What is a Personal Narrative?

Graphic Organizer for a Personal Narrative

Think of an experience you’ve had that is unusual or interesting. As an alternative, think of a common experience that changed you in some way.  Tell the story from your perspective

Write your first sentence here by describing the main character from your story or the setting:______________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________+.

Details in Order:
Main Event:





Sensory Words:

(Which details can you describe? Write them below along with a list of possible sensory words)


Sensory words_________________________________

2. Event

Strong ending (Reflect on why the story is important or what you learned from it.):

What is a Personal Narrative?

The purpose of a personal narrative is to write about one specific event in your life.


 Personal – about oneself

 Narrative – tell a story

It is told in the first person (use I, me, my, we, etc.) So, you are telling what happened from your point of view.  Using the word I invites the reader into the story.

Focus on only one, specific event in your life.


 We have a family reunion every year. This is too broad. Make it more specific.

The following example is from the chapter ‘Redneck Reunions’ from Under the Influence by Phil Hamman.

At one of our family reunions, my cousin Curly got lost in the junkyard when we were playing hide-and-seek.  All the kids were playing hide-and-seek, and by the time we went inside for dinner, Curly still hadn’t been found.

Here’s another example of a topic that is too broad:

 My friend is really nice.

Make the following topic more specific by telling a specific story about your friend being nice:



The story is told in chronological order, so use transition words to help the flow of the story.  Here’s a partial list:

first                                next                           then                                 later

one morning            tomorrow                     now                           the following day

after a while               earlier                      eventually                    before long

first of all                  as soon as                     finally                           after  that