A List of Most Popular Narrative Essay Topics Examples For Your Inspiration

narrative essay topics for students

“Sometimes reality is too complex. Stories give it form,” said Jean Luc Godard. On paper, the art of storytelling is usually referred to as narration.

This article will provide you with a comprehensive explanation on what a narrative essay is and how to write it. You will find a review of the main elements of a narrative essay and guideline on how to start this type of a story.

Most importantly, you will have a list of 21 essay topics for college students, 21 creative narrative essay topics for high school, and 21 creative fictional topics.

What Is a Narrative Essay?

Defining a narrative essay is as simple as it gets – it is a story. Writing a narrative essay is storytelling, or telling a specific story. Being a talented storyteller, both in verbal communication and writing, is a skill that you can master in order to create best stories that capture and hold readers’ attention.

Examples of a narrative sentence

  • Last summer, I took every opportunity to draw and learn everything I could about different pencil drawing techniques.
  • Having decided to open a bakery, she had no clue where to start.
  • Mom was overjoyed when I showed her my trophy.

How to tell if an essay is narrative?

Before writing a narrative essay for college or high school, you need to know how exactly you can tell if a narrative is indeed a story. If you are wondering what makes a narrative a story, then search for the following characteristics:

  • Sequence of events that are connected
  • Specific subject or subjects
  • Direct communication of the narrator and reader.

In any narration you will find these elements that distinguish this rhetorical mode of discourse from other types. In a narrative essay, events can be fictitious and real, however they have to be connected. Any narration focuses on a specific subject or subjects that participate in events. Finally, the narrator delivers the story directly to the readers. When writing a narrative essay, remember that you need to make sure that your essay fits this description.

Stuck with homework?

Add your task and
get connected to a geek

How to Write a Narrative Essay

 Here you will find a complete yet brief guideline on how to write a narrative essay, including how to start it, the number of paragraphs you should include and narrative essay do’s and don’ts.

How to Start a Narrative Essay

How to start a narrative essay

Getting started with a narrative essay can be a challenging task if you are struggling with what to write about and how to write it. Despite that telling a story seems like a simple task, there is always pressure to make it interesting, engaging and easy to follow. The guideline below is designed to help you start writing a narrative essay. The steps described below are easy to understand and follow.

  • Pick your topic. Choosing a topic is the first and foremost step to get the process started. If you are wondering how to grab readers’ attention with an engaging topic, focus on a topic you personally find interesting.  Your own perception of the story will make the narrative essay more engaging.
  • Write down events you want to talk about. This draft will make it much easier to write the story logically and easy to follow for your readers. You will also be able to evaluate which event you need to dedicate more time to.
  • Write down characters and their roles in the story. In a narration, it is useful to understand who is who.
  • List turning points in the plot and culmination of the story. While narrative essay is a sequence of events, you will find it useful to list the turning points in the story and climax of the story. Make sure that these points of the essay logically result from the events: your essay has to make sense to the readers.
  • Do your research. Before writing a narrative essay, do your research about the events you tell about, characters, places where events take place, and any details you might want to describe. Whatever you write about in a narrative essay, you always have an opportunity to improve your writing and make it more engaging by adding interesting details and descriptions. For instance, this narrative sentence:

“I visited Florida in April last year and the weather was rainy.”

Gives much less info to the readers than this one:

“I visited Florida in April last year and it was raining cats and dogs, even though April is usually a month with very low rainfall.”

Main Elements of a Narrative

Main elements of a narrative

Despite that narrative essay is usually a form of creative writing, there are certain elements you should include into your writing. These elements are:

  1. Setting – your events and characters need to be somewhere
  2. Theme of the story – your essay needs to be focused on specific topic rather than include several subjects. Everything should be connected to the main theme
  3. Characters – someone should be involved in the story you write about
  4. Plot – a sequence of events you write about
  5. Problem and solution – in a narrative, problem and solution will grab readers’ attention

How many paragraphs do you need in a narrative essay?

While researching how many paragraphs you need in a narrative essay, you will find many options, from 3 to 5 to 7 and more. 5 paragraph narrative essay is an average size that will allow you to cover the major points of the topic and reveal the plot to the readers.

However, for many stories limitation of the number of paragraphs is irrelevant due to many plot aspects and plot twists and turning points. In a narrative essay your task is not to write a specific number of paragraphs (if it is not stated otherwise in your task), but to deliver the story in a logical manner that is easy to follow for those who read it. Therefore, use the following guideline of the paragraphs and paragraph elements you need to include in your essay:


  1. Hook – attention grabbing element, the first sentence or two in your intro
  2. Thesis statement – usually a sentence in the introduction that covers what you will discuss in your narrative essay

2. Paragraph 1

  1. Topic sentence – the first sentence in a paragraph that reveals what the paragraph is about
  2. Events
  3. Events

3. Paragraph 2

  1. Events

4. And so on until you cover all events in the plot

5. Conclusion

Therefore, your narrative essay should include story and if some elements of the story take more space than other aspects, make sure to focus on the story and not the number of paragraphs.

Narrative Essay Do’s and Don’ts


  • Choose a topic you personally like and interested in
  • Prepare outline and draft
  • Write down sequence of events to make sure the plot is logically organized
  • Do your research
  • Create an attention-grabbing hook for your essay
  • Devote certain part of the narrative essay to explain the atmosphere of the story
  • Give details about your characters


  • Skip problem and solution of the story
  • Avoid providing additional details about characters and setting
  • Skip explaining motivation of characters
  • Jump between events ignoring logical sequence of the plot
  • Devote equal time to every event unless they are equally important for the plot
  • Skip introduction and conclusion
  • Exaggerate in your essay if you write about real events – what is too good to be true, is usually not true.

List of creative narrative essay topics for high school

  1. The most memorable experience from childhood
  2. Your first memory
  3. The funniest story about you as a child which you have heard from someone else, but don’t remember yourself
  4. The best Christmas/birthday gift you have ever received
  5. The moment when you’ve learned an important life lesson
  6. The first movie you remember watching and the emotions you experienced
  7. The first video game you’ve played
  8. Which superhero you would like to be?
  9. If you could have one magic power, which would you like to have?
  10. Favorite pet
  11. A story about losing a close person
  12. A story about getting a new friend
  13. A story your grandparents told you as a child
  14. What is your biggest fear?
  15. Who is your favorite artist/musician?
  16. A person in your life you admire
  17. A historical or famous figure you admire
  18. Do you know of any historical figures who deserve more recognition and why?
  19. Memorable cooking experience
  20. Story about traveling somewhere
  21. Your most frightening experience

List of narrative essay topics for college  students

  1. Story about the role of sports in your life
  2. Your personal take on a topic popular in the media
  3. How did you choose your major?
  4. True friendship story
  5. Difficulties you didn’t expect to face as a college student
  6. The most memorable event you attended
  7. Books/music/artworks that inspire you
  8. Being disappointed in a person you used to admire
  9. Memorable moment when your parents turned out to be right
  10. Where you dream to travel
  11. Trying unusual food for the first time
  12. Future life and career
  13. Story about the first artwork you’ve ever done
  14. Story about losing a close person/friend
  15. Experiences you would like to relive more than once
  16. A turning point in your life
  17. The most frightening moment you experienced
  18. Your biggest fear
  19. Your most embarrassing experience that now makes you laugh
  20. Accidental circumstances that turned out to be determining
  21. Memorable act of kindness
203 students got help from geeks last week.
Share your task and the right geek will check it immediately

Fictional narrative ideas

  1. What the world would be like without the Internet
  2. Why aliens would attack us
  3. Artificial intelligence taking over the planet
  4. Utopian society
  5. What if men and women changed gender roles
  6. What if time travel would be possible
  7. What if everyone would have some supernatural ability
  8. Changing turning point in human history
  9. What if crime would be completely eliminated
  10. What if computers could read our mind
  11. Events in parallel universe
  12. Story about cloning
  13. A story about a world where genetic engineering allows select traits and abilities a child will have
  14. Environmental disaster that wipes off human civilization
  15. Genetically modified foods and their effect on human health
  16. What a world without advertising would be like
  17. What if all diseases would be overcome
  18. What if governments would not exist and everything would be decided by voting
  19. What if emotions could be eliminated with pills
  20. What if cats and dogs could talk
  21. What if people could live forever

Tips on Writing a Narrative Essay

  • Be consistent – readers prefer stories that are easy to follow
  • Include a conflict or a problem to make a story more engaging
  • Be honest if you write about your personal experience – people love reading about someone else’s true experience, which is why memoirs and autobiographies are so popular
  • Proofread your essay to make sure it is logically structured and provides all details of the plot

Related articles

Popular articles

Congratulations! You have been successfully subscribed to Homework Lab blog!