A narrative essay requires you to showcase your unique voice, express your personal story and exhibit your writing style. It is your uniqueness that makes your narrative essay special and enjoyable to read. So, when it comes to choosing your narrative essay topic, it needs to be done carefully and with consideration. There are certain questions to ask yourself, what experiences have shaped me? What experiences continue to influence me? What experiences do I want to share with others and will inspire the reader?
Choosing your narrative essay topic can be daunting. There are a vast array of ideas to choose from and each one will create a very different essay. That is why we have written this article, to help you find the best narrative essay topic. A topic that will work for you so you can write a successful narrative essay and receive top marks.
What is a Narrative Essay?
First things first, let’s get really clear on what exactly a narrative essay requires.
The Definition Of A Narrative Essay: an essay with a central point or single motif around which the narrative circulates. All events, characters and incidents revolve around this central point structured into five simple paragraphs.
In other words, a narrative essay tells a story, usually from a personal perspective.
The purpose of a narrative essay is to get creative and to get personal. However, although it is unlike other academic essays, there is still a format that needs to be followed in expressing your story.
A narrative essay has a specific format that must be followed. It also has a specific motif and a specific aspect to discover. This is decided by the writer before they begin writing and presented at the beginning of the essay.
What Is The Function Of A Narrative Essay?
As we have already noted, the purpose of a narrative essay is to get creative and be personal but there is also another important aspect. Narrative essays are shared to teach the reader an important or valuable lesson. The single theme of the narrative essay is meant to provide the reader with information that will enhance their life. The reader should finish the essay feel enriched and wiser for reading the paper. This is important to remember when choosing the subject of your narrative essay. Make sure you select a topic that will easily teach the reader an important lesson and provide them with life-enhancing knowledge.
What Are the Elements of A Narrative Essay?
To ensure you can intelligently select the best narrative essay topic, you need to have a good understanding of the elements that make up a narrative essay. The better you are informed, the more likely you are to make a good choice when it comes to choosing your subject.
There are three required elements:
This is the most vital aspect of the story. The reader will become invested in the story based on how they feel about the characters. If they feel invested in the characters they will feel compelled by the story. In other words, the reader needs to like the characters, relate to the characters or feel emotionally connected to the characters. It is the characters that make the story come alive so this needs to be considered when you are deciding on your story.
This can also be defined as the motif. The narrative essay revolves around a theme that is presented in a thesis statement which is demonstrated in the introduction paragraph. We will cover this in more detail later. The theme needs to be exciting and encourage a sense of discovery or growth for the reader. Essentially, it is the central idea. If this lacks energy, your story will fall flat.
Dialogue is what gives the story spark. This is where we learn about the characters and get to know them. Language is everything here since the dialogue captures the conversation between characters. The characters unique personalities are expressed through the dialogue. This is where the tone of the narrative essay is articulated. The reader gets a sense of whether the story is humorous, sad, poignant through the characters’ speech.
What Are The Different Types of Narrative Essay?
There are four types of narrative essays. You must recognise their differences so you can make the best choice when it comes to your subject. Here are the 4 types:
This is informative and factual whereby a balanced analysis of a topic is presented. Facts, statics and logic are included in order to define the subject of the essay. Personal feelings are not relevant here and the writer should not share their emotions or write in first person.
The deeper meaning of the essay is vital in this type of narrative essay. The writer must show, rather than tell, by using sensory detail and dynamic language to captive the reader transporting them into the heart of the story. The reader needs to feel emotionally invested in the story so the writer must consider evocative language and situations as they paint a picture with words. A person, place, memory or object will take the center of this essay and will be described in detail.
Here the writer relays a real-life experience to the reader. It is very personal and it can be challenging for the writer to think about themselves. The writer needs to involve the reader as much as possible using vivid description. This type of narrative essay is usually written in the first person which helps engage the reader.
Also known as a persuasive essay, here the writer must convince the reader of a position or point of view. The writer builds strong argument using facts, logic and statics to support their central idea. The writer must present all angles of the argument whilst communicating why one angle is correct.
How To Choose Your Narrative Essay Topic?
There are some essential guidelines that are very important to consider when it comes to choosing your narrative essay topic. We are going to make it clear and simple for you to remember these guidelines by providing a step by step guide.
Personal Experience: Make it easy for the reader to connect with your personal experience. This means choosing your characters, setting and theme carefully. Make sure your personal experience is relatable and easy for the reader to apply to their own lives.
Be Passionate: If you choose a topic that does not interest you, the reader will feel this. Choose a subject you love and that you are genuinely interested in. A topic that you can talk about for hours and want to share with others.
Be Organized: This means planning. If you plan your narrative essay with a preliminary draft, the essay is far more likely to be successful. Your essay needs to prove a point, so make sure this point is clear to you before you begin writing. Have all the necessary information at hand before you begin the essay. This will make the process more enjoyable.
Explore and Experiment: The more fun you have with this essay, the more the readers will enjoy reading it. You want to create an emotional experience for the audience so get creative and create a journey for the reader to go on.
Structure and Format: Keep to the narrative essay format. This is very important and without this, your essay will not be successful. Make sure the idea you select can fit into the narrative essay formula of introduction, main body and conclusion. Be sure that the idea can be developed into logical sections where at least three claims or topic sentences can be explored in the main body.
Thesis Statement: This is the key to a great narrative essay. If the thesis statement is sharp, concise and well presented, the rest of the narrative will follow seamlessly. To ensure you don’t go off on a tangent. Keep returning to the thesis statement. Ask yourself if what you are writing still supports the thesis statement.
Narrative Essay Topic Ideas?
Now we have laid the foundations down of what is a narrative essay, what is its purpose and what are the various types of narrative essays, we are ready to get stuck into the various topics. You want to choose a topic that will make your narrative essay successful and there is a range of topic ideas that we will break down for you in a comprehensive fashion.
Here is a list of ideas:
- Experience is a teacher
- Personal stories
- Cultural narratives
- Argument narratives
- Growing up in High School
- Childhood memories
- Interesting and informative narrative
- Moral and ethical dilemmas
- Dramatic and adrenaline-fuelled narratives
- Hobbies and interests
- Travel narratives
- ‘What if..’ situations
- Moments of inspiration
Experience Is A Teacher
Nothing teaches us more effectively than personal experience. It is how we learn fastest. It is also interesting for others to listen to these experiences and we all have our own to tell.
To get started, write down as many experiences you can think of where you learned something invaluable and perhaps life-altering. These could be negative experiences that turned out to have a positive effect on you. Or in contrast, a positive experience that harmed you. What makes these stories interesting is how you handled the situation. How did you utilities the experience for your benefit? How did it help you grow?
Providing your reader with a vivid setting will ensure the reader feels involved and part of the story. This will allow them to experience the change that occurred in you, within themselves.
Here are some important points to remember:
Emotional Charge: Utilize emotions to make the story meaningful and exciting. For example: How did you overcome a frightening moment?
Heroism: This is an interesting topic for almost everyone since we all want to find our inner hero. We all feel afraid and we all work to overcome it. For example: Write about a situation where you found your courage.
Imperfections: Share your imperfections. This is relatable and inspiring for the reader. No one is perfect and we all make mistakes. It is how we deal with it that counts. For example: Write about a mistake you made and how you learned from it.
Responsibility: Stories of maturing and coming into adulthood are important culturally. For example: Write about a time you took charge of a situation maturely and responsibly.
The Unknown: Experiencing the unknown can be uncomfortable but it is often how we grow. For example: Share a memory of when you tried something new.
The emotional effect is everything when it comes to personal narrative topics. Draw out the readers emotional reactions through the description and emotive language.
Here are some examples of topics that will be interesting and inspiring:
- A funny experience
- Losing a loved one
- Learning a new skill
- A teacher you encouraged you
- Falling over
- Your first trip abroad
- A dangerous experience
- An embarrassing incident
- Feeling rejected
- Being of service
- Discovering a secret
- The best meal you cooked
- Feeling loved
- A time you felt scared or alone
- An experience where you surprised yourself
- Feeling bonded with family or friends
- An unexpected occurrence
- Your favorite vacation
- Your first day at school
- The best birthday
- Your first pet
- Losing someone you love
- The first trip to the beach
- Helping a stranger
- Starting a new relationship
- Ending a relationship
- The best day of your life
- A tragic event
- How you dealt with a natural disaster
- Meeting a stranger
- An accident
- Finding peace in a stressful situation
- An injury
- Discovering a truth
- Being punished
- Experiencing prejudice
This is an opportunity to share culture with your reader whilst making it informative and entertaining. Stick to one aspect of the culture, otherwise, it could become confusing and convoluted. Culture is an amazing way to open up discussion between people. It can open people’s mind and think outside of the box. As well as indicating where people may hold prejudice consciously or unconsciously.
Here are some ideas:
- Unique family traditions
- How a family ritual came into being
- A profound ceremony
- Celebrating a rite of passage
- A time you felt embarrassed by your culture
- The influence of your culture on your life
- Food traditions
- Your cultural identity
- A tradition you enjoy
- A tradition you feel challenged by or do not agree with
- How culture defines you
- The influence of media on culture
Writing about childhood memories is always personal and revealing. it can bring people great delight hearing about your experiences as a child since it reminds them of their own. Even if you can’t remember all the details, make it up! As long it is convincing and realistic, it does not matter.
Here are some ideas to get you writing about your childhood memories:
- Your first birthday party
- Someone you admired at school
- Your childhood hero
- The first time you stayed away from home
- Your first experience of emotional pain and how you overcame it
- Your favorite childhood activity
- An experience where your childhood perspective expanded
Growing Up in High School
We all change and grow dramatically at High School. They influence us acutely and whether we enjoy the experience, rebel against it or blossom.
Here are some pointers to get you started:
- An embarrassing moment in class
- An inspiring teacher
- Your best friend and how you have changed
- Your greatest school achievement
- A boring class
- Improving in a subject you found challenging
- A role of responsibility
- A favorite hobby or subject
- Working as part of a team
As we grow, our relationships evolve and this makes an interesting narrative essay. People come in and out of our life and these people can provide inspiring or emotive characters for your narrative essay.
Here are some ideas to inspire your writing:
- A friend you lost touch with
- A conversation that changed your life
- Explain the vices of a person
- Explain the virtues of a person
- Romantic interest
- A challenging friendship
- Extended family
- Family dynamics
- Death of a family member
- A business relationship where you achieved something great
- How has your father influenced you?
- How has your mother inspired you?
- A childhood story with your sibling
- Changing your friendship circle
- Feeling loved
- Feeling rejected
- Building relationships
Moral and Ethical Dilemmas
Do the laws keep society in order as they are meant to? This is an interesting topic to discuss in your narrative essays. Make sure you explore this topic from a personal perspective.
Here are some ideas:
- An experience of doing something illegal but it felt appropriate at the time
- A cowardly act and what you learned
- Examine the morals the authorities preach (government, teacher, parent, police)
- A time you rebelled against the authorities
- An act that undermined your morality
- Analyze from a moral perspective a social issue (homelessness, poverty, domestic violence)
Hobbies and Interests
These are activities that are all about enjoyment and learning. Therefore, they make excellent topics for narrative essays. The more passionate and interested you feel towards the hobby, the more the reader will feel compelled by the essay. Ask yourself, what do I enjoy doing? What activities help me grow? Write a list and see what you feel excited by and want to share.
Here are some further ideas to get your creative juices flowing:
- A talent you developed and improved in
- A skill you found difficult initially but learned to enjoy
- A hobby you were forced to do but later understood how helpful it has been in your life
- A passion that has enriched your life with people and experiences
- An activity you easily excelled in
Moments Of Inspiration
Here is your chance to delve deep into a time you felt uplifted, expanded and found yourself thinking outside the box. We all have these light bulb moments and they are great themes to write upon as they help inspire the reader too.
Here are some ideas to get you started:
- A movie that changed your perspective
- A book that inspired you to live differently
- A person who encouraged you
- A character that influenced you to be more compassionate
- A song that helped you accept something difficult
- A song that motivated you
- A time in nature that amazed you
- A successful person who helped you realised your potential
‘What If…’ Scenario
With this topic, you can great dramatic! Drama tells stories well and is a fast and effective way to hook the reader in. ‘What if…’ scenarios dramatise reality and they can be fun to write and of course, read. Why not enter the realm of your imagination and discover something new. Let your imagination flow and watch where it takes you.
Here is some idea prompts:
- Write about your life 100 years in the future
- What would your superpower be and how would it change your life?
- Where would you travel back in time and what would you do?
- If you could be anyone, who would you be?
- What if you had a million dollars, how would you spend it?
- If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live?
- Who would you resurrect from the dead?
This has a wide-ranging capacity since you can explore places you have been as well as places you wish to go. You can either take a trip down memory lane and write about a favorite holiday destination or even your grandmother’s home. In contrast, you can visit Pluto or perhaps journey to a new continent but you must include reasons for why you want to go there.
Here are some further ideas:
- Going to see your favorite band
- Visiting your best friend
- The first time you went skiing
- Why you want to visit Brazil
- Why you want to sail an ocean
- The impressions from visiting an ancient cave
- Tasting a delicious meal on a special vacation
- Walking in the city
Using your expertise is a great way to write a narrative essay. Here you can provide the reader with invaluable tips and tricks so they too can be successful in the same field. It is important to recall personal experiences that helped you learn and grow. Also, write about factors or elements that influenced, inspired and strengthened you. To avoid it becoming a recommendation, involve creative descriptions and emotive language.
Here are some ideas to guide you:
- Several factors that make me an expert in pastry making
- How my creativity helped me find a solution to a complicated problem
- How I support people to find their hidden talents and help them live their dream
- A paper for people wishing to make their home into a sacred sanctuary
- How I learned to dance like no one is watching
- How meditation improved my life and dispelled depression
- How I stopped eating unhealthy food and learned to enjoy nourishing myself
- A guide to relieving stress and living in the present
- How to live every day in love and acceptance
- Several factors ensure I am an expert in martial arts.
Making the reader laugh is a fun and easy way to engage their attention. You may be able to translate a serious situation into something funny and enjoyable. If you can weave your essay with relevant jokes and funny anecdotes, your essay will come alive and be fun to read.
Here are some ideas to get you laughing:
- An embarrassing moment
- A time when you made a mistake and led to chaotic consequences
- An experience where you misunderstood someone and had a misunderstanding
- A humbling experience with a friend or animal
- A time you laughed at yourself
- The moment you realised something about yourself
- A time you felt embarrassed by your parents
- A time you tried to hide something but it didn’t work
Personality is a fascinating subject and can be richly excavated for narrative essay writing. We all have our personality that expresses itself in unique and curious ways. Why not explore your personality by writing about your strengths or weaknesses. Or perhaps, the different moods you experience.
Here are some topics to guide you on your way:
- How do you stay calm in a stressful situation
- Do you have a competitive streak?
- Have you been unkind and then regretted it?
- When have you been a good leader?
- When have you experienced self-mastery?
- List and discuss your best attributes
- How do people usually perceive you?
- Do you like to take risks and why?
Gender and Sexuality
This topic needs to be treated with care. An objective and neutral tone need to be acquired for this topic. Remember to be sensitive and consider other people’s perspective.
Here are some ideas to be inspired by:
- The best way to learn about sex
- What is the basic premise of the feminist movement?
- Are men and women so different emotionally?
- What has been your experience of your gender?
- How can you be sensitive and aware of other people’s needs and boundaries in intimate settings?
- Is there a difference between male and female roles in your family experience?
- At what age should sex education begin?
Final Tips On Narrative Essay Writing
Hopefully, by now you are feeling inspired and nourished by all these topic ideas for narrative essay writing. You should be clear on the definition of a narrative essay, its purpose, its format and the different types of narrative essays.
We have shared a wealth of topic ideas with you that are all perfect for writing a successful narrative essay. Now it is up to you to decide! Remember, choose a topic that you feel passionate about and invested in. This will make all the difference when writing a successful narrative essay.