Personal Narrative


Write a short personal story (or narrative), the kind that you’ve probably told other people many times.
  • Apply what you know about good storytelling to the retelling of a personal story.
  • Your narrative should be at least two paragraphs long with one-inch margins and a 12-point font.


Tips for Success

A good story has several important elements. As you write, keep these elements in mind. You’ll want to make sure you paint a vivid picture for your readers so that they can really experience your story, not just read it.
  • Setting is crucial to our experience of stories. Make sure you include description of the physical location where your story takes place.
  • The plot is the series of related events that hold the story together, from beginning to end. The events in your story should all be connected in some way. You’ll want to make sure your story has an exposition, complication, climax, and resolution.
  • Conflict (or struggle) is what hooks the audience and makes us want to keep reading. Your conflict can be external or internal.
  • Mood and atmosphere are critical to how your reader feels about your story. The words you choose will help to create that specific mood (suspenseful, humorous, tragic).

Self-Assessment Checklist

Read each question and evaluate your short response. If the answer to the question is yes, check the box to the left. If the answer is no, go back and revise your work. Your teacher will use these same guiding questions to score your short response.

Quality of Ideas

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Did I demonstrate an understanding of the assignment by:
  Communicating setting and situation to the reader?
  Revealing thoughts and feelings via the narrative?
Did I demonstrate the ability to think creatively by:
  Using my language or ideas in a creative way?
Did I demonstrate the ability to use correct narrative structure by:
  Following the standard plot structure (introduction, rising action, climax, falling action, resolution)?
  Adequately describing the setting?
Did I demonstrate the ability use literary devices by:
  Using fitting literary devices to “show, not tell” the story?
  Connecting each supporting sentence to the claim in the topic sentence?
Did I demonstrate the ability to conclude by:
  Summarizing the ideas and/or restating the topic sentence?
Did I demonstrate the ability to organize my writing by:
  Using transitions?
  Ordering ideas logically?

Form and Presentation

  Did I follow presentation requirements (12-point font, standard margins, length requirements)?
  Did I properly cite all quotations?


  Did I use a variety of sentence types (simple, compound, and complex)?
  Did I avoid run-on sentences and fragments?
  Did I check for spelling and grammatical errors?
  Did I use an appropriate tone?

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