What Is a Narrative Format?

A narrative format, presenting information in the form of a story, requires an opening hook to engage the reader’s interest, followed by a chronological sequence of events to detail when, where and how the relevant actions unfolded. The purpose of a narrative in both written and spoken form is to tell an overall coherent story.

When beginning a narrative essay or speech, the author should set up the context of the story by establishing the setting, environment and circumstances that were involved. For example, the narrative may begin with a sentence such as “It was a bitter cold evening in Boston when I walked out the door to embark on this journey.” The introduction or “hook” is designed to engage the reader’s interest right away and introduce how the story began. The introduction should also include a thesis statement that sets the focus for the piece and hints that something significant is about to be revealed.

Next, the author should detail the specifics of the story, carefully maintaining the sequence of events. Once the narrative has reached its climax and resolution, the conclusion of the piece should focus on the lessons learned or the significance of the events. The conclusion should be a reflection on the story as a whole, offering thoughts, feelings and descriptive emotions to highlight the symbolism and purpose of the story.