Tips & Suggestions

Tell a short, powerful, true story.
Remember: This is not an invitation to give us your opinion on a topic you’re passionate about. Instead, your challenge is to tell a meaningful and interesting story — something with a beginning, middle and end. Because you’re telling a story rather than, say, simply reflecting on your feelings about a topic, there should be a conflict of some kind — an obstacle, problem or tension — that is resolved in some way.
Keep in mind, however, that any story can work. It doesn’t have to be the most dramatic, life-altering thing that ever happened to you; it can, instead, be about baking brownies with your brother, or a conversation you had on Tuesday’s bus ride to school. It’s all in how you tell it.
Though the word “narrative” might make you think “fiction,” this story should be true. Tell us about a meaningful event from your real life.
You’ll need to communicate not only what happened, but why it mattered to you. What is meaningful about this story? Why are you telling it?
Write it in your own real voice, with vivid descriptive language.
This is an invitation to open up and write in a way that feels natural. We want your personality to come across.
We also want your writing to be vivid and engaging, so that readers can imagine the scenes you describe, and feel what the narrator is feeling. We hope you’ll edit until you’re happy with every word.
Please also remember, however, to keep your audience in mind.
Write something original.
Do not chose a story or essay you have written about in the past. Think through your life and start fresh, with a new perspective. Use the skills you have learned this semester to gather and develop your ideas.

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