The purpose of a personal narrative, in general, is to make an argument by telling a story from your own life. In this paper, that argument should relate to how you “came of age”. In other words, you should write a story about a personal experience you went through at some point, and show how that experience helped you change, in some way, into who you are today. Examples of significant experiences you could write about include (but certainly are not limited to):
A rite of passage for a culture or group you are a part of
A favorite experience growing up
A horrible experience growing up
A major change in your life
An ethical dilemma
Someone or something that influenced you
A challenge you overcame
An initiation that impacted your identity
Things to consider:
Time: do not try to write about a great expanse of time. Frame the narrative into a small period of time.
Belief: Do not be afraid to create information where gaps exist in memory.
Details: readers like to be informed about things they have not experienced: use action, language, emotion, facts, and figurative language.
Construct a story: with a beginning, middle, and an end. This is a straight chronology. Or, use other formulas, such as starting at the end and working backwards in time. The epic formula, for instance, begins in the middle, goes into the past, and then forward to the end.
Narrative writing includes description: concrete details bring the story to life.
Stories offer some type of point: a value claim (an implicit thesis in personal narratives) about human experience. Ask yourself “so what?”
12 point, Times New Roman font
1 inch margins
Last name and page numbers on the top, right-hand corner of each page