Skip to content

Consider revisiting the tutorial Determining Your Purpose and Audience.

Consider revisiting the tutorial Determining Your Purpose and Audience. You might find it helpful to outline your purpose and audience for this Touchstone in 2-3 sentences to kick-start writing this personal narrative essay.


ASSIGNMENT: Write a 2-3 page (approximately 500-800 words) narrative essay about a single event using the techniques and elements of narrative writing that you have learned in this unit. In addition, you must answer the “Think About Your Writing” questions, described below, beneath your essay.


Sample Narrative Essay


In order to foster learning and growth, all work you submit must be newly written specifically for this course. Any plagiarized or recycled work will result in a Plagiarism Detected alert. Review Touchstones: Academic Integrity Guidelines for more about plagiarism and the Plagiarism Detected alert. For guidance on the use of generative AI technology, review Ethical Standards and Appropriate Use of AI.


CopyLeaks Originality Checker: All writing will be checked for originality. Do not use any outside text from third party sources to complete Touchstone 1. Focus on showcasing your own creativity and storytelling skills in your personal narrative.

A. Directions

Step 1: Choose a Topic

Choose a topic that enables you to tell a short, interesting personal narrative essay. Your narrative can be funny, suspenseful, meaningful, or exciting, but it must focus on one event.


EXAMPLE If you decide to write about traveling to Washington DC, you should not write about the entire trip. Choose one event (e.g., an afternoon you spent visiting the National Portrait Gallery, or shopping in Georgetown, or taking a tour of the White House) and tell a detailed story that focuses on that single event.


The following are some ideas that can help you to select a topic for your story:

• Firsts: Think of a “first” in your life and describe that moment in detail.

• Proud moment: Choose a moment when you felt proud about an accomplishment.

• Adversity: Describe a time when you had to think or act quickly to overcome a challenge.

• Travel: Recall a memorable experience you had while visiting an interesting place.



Topic Choice Guidance: We encourage you to choose any one event from your life that you feel comfortable sharing in an academic context with a classroom audience in mind.


Step 2. Write a Narrative Essay

Write a narrative essay that meets the following criteria:

• Presents a focused, meaningful narrative: The composition is consistently focused, and details are relevant and specific.

• Tells the story using a logical, smooth sequence of events: The sequence of events and details is logical and easy to follow throughout the composition.

• Develops a clear beginning, middle, and end: The composition has a clear and well-developed beginning, middle, and end. The opening paragraph(s) thoroughly introduce the setting, characters, and situation. The middle paragraphs thoroughly describe the progression of events. The closing paragraph(s) provide a thorough resolution to the narrative.

• Uses narrative language and techniques competently: Uses narrative language and techniques (e.g., concrete and sensory details, figurative language, vivid description, dialogue, pacing, and plot development) effectively throughout the composition.

• Demonstrates command of standard English grammar, punctuation, spelling, capitalization, and usage: There are few, if any, negligible errors in grammar, punctuation, spelling, capitalization, formatting, and usage.

Step 3. Think About Your Writing

Below your completed narrative, include answers to all of the following reflection questions:

1 Which narrative techniques did you use to bring your narrative to life? (2-3 sentences) Sophia says: Did you use vivid description, sensory details, and/or dialogue to engage readers? Provide two examples from your essay in which you “show” readers rather than “tell” them. EXAMPLE: A sentence such as “I glanced at the clock, grabbed my briefcase, and sprinted for the elevator” uses more descriptive language than simply saying, “I was running late for the meeting.”

2 How did your purpose and audience shape the way in which you wrote your narrative? (3-4 sentences) Sophia says: Your hypothetical audience extends beyond the people who will evaluate your narrative. Which individuals or groups were you addressing when you wrote your narrative, and how did consideration of your audience and your purpose influence the way in which you wrote it?

3 Provide a concrete example from your narrative that shows how you have written specifically for this audience and purpose. (3-5 sentences) Sophia says: Consider including a quotation from your essay and explaining how it was written to appeal to your audience and to accomplish your purpose. Alternatively, you might describe a theme, tone, or narrative technique that you used and explain how it was intended to appeal to your audience and achieve your purpose.

Step 4. Review Rubric and Checklist

Your composition and reflection will be scored according to the Touchstone 1 Rubric, which evaluates the narrative focus, narrative flow, narrative structure, narrative language and techniques, use of conventions (grammar, punctuation, etc.), and your answers to the “Think About your Writing” questions above.

Refer to the checklist below throughout the writing process. Do not submit your Touchstone until it meets these guidelines.