Most writing assignments in college and high school are highly technical. From extensive amounts of research to precisely worded arguments, the process of writing an essay can often be daunting before you even have a chance to settle on a topic.
However, all of those changes when students are assigned a narrative essay writing assignment. That’s because these essays don’t share the same detailed requirements as other essay styles. In fact, narrative essays are specifically written to be a creative writing technique for students to share:
- Personal experiences
- Anecdotal information
- Experimental storytelling devices
The only real problem when assigned a narrative essay is settling on a topic.
Many students just don’t feel like sharing personal experiences to complete an assignment. Other students may not possess the creative spark needed to convey a personal experience in an engaging way.
Whether you are a student in high school writing their first narrative essay or a college student struggling to settle on an experience to write about, check out this handy guide with 130 narrative essay topics that are sure to ignite the creative process.
Essential Tips for Writing a Narrative Essay
To keep you on track after selecting a topic from the list, here are a few handy tips to remember when writing a narrative essay.
When writing a narrative essay, it’s always important to remember that you are not giving a report or detailing facts objectively. The story itself should be:
If you find that your writing sounds highly technical, you may need to consider choosing one of the topics below or altering your writing technique.
Try including more sensory details in place of factual information that might be making your writing stiff, dull, or uninteresting. These details will grab the reader’s attention and give them a better understanding of your overall experience.
It is always helpful to write from the first-person point of view when completing a narrative essay. This allows the reader to better connect with the story, making them feel like they are a part of it, rather than just reading about it.
It should also be mentioned that narrative essays can be written as fictional or non-fictional. However, remember that even non-fictional stories can be punched up with sensory language that makes the reader feel as though they are in the story themselves.
How to Structure a Narrative Essay
Depending on the story you wish to tell, your narrative essay can be structured in a variety of ways. However, regardless of the topic, all narrative essays follow the same flow and composition.
Every essay has a beginning, and narrative writing assignments are no different. However, instead of a topic sentence that begins most other forms of essay writing, a narrative essay is better written when it starts with:
- A rhetorical question
- A shocking statement or exclamation
- A mysterious sentence
- A thought-provoking quote
- A funny or moving anecdote
Starting this way will immediately bring the reader into your story, encouraging them to keep reading until the end. Once you have enticed them with a catchy opening sentence, be sure to:
- Set the scene
- Introduce a character
- Mention any key details
Finish your introduction with a ‘thesis.’ However, in this case, your thesis won’t be a traditional thesis with a topic sentence and supporting details. It will actually be the action that leads into the rest of your essay. For example, a story about a man going on a road trip might end the introduction with:
“Once I heard the tire blow, I knew my trip was going to be a long one.”
The body paragraphs should be the bulk of your story. It is important to write chronologically, with the first part of your story in the first paragraph, the second part in the second paragraph, and so on.
Additionally, be sure to use descriptive action sentences to end a paragraph and lead into the next one. This way, the reader will naturally progress through the story without being disrupted by awkward writing transitions.
The conclusion should contain one of three things:
- 1: A moral to the story. What lesson should the reader learn from the writing?
- 2: Revelation. What should the main character take away from this?
- 3: Prediction. New piece of information that implies further action in the story.
By the end of the narrative essay, the reader should feel like they have lived the story themselves, whether it’s through the eyes of the main character or as an observer.
130 Narrative Essay Topics
Ready to get creative? Check out the list below for 130 narrative essay topics on a variety of different topics.
Narrative Essay Topics about Hobbies & Interests
- Why collecting stamps is fun for me.
- How I got into sports.
- The story of how I took up the guitar.
- Why I love to play basketball.
- How my interest in writing began.
- My personal experience with knitting?
- A day at the theater with me.
- Why painting is so important to me.
- Why running is the best hobby.
- Why I prefer playing sports outdoors.
- The story behind my love of surfing.
- How I learned to swim.
- How I got into tennis.
- My experience with sewing.
- The story behind how I started playing cricket.
- The events that led up to me taking up classical piano lessons.
- My favorite book.
- My experience with martial arts.
- Why I love football so much.
- A day at the races with me.
- Why karate is an excellent sport for kids.
Narrative Essay Topics about Dilemmas & Conflict
- My first fight with a friend.
- How I handled being bullied.
- My experience with cyberbullying.
- How I dealt with the death of my pet.
- Why it’s essential to take responsibility for your actions.
- The importance of forgiveness.
- Why I started a fight with my little brother.
- What it feels like to be bullied.
- A bullying experience from the perspective of a bully.
- My experience with difficult teachers in school.
- Why I changed the way I dressed.
- My story with depression.
- Why it’s important to stay true to yourself.
- What happens when you live in a broken home?
- When I was caught cheating on my exam and what happened next.
- How I resolved an anger problem that led me to violence.
- My experience with anorexia and bulimia.
- The story of how I managed to get out of depression.
- My first Christmas.
- The best thing about Christmas as a child.
- My first time seeing the snow.
- The most exciting moment in my childhood.
- What I remember most from my first birthday party.
- My experience with our family dog, Max.
- What it was like to meet Santa for the first time.
- Why we chose ice cream instead of cake for my birthday.
- My favorite memory of the zoo.
- The day I learned to ride my bike.
- My first trip to the amusement park.
- What it was like waking up on Christmas morning as a child.
- Why I wanted an Atari 2600 game system for Christmas when I was little.
- My first time going to a movie theater.
- The moment I realized my mom was the best in the world.
- Why we always took a family vacation at Christmas.
- What it was like having an ant farm as a kid.
- My experience with model cars as a child.
- The story of how I learned to ride an ATV when I was 10.
- The best gift I ever received as a child.
- The moment when I realized there was no such thing as Santa Claus.
- What it was like to go trick-or-treating on Halloween for the first time.
- Why my childhood bedroom was my favorite place in the whole world.
- What happened during my first sleepover.
- Why I always wanted an above-ground pool in my yard as a kid.
- The story of how I got my first dog, Rex.
- What happened on the day before my 12th birthday.
Narrative Essay Topics that Are Fictional
- The story of the first man to fly around the sun.
- My trip to the future for a day.
- How I lost my dinosaur at the museum.
- The day my mom told me we were from outer space.
- The story of how I became a rock star for a day.
- A day in the life of Santa Claus.
- My experience with time travel.
- How I got my super strength.
- The time I had lunch with a bear.
- The story of the first man who ever used fire.
- What it felt like to have superpowers.
- A day in the life of someone from another planet.
- My experience with teleportation.
- The time I met a ghost.
- My story of being abducted by aliens.
- A day in the life of a time traveler.
- The experience of being invisible for a day.
- The day I became a superhero.
- My time as an owner of an amusement park.
- How I got my robot friend, Baxter.
Narrative Essay Topics about Formative Experiences
- When I passed my driving test.
- Prom night.
- The day I got my first job.
- How I felt when I won the soccer game.
- What it was like to go on vacation for the first time.
- My experience with trick-or-treating on Halloween night.
- When I finally attended my dream college.
- The day I graduated high school.
- Why I chose the college I did.
- My first time getting on a plane.
- My road trip to Niagara Falls.
- When I first left home for a year of college.
- What it was like to go away from my family for the first time.
- The first time I fell in love.
- Why I said yes to joining the basketball team.
- When I got my first car.
- My road trip to California.
- What it was like to live in France for a month.
- The moment when I finally found out what love, at first sight, felt like.
- The day that changed my life forever.
- The moment when I first met my soulmate.
- What it was like having a crush on someone new.
- Why I decided to leave home and travel across Europe for three months.
Narrative Essays about Cultural Experiences
- The culture of my hometown.
- What it was like traveling to a new country for the first time.
- How I felt when I became friends with someone from another culture.
- My trip to Paris, France.
- My experience at the Great Wall of China.
- What it’s like being bilingual.
- What it’s like being a part of Greek life at my school.
- The cultural difference between the United States and France.
- My trip to New York City for the first time.
- The culture shock I experienced when I moved to Minnesota from California.
- What it was like to visit Rome, Italy.
- What it was like to go on a family vacation abroad for the first time.
- The most exciting thing I saw in China.
- The food, tradition, and customs of India.
- What I learned about Buddhist monks while visiting Bangkok, Thailand.
- How my family celebrates the holiday.
- My experience learning/teaching a new language.
- My experience learning about and celebrating a different culture.
- What it was like to visit my family’s hometown for the first time.
- How I learned about the culture of my heritage.
- What I thought of England when I visited there during college.
Narrative Essays – The Fun, Creative Way to Write!
Narrative essays are written based on a wide variety of topics, including everyday experiences that might seem ordinary to other people. But not to you! Whether it’s a personal experience or a fanciful story, narrative essay writing is easier when you have fun and be creative.
With any of the topics above and the handy guide to writing a narrative essay, you’ll be on your way to creating an expressive piece of writing that is engaging, compelling, and most importantly, worth a good grade!