options. Read those options carefully and make a list of what you might write about for each prompt. Then review your lists and choose the one about which you have the most passion and emotions. This will make your writing more interesting as the chosen topic will be the most appealing for you.

3.       If you are looking at a college admissions essay, and you have time to generate topic ideas, set up a file on your phone. It is with you every day, and you can enter ideas as they come to you. Some people also prefer using notebooks for all their thoughts. Choose the variant that is more suitable for you and write down all the topics that come to your mind during the day. Then, when you get ready to choose a topic, you will have lots of options. You can also try mind mapping to choose the topic you want to speak about. There are a lot of tips and information about mind mapping on the web, so it’s not difficult to find out more about it.

4.       If the assignment is due shortly, and you do not have much time, sit quietly some place, go back to your childhood and move toward the present. What incidents or experiences really stick out in your mind? Which do you remember in great detail? These are your options. Consider using them.

This is a rather simplistic explanation for narrative essay construction, but it should get you started. You can find a great guide "how to write a personal narrative essay" on many college websites, so if you need more details, check those out! Also if you find yourself in a situation where you need professional help with writing your narrative essay – don’t hesitate and contact us! Our expert writers will perform an excellent paper for you no matter how short your deadline is and our support team will help you to place an order. They will also keep you informed of all the details of the ordering process. Thus you may be sure that your narrative essay will be written on time in an interesting and exciting way.

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Writing Essays


Writing essays does not have to be difficult; it just takes some planning and concentration. Use the ideas below to improve your planning and writing.

There are different ways to develop ideas for an essay, and these are often called Brainstorming. One way is to make a list of ideas and another is clustering. These are the two methods we will look at here.
For instance, let's say you want to write a narrative essay but don't know what to write about. First, you need to think of a time in your life that will be interesting to write about. Maybe you decide to write about a car accident you had. How do you start? Well, start writing down all the details you can think of. Don't worry about spelling or grammar, and don't worry about writing complete sentences. Just get the ideas on paper. Your list might look like this:

car accident
icy roads
traffic light
snow storm all week
my arm was injured
daytime
everyone looked at me

Even with this short list you can start to write your ideas down in complete sentences like this:

I had a car accident one day at a traffic light because the roads were icy. The roads were bad because there had been a snowstorm all week. I hurt my arm in the accident. It was horrible because everyone was looking at me.

I added some extra words, but you can see how easy that was. However, you don't need to start your essay yet. Maybe you don't like making lists. Well, there is another way to develop ideas: clustering.

Clustering allows you the chance to quickly connect related ideas. Some of the ideas make you think of other ideas, whereas other ideas stem from (are caused by) other ideas. Let's take the same information we wrote down in our list and put it into a cluster diagram like the one at the top of this page.

This is a useful technique to use for brainstorming because you make connections as you think of them. In the list you need to review all of your ideas then try to connect them. Clustering can be slower, but it can be very helpful finding cause/effect relationships between pieces of information. Now let's take some of our information and try to make an outline.

A lot of students dislike making an outline. They say,"Why do I need to do an outline?" The truth is your essay will be much better if you plan what you are going to write about first. It is easy to see if you are missing some information in an outline. It is also easier for the teacher to see where you are having problems. The outline is the skeleton of the essay. It represents the bones or basic structure that you use to build your essay. For instance, let's say your essay is your response to the events related to an accident that you experienced. Your teacher wants you to give some background infomation about the accident in your introduction; you need three paragraphs in the body of your essay, and you need a conclusion. If we use Roman numerals to indicate paragraphs, the basic outline will look like this:

I.Background information-- the date and time of the event.
Thesis Statement -- Let the reader know what the focus of the essay is going to be.

II.Your first response
A. Details relating to your response

III.Your second response
A. Details of your second response

IV.Your third response
A. Details of your third response

V.Conclusion
A. Remind the reader of the importance of the event and its effects on you.
B. Make a final comment. This may be advice or an opinion or prediction.

Now let's see what the paragraphs look like when we use the outline for guidance.

A thesis statement governs the entire essay. It tells the reader what the writer intends to talk about. The thesis statement is usually -- but not always -- the last sentence in the introduction. It may be direct or indirect. An implied thesis means the writer does not tell the reader exactly what the topics will be in the other paragraphs()of the essay. The information in the introduction that comes before the thesis is the backgound information. Let's see if we can develop an introduction with background information and a thesis statement. First, we need to set the time and place for the essay.
Last winter early in the morning, I was driving to school in Annandale. Unfortunately, I did not make it to class because I was in an accident. What happened that morning changed the way I drive and taught me some valuable lessons.
Can you tell which sentence is the thesis statement? You're right! It's the last sentence. The last sentence tells the reader that you changed the
way you drive and you learned valuable lessons. The reader is curious. He or she wants to know about the changes and the lessons. The reader also needs to know more about the accident. These three topics: changes, lessons, and the accident will be the topics for your supporting paragraphs and conclusion. Now, let's develop our topic sentences and start writing the supporting paragraphs.

Now that you have an outline and a thesis statement, it's time to work on the topic sentences for your supporting paragraphs. Remember we said that a governs an essay and that the topic sentences of the supporting paragraphs need to relate to it. The idea is the same for topic sentences because need to relate to the topic sentence. Let's start by putting our topics in a reasonable order. Our second paragraph should talk about the accident. Therefore, we need a topic sentence that relates directly to the accident. This topic sentence will let the reader know that paragraph two will give details about the accident. Look at the topic sentence below:
It was snowing and the roads were very icy the morning I was driving to school.

The topic sentence above prepares the reader for more information about the conditions causing the accident. What we need now are supporting sentences to give more information about how the accident happened.

Each sentence in a supporting paragraph should give information that concerns the topic sentence. Some of the sentences may be very long with lots of detail; others may be very short. It is important to remember that you should not discuss a topic different than the one in your topic sentence. Look at the example below. The topic sentence is highlighted.
Many students and teachers are afraid to drive on snowy or icy roads. Even if snow accumulation is minuscule, roads and sidewalks can be very hazardous. If someone feels unsafe on the roads, but is expected to be in class, there is additional stress that can lead to aggressive driving and accidents. Also, if students hurt themselves while at the school, perhaps by slipping on icy pavement, it could result in a lawsuit against the school. It is simply wiser to cancel classes when weather conditions are the least bit hazardous.

Are you okay so far? Good. You can see how the sentences in the paragraph above relate to the first sentence, which is the topic sentence. Now let's get back to our essay about the accident. We need more information about the conditions that led to the accident. Look at the paragraph below.

It was snowing and the roads were very icy the morning I was driving to school. Some cars were sliding off the road, and I thought about going back home. When I stopped at an intersection, I saw two cars slide off the road. I was frightened. Then in my rear view mirror I saw a large truck coming up very fast behind me. I heard the sound of tires sliding on the ice. Unfortunately, my rear window was almost completely covered with snow and ice, so I could no longer see the truck. The next thing I felt was my body lunging forward then a sharp pain in my left arm. Then I heard the sound of metal twisting.

We are almost finished describing the accident, but we still need one more paragraph to tell the reader what happened after the narrator was hit by the truck.

Immediately after the collision I felt frightened and angry, and hundreds of thoughts were in my head. How badly was I hurt? Why did this happen to me? The driver of the truck came to my driver's-side window and tapped on the class. I looked up and saw his worried face and a crowd of people staring at me from behind him. He opened the door and asked if I was hurt then said it had been all his fault. I heard him call an ambulance on his cell phone. I was dizzy and my arm was numb. Eventually the paramedics arrived, but all I remember after that is waking up in the hospital. I kept thinking that I would never let an accident like that happen to me again.

Excellent! Now the information about the accident is complete. What will the next paragraph be about? Very good. The next paragraph will be about the changes the narrator decided to make as a driver. Let's write the next paragraph.

There were two resolutions I made while lying in the hospital. The first resolution was to take visibility in my car more seriously. If I could have seen the truck behind me clearly, I might have jumped out of my car and onto the median. The second resolution was to know when to make a sacrifice. When I was at the stoplight no one was approaching in the opposing lanes. I could have run the red light or made a quick U-turn and avoided being hit by the truck.
Good. Now we need to write the conclusion.

For many students it is very easy to ignore the conclusion of an essay. But the conclusion is extremely important, just as important as the introduction and every other paragraph. Remember this: A reader should be able to read your introduction and know where the essay is going, and be able to read the conclusion and know where the essay has been. Ending a journey is as important as starting it.
The first step is to remind the reader of the accident and the important details. Then we can finish by telling the reader what lessons the narrator learned after the accident. Remember, the reader should be able to know what happened and what changes occurred by reading the conclusion. Let's give it a try.
Last winter's auto accident was painful and frightening, but I learned to take my own safety more seriously. I will certainly keep my windows free of ice and snow in the future, and if I have to break a traffic law to save my life or someone else's, I will not hesitate. The greatest lesson of all, though, has been to be more cautious before going on the roads. The next time the weather is dangerous, I will judge more carefully if leaving my house is the appropriate action to take.
You are finished! Now you can see the importance of brainstorming and organizing your ideas.

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