Although the concept of an anecdotal essay sounds simple enough--you are, after all simply telling a story--writing one can be quite challenging. As with any other type of writing assignment, the essay should capture and hold your reader's interest. Fortunately, if you take time to structure the paper properly, your anecdotal essay can be fun to write and more importantly, fun to read.

How to Write an Ancedotal Essay

Come up with a list of ideas for your anecdotal essay. Think back to an important event in your life or other personal experiences that have affected you.

Pick one story to use as the basis for your anecdotal essay. Discuss your ideas with a friend, teacher or peer and find out which story appeals to him or her. Hearing someone else's opinion can help you select the most interesting subject for your paper.

Determine the theme of your essay. Think about your reason for writing the story---do you want to make your readers laugh or do you want your story to offer insight about a serious issue?

Tell your story in three to four body paragraphs. Because this is the most important part of your story, you should spend the most time on this section. Make sure your writing is clear, grammatically correct and structured logically.

Write an introduction for your essay. Because it's the beginning of your essay, make sure your introduction uses an appropriate tone that prepares your readers for the story you're telling. For example, if you're telling a funny anecdote, the introduction should make your reader laugh. On the other hand, if your story is serious, your introduction should be more formal.

Write your conclusion. This paragraph should sum up your reasons for writing the essay and offer any additional thoughts on the subject.

Proofread your essay, checking for spelling and grammatical errors as well as structural issues. If possible, have someone else look over your paper as well.


Try writing your paper in the first-person point of view ("I"). This style is especially effective in anecdotal essays and can often be easier to write than the standard third-person point of view.

Consider your audience. Who will be reading your story? Is the subject appropriate for your readers?

Reading your essay out loud can help you identify errors and inconsistencies in your story that may not be as apparent during your proofreading.

Vary your sentence length. Although an abundance of long, complex sentences can frustrate your readers, consistently short, simple sentences can also bore them. As a result, it's best to use a mixture of sentence lengths.

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