Descriptive Narrative Example

This example is one with topic sentences and clinchers.  I am not sure you would even notice them without the labels since they seem  to be a natural and useful part of the story. Again, these are probably optional , so here you get a good chance to see if you think they're helpful or not.

What this story doesn't have is dialogue, which most stories do.  Be sure you know how to punctuate dialogue.  Look in any fiction book for examples.  

The thesis or
main point

Some of us think of ourselves as altruistic, thinking of others as well as ourselves.  When I pass someone who needs help, I offer it if I can do so without harming their self-respect.  Of course, I am not na´ve enough to think I am only helping them:  I boost my own self-esteem by aiding them.  Sometimes, however, I am blind to the fact it is only my own needs and wants I serve while pretending to serve the needs of others. Sometimes, it is all about me. I have learned that sometimes, I fool myself into believing I am worried about ending the misery of others when it is really my misery that concerns me, and a pet taught me this.
Topic Sentence


Descriptive adjectives  and figurative language

Clincher Sentence ends the paragraph.
Puppyhood meant life began peacefully and happily for Duke. In his puppy stage, his tiny body with course white, gold, and brown hair and pointy head gave no clue of his future size.  Only his breed—he was a collie—and years of Lassie reruns hinted at his future growth.  He initially slept under my parents’ bed, which was surprising since they had never allowed us to have an “inside dog.”  They had to listen all night as his hot, fetid breath oozed out from under their mattress. Duke wasn’t shy, but he wasn’t vocal until I barked at him a few dozen times like a big dog with rabies.  Then, he barked back with his little high-pitched puppy bark that we all thought was so cute and would pet him endlessly afterward.  Consequently, if I had known then about operant conditioning, I wouldn’t have coaxed him to bark at all:  he spent many a day thereafter barking at the neighbors’ scruffy dogs, at roosting painted songbirds, even at passing shifting clouds, hoping we would praise him for making the noise.  By the time his puppy stage ended, he had outgrown his dusty place under the bed and become a full-time outside dog, but happiness and tranquility were still his.

Topic Sentence with transitional phrase
  His puppyhood ended, Duke entered young adulthood and learned the wily ways of the doggy world from our wily beagles, who were masterful hunters of all animals furry. His hind legs splayed out slightly, but this didn’t slow him down; in a sprint he could overrun an athletic rabbit.  Only his blind eye stopped him from nabbing them as he flew by like a roaring freight train that couldn’t stopUnlike the short and short-sighted beagles, he would follow red and gray squirrels as they leapt from one tree to another to evade the beagles, still barking erroneously at the original tree.  The chirping birds hiding in an upswept flower bush were his enemy.  Running in circles around it, he convinced the birds who taunted him, to move calmly from one side to another.  Later, when my dad and I went up our grassy lane into the field with its orange orchard grass and green cedars or the woods with tangling vines for a walk, he would run past us, clipping our legs with his shoulder like a professional lineman and forcing us to question the reason: his blind eye or his sense of humor?  He had a great young adulthood.

Topic Sentence with transitional phrase

Clincher Sentence
The easy-going days of young adulthood ended for Duke with the doldrums of middle age.  We knew about his penchant for lying under cars in warm weather, but sometimes he wriggled in too far and was not easily seen.  My sister Susan backed up her gray Ford Pinto one day, and when she heard his plaintive, urgent wail, she assumed she had parked on top of him.   Consequently, she pulled forward and got out only to see she had parked on him the second time.  She backed up again, and Duke scrambled out, dragging his hind legs.  After a few days, he recovered much of his mobility.  He gait was modified: he looked like two men walking in a dog suit, moving both lefts at the same time.  Running downhill, Duke’s shaggy rear end would try to pass his front end, forcing him to run faster with his front legs to maintain order. He was later driven over again, a slow learner, but this time he didn’t bounce back, or waddle back, like before.  His tail drooped behind him, and he began to drag his splayed hind legs.  Soon both had no movement, and Duke could only “smile” to show his happiness.  Using the bathroom across the road became impossible also, and he was quickly covered in his own waste.  My dad and I suffered seeing Duke the speedster turned into Duke the invalid.  Eventually, we decided it would be better for him to be put down rather live an immobile, poop-covered existence.  I pre-dug his grave so I wouldn’t have to see my friend’s bloody corpse lying beside me as I dug in 90 degree heat of a July morning.  Sweat coursed down my back like tiny rivers as the weathered shovel handle bit into my palms. When I drove him to it in my dad’s green and white Dodge truck, he scrambled out of the truck and drug himself into it as if he either knew what to expect or had no clue.  Most likely, he thought it would be cooler there.  I had also pre-planned my bullet placement:  one round from my shiny stainless .357 magnum to the back of his head and one to his heart as insurance.  I took careful aim and fired the necessary rounds, but he didn’t die immediately.  His tail that couldn’t move for weeks then beat the dirt of his grave with a steady dust-producing rhythm for several seconds before I heard his “death rattle,” that final expulsion of air from the lungs as his diaphragm relaxed in death.  Initially, I took great solace in that wagging tail.  I translated that as Duke was finally happy, that his misery was gone, that his last thought was a happy one, and I took joy in that.  However, a few years later two strays, one looking like a pit bull, arrived the day my two-year-old niece was due for a visit.  I put those two possibly dangerous dogs down for safety’s sake, and the tail of one of them flailed the ground before it died.  I couldn’t translate that as a last happy thought; it only made sense that it was afraid because of the pain, and the tail wagging was a plea for mercy, but not the kind I was dealing out. Consequently, I suspect I put Duke out of my misery as much as his.  I didn’t want to see him live a life that I wouldn’t want to live.  However, maybe middle age shouldn’t have been his end. Maybe just lying in the shade enjoying a cool breeze would have been enough for him.  The pain is in the mystery.

Conclusion with thesis first
  It was a tough way to learn that I was possibly selfish enough to put my misery ahead of Duke’s happiness.  It can change a self-image to realize that selfishness may masquerade as selflessness. Sometimes looking into the metaphorical mirror at the self takes more than just insight:  it takes a certain amount of courage to see the ugliness that may be there. Sometimes it pays to look.

Descriptive adjectives  and figurative language