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What to write my narrative essay about

100+ Narrative Essay Topics for your Next Assignment

Writing a narrative essay should be fun and easy in theory. Just tell your readers a story, often about yourself. Who knows you better than you? You should ace this!

Unfortunately, narrative writing can be very difficult for some. When a teacher leaves the topic choice wide open, it’s tough to even know what to write about. What anecdote from your life is worth sharing? What story is compelling enough to fill an entire essay?

The first step in writing a narrative essay is coming up with a list of potential topics to write about. From there, you should focus on the ideas you believe you can spend an entire essay and tell a compelling story on.

Narrative writing will show up for the rest of your life. You’ll need to tell life stories in college essays, in grad school applications, in wedding speeches, and more. So learning how to write a narrative essay is a skill that will stick with you forever.

But where do you begin?

You can always check out essay examples to get you started, but this will only get you so far.

At the end of the day, you still need to come up with a story of your own. This is often the toughest part.

To help you get things kicked off, we’ve put together this list of more than a hundred topic ideas that could easily be turned into narrative essays. Take a look and see what stands out to you!

Choosing a Topic

Narrative essays fall into several categories. Your first task is to narrow down your choices by choosing which category you want to explore.

Each of these categories offers a stepping off point from which you can share a personal experience. If you have no idea where to begin, reflecting on these main categories is a great place to start. You can pick and choose what you feel comfortable sharing with your readers. This list is not exclusive—there are other areas of your life you can explore. These are just some of the biggies.

As you explore categories, think about which one would be the best fit for your assignment. Which category do you have the strongest ideas for? Which types of stories do you tell the best?

These categories include:

Travel and Adventure

Friends and Relationships

Experiences and Defining Moments

My Favorite Things

Ethics and Values

Once you’ve selected a category, it’s time to see which topic piques your interest and might intrigue your audience as well. These topics are all a natural fit for a story arc, which is a central part of a narrative essay.

Childhood Tales

Writing about your childhood can be a great choice for a narrative essay. We are growing and learning during this delicate and often awkward time. Sharing these moments can be funny, endearing, and emotional. Most people can relate to childhood events because we have all survived it somehow!

A childhood experience that defined who I am today

A childhood experience that made me grow up quickly

My best/worst childhood memory

My favorite childhood things (games, activities, stories, fairy tales, TV shows, etc.)

What I remember most about my childhood

How I used to celebrate holidays/birthdays

My best/worst holiday/birthday memory

What I used to believe was true

The oldest memory I have

The most valuable possession from my childhood

What I would tell my younger self

What my friends were like when I was younger

Educational Background

Your educational experience offers a wealth of ideas for an essay. How you’ve learned and have been inspired can help others be inspired too. Although we were all educated in one way or another, your educational experience is uniquely your own to share.

First day of school/junior high/high school/college

First/most memorable school event

My favorite/worst school years

My favorite/worst teachers

My favorite/worst school subjects

What recess was like for me

My experiences in the school cafeteria

How I succeeded/failed in certain classes

Life as a student (elementary, junior high, high school, college)

The best/worst assignment I ever completed for a class

Why I chose my college

First novel I read for school

First speech I had to give

Travel and Adventure

People love to read about adventures. Sharing your travel stories transports your reader to a different place. And we get to see it through your eyes and unique perspective. Writing about travel experiences can allow your passion for diving into the world shine through.

My first time traveling alone

My first time traveling out of the country

The place I travel where I feel most at home

My favorite/worst travel experience

The time I spent living in a hostel/RV

The time I spent backpacking around a country

Traveling with friends/family/significant other

Best/worst family vacation

Most memorable travel experience ever

Places I want to visit

Why I cruise/climb mountains/camp/fly/drive

Trying to speak another language

How I prefer to travel

How I pack to travel


The good, the bad, and the ugly. We all have family stories that range from jubilantly happy and hilarious to sad and more serious. Writing about family can show your reader about who you are and where you come from.

Family traditions that you enjoy/dislike

What your parents/siblings are like

What your family members (mom, dad, grandparents, siblings, etc.) have taught you

What being the oldest/youngest/middle/only child was like

Family members who made the most impact on your life

Most memorable day with a family member

How a pet changed my family’s life/my life

Friends and Relationships

Friends, enemies, and loved ones come in and out of our lives for a reason. And they provide great material for writing. If relationships exist to teach you something, what have you learned? Writing about those you’ve connected with demonstrates how others have influenced your life.

My most important relationship

How I work on my relationships

What I value in my relationships

My first love/relationship/breakup

Losing/Gaining a close friend

How my friendships have changed/evolved

The person I’m afraid of losing the most

How technology has affected my relationships

The worst argument I’ve had with someone

What happened when I was rejected

Experiences and Defining Moments

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. sharing your best times and sharing your worst times can make great stories. These highs and lows can be emotional, funny, and thought-provoking.

The event that most defines who I am today

The best/worst day of my life

The most embarrassing/frightening moment of my life

A moment that taught me something

A moment where I succeeded/failed

A time when I was hurt (physically or emotionally)

A time when I gave up hope

An experience when I had to overcome challenges (fear, intimidation, rejection, etc.)

My greatest accomplishment

The time I learned to accept/love/be okay with myself

The most difficult time in my life

The toughest thing I’ve ever done

My first time surviving something alone

My Favorite Things

Explaining to others what you love and why can really paint a picture of who you are and what you value. It’s important to note that simply sharing a favorite isn’t a very deep topic. However, you can take this topic deeper by expressing how this favorite has impressed you, inspired you, and affected your life.

My favorite author/poet/playwright

My favorite movie/book/song/play/character

My favorite actor/actress/director

My favorite singer/musician

What I like to do to relax

My favorite activities/games/sports

How I handle stress and tough times

Why I dance/sing/write/journal/play sports/bake

Ethics and Values

Where you stand on deep issues tells a lot about you. Taking a stance and explaining your opinion on tough topics reveals some insight into your ethical reasoning.

The most difficult decision I have made

How I treat people/strangers

A time I faced a moral/ethical dilemma

A decision I regret

A lie I have told

When I rebelled against someone in authority

My most important life rule

The principle I always live by

Situational prompts allow you to step out of your past and picture a different future. If digging into your past experiences seems scary and intimidating, then look to your future. What you imagine can be insightful about your life and where you see yourself heading.

If I had a million dollars.

If I were famous.

If I could change history.

If I had no fear.

If I could change one thing about myself.

If I had one extra hour a day.

If I could see the future.

If I could change the world.

If I could have one do-over in life.

Writing a narrative essay can seem daunting at first. Sharing a bit of yourself with the world is a scary thing sometimes. Choosing the right topic, however, can make the process much smoother and easier.

Writing a narrative essay can be intimidating, but choosing the right topic can make the process much easier for you.

Browsing through topic ideas can inspire you to pick a topic you feel you can tell a story about and that can take up a full essay. Once you have a quality story to tell, the rest of the pieces will fall into place.

50 Narrative Essay Topics

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but a narrative essay can also tell an exciting story and create vivid pictures in the reader’s mind! We’ve got 50 narrative essay topics designed to prompt students to craft memorable written narratives. These can be modified for students in elementary, middle and high school. Feel free to print the entire narrative essay topics list for plenty of inspiration for your next narrative essay assignment!