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Narrative Essay Topic Checklist

Answer prompts below to determine whether the event you want to write about will make a good narrative essay topic.


Describe the event in two sentences or fewer.


An interesting story generally develops around one of the four conflict types shown below:

  • Self v. Another Person (You v. a cyber-bully; you v. your best friend who’s competing for the same job opening)
  • Self v. Self (Your ambition to become an aviator v. your fear of math skills required for pilot’s license; your conscience v. desire for making easy money with a Ponzi scheme)
  • Self v. Force of Nature (Your survival v. a grizzly bear encountered on a hike; your completion of marathon v. pain from sprained ankle)
  • Self v. Society (Your right to keep beloved pitbull v. community ordinance prohibiting pitbull ownership; your freedom to ride your motorcycle without a helmet v. Missouri helmet law)
  1. Identify the type of conflict (“Self v. ___”) central to your narrative.
  1. Describe the specific conflict (See above examples in parentheses) central to your narrative in a short phrase or sentence.


  1. Which side won the conflict?

  1. In no more than two sentences, describe the moment when one side wins over the other.


In one or two sentences, describe the major change in the way you think or feel about yourself, other people or some aspect of life as a result of this event:

Before this experience, I would describe my attitude/perspective toward………. as……

As a result of this experience, my attitude/perspective is now:

Did you respond to all five prompts? Terrific! The event you want to write about has passed the test for a good narrative essay topic. Now, go forth and write your narrative essay!

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