Tips for good creative writing Part 2 – Narrative essay writing

This lesson follows Creative writing tips : Part 1.

Being able to write a good narrative essay is an important part of creative writing. In this blog post, we will outline some of the essential things to bear in mind when tackling a narrative essay. Other types of essays will be covered in future blog posts, so watch this space!

A narrative essay should tell a story and entertain the reader. Remember that this type of essay is not a summary of a novel, but rather focuses on a brief moment in time.

When writing an essay like this, keep the reader interested and entertained by focusing on a limited number of characters within one setting. If you can write about something that you yourself have experienced, so much the better. This makes your story more believable and easier to write.

Characteristics of a narrative essay:

  • It tells a story.
  • It is normally written in the past tense.
  • It usually consists of three parts: an introduction, a body consisting of paragraphs, and a conclusion.
  • The introduction should immediately capture the attention of the reader and set the scene for the essay.
  • Characters are developed.
  • Detailed descriptions of people, places, objects, and actions are given.
  • A problem or difficult situation is introduced.
  • Tension builds up until a climax is reached.
  • The problem or difficulty is resolved.
  • The conclusion can either resolve the issue, or leave the reader with food for thought.

Have a look at the previous creative writing post on this blog to refresh your memory of the Story Arc, which shows how a story should be developed.

Book cover of The Write Style The advice you have just read has been adapted from a very useful book published by Shuters called The Write Style, which is a user-friendly reference book which provides all you need to know about how to tackle common writing tasks.

Creative writing tips : Part 1

Woman writing at desk.

Those of you who enjoy reading probably have often read a short story and thought “I can do that … in fact I am sure I could write better than that!”

You might even consider entering  creative writing competitions for schools such as the one sponsored by UKZN. Have a look at this link for more information:

Here are some handy tips and useful advice to help improve your creative writing skills.

Write about things you know

When you are doing creative writing, your story should be credible (believable). The best way to make sure of this is to write about things, people or situations that you know well. It is always easier to describe something you have experienced yourself.


Short stories usually have a small cast of characters, and the main character arrives at the end of the story, having been changed by the events of the plot. Think carefully about your characters and make sure that they and their actions are believable.

Structure your work

Short stories in particular, should follow a story arc. An example of this is shown below:

Story Arc

Exposition or beginning

The background information on the characters or setting is usually explained at the beginning of a story. In most cases, the exposition forms the first part of the plot.

Rising action

This is the part of the story where conflict is introduced and things start to become complicated. The conflicts generally keep the reader interested, and wanting to find out what will happen next.


This is the most exciting part of the story. Usually this is the point at which the main character faces the biggest danger or risks losing everything. These dangers can be external or internal.

Falling action

That part of the story that happens after the climax. The problems or conflicts start to get sorted out.

Resolution or Denouement

(pronounced DAY-noo-ma)

This is the ending of the story when all the conflict comes to rest.

This wraps up the first article of our writing tips, be sure to follow us on Facebook or Twitter so you don’t miss Creative writing tips : Part 2. If you feel you have additional writing tips feel free to comment below.