In a narrative essay, this scenario is not far from the truth. What makes a narrative essay unique is your story, voice, and writing style.
Narrative Essay Definition and Types of Essay
We have a few words about the narrative definition before we move on – a narrative paper is a type of academic assignment that tells a story about the writer’s personal experience while making a point. The goal is not just to share an entertaining story. Narrative essays rely on settings, character growth, dialogue, conflicts & resolutions, and turning points.
The other purpose of such writing is to stress reasons for sharing the episode and the significance of the experience provided. Unlike the heavily-structured persuasive essay, the narrative essay is more free-form. Every narrative has a beginning, middle, and end.
Mind that 4 types of such paper exist, and you should make a difference:
How to Choose Narrative Essay Topics?
1. Keep in mind that narratives tell stories
The theme you choose should make it possible for the audience to connect to your personal experience, skills, and the valuable life lessons.
2. Pick useful ideas to discuss
If you have a passion for something, select issues that you have struggled with. This is a unique chance to avoid writing about things that make you yawn.
3. Be ready – don’t miss the planning stage
Your paper has to prove a particular point, so be sure to check how much information you need to collect on different topics.
4. Keep experimenting throughout
Experiment by, for instance, mixing various episodes from your life with different topics. Think of the subject that will guarantee the best emotional experience for your readers.
5. Recall the essay’s structure
An academic paper always requires a golden formula in terms of its structure. For the list of ideas you may choose from, consider whether it is possible to develop relevant, logical sections according to the intro-body-conclusion organization. As the body section of your paper will require at least three paragraphs, decide whether or not you will be able to come up with at least three claims (topic sentences) to support your thesis statement.
Our essay writing service has compiled a whole list of narrative essay topics with descriptions to help you. Scroll down to find some excellent narrative essay topics for college students.
Narrative Essay Topic Ideas
Experience Is a Teacher
Grab a pen and paper and jot down experiences that spring to mind. Your experience could be something negative that eventually turns out to be positive or vice-versa. The most intriguing part of a negative experience is how you handled it and, hopefully, came out on top. Give your reader a setting to help them feel like they’re a part of your story and experience this moment of change with you.
- Fear is a sincere and relatable emotion. Describe the moment you overcame your biggest concern.
- Heroism takes bravery… or stupidity in different situations. Write about your experience of courage.
- Nobody is perfect and everybody makes mistakes. Talk about a mistake you’ve made and the lessons you’ve learned.
- When life gets too boring, it’s always good to get out of your comfort zone. Share memories of the time you’ve experienced something new.
- First work experiences teach responsibility and give students a glimpse into adulthood. Write about your first work experience.
Personal Narrative Essay Topics
A personal narrative essay is about your personal experience. It needs to have an emotional effect on the reader. In order to do so, the picture you are creating (with words) has to be vivid and appeal to the reader’s emotions. Using a lot of details is a great way to achieve this goal. Some personal narrative topics include:
- A teacher you will never forget
- An experience that put you in danger
- A funny story that happened to you
- A story from your childhood
- Your first trip abroad
- An episode from your school life
- A story of losing a friend
- A story of learning a new skill (like playing a musical instrument or surfing)
- An embarrassing story that happened to you
- A story of you participating in an extracurricular activity, such as playing football or doing gymnastics
- An experience attending a concert or sporting event
- A story of you helping people in need
- A time when you discovered a secret
- Talk about a family member who you are bonded to the most
- Talk about a class you have taken that was inspirational
- A moment when you felt alone and scared
- A story when you got lost
- The time when you saved someone
- The first time you cooked a meal by yourself
40 Best Narrative Essay Topics
Narrative essays aim for the reader to see exactly what the writer has been through. Since you cannot show your readers a picture, you need to create one with words. Make sure you pick something that you remember well—as providing all of the details for the reader is essential.
- Your favorite vacation with your family
- A trip you will never forget
- A time you made friends in an unusual circumstance
- Your first day at a new school
- Talk about something that scared you a lot
- Your most enjoyable Christmas
- The best birthday party you’ve ever had
- A life lesson you have learned
- A time someone you did not expect helped you
- Talk about the best day of your life
- A tragic event in your life
- The story of how you got your first pet
- Your best friend and how you met
- A story of how you lost something
- Talk about helping someone in need
- A story of how you dealt with a natural disaster
- A time you were called to the dean’s office
- A story of you going to a summer camp
- Your first time riding a bicycle
- A moment when you felt depressed
- A time when you had a serious argument with someone
- A story of someone treating you unfairly
- Your first time skiing
- Helping a stranger
- A time when you faced racial prejudice
- A time you misjudged someone and felt ashamed
- The most memorable day at the beach
- The best present you have ever received
- A story of you getting injured
- Your first time driving
- Ending a relationship
- Starting a relationship
- Your first plane trip and the experience of flying
- Meeting a stranger
- A story from a trip
- A time you were punished
- A time when you discovered the truth about someone
- Learning a life lesson
- Getting in a car accident
- Your favorite time hiking
Cultural Narrative Essay Topics
Cultural narrative essays allow you to show an aspect of culture to the reader yet make it informative and entertaining. Culture is a very vast and complicated system, therefore avoid touching upon several aspects at one time in the same story. Cultural narratives are great discussion starters as people get to ask questions about culture and explain what kind of prejudice they might have towards a culture or certain aspects of that culture. Here are some examples of cultural narrative essays:
- Unique family traditions
- A tradition that surprised you
- Your favorite holiday and how you celebrate it in your culture
- Why knowing your culture is important
- A time when you felt embarrassed because you did not know a certain aspect of a group of people’s culture
- How culture changes upon circumstances
- The influence of media on culture
- Food traditions in your family
- How culture defines a person
- Your cultural identity
Narrative Argument Essay Topics
A narrative argument essay examines something that has intrigued you or has had a big impact on your life—through the form of a story. It also needs to include a point that has come from your narrative that is persuasive or argumentative. Your story acts as your argument and an example with which you persuade the reader.
- A time you had a disagreement with a friend
- A story of you having a conflict
- A time you had to deal with bullying
- Someone committing suicide
- The day you graduated from high school
- A time someone got caught cheating
- A time in which your doctor perceived to be, or was, negligent
- A car accident you were in
- A time when you were humiliated
- An act of charity you undertook
- A problem you helped a friend with
- A time someone got beat up at the school
Interesting Narrative Essay Topics
- Looking for a topic with a twist? Look no further. Here are some unusual and great topics for your narrative essay
- A tough decision you had to make
- A person that changed your life forever
- A time when you flooded your neighbor’s apartment
- A day that you wish to relive
- A time when you failed a class
- The scariest moment of your life
- A time you got very sick
- The time you saved someone’s life
- The time you ventured into a haunted house
- The time you won a prize
- Your first job
- The time you got a flat tire
- The things you do in your alone time
- The first time you were in the emergency room
- Your first encounter with the police
Take a trip down memory lane to your sincere and younger years and find a crazy story to share. If you have a setting, an idea, but no story, you can always make one up. Make it convincing, and people will think that your life is fascinating! Write about a childhood experience that showed the importance of teamwork.
- Remember when parties didn’t need alcohol to be fun? Recall the craziest party from your childhood.
- Write about your first experience of physical or emotional pain. How did you overcome it?
- Kids often have role models who are like superheroes in their eyes (from Hollywood actors to rock band players). Who was your role model and why?
- Write about a dream you remember from your childhood.
Growing Up in High School
Everyone is nostalgic for their school years in one way or another. It is a time of knowledge, development, and growth—or skipping classes and looking for trouble. Find something exciting from your high school experience and turn it into a narrative essay.
- The school was mostly dull, but some classes didn’t feel that way. Focus on a school subject that you cared about.
- Depict an experience of humiliation, whether it was yours or someone else’s. How did people react and what did you learn?
- Hobbies (football, guitar, gaming, traveling) are what you looked forward to when you completed your homework. What was your after-school hobby?
- Describe your best friend from high school and how you’ve both changed since growing up.
- Write about your greatest school achievement.
Personal Narrative Essay Topics
Relationships start with family. As a person grows, their relationship with their family extends to their friendships, romantic interests, business relationships, and far beyond. Explore the vices and virtues of the people you’ve met.
- People change; some stay together, and some fall apart. Write about an old friend you’ve lost touch with and why it happened.
- A few words can change a person’s perception of things. Write about a conversation you’ve had that changed your life.
- Discuss a productive business relationship where you’ve achieved something great while working with your partner.
- Dads can be the voice of reason and moral discipline. Talk about the way your father has influenced you.
- As people grow and move around, they change their circles of friends. Have you had this experience? Talk about what it feels like to meet an entirely new group of people while sharing experiences, making friends, and building relationships.
Moral & Ethical Dilemmas
Laws keep the world in order. Or do they? Students from all over the world discuss plenty of challenging moral questions. The time comes when a person has to choose – do the legal thing or do the right thing—according to their set of ethical standards. These points make morality an infinite pool of inspiration for writing.
- Talk about the time you’ve done something illegal, but you feel that it was the right thing to do.
- Talk about your observation of a cowardly act. Explain why you think it was cowardly and share what you would have done instead.
- Teachers, parents, police, and government – examine the morals they preach and whether or not they can be wrong sometimes. Provide details for your act of rebellion against ‘the man in charge.’
- Talk about a time you had to do something that undermined your morality.
- From a moral perspective, how do you think your government should deal with homeless people?
Hobbies & Interests
Hobbies are the things that people enjoy doing most of all. Hobbies can end up sparking lifetime interests or involvement in one’s community. Most people end up being happier when their hobbies can be incorporated into their jobs. Additionally, people attract each other based on the things they do and the places they go. Ask yourself “What do I enjoy doing?” Or “Why do I like this particular type of music?”
- Discuss the time you’ve abandoned your responsibilities to do something in favor of your hobby.
- Write about your talent and how you have developed it.
- Would you turn your hobby into a class taught in schools?
- Tell us how your hobby or obsession managed to get you a job.
- Hobbies are often looked over by parents. They want their kids to do well in school. How do you think parents should act towards kids who care more about their hobbies than getting good grades?
Moments of Inspiration
Ever had that moment that inspired you to do great things? As students, we often get inspired by the most straightforward observations. Whatever your source of inspiration – whether it is a field trip, a beautiful view, a film with a moving story, or a classic book like ‘Catcher in the Rye’ – you can always turn it into a fascinating piece of writing.
- Have you ever seen a movie that inspired you to go out and do great things?
- Have you ever been inspired by a book character to behave a certain way? How do you empathize with this character?
- The most successful people have failed millions of times to reach success. Tell us about a successful person that inspires you to keep trying.
- Write about a time when something seemingly insignificant greatly inspired you (examples: a close person, a heroic deed, an event, etc.)
- Have you ever felt like you could do better? Remember the time you saw someone do something, and it inspired you to do it better than them.
College Student Life
Going to college means getting catapulted into a new world enriched with new impressions – new circles of people, a new system of education, student living conditions, and much more. All of the craziest stories happen in college; whether you’re there to party or use textbooks for pillows, there’s plenty of narrative essay topics for college, and about college, that you can write about.
- Tell us about the time it felt very unlikely that you would pass an exam, but you passed anyway—and how you prepared for it.
- College professors are open to discussions and reinterpretations. Describe the time you felt like your professor was wrong.
- Describe a lecture that has inspired you to get out there and do great things.
- After a harsh transition from high school, there is always a moment when a student snaps and suddenly realizes that they’re in college. Tell us about the moment that kick-started your college life.
- College can refer to partying, studying, or fulfilling your dream – which one do you feel most fits your interpretation of it?
‘Imagine If’ Scenarios
Narrative essays usually require students to write about their lives. What are the exceptions? Frequently, narratives get dramatized in favor of telling a great story, over blatantly stating facts. ‘Imagine If…” scenarios can be massively dramatized versions of reality, making them one of the most popular sub-genres in essay writing. Enter the realm of free-flowing imagination and see where it takes you:
- If you had your reality show, what would it be like?
- If you could travel back in time, where would you go and why? Would you change the past?
- If you had a superpower, which one would you choose and why? Would you use it for personal gain or to help people?
- What if you were a movie director with an unlimited budget? Tell us about the movie you’d make!
- If you were a best-selling musician and you had just come off of your most successful album ever, what would you do next?
Places You Have Been
You should not necessarily discuss only places from your memories; it is also possible to describe locations that you would like to visit and provide reasons for doing so. Some ideas may include:
- Tales from history: the impression of a visit to the National Museum of U.S. History
- The first time in your life you took a trip abroad. Describe your thoughts about that flight
- The very first time you traveled to Paris—as compared to your last visit to the ‘City of Love’
- Tasting your favorite dish in a cozy restaurant by the sea
- Going to see one of your favorite rock bands in one of the best venues
Most Preferred Activities
This one is similar to your “hobbies”, yet slightly different. It is better to focus on what you do well and share some useful recommendations instead of fake memories. Describing something you have a passion for always adds a dynamic perspective.
- If you were a scriptwriter for “Game of Thrones,” what would you change about the plot of season three?
- If there is a book that changed your opinion on a specific topic, would you recommend it to others, and why?
- Do you see any resemblance between your favorite Marvel and DC heroes?
- If you were the head of a mobile app development company, which sort of game would you release first?
- Is there a music composition that always cheers you up in any situation?
Author’s Strong Sides or Expertise
If you believe you are an expert in a particular field, offer the reader some tips and tricks on how to succeed in the same area. Recall personal experiences and factors that have helped you. It may look like recommendations, but do not forget you are writing a narrative essay – involve more creativity and descriptions.
- The reasons people can cry on my shoulder and get cheered up immediately
- Several reasons that make me the top specialists when it comes to social media marketing
- The art of telling lies: how my creativity once saved the day
- Features that make me the best football player on my team
- A paper for those who seek advice in cooking Japanese dishes
Good Narrative Essay Topics Without a Category
All of the previous narrative essay topics are tied to a particular genre or theme. Still, there are plenty of good narrative essay topics you can pick from that are quite random, yet fun to write about. Check out some additional topics for narrative essay assignments that we have thought up:
- The first car you ever bought
- Something that really ‘grinds your gears’
- The worst day ever
- Your guide to dancing at parties
- The moment you realized that Google saves all of your data
- Your guide to relieving stress
- Your guide to reading books, listening to music, and watching movies
- Things to do while waiting in line
- If you had a billion dollars for one day
- A dream that came true—by accident or through hard work
Fun Narrative Essay Topics for High School Students
This section is a pleasant bonus for our young readers! A good sense of humor is an excellent ace up your sleeve in writing. You may be able to turn a serious situation into something fun and relaxing by involving a relevant joke or anecdote. The rest of your essay will then feel more alive and exciting. These ideas will help you get inspired:
- A bad experience with girls or boys
- The time you almost died doing something stupid
- The time when your fun and naive high school persona got trapped in a harsh real-world situation
- The most significant experience in your digital life
- The moment when math saved your life
- If you starred in ‘My Sweet Sixteen’
- If you starred in ‘Sixteen and Pregnant’
- The most random way you’ve made a friend
- The moment you realized that partying is destructive and decided to stop
- Your first experience with alcohol, cigarettes, or drugs. What would you tell a person who has never tried either?
Narrative Paper Topics about Personality
Each of us has their own personality. It is possible to express yourself in any light by choosing to write a narrative paper about your strengths, weaknesses, characteristics, mood, etc. We have analyzed some of the best topics for you.
- How patient can you be when you have to wait for something that matters to you?
- How much self-control do you have?
- Have you been a leader at least once in your life?
- How would your life be different if you had lost your parents early in life?
- Do you have a competitive spirit when it comes to playing various sports?
- Do you take more risks when your best friends are around you?
- List and discuss your personal superstitions
- Talk about all of the pranks, jokes, anecdotes, and hoaxes you have fallen for
- Discuss assumptions that people usually make about you
- How much of a daredevil are you?
Gender & Sexuality
Any topic related to gender is a sensitive one. Writers should be careful not to tread on corn. A paper about sex and gender should be objective and written in a neutral tone. Here we are with some issues that you may find interesting to discuss:
- Are there any boys in your company that regard women as “prey”?
- Is there too much pressure on women to have ideal bodies?
- The difference between male and female roles based on your family and parents
- Effective preventive measures to deal with online adult content
- The best way to learn about sex in school
- The basic principles and purposes of the feminist movement
- Is it acceptable to have gender and sexual education at school?
- Why so many parents possess different hopes for their sons than they do for their daughters
- The way sexuality is presented in the “Game of Thrones” book series
- Did you have any negative experiences with gender bias in school?
After finding a topic that suits your mood, do some brainstorming. Write all of the possible scenarios on a piece of paper and organize them into a unique narrative essay outline. Follow the instructors of your professor. Most of your questions have probably been answered there. Our online essay writing service has compiled some writing tips to help you manage your essay without any hassle.