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Great Narrative Essay Topic Ideas

A narrative essay is an essay that is written from the perspective of the writer. It’s often a story of the writer’s experience. It can also be an imagined experience, or one told in the voice of someone else. In those cases, the writing is still from the first person perspective. In a narrative essay, the goal is to share something that the writer has gone through, such as overcoming obstacles in a way that the audience becomes engaged with their writing.

Within the category of narrative essays is the personal literacy narrative essay. What is a literacy narrative essay? This is an essay about a writer’s relationship and experience with the written word.

Clearly a narrative essay is personal to you, so it should be something you are comfortable sharing. You also want your topic to be interesting and relatable to your audience. Ideally, they will be able to envision themselves experiencing whatever it was that you experienced.

At times, it can be challenging to find that ideal topic. Because of this, we’ve put together this list of narrative essay topic examples.

  1. Write a paper from the perspective of a historical figure like Frederick Douglass

Is there someone from your history books that you really relate to? If so, you could write a narrative from that person’s perspective. For example, you could describe President Lincoln’s evening from his perspective before he delivered the Gettysburg address.

  1. Your first day of college
  2. The best day you ever spent

  3. The scariest experience you had

  4. The bravest thing you’ve ever done

  5. Your first time away from home

  6. The biggest surprise

  7. What it’s like to move to a new state

  8. Living in the country after being raised in the city

  9. Learning to use public transportation

  10. How you clean your apartment

  11. Your first date

  12. My first day at work

  13. One of your worst childhood memories

  14. The day when I was wrong

  15. A hard time making decisions

  16. What pushes children to try drugs for the first time?

  17. Learning the hard way

  18. The lie that destroyed a life

  19. When I realized I wasn't a kid anymore

  20. A memorable journey

  21. Your first experience driving a car

This would be a great way to demonstrate your skills at sensory writing. Your narrative essay could explore your nervousness at driving for the first time, the sounds and smells, and the sights you saw on your first drive.

  1. What it’s like to live in a different country
  2. A conversation you’d like to have with a celebrity

  3. The best friend

  4. The Perfect Encounter

  5. Have you ever lied to the best friend?

  6. Your biggest conflict with another person

  7. If you want to go far, go with a friend

  8. Helping a friend through a break-up

  9. Have you changed your major since beginning college, if so why?

  10. Are you a fanatic about your GPA?

  11. What influenced you to choose your major

One of the most important decisions you make is selecting the major that will someday lead to your life’s work. Many people are influenced to go into the fields they do by their experiences and the people they meet. This can make for a very interesting essay, if you’d like to explore this topic.

  1. Why you vote the way you do
  2. Your first time voting

  3. Participating in a protest or march

  4. What it’s like to spend a day volunteering

  5. Have you ever volunteered to help clean up your community?

  6. How you changed your political beliefs

  7. What motivates you to do volunteer work

  8. Do you recycle?

  9. What are your personal feelings on global warming

  10. Your boss

  11. An experience that changed your core beliefs

  12. A night that made your dreams come true

  13. Following a dream

  14. My dream wedding day

  15. Winning a race, or losing one

  16. Turning points in your life

  17. Your first flight ever
  18. European road trip
  19. Learning to fit in
  20. The day I decided to change my life
  21. Surviving a tornado
  22. Learning to make something from scratch

Have you ever built something with your own hands? That’s a really rewarding experience. Of course, sometimes the most interesting part of all of this are the stumbles and failures you encounter during your efforts.

  1. Your first night in your own place
  2. Your first major disagreement with your parents

  3. My dad’s influence on me
  4. Getting kicked out of your home

  5. Learning to get along with your siblings as adults

  6. Do you always find time to be with your family

  7. Family dinners

  8. Dealing with divorced parents

  9. A family member going through a hard time

  10. My mom’s childhood

  11. Befriending your step siblings

  12. Family pet

  13. Have you ever been lost in your town?

  14. Winning a championship game

  15. Losing a championship game

  16. The time you hit a homerun

  17. Scoring a goal for the other team

  18. Getting along with  your teammates

  19. Staying motivated after you failed

  20. Overcoming a rough childhood

  21. Living with a disability

  22. Getting out of the "friend zone"

  23. Imaginary friend

  24. Female and male friends: any difference?

  25. A friend who made me change

  26. Letter to the childhood friend

  27. Jealousy in friendship

  28. A person you are afraid to lose

  29. A ridiculous misunderstanding with another person

  30. How long can you be in love with someone?

  31. Love vs friendship

  32. Discuss loyal and trustworthy friends in your life  

  33. Have you ever eavesdropped?
  34. If you could change one thing about you
  35. Explain what you do well and how you do it
  36. When you really disappointed someone you cared about

Unfortunately, letting someone down is a universal experience. The good news is that it’s possible to grow from that experience, and develop a stronger sense of empathy. If this topic resonates with you, consider it for your next assignment.

  1. When someone you cared about disappointed you
  2. Attending a major sporting event

  3. My career plan

  4. Applying to colleges on your own

  5. College textbook costs

  6. Did some teachers become your role models?​

  7. Tell about a teacher you would like to be friends with

  8. Applying for and winning scholarships

  9. Going to a beach for the first time

  10. Why do you like being alone?
  11. Who inspires you and why
  12. Why do I keep (or don’t keep) a diary or journal?
  13. Waiting in line story
  14. City or suburb?
  15. Eastside vs Westside city
  16. Nature and the city
  17. Streets in your hometown
  18. A city is a living organism
  19. How citizens are different from countryside people
  20. The role of teams and clubs in my life
  21. The weirdest experience with a stranger
  22. Becoming a citizen

If you’ve immigrated from another country, chances are you’ve got an interesting story to tell. In your narrative essay, you can talk about what drove you to leave your home country, and the efforts you had to make to secure your citizenship in your chosen country.

  1. Learning to play the piano
  2. Are computer games a hobby?
  3. Your first day of kindergarten

  4. Spending the night outside for the first time

  5. Making it around campus on your first day

  6. Surviving your dorm room

  7. Dealing with a difficult professor

  8. Dealing with a difficult roommate

  9. A guide to dorm room cooking

  10. Works of Papier Mache’

  11. Finances 101 for the college student

  12. Finding a job on campus

  13. Your first job interview

  14. Funny job story

  15. An inspirational teacher

For many people, a favorite teacher is one person who had a major impact on their lives. Teachers help us to discover our talents, uncover interests, even assist us during difficult times of our lives. If you’ve had this experience, try writing a narrative essay detailing the things your teacher did to become such a meaningful part of your development.

  1. How you developed/lost your faith
  2. When you faced discrimination of some kind

  3. Tell about a personal morality challenge

  4. An experience with law enforcement

  5. Being the victim of the crime

  6. Devices that play the biggest role in your life

  7. Were you ever stopped by the police?

  8. Were you ever in an accident?

  9. Getting your first car

  10. The farthest you ever drove to

  11. The role of television in your life
  12. What reality-show I would like to participate in
  13. A dangerous experience
  14. A time when someone judged you first and then realized that he or she was wrong about you
  15. Your experience with a new technology

Not every narrative essay has to be based on a deep, life changing experience. They can be fun, or simply explore an interesting experience that you had. If you are taking a tech related course, you could write a narrative about your experience with a new video game, IOT device, mobile phone, or app.

  1. The first time you baked bread
  2. A mistake that shaped your life

  3. Living with an illness or disability

  4. An embarrassing moment

  5. The best you’ve ever felt

  6. How to juggle

  7. How to do a cartwheel

  8. Building your own video game

  9. How to change your oil

  10. How to change a tire

  11. Buying a new car

  12. What did you buy with your first paycheck?

  13. Trying your favorite dish for the first time

  14. How to make a birthday cake

  15. A walk through of your favorite video game

  16. How to do the floss

  17. Operating an iphone

How to Write a Literacy Narrative Essay - Topic Suggestions

If you’re stuck on  how to write a literacy narrative essay, start with some of these great topic ideas.

  1. Geology and Himalayas
  2. What makes you proud of yourself?
  3. An act that could make your ancestors to be proud of you
  4. Fun holiday traditions
  5. A time when you were grateful to be an only child
  6. Adopting can never be compared with having biological children
  7. Your best time in an amusement park
  8. What music can change your mood?
  9. A time that the power went out​
  10. An experience that you think has only ever happened to you!
  11. An experience of solving a dilemma
  12. A time when you saw a person in a different light
  13. A random act of kindness​
  14. Is kindness a weakness?
  15. A timeline of your experiences as a reader

If you’re passionate about writing, chances are the books you’ve read have had a major influence on your development over the years. It can be fascinating to learn about the literature experiences of emerging writers.

  1. A conversation with a favorite historical writer
  2. A book that changed your life

  3. The book that keeps teaching me

  4. Essays that shaped your personal belief

  5. A writing genre that you’ve recently discovered

  6. The most interesting book you’ve ever read

  7. Your favorite authors

  8. A poem that you want read at your funeral

  9. A book you once hated that you now love

  10. The books you recommend to people most

  11. Desert island books

  12. Your favorite young adult authors

  13. Your favorite poets

  14. Your favorite non fiction authors

  15. How literature influenced your political beliefs

  16. Finding your literary voice

  17. Alternative literature that has influenced your writing

  18. The role of spoken word in your life

  19. How your taste in literature evolved

  20. The teacher who most influenced your literary path

  21. The first writing you were ever confident enough to publish

  22. Your favorite satirist

  23. Your favorite essayist

  24. Your experience interning at a literary magazine

  25. Meeting your favorite author

Narrative Essay Advice

The most important thing to remember when writing a narrative is that you’re sharing an experience that nobody else has had. This means you have to be very descriptive in your writing. Describe the scenery, your feelings, and use sensory words. Ideally, people will be able to visualize as they read your personal story.

Are You Ready to Share Your Story?

Writing a narrative essay is difficult, but it’s rewarding at the same time. Take one of the topics listed here, and write something that is sure to be as meaningful to your readers as it is to you.

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