Writing a good narrative essay depends mostly on the topic you chose. Although you can make an ordinary story sound spectacular by using the right words and the proper technique, more than often the topic gets the credit for a valuable piece of work.
So, unless your mentor or professor assigned you a specific subject, the decision of coming up with a great topic is up to you. Sounds fantastic, right? However, the freedom to choose can be overwhelming even for the most experienced essay writers. It’s hard to pick just one topic when there are so many you could write about. You’ll need to come up with a plan; otherwise, you’ll end up writing a book instead of an essay.
To make it easier for you, we have gathered some of the most appealing topics to create engaging stories that both your teacher and your colleagues will love.
What is a narrative essay
To make things clearer, let’s establish what a narrative essay is and how you can make a great piece of work. This type of essay is frequently asked by professors, especially in Literature classes. But it can also be a good practice for a novel you plan to work at or a short story you want to publish. Practically, a narrative essay tells a story. To make a good one, you could use some of these tips:
- Write a great intro. An impressive hook will arouse curiosity, and your readers will want to know more.
- Use interesting details. Small things have a great importance in a story. There are spindles who have put princesses to sleep, remember?
- Be creative. Create engaging scenarios using different stylistic techniques. There was a trend back in the 60s where journalists used real facts in a creative way. It was like writing fiction, but the stories were genuine. It was called “New Journalism.” A narrative essay is like that. It is a kind of modern “new journalism.”
- Pay attention to the word choice. The tone really matters in all kind of stories, not just narrative essays. Adjust your voice according to the topic you’re covering and the audience who’s going to read your paper.
- Make sure the ideas are connected to each other. The story should flow, your readers should be able to read it like smoke.
Back in time
Stories of childhood are always gratifying. Whether it’s a ridiculous situation you’ve naively put yourself or an interesting discovery you’ve made, topics like these are successful. They are easy to read while still communicating important aspects of a certain period of life. It’s not mandatory to describe a childhood episode. You can go back in time and choose an experience you’ve had while in highschool, for instance. Time-traveling-stories are always fun to read, so start recalling.
A life experience is always a good idea for a narrative essay. It is personal enough, it allows you to play with words, and it is both interesting and edifying for the public. If it taught you a lesson, then it can have the same effect on your readers too.
A good example is to write about a frightening episode which you had to overcome. Like the time you got stuck in the elevator, being terrified of closed spaces. After realizing what happened, not knowing how long it will take until you can get out, what did you do? How did you fight the anxiety? Your heart was beating so fast, write about your most dreadful thoughts and how you managed to control your mind.
A story like this can turn out to be full of tension and extremely interesting if written correctly. Remember to use vibrant details to show your readers the entire setup. Just as if they were there. An experience that helped you fight a prejudice of some sort can make a good story too. Preconceptions are so often settled in our hearts, despite our efforts to shake them off. People who wear eyeglasses are nerds; shy people cannot express themselves, overweight people eat a lot and have no respect for their bodies, does any of these sound familiar? Be honest about your feelings, describe a certain situation that changed your perspective completely. Sometimes, a lesson you’ve learned can help others learn too.
A life changing encounter
The moment you met the love of your life or even the encounter with your favorite author can be very interesting to tell. Your thoughts when you were shaking hands, the chain of events that followed the meeting, how the course of your life changed, these are exciting details for your readers.
A moment of wisdom
A wise conversation you had with your grandmother a long time ago can be a fascinating topic for your narrative essay. Let’s say she told you a story from the past, she took you to her own childhood, explaining how hard were the times. How difficult it was for children to grow up in decent conditions, with a sense of security and food on the table. You never complain about not having money to go out on Saturdays again, right? It is a fascinating story, so share it with your readers.
Different types of relationships
Your story doesn’t necessarily have to revolve around one character or one specific moment. You can write about the relationship with your family, for instance. Are you close to each other, do you call your parents often, is your mother your closest confidant? Does your relationship need to be improved, you need to communicate more? Answers to these questions have good potential if you’re willing to be open and honest with your audience.
Of course, the family is not the only option. Describe a moment you had an argument with your best friend and how you moved on, for instance.
Your favorite activities
There is no need to find extraordinary stories to write a narrative essay that is interesting to read. Simple things are special too. So try to write about your interests. What’s on your playlist, what are your hobbies, what’s your favorite book, how do you spend your holidays? Here are some good topics to put on the list. When you find something that you’re really passionate about, you could spend an entire day talking about it. The same thing goes with writing. You’ll see how smooth the pen moves when you’re enjoying the subject. Here are some ideas worth sharing:
- If you were a writer, what book would you love to write?
- Is there a song that always brings back memories of some sort?
- Is there a movie that changed your point of view on a given subject or on the contrary, strengthened your beliefs? Write it down.
- Do you find any resemblance with a book character?
Places you have seen
Stories about traveling have a great potential. They are full of interesting experiences, vivid details, amazing curiosities, tales of history, adventures. Remember the first time you’ve been to Rome? Such an ancient, yet modern place to visit. So many stories gathered in one city. Tell your readers about the places you have been while in Rome, the people you’ve met or your favorite Italian dish. There are so many things worth sharing.
A narrative essay puts your story-telling ability to test. It is desirable to go for a real life event for this type of assignment, for you can better master the story when you know exactly what to write about. However, you can be creative and chose a story that didn’t happen yet, but which could become a reality any time soon. It is the kind of story that begins with “If I…”, to be more precise.
Creating a hypothetical scenario is a creative job to do. Here is some more inspiration:
“If I had superpowers, I would build a house for every homeless in the world. I would go back in time and have a talk with Hitler, or even better, I would just stop the world from falling apart. I would help scientists find the cure for cancer and adopt all the orphans to take them home with me. What would you do if you had superpowers?” A strong, yet warming scenario. A story that indirectly portrays the writer, talking about life principles, catastrophic events, issues that this world is facing. Ending the paragraph with a question is a fantastic way to involve the audience and build a relationship with it. This way you connect with people that share the same values while creating an imaginary dialogue. Other ideas:
- If I were an animal, I…
- If I would be the King/Queen of England, I…
- If my home were in Africa, I…
- If I had all the money in the world, I…
Something you’re good at
If you are a wonderful listener, you can create a great story around this unique personal feature. This makes you a great person, people come to you to confess; they are seeking advice, cry on your shoulder. You are like a box full of stories; this is something that you could definitely write about. Regardless of your special trait, if it helps you stand out of the crowd, it is worth sharing.
All in all, you can write about anything as long as it has relevance to both yourself and the audience. A narrative essay is permissive in terms of choosing the topic. So which one will it be?