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10 Inspiring Ideas for Narrative Essay Topics

  1. Reveal a secret about yourself

    A great way to create a bit of mystery is to promise your reader that he or she will find something out about you that no one else knows.

    Example: My secret to winning people over

  2. Create curiosity about an event

    Derive your topic from something interesting that happened. Make sure this is not just a run of the mill story—it has to be unique and compelling.

    Example: How a trip to the store influenced my career

  3. Relay a funny story at your own expense

    Telling an embarrassing story is sure to display your ability to laugh at yourself.

    Example: Why I only had one date with Annie MacArthur

  4. Talk about a lesson you learnt

    We often think that there’s little more about life that we can learn. Show how wrong this perception is by telling your reader how something seemingly insignificant changed your viewpoint.

    Example: How my little sister taught me about honesty

  5. Your admiration of someone you encountered

    You may have hated someone you’ve never met, and had that perception changed after meeting them. Or maybe you came face to face with a person you’ve always admired. Tell your reader about this experience.

    Example: My unexpected encounter with Gordon Ramsey

  6. The chain effect of a former event and something recent

    Take a look at something that happened to you a long time ago—even as a child. Now take your reader on a chain-of-events adventure that led you up to an emotionally triumphant outcome.

    Example: How breaking my leg at six made me a champion swimmer

  7. Explore your imagination

    Tell an imaginary tale about something absolutely ridiculous—and how you then realized it was just a dream.

    Example: The day I invented a cure for baldness

  8. Your greatest fear and how you plan to overcome it

    Expose yourself by explaining what you are most afraid of. Then tell your reader how you refuse to be defeated by this fear.

    Example: How arachnophobia led me to a spider exhibit—and what I did there

  9. A sandbox essay

    A great choice for a narrative essay is what’s referred to as a “What if” essay. Hypothesize something crazy like what you would do with a billion dollars or how you would run the country as its president.

    Example: Where I’d go if I had a time machine

  10. Your misperception and what happened to change it

    Take a humble look at how an event changed the way you think about something.

    Example: How I learnt to worry about climate change

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