Both high school and college students write essays to show their understanding and thoughts on a particular subject. A narrative essay is one of the essays written by all; students. When writing a narrative essay, you must include your personal experiences and personality characters in a standard format on a document.

You must understand how to respond to a particular topic and develop a narrative about yourself to meet your instructor’s expectations. In this blog, you will come across different narrative paper approaches. We have gathered a list of various narrative essay topics and steps you can follow when writing your essay.

What is a narrative essay?

A narrative essay is a five-paragraph document that tells a story about your life experiences. In a narrative essay, you are the narrator; you must discuss your past life experiences and plan. Writing an essay helps you to describe who you are, your values, and your personality.

Professor assigns you this assignment to demonstrate your writing skills and how you structure sentences in your essay. Many students lack knowledge on how to structure a quality narrative essay to get high grades. If you are unsure what to write, it is important to go through different narrative essay examples to help hint at how a narrative essay should look.

How to write a narrative essay

The following are steps to follow when writing your narrative essay. They include:

  • Select a topic

The first step is choosing a topic; you need to decide what you want to discuss in your narrative essay. You must select a topic that will deliver a story that will positively reflect on you as a student. Suppose your instructor allows you to select your topic. In that case, you must choose an area that can show all your academic achievements and commitment to various community services.

You must think about areas with which your reader can relate to and in which you have significant interests. You need to narrow your topic and develop a story that meets all the assignment requirements. Your instructor can also give you a topic to write about; thus, you need to brainstorm your life experiences that will relate to the given topic.

  • Create an outline

This is the second step that follows after you develop your topic. In your outline, you must discuss the key points to help determine how you will tell your story. An outline will help you easily discuss your layout and finish your narrative essay on time despite having many paragraphs.

  • Write your paragraphs in first-person narrative

Since the essay is talking about you, it is essential that you write words from your perspective. Use first-person words such as “I, me”, and “we”. This helps your reader feel connected to your experiences and makes your narrative essay more impressive.

  • Use correct language

To make your story interesting, you need to use creative language and consider your writing style. Avoid repeating words; instead, you can use synonyms that can capture your reader’s attention and illustrate your main points. Simple words will help to enhance the readability of your narrative essay and balance your points with enough creativity that will enable your audience to understand the terms.

  • Proofread and edit your writing

The last step is checking for any spelling or grammatical errors in your narrative essay. Ensure that you pass your work through a proofreading tool to help identify and correct spelling and grammatical problems. You must also check that your paragraphs have a maximum of four simple sentences.

How to create a narrative essay outline

In a narrative essay, you write about your personal life experiences unlike in other articles, such as argumentative ones. When writing your narrative essay, you do not need to conduct research to support your facts or thesis statement. Therefore, you must organize your thoughts to make a claim for your thesis.

Below are samples that you can follow in your narrative essay outline. They include:

  • The introduction should include the hook and background information, the thesis, and that particular moment that makes your essay worth reading.
  • Body: It should have a minimum of three paragraphs. You must explain what led you to the conflict, the feelings that you experienced, and the result of the lessons you learned.
  • Conclusion: Here, you must restate your thesis statement and the major points of your narrative essay.

Parts of a narrative essay

Sometimes you can ask yourself, “how do you start a narrative essay? Or what are the five parts of a narrative essay. In this article, you will get answers to questions like “how do you structure a narrative essay.” As with any other paper, a narrative essay has its structure. A narrative essay is a kind of informal writing about your personal life experiences, and it will have a format and elements appropriate to storytelling.

These includes:

  • Elements

Every narrative should have five parts to become a complete story. These parts include; plot, setting, character, conflict, and theme.

  • Format

A narrative arc is the order of the events in your story. In short, the narrative ac is the chronological construction of your plot. This consists of five elements such as; exposition, the rising action, the climax, the falling action, and the resolution

  • Structure

Your narrative essay should be structured according to the rules of academic writing. Therefore, you should use a standard 5-paragraph essay format. First, you must write an introduction; you must add a hook, a thesis statement, and a clear description of your topic.

Craft three paragraphs of your essay body and ensure that you explain the setting, characters, events that occurred, conflict, and resolution. In your conclusion, you must define the moral or purpose of your story and give reasons why it is worth reading.

  • Language

Mostly, narrative essays are more about personal experiences and thoughts. Thus, you need to detail these experiences to make the audience believe your story. In a narrative essay, language pattern, sentence structure, and tone come in handy.

The following examples will help you learn how to draw images with words. So that the readers feel connected with your story:

  • Use descriptive language
  • Use powerful words, avoid passive voice, and use weak adverbs
  • Mix simple and complex words
  • Use long and short sentences in your paragraphs
  • Be consistent and follow up the narrative arc of your story
  • Consider using sensory words

Tips for choosing narrative essay topics

  • Choose a theme that will make your audience connect with your story
  • Select good and exciting ideas to discuss
  • Plan your work early
  • Try to mix various episodes of your life experiences with different topics
  • Use the best essay structure when writing your narrative

Examples of narrative essay ideas

Below are different narrative essay topics you can use when writing your paper. The issues listed are from other approaches to help you have narrative topic ideas from a different view. These topics include:

  1. Personal narrative essays
  • The day you will never forget
  • The red-letter day
  • A story when you got lost
  • A story when you arrived home late
  • A moment when you felt lonely
  • The scary moments in your life
  • An experience when you attended a known celebrity concert
  • A story about your school life
  • Your first trip to a foreign country
  • A story of helping a stranger
  1. Interesting narrative essay topics
  • Your first encounter with police
  • The best entertainment in winter
  • Your first time missing your flight
  • The day you visited a local wildlife conservation
  • The most significant risk you took
  • The first time you got lost in the middle of a forest
  • Your first encounter with the president
  • A day you wish to revive
  • The first time you entered a haunted house
  1. Narrative essay topics for college students
  • Your first day in college
  • Your favorite course
  • The day you meet your best college friend
  • Describe the lecturer who inspires you
  • The time you did not expect to perform well in your exams, but you passed
  • Your first encounter after attending a party with your college mates
  1. Best narrative essay topics
  • Your favorite holiday vacation with friends
  • Your best birthday gifts
  • How you lost your favorite novel to a fire accident
  • For a moment, you felt depressed
  • The worst day in your life
  • A memorable day on the beach
  • The first time you fell in love
  • Your experience on the first plane trip
  • A road trip that you will never forget
  • Most enjoyable Christmas
  • The first being involved in a car accident
  • The life lesson you have learned
  1. Cultural narrative essay topics
  • A tradition that surprised you
  • Importance of understanding your culture
  • How culture defines people’s behavior
  • The influence of media on different cultures
  • Describe your cultural identity
  • Describe unique family traditions in your culture
  • Your favorite cultural day celebrations
  • Write how your culture changes upon different circumstances

Examples of narrative essay

Students often ask what are good starting sentences for a narrative essay. The examples below will help you learn how to begin writing your narrative essays;


  • Topic-A gift to treasure

It was just a week before my nineteenth birthday. The party preparations had already started. My family never celebrated birthdays on a grand scale. However, this was a double celebration because I had passed my examination and my family thought this was an occasion to celebrate.


  • Topic-Childhood memories

Childhood memories have their remembrance. Over time, one feels more attached to this childhood. A child has no worries or anxieties. They are free from the filthy noise of the world, and his motto is to eat, drink and be merry. The charm of childhood can never be forgotten; these memories have an everlasting impression on one’s life.


Incident -While you were standing in a shop, two men entered and tried to rob the shopkeeper. Write down what you saw and heard.

It was about 9 o’clock. I was a bit late for my evening classes, and I was standing at the bus stand to catch up with the next bus. There was a shop nearby, and it was the only shop in the neighborhood. It appeared there used to be late customers since I could see that the shopkeeper was not in an early to close the shop.

If given such an essay, you need to narrate what happened and your reaction. You can continue by writing; looking from afar, I saw two men whose appearance was far from satisfactory. They went in and ordered tea, and started sipping. After introducing the second paragraph, you can now explain how the men tried to rob the shopkeeper and what you did next.

Ensure that you follow the correct structure of your essay to make sure that the information goes to the correct paragraph. This will help you avoid mixing information, and it can make your article not attractive to the audience.

Examples of occasions you need to write a narrative essay

  • To complete assignments, especially in composition courses such as English, your instructor assigns you a narrative essay assignment on a specific topic.
  • When you are a nominee for specific awards, the faculty members will require you to write a narrative essay that will explain why you are worth getting the award
  • When applying for college, you will be required to write a narrative essay during the application process

Get the best narrative essay writing ideas

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