Narrative essays are the most fun essays to write. The joy of letting your hair down and finally telling your story fascinates most students. But in the chaos of endless opportunities, it can be hard to direct your gaze on a specific topic. That’s why we’re here to help.
A narrative essay is your chance to flex your creative muscle and bring your unforgettable stories to life. There’s plenty of stuff to write about-- from feats of bravery to lessons learned the hard way-- with these 100 narrative essay topics you cannot miss to impress. Absorb and modify the ideas gained here for your specific case, as each narrative essay serves a different purpose. Regardless, with this cohesive list you’ll never cease to be inspired.
How to Choose Narrative Essay Topics + Some Tips on Writing
- Narrative turns story into information
The story on its own serves little purpose, unless rearranged into a narrative and crafted specifically for an audience to read. The primary purpose of writing and reading narratives is to draw out valuable life lessons from your own, or other people’s personal experience.
- Pick a story that matters
Remember that the story you choose to tell must have meaning. Meaning gives the story significance, and allows the reader to draw conclusions from the outcome.
- Plan ahead for perfection
Before sitting down to write, draw out your story into sections, or an outline. Make sure that you know the intro, body, and conclusion of the story, and specifically what happens in each section.
- Use descriptive language
Throughout the course of writing, you’re expected to place the reader in the shoes of the protagonist using descriptive language. So when you pick a story, make sure you can recall it vividly and visually, and are able to share this experience with the reader.
- Always stick to the structure
Structure is key, in any story. Like other essays, the narrative essay follows a 5-paragraph structure, where the paper is split into 5 sections. That’s an introduction with background info and a thesis, three body paragraphs where you develop your story, and a conclusion where everything is summarised. Before writing, break up your story into these sections as best you can, and you’re guaranteed to not get lost in your own story.
So when thinking how to choose a topic for a narrative essay, focus on stories that matter, have a cohesive structure, and a strong resolution. Below, we’ve brought together some narrative essay topics which we think will make for a good story.
Choosing from a Pool of Narrative Essay Topics Ideas
When you have a list of ideas for a narrative essay, it’s often hard to stick with one. That’s why you’ve got to ask yourself several questions to know which idea works best. Choosing the best topic can depend on several factors:
- What purpose does this narrative essay serve?
- Is it for a college application? If yes, sell yourself.
- Or is it for a literature class? If yes, get creative.
- Will you be giving a presentation?
- If yes, go with a topic that’s guaranteed to capture and impress your peers.
- Is your story a long or a short read?
- Does your topic of choice avoid common tropes and cliches?
- Professors give extra marks for originality
Asking yourself questions like this when going through a pool of narrative essay topics ideas will help you narrow down your search. Once you’ve found the story you want to tell, organize it into an outline and you’re ready to go. In the following sections we will offer several lists of topics to help you get started:
Personal Narrative Essay Topics
Students always choose personal narrative writing ideas because these are the stories they know best. Dive into your personal experiences and you’re guaranteed to find a topic that showcases your personality in a positive and interesting light.
- A story about overcoming fear
- A story about becoming a better person
- The time you’ve shown bravery
- The time you made a solid decision and stuck with it
- A personal story about a moment that changed your life
- A personal story about the moment you’ve decided who you want to become
- A story about establishing friendship
- A story about letting go of a toxic friend or relationship
- A story where you've achieved a personal goal
- The time you’ve shown growth and maturity
- Something that shaped you into who you are today
- Your personal experience with malice
50 Best Narrative Essay Topics
There are endless sources from which you can draw topics for narrative essay and write a fascinating story. Stories also follow common tropes, whether it’s a movie or a piece of literature, chances are that you’ve encountered a similar type of character development to the one you’re about to write.
Given that, we’ve selected 50 best narrative essay topics which follow common tropes, and could spark some ideas for narrative writing in you. Just remember-- for the best outcome, make your own version of the story:
- A memorable story from your summer vacation
- A magical Christmas story
- A scary story you’d tell around a bonfire
- Getting in trouble at school
- The time you stood up to a bully
- A natural disaster story that you’ve faced
- The first time you’ve broken a bone
- A memorable trip that you’ve had
- An experience that has taught you a valuable lesson
- A story about charity, or helping someone in need
- Tell a story about your pet
- The time you’ve created something that you’re proud of
- Your first experience with something
- A relationship that you’re thankful for
- Partnership: a story where you’ve accomplished something together with a friend
- Your memorable stranger story
- A story about getting lost
- The time you made a friend in an unexpected way
- Motivational story: how you got yourself out of a tough situation
- A quintessential college experience story
- A story about a feat of bravery
- Make up a story about yourself that didn’t happen
- Losing something, and getting something else in return
- Your first shot at an extreme sport
- A travel story which you’d never want to forget
- A story from your life that you would tell your kids
- An inspirational story that helped you discover what you want to do in your life
- A metaphorical story about your alter ego
- Overcoming boredom: how you’ve pushed yourself to stop slacking
- Graduation story: talk about your last days at high school
- Toy story: create a narrative with your old toys as main characters
- Imagine you were a superhero and tell a story about it
- The toughest decision that you’ve had to make
- A fascinating story about an object: make it come alive
- A story about a place that's important to you
- An encounter with a wild animal story
- Tell a story about when you came out first place
- Underdog story: tell a story about when you were not expected to win but you did
- Sports story: a memorable moment from your experience with sports
- A memorable story about your experience with mountain climbing
- A story about your encounter with something magical
- A religious experience that you’ve had
- Foreigner story: a story about your experience in a foreign city or country
- The time that you’ve befriended a foreigner in your own city or country
- Tell a story about the first time you’ve made money
- A family story: talk about a memorable family experience
- Talk about the first time you’ve realised that your skills can make you money
- Tell a story where you wanted to do something wrong, but ended up doing the right thing
- Tell a story about a person from your life who inspires you
- Tell your story about a person from history, or a celebrity whom you idolise
Outstanding Narrative Essay Topics for College Students
College years are some of the most vibrant years of your life. There you will encounter new beginnings, hardships, wonderful romances, and sleepless nights thinking of narrative writing ideas for your literature class. There is an almost endless amount of things you can write about in college, that’s why you’ll have no problem finding proper narrative essay topics for college:
- The transition from high school into college
- If you study abroad, tell about the first day you landed in a new country
- The first time you’ve made friends in college
- Talk about a memorable experience in a class
- Tell a story about your experience with a professor who pushed you to grow and develop
- Overcoming the biggest hardship during your college years
- Your greatest achievement in college
- Tell a story about college relationships, how they differ from high school
- A story about a skill that you’ve learned in class and applied out of class
- How did college shape you?
- Simply tell a story about a crazy experience in college, after which you’ve learned something new
- Tell the quintessential broke student in college story
Narrative Essay Topics for High School Students
High school nostalgia is a thing. We all remember our first crush or that mean teacher who turned out good in the end. Here are some narrative essay topics for grade 8 that will have you take a dip in your high school years and come out with a throwback story.
- An inspiring teacher who had believed in you
- We all have stories about our high school librarian
- Freshman year: a story about your transition into high school
- Senior year: a story about your last year in high school
- A story about your high school crush
- Your favorite high school hobby
- An extracurricular activity that you enjoyed doing
- Were you on a JV or Varsity team? Tell a sports story about it
- The class you had in high school, lessons from which you still use today
- Your greatest high school achievement
- Graduation day: how did it go?
- A story about high school friends, parties, and moving on
Literacy Narrative Essay Topics
Getting literate means getting smart, whether you’re learning a new language or reading a new book. And there will always be fascinating encounters along your journey to literacy that you can become topics for a narrative essay. As college students travel all over the world and study abroad, plenty fascinating language barriers and new knowledge stories happen every day. Think about that and churn out some good narrative essay topics:
- A story about your experience learning a second language
- A story about how a book has impacted your life
- Draw parallels between yourself and a famous character from a book or a film
- Tell a story about your experience with poetry
- Or your experience with history
- How has literature affected your life?
- Talk about a writer or a story which has inspired you to do something
- A story about how you’ve gotten wisdom from the lyrics of a song
- Tell a story about a painting
- Tell a story about a sculpture
- Talk about your experience with studying abroad and breaking the language barrier
- Tell a story about how getting educated in a certain topic beforehand has gotten you out of a sticky situation.
Interesting Narrative Essay Topics
Want to keep your reader at the edge of their seat? Focus on examples of narrative essay topics with a twist, those unexpected stories that stick in the memory of the reader. Why write about overcoming bravery when you could be telling an exorcism story? Here are some narrative writing topics that will keep them gripped:
- Tell a story about the ancient practice of exorcism
- Tell an extreme story about someone truly living on the edge
- Tell a story about a Poltergeist encounter
- Share your doppelgänger story
- Tell a story from the perspective of an object, a food like an apple or a grain of rice
- Sink into the dream world, and tell a metaphysical story from a dream
- Go down the opposite path, paint a nightmarish scenario and tell a story within it
- Pick a theme or a classical fiction trope: like a vampire story or a superhero story
- Tell a story about a house that’s haunted or has magical qualities
- Tell a story from the perspective of an animal, like one of your pets
- Yuppie Nightmare Cycle story: tell a story about your venture down an obscure rabbit hole
- Online experience: tell a story about the weirdest experience you’ve had online
- Celebrity dreams: tell about the dream you’ve had with a celebrity