Describing an Experience - Orchids The International School
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Narrative Writing

Concept: Describing an Experience

Definition:

  • Describing an experience is a kind of narrative writing. It is different from the usual way of describing an object or nature.
  • The purpose of a narrative essay regarding a personal experience is to show the writer’s reflection on the experience, how it affected the writer, its impact, and what the writer learned from it.
  • Readers enjoy it when they find the narrative quite fascinating; one in which they can feel involved; something that opens up their own feeling that somehow got suppressed with time; something they can recollect from their past, as they connect to the experience. In short, it brings life to the experience.
  • The purpose is to show readers why the experience is a significant part of your life.

How to Describe a Life Experience?

Follow the guidelines given below while narrating a life experience.

  1. Setting
    Give vital details regarding the background and the setting. This will help the readers to understand where and when the life experience happened.
    Example:
    Topic - Relocation to a new city after class 4 After I moved to Delhi in my aunt’s house, the place I stay at is near the railway station. There were many street food stalls nearby. The weather in Delhi is extreme. It can be too hot in summer and winters are too chilly.
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  3. Purpose
    • Give your narrative writing a definite purpose. This could be the reason for you to do a particular thing.
    • Give examples of your life experiences to support the major theme.
    Example:
    Considering the above topic -Relocation to a new city after class 4, You can also mention the list of things you are looking forward to do in the new city. It could be making new friends, learning a new language, etc.
    I had moved to Delhi after passing class 4, as my family was shifting to Delhi. My parents had planned this move since some time, and we were finally going to live near our relatives.
  4. Mention Personal Reflections
    Discuss the importance of the experience. Mention good experience, for instance, if anyone in your new school tried to make friends with you and make you feel comfortable.
    Example:
    However, along with me, another girl had joined, Mandrita. For the first few days, we never spoke to each other. One day, the class teacher gave us a group activity, and Mandrita and I were in one team. She really helped to complete the activity. From that day onwards, we started talking . She would help me with difficult subjects like Maths.
  5. Use Dialogues
    Include dialogue in your personal experience to make it more captivating. You can write about a conversation you had with any of your family members or close friends. Use specific descriptions, descriptive verbs, and positive or negative moods.
    Example:
    “Last week was my birthday Mandrita wished me, and she said to me, “Happy birthday, Riya, I hope both you and I learn Spanish, so next time we can wish each other in Spanish”.
  6. Conclusion
    In the concluding paragraph, you can end on a positive note or with a thought-provoking ending to the readers. This means you have to take away thoughts that would have a positive effect on the experience has had over you.
    Example:
    The school's annual sports was coming up. I wasn’t interested to participate. Mandrita and my class teacher encouraged me to participate in the relay race. With great reluctance, I did the same and eventually gave it my name. Most of my classmates were sure that I would not be able to do it. I wanted to prove them wrong. On the final sports day, when I got a medal for the relay race, my classmates rejoiced, and everyone congratulated me. Well, after this, I made more friends.
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Common Mistake

Consider the following aspects while writing a narrative essay:

  1. Maintain a single point of view throughout the narrative. A narrative essay should ideally be either in the first person (I, we) or the third person (she, he, it) to narrate the experience.
  2. TShould maintain the proper order in which things happened: Beginning, middle and an end.
  3. Should answer the ‘wh’ questions like what, when, where, how and why in sequence.
  4. Do not forget to use linkers like ‘however’, ‘moreover’ etc.
  5. Tense: Usually, narrative essays describing personal experiences are written in the past tense. However, an essay narrating an important past experience is also written in the present tense.
  6. Do not confuse the mood of composition with the writer’s attitude or tone towards the narrative. The tone can be positive, neutral or, negative.
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