How to Write a Fantastic Introduction to a Personal Narrative

An essay can be deeply personal.
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A strong personal narrative describes in detail a situation in the author’s past that fundamentally changed their life’s direction. In order to begin a narrative that is so personally significant, it is important to construct an enthralling introduction. By analyzing several elements you’ll be able to construct an introduction that will set the stage for your personal narrative.

1 Focus

Pick an engaging focus for your introduction. Whether you decide to reveal an interesting secret about yourself or a deeply cherished desire, make sure your focus is relatable and unique. The focus of the introduction should be closely related to the overall message of your personal narrative because this gives your reader an immediate understanding of what they will encounter as they continue reading.

2 Vivid Images

Use descriptive language to create vivid images in your reader’s mind. If your introductory focus is the deep love you have for your mother’s cooking, passionately describe exactly what it is about her food that you find so appealing. Exploit a reader’s senses by using colors, shapes, smells and textures in order to liven up your introductory paragraph.

3 Clean Prose

In order for your introduction to have sufficient clarity and passion, you’ll need to make sure your prose is clean. Avoid using overly complicated phrasing when short, succinct sentences can communicate your point. If you’re revising your introduction and find that certain sentences are jumbled and crowded, re-work them. A reader will respond positively to an introduction that is clean, clear and accessible, and it will be a reason to continue reading your personal narrative.

4 Line by Line

There are many reasons why people continue reading, and particularly striking line by line writing is an important one. Treat each sentence in your introduction with care, and make sure each is informative, thought provoking and revealing. If you’re able to phrase an idea or insight with beautiful alliteration or word choice, it will be one more reason for your reader to continue reading.

Jake Shore is an award-winning Brooklyn-based playwright, published short story writer and professor at Wagner College. His short fiction has appeared in many publications including Litro Magazine, one of London's leading literary magazines. Shore earned his MFA in creative writing from Goddard College.