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How to Write a Narrative Essay: Tips and 57 Topics to Use

Narrative writing is one of the most common and popular tasks any student, not depending on the academic level or major, can get. It is a great chance to show comprehensive understanding of the subject and to familiarize the audience with your outlook on the topic. Actually, this assignment is more appealing than research papers or other types of works, because they don’t require a deep analysis of sources and give lots of freedom in choosing the topic and arguments.

You have a chance to tell about an event or situation from your own life, giving the audience an ability to become a part of the story and to learn more about yourself. So why this task is so important?

When working on a narrative essay students acquire a variety of skills that can be useful in completing other types of academic assignments. They include choosing a proper vocabulary, time management, ability to edit and proofread your manuscripts, and much more.

In addition, these tasks appeal to creativity and greatly boost students’ imagination. As a bonus, you learn how to reflect on your past experience and to realize what lessons you can learn. On top of it, writing on the topic that matters to you is fun and interesting!

To get started, you need to pick a topic to discuss. Take this stage seriously, because discussing a subject you are not familiar with or not interested in may greatly influence the result. If you choose a boring topic, you will hardly create a text that will grab attention of the reader.

Narrative Essay Definition

Definition of a narrative essay may be different for institutions of various academic levels. Usually, it is a text, which tells a certain story and allows the author to share experience with a broad audience.

Good narrative essay is a great way to reach readers, because everyone loves stories. It is a way to be heard and listened to. In order to get a high grade you need to follow the required structure and formatting style, include all of the necessary sections and to know all of the guidelines beforehand.

If you are new to this task, it is better to order a narrative essay from professional writers or to download ready samples online. Actually, you may find inspiration in the most unexpected places: while reading news, talking to a friend or scrolling the social media feed. Just open your mind and let the creativity do the rest!

Guidelines on Writing a Narrative Paper

We have collected the best tips for students, who want to create a great narrative essay. Just read them attentively and avoid tones of mistakes!

  • Be interested in the story

Even if you have an experience to tell, nothing will work out unless you are genuinely interested in the matter. You should want to share the story with the audience in order to make the readers become a part of the experience.

  • Create an essay outline

Even experienced writers know that it is almost impossible to create an outstanding story from scratch without an outline and thorough planning. That is why you should always start your essay with a draft and then alter it as many times as needed. This approach is widely used even by the most prominent writers and it never fails.

  • Include all of the elements

Not depending on the topic and subject, most narrative essays should contain the following elements: description, characters, plot and setting. They help the audience to understand your message and to read the text without any troubles.

That is why you need to be sure that your own story contains the above elements and is written based on the accepted literary rules and standards.

  • Personal point of view

The audience needs to understand what your role in the essay is, so you must give them all of the necessary details on the experience or event. A big plus will be explaining motives of your behavior in various situations.

  • Provide arguments

Even though a narrative essay is a story about your own life or thoughts, you still need to support your opinion with arguments. This will show the audience that you are professional and experienced in the topic.

  • Use only meaningful details

To avoid wordiness and not to confuse the readers you need to understand what details are important for the story and what details should be avoided. Usually a narrative essay is quite short, so all of the data must have a direct connection with the story.

  • Use simple language

The language you use in the text must be easy to understand and appropriate. The better you will manage to render your message to the audience, the more favorable opinion they will have about your writing. Note that even if you think that your text is easy to read, it may still be complicated for the readers, so you should always take a side glance on the essay.

  • Stick to the chronological order

Not to confuse the reader and to stick to a concrete sequence, it is better to use a chronological order. However, if you are talking about an abstract issue without real-life examples, it is possible to place arguments in order of their importance.

  • Get familiar with essay examples

Devote some time to reading examples of narrative essays. They will give you an idea of how your essay should look like and what elements it must consist of. The more you read, the better your writing will be!

There is a variety of video tutorials for authors and writers, where you can find interesting tips and a piece of a good advice. Luckily, Internet gives us almost unlimited opportunities!

  • Always check the requirements

Even if you are writing an essay for a class and it won’t be published, your tutor may want to check how well you are able to follow the guidelines. That is why you need to ask for requirements in advance and to make sure that you meet all of them.

  • Revise

When your essay is finished, you need to use grammar and spelling checkers, plagiarism software and other tools to make sure that the paper contains no mistakes.

In addition, you can ask your family members and friends to read the paper and make comments. Usually it is difficult to find typos or errors in the paper if you have been working on it for days.

  • Highlight key elements

There are certainly the most important elements in the story, which you want the readers to notice. Make sure you highlight them using various literary devices and tools. This will greatly influence the result and will help your readers to understand your message.

Narrative Essay Examples

Sometimes students confuse narrative essays with novels. Yes, they are similar because they tell about experiences and personal life but there is a range of differences. This means that you need to know requirements of the particular assignment: its structure, size, formatting style and so on.

The last but not the least is making sure that your spelling and grammar is flawless, because it is very easy to ruin an outstanding plot with such silly mistakes.

So that you don’t leg behind making common mistakes, here are some good examples of how to write this type of essay the right way.

This is only a sample,
if you need your own paper you need to:
writing a personal narrative

View sample

Writing a Personal Narrative Essay

This is only a sample,
if you need your own paper you need to:
Writing a Narrative Essay

View sample

Steps to Writing a Narrative Essay

This is only a sample,
if you need your own paper you need to:
Sample Narrative Essay

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Personal Narrative Essay Sample

This is only a sample,
if you need your own paper you need to:
Narrative Essay Outline

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Narrative Essay Outline Example

This is only a sample,
if you need your own paper you need to:
Example Of Narrative Essay

View sample

Example of a Narrative Essay

Choosing a Topic

The first and the most important advice is to write about the things that you find inspiring or that are important for you. If you choose a subject that doesn’t light your inner fire, it is unlikely that the readers will be engaged.

The best thing about writing a narrative essay is the fact that you don’t need to be a guru in a certain area. You don’t have to know a particular topic from A to Z: all you need is to render your own experience and to share your personal stories with the world.

Think about the most memorable episodes from your school or college life, family trips, vacations with friends, hobbies and decisions that changed your life. You can tell about your fears or achievements to have an impact on others.

The only thing to remember is that your story must be true. You should tell about the things that happened to you, not about something imaginary.

In case your main goal is to impress the audience and the tutor, your topic must be original and controversial. The language must be clear and rich. That is why you need to have a vocabulary by your side to make your descriptions vivid and colorful.

If you are not sure what to write about, you can buy a narrative essay or download free templates online. They will help you to choose a direction and to understand what elements should be included. However, you must not copy and paste someone else’s text, because it will be considered a plagiarism and you may get yourself into big troubles.

Always choose a topic that you are passionate about and then your readers will be able to experience the emotions you had, diving deeper into the story!

Narrative Essay Topics for Any Occasion

Below are the most powerful and interesting topics for a narrative essay that students of different academic levels can use. It is a great chance to start writing even if you don’t have a clue of what to write about! Simply choose a topic from the list below and get started, forgetting about any worries and stress.

  1. The best teacher you have ever had;
  2. Starting a career;
  3. The situation, when you saved someone’s life;
  4. An invention that you have created yourself;
  5. Losing faith in humanity;
  6. An extreme experience;
  7. The biggest conflict with a relative;
  8. First trip overseas;
  9. Experience that completely changed your life;
  10. Funny situations from your school routine;
  11. A situation, when you got help from a stranger;
  12. Summer time in a camp;
  13. Creating a place that no one else knew about;
  14. Experience that helped to see that your parents were right about something;
  15. The time, when you overcame your biggest fear;
  16. The time, when you realized what you wanted  to do as a job;
  17. Special episodes with your parents;
  18. The most embarrassing situation you have ever had;
  19. The time, when you faced a tornado;
  20. The time, when you were lost in a forest;
  21. Attending a rock festival;
  22. How you stood up against people you disagree with;
  23. Heroes from your childhood;
  24. The time, when you understood that you were right about a person;
  25. The time, when you realized that someone lied to you;
  26. Tell about a person, who inspires you;
  27. The best experience you have ever had;
  28. The best birthday present you have ever had;
  29. Main lessons you have learned at school;
  30. Experience that completely changed your relationships with parents;
  31. Experience, when you faced religious discrimination;
  32. How to fight apathy;
  33. Experience that made you a leader;
  34. Influence of smart phones on your life;
  35. Your first essay;
  36. The feelings you had, when you found out that you’d have a sibling;
  37. The most challenging assignments at school that you ever had.

Topics for a College Narrative Story

This type of essay is a great way to introduce yourself to a new class, group or tutor. Here are the topics that may help:

  1. How people see your personality on different online platforms;
  2. Importance of clubs in your life;
  3. The most challenging school assignment you have ever had and got an A;
  4. Most important devices in your life;
  5. Remarkable personal experience;
  6. The strongest male and female role models in your life;
  7. The funniest experience you have ever had;
  8. Tell why keeping a diary is a part of your daily routine;
  9. Starting a new hobby;
  10. Experience, when you realized that appearance is often misleading;
  11. Books that changed your views on life;
  12. What super power you would like to posses.

Topics on Holidays and Traveling

Narrative topics at college or high school are usually neutral. They don’t touch too controversial subjects in order not to create conflicts. That is why often talking about vacation and traveling is a way to reveal your personality, interest the audience and to remain on a safe side.

Remember, every traveling experience is unique, even if you are not the first one to tell about The Eifel Tower or the Chinese wall.

  1. The best vacation you have ever had;
  2. The last trip you took with your friends;
  3. The best way to spend summer holidays;
  4. Places that you regularly visit with your family;
  5. If you could go on a vacation anywhere, what place would it be?
  6. Would you like to travel to Mars?
  7. The role of hiking in your life;
  8. Why traveling is important;
  9. The most fascinating places you have ever seen;
  10. A great time you had at a summer camp.

There is a huge variety of other topics that are waiting for you, depending on the assigned subject, experience that you are ready to share and the reaction you want to achieve. Make sure the topic you choose reflects your personality, writing skills and doesn’t hurt anyone’s feelings.


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