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How to Write an Essay About an Event

by Jared Lewis, Demand Media
    A narrative essay takes the reader to an event and tells him why it matters.

    A narrative essay takes the reader to an event and tells him why it matters.

    Writing an essay about an event can be a challenging task because it should, ideally, convey the details of the event to the reader in such a way that the reader feels as if he is actually experiencing it firsthand. The essay has to be more than just descriptive, though, so it is necessary to write a good balanced narrative essay that tells the story of the event, and also provides adequate analysis.

    Step 1

    Introduce the event. A strong introductory paragraph that introduces the reader to the subject matter includes a descriptive account of some element or aspect of the event itself. For instance, if your essay is about your experience at the Democratic National Convention, you would want to quickly pull the reader into the convention by describing the buzz of the crowd, the cool crisp night air of the stadium, and the faint smell of popcorn descending downward through the bleacher seats from the concession stand above. The introduction should inform the reader of the event being described and establish the authenticity of the experience, and should do so in a subtle manner.

    Step 2

    Decide what the point of your essay is. A good narrative essay will attempt to persuade or teach, rather than simply describe. Perhaps your goal in describing your experience at the Democratic Convention is to inspire readers to engage in political action, or teach them the shortcomings of the process. Your essay should then move gradually toward that action in such a way that, by the end of the narrative, the readers will be ready to act, or will clearly see the shortcomings of party politics. This should not necessarily occur because of logical discourse, but because you have painted such a vivid picture of the event and its meaning that emotional appeal is enough to achieve the desired result.

    Step 3

    Use the first person point of view. This practice is often regarded as unacceptable in essays, but when it comes to describing an event in a narrative essay, it can sometimes be a more effective tool for inviting the reader to participate. If you are writing the essay for a school assignment, you should check with the teacher or professor to make sure this is acceptable.

    Step 4

    Include analysis of the event as you tell the story. One effective way to do this is to include your own train of thought as you observe the events taking place around you. Describe how the events are impacting you as you observe them. Again, all of the elements of good storytelling are necessary here. Include sights, sounds, smells and the like in order to convey a firsthand experience.

    Step 5

    Conclude your essay by reiterating your main point. Again, this can be done very subtly, but that it up to your discretion. You can be very blunt about telling the readers to take action, or you can simply appeal to their emotions by painting an effective picture. Your writing should invite the readers into the essay and walk them, step by step, through a narrative of the event itself, inviting them to participate in such a manner that they will come away from the experience with the same emotions and thoughts that you did.

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    About the Author

    Jared Lewis is a professor of history, philosophy and the humanities. He has taught various courses in these fields since 2001. A former licensed financial adviser, he now works as a writer and has published numerous articles on education and business. He holds a bachelor's degree in history, a master's degree in theology and has completed doctoral work in American history.

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