Organizing a Personal Narrative Essay

Organizing your Essay:

Below is an outline that should help you to organize and structure your essay so that it flows well and stays focused on the topic.

I. Introduction (Includes the thesis statement somewhere in this paragraph followed by your 3 main points for discussion).

A. Main Point #1

B. Main Point # 2

C. Main Point #3

II. Body

A. Develop Main Point 1 (Ends with a transition statement leading into next point)

B. Develop main Point 2 (Ends with a transition statement leading into next point)

C. Develop Main Point 3 (Ends with a transition statement leading into conclusion)

III. Conclusion

A. Restate your 3 main points and end with how your personal event or experience changed you or had an impact on you.

Here is an example of an introduction for a personal narrative essay:

My childhood was filled with memories of colorful events, experiences, and circumstances that have change my life. I often reflect on one childhood experience that helped shape the person that I am today. The summer of 2001 was the summer of my fifteenth birthday, and it proved to be the best and worst summer of my childhood. (This is the thesis statement) I remember, with clarity, the life lesson I learned about friendship, an unbelievable heartbreak, and a vivid introduction into beginning adulthood. (3 main points). Although the summer of 2001 was filled with fun filled lazy, hot days by the pool or at the park with friends, it was also filled with three experiences that changed my view of people and the world.

The introduction above gives you a clear thesis statement and three main points for discussion. After you’ve completed your introduction, you want to indent and begin developing your first main point (1-2 full, detailed, descriptive paragraphs. A paragraph should have a minimum of 5 sentences). Once you have completed development of main point one, you want to transition into the second main point. Here is how you do it:

Example: The last sentence in your paragraph or paragraphs for main point 1 should read something like this: The life lesson I learned about friendship was a difficult one, but it was not nearly as difficult as the crushing heartbreak I experienced during that sultry summer.

Now you want to indent to begin your new development of main point 2. You will repeat this process for main point three and for your conclusion.

Essay Format for ALL essays is as follows:


  • Times New Roman
  • 12’ font
  • double spaced
  • black ink only
  • white paper only
  • no separate cover or title page
  • no frills!
  • no bold faced, underlined, or italicized print…at all!
  • page numbers should be upper right corner
  • centered title (make it creative)

Your heading should be left justified and should include your name, my name, ENGL 1301 or 1302, and the date like this:  00/00/2011