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The main objective of this education portal is to educate future students on how to write impressive, interesting and attention-grabbing application papers.

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Please note that using parts of our guides and sample is free but you need to cite this information properly in order to give credit to our resource.

How to write a personal narrative essay to catch the attention

A personal narrative is another way of telling a story that happened to you. These are very easy to write because you have the most creative freedom compared to other types of essays. The easiest way to catch the attention is through controversy. Be aware though that controversy in your essay should be counterbalanced with facts and logical reasoning, otherwise you risk the appearance of intentionally provoking the reader.

The hook

The very first line of your personal narrative, the so-called "hook", is where you're supposed to make the biggest impression on the reader. The hook is meant to engage the reader and draw him into the storyline. It doesn't necessarily have to be a sentence that sums up the entire essay, but it can, to a degree, omit certain facts, and embellish others for the sake of brevity and sensationalism.

Add some emotion

Strong emotions, such as fear, anger, distress or affection can be easily represented on paper and will often cause an emotional reaction in the reader—even if you're not very crafty with words. For example, a story about how you rescued a poor puppy from drowning, wrapped it in your jacket and how it licked your face in gratitude is certain to make your personal essay an emotional read.

See your story to illustrate it better

Imagine your story as movie scenes and describe each of these scenes in a separate paragraph. Make sure you connect the paragraphs by referencing the story elements in the next section of the essay. This way, you have a lot of flexibility and the story flows naturally without you necessarily using too many chronological references.

If you're struggling to fill out your essay with content, feel free to describe in great detail what happened:

  • How the puppy's fur looked, felt, and smelled
  • Was it long or short, black or brown, etc.

However, overuse tends to leave the essay sounding hollow, so it's best to use this approach sparingly and branch off from these references.

The moral of the story

The ending should involve a moral or a lesson learned. For example: "I learned that day that throwing unwanted puppies into the river is a horrible way out of an inconvenient situation. Instead, it's better to give them to someone who will take care of them, or to an animal shelter". Don’t stray too much from the accepted norms with your moral; simply state what everyone would agree with.


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