Narrative Essay: Definition and Sample Topics

While writing a narrative essay, imagine yourself as a real writer. You get to talk about your experiences and tell an interesting, sad, or funny story that is memorable to you. In a narrative essay, details play a great role as one of the goals is to paint a picture for the reader with your own words. It is better to pick a story that you remember very well and capable of noting the smallest details. Some great ideas for your essay topic are:

  • Animal rights and how they are violated in modern society
  • Legal drinking ages around the world
  • What does it mean to be patriotic in different cultures?
  • Sexual harassment in the workplace
  • Doctor negligence and its consequences
  • Hate crimes and what should be done about them
  • The pros and cons of online retail
  • How intelligence tests segregate society
  • Plagiarism and academic honesty
  • Sources of alternative energy
  • Ocean pollution and ways to prevent it
  • Pesticides and how they influence us
  • Is the population control a solution for global warming?
  • Endangered species and their conservation
  • Divorce rates among young couples
  • Family values and their role in a person’s life
  • Alternative medicine vs. traditional medicine
  • Importance of sleep for a healthy life
  • Stem cell research
  • Body positivity for teenagers

A narrative essay is one of the most commonly assigned forms of academic writing. Starting from school, students of various educational facilities face this type of task quite often, which is why knowing how to handle it is vital for their success.

The main purpose of the narrative style of writing is to tell a compelling story. It doesn’t sound like too big of a deal, right? You couldn’t be more wrong. Even if it might seem easy at first sight, telling an engaging story can be rather challenging. To help you overcome this challenge, our writers have compiled a comprehensive guide on how to write a narrative essay step by step.

What Is a Narrative Essay?

A narrative essay is a form of academic writing that aims to tell a story. As the author, your goal is to create the right atmosphere and a lifelike experience for your readers.

As a rule, this type of paper is written from the first person perspective. You have to put readers at the epicenter of the plot and keep them engaged. To do this, and to ensure the right atmosphere, narrative writing uses plenty of vivid details, descriptive techniques, etc.

The biggest challenge in writing a narrative essay is that it is always limited in length. Thus, your task is to take a complex story and narrow it down to incorporate its key points to fit into a short essay, while at the same time providing enough detail to keep readers engaged.

Purpose of a Narrative Essay

This form of writing is all about sharing stories—that’s the key purpose. As a writer, your task is to tell readers about a real-life experience and, at the same time, to make a clear point of why you are telling that particular story and why it matters.

What makes it different from other types of essays? In a narrative essay, all you do is guide readers through the story; you don’t make arguments, criticize, or attempt to persuade them. You are just telling a story, letting readers draw their own conclusions. That’s the most distinctive feature of such papers.

Types of Narrative Essays

There are two types of essay to be put into narrative form:

Descriptive Nerrative Essay

This is the most creative form of this task. The main goal of a descriptive narrative essay is to describe an experience, situation, or memory using vivid details. “Show, don’t tell” is the main credo of writing a descriptive narrative paper. The author’s goal is to evoke the readers’ different senses and paint a clear picture of an event.

A well-written descriptive narrative paper is usually straightforward. It takes a complicated story and narrows it down—allowing the reader to infer the rest. Great writers avoid over-exaggeration and stick to their purpose. There are always some limits to the amount of content you can provide to your readers; keep this in mind when choosing what to include in your work.

Autobiographical

This form of task requires you to share a true story that took place throughout your life. Note that this type of assignment should focus on one specific event. Unlike a descriptive essay, an autobiographical one places a bigger focus on the story itself and its purpose, not details.

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