A poster that reads “Where, what, when, why, how, and who? Let us have your ideas and suggestions.”

Source: Where, When, Who, What, Why, How^ - NARA – 534144, Wikimedia

Now that you have chosen a specific event or experience for your personal narrative, you need to think about the particulars. Here are some questions to ask yourself about the topic of your personal narrative:

  1. What makes this subject important to you?
  2. Who are the people involved?
  3. How important are they to the event or experience?
  4. Were there decisions made or actions taken, and if so, what consequences resulted?
  5. What specific memories are associated with the event or experience?
  6. Were there multiple events?
  7. Were there strong emotions involved, and if so, to what or whom were they connected?

The simplest way to keep track of these reflections is by writing them down. Below is a chart you can use to help you record your memories and feelings. For this example, we are using “My best friend Danny” from the “Friendships” section of the brainstorming graphic organizer, but you should use one of the topics you wrote down.

take notes icon To begin, copy and paste the chart into your notes and fill it out as instructed. Save your response so you can refer to it later. When you’re finished, check your understanding to see how we filled out our chart. Please note that answers will vary.

Write the topic you have chosen from your brainstorming graphic organizer here.
List one memory associated with your topic next to each check box below and then check the one that will be your focus.
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Check Your Understanding

Sample Responses:

My best friend Danny

black checbox Had a brother, Charlie, who was really obnoxious

black checbox Was not athletic or good in school but was bright in his own way

black checbox Took an awesome, great adventure

black checbox Was pretty good at golf

Now that you have decided on a topic for your narrative and listed some specifics ideas about it, it is time to connect your thoughts to your central idea. For example, if the central idea is “friendship,“ then how do you develop and connect “took an awesome, great adventure” to that central idea? To answer this question, you will need to get into the nitty gritty of the experience and consider exactly what you want to write. You will also need to think hard about the event itself.