A Manual on How to Come up with Narrative and Descriptive Essay Topics

Two types of essays you will likely be asked to write many of are narrative and descriptive essays. Here’s a practical guide on how to approach picking a topic for each of these essay categories.

When it comes to descriptive essays, many students make the mistake of only focusing on one sense—sight. But in order to make your essay more interesting, you’ll need go beyond the appeal of the eyes, and also focus on other aspects.

Generate interest

A good descriptive essay should be written with the aim of keeping the reader interested. Try to make a point of outlining your essay with compelling sentences before you come up with the actual topic. If it takes a little more time to think one up, so be it.

Engaging the senses

If you just focus on the sense of sight, your descriptive essay will start to sound monotonous very fast. Engage other senses like smell and taste. Consider writing a descriptive essay about a dish, which will engage all five senses—as cooking usually does.

Beyond the naked eye

How about describing something that we don’t see every day? Microscopes, telescopes, and x-rays allow us to see objects that would otherwise escape our view. Opting for a topic like this will make your essay stand out.

Narrative essays are stories that should encompass mystery, intrigue, and excitement. Planning a narrative essay is essential in making it a good one.

Being able to plot your topic

Plot is everything in a narrative essay. There has to be a reason behind what’s happening; motivation for the characters; and a twist at the end to add some spice. Good plots come from real life situations (hence the phrase, “truth is stranger than fiction”), so just take something odd or unexpected that’s happened to you and transform it into a good topic for your narrative essay.

Consider the climax

When thinking up your topic for a narrative essay, be sure to ask yourself if there’s potential for a good climax. A narrative essay without a climax is like a boiled egg without salt.

Developing your characters

Your topic should hint about who your characters are and what they will go through in your story. Consider a topic where there’s lots of potential to develop the main character and his or her reaction to the rest of your “cast”.