Writing Prompts: Narrative Essay

Choose one of the following topics to write your own narrative essay.  The topic you decide on should be something you care about, and the narration should be a means of communicating an idea that ties to the essay’s theme. Remember in this essay, the narration is not an end in itself.


  1. Gaining independence
  2. A friend’s sacrifice
  3. A significant trip with your family
  4. A wedding or a funeral
  5. A incident from family legend


  1. A storm, a flood, an earthquake, or another natural event
  2. A school event
  3. The most important minutes of a sporting event


  1. A time you confronted authority
  2. A time you had to deliver bad news
  3. Your biggest social blunder


  1. Your first day of school
  2. The first performance you gave
  3. A first date

Writing Your Narrative Essay

To get started writing your essay:

  1. Review “What is an Essay?”
  2. Take time to review possible subjects
  3. Use prewriting to help you narrow your topic to one experience.

Remember that “story starters” are everywhere. Think about it—status updates on social media websites can be a good place to start. You may have already started a “note”on Facebook, and now is your chance to develop that idea into a full narrative. If you keep a journal or diary, a simple event may unfold into a narrative. Simply said, your stories may be closer than you think!

When drafting your essay:

  1. Develop an enticing title – although don’t let yourself get stuck on the title. A great title might suggest itself after you’ve begun the prewriting and drafting processes.
  2. Use the introduction to establish the situation the essay will address.
  3. Avoid addressing the assignment directly. (For example, don’t write “I am going to write about my most significant experience,” because this takes the fun out of reading the work!)
  4. Think of things said at the moment this experience started for you—perhaps use a quote, or an interesting part of the experience that will grab the reader.
  5. Let the story reflect your own voice. (Is your voice serious? Humorous? Matter-of-fact?)
  6. Organize the essay in a way that
    • Establishes the situation [introduction];
    • Introduces the complication(s) [body]; and
    • States the lesson you learned [conclusion]
  7. To avoid just telling what happens, make sure your essay takes time to reflect on why this experience is significant.