To write a narrative essay, you’ll need to tell a story (usually about something that happened to you) in such a way that he audience learns a lesson or gains insight.
To write a descriptive essay, you’ll need to describe a person, object, or event so vividly that the reader feels like he/she could reach out and touch it.
Tips for writing effective narrative and descriptive essays:
- Tell a story about a moment or event that means a lot to you--it will make it easier for you to tell the story in an interesting way!
- Get right to the action! Avoid long introductions and lengthy descriptions--especially at the beginning of your narrative.
- Make sure your story has a point! Describe what you learned from this experience.
- Use all five of your senses to describe the setting, characters, and the plot of your story. Don't be afraid to tell the story in your own voice. Nobody wants to read a story that sounds like a textbook!
How to Write Vivid Descriptions
Having trouble describing a person, object, or event for your narrative or descriptive essay? Try filling out this chart:
What do you smell?
What do you taste?
What do you see?
What do you hear?
What might you touch or feel?
Remember: Avoid simply telling us what something looks like--tell us how it tastes, smells, sounds, or feels!
- Virginia rain smells different from a California drizzle.
- A mountain breeze feels different from a sea breeze.
- We hear different things in one spot, depending on the time of day.
- You can “taste” things you’ve never eaten: how would sunscreen taste?
Using Concrete Details for Narratives
Effective narrative essays allow readers to visualize everything that's happening, in their minds. One way to make sure that this occurs is to use concrete, rather than abstract, details.
…makes the story or image seem clearer and more real to us.
...makes the story or image difficult to visualize.
…gives us information that we can easily grasp and perhaps empathize with.
…leaves your reader feeling empty, disconnected, and possibly confused.
The word “abstract” might remind you of modern art. An abstract painting, for example, does not normally contain recognizable objects. In other words, we can't look at the painting and immediately say "that's a house" or "that's a bowl of fruit." To the untrained eye, abstract art looks a bit like a child's finger-painting--just brightly colored splotches on a canvas.
Avoid abstract language—it won’t help the reader understand what you're trying to say!
Abstract: It was a nice day.
Concrete: The sun was shining and a slight breeze blew across my face.
Abstract: I liked writing poems, not essays.
Concrete: I liked writing short, rhythmic poems and hated rambling on about my thoughts in those four-page essays.
Abstract: Mr. Smith was a great teacher.
Concrete: Mr. Smith really knew how to help us turn our thoughts into good stories and essays.
Sample Papers - Narration
Sample Papers - Descriptive
When your teacher assigns you with a narrative essay, you might think that you have to bare your soul to the public. Who would like that task? However, we are going to give you one hint: if you don’t want to narrate something personal to others, just make up a story. In this article, you’ll find a list of narrative essay topics that hopefully will inspire you to write your paper. When choosing one, it’s better to be oriented toward a topic that you are able to reveal better. For example, if something very rare such as surviving during a natural disaster happen to you, you should write about it.
Our narrative essay topics that you are going to investigate are divided into four sections – the success story, personal development, resolving the problem, and traveling. When elaborating topics for a narrative essay, we tried to follow readers’ preferences. This means that we made research on what themes are interesting for students. Even if you don’t like the exact wording of the points from our list, you can rewrite them in the way you like more.
Many teachers now don’t give the exact topics because they want you to have more choice. Therefore, you have to look for good narrative essay topics on your own. Try to look for them on reliable sources such as ours. Below, you’ll find 34 easy narrative essay topics for high school students. When completing your narrative essay, take into consideration that it should have a theme. Don’t write just for writing – deliver a certain idea to the reader. Your text should also contain plot, characters, and other components of narration. Be quick to get acquainted with the items below – we wish you to reach your academic ambitions!
The Success Story
- Describe your very first memories. Why do you think you memorized this exact part of your life?
- Did you ever rescue someone from serious injuries? Have you received acknowledgments?
- Tell about the best surprise you prepared for someone of your closest friends or relatives.
- What was the most significant event of a national scale you ever observed or participated in?
- Depict the funniest thing that you were involved in – whether being an active participant or just an observer.
- Describe the day when you just felt happy. Was it about things you were doing, people you were with or just the way you felt?
- What was the luckiest day of your life? What other factors besides luck aided you to get what you wanted?
- What was the most altruistic thing you’ve ever done? Do people whom your actions were directed towards know about what you did?
- Describe a situation in which you acted in a way you didn’t expect from yourself. What were you supposed to do according to your self-perception?
- Have you ever violated your moral principles because of pressure from a certain social group?
- Tell about the first crush on someone from your childhood or early school years. Has this experience influenced your self-esteem?
- Describe the day you understood you were not a child anymore.
- Did you ever regret about not doing or saying something? Would you react another way if this would happen to you now?
- Did you experience a decision that was taken despite your conflicting moral principles? What forced you into doing it that way?
- Tell about the strangest person you met, how it occurred, and why that person appeared weird to you. Would you like to make friends with such people?
- Depict a positive experience of following someone’s advice. How did this experience change your attitude towards taking recommendations from others?
- Tell about the largest disappointment you had. Would you be frustrated about that incident if it was taking place now?
Resolving the Problem
- Describe the most embarrassing experience which occurred to you at school and the way it influenced your relationships with classmates.
- Tell about the toughest fight with a friend. How have you succeeded to reconcile the conflict?
- Depict a dangerous situation you experienced. Would you change the way you acted in that situation if you could? How?
- Have you been bullied by someone? What steps did you take to reduce the bully’s hostility towards you?
- Have you been at risk to miss a very important event in your life? How did you manage to be present at it?
- Tell about something you made to follow your dream or desire despite the decrying of others. Did it really help you to come closer to your dream coming true?
- Have you felt extremely proud of yourself? Tell how it happened and about what you think can make you feel that way again.
- What was the most frightening experience you have had? How did you survive it? Do you try to avoid similar situations now, or do you not feel fear about it anymore?
- Describe circumstances in which your reputation was at risk. How did you succeed to solve the issue?
- Did you make someone change their position about something crucial? Do you think you acted correctly? Should you let a person stay with his or her own beliefs?
- Tell a story about your first experience of traveling without parents. How did you feel being on your own?
- Have you ever missed a plane, train, or bus? What did you do and what did that situation teach you?
- What did your first trip to a village or city (depending on where you live) teach you? Would you visit that place again or even move there?
- Describe the journey you liked the most in you life. What was the key factor which influenced your decision to consider that trip as the best one?
- When you were traveling, something went wrong. Narrate the story. Can you omit being in that situation?
- Did you meet new friends while traveling in a funny way? Share your experience.
- What impressed you the most the first time you traveled abroad? Were you surprised with some traditions of other cultures?