Republished from the archives because of its relevance to a new crop of students! Enjoy!
Personal Narratives are probably the easiest type of writing to do because everyone is full of stories. Maybe the stories in your life aren’t as exciting as Harry Potter’s, as romantic as Bella Swan’s, or as frightening as Anne Frank’s, but they are stories. So how do you decide what events in your life are good stories? The best ones come from your most vivid memories of a special person, a unique event, or a time you felt a strong emotion.
One mistake people make when they are choosing ideas for personal narratives is that they want to tell the story of a week at Disneyland, or a summer spent in another country. Those events have hundreds of stories in them! Choose one piece of that vacation to develop into a story. For example, when our two sons were very young we took them to Disneyland. One son was afraid of the costumed characters, but the other one ran right up to them (His favorites were the mice from Cinderella). Contrasting the two boys’ reaction to the characters might make a nice story.
When you’ve chosen your topic, brainstorm every detail you remember about that time. Think of the senses: what did you smell, hear, see, touch, taste? How did you feel? What was the weather? Who was there and what were they doing? Close your eyes and pretend you are watching the event happen. Notice all the details.
Now take that twenty or thirty minute event and write it out in descriptive sentences. Make sure you include your emotions and those of the people you were with. Describe the setting and the event thoroughly.
Stories are much better when they are shared. Post your personal narratives here!
On my Kindle: The Swan Maiden by Jules Watson