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Personal Narrative Essay Outline

Now that youve read and analyzed a personal narrative essay, you are going to prepare an
outline for an essay that you could write. At this point, you will not go so far as to actually write
the essay, but you may at the end of this unit so make sure its something you actually could
write about.

Step 1: Brainstorming a topic


The personal narrative essay centers around a story from your own life. In your essay
you will both tell the story and analyze the significance of that story. So try to think of a story
that led you to an important belief you have. Maybe its a belief you have about whats important
in life, or a discovery you made about yourself. You may brainstorm by creating a mind map or
just by doing some free-writing. Either way, you will hand in your brainstorming with this sheet. (I
will send this picture of brainstorming by email)

Step 2: Thesis
Your thesis for an essay like this is different from other thesis statements. Think of it
more like a belief statement. Eg/ I believe that by exploring my own fears I become wiser. You
may not use that exact wording in your essay, but it doesnt matter. You have to support your
belief statement with the examples from your story but you dont have to prove it.

Thesis: I learned that by taking on a challenge I will become stronger.

Step 3: Mapping out the story and thinking about how each element supports your belief.

Parts of the story How it helped you develop your belief

Beginning: Struggled with major social -I was very shy and it put me in a Commented [1]: Here I was not positive on what to
interactions place that I did not enjoy being in, choose because this was the beginning of the story but
where I could not bring myself to at the time it had not totally developed the belief yet.
Any thoughts?
speak in front of people but I
wanted to
Middle: Was chosen to present a -Teachers chose me to present this
Valedictorian speech in grade eight and I knew that they had the faith in
me that I could do this
-My parents and family supported
me and persuaded me to take on
the task
-Allowed me to believe in myself

End: Was able to write, practice, -Showed me what I was capable of


memorize, and present the speech at and that I could speak in front of big
graduation groups of people when I set my
mind to it

Step 4: Precise and vivid language


Narrative essays use many of the same techniques as short stories. Think about some
precise and vivid uses of language you could include. Come up with at least three. They could
include imagery, similes, use of contrast, metaphor, etc.
Eg/ the tango with fear makes me wise.

Smilie-I felt as hopeless as a tree left standing bare.


Metaphor- Rollercoaster of emotions
Visual Imagery- It was dim and dark in my mind.

Step 5: Character? Dialogue?

Will you have any characters in your essay? Any dialogue? If so who? What will they say?
Remember, character and dialogue is used to help you support your thesisnot just to tell the
story.

-The character in the essay would be myself since it is a personal essay and personal story.
Other characters would be my parents, teachers, classmates that consulted me during this time.
-There may be dialogue between my mother and I saying, Megan, think about how many doors
this will open in the future if you were able to tackle this task. This piece of dialogue is telling
the character in this this case me, that if I could get this speech done I could be able to do so
many more things in my life.

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