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How To Pick Up Narrative Essay Topics About Life: Practical Tips

Narrative essays about life speak to the heart of human communications: Telling a story. But though there may be an infinite number of stories to tell, not all will grip your audience, and marshal them through excitement, intrigue, anxiety, and even redemption. To do that, add some key ingredients to from our practical list of tips to your narrative essay.

Start personal

To write a truly moving narrative essay about life, start with your own experience. That will not only give you the barebones of the structure, leaving you with an anchor, it will bring authenticity to the tale that always engages readers more deeply, and is extremely hard to simulate. So spend some time to brainstorm your personal experiences that leap to mind.

The Hollywood pitch

From your list of life experiences that have come to mind, spend a few moments creating “Hollywood pitch lines” for each. That’s just a few words that gives a sense of the feelings that the story will evoke, and captures the artistic style of how the emotions will be accessed. For example, is your story a comedy, or a drama, or a romance? Is it light-hearted, fun, serious, or even documentary? You can even think of famous films and relate them in that way: Think, “Like that film but set somewhere else and run through with black comedy”.

The Hollywood treatment

Though many films are “based on a true story” or “real life”, those narratives are reworked to highlight different aspects, accentuate dramatic turns, filter out extraneous details, and more clear explore themes and ideas. The precise treatment you need to give will depend on your ideas around the different pitches above. So run through a few of your pitch ideas and explore how different aspects would be handled to make each pitch work best. Chances are, one of your ideas will clearly come to the fore and excite you, so…

Write an outline!

With your momentum, jot down a quick outline of your topic. There’s a great chance that even just a few keywords, themes, or bullet points will give you enough clarity that the topic works for you. If it doesn’t, don’t worry! Take a few minutes break, and return to any of the previous steps where you’re comfortable (even step one) and run through a few more ideas. You’ll quickly find a wide range of topics that have “real meat” on them—that aren’t bland and generic—and so will be compelling to your essay readers.