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student opinion

550 Prompts for Narrative and Personal Writing

Questions that invite students to tell stories, describe memories, make observations, imagine possibilities, and reflect on who they are and what they believe.

personal narrative writing prompts for adults

By The Learning Network

Update, Sept. 9, 2022: We published a new collection of 445 narrative and personal writing prompts.

We’ve been posting fresh writing prompts every school day for over a decade now, and every so often we create a themed collection like this one to help you find what you need all in one place.

This fall, in honor of our new narrative-writing unit and our first-ever Personal Narrative Essay Contest for teenagers, we’ve rounded up 550 evergreen questions on everything from family, friendships and growing up to gender, spirituality, money, school, sports, social media, travel, dating, food, health and more. (They’re also all available here as a PDF .)

We hope they’ll inspire you, whether you’re entering our related contest or just want to improve your writing skills. Like all our Student Opinion questions , each links to a related Times article, which is free to read if you access it from our site.

So dive in and pick the questions that most inspire you to tell an interesting story, describe a memorable event, observe the details in your world, imagine a possibility, or reflect on who you are and what you believe.

Overcoming Adversity

1. How Resilient Are You? 2. What Do You Do When You Encounter Obstacles to Success? 3. When Have You Failed? What Did You Learn From It? 4. Have You Ever Felt Like an Outsider? 5. What Are Your Secret Survival Strategies? 6. When Have You Reinvented Yourself? 7. How Often Do You Leave Your ‘Comfort Zone’? 8. When Was the Last Time You Did Something That Scared or Challenged You? 9. How Do You Handle Fear? 10. What Do You Gain From Pursuing Something You Do Really, Really Badly? 11. Do You Give Yourself Enough Credit for Your Own Successes? 12. How Often Do You Cry? 13. How Do You Cope With Grief? 14. How Have You Handled Being the ‘New Kid’? 15. How Do You Deal With Haters? 16. How Do You React When Provoked? 17. Does Stress Affect Your Ability to Make Good Decisions? 18. Are You Too Hard on Yourself? 19. How Do You Find Peace in Your Life? 20. Does Your Life Leave You Enough Time to Relax? 21. What Did You Once Hate but Now Like? 22. Do Adults Who Are ‘Only Trying to Help’ Sometimes Make Things Worse? 23. How Well Do You Take Criticism?

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Authority Self-Publishing

125 Awesomely Clever Narrative Writing Prompts

From the time you learn how to talk, you have stories to tell.

Faced with a classroom writing assignment, though, you can feel the fog rolling in, hiding all your best personal narrative ideas. 

To clear that fog, sometimes, all you need are some simple questions to get started, which is why so many of the personal narrative prompts in this post include them. 

You’ll find the prompts grouped by theme to make your search for ideas easier. 

What Are Narrative Prompts? 

Childhood narrative prompts, growing pains narrative prompts, overcoming adversity narrative prompts, parents and family narrative prompts, dating and friendship narrative prompts, food and drink narrative prompts, school or education narrative prompts, jobs and career narrative prompts, morality and religion writing prompts, personality narrative prompts, fun narrative writing prompts, how to use narrative writing prompts to improve your writing.

Narrative prompts get you started telling parts of your own story . You won’t tell it all at once, but what you share in each narrative will answer a question or expand on an idea. And your readers will have a better idea of who you are and how you think. 

Here are some possible sources for personal narrative questions: 

  • Dating questions
  • Relationship questions
  • Job interview questions
  • “Never have I ever” questions
  • “Would you rather” questions

So, if you’re wondering, “What are good personal narrative topics?” think of the questions you’ve been asked that got you writing so quickly your fingers could barely keep up. 

The following list should jog some memories and provide new ideas for a personal narrative you’ll be happy to share. 

125 Narrative Writing Prompts 

Look through each category of prompts for the personal narrative topics that trigger a stream of thoughts in your mind. Jot down your ideas as they come. 

What’s your favorite memory from childhood? What impression did it make?

What’s an important memory you only know from others who remember it?

What places from your childhood do you remember most fondly? 

Did you have an imaginary friend (or friends)? What were they like?

What was the best gift you remember receiving as a child? Why was it the best?

What were your favorite childhood shows, movies, or games? 

typing on laptop at a cafe narrative writing prompts

Did you ever have a moment in the spotlight? What was it, and did you enjoy it? 

What people do you remember most fondly, and when did you last see them?

What actor would play you in a movie based on your life, and why? 

What objects tell the story of what you were like as a child? 

What was your most precious childhood possession, and why? 

Have you ever had to deal with a bully? What did you do?

What have you learned from people of different generations or backgrounds? 

What do older generations not understand about yours? How is your life different?

What’s your most embarrassing memory from your teenage years? 

What’s your proudest memory from your teenage years, and why?

What was the hardest thing about going through puberty?

When was the first time you asked someone out, and how did it go?

When was the first time someone asked you out (or to a dance)? What did you say?

Did you ever try something you wish you hadn’t? What happened? 

What did you learn to be grateful for in your teenage years? 

What habit/s did you pick up as a teen that helped you along the way?

Have you had to overcome a childhood disease or injury? 

Did you lose someone to disease, a tragic accident, or natural causes?

Were you born with a visible, physical challenge that affected your childhood?

Were you born with an invisible health challenge that affected your childhood?

Have you struggled with a mental health challenge that has affected your life ? 

Have you had to undergo extensive medical treatment for a health problem? 

Have you needed special accommodations in school, work, etc.? Describe them.

Have you experienced discrimination because of gender, race, sexual orientation…?

What are your favorite survival or coping strategies for stress, anxiety, poverty…? 

Has financial stress affected your educational, career, or relationship prospects? 

What challenges have you overcome? How have you responded to them?

Describe your parents or guardians and their parenting styles? 

Describe a favorite memory about growing up with your family? 

Are you close to your parents and/or siblings? Are any estranged from you?

What is your racial or ethnic identity, and did your family share that with you?

How have you paid tribute to loved ones you’ve lost? 

typing on laptop narrative writing prompts

To which family members did you feel closest growing up? Are you still close?

What hobbies did you pick up from your family? Which do you still have?

How did your family celebrate birthdays or holidays when you were growing up?

If you have in-laws, what is your relationship with them? Are you close with any?

Whom do you trust in your family, and whom do you keep at arm’s length? 

Do you talk to your parents (or siblings) about politics or religion? Why or why not?

How, when, and where did you meet your first love ? 

How, when, and where did you meet your first BFF and become friends?

Who were your best childhood friends, and what did you do together?

Have you ever wanted a friend to be more than that? Did you tell them?

Have you ever lost a friend who wanted to belong to a popular group? 

Have you ever had to put an end to a one-sided friendship? 

Have you ever had to break off a relationship with a toxic person? 

When have you told a lie of omission, and how did it affect your relationship?

Has anyone ever spread an unkind rumor about you? What did you do about it?

Have you ever been betrayed by a friend or family member? 

When was the last date you had that left you thinking, “More, please”? 

What were your favorite foods growing up, and how often could you have them?

What did you usually drink at home, and do you still drink them?

What did you like as a child that you don’t like now? 

What did you dislike as a child that you like now? 

What is a favorite food splurge, and what do you love about it?

How often do you cook for yourself, and what foods do you usually make? 

How often do you cook for others, and what’s the best meal you’ve prepared? 

Did you have a favorite birthday dinner or celebratory meal growing up?

What place did alcohol have in your family life, and how did that affect you?

What is your favorite baked good, and who makes the best?

When have you changed your food choices based on something you learned? 

More Related Articles:

66 Horror Writing Prompts That Are Freaky As Hell

23 Things to Write About For Your Next Nonfiction Book

61 Fantasy Writing Prompts To Stoke Your Creativity

11 Of The Best Writing Prompts Books

Who were your favorite teachers in elementary school? 

When you graduated high school, what did you want to study in college? 

Did you go to college, and what do you remember most about your first year?

When and how did you learn to manage your money? 

Could students at your high school talk openly about mental health challenges?

How have Health and Phy Ed classes influenced your body image? 

How have Health and Phy Ed classes influenced your attitude toward exercise?

What did you like most or least about the high school you attended? 

How did your school’s bullying policy affect you or someone you care about?

Have you ever acted on a dare to earn the respect or admiration of classmates? 

When did it hit home for you how different life is for poor vs. rich people?

When you were in grade school, what did you want to be when you grew up?

What was your first job? How did you get it, and how old were you?

Did you get a job in your chosen field right out of college? If so, how and when?

Do you have a life calling? And if so, is your current job part of it?

What do you hope to be doing within a year of graduating college? 

man writing on table narrative writing prompts

What have you made yourself? And does it relate to your chosen career or calling?

What would you do or create if you had all the funding you could possibly need? 

Would you rather work from home or in an office?

Would you rather work as a supervisor, a team member, or a connected hermit? 

What have you done to earn money? And what is your favorite way to do so?

Do you have (or think you will have) a career or job you love? 

What did you believe as a minor that you no longer believe? 

What did you not believe as a minor that you do believe now?

What role does religion play in your life (if any)? Has it ever (not) played a role?

How important is it that your life partner share your religious beliefs? Why?

What ethical or moral dilemmas have you faced? How did you respond?

Have you ever given money to a stranger who asked for it? 

Have you ever “paid it forward”? Or has anyone helped you to pay it forward?

How comfortable are you with lying? When have you told a lie and not regretted it?

How do your religious or spiritual beliefs differ from your parents/guardians?

Have you ever looked up to a religious leader only to be disappointed by them? 

How would you sum up your view of the afterlife — or your life’s purpose?

What do you think are the biggest strengths of your personality? 

What do you think are your greatest weaknesses?

When did you learn you’re an introvert or an extravert? 

Is your best friend an introvert or an extravert? 

What personality traits do you admire in other people? 

What personality traits have gotten you into trouble in the past? 

sitting on the floor while typing on laptop

What role does procrastination play in your life? 

What is your personal credo or mantra? When or how did you choose it?

When faced with a problem, do you rely more on your head or your heart?

How do you respond to criticism? When have you responded badly?

What motivates you? Are you driven, or do you just go with the flow?

How productive or organized are you? How does your workspace look? 

What would happen if you discovered a hidden door in your bedroom that led to a magical world?

Imagine you could swap lives with your favorite celebrity for a day. How would you spend your time in their shoes?

If you could travel back in time and witness any historical event, which one would you choose and why?

You wake up one morning to find that you have the ability to read minds. How do you use this newfound power?

What if you discovered that your pet could talk? What kind of conversations would you have?

Suppose you found a genie in a bottle who granted you three wishes. What would you wish for and why?

You stumble upon a mysterious old book in a library. When you open it, you’re transported into the story. What happens next?

If you could create your own superhero, what powers would they have, and how would they use them to save the world?

Imagine you’re stranded on a deserted island with only one object of your choice. What would you bring, and how would it help you survive?

You receive an invitation to attend a secret society’s meeting. What happens when you arrive?

What if you could live in any fictional world from a book or movie? Which one would you choose, and what adventures would you have?

Suppose you had the power to invisibility for a day. How would you use this ability?

You discover a mysterious key that can unlock any door. Where would you go, and what would you discover?

Imagine you’re given the opportunity to create your own country. What would you name it, and what laws would you establish?

These narrative prompts are an excellent tool for enhancing your storytelling skills and sparking your creativity. They provide a starting point for your writing journey and encourage you to explore new ideas, characters, and plot lines. 

By incorporating prompts into your writing routine, you will unlock your imagination and develop your writing abilities. Try these ways to use narrative writing prompts effectively:

  • Use prompts as a warm-up exercise to get your creative juices flowing before diving into your main writing project
  • Challenge yourself to write short stories or flash fiction based on the prompts to practice concise storytelling
  • Expand on a prompt to create a longer piece, such as a novella or novel, by developing the characters, world-building, and plot
  • Incorporate elements from multiple prompts to create a unique and complex story
  • Share your prompt-inspired stories with fellow writers or in writing workshops to receive constructive feedback and improve your craft

By regularly engaging with narrative writing prompts, you’ll find your writing skills growing and your creativity flourishing.

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Daily Inspiration: 365 Writing Prompts for Personal Narratives

By: Author Paul Jenkins

Posted on September 5, 2023

Categories Writing

You’ve got a story itching to be told, but you’re not sure where to start. That’s where we step in!

This article guides you through creating compelling prompts for personal narratives. You’ll learn how to unearth ideas, structure your narrative, and polish your writing skills.

Get ready to turn life’s fleeting moments into timeless tales that captivate audiences. Start exploring now – who knows what incredible stories you’ll uncover?

Key Takeaways

  • Understanding the structure of a personal narrative is important.
  • Dig deep within oneself for narrative ideas and emphasize emotional connections.
  • Customize prompts to resonate with individual stories and use vibrant language to inspire reflection.
  • Explore different narrative perspectives, enhance emotional impact, and make the words pulse with life to engage the audience.

365 Writing Prompts for Personal Narratives

Here are 365 writing prompts to inspire personal narratives:

  • Write about a vivid childhood memory.
  • Describe your first day of school.
  • Write about a time you got lost.
  • Describe a family tradition or holiday celebration.
  • Write about an embarrassing moment.
  • Describe a time you overcame a fear.
  • Write about your first job or work experience.
  • Describe a teacher who influenced you.
  • Write about a difficult decision you had to make.
  • Describe a major accomplishment.
  • Write about a time you failed at something. What did you learn?
  • Describe a place that is special to you. Why?
  • Write about a possession that is important to you. Why?
  • Describe a memorable experience with a friend.
  • Write about a time you stood up for someone else.
  • Write about a difficult challenge you faced.
  • Describe your favorite childhood toy.
  • Write about an experience that changed your perspective.
  • Describe a time you felt out of place. Why?
  • Write about a risk you took.
  • Describe a memorable trip or vacation.
  • Write about a time you learned a lesson the hard way.
  • Describe a fight or conflict you witnessed.
  • Write about a time you felt jealous or envious.
  • Describe an act of heroism you witnessed.
  • Write about a time luck or chance played a role in your life.
  • Describe a time you experienced culture shock.
  • Write about a difficult or uncomfortable family situation.
  • Describe a teacher who had an impact on you, good or bad.
  • Write about a time you felt proud of yourself or someone else.
  • Describe a memorable experience involving animals or pets.
  • Write about a time you experienced a moment of clarity or epiphany.
  • Describe a time you learned something unexpectedly.
  • Write about a major turning point in your life.
  • Describe a memorable meal you had. Why was it memorable?
  • Write about a time you overcame homesickness.
  • Describe a sports triumph or defeat.
  • Write about a time you were unfairly punished or blamed.
  • Describe a time you felt remorse or regret.
  • Write about a situation in which you misjudged someone initially.
  • Describe a time you got lost in a new or unfamiliar place. How did you handle it?
  • Write about a strange coincidence that occurred in your life.
  • Describe a memorable neighbors or childhood friend.
  • Write about a time you had to adapt to a new country or culture.
  • Describe a favorite hiding spot you had as a child. Why was it special?
  • Write about a struggle adjusting to a new school.
  • Describe a time you felt like an outsider. Why?
  • Write about a scary or disturbing movie scene or story. Why did it affect you?
  • Describe a memorable birthday or celebration.
  • Write about a person who affected your view of the world, for better or worse.
  • Describe a time you experienced unexplained or paranormal phenomena.
  • Write about an accomplishment that took years of practice or effort.
  • Describe a difficult journey you went on. Why was it memorable?
  • Write about a time you got blamed unfairly by someone else. How did you respond?
  • Describe a significant risk that paid off.
  • Write about a time you behaved unethically. What did you learn from it?
  • Describe a memorable weekend or trip with friends.
  • Write about a time you felt homesick. What did you miss the most?
  • Describe your first experience with death or loss. How did it affect you?
  • Write about an experience that left you disillusioned or disappointed.
  • Describe a time you got lost on your way to an event or place. What happened?
  • Write about a gift that had deep meaning or significance.
  • Describe an experience where you misjudged a dangerous situation or person.
  • Write about a time you felt really scared by something. What happened?
  • Describe a memorable experience involving music, concerts, or bands.
  • Write about an achievement you worked hard for.
  • Describe a time you failed or made a big mistake. What lesson did you learn?
  • Write about a person who shaped or influenced your identity.
  • Describe a time you took a risk that didn’t turn out as expected.
  • Write about a time you felt guilt or shame. Why?
  • Describe a memorable experience you had while traveling.
  • Write about an experience that changed your perspective on life.
  • Describe a time you stood up to injustice or fought for a cause.
  • Write about a person who had a big impact on who you are today.
  • Describe a childhood event that shaped your personality and identity.
  • Write about a difficult period or circumstance in your life. How did you get through it?
  • Describe a time you felt overwhelmed by something. How did you handle it?
  • Write about an accomplishment that took years of practice or effort to achieve.
  • Describe a memorable act of kindness or generosity you witnessed or received.
  • Write about an experience where you gained new wisdom or perspective.
  • Describe a time you had to be brave or courageous. What did you learn?
  • Write about a childhood dream you had back then. Did it come true?
  • Describe a situation where you had to adapt to an unfamiliar environment or culture.
  • Write about a person who encouraged or inspired you to pursue your dreams.
  • Describe a time you failed at an important goal. How did it affect you?
  • Write about a difficult period in your life. What insights did you gain?
  • Describe a memorable experience you had in nature or the outdoors.
  • Write about a time you were hospitalized or had a serious illness or injury.
  • Describe a childhood room or space that you remember vividly.
  • Write about an experience that shattered your assumptions or worldview.
  • Describe a memorable teacher who impacted your life.
  • Write about an experience where you gained confidence in yourself.
  • Describe a time you felt inadequate or lacked confidence. How did you overcome it?
  • Write about a difficult challenge that brought unexpected rewards when you overcame it.
  • Describe a memorable family celebration or tradition.
  • Write about an experience or relationship that changed the way you think.
  • Describe a time you felt unsupported or underappreciated in an endeavor.
  • Write about an experience where you had to overcome loneliness. What helped you through it?
  • Describe a person who changed your way of thinking about something important.
  • Write about a time you faced adversity and became stronger from it.
  • Describe a childhood event that you now see differently as an adult.
  • Write about an experience where you had to overcome prejudice or unfairness.
  • Describe a time you felt betrayed or let down by someone important to you.
  • Write about an achievement that took years of practice and perseverance to accomplish.
  • Describe a situation where you misjudged someone and had to reevaluate your assumptions.
  • Write about an experience that changed your outlook on life in an important way.
  • Describe a time you learned a difficult life lesson through experience.
  • Write about a childhood event that helped shape your personality and identity.
  • Describe a time your effort or hard work paid off in an important way.
  • Write about an experience that gave you new insight into yourself or others.
  • Describe a difficult period in your life. What did you learn from the experience?
  • Write about an event or relationship that widened your perspective.
  • Describe a time you overcame hardship through perseverance and inner strength.
  • Write about a risk that led to an unexpected opportunity or benefit.
  • Describe an experience that taught you an important truth about life.
  • Write about a childhood event that left a lasting impression on you.
  • Describe a time you had to be brave or courageous. What did it teach you about yourself?
  • Write about an achievement that required you to overcome self-doubt.
  • Describe a childhood memory that feels magical or special to recall.
  • Write about a difficult experience that made you wiser in the end.
  • Describe a time you felt powerful. What was the source of that feeling?
  • Describe a time you stood up for someone else.
  • Write about a situation where you had to overcome loneliness or isolation.
  • Describe a childhood event that you now see from a different perspective.
  • Write about a person who inspired you to make a positive change.
  • Describe a time you overcame stage fright or shyness.
  • Write about an experience that gave you new insight into your strengths.
  • Describe a childhood ritual or tradition that was important to you.
  • Write about a time you were treated unfairly because of a stereotype or assumption.
  • Describe a choice you made that had an unexpected outcome, for better or worse.
  • Write about an experience that demonstrated the power of teamwork.
  • Describe a difficult period in your life. What insights did you gain?
  • Write about a time you felt unsupported in an important endeavor.
  • Describe a childhood hiding place or secret fort. What made it special?
  • Write about an accomplishment that required persistence through many obstacles.
  • Describe a time you felt disillusioned with an organization or institution. Why?
  • Write about an experience that left you feeling inadequate or lacking in confidence. How did you respond?
  • Describe a childhood event that helped shape your identity and values.
  • Write about an achievement that took many tries and failures to accomplish.
  • Describe a time you overcame prejudice, unfairness, or mistreatment.
  • Write about an experience that profoundly shaped your worldview or outlook on life.
  • Describe a childhood dream you had back then. Did it come true? If not, how did your goals change?
  • Write about an accomplishment you worked hard for over a long period.
  • Describe a time you failed at an endeavor. What lessons did you take from it?
  • Write about a person who profoundly influenced your way of thinking.
  • Describe a difficult journey that led to an important realization.
  • Write about a childhood event that you remember vividly. What impressions stand out?
  • Describe a time you had to adapt to an unfamiliar environment or culture. What challenges did you face?
  • Write about an experience that required you to draw on inner strength or courage.
  • Describe a childhood ritual or tradition that left a lasting impression on you.
  • Write about a time you felt homesick. What comforted you?
  • Describe an event that shattered your assumptions or worldview. How did you respond?
  • Write about a risk that led to an unexpected opportunity.
  • Describe an endeavor where support from others made all the difference.
  • Write about an experience where your effort paid off in an important or meaningful way.
  • Write about a time you failed at a goal. How did it change your attitude toward success and failure?
  • Describe a childhood activity you engaged in over and over. What drew you to it?
  • Write about an experience that demonstrated the power of forgiveness.
  • Describe a childhood event that left you disillusioned. How did your perspective change over time?
  • Write about a difficult experience that made you stronger. What lessons did you take from it?
  • Describe a childhood memory that feels magical or dreamlike to recall.
  • Write about a time you felt remorse or regret. What did you learn from it?
  • Describe an experience that gave you new insight into yourself.
  • Write about a time your view of someone changed significantly, for better or worse.
  • Describe a childhood hideaway or fort that was a special place for you.
  • Write about a difficult period in your life. How did you manage to stay hopeful?
  • Describe an experience where your effort was not fairly rewarded or recognized. How did you respond?
  • Write about a childhood event that you now understand differently as an adult.
  • Describe an endeavor that required you to overcome loneliness or homesickness.
  • Write about an experience that taught you the value of perseverance.
  • Describe a time you felt inadequate or lacked self-confidence. What helped you overcome it?
  • Write about an accomplishment you are proud of achieving through dedication and effort.
  • Describe a struggle that ultimately made you stronger. What did you learn from it?
  • Write about a time you failed at something important. How did you respond?
  • Describe a childhood experience that you remember vividly. What images or impressions stand out?
  • Write about an event that led to a profound realization or moment of clarity.
  • Describe a difficult life event that changed your outlook in an important way.
  • Write about a risk that paid off unexpectedly.
  • Describe a time you overcame prejudice or unfair treatment.
  • Write about an experience that taught you an important truth.
  • Write about an accomplishment you had to persevere through challenges to achieve.
  • Describe a time you felt betrayed or let down. How did the experience affect you?
  • Write about an endeavor that required support from others to accomplish.
  • Describe a choice you made that had an unexpected outcome, good or bad. What did you learn?
  • Write about a difficult period that led to important personal growth.
  • Describe a childhood tradition that was important to you.
  • Write about an event that changed your perspective on life.
  • Describe a time you overcame self-doubt to accomplish something important.
  • Write about an experience where you misjudged a person or situation. How did your view change?
  • Describe an event that made you feel disillusioned or disappointed. How did you respond?
  • Write about an accomplishment you worked hard for over a long period of time.
  • Describe a childhood ritual you engaged in repeatedly. What drew you to it?
  • Write about a time your perspective on life shifted profoundly.
  • Describe an endeavor where perseverance through challenges led to an important achievement.
  • Write about a difficult experience that taught you a life lesson.
  • Describe a childhood event that stands out as especially vivid or magical in memory.
  • Write about a realization or insight that profoundly changed your worldview.
  • Describe a memorable teacher who had an impact on your life.
  • Write about an experience where your hard work and dedication paid off.
  • Describe an event that shattered your assumptions or beliefs at the time. How did it change you?
  • Write about a risk you took that led to an unexpected positive outcome.
  • Describe a childhood ritual or tradition that connected you with family or friends.
  • Write about a struggle that led to important personal growth and understanding.
  • Describe a realization about yourself that gave you new confidence or understanding.
  • Write about a difficult period in your life. How did you maintain hope?
  • Describe a memorable experience involving music or concerts. Why was it meaningful?
  • Write about an event that profoundly changed your worldview or beliefs at the time.
  • Describe a childhood activity you found soothing or comforting. Why did you enjoy it?
  • Describe a time you felt homesick or nostalgic. What did you miss most?
  • Write about an event that gave you new insight into your strengths.
  • Describe a risk or chance you took that paid off unexpectedly well.
  • Write about a struggle that ultimately helped you grow stronger.
  • Describe a childhood memory that feels almost dreamlike to recall.
  • Describe a time you felt inadequate or lacked self-confidence. How did you overcome it?
  • Write about a realization that profoundly changed your perspective.
  • Describe a difficult experience that taught you an important lesson.
  • Write about an endeavor where perseverance through setbacks led to an important achievement.
  • Describe a risk you took that led to an unexpected opportunity.
  • Write about a time you felt betrayed or disappointed by someone important to you. How did the experience impact you?
  • Describe an event that gave you new insight into someone else’s life or experiences.
  • Describe a struggle or difficult circumstance that made you stronger in the end. What lessons did it provide?
  • Write about a realization or moment of clarity that changed your perspective.
  • Describe a difficult experience that altered your worldview. What ultimately helped you move forward?
  • Write about an accomplishment requiring long-term effort and perseverance through obstacles to achieve.
  • Describe a time you felt out of place or like you didn’t belong. What did you learn from the experience?
  • Write about an experience that taught you to appreciate something you once took for granted.
  • Describe a childhood tradition that was important to your family.
  • Write about a realization that profoundly shifted your worldview or beliefs.
  • Describe a difficult period in your life when you had to overcome loneliness. What helped you through?
  • Describe a struggle that ultimately made you wiser and stronger. What lessons did it provide?
  • Write about a time you felt unsupported in an important endeavor. How did you maintain resilience?
  • Describe a childhood event that you remember vividly. What images or impressions stand out?
  • Write about an experience where your dedication and hard work paid off.
  • Write about a difficult life event that changed your perspective in an important way.
  • Write about a time you failed at something important. How did the experience impact you?
  • Describe an endeavor that required you to overcome homesickness or loneliness.
  • Describe a risk you took that led to an unexpected positive outcome.
  • Write about an accomplishment requiring dedication and perseverance over years.
  • Describe a struggle or setback that led to personal growth. What did you learn from the experience?
  • Write about a childhood event that helped shape your identity and values.
  • Describe a realization that profoundly changed your worldview or beliefs.
  • Write about a difficult period in your life. How did you maintain resilience?
  • Describe an experience where your effort was not fairly recognized. How did you respond?
  • Describe an event that shattered your assumptions or worldview at the time. How did you adapt?
  • Write about an experience where you misjudged a situation initially. How did your perspective change?
  • Write about a struggle that ultimately made you wiser and more resilient.
  • Write about a teacher who had an impact on your life.
  • Describe an accomplishment requiring dedication through challenges over years.
  • Write about an experience that gave you new insight into yourself.
  • Describe a difficult period in your life. What lessons did you take from it?
  • Describe a childhood event that you remember vividly. What images stand out?
  • Write about a time you felt unsupported in an endeavor. How did you maintain resilience?
  • Describe an experience that taught you an important truth.
  • Write about an event that led to a profound shift in your worldview or beliefs.
  • Write about a risk you took that paid off unexpectedly well.
  • Describe a struggle that ultimately made you wiser and stronger. What did you learn?
  • Write about a realization about yourself that gave you new insight or confidence.
  • Describe a difficult experience that taught you a life lesson. What was it?
  • Write about an accomplishment requiring dedication through challenges and setbacks.
  • Describe an event that led to an important shift in your perspective or worldview.
  • Describe a childhood tradition that connected you with family or friends.
  • Write about a struggle that ultimately helped you grow stronger. What lessons did it provide?
  • Describe an experience that gave you new insight into your strengths.
  • Describe a childhood event that helped shape your personality and values.
  • Write about an accomplishment requiring dedication through challenges over years.
  • Describe a realization that profoundly changed your perspective on something.
  • Write about a time you felt out of place or like you didn’t belong. What did you take from the experience?
  • Write about an endeavor where support from others made all the difference.
  • Describe a childhood tradition that connects you to family or heritage.
  • Write about a struggle or difficulty that led to important personal growth. What did you learn?
  • Describe an event that profoundly shaped your worldview at the time. How do you see it now?
  • Write about a realization or moment of clarity that changed your perspective profoundly.
  • Describe a challenging experience that made you wiser and stronger in the end.
  • Write about a childhood event that helped shape your values and identity.
  • Describe a time you felt homesick. What comforted you?
  • Write about a struggle that strengthened your resilience and perseverance. What did you learn?
  • Describe an experience that gave you new confidence in yourself.
  • Write about a difficult period in your life that led to personal growth.
  • Write about an event that profoundly changed your perspective or worldview.
  • Describe a challenging experience that taught you an important life lesson. What was it?
  • Write about a childhood memory that remains vivid and magical to you.
  • Describe a risk you took that paid off unexpectedly well.
  • Describe a struggle that led to important personal growth and understanding.
  • Describe an experience that profoundly changed your worldview or beliefs at the time.
  • Write about a realization that gave you new perspective on something important.
  • Write about an experience where perseverance through challenges led to an accomplishment.
  • Describe a childhood tradition that was special to you.
  • Write about a struggle or setback that ultimately made you stronger. What did you learn?
  • Describe an experience that demonstrated the power of teamwork.
  • Write about an event that led to a profound shift in your perspective or worldview.
  • Describe a childhood memory that remains vivid and magical in your mind.
  • Write about a time you lacked self-confidence. How did you overcome it?
  • Describe an experience that taught you an important life lesson.
  • Write about an accomplishment requiring dedication through challenges over time.
  • Write about a difficult period that led to personal growth. What did you learn?
  • Describe a childhood tradition that connected you to your heritage or family.
  • Write about a realization that profoundly changed your perspective on something.
  • Describe a struggle that ultimately strengthened your resilience and wisdom.
  • Describe a childhood event that shaped your identity and values.
  • Write about a time you felt unsupported in an endeavor. How did you persist despite challenges?
  • Describe an accomplishment requiring years of sustained effort and dedication.
  • Write about an experience that taught you an important truth about life.
  • Write about an event that profoundly shifted your worldview or beliefs at the time. How do you see it now?
  • Describe a struggle or setback that ultimately strengthened your wisdom and resilience. What lessons did it provide?
  • Write about a childhood tradition that connected you to family or cultural heritage.
  • Describe an experience that gave you new insight into your own strengths and abilities.
  • Write about a time you felt inadequate or lacked confidence. How did you overcome it?
  • Describe a risk you took that paid off in an unexpected positive way.
  • Write about a difficult period in your life that led to personal growth. What insights did you gain?
  • Write about a childhood tradition that maintains its significance for you.
  • Describe a struggle or setback that ultimately made you wiser and stronger. What did you learn from it?
  • Write about a risk you took that paid off in an unexpected positive way.
  • Describe an experience that demonstrated the power of perseverance through challenges.
  • Write about an event that shattered your assumptions or worldview at the time. How did you respond?
  • Describe a childhood memory that remains especially vivid or magical for you.
  • Describe an accomplishment requiring sustained effort and dedication over years.
  • Write about an experience that taught you an important truth. What was it?
  • Describe a time you lacked confidence. What helped you overcome it?
  • Describe a childhood tradition that maintains deep significance for you.
  • Write about a struggle or setback that ultimately strengthened your wisdom and resilience. What lessons did it provide?
  • Write about an experience that gave you new insight into your own abilities and potential.
  • Describe an event that profoundly changed your worldview or beliefs at the time. How do you see it now?
  • Write about a challenging experience that made you wiser and stronger in the end. What did you learn?

Understanding the Personal Narrative Structure

Ze A Hand-Drawn Diagram Of Personal Narrative Structure: Introduction, Climax, And Conclusion, With Arrows Showing Flow

It’s crucial to understand the structure of a personal narrative to effectively tell your story.

Picture this: you’re an artist, and your life is a canvas. Your experiences form the vibrant colors that make up your masterpiece.

The Narrative Tone Importance isn’t something to gloss over; it sets the mood, affecting how your audience perceives your tale.

Now imagine each person in your life as a character in this grand narrative. Character Development Essentials are key; they give depth and dimension to these characters, making them real for your readers.

Your mother isn’t just ‘Mom’, she’s the steadfast rock braving life’s storms with grace.

How to Unearth Your Personal Narrative Ideas

Ividual Digging Up A Treasure Chest Full Of Various Symbols Such As A Heart, A Brain, A House, A Globe And A Childhood Toy From A Soil Rich With Scattered Words

You’ve got to dig deep within yourself to unearth your own narrative ideas. It’s not about scratching the surface; it’s about delving into the core of your experiences and extracting the raw, real stories that have shaped you.

Emotional connections are your guide here. Feelings don’t lie. They paint vivid pictures, etching storylines in your mind ripe for exploration.

Imagine this: A moment of triumph, a tear shed in loss, or a hearty laugh shared with a friend. Visualize these instances in high definition detail. Each emotion is a color on your palette; each memory is a stroke on canvas creating an exquisite tapestry of personal narratives.

Techniques for Developing Engaging Prompts

Storming Session With A Spiral Notebook, A Fountain Pen, Layered Sticky Notes With Bullet Points, A Lit Candle, And A Steaming Cup Of Coffee On An Antique Wooden Desk

Developing engaging queries involves a mix of creativity and understanding your audience’s interests. Unleash the power of prompts customization, mold your questions in such a way that they resonate with each individual’s story. Imagine yourself as an artisan, sculpting each query to fit uniquely to every narrative, ensuring narrative authenticity.

Use vibrant language that inspires reflection and introspection. Make them feel as though they’re on a journey of self-discovery. Ask about their dreams, fears, triumphs or failures – any experiences that have shaped who they are today. Paint pictures with your words so vividly that it sparks their imagination.

Examples of Effective Writing Prompts for Personal Narratives

L Notebook Opened At A Page With Hand-Drawn Light Bulbs, Each Containing Different Symbolic Elements Like A Feathered Quill, A Family Tree, A Heart, A Diary, And A Timeline

Let’s delve into some examples of effective queries that can elicit compelling life stories. These prompts are designed to spark your creativity and draw out those narrative themes buried in the depths of your memories.

  • Prompt inspiration
  • Describe a turning point in your life. This prompt encourages you to think about a momentous event that altered the trajectory of your life.
  • Recount a time when you faced a significant challenge. Here, you’re invited to share struggles and how you’ve overcome them.
  • Narrative Themes
  • Share an experience where you learned something about yourself. This one helps unearth self-discovery themes.
  • Talk about someone who has greatly influenced you. It nudges reflection on relationships shaping our lives.

These prompts inspire introspection, helping bring forth captivating narratives from your own experiences.

Tips to Improve Your Personal Narrative Writing Skills

Holding A Shining Pen Poised Over A Blank Journal, Surrounded By A Brain-Shaped Light Bulb, A Magnifying Glass, And A Compass

Improving your storytelling prowess involves a few key strategies that’ll make your tales more engaging and compelling. Dive into the depths of Narrative Perspective Exploration, switch between first-person and third-person views, even dare to be omniscient! You’re the puppet master, controlling not just what happens, but how it’s perceived.

Don’t shy away from Emotional Impact Enhancement. Remember, you’re painting with feelings here. Craft scenarios that evoke joy or sadness; let anger simmer or surprise explode. Your words should pulse with life, making hearts race and eyes well up.

In this journey of personal narrative writing improvement, you’re not just telling a story—you’re making readers live it. Be brave. Be daring. And above all else—be unforgettable.

So, you’ve got this! You’re armed with tools to dig up personal narrative ideas, craft engaging prompts, and boost your writing skills.

Now it’s your turn to create stories that resonate. Remember, your experiences are unique – they deserve to be shared.

Go on, inspire the world with your tales!

Academic Writing Success

13 Thought-Provoking Personal Narrative Prompts

by Suzanne Davis | Sep 12, 2019 | Writing Essays and Papers | 2 comments

To be a person is to have a story to tell. –Isak Dinesen

What stories are within you?  A personal narrative is a story from your life. So, it is simple to write.  Maybe.  If you come up with an experience you’re dying to share–it is easy to get started. But, it isn’t always easy to think of an idea for a personal narrative.  So, I put together a list of 13 personal narrative prompts to help you find a compelling story you long to write about.

The idea of longing to write it is important because personal narratives need to show readers what your experience was like.  Desire to write inspires you to put more effort into your narrative’s description, character development, and plot.  Sounds a lot like writing a fictional story doesn’t it? Both are narratives, they need to engage your readers and show them something unique.

Personal narrative writing shows settings, people, actions, and feelings. When you write a personal narrative, you describe a story so that your reader sees, feels, and understands what you experienced.    When you write a personal narrative, you describe a story so that your reader sees, feels and understands what you experienced. Click To Tweet

You show (don’t tell) readers a personal story .  Check out the post “How to Master Writing a Compelling Personal Narrative Essay” https://www.academicwritingsuccess.com/writing-a-personal-narrative/   to see how to use the show don’t tell approach in writing personal narratives.

Finding an engaging personal narrative prompt will help you discover a memorable essay.  Let’s find the right topic for you.

13 Personal Narrative Prompts

One of the best ways to show a personal story is to select a small episode or anecdote from your life and dig deep into it.  These 13 personal narrative prompts help you find a great essay topic.

#1 Favorite School Memory

Write a story about your favorite school memory.  Who was there? Where was it?  How did it happen?  How does it end?  Focus on one single event.  For example, if you played the violin in school you could tell a story about playing the violin in a concert.  Or if you played on a soccer team, you could tell the story of your tryout.

# 2 Worst School Memory

This is the opposite of #1.  Select a memory that is focused on a terrible situation.  What triggered that situation and what happened?  What was the result?  For example, this could be a situation where you were bullied.  Describe what happened, and how it ended for you.  Did anyone defend you, or help you?  Or did the bullying continue?

#3 Frightening Story

Write a story about a scary or frightening moment in your life.  What happened?  How was it scary?  Are you still frightened?  Fear is a strong emotion and it motivates people to keep reading and find out what followed.  Some examples of frightening moments are being trapped in a cave, lost in the woods or inside an old house with strange noises, or a traumatic event.  A frightening experience could also be any personal event where you didn’t feel safe and were afraid something terrible was going to happen.

# 4 “Just Between Friends” 

Write a story about something that happened between you and a friend.  Is it something important you experienced together?  Did your friend do something to help you?  Did that person hurt you?  Or did you do something to help your friend?  Did you hurt a friend?  Some ideas for this topic are an activity or event you both participated in, something you both started, a great act of kindness, a sacrifice one of you made to help the other.  It could also be something where you betrayed your friend, or your friend betrayed you.

#5 Family Story

This is similar to the topic of friendship except in this case it’s something that happened within your family.  What occurred, who was there, and what did you do? Is there an important funny, sad, or happy event in your family?  Did you do something important or special with your family?   Some examples of this topic are the birth of someone in your family, the death of a loved one, or something fun you did with your parents, siblings or grandparents, etc.

Personal Narrative Prompt--The Journey

Write a story of the best, strangest, or worst thing that happened to you on a vacation or trip to another place.  Focus on one event or experience. One mistake writers make with this essay idea is they describe an entire travel experience, and that isn’t interesting to your readers.  Some ideas for this writing prompt are getting lost in a city, being pickpocketed on a trip, or visiting a historical site.

#7 First Love

First loves are powerful and vivid stories.  Consider a story about how you met that person or a significant memory between you. This could be something wonderful, funny, or even terrible,  If the relationship is over how did it end?  Were you heartbroken?  These stories, or a story about any important relationship, leave an imprint on us.

#8 Success Story

Write a story about something you accomplished.  Describe what you did to achieve success, and how you reached your goal.  Were there obstacles you had to overcome? This is a tricky essay topic because sometimes people focus on the feelings of success or the final achievement rather than the story of how they succeeded.  Some ideas for this topic are to write about winning an event, earning an honor, confronting a personal challenge, or getting over a phobia.

#9 Personal Failure

Write about how you failed to do or failed to achieve something.  Describe what you tried to do, how you failed, and what you gained/learned from it.  Everyone fails at something.  Your readers understand the feeling of failure.  Some people connect with these personal narratives more than stories of success because they empathize with you. People learn a lot through failure, so when you write this type of story, hint or convey what you learned from failing.

#10 Accident

Write a story about an accident you caused or an accident that happened to you.  This could be negative as in a car accident or maybe it’s an accident of good fortune.  Describe how the accident occurred, who was involved, and how it ended.  Was it a bicycle accident?  How did it happen?  Did someone get hurt?

#11 Unresolved Experience

Personal Narrative Prompt--The Unresolved Experience

Describe something that happened to you, but where there’s no resolution.  What was the experience and how did it occur? What don’t you understand or know about the experience? Then, instead of having a resolution to the story, convey how you feel about not knowing what happened.

#12 An International or National Event or Incident

Write a personal story describing how you acted, witnessed, or responded to a significant national or international event or incident.  Did you play in the Olympics, or join a protest?  Did you survive a natural disaster?  What was your role in this circumstance?  What did you do?  For example, if you were in a hurricane describe what happened, who you were with, and how you survived.

#13 Change the World Experience

One of the best experiences I had in my life was creating and organizing a family literacy program for public schools. There are several stories within that experience I could write. If you were a volunteer for an organization or participated in a service project, think about what happened.  Was there a moment that changed everything? What occurred? Did any of those stories change you, your community, or another person?  These stories can be very moving because they have impacted you, what you believe, and how you see or view others. 

Choose a Personal Narrative Prompt and Write

The most important factor to consider in a personal narrative is yourself.  Choose an idea for a personal narrative that intrigues you.  If your narrative bores you, it’ll bore readers.  You want to write a descriptive personal story with vivid characters, actions, and emotions.

Also, select a story you want to share with others.  You’re revealing not just what happened to you, but also a piece of yourself.  Is your personal story something you want people to know?

It’s your story .  You decide what to write and who reads it.  Then write it well.

What is your favorite personal narrative topic?  Please share it below! 

Great prompts, Suzanne! I especially liked #10 the unresolved experience. Very thought provoking. These prompts would also be great for personal journaling.

Terri, thank you. You’re right. These writing prompts would work well with personal journaling. I’m glad you liked #10. It’s one of my favorites!

[…] So which descriptive essay prompt inspires you?  And if you want more creative writing prompts, check out my blog post, “13 Thought-Provoking Personal Narrative Prompts” https://www.academicwritingsuccess.com/13-thought-provoking-personal-narrative-prompts/ . […]

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The learning network | 500 prompts for narrative and personal writing.

The Learning Network - Teaching and Learning With The New York Times

500 Prompts for Narrative and Personal Writing

<a href="//www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2014/03/10/can-writing-on-a-college-entrance-exam-be-properly-assessed">Related Article</a>

Updated, March 2, 2017 | We published an updated version of this list, “650 Prompts for Narrative and Personal Writing,” as well as a companion piece, “401 Prompts for Argumentative Writing.”

Every school day since 2009 we’ve asked students a question based on an article in The New York Times. Now, five years later, we’ve collected 500 of them that invite narrative and personal writing and pulled them all together in one place (available here as a PDF ).

The categorized list below touches on everything from sports to travel, education, gender roles, video games, fashion, family, pop culture, social media and more, and, like all our Student Opinion questions , each links to a related Times article and includes a series of follow-up questions. What’s more, all these questions are still open for comment by any student 13 or older.

So dive into this admittedly overwhelming list and pick the questions that most inspire you to tell an interesting story, describe a memorable event, observe the details in your world, imagine a possibility, or reflect on who you are and what you believe.

Childhood Memories

<a href="//well.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/03/11/a-firm-grasp-on-comfort/">Related Article</a><a href="//www.nytimes.com/2013/03/10/opinion/sunday/living-with-less-a-lot-less.html"><br /></a>

  • What Was Your Most Precious Childhood Possession?
  • What Were Your Favorite Childhood Shows and Characters?
  • What Were Your Favorite Picture Books When You Were Little?
  • What Things Did You Create When You Were a Child?
  • What Places Do You Remember Fondly From Childhood?
  • Have You Ever Felt Embarrassed by Things You Used to Like?
  • Do You Wish You Could Return to Moments From Your Past?
  • Was There a Toy You Wanted as a Child but Never Got?
  • What Objects Tell the Story of Your Life?
  • What Are Your Best Sleepover Memories?
  • What’s the Best Gift You’ve Ever Given or Received?
  • What’s the Most Memorable Thing You Ever Got in the Mail?
  • What Nicknames Have You Ever Gotten or Given?

Coming of Age

<a href="//www.nytimes.com/2014/03/01/opinion/sunday/what-you-learn-in-your-40s.html">Related Article</a>

  • What Have You Learned in Your Teens?
  • What Personal Achievements Make You Proud?
  • What Are Some Recent Moments of Happiness in Your Life?
  • What Are You Grateful For?
  • What Rites of Passage Have You Participated In?
  • What Advice Would You Give Younger Kids About Middle or High School?
  • What Can Older People Learn From Your Generation?
  • What Do Older Generations Misunderstand About Yours?

<a href="//www.nytimes.com/2013/05/12/opinion/sunday/too-much-helicopter-parenting.html">Related Article</a>

  • Who Is Your Family?
  • What Have You and Your Family Accomplished Together?
  • What Events Have Brought You Closer to Your Family?
  • What’s Your Role in Your Family?
  • Have You Ever Changed a Family Member’s Mind?
  • How Do You Define ‘Family’?
  • What Are Your Family Stories of Sacrifice?
  • What Possessions Does Your Family Treasure?
  • What Hobbies Have Been Passed Down in Your Family?
  • How Much Do You Know About Your Family’s History?
  • Did Your Parents Have a Life Before They Had Kids?
  • How Close Are You to Your Parents?
  • How Are You and Your Parents Alike and Different?
  • Do Your Parents Support Your Learning?
  • What Have Your Parents Taught You About Money?
  • Do You Expect Your Parents to Give You Money?
  • How Permissive Are Your Parents?
  • Do You Have Helicopter Parents?
  • How Do Your Parents Teach You to Behave?
  • How Do You Make Parenting Difficult for Your Parents?
  • If You Drink or Use Drugs, Do Your Parents Know?
  • Do You Talk About Report Cards With Your Parents?
  • Would You Mind if Your Parents Blogged About You?
  • How Well Do You Get Along With Your Siblings?
  • How Well Do You Know Your Pet?
  • What Role Do Pets Play in Your Family?
  • What Is Your Racial and Ethnic Identity?
  • Have You Ever Tried to Hide Your Racial or Ethnic Identity?
  • How Do You Feel About Your Last Name?
  • What’s the Story Behind Your Name?
  • What Are Your Favorite Names?
  • How Have You Paid Tribute to Loved Ones?

Community and Home

<a href="//www.nytimes.com/2013/10/20/opinion/sunday/here-comes-the-neighborhood.html">Related Article</a><a href="//learning.blogs.nytimes.com/category/lesson-plans/"></a>

  • Would You Most Want to Live in a City, a Suburb or the Country?
  • How Much Does Your Neighborhood Define Who You Are?
  • What’s Special About Your Hometown?
  • What Would You Name Your Neighborhood?
  • Who Is the ‘Mayor’ of Your School or Neighborhood?
  • Who Are the ‘Characters’ That Make Your Town Interesting?
  • What Would a TV Show About Your Town Spoof?
  • What ‘Urban Legends’ Are There About Places in Your Area?
  • What Local Problems Do You Think Your Mayor Should Try to Solve?
  • Do You Know Your Way Around Your City or Town?
  • Have You Ever Interacted With the Police?
  • How Often Do You Interact With People of Another Race or Ethnicity?
  • Who Would Be the Ideal Celebrity Neighbor?
  • What Is Your Favorite Place?
  • How Much Time Do You Spend in Nature?
  • What Small Things Have You Seen and Taken Note Of Today?
  • What Would Your Dream Home Be Like?
  • What is Your Favorite Place in Your House?
  • How Important Is Keeping a Clean House?
  • Is Your Bedroom a Nightmare?
  • Do You Plan on Saving Any of Your Belongings for the Future?
  • With Your Home in Danger, What Would You Try to Save?
  • What Would You Put in Your Emergency ‘Go-Bag’?
  • Have You Ever Lost (or Found) Something Valuable?

Personality

<a href="//www.nytimes.com/2009/08/29/business/29shortcuts.html">Related Article</a>

  • What Is Your Personal Credo?
  • What Motivates You?
  • What Makes You Happy?
  • What Are You Good At?
  • How Much Self-Control Do You Have?
  • How Good Are You at Waiting for What You Really Want?
  • What Role Does Procrastination Play in Your Life?
  • When in Your Life Have You Been a Leader?
  • How Well Do You Perform Under Pressure?
  • How Well Do You Take Criticism?
  • Are You Hard or Easy on Yourself?
  • How Full Is Your Glass?
  • Do You Have a Hard Time Making Decisions?
  • How Good Are You at Time Management?
  • How Productive and Organized Are You?
  • How Would Your Life Be Different if You Had Better Listening Skills?
  • How Competitive Are You?
  • Do You Perform Better When You’re Competing or When You’re Collaborating?
  • Do You Take More Risks When You Are Around Your Friends?
  • Do You Unknowingly Submit to Peer Pressure?
  • How Much of a Daredevil Are You?
  • What Pranks, Jokes, Hoaxes or Tricks Have You Ever Fallen For or Perpetrated?
  • How Do You React When Provoked?
  • How Often Do You Cry?
  • Do You Think You’re Brave?
  • What Are You Afraid Of?
  • What Are Your Fears and Phobias?
  • What Are Your Personal Superstitions?
  • Do You Like Being Alone?
  • How Impulsive Are You?
  • Are You a Novelty-Seeker?
  • What Annoys You?
  • Do You Apologize Too Much?
  • Do You Have Good Manners?
  • Are You a Saver or a Tosser?
  • Are You More Introvert or Extrovert?
  • Are You Popular, Quirky or Conformist?
  • Are You a Nerd or a Geek?
  • What Would Your Personal Mascot Be?
  • What Assumptions Do People Make About You?

Overcoming Adversity

<a href="//www.nytimes.com/2014/03/23/opinion/sunday/what-id-say-to-my-fat-son.html">Related Article</a>

  • What Challenges Have You Overcome?
  • What Do You Do When You Encounter Obstacles to Success?
  • What Are Your Secret Survival Strategies?
  • How Do You Find Peace in Your Life?
  • How Have You Handled Being the ‘New Kid’?
  • Do You Ever Feel Overlooked and Underappreciated?
  • How Stressed Are You?
  • How Do You Relieve Stress?
  • Does Stress Affect Your Ability to Make Good Decisions?
  • What Challenges Have You Set for Yourself?
  • How Often Do You Leave Your ‘Comfort Zone’?
  • What Did You Once Hate but Now Like?
  • Does Your Life Leave You Enough Time to Relax?
  • Do You Set Rules for Yourself About How You Use Your Time?
  • Is ‘Doing Nothing’ a Good Use of Your Time?
  • What’s Cluttering Up Your Life?
  • What Work Went Into Reaching Your Most Difficult Goals?
  • When Have You Ever Failed at Something? What Happened as a Result?
  • When Have You Ever Succeeded When You Thought You Might Fail?
  • What Life Lessons Has Adversity Taught You?
  • What’s the Most Challenging Assignment You’ve Ever Had?
  • What Kind of Feedback Helps You Improve?
  • Is Trying Too Hard to Be Happy Making You Sad?
  • Do Adults Who Are ‘Only Trying to Help’ Sometimes Make Things Worse?
  • What Are Five Everyday Problems That Bother You, and What Can You Do About Them?

Gender and Sexuality

<a href="//www.nytimes.com/2013/10/01/nyregion/city-unveils-a-campaign-to-improve-girls-self-esteem.html">Related Article</a><a href="//learning.blogs.nytimes.com/tag/tyell/"></a>

  • How Do Male and Female Roles Differ in Your Family?
  • Do Parents Have Different Hopes and Standards for Their Sons Than for Their Daughters?
  • Is There Too Much Pressure on Girls to Have ‘Perfect’ Bodies?
  • How Much Pressure Do Boys Face to Have the Perfect Body?
  • How Did You Learn About Sex?
  • How Should Parents Address Internet Pornography?
  • What Experiences Have You Had With Gender Bias in School?
  • What Have Been Your Experiences With Catcalling or Other Kinds of Street Harassment?
  • Do You Know Boys Who Regard Girls as ‘Prey’?
  • Do You Consider Yourself a Feminist?

Morality and Religion

<a href="//www.nytimes.com/2014/10/19/opinion/sunday/does-everything-happen-for-a-reason.html">Related Article </a>

  • How Do You Help?
  • What Ethical Dilemmas Have You Faced?
  • Would You Help an Injured Stranger?
  • When Is the Last Time You Did Something Nice for a Stranger?
  • Have You Ever ‘Paid It Forward’?
  • How Much Do You Gossip?
  • How Comfortable Are You With Lying?
  • Have You Ever Taken Something You Weren’t Supposed To?
  • What Could You Live Without?
  • Do You Ever Feel Guilty About What, or How Much, You Throw Away?
  • Do You Ever Eavesdrop?
  • How Important Is Your Spiritual Life?
  • Do You Believe That Everything Happens for a Reason?
  • Can You Be Good Without God?
  • Are You Less Religious Than Your Parents?
  • Can You Pass a Basic Religion Test?
  • What Can You Learn From Other Religions?

Role Models

<a href="//www.nytimes.com/2014/10/12/jobs/drowning-in-dishes-but-finding-a-home.html">Related Article</a>

  • Who Is Your Role Model?
  • Who Are Your Heroes?
  • Who Inspires You?
  • What’s the Best Advice You’ve Gotten?
  • Who Outside Your Family Has Made a Difference in Your Life?
  • If You Had Your Own Talk Show, Whom Would You Want to Interview?
  • To Whom, or What, Would You Like to Write a Thank-You Note?
  • What Leader Would You Invite to Speak at Your School?
  • What Six People, Living or Dead, Would You Invite to Dinner?

Technology and Video Games

personal narrative writing prompts for adults

  • Are You Distracted by Technology?
  • Do You Always Have Your Phone or Tablet at Your Side?
  • What Tech Tools Play the Biggest Role in Your Life?
  • What New Technologies or Tech Toys Are You Most Excited About?
  • To What Piece of Technology Would You Write a ‘Love Letter’?
  • Does Your Digital Life Have Side Effects?
  • Do Apps Help You or Just Waste Your Time?
  • Do You Spend Too Much Time on Smart Phones Playing ‘Stupid Games’?
  • When Do You Choose Making a Phone Call Over Sending a Text?
  • Do You Know How to Code? Would You Like to Learn?
  • Whom Would You Share Your Passwords With?
  • What Are Your Favorite Video Games?
  • What Have You Learned Playing Video Games?
  • Do You Play Violent Video Games?
  • When Should You Feel Guilty for Killing Zombies?
  • Who Are Your Opponents in Online Gaming?
  • Do You Like Watching Other People Play Video Games?

The Internet

<a href="//www.nytimes.com/interactive/2013/04/23/science/super-awesome-sylvia-video-grid.html#index">Related Article</a>

  • How Careful Are You Online?
  • Do You Ever Seek Advice on the Internet?
  • How Do You Know if What You Read Online Is True?
  • How Much Do You Trust Online Reviews?
  • How Do You Use Wikipedia?
  • What Are Your Favorite Internet Spoofs?
  • What Are Your Favorite Viral Videos?
  • What Would You Teach the World in an Online Video?
  • What Are Your Experiences With Internet-Based Urban Legends?
  • What Story Does Your Personal Data Tell?
  • Do You Worry About the Lack of Anonymity in the Digital Age?
  • Do You Wish You Had More Privacy Online?
  • California Notice
  • Have You Ever Been Scammed?

Social Media

<a href="//www.nytimes.com/2013/01/09/booming/in-your-face-book-heres-the-party-you-werent-invited-to.html">Related Article<br /></a>

  • How Do You Use Facebook?
  • What Is Your Facebook Persona?
  • What Memorable Experiences Have You Had on Facebook?
  • Does Facebook Ever Make You Feel Bad?
  • Would You Consider Deleting Your Facebook Account?
  • Do You Have ‘Instagram Envy’?
  • Do You Use Twitter?
  • Why Do You Share Photos?
  • How Do You Archive Your Life?
  • Have You Ever Posted, Emailed or Texted Something You Wish You Could Take Back?
  • Have You Ever Sent an Odd Message Because of Auto-Correct?
  • Would You Want Your Photo or Video to Go Viral?
  • Do You Worry Colleges or Employers Might Read Your Social Media Posts Someday?

<a href="//www.nytimes.com/2014/01/08/nyregion/seeking-clues-to-gangs-and-crime-detectives-monitor-internet-rap-videos.html">Related Article</a>

  • What Are You Listening To?
  • Who in Your Life Introduces You to New Music?
  • How Much Is Your Taste in Music Based on What Your Friends Like?
  • What Music Inspires You?
  • How Closely Do You Listen to Lyrics?
  • Which Pop Music Stars Fascinate You?
  • Who Is Your Favorite Pop Diva?
  • What’s Your Karaoke Song?
  • What Song/Artist Pairings Would You Like to Hear?

Movies, Theater and Television

<a href="//www.nytimes.com/2014/04/27/movies/from-internet-chat-to-related-projects-mean-girls-endures.html">Related Article</a>

  • What Were the Best Movies You Saw in the Past Year?
  • What Movies Do You Watch, or Reference, Over and Over?
  • What Movies, Shows or Books Do You Wish Had Sequels, Spinoffs or New Episodes?
  • Do You Like Horror Movies?
  • Who Are Your Favorite Movie Stars?
  • Would You Pay Extra for a 3-D Movie?
  • What Is Your Favorite Comedy?
  • What Are the Best Live Theatrical Performances You’ve Ever Seen?
  • Have You Ever Stumbled Upon a Cool Public Performance?
  • What Role Does Television Play in Your Life and the Life of Your Family?
  • What Television Shows Have Mattered to You?
  • Do Your Television Viewing Habits Include ‘Binge-Watching’?
  • How Often Do You Watch a Television Show When It Originally Airs?
  • What Old Television Shows Would You Bring Back?
  • Why Do We Like Reality Shows So Much?
  • What Ideas Do You Have for a Reality Show?
  • What Are Your Favorite Commercials?
  • How Much Are You Influenced by Advertising?

Reading, Writing and Fine Arts

personal narrative writing prompts for adults

  • Read Any Good Books Lately?
  • Do You Read for Pleasure?
  • What Are Your Favorite Books and Authors?
  • What Are the Best Things You’ve Read, Watched, Heard or Played This Year?
  • What Are Your Favorite Young Adult Novels?
  • What’s on Your Summer Reading List?
  • What Memorable Poetry Have You Ever Read or Heard?
  • What Are Your Favorite Cartoons?
  • What Magazines Do You Read, and How Do You Read Them?
  • Do You Enjoy Reading Tabloid Gossip?
  • When Have You Seen Yourself and Your Life Reflected in a Book or Other Media?
  • Do You Prefer Your Children’s Book Characters Obedient or Contrary?
  • Do You Read E-Books?
  • Would You Trade Your Paper Books for Digital Versions?
  • To What Writer Would You Award a Prize?
  • Why Do You Write?
  • Do You Keep a Diary or Journal?
  • Do You Have a Blog?
  • Do You Want to Write a Book?
  • When Do You Write by Hand?
  • Do You Write in Cursive?
  • Do You Write in Your Books?
  • What ‘Mundane Moments’ From Your Life Might Make Great Essay Material?
  • What’s the Coolest Thing You’ve Ever Seen in a Museum?
  • What Are the Most Memorable Works of Visual Art You Have Seen?
  • What Are Your Favorite Works of Art?

Language and Speech

<a href="//www.nytimes.com/2014/04/06/opinion/sunday/like-degrading-the-language-no-way.html">Related Article</a>

  • What Are Your Favorite and Least Favorite Words?
  • What Words or Phrases Do You Think Are Overused?
  • How Much Slang Do You Use? What Are Your Favorite (Printable) Words?
  • How Much Do You Curse? Why?
  • Why Do So Many People Say ‘Like’ and ‘Totally’ All the Time?
  • Do You Sometimes ‘Hide’ Behind Irony?
  • How Good Is Your Grammar?
  • What New Emoticons Does the World Need?
  • Are You Fluent in Vocal Fry, Creaky Voice or Uptalk?
  • How Much Information Is ‘Too Much Information’?
  • When Did You Last Have a Great Conversation?
  • Do You Speak a Second, or Third, Language?
  • When Do You Remember Learning a New Word?

School and Teachers

<a href="//well.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/10/06/better-ways-to-learn/">Related Article</a>

  • Do You Like School?
  • What Are You Really Learning at School?
  • What Are You Looking Forward To, or Dreading, This School Year?
  • Would You Want to Be Home-Schooled?
  • Would You Like to Take a Class Online?
  • Would You Rather Attend a Public or a Private High School?
  • How Would You Grade Your School?
  • What Can Other Schools Learn — and Copy — From Your School?
  • Is Your School Day Too Short?
  • What Do You Hope to Get Out of High School?
  • Do You Have Too Much Homework?
  • Does Your Homework Help You Learn?
  • What Is Your Best Subject?
  • What Memorable Experiences Have You Had in Learning Science or Math?
  • Are You Afraid of Math?
  • Do We Need a New Way to Teach Math?
  • What Are the Best Ways to Learn About History?
  • How Would You Do on a Civics Test?
  • How Important Is Arts Education?
  • What Is Your Most Memorable Writing Assignment?
  • What Would You Like to Have Memorized?
  • Does Your School Value Students’ Digital Skills?
  • What Was Your Favorite Field Trip?
  • Do You Participate in Class?
  • What Are Your Best Tips for Studying?
  • Do You Use Study Guides?
  • Is Everything You’ve Been Taught About Study Habits Wrong?
  • How Well Do You Think Standardized Tests Measure Your Abilities?
  • Do You Have a Tutor?
  • Are Your Grades Inflated?
  • When Has a Teacher Inspired You?
  • What Teacher Do You Appreciate?
  • What Teacher Would You Like to Thank?
  • What Do You Wish Your Teachers Knew About You?
  • Do Your Test Scores Reflect How Good Your Teachers Are?
  • Do Your Teachers Use Technology Well?

School Social Environment

<a href="//www.nytimes.com/slideshow/2013/04/02/us/20130403_RESTORATIVE.html">Related Article</a>

  • What Role Do School Clubs and Teams Play in Your Life?
  • Who Has the Power in School Social Life?
  • How Big a Problem Is Bullying or Cyberbullying in Your School or Community?
  • Does Your School Seem Integrated?
  • What’s the Racial Makeup of Your School?
  • Do You Ever ‘Mix It Up’ and Socialize With Different People at School?
  • Can Students at Your School Talk Openly About Their Mental Health Issues?
  • Is Your School a ‘Party School’?
  • How Common Is Drug Use in Your School?
  • Do You Know People Who Cheat on High-Stakes Tests?
  • How Does Your School Deal With Students Who Misbehave?
  • How Much Does Your Life in School Intersect With Your Life Outside School?
  • Would You Ever Go Through Hazing to Be Part of a Group?

Senior Year, College and Applications

<a href="//www.nytimes.com/2013/03/31/opinion/sunday/a-simple-way-to-send-poor-kids-to-top-colleges.html">Related Article</a>

  • Where Do You Want to Go to College?
  • What Are Your Sources for Information About Colleges and Universities?
  • Is College Overrated?
  • How Much Does the SAT or ACT Matter in Your Life?
  • What Personal Essay Topic Would You Assign to College Applicants?
  • What Qualities Would You Look For in a College Roommate?
  • What Would You Do With a Gap Year?
  • What Makes a Graduation Ceremony Memorable?
  • How Do You Feel About Proms?

Work and Careers

<a href="//www.nytimes.com/2013/02/24/business/high-debt-and-falling-demand-trap-new-veterinarians.html">Related Article</a>

  • What Are Your Longtime Interests or Passions?
  • Do You Have a Life Calling?
  • What Do You Want to Do With Your Life?
  • Do You Think You Will Have a Career That You Love?
  • What Investment Are You Willing to Make to Get Your Dream Job?
  • Would You Consider a Nontraditional Occupation?
  • Would You Want to Be a Teacher?
  • What Hidden Talents Might You Have?
  • What Do You Hope to Be Doing the Year After You Graduate From College?
  • Would You Rather Work From Home or in an Office?
  • What Career or Technical Classes Do You Wish Your School Offered?
  • What ‘Back-to-the-Land’ Skills Do You Have, or Wish You Had?
  • What Have You Made Yourself?
  • What Would You Create if You Had Funding?
  • How Did You Start Doing Something You Love?
  • Did You Ever Take a Break From Doing Something You Love?
  • What Have You Done to Earn Money?
  • Do You Have a Job?
  • Would You Quit if Your Values Did Not Match Your Employer’s?
  • What Are Your Attitudes Toward Money?
  • Can Money Buy You Happiness?
  • Where Do You See Yourself in 10 Years?
  • What Do You Want to Be Doing When You’re 80?
  • Do You Want to Live to 100?
  • What Do You Want Your Obituary to Say?

Dating and Friendship

<a href="//www.nytimes.com/2014/10/26/fashion/the-etiquette-for-having-your-friends-befriend-each-other.html">Related Article</a>

  • Have You Ever Been in Love?
  • What Are the Most Meaningful Relationships in Your Life?
  • What Advice Would You Give to Somebody Who Just Started Dating?
  • What Are the Basic ‘Rules’ for Handling Breakups?
  • What Are Your Beliefs About Marriage?
  • Are You Allowed to Date?
  • Is Dating a Thing of the Past?
  • Do You Have a Best Friend?
  • How Do You Feel About Introducing Friends from Different Parts of Your Life?
  • How Should You Handle the End of a Friendship?
  • How Often Do You Have ‘Deep Discussions’?

Sports, Exercise and Games

<a href="//well.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/04/09/are-you-programmed-to-enjoy-exercise/">Related Article</a>

  • Do You Like to Exercise?
  • How Has Exercise Changed Your Health, Your Body or Your Life?
  • Why Do You Play Sports?
  • What Is the Most Memorable Sporting Event You’ve Ever Watched or Played In?
  • What’s the Most Impressive Sports Moment You’ve Seen?
  • When Has a Sports Team Most Disappointed You?
  • What Sports Teams Do You Root For?
  • Does Being a Fan Help Define Who You Are?
  • How Far Would You Go to Express Loyalty to Your Favorite Teams?
  • What Fan Memorabilia Would You Pay Big Bucks For?
  • What Rules Would You Like to See Changed in Your Favorite Sports?
  • What Game Would You Like to Redesign?
  • What Are Your Favorite Games?

<a href="//www.nytimes.com/interactive/2014/01/10/travel/2014-places-to-go.html">Related Article</a>

  • Where in the World Would You Travel if You Could?
  • What Is Your Fantasy Vacation?
  • What Would Your Fantasy Road Trip Be Like?
  • What Crazy Adventure Would You Want to Take?
  • How Has Travel Affected You?
  • What Famous Landmarks Have You Visited?
  • What’s the Coolest Thing You’ve Ever Seen in Nature?
  • What Are the Best Souvenirs You’ve Ever Collected While Traveling?
  • Would You Like to Live in Another Country?
  • Would You Want to Be a Space Tourist?

Looks, Fashion and Health

<a href="//www.nytimes.com/2014/01/12/opinion/sunday/goodnight-sleep-clean.html">Related Article</a>

  • What Does Your Hairstyle Say About You?
  • How Far Would You Go for Fashion?
  • What Are the Hot Fashion Trends at Your School Right Now?
  • Do You Have a Signature Clothing Item?
  • Has Anyone Ever Said That You Look Like Someone Famous?
  • Would You Ever Consider Getting a Tattoo?
  • What Are Your Opinions on Cosmetic Surgery?
  • Do Photoshopped Images Make You Feel Bad About Your Own Looks?
  • What Are Your Sleep Habits?
  • How Much of a Priority Do You Make Sleep?
  • Do You Get Enough Sleep?
  • What Health Tips Have Worked for You?

Shopping and Driving

<a href="//www.nytimes.com/2013/05/14/us/report-finds-americans-are-driving-less-led-by-youth.html">Related Article</a>

  • What’s Your Favorite Store? Why?
  • To What Company Would You Write a Letter of Complaint or Admiration?
  • To What Business Would You Like to Give Advice?
  • How Would You Make Over Your Mall?
  • Do You Shop at Locally Owned Businesses?
  • What Are the Best Things You’ve Acquired Secondhand?
  • How Important Is It to Have a Driver’s License?
  • Are You a Good Driver?

Food and Eating

<a href="//www.nytimes.com/2013/02/06/dining/the-best-in-the-box-chocolate-covered-salted-caramels-for-valentines-day.html">Related Article</a>

  • What Are the Most Memorable Meals You’ve Ever Had?
  • What’s Your Favorite Holiday Food Memory?
  • What’s Your Comfort Food?
  • What Are Your Favorite Junk Foods?
  • What Food Would You Like to Judge in a Taste-Off?
  • Do You Prefer Your Tacos ‘Authentic’ or ‘Appropriated’?
  • Do You Pay Attention to Nutrition Labels on Food?
  • How Concerned Are You About Where Your Food Comes From?
  • Are Your Eating Habits Healthy?
  • What Are Your ‘Food Rules’?
  • Do You Eat Too Quickly?
  • What Do You Eat During the School Day?
  • Do You Eat Cafeteria Food?
  • How Much Food Does Your Family Waste?
  • What Messages About Food and Eating Have You Learned From Your Family?
  • What’s Your Favorite Restaurant?
  • What Restaurant Would You Most Like to Review?
  • Do You Cook?
  • What Would You Most Like to Learn to Cook or Bake?

Holidays, Seasons, Weather and Weekends

<a href="//rendezvous.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/12/18/home-for-the-holidays-or-not-tell-us-your-stories/">Related Article</a><a href="//learning.blogs.nytimes.com/category/student-opinion/"><br /></a>

  • How Can People Make the Most of Long Holiday Weekends?
  • What’s Your Sunday Routine?
  • What’s on Your Fall Fashion Shopping List?
  • Will You Be Wearing a Halloween Costume This Year?
  • Do You Like Scary Movies and Books?
  • Do You Believe in Ghosts?
  • What Are Your Thanksgiving Traditions?
  • What Are Your Tips for Enjoying the Holiday Season?
  • How Will You Spend the Holiday Break?
  • Do You Make New Year’s Resolutions?
  • How Do You Fight the Winter Blues?
  • What Are Your Experiences With Severe Weather?
  • How Do You Feel About Valentine’s Day?
  • How Do You Celebrate Spring?
  • What Would Your Fantasy Spring Break Be Like?
  • How Careful Are You in the Sun?
  • What Are You Looking Forward to This Summer?
  • What Would Your Ideal Summer Camp Be Like?
  • What Are Your Favorite Summer Hangouts?
  • What’s Your Favorite Summer Food?
  • What Is Your Favorite Summer Movie?
  • Do You Have a Summer Job?
  • Do You Choose Summer Activities to Look Good on Applications?
  • What Are the Best Things You Did This Summer?
  • How Do You Prepare to Go Back to School?

Beliefs, Politics and Current Events

<a href="//www.nytimes.com/2013/11/14/health/new-tool-to-ease-difficult-births-a-plastic-bag.html">Related Article</a>

  • How Would You Like to Help Our World?
  • What Cause Would Get You Into the Streets?
  • What Would You Risk Your Life For?
  • When Have You Spoken Out About Something You Felt Had to Change?
  • What Would You Invent to Make the World a Better Place?
  • How Do You Feel About Zoos?
  • What Is Your Relationship With Guns?
  • Do You Trust Your Government?
  • Do You Know Your First Amendment Rights?
  • Do You Worry About Terrorism?
  • Do You Believe in Intelligent Alien Life?
  • Given Unlimited Resources, What Scientific or Medical Problem Would You Investigate?
  • What Would You Do if You Were President?
  • Would You Vote This Year if You Could?
  • Do You Consider Yourself a Republican, Democrat or Independent?
  • What Event in the Past Do You Wish You Could Have Witnessed?
  • What Are the Most Important Changes, in Your Life and in the World, in the Last Decade?
  • What Do You Remember About Sept. 11, 2001?
  • What News Stories Are You Following?
  • How Do You Get Your News?
  • Why Should We Care About Events in Other Parts of the World?
  • What Questions Do You Have About How the World Works?
  • What Big Questions Do You Have?

If Only…

<a href="//www.nytimes.com/2013/11/10/magazine/outsource-your-way-to-success.html">Related Article</a><a href="//learning.blogs.nytimes.com/category/current-events/"><br /></a>

  • What Would You Do if You Won the Lottery?
  • What Superpower Do You Wish You Had?
  • What Era Do You Wish You Had Lived In?
  • Would You Want to Be a Tween or Teen Star?
  • Would You Want to Grow Up in the Public Eye?
  • What Kind of Robot Would You Want?
  • What Would You Outsource if You Could?
  • What Would You Like to Learn on Your Own?
  • What Would You Wait in Line For?

This resource may be used to address the academic standards listed below.

Common Core E.L.A. Anchor Standards

3   Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, well-chosen details and well-structured event sequences.

Comments are no longer being accepted.

This is such a fabulous resource for inspiration! Thank you so much for putting this list together. I’ll refer to it often and share it with my readers on my poetry and writing blog.

These are great writing prompts. These remind me of the questions on StoryShelter.com. It’s nice to write there and have all your personal stories in one place where you can share them with friends or post anonymously. Anyone who does narrative or personal writing will find it really useful.

For example, this is how a bunch of people answered the question: “What would you do if you won the lottery?” https://www.storyshelter.com/question/what-if-i-won-the-lottery

Cool, right?

Wonderful list! The topics are thought-provoking and exciting to write. I can go writing on and on, on these topics.

How much do you know about your family history?

I know a little bit about my family history. My grandma talks about our religion sometimes, not every day. So I get to hear some facts about my religion. For example what we do on New Year’s or what happened when I wasn’t born yet. My family history is very interesting.

My mom she is Cambodian and my dad is Thai so I’m mixed Asian. Everybody say that I mostly look like my dad than my mom, and that’s interesting to me.

My dad side of the family, my great great grandma, grandpa and aunts and uncles. They are living in Thailand. I want to go to Thailand really bad. My mom side of the family, my great great grandpa, grandma and my grandma siblings. They are living in Cambodia. My grandma took some pictures in Asia. It looks so different than the United States of America.

So first off, my dad he was born in Thailand and my mom I think she was born in Cambodia. She said that she didn’t went to Cambodia so I really don’t know. So my family (parents, grandparents, aunts and uncle immigrated to the United States of America and became citizens. That time they lived in Stockton, California. I could of live there still. But my dad he went to school in New Hampshire and got a job here and the job over here paid a lot more money than California. So Then my mom side of the family came with my parents, and my dad side of the family stayed in California that was in the 1990s when they moved to New Hampshire. Then they separated, so now we don’t live together anymore.

Now my aunt lives in Massachusetts and my other aunt lives in Rhode Island. So when my parents lived in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, I wasn’t born yet. But I wish that we still lived in California. So we

My life is interesting to me. I have families in Cambodia and Thailand, and I haven’t met them yet. Also the things we do on New Year’s and other occasions. So that’s what I know about my family history.

Very interesting

OMG!! Where have you been all my life I am very excited about this!!

I wish I was more of a journaler. These are some fantastic prompts for writing personal stories. With 500 listed here, there’s no way you wouldn’t find an inspiring prompt.

I’m more of a fiction writer, and I’ve chosen to write prompts that help fiction writers expand their imagination.

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Narrative Writing Prompts: 50+ Ideas for Your Literary Masterpiece

Narrative writing is the style of writing used in fiction and creative nonfiction, such as memoirs. It's the telling of a story, with a beginning, middle, and end. As such, becoming proficient at narrative writing is essential if you want to make a living writing.

Even if you want to write only as a hobby, you'll need to be more than passingly familiar with this kind of writing. Luckily, this article will help you do just that. First, we'll discuss a bit more about narrative writing, then dive into some narrative writing prompts to get the ideas flowing.

  • Kinds of narrative writing.
  • Who narrative writing prompts are for.
  • List of narrative writing prompts.

Table of contents

  • Different Types of Narrative Writing
  • Who Should Use Narrative Writing Prompts?
  • Linear Narrative Prompts
  • Non-Linear Narrative Prompts
  • Viewpoint Narrative
  • Descriptive Narrative
  • Finding Your Market Niche

There are several types of narrative writing that are used in fiction and some nonfiction books. The most common type is the linear narrative, in which the story progresses in a logical manner. Most fiction is of the linear narrative type .

There's also the non-linear narrative, in which the story jumps around through time. A couple of well-known non-linear story examples include movies such as Pulp Fiction , Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind , and Memento .

Then you have the viewpoint narrative, in which the story is written from the narrator's point of view. Memoirs are examples of viewpoint narrative works, but there are also many first-person point-of-view works of fiction.

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Finally, you have the descriptive narrative, in which a scene, person, place, or thing is described with detailed description using the five senses. A good story will contain enough description to immerse the reader in the story.

We've grouped the creative writing prompts below according to these narrative types. You can pick a prompt from each and get writing, or you can choose only ones that are interesting/pertinent to whatever work-in-progress you're currently involved with.

But before we get to the prompts, do you really need to practice narrative writing?

Whether you're a middle school or high school student, a young writer or an old hand, practicing your craft can only help your writing. While it's true you may remember narrative writing exercises from your elementary school days (no matter how long ago they were), that doesn't mean these exercises can't help you today.

The best writers work on their craft constantly. Like anything else, writing skills need to be sharpened and honed. And one of the best ways to do that is through the various types of narrative writing.

Narrative writing prompts can also help you overcome writer's block so you can get back to writing, whether it's a horror story or a narrative essay. Getting the creative gears turning is great for overcoming creative blocks.

So it doesn't matter where you are in your writing career, narrative writing prompts can help!

Narrative Writing Prompts

These prompts provide a fun way to sharpen your writing skills. You can choose one narrative prompt at a time, or work on multiple to really make things interesting.

Make sure to include a beginning, middle, and end for these linear prompts. They should tell a story in which the main character has to solve a problem or overcome some obstacle , whether physically, emotionally, or both.

1. Write a short story about a fantasy character who gets stuck in our world and has to find their way back home.

2. Write a scene in which a kid has to get home for dinner across a treacherous landscape and through a gauntlet of imaginary monsters and evil sorcerers.

3. Pick three tropes from your favorite writing genre and use them to inform your story. (Example: Horror story (genre), vampires, mad scientist, and a questionable ally.)

4. Write about a character who goes on a blind date that either goes really well or really poorly.

5. Write about a character who wants nothing more than to ride a Ferris wheel, but has a phobia of balloons.

6. Write about an art thief going to great lengths to steal a piece of art.

7. Write about a police officer who must talk someone out of doing something drastic and terrible.

8. Write a scene about a woman meeting a date at a coffee shop and running into her ex.

9. Write about a woman who must brave a violent storm to get home to her children.

10. Write a story detailing a harrowing visit to another country.

Get creative with these prompt ideas. Non-linear narrative prompts are often told from multiple perspectives and/or through the use of epistolary means (i.e. letters, journal entries, news reports, etc.).

11. Write about a fictional character through ripped-out pages from a journal that another character finds.

12. Write a story about a group of friends who go camping and end up getting assaulted by strange creatures. But piece the story together from the point of view of two or more characters.

13. Recount the end of a relationship from the POV of the two participants. Is there a misunderstanding at work, or do both people have the exact same story about why the relationship ended?

14. Write about a family who experiences an earthquake in different parts of the city.

15. Write a scene in which a cop and a criminal are matching wits in an interview room.

16. Start with the end of a story you know well, and then write it backward.

17. Write a story about a character with amnesia who remembers events out of order.

18. Explore a major historical event through the eyes of fictional characters who were “there.”

19. Start in the middle of a story about a long journey, then use flashbacks to fill in essential plot elements.

20. Using an unreliable narrator , tell the story of a disastrous music festival.

Viewpoint narrative can be completely made up or a product of your own personal experience. You can always combine fiction and personal narrative for a great writing exercise . If you're having trouble with writer's block , then the following prompts may be the easiest way to get your writing back on track.

21. What's your favorite memory from childhood? Write it down in as much detail as possible.

22. What's the proudest moment of your life so far? Use it as a starting point to craft a scene in which the moment gets even better.

23. What drew you to creative writing? Describe what inspired you to become a writer.

24. Think back to a day in 7th grade when you had a great day. Describe the day and what made it so great.

25. Write a comedic scene about your family on vacation.

26. Have you ever broken the law? Don't answer that. Instead, write a fictional story in which you do break the law.

27. Think of a famous person who gives you inspiration. Write about what you would do if you ever met them.

28. Write about what you would do on your dream vacation.

29. Write a short story about becoming a superhero.

30. Write a story from the viewpoint of a fictional character planning something nefarious.

31. Write a romantic story about meeting the love of your life.

32. Write a journal entry from the viewpoint of a character who has just accomplished their biggest goal.

33. Write a story about a day in the life of someone from a different cultural background.

34. Write a personal narrative in which you become a professional athlete in your favorite sport.

35. Write a story in which you're a rock star or a movie star.

36. Write a story from the POV of a character struggling to change the world for the better.

37. Write a first-person story about a police officer cracking the big case.

38. Write about a time you tried and failed at something. Explore your feelings and the aftermath.

39. Write about the weirdest thing that's ever happened to you.

40. Write about a near-death experience you've had.

In descriptive narrative, plot is secondary. It's more about getting the details down using all five senses . This can really help strengthen your fiction writing by helping readers feel immersed in the world of your story.

41. Describe a haunted house in detail.

42. Describe a fantasy creature you've made up or one from existing lore.

43. Write about the neighborhood park, including people who frequent it.

44. Write about a breathtaking building you've always liked.

45. Write about a landfill.

46. Write about a fantasy world in which dragons, demons, and elves exist.

47. Write about a building you're intimately familiar with.

48. Write about a spooky forest.

49. Write about a person (either real or fictional) without leaving any details out.

50. Describe the most beautiful sunset or vista you've ever seen.

While most of these writing prompts are mere exercises to strengthen your writing, you may find that they result in a story idea or two. So whether you use them as journal prompts for creative, stream-of-consciousness writing or as a way to come up with stories doesn't really matter. What matters is the writing activity you get out of them. Each hour you spend writing (and not just staring at the screen or surfing social media) adds to the 10,000 hours it takes to become an expert at something.

But what do you do when you want to put your writing out into the world? Well, if you want to make some money from your craft, you'll need to find the right market for your work.

Just as getting to know your characters is important for writing a good story, getting to know your market niche is essential for getting your story in front of readers . There are a couple of ways to do this, but only one that leaves you more time for actual writing. And that means using Publisher Rocket , made by the team here at Kindlepreneur.

With Publisher Rocket, you can get data in seconds that would otherwise take you hours if you were to comb through Amazon yourself. The main PR tools allow you to:

  • Learn what keywords Amazon customers use to search for books like yours — and how many searches a given keyword (or phrase) receives per month.
  • See what's working for other authors in your genre with data on book price, monthly sales, ranking, and book cover styles.
  • Find niche categories with the right amount of demand and competition for your books.
  • Gather keywords to use in your Amazon Ad campaigns.

Check out Publisher Rocket here to learn more.

Dave Chesson

When I’m not sipping tea with princesses or lightsaber dueling with little Jedi, I’m a book marketing nut. Having consulted multiple publishing companies and NYT best-selling authors, I created Kindlepreneur to help authors sell more books. I’ve even been called “The Kindlepreneur” by Amazon publicly, and I’m here to help you with your author journey.

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Home » Blog » 140 Creative Writing Prompts For Adults

140 Creative Writing Prompts For Adults

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Learning how to become a better writer includes knowing how to come up with a solid idea. With so many elements to consider when starting your novel, the plot itself may begin to slip away from you. Use these creative writing prompts for adults to get you started on the right path to a successful story and suffer from writer’s block for the last time.

This list of writing prompts for adults can be taken and used in any way you want. Details can be changed, and characters can be added or removed.

They are meant to be a fun way to get your creativity flowing and your next story developing. For even more writing ideas, check out the  writing prompt generator . Here, you will find 500+ prompts of all kinds that will give you some ideas.  Take control of that blank page and create something awesome. 

Dramatic Writing Prompts for Adults

A romantic writing prompt

Nothing beats some good old-fashioned drama once in a while. You can turn these writing prompts into a dramatic love story , an exciting short story, or morph them into a different genre. How you use them is up to you.

For a novel that is specifically romance, we have created an exclusive list of exciting and genre-bending romance writing prompts . Try choosing a writing prompt from the below list:

  • A young boy discovers that he is the only adopted child among his four siblings. Feeling confused and betrayed, he runs away to find his birth parents. After two months on the road, he runs out of money and still hasn’t found them. Does he go home? Or does he continue his quest?
  • Two couples are feuding and haven’t spoken in years. It is discovered that their two children have become best friends at school, and they want a playdate. Will this increase tension between them or lead to reconciliation?
  • Identical twins are attending the same college. They switch places and take each other’s classes depending on their strengths and weaknesses. They’ve gotten away with it for two years until their observant professor of a father is transferred to the school they attend.
  • Two childhood best friends stopped talking after a huge fight in high school. Five years later, they find themselves sitting next to each other on the same 16-hour international flight.
  • Write about a passionate romance that crosses religions.
  • He’s only been in office for a year. He is already being tempted by a corrupt group of criminals who want him to sabotage a series of public safety projects in exchange for funding his entire reelection campaign.
  • Your main character is being offered a promotion from the high school principal to the district director. Sadly, she knows her replacement will cut funding for all of the art programs. How does she manage the situation?
  • A high-profile general learns that the opposing army will surrender if he hands himself over. Will he prioritize his own safety or sacrifice himself for his country?
  • Write about a successful businesswoman who has built herself from the ground up. The business is suddenly threatened by the son of a rich local contractor who started a similar business out of boredom.
  • A successful lawyer knows that his client is guilty of the murder for which he has been charged. He is a good liar and could easily win the case. The case is getting constant media coverage and would guarantee him making a partner at his firm.
  • Your main character has lived a sheltered, isolated life. When their delusional and overbearing father dies. They are thrown into the real world and unsure of how to cope.
  • The doorbell rings, and your character answers it – finding nothing but an envelope with nothing on it. They open it and follow the instructions to attend a secret underground event. Afterward, they become a part of a huge resistance that the rest of the world knows nothing about.
  • After a family member’s funeral, you arrive home to a stranger on your doorstep, claiming the person is not really dead. The funeral was open-casket.
  • It is your character’s wedding day. While the vows are being said, someone from the crowd yells, “I object!”
  • A huge storm has stopped traffic. Your character is stuck in the car with someone for an unknown amount of time. The person chooses this moment to confess their undying love. The feeling is not mutual.
  • Your character finds an old, disposable camera on the ground. Feeling, they get the photos developed. What they see tells an unsettling story.
  • Two old friends are reminiscing on a prominent and life-changing event. They have very different memories from that day.
  • Your main character is a world-traveling nature photographer. She stumbles upon a small tribe of indigenous people who have found the cure for all cancer in a small local plant.
  • A young man has been homeschooled all his life and is ready to start college. An attack on his small hometown has him being drafted into the army. He is away from home for the first time ever and is terrified. However, he becomes a key strategist due to his unique perspective and undiscovered scientific talents.
  • A middle-aged man is tired of his career in a corporate office. He takes all his vacation and sick days at once for an excursion in the Appalachian Mountains. Everything is fine until a blizzard hits.
  • A shy and reserved web designer thinks she has found the man of her dreams online. She is actually being catfished by a competing company that wants to get information from her.
  • A man and woman work for two neighboring rival fast food companies. They always take their lunch breaks together on the bench right in the middle of the two.
  • An ongoing murder investigation takes an unexpected turn when it is discovered that a prolific group of corrupt police officers is behind the whole thing.
  • A television star is renowned and respected for his “method” acting. He only interviews or appears on TV in character. But this is because he doesn’t have a personality outside of his three most famous characters.
  • A professional gymnast is under fire for her supposed use of performance-enhancing steroids. She leaked the story herself to draw attention away from the fact that she is the leader of a high-profile drug ring.
  • An older couple on the brink of retirement keeps their life savings in the pages of the books in their home. They are just about to start looking for a retirement home to live in when a fire destroys their house and their cash.

Tips for Writing Drama

Free Person Writing on Notebook Stock Photo

  • Drama is usually character-driven , so make use of both your round and flat characters .
  • Introduce the conflict right away and keep it prominent. A drama will thrive off conflict.
  • Don’t let the resolution come easily.
  • Don’t be afraid to kill characters and write difficult situations.
  • Always show, don’t tell.

Supernatural Writing Prompts for Adults

personal narrative writing prompts for adults

Supernatural stories are popular. The entire world is in love with vampires. Write something interesting and unique enough that you might be writing their next favorite book. Use these supernatural story starters for your basic premise. Some writing prompts related to the genre of supernatural creatures are as follows:

  • On her 16th birthday, your main character miraculously survives a deadly car crash without a scratch. Later that week, she watches as a small scratch heals and disappears right before her eyes. Where did this new power come from, and what will she do with it?
  • There is an elite society of high education that wants to test a new drug. They give it to highly gifted students, and it allows them to stay awake for 48 hours and record everything they see, hear, and feel in that time. Unfortunately, some unexpected side effects set in two weeks later.
  • A middle-aged man is the only one in his famous and high-profile family without a superpower. The local police rely on his super-powered family to help them catch and fight crime. However, the powers are failing them during a specific investigation. Your protagonist’s “normal” perspective might just save the day.
  • Your main character suffers a terrible concussion. After recovering, they cannot control the vivid nightmares about the accident. However, they can also take images from their mind and project them into the real world. Doctors think they are crazy and keep them heavily sedated.
  • Write about a world where technology has given animals the ability to speak.

Tips for Writing Supernatural Stories

  • Setting the story in the real world will make your supernatural species more believable.
  • Create the origins of your species and supernatural characters.
  • Create the physical limitations for your species and beings.
  • Avoid the cliches of the genre.
  • Understand your reasons for using supernatural creatures. You shouldn’t be writing them in simply due to their popularity.

Thriller Writing Prompts for Adults

Thriller writing prompts

Thrillers can come in many forms and can be incorporated into many genres. Regardless of the details, though, they are always meant to excite. Suspense and tension are crucial – it’s always more fun when you don’t know. Writing a good thriller requires a strong set of writing skills. These prompts will give you a good base. If you think you need to improve, try some writing exercises.

If your thriller can get hearts racing, you’ve done a good job. Some writing prompts related to the thriller genre are as follows:

  • The body of your main character’s best friend is dumped on their doorstep. They make it their mission to find out who is responsible, even if it means crossing some lines and breaking some laws.
  • A murderer is on the loose in your character’s hometown. For 10 weeks, they have killed one person on the same day at the same time. Your main character is the next victim. They are abducted exactly three days before the planned kill time.
  • Strange things start happening around town. Your main character decides to find out for themselves what is going on. They do learn the truth, but now they aren’t allowed to leave.
  • Your character suffers from a condition that causes seemingly random blackouts for varying amounts of time. The only thing they ever remember before these episodes is a yellow car with a dent on the side. One day, that car is parked outside their house. This time, there is no blackout.
  • Your main character and their friends take an unsolicited mini-vacation to an off-limits island off the coast of their seaside town. Shortly after arrival, they discover the island’s inhabitants and the reason why it was off-limits.
  • Your protagonist is in intensive therapy due to extremely vivid nightmares detailing someone’s gruesome death. Many have said it’s just their twisted imagination, but this new therapist seems to think it’s much more than that.
  • You are legally allowed to kill someone one time in your life. You must fill out a series of paperwork, and your intended victim will be given notice of your plan.
  • A brilliant serial killer has been getting away with murder for decades. His only weakness is his acute inability to tell a lie. He is finally caught and tried for all the murders. Write about how he still manages to walk free with no charges laid.
  • Your character is a host at a restaurant. A couple comes in and says they have a reservation. You look it up in the system and find that the reservation was booked 40 years ago.

Tips for Writing a Thriller

  • Have a story that suits a thriller. This usually involves the protagonist falling victim to someone else and being caught in impossible situations.
  • Different points of view can add a lot of value to a thriller. It gives several perspectives and allows the reader to get into the heads of many characters.
  • Put action as close to the beginning as possible.
  • Don’t be afraid to make your characters miserable.

Thriller Book Writing Template

Squibler has a book writing template that was created specifically for writing a thriller:

thriller novel template

It will walk you through each section of a typical thriller. It includes the basics of a thriller structure without stifling your creativity. The guidelines are easy to understand but loose enough that you can insert the details of your story with ease.

Horror Writing Prompts for Adults

Horror writing prompt

The horror genre has always had a cult-like following. Several fictional killers have become household names. Some horror fans will spend their whole lives chasing the adrenaline that comes with a good scare.

If you’re learning how to become a better writer to scare your readers, these writing prompts will get you started. A book writing template may be helpful in creating a true horror, as setting the stage properly is crucial. Some horror writing prompts that you can write a story are as follows:

  • It’s Halloween night, and a group of rowdy teenagers break into an infamously haunted house in their town. They soon discover it is not the ghosts they have to fear, but the madman who lives upstairs is poisoning them with hallucinogenic gas.
  • There is a disease outbreak at a school. It appears at first to be chicken pox, but it is actually a virus that is causing violent outbreaks in the children who begin to terrorize the town.
  • Your main character attends a meditation retreat. It turns out to be a recruiting process for an extremist cult that convinces members to commit dangerous acts of terror. Your protagonist is the only one in the room who is immune.
  • So overcome by his nightmares, your main character attacks anyone who comes near him. He cannot distinguish between loved ones and the monsters in his head.
  • A young man has to dive 300 feet into the ocean to rescue his girlfriend caught in a broken submarine. He must cross through a genetically modified shark breeding ground.
  • An old time capsule is about to be opened and the whole town is present for the celebration. When opened, the only thing found inside is a detached human hand with a threatening note in the grasp. The note is written in your character’s handwriting but dated 50 years before they were even born.

Master horror writer Stephen King reveals some of his thought processes: “So where do the ideas—the salable ideas—come from? They come from my nightmares. Not the night-time variety, as a rule, but the ones from everyday life that hide just beyond the doorway that separates the conscious from the unconscious.”

Horror doesn’t always have to be fantastical and dreamy in nature. Sometimes horror exists in the real world, within people.

Tips for Writing Horror

  • Don’t be afraid to give that gruesome, bloody description.
  • Aim to create extreme emotions.
  • Make sure the readers care about your characters. This will make their horrible situations more impactful.
  • Consider what scares you the most. Keep this in mind when writing.
  • Set the stakes high.
  • Some comic relief or brief periods of peace are okay – necessary even. It can help build suspense.

Crime and Mystery Writing Prompts for Adults

Mystery writing prompt

Stories of crime and mystery have been told for ages. There are some classic crime dramas that will never get old. Many non-fiction books have been written on this topic as well. 

Creating a proper mystery takes time and much planning. When done correctly, though, it makes for a most memorable story. Some crime and mystery writing prompts are as follows:

  • Your main character discovers another woman’s clothes tucked in the back of her boyfriend’s closet. She plans an elaborate fishing trip to get him far away for a weekend so she can teach him a lesson.
  • A new serial killer is on the loose, killing one person every other day within 500 feet of a museum. There must be a connection and a reason, but how will they catch him when he keeps destroying the cameras and escaping?
  • A young officer is three years sober and committed to getting back on track. That is until he is called to the scene of a high-profile drug bust and is in charge of collecting evidence. Can he control himself around so many drugs?
  • Abandoned cars start randomly appearing throughout the city. No license plates and nothing inside. That is until one is found to contain several dismembered human limbs.
  • Your character has been receiving nasty, lifelike drawings in the mail. They ignore them at first, thinking it is some kids being silly. Until the drawings start coming to life. Since they have the drawings, they know what is going to happen next and in what order.
  • Your main character and her husband awake one night in the early hours of the morning, both recalling a horrific dream from the night before. They soon learn the dream to be true as they discover a fresh, painful brand in between each of their shoulder blades.
  • Your character never wakes up feeling rested, no matter how long they sleep. Medication doesn’t help. They decide to film themselves one night. The next morning, they watch as they get out of bed around midnight, smirk at the camera, and wave before disappearing out the door for hours.
  • Your protagonist is a member of a small religious group. When a precious artifact goes missing, the head elder’s daughter is blamed for it. Your character knows she couldn’t be responsible because the two of them were romantically involved at the time of the theft. Such activities are strictly forbidden, and the daughter would rather go down for the theft than admit to breaking that law.
  • There is a serial killer going after the children of rich and notable families in the area. Your main character is the child of one such family and is terrified every waking moment. Tired of living in fear, they decide to figure out who the killer is and stop them  
  • Your character gets a DNA test just for fun. After getting the results and doing some more research, they discovered that members of their ancestry from all over the world were once all gathered in the same place. The reason is unknown.
  • Your character receives a strange voicemail from an unknown number. The voicemail ends up changing the course of their entire life.
  • Your character is in an accident and loses the memory of the last year of their life. There are so many things that don’t make sense. They must retrace their steps to find answers.
  • The entire town has started sleepwalking together every night.  
  • Your character has a short but friendly encounter with a stranger in an elevator. The next day, they are all over TV as the victim of a brutal murder.
  • Your character is redecorating and takes down a painting. They notice something strange engraved on the back of the frame.
  • Your character goes to their usual coffee shop and orders “the usual.” The Barista smiles, nods, and slides something entirely different across the counter. She has never made a mistake before.
  • Your character opens a random book at the library when the cover page falls out. It says, “if you are reading this, you have been chosen.”
  • When looking through some old family photos – going back generations – your character notices a cat in almost every photo. The very same colorful spotted cat with a single docked ear that is sitting on their lap.
  • When paying for their groceries, your main character mentions to the clerk that there is a mess in aisle 11. The clerk is confused and explains that there is no aisle 11.

Tips for Writing Crime and Mystery

  • This is a genre where a book writing template can come in handy. The plots are often so complex it can be overwhelming to keep it all straight.
  • Draw inspiration from real-life crimes. This will make your story believable.
  • Also, draw your inspiration from real-life people and give them realistic motives behind their crimes. Crime and mystery are rarely set in a fantasy world, so being realistic is important.
  • Know how the mystery is solved before you start writing.
  • Include a few cliffhangers – usually at the end of a chapter.

Science Fiction Writing Prompts for Adults

Free Woman Wearing Space Suit Stock Photo

Science fiction is similar to fantasy in that you can make up a lot of stuff, which is a fun way to write.

This is a versatile genre that can be molded into anything you want.

Sometimes, it is rooted in truth with elements of real scientific and technological advances. Other times, there are many assumptions made about the future of science, and lots of make-believe takes place. Some of the best sci-fi writing prompts and a few ideas to explore in this genre are as follows:

  • A spaceship that can surpass the speed of light is allowing a few humans on board to escape our solar system and its dying sun. How does the world decide who gets to survive?
  • A shy, introverted tech guy develops a virus that can control human desires, impulses, and choices.
  • A pet store becomes overrun with kittens and sells them off at a low price. However, these cats are actually an alien hybrid that can body jump. It begins, causing the owners of these cats to commit suicide within 24 hours of adoption.
  • A live TV broadcast from the White House experiences some technical difficulties. They end up broadcasting a top-secret meeting about a pending alien invasion.
  • Science has developed a brain scanning software that can read thoughts. Before they can decide what to do with it, someone has hacked the system and stolen it.
  • Your character wakes up on a spaceship with no memory.
  • The world has developed a genetic system that engineers everyone for a specific job in the community. Your character hates what they were created to do. This never happens.
  • The world has finally reached a state of all-encompassing peace thanks to a technical system that keeps things regulated. Your character is in charge of keeping the system running. When they discover exactly how the system is kept running, they consider abandoning their post and never turning back.
  • Your character accidentally traps themselves in an alternate universe that hasn’t discovered electricity or technology yet.

Tips for Writing Science Fiction

  • Make your story complex, but don’t rush it. Let your audience process information before adding more.
  • Keep the language simple and easy to understand even if the world isn’t. The majority of your readers will not be scientists or tech experts.
  • Be consistent in terms of the universe. Physical laws, social classes, etc. Know your own world.

Dystopian Writing Prompts for Adults

The 20 best dystopian novels of all time

Dystopian stories are growing in popularity. The genre itself is growing and evolving all the time as people figure out what works and what entertains.

Dystopian is a fun genre to read and experience, but writing it can be just as enjoyable. Having fun while learning how to become a better writer is of utmost importance.

Be careful you’re not writing Dystopia just because it sells well. Make sure you have a real story to tell and that it’s one you believe in. Some dystopian writing prompts are as follows:

  • A newly married couple becomes pregnant with twins. Due to growing overpopulation, they are told they must make a choice when the babies are born. Only one will live. Rather than submit to this, they plan their escape across the border.
  • An amateur teen scientist accidentally discovers an impending alien attack set to destroy Earth within a month. He becomes the unwilling leader of the evacuation and defense coalition.
  • A hacker discovers that the new iPhone can be remotely detonated. Many corrupt political leaders are assassinated in this way on the same day. The world breaks into chaos.
  • World War III has come and gone. Governments are a thing of the past, and money is useless. Survival is the objective. Your main character also has a medical condition to keep under control.
  • A horrible outbreak of disease devastated the wildlife population 100 years ago. A scientist has recently created a virus that will strengthen the immune systems of the remaining animals. It works too well, and the animals are starting to overtake the human population.
  • After mental illness devastates a generation, scientists create an airborne substance that balances the levels of all people on the earth. Your character is one of the few who is immune.
  • Rampant wildfires are taking over the surface of the earth. Your character is part of a group that is trying to find a rumored ocean-deep settlement. The settlement doesn’t really exist.
  • Nature extremists have taken over the government. Any and all activities that are harmful to the land or plants are forbidden and outlawed.
  • Natural farming is a thing of the past. All food is manufactured artificially and distributed. There is no flavor, and it’s the same thing every day. Your character takes a stress-relieving trip to the mountains. Here, they find the remnants of some real plants with a few berries on them.

Tips for Writing Dystopian Fiction

  • Know what the message of the story is. What is the main character trying to achieve?
  • A dystopian society is usually one that has taken the current problems of the world and projected them into the future.
  • Dystopian realities are never good ones – make sure you have enough doom, gloom, and darkness for your readers to understand the state of the world.

Historical Writing Prompts for Adults

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Historical fiction can be whimsical and charming. It can be dark and spooky. It can be funny and ridiculous. Stories of history span many genres.

Historical fiction can be a combination of educational and entertaining. It tests a writer’s research skills as well as knowledge. The better depiction you can create of your desired time period, the more effective your story will be.

Learning to research is crucial to know how to become a better writer. Some historical fiction writing prompts are as follows:

  • From a first-person perspective, write about the showdown between a criminal and a lion in the Roman Colosseum.
  • Abraham Lincoln is famous for his top hat. Where did the top hat come from? Who was the president without it? Write a story about the infamous top hat and its life.
  • The Berlin Wall has crashed to the ground, and it is love at first sight for one lucky couple – whose parents aren’t so impressed.
  • Your character is a talented composer whose direct competition is Beethoven.
  • Write about a dinner party where three famous historical figures are in attendance.
  • Your best friend has invented the very first time-travel machine.
  • Write about a well-known war, but give it a different outcome.
  • Write a happy ending for Dracula.
  • Your character’s husband of ten years has just confessed that he has traveled through time from the fourteenth century. He decided to stay because he fell in love with her.
  • Write about the thoughts of someone who is secretly watching Michelangelo paint the Sistine Chapel.
  • Your character is the only one who knows who really killed JFK. It wasn’t Oswald.
  • Your character is working under William Shakespeare as his apprentice.
  • Write about a pair of detectives who solve their cases by traveling back and forth in time.
  • Write about the experience of someone who has just learned of the Titanic’s sinking. They had a loved one on board.
  • Choose a major historical event. Write from the perspective of a witness.
  • Your character wants to travel across the land. No forms of transportation have been invented yet.
  • Write about someone who worked at one of the first printing presses during the printing revolution of the 15th century.

Tips for Writing Historical Fiction

  • Do your research! Inaccuracies or incorrect facts about the time you are writing will break trust of your readers and decrease your credibility.
  • Choose a specific time period and location. “Early twentieth century” is too broad.
  • In addition to setting and facts, characters need to match the time period. This includes dress, behavior, and language.
  • Small details will matter.
  • Balance the historical facts with the drama and fictional elements.

Humorous Creative Writing Prompts for Adults

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Another genre that is especially fun to write, as well as read, is comedy. Nothing beats throwing your head back in full laughter.

The goal here is to make people laugh as much as possible while still balancing a good story and believable characters. Check out the best creative writing prompts with a funny twist:

  • Substitute teachers are tired of not being taken seriously. They come together and form a secret society with plans to revolt.
  • An Elvis impersonator is so good that many start to believe Elvis has actually come back to life. Soon, he has been recruited to lead a superstitious Elvis-loving cult.
  • Three friends are out on the town for a night. Write about the most ridiculous series of events you can think of.
  • Life has gotten tough, and your character is considering moving back in with their parents. Before they are able to make a decision, their parents show up at their door asking if they can move in.
  • Your character wakes up one day, and everything they say rhymes. They can’t control it.
  • The climate is changing, and your main character’s city gets snow for the first time in their entire life. She and her friends are recruited for clean up.
  • Your main character has never had a real job before. They are starting a job at the biggest, busiest store in town on the busiest day of the year.
  • Your character is set up on a blind date with their sworn enemy.
  • Every morning, you have a package delivered that contains an item you end up needing that day.
  • Struggling with writer’s block, an author decides to sit at a local train station for information. They get some good material.
  • Your characters are holding a high-stakes rock-paper-scissors tournament.
  • Your main character gets backstage at a concert. What happens back there is much more interesting than the show.
  • Your protagonist decides to buy an old school bus and travel across the country. Being single without any close friends, they post an ad asking if anyone wants to join. They end up having their pick of travel partners.
  • Write a story about a low-profile, insignificant, but long-unsolved crime that is finally cracked.
  • Your character is a serial killer who kills anyone who hitchhikes along the mountain they live on. One day, they pick up a hitchhiker who kills whoever picks him up.
  • The world’s greatest detective finally meets his match: A criminal so stupid and so careless that the detective can’t ever predict what he is going to do next.

Tips for Writing Comedy

  • Test the humor on others. You might find something hilarious, but if no one else is going to laugh, it will be useless to include.
  • Observe comedy. Your ability to write it will hinge on your experience with it. Watch, read, listen, and speak comedy.
  • Have fun with it. Comedy is fun. If you’re not laughing at yourself along the way, you’ll never get through to the end.

Fantasy Writing Prompts for Adults

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Fantasy is one of the most popular genres of the time. It’s growing every day because of its creative and immersive nature. People love to preoccupy themselves with something with magical powers.

Being transported into another world for a little while – that’s what fantasy can do. Some of the best creative writing prompts for fantasy fiction are as follows:

  • In a world of advanced technological and magical advancements, one group keeps their practice of ancient spells a secret. One day, they are discovered, and it leads to a fight. What is more powerful – old magic or new technology?
  • A large, protected national forest is secretly home to werewolves. One summer, there is an especially bad flea epidemic, and the werewolves are greatly affected. The fleas from the werewolves infect the town’s water supply and start turning everyone into werewolves. The only ones not affected are children under 13.
  • The world is overrun with vampires, and humans are dying out. Different races and factions of vampires are beginning to go to war over the limited supply of human blood.
  • Your character finds a strange-looking egg in the forest. Thinking it will make a great decoration, they take it home. What hatches from that egg surpasses their wildest imagination.
  • A city has spent centuries living in peace with the water-dwellers who reside in their lakes. Suddenly, the water dwellers declare war, and no one knows why.
  • Your character has always been able to alter their appearance. They hide unattractive features. Suddenly, their powers stop working, and their true appearance is revealed.
  • Your main character has a fascination with untouched societies – such as hidden tribes in the Amazon. She sets out to study them as a living. One day, she accidentally allows herself to be seen by one of the members. What this person does is beyond what your character ever thought to be real.
  • The earth itself is dying, and all life on the planet is dying with it.
  • Some people in the world have magic, others don’t. No one knows why. Your main character has magic, but his best friend doesn’t. The friend is exceptionally jealous and is growing more and more desperate to make the magic his.

Tips for Writing Fantasy

  • Focus on being unique
  • Don’t neglect worldbuilding. Inconsistencies will be obvious to readers. This is where a book writing software like Squibler can come in handy. It helps you stay organized and efficient.
  • Create unique names.
  • Don’t be afraid to make the journey long and the outcome unexpected.

Fantasy Novel Writing Template

Fantasy is one of the most complicated genres due to the necessity of building a brand-new world. Squibler’s fantasy writing template will help you through this daunting process:

fantasy novel writing template

This template offers guidelines and suggestions for building your world as well as structuring and creating your storyline. It’s helpful but loose enough to allow your creativity to keep flowing.

Dialogue-Inspired Writing Prompts

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Sometimes, all it takes is a small exchange or a witty one-liner to get your brain working. Take these words and start something new. Or, insert them into an existing project and see what happens. Some of the best dialogue-based creative writing prompts are as follows:

  • “As she stepped onto the train, I fought every urge to jump on after her.”
  • “He was expensive. Please be more considerate of my money the next time I hire an assassin to kill you.”
  • “You say that like it was a struggle.”
  • “I’m your conscience. That is literally my one job.”
  • “Well, I wish you didn’t love me. I guess no one is getting what they want today.”
  • “I guess it didn’t take.”
  • “I was bored so I blew up my house.”
  • “I taught you how to pick locks, and THAT is how you’re choosing to use the skill?”
  • “They thought I would forget everything. I remember even more than when they started.”
  • “Yes. But I don’t care.”
  • “I killed my mother. Are you really questioning what I can do to you right now?”

Tips That Every Writer Should Remember

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If you want to create compelling stories with fiction writing prompts, remember the following things:

Create a Proper Writing Schedule

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To succeed in the demanding task of following fiction writing prompts, treat yourself and your writing with importance. Establish and consistently adhere to a designated writing schedule. Maintaining a regular writing routine prevents the project from fading into obscurity.

It’s challenging to retain the novel’s details in your mind for quick and efficient writing. Allowing substantial intervals between writing sessions and working haphazardly only increases the difficulty and likelihood of abandoning the endeavor.

Don’t Expect Your Words to Be Perfect

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Many writers start working on fiction writing prompts with excitement, but upon rereading, their work may not meet their expectations, leading to deleting it entirely. Avoid being overly critical of your writing.

Excessive self-editing can halt your progress and prevent you from writing beyond the initial pages. Instead, focus on writing and avoid scrutinizing it until you have completed the story. Rewriting is essential for crafting great novels, and most writers would not share their first drafts with others.

Relax a Little

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Are you unable to follow fiction writing prompts because the thought of it overwhelms you? Start by loosening up with some free writing. Dedicate five or ten minutes to jotting down whatever pops into your mind, and don’t pause or edit.

This exercise helps remove the mental block between your thoughts and your writing. It will help you to prepare for the actual writing process, akin to stretching before a workout.

Explore Your Ideas

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When you first come across your fiction writing prompts, document all your notions and ideas regarding your desired novel. Jot down even the vaguest thoughts and concepts that come to mind. Identify any compelling questions you want to delve into.

Take notes on any particular setting, historical period, or topic that captivates you. Through this free-form writing, ideas will gradually emerge and take form.

Switch Between Plotting and Writing

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As you begin working on your fiction writing prompts, engage in a simultaneous process of developing the plot and crafting the actual text. Planning the plot provides structure and direction for your writing.

However, immersing yourself in the writing allows you to experience the story on a deeper level, discovering new insights and nuances. This interactive approach enhances both aspects of the creative process.

Think About Your Characters

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Delve into the depths of your characters beyond their actions and names while working on writing prompts. Consider creating character profiles and mood boards with images that resonate with them. Test their limits in challenging situations to witness their reactions.

Engage in dialogue to develop their unique voices. Remember, characters in a novel should not be mere pawns in your narrative. They require motivation to drive their actions and make them more relatable and compelling.

Focus on the Structure

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As you progress with your fiction writing prompts, consider the overall structure of your novel. Determine the timeline of your story. Will it cover a short period or an entire lifetime? Divide it into chapters or sections based on significant events or time periods.

Choose a narrative perspective to follow the writing prompts. Will the events be narrated by a first-person character reflecting on the past or unfold in real time? These structural decisions will provide a framework for your story and ensure it flows smoothly.

Set Some Targets

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Some people prefer setting goals and deadlines while following fiction writing prompts. Consider setting writing goals that you can reasonably achieve, such as writing 3,000 words weekly or 1,000 words daily.

Alternatively, you could aim for broader deadlines, like completing a third of your first draft by the end of the year. Choose targets that feel manageable and adjust them as needed to ensure success.

Try to Use the Active Voice

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To captivate readers with your fiction writing prompts, aim for page-turners that hook them from the first page to the last. Employ the active voice predominantly in your stories. Construct sentences using the clear and concise order of nouns (subject) performing an action (verb) and affecting an object. Passive voice can be useful occasionally but use it sparingly in your fictional works.

How to Get Rid of Writer’s Block

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You might often encounter writer’s block while working on creative writing prompts. Here are some ways to get rid of writer’s block:

Most writers find their passion for writing through reading. To enhance your writing skills and get creative outputs for your writing prompts, revisit your literary roots by reading extensively. Focus on contemporary and acclaimed works within your specific genre or area of interest. By immersing yourself in the latest literature, you’ll gain inspiration, identify gaps in the market, and determine how you can make a unique contribution to the field.

Take Breaks

To avoid burnout while working on writing prompts, take frequent breaks. Step away for a quick coffee break when feeling stuck. If needed, take longer breaks, like an afternoon drive or even a full day off. These breaks allow your mind to relax, giving you a refreshed perspective when you return to writing.

Avoid Comparison

Even if you are skilled in writing, there will always be individuals with greater proficiency or who have been writing for longer. Each person’s writing journey and experiences are different. Is it fair to contrast your writing abilities with someone who may have gained more experience?

Instead of comparing yourself to others, focus on improving your own writing. Embrace the uniqueness of your voice. By honing your skills and sharing your perspective, you will attract an audience that resonates with your writing style.

Try Different Writing Methods

Changing your writing tools can refresh your approach and overcome writer’s block. If you typically write on a computer, try writing by hand. If you have a typewriter, use it for a unique sensory experience.

If you’re still stuck, walk outside and talk your ideas into a recorder or your phone. The physical activity and verbalization can spark new creativity.

Discover Your Peak Creativity Hours

Identify if your mind is most alert for creative writing in the morning or evening. Adjust your schedule of working on writing prompts accordingly.

Explore different locations to find where you write best, whether it’s a bustling coffee shop, a serene beach, or a secluded bedroom. Choose the environment that fosters your creativity.

Eliminate distractions by turning off Wi-Fi, removing your phone from your workspace, and requesting quiet time from others. This allows you to focus and tap into your creative flow.

Write Your Next Masterpiece With These Creative Writing Prompts for Adults

Whether you have a book writing templat e all filled out or you are starting from scratch, these writing prompts will get your imagination going and make your writing time more productive.

Beat the writer’s block, get your groove back, or just be inspired.  Figure out how to love writing again. Whatever you’re looking for, hopefully, these ideas have helped form the story you need to tell.

Frequently Asked Questions

Let’s take a look at some questions and answers:

Is following fiction writing prompts difficult?

You might come across creative ideas when you get fiction writing prompts. But transforming them into captivating narratives is a complex endeavor. This is because crafting a story that resonates with readers requires more than simply assembling words and sentences until a book is completed.

What is the hardest genre of fiction writing prompts?

When it comes to following fiction writing prompts, writers often struggle with the horror genre. It necessitates a t horough comprehension of human nature and its psychological intricacies and the capacity to evoke primal fears and anxieties within readers. Moreover, following creative writing prompts for the horror genre requires proficiency in crafting believable, immersive characters and settings that resonate with the audience.

What are common literary techniques to include in creative writing prompts?

Fiction writers should choose the right literary techniques to enhance their writing. Some common types of literary devices to use include alliteration, personification, and symbolism.

What is the genre of realistic fiction for creative writing prompts?

Realism in fiction depicts events that could potentially happen in real life. The setting is believable, fostering a sense of familiarity. Characters in realistic stories behave in ways that align with human experiences, making them relatable and believable.

Can I profit from writing fiction?

Typically, authors receive a book advance and a percentage of royalties (usually between 5% and 15%) from the sale of traditionally published works. However, the actual earnings can vary significantly.

Josh Fechter

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295 personal narrative ideas: diverse topics for your essay.

January 6, 2022

295 Personal Narrative Ideas

Personal narrative writing involves writing about a real-life experience. It’s like non-fiction. You’re writing a story about yourself because it happened to you. At some point, your stories are the perfect personal narrative writing ideas because they are yours.

This way, you get to connect with people. As a student in high school, college, middle school, or university, you can impress your teachers or professors with good personal narrative topics. By choosing the perfect topic, you can create a stellar essay to earn high grades.

Characteristics of a Good Personal Narrative Piece

As a kind of writing which relies on individual experience, your story must:

Have a Clear Purpose This could be a narration of why the story is important to you. The purpose of the story must be clearly expressed without making direct statements about it. Organized Facts and Events The fact you are writing a story about your life doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be organized. You should write sequentially as much as possible to make it organized and lucid. Sensory Description You must also describe your feeling in a way the audience can connect with it. If you need to describe how the cold touch of rain sliced through your skin on a winter dawn, do it. Let your audience feel it as much as you felt it. Involve Readers Your readers must feel important while reading your story. To achieve this, your story must carry them along. If there’s something you need to explain, explain it to make everything clear to them. Include Conflict A story is incomplete without conflicts. This is why you must create enthralling conflicts for your characters. The higher the stake, the better the feelings when the protagonist scales through it.

All these, in addition to a thesis statement are all important features that must be seen in any personal narrative writing.

The Structure of a Personal Narrative Essay

After knowing what your personal essay must have as its features, you must also structure your essay properly. To do this, you should follow this organizational structure:

  • Introduction

This is where you grab your readers’ attention. You should set the scene where major characters of the story are also introduced. After this, discuss the role of the argument and introduce the characters. Your introduction must be captivating. Note that you’re writing a story, not a paper.

This is where everything about the story is shared. You must add all the details you know to your story. For instance, the hiking experience must be profoundly discussed, and so do the events that changed you. If you also want to talk about people, describe them. Doing this lets you show your readers, not tell them the story. When you need to change the course of the story, you can write in a new paragraph.

Our list will be extremely helpful to start your essay, but we can assist you even more along the whole process if you want to pay for essay online and save your time for something more entertaining.

Personal Narrative Writing Prompts

As students, one of the most important essays you may ever write is a personal narrative one. This is one of the ways to reveal yourself to strangers and friends. It’s a way to knows more about yourself and other people. You can consider these ideas for a personal narrative piece:

  • Identify your most threatening challenges
  • What would you say are your survival strategies?
  • How do you cope when you fail?
  • Would you say that you can’t succeed unless you fail?
  • Discuss what you do to achieve your goals
  • Do you think “leave your comfort zone” is a sham?
  • What do you think about yourself when you’re scared?
  • Would you say you don’t mind loneliness?
  • What does crying mean to you?
  • What are your fears?
  • Do you harbor superstitions, what are they?
  • Do you feel no one is seeing you as they should
  • Write about your rules for life
  • Write about your response to bullies
  • Write about how you give yourself peace
  • How do you relax within the limited time you have to yourself?
  • What do you do for fun?
  • How do you integrate feedback to improve?
  • Would you say becoming an adult is difficult?
  • What is the responsibility that scares you the most and why?
  • When was your saddest day and why was it?
  • How does stress not make anything easy for you?
  • Do you act anyhow when you’re provoked?
  • How do you perform under pressure?
  • Can you discuss what makes you happy?
  • Discuss what criticism means and how you take them in
  • Discuss what your decision-making process is like
  • Explain what motivates you the most
  • Do you think you have self-control
  • Are you presently easy or hard on yourself to reach your goals?
  • Can you work under any circumstances?
  • Do you think you’re a creative person?
  • What are the conditions that helped you maximize your potentials
  • Would you say you’re emotionally intelligent?
  • Would you say you can perform the most when you collaborate
  • Are you ready for the competitive workplace?
  • Would you say you’re a great speaker?
  • Would you say you’re a better listener?
  • Do you think you’re an agreeable person?
  • Discuss what you think about peer pressure.

Personal Narrative Essay Ideas

For your personal essays, how do you discover great essay ideas? You can consider custom personal narrative prompts which are unique to specific events. Some of the topics which are target-oriented are:

  • Discuss a time you took more risks than others
  • What makes you a daredevil?
  • What has made you brave?
  • Would you say you’re impulsive?
  • Discuss your strategies against boredom
  • What are the pranks you’ve ever fallen for
  • How do you apologize when you’re wrong?
  • Do you think you’re a cynical person?
  • Discuss three things that annoy you
  • Would you say you’re materialistic?
  • Do you consider yourself a minimalist?
  • How do you say goodbye?
  • Are you on the right or the left?
  • What do you think people think about you?
  • Why do you think what others think should matter?
  • Write about your role model
  • Would you say you’re weird?
  • Would you say you’re a nonconformist?
  • Do you believe in magic?
  • Why should you be inspired by people?
  • Do you think your role models are heroes?
  • Would you think role models must be famous
  • Outside your family, are you a different person?
  • Within your family, do you want to be someone else?
  • Which live show do you love the most?
  • Discuss how someone has made a difference in your life
  • What are the kinds of music you like?
  • Discuss what you’d put in a thank you note
  • Write what you’d do if you’re to invite your enemies to dinner
  • Recall a time to speak to a large audience of people and write how it felt
  • Do you think family is everything?
  • Do you think you can’t be anything without family?
  • Would you say you want to change your role in the family?
  • What are the programs that keep you closer?
  • If your life would be a movie, which of the autobiographies would it be?
  • Choose a profession of your choice and discuss why
  • What do you think about sacrifice?
  • Discuss a family treasure
  • Would you say you have hobbies someone has adopted
  • Why are you called your name?

Personal Narrative Ideas High School

As high school students, you also need to develop personal narrative essays. These could be essays about your parents, neighbors, or your home. Choose from these personal narrative ideas for high school students:

  • Describe your relationship with your parents?
  • Would you say your parents permit you?
  • Discuss the freedom your parents give you
  • Do you think your curfew hours make it difficult to live?
  • Would you say you enjoy your parents, why?
  • Would you prefer to be a parent too?
  • What do your parents do with your bad report card?
  • Would you say parenting is difficult?
  • Do your parents like online learning?
  • Are your parents hard on you to do things?
  • Do you think parenting could be something to be embarrassed by?
  • How did your parents influence the school you attended?
  • Do your parents let you create things on your own?
  • Do you think you have great teachers and patients?
  • What will your neighbors say about you?
  • Which characters perfectly describe your neighbors and why?
  • What is a common slogan in your environment?
  • What are the TV shows you can’t stop watching?
  • What do you think about supporting community sport?
  • Write about the mayor of your city
  • Where is your favorite place?
  • Write about your favorite joint
  • Write about a park you love
  • Discuss how you spend time with nature
  • Would you say you see bad things every day?
  • Do you love your home?
  • What is your favorite ad slogan and why?
  • What does chatting with the police feel like?
  • Have you ever been assaulted?
  • Do you think you’re easily annoyed?

Personal Narrative Topic Ideas

If you’d love to discuss anything at all, there are tons of custom ideas on narrative writing. Some personal narrative ideas are also based on religion, sexuality, race, and many other issues of the world today. Consider:

  • Would you say you have no religion?
  • Do you think the older generations are too religious?
  • Write about how you know about other religions
  • Write about what you know about other religions
  • Discuss the difference between male and female
  • Do you acknowledge the rights of trans people?
  • Do you think the LGTBQ is complicated?
  • Will you share parental responsibilities?
  • What do you know about sex?
  • What do you know about gender issues?
  • What is your experience of love?
  • How does being a ‘real man’ feel?
  • Do you think you can be biased?
  • Is there a difference in the ways sons and daughters are treated in the home?
  • Should there a more pressure on daughters than men
  • Discuss your racial identity and why it’s important to talk about it
  • Would you say you’re a feminist?
  • Discuss your encounter with sexual harassment
  • Discuss what you think about catcalling
  • What do you think about social hierarchies?
  • Discuss the last time you interacted with someone of another race
  • Do you think you have racial biases too?
  • Would you say you experienced racism before, as black
  • Which one is more important to you: money or love
  • Are you happy with yourself?
  • Would you say money can’t buy happiness too?
  • What do you pay attention to the most in the world?
  • Do you think it’s okay to be addicted to phones
  • How do you teach people about money?
  • What are the most important things in your life?

Personal Narrative Writing Ideas

As an attempt to discuss something that deals with people’s daily affairs, good ideas for personal narrative may be hard to come by. Rather than go through the trouble of finding how to think of ideas for a personal narrative, these are custom ideas for you:

  • What are the things that matter most for you?
  • Narrate what you hope to have in your dream home
  • Narrate your experience as if you’d lived in the woods
  • Narrate your most fun childhood memory
  • Discuss what your passion was as a child
  • Explain what you loved most as a child
  • Write about your favorite childhood shows and books
  • Discuss your favorite childhood picture book
  • Write about your childhood influences
  • Discuss your childhood most loved places
  • Discuss the little things your parents did they made you happy
  • Write about the first time you went out with your parents
  • Narrate your experience of a swing
  • What was your favorite song as a child? Write a response to it
  • Which food do you wish you’d eaten as a child
  • Narrate what made a gift the best you ever had
  • Write about what your most memorable letter
  • Write about the divorce of a family friend or neighbor
  • Discuss the consequence of separation from a state
  • Write about how migrated from a place to another
  • Write about how angry your father or mother could be at themselves
  • Write about your favorite memories of sleepovers
  • How did it feel when you found something you thought you’d lost?
  • What are your most prized lessons of teenage years?
  • Would you do something else differently not as an adult when you were 13?
  • Narrate the achievements that made you proud
  • Discuss the rites you engaged in
  • Write about your message to the older generation
  • Write a message to the younger generation
  • Describe yourself as if you’re a 13-year-old right now
  • Share a story of your ethical dilemma
  • Discuss your sex experience; whether you had it not
  • Write about something you cared about that you shouldn’t have
  • Write about something you didn’t care about but you should have
  • Discuss the last time you collected money from a stranger
  • Write about the last time a stranger kissed you
  • Discuss your memorable lying experience
  • Narrate your experience with drugs
  • Explain your experience with gossiping
  • Have you ever cheated in exams?

Personal Narrative Ideas College

As a college student, you can also develop incredible personal narrative pieces. Through these pieces, you can connect with your colleagues and share your ideas. Consider these personal narrative prompts:

  • Why did you choose the screen time you chose?
  • What would you do without a smartphone?
  • Narrate your gaming experiences and the thrill you feel
  • Write about the apps that do nothing but reduce you
  • Would you say tech takes a huge responsibility for change in your life?
  • Would you say you are interested in technology?
  • What is your experience of religion?
  • What is your experience of God?
  • Narrate if you’ve had an encounter with God or religion before
  • Explain what you’d do if you have control over others
  • Narrate what you would control if you can
  • Narrate what you can do without thinking otherwise
  • What would you say are your best features of YouTube
  • Narrate your experience of a date over the internet
  • Narrate your experience of seeking to advice online
  • Discuss your favorite online sports
  • Write about your online sad story
  • Write about a terrible experience of bullying online
  • Discuss how you fact check what you read online
  • Write about how you express yourself online
  • Would you say you trust Wikipedia?
  • Would you say you enjoy online reviews?
  • What is your comment on porn?
  • Would you give your passwords out?
  • If you have a partner, will you share everything?
  • What would you do if you just made a fraudulent purchase?
  • Do you chat with anonymous people?
  • How do you keep your passwords safe?
  • Are there things your parents won’t believe that is on the internet?
  • Write about why you trust social media
  • What is your favorite Facebook experience?
  • What is your favorite Twitter experience?
  • What is your experience of wrong grammar structure online?
  • Did you ever go through Instagram feeds with envy?
  • Did you ever download a stranger’s picture because you like them?

Personal Narrative Ideas for Middle School

At this stage, you have also had plausible experiences of life. What can you say about your life, or your experiences? You can write from these interesting personal narrative ideas:

  • What do you know about poo divas and who’s your favorite?
  • Write about your first karaoke performance
  • Write about the artists you’d like lined up
  • Narrate your earliest connection with music
  • Narrate your earliest experience of music
  • Write about the most loving but sad thing that ever happened to you
  • Why do you avoid people?
  • Narrate your experience of being stalked
  • Discuss how you think social media has been abused
  • Tell a story about your most favorite songs
  • Tell a story about the music which has inspired you the most
  • Which television show would you bring back?
  • Which of your childhood commercials is your favorite?
  • Why do you prefer cartoons?
  • Discuss how television helped your family stay together
  • Narrate the work nature of your parents
  • Discuss your experience of being cheated
  • Which music star do you love?
  • Which music tells you about life?
  • Which artist tells stories the most?
  • How does the music you listen to Influence you?
  • Narrate what you think are the best period of your life yet
  • Narrate your favorite movies
  • Narrate a public performance experience
  • Discuss the bad things about horror movies
  • Write about your favorite comedians
  • Narrate your experience of gaming
  • Would you play violent games?
  • Do you think zombies are real?
  • Do you feel guilty or excited that you kill zombies?

Good Ideas for a Personal Narrative Essay

If you need to discuss cool events and languages, there are good personal narrative topics for you. Some of these topics are:

  • Narrate your experience at the museum
  • What is your favorite visual artist?
  • Discuss your most fascinating work of art
  • Write about the importance of education
  • Would you say you can’t live without art
  • Which words do you like using?
  • Which words don’t you like using?
  • What are the slangs you used to love?
  • What has changed since you started using some words
  • Would you call someone a shag? Why?
  • Which word do you think people use too much?
  • Narrate what you consider a great conversation
  • Discuss your time with a lover
  • Narrate your experience discussing with your mum
  • Narrate your experience discussing with your dad
  • Narrate your experience teaching your grandparents about something on a smartphone
  • Write about a time you felt you talked too much
  • Write about a time you used satires
  • Write about a time you attacked people but didn’t feel bad
  • What would you say are the most terrible things you’ve done?
  • If you had to learn a language, which would it be?
  • How do you use your body language and why do you use it?
  • If you can influence someone’s memory, what would it be and why would you do it?
  • Write about what stresses you the most about school without using F words or castigating anyone
  • Discuss what you once looked forward to but no longer look forward to
  • Would you rather take private classes, online classes, or physical classes with other students and why would you choose your choice?
  • Discuss your experience with bullying and what you could have done when you were bullied or when someone you know was bullied
  • Write about the kind of school you wish you had attended and the experience you wish you had had
  • Write about the things you hate the most about going to your religious places and the things you wish they had
  • Discuss what it would mean to not be educated at all.

Interesting Personal Narrative Ideas

There are also interesting personal narrative essay ideas across all classes. You can choose these essay ideas for your college, high school, middle school, or university assignments. Options to consider are:

  • What have you had to do which you didn’t like?
  • Discuss how best you once participated in class
  • Write about a memorable experience of school you wish were yours
  • Write about a memorable experience of a relationship you wish you could have
  • Discuss your first encounter with a difficult subject and write when you realize you may fail the course
  • Tell a story about what you thought is fascinating about relationships that are no longer fascinating?
  • Tell a story about what you think about digital skills and why it is important in the future
  • Would you say that programming and computer coding offers more opportunities than any other skills?
  • Narrate a terrible experience of yours after you failed an exam and what your parents did
  • Narrate the saddest day in class for you
  • You were invited to speak to your class about how you spent your weekend or holiday, what were the things that ran through your mind and did you speak?
  • Like your friends, you had many terrible and shameful experiences while studying simply because you’re a shy person, narrate some of the most important and terrible moments of your school life
  • Write a story about a teacher you would like to appreciate detailing the important things the teacher had done to you without isolating the bad things he or she had also done
  • Discuss the textbook you ever felt disgusted with and why you did
  • Do you think your teachers are as vast with technology as they ought to be, and would you feel bad if you had insulted them at one time or the other when you were young?
  • Narrate the most arousing party you went to focusing on the sensory details which made it different from other parties and proms
  • If you will deliver a speech about the horribleness of physical bullying or cyberbullying, focusing on experiences that could make people cry, how would you write the speech and how would you perform it?
  • Would you flog students you considered rebellious in your class if you were a teacher, even if the student is truly stubborn and should have probably been in a juvenile center?
  • What are the mental health issues you wish people had talked about the most when you were in high school?
  • If you could talk to the authorities about the things you think were important for students which weren’t done, what would they be, and how would you do it?

Get Narrative Essay Help

With these exciting topics, you can create a professional personal narrative essay based on your adult or childhood experiences. However, if you need someone to write your essay or assignment, you can hire top-notch writers online.

We are one of the best professional writing services with years of experience writing for college, high school, and university students. We have professors and teachers in our team who create essays to help students score high grades. If you’d like to make the best submission, you can hire these writers.

Like other essays and papers we’ve written, we deliver custom essays at a fast pace at affordable rates. With a token, you’ll get the best essay and get high grades in class.

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Last updated on Oct 31, 2022

10 Personal Narrative Examples to Inspire Your Writing

Personal narratives are short pieces of creative nonfiction that recount a story from someone’s own experiences. They can be a memoir, a thinkpiece, or even a polemic — so long as the piece is grounded in the writer's beliefs and experiences, it can be considered a personal narrative.

Despite the nonfiction element, there’s no single way to approach this topic, and you can be as creative as you would be writing fiction. To inspire your writing and reveal the sheer diversity of this type of essay, here are ten great examples personal narratives from recent years: 

1. “Only Disconnect” by Gary Shteyngart

personal narrative writing prompts for adults

Personal narratives don’t have to be long to be effective, as this thousand-word gem from the NYT book review proves. Published in 2010, just as smartphones were becoming a ubiquitous part of modern life, this piece echoes many of our fears surrounding technology and how it often distances us from reality.

In this narrative, Shteyngart navigates Manhattan using his new iPhone—or more accurately, is led by his iPhone, completely oblivious to the world around him. He’s completely lost to the magical happenstance of the city as he “follow[s] the arrow taco-ward”. But once he leaves for the country, and abandons the convenience of a cell phone connection, the real world comes rushing back in and he remembers what he’s been missing out on. 

The downfalls of technology is hardly a new topic, but Shteyngart’s story remains evergreen because of how our culture has only spiraled further down the rabbit hole of technology addiction in the intervening years.

What can you learn from this piece?

Just because a piece of writing is technically nonfiction, that doesn’t mean that the narrative needs to be literal. Shteyngart imagines a Manhattan that physically changes around him when he’s using his iPhone, becoming an almost unrecognizable world. From this, we can see how a certain amount of dramatization can increase the impact of your message—even if that wasn’t exactly the way something happened. 

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2. “Why I Hate Mother's Day” by Anne Lamott

The author of the classic writing text Bird by Bird digs into her views on motherhood in this piece from Salon. At once a personal narrative and a cultural commentary, Lamott explores the harmful effects that Mother’s Day may have on society —how its blind reverence to the concept of motherhood erases women’s agency and freedom to be flawed human beings. 

Lamott points out that not all mothers are good, not everyone has a living mother to celebrate, and some mothers have lost their children, so have no one to celebrate with them. More importantly, she notes how this Hallmark holiday erases all the people who helped raise a woman, a long chain of mothers and fathers, friends and found family, who enable her to become a mother. While it isn’t anchored to a single story or event (like many classic personal narratives), Lamott’s exploration of her opinions creates a story about a culture that puts mothers on an impossible pedestal. 

In a personal narrative essay, lived experience can be almost as valid as peer-reviewed research—so long as you avoid making unfounded assumptions. While some might point out that this is merely an opinion piece, Lamott cannily starts the essay by grounding it in the personal, revealing how she did not raise her son to celebrate Mother’s Day. This detail, however small, invites the reader into her private life and frames this essay as a story about her —and not just an exercise in being contrary.

3. “The Crane Wife” by CJ Hauser 

Days after breaking off her engagement with her fiance, CJ Hauser joins a scientific expedition on the Texas coast r esearching whooping cranes . In this new environment, she reflects on the toxic relationship she left and how she found herself in this situation. She pulls together many seemingly disparate threads, using the expedition and the Japanese myth of the crane wife as a metaphor for her struggles. 

Hauser’s interactions with the other volunteer researchers expand the scope of the narrative from her own mind, reminding her of the compassion she lacked in her relationship. In her attempts to make herself smaller, less needy, to please her fiance, she lost sight of herself and almost signed up to live someone else’s life, but among the whooping cranes of Texas, she takes the first step in reconnecting with herself.

With short personal narratives, there isn’t as much room to develop characters as you might have in a memoir so the details you do provide need to be clear and specific. Each of the volunteer researchers on Hauser’s expedition are distinct and recognizable though Hauser is economical in her descriptions. 

For example, Hauser describes one researcher as “an eighty-four-year-old bachelor from Minnesota. He could not do most of the physical activities required by the trip, but had been on ninety-five Earthwatch expeditions, including this one once before. Warren liked birds okay. What Warren really loved was cocktail hour.” 

In a few sentences, we get a clear picture of Warren's fun-loving, gregarious personality and how he fits in with the rest of the group.

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4. “The Trash Heap Has Spoken” by Carmen Maria Machado

The films and TV shows of the 80s and 90s—cultural touchstones that practically raised a generation—hardly ever featured larger women on screen. And if they did, it was either as a villain or a literal trash heap. Carmen Maria Machado grew up watching these cartoons, and the absence of fat women didn’t faze her. Not until puberty hit and she went from a skinny kid to a fuller-figured teen. Suddenly uncomfortable in her skin, she struggled to find any positive representation in her favorite media.

As she gets older and more comfortable in her own body, Machado finds inspiration in Marjory the Trash Heap from Fraggle Rock and Ursula, everyone’s favorite sea witch from The Little Mermaid —characters with endless power in the unapologetic ways they inhabit their bodies. As Machado considers her own body through the years, it’s these characters she returns to as she faces society’s unkind, dismissive attitudes towards fat women.

Stories shape the world, even if they’re fictional. Some writers strive for realism, reflecting the world back on itself in all its ugliness, but Carmen Maria Machado makes a different point. There is power in being imaginative and writing the world as it could be, imagining something bigger, better, and more beautiful. So, write the story you want to see, change the narrative, look at it sideways, and show your readers how the world could look. 

5. “Am I Disabled?” by Joanne Limburg 

The titular question frames the narrative of Joanne Limburg’s essay as she considers the implications of disclosing her autism. What to some might seem a mundane occurrence—ticking ‘yes’, ‘no’, or ‘prefer not to say’ on a bureaucratic form—elicits both philosophical and practical questions for Limburg about what it means to be disabled and how disability is viewed by the majority of society. 

Is the labor of disclosing her autism worth the insensitive questions she has to answer? What definition are people seeking, exactly? Will anyone believe her if she says yes? As she dissects the question of what disability is, she explores the very real personal effects this has on her life and those of other disabled people. 

Limburg’s essay is written in a style known as the hermit crab essay , when an author uses an existing document form to contain their story. You can format your writing as a recipe, a job application, a resume, an email, or a to-do list – the possibilities are as endless as your creativity. The format you choose is important, though. It should connect in some way to the story you’re telling and add something to the reader’s experience as well as your overall theme. 

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6. “Living Like Weasels” by Annie Dillard

personal narrative writing prompts for adults

While out on a walk in the woods behind her house, Annie Dillard encounters a wild weasel. In the short moment when they make eye contact, Dillard takes an imaginary journey through the weasel’s mind and wonders if the weasel’s approach to life is better than her own. 

The weasel, as Dillard sees it, is a wild creature with jaws so powerful that when it clamps on to something, it won’t let go, even into death. Necessity drives it to be like this, and humanity, obsessed with choice, might think this kind of life is limiting, but the writer believes otherwise. The weasel’s necessity is the ultimate freedom, as long as you can find the right sort, the kind that will have you holding on for dear life and refusing to let go. 

Make yourself the National Geographic explorer of your backyard or neighborhood and see what you can learn about yourself from what you discover. Annie Dillard, queen of the natural personal essay, discovers a lot about herself and her beliefs when meeting a weasel.

What insight can you glean from a blade of grass, for example? Does it remind you that despite how similar people might be, we are all unique? Do the flights of migrating birds give you perspective on the changes in your own life? Nature is a potent and never-ending spring of inspiration if you only think to look. 

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7. “Love In Our Seventies” by Ellery Akers

“ And sometimes, when I lift the gray hair at the back of your neck and kiss your shoulder, I think, This is it.”

In under 400 words, poet Ellery Akers captures the joy she has found in discovering romance as a 75-year-old . The language is romantic, but her imagery is far from saccharine as she describes their daily life and the various states in which they’ve seen each other: in their pajamas, after cataract surgeries, while meditating. In each singular moment, Akers sees something she loves, underscoring an oft-forgotten truth. Love is most potent in its smallest gestures.  

Personal narrative isn’t a defined genre with rigid rules, so your essay doesn’t have to be an essay. It can be a poem, as Akers’ is. The limitations of this form can lead to greater creativity as you’re trying to find a short yet evocative way to tell a story. It allows you to focus deeply on the emotions behind an idea and create an intimate connection with your reader. 

8. “What a Black Woman Wishes Her Adoptive White Parents Knew” by Mariama Lockington

personal narrative writing prompts for adults

Mariama Lockington was adopted by her white parents in the early 80s, long before it was “trendy” for white people to adopt black children. Starting with a family photograph, the writer explores her complex feelings about her upbringing , the many ways her parents ignored her race for their own comfort, and how she came to feel like an outsider in her own home. In describing her childhood snapshots, she takes the reader from infancy to adulthood as she navigates trying to live as a black woman in a white family. 

Lockington takes us on a journey through her life through a series of vignettes. These small, important moments serve as a framing device, intertwining to create a larger narrative about race, family, and belonging. 

With this framing device, it’s easy to imagine Lockington poring over a photo album, each picture conjuring a different memory and infusing her story with equal parts sadness, regret, and nostalgia. You can create a similar effect by separating your narrative into different songs to create an album or episodes in a TV show. A unique structure can add an extra layer to your narrative and enhance the overall story.

9. “Drinking Chai to Savannah” by Anjali Enjeti

On a trip to Savannah with her friends, Anjali Enjeti is reminded of a racist incident she experienced as a teenager . The memory is prompted by her discomfort of traveling in Georgia as a South Asian woman and her friends’ seeming obliviousness to how others view them. As she recalls the tense and traumatic encounter she had in line at a Wendy’s and the worry she experiences in Savannah, Enjeti reflects on her understanding of otherness and race in America. 

Enjeti paints the scene in Wendy’s with a deft hand. Using descriptive language, she invokes the five senses to capture the stress and fear she felt when the men in line behind her were hurling racist sentiments. 

She writes, “He moves closer. His shadow eclipses mine. His hot, tobacco-tinged breath seeps over the collar of my dress.” The strong, evocative language she uses brings the reader into the scene and has them experience the same anxiety she does, understanding why this incident deeply impacted her. 

10. “Siri Tells A Joke” by Debra Gwartney

One day, Debra Gwartney asks Siri—her iPhone’s digital assistant—to tell her a joke. In reply, Siri recites a joke with a familiar setup about three men stuck on a desert island. When the punchline comes, Gwartney reacts not with laughter, but with a memory of her husband , who had died less than six months prior.

In a short period, Gwartney goes through a series of losses—first, her house and her husband’s writing archives to a wildfire, and only a month after, her husband. As she reflects on death and the grief of those left behind in the wake of it, she recounts the months leading up to her husband’s passing and the interminable stretch after as she tries to find a way to live without him even as she longs for him. 

A joke about three men on a deserted island seems like an odd setup for an essay about grief. However, Gwartney uses it to great effect, coming back to it later in the story and giving it greater meaning. By the end of her piece, she recontextualizes the joke, the original punchline suddenly becoming deeply sad. In taking something seemingly unrelated and calling back to it later, the essay’s message about grief and love becomes even more powerful.

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20 Prompts for Narrative Writing That Spark Creativity

prompt-for-narrative-writing

Using prompts for narrative writing motivates kids and gets them excited to write. Read on to learn more about narrative writing, mentor texts, ideas, and assessments. Plus you will find 20 fun prompts for narrative and personal narrative writing. These will be sure to spark student’s creativity and imagination!

What’s Narrative Writing?

Narrative writing tells a story using a beginning, middle, and end.  It includes elements such as characters, setting, problem, and solution.  The author’s purpose is usually to entertain or teach a lesson.  Narrative writing can be fact or fiction but the process is the same.  When it’s a real story from the author’s life, it is considered a personal narrative.  

Examples for Narrative Writing

There are so many wonderful examples of narrative writing.  Some are even written as personal narratives.  Below you will find a list of mentor texts for elementary school.  It’s helpful to immerse students in the genre before and during a narrative writing unit.  These books model different strategies that kids can try in their writing.

Narrative Writing Mentor Texts:

  • Owl Moon by Jane Yolen
  • Come on, Rain! by Karen Hesse
  • Those Shoes by Maribeth Boelts
  • Fireflies! by Julie Brinckloe
  • Knuffle Bunny by Mo Willems
  • Jabari Jumps by Gaia Cornwall
  • Enemy Pie by Derek Munson
  • Blackout by John Rocco

what-are-prompts-in-writing

Narrative Writing Teaching

There are many features to include in narrative writing, but it depends on the grade level being taught.  For the lower grades, it’s important to start with the concept of beginning, middle, and end written in sequential order.  Then you can expand to the introduction, body, and conclusion using details.  Other important elements are character, setting, problem, and solution.  As the student’s abilities increase the number of sentences will grow and expand to paragraphs.

For the older grades, you can introduce plot structure.  It follows the beginning, middle, and end format but on a higher level.  This story arc includes exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution.  Use the diagram below to see how these features overlap.

Plot Structure

diagram-of-plot-structure

Topics for Narrative Writing

The possibilities are endless when it comes to narrative writing ideas.  Kids can create a fiction piece or write about an experience in their life.  Check out some writing prompt ideas below for narrative and personal narrative writing. You might also like this blog post about opinion writing prompts: 20 Prompts for Opinion Writing That Motivate Kids

Writing Prompts for Narratives

  • I was taking my friend’s picture in front of the volcano when all of a sudden . . .  
  • What if you were given 3 wishes but couldn’t use them on yourself.  Tell a story about what you would wish for and why.
  • Write a story called, “The Luckiest Day of My Life.”
  • Imagine you went to the zoo and could take home any animal for the day.  Tell a story about your time together.
  • Write a silly story that uses these words: airplane, grapes, elephant, and book.
  • You have just been shrunk down to the size of an ant.  Write a story including the good and bad things about being so small.
  • Think about your favorite character from a book.  Tell a story about getting to meet them for the first time.
  • What would happen if you lived during a time when there was no electricity?  Write a story about your school day.
  • Finish this story: The pirates set sail on their ship in search of . . .
  • Suppose you were teacher for a day.  Write a story about the changes you would make.

prompt-for-narrative-writing

Writing Prompts for Personal Narratives

  • Have you ever been so proud of yourself for learning something new?  Write a story about a time this happened.
  • Write a story about a time you felt your heart race.  What happened and how were you feeling at the end?
  • What was your most memorable vacation?  Tell a story from part of that trip and why it stands out in your mind.
  • Have you ever done something you knew would get you in big trouble?  Write a story about a time this happened and how you felt about it.
  • Write a story about the strangest thing that has ever happened to you.  Why was it so unusual?
  • What was your most memorable moment from this year?  Write a story telling why it’s so special.
  • Tell a story about a time when you were so excited and couldn’t wait for an event to happen.
  • Write a small moment story about a time you had with your favorite person.
  • Write about a time that you lost something important.  Tell whether or not you found it.
  • Think about the worst day you ever had.  What made it so terrible and did it get better by the end?

prompt-for-narrative-writing

Rubrics for Narrative Writing

I often hear from teachers that one of the most difficult parts of teaching writing is how to assess it.  Assessments should be accurate and helpful for both the student and teacher.  When it comes to narrative writing, there are many different approaches.  Some teachers prefer to do a more informal assessment for daily writing pieces and then a formal assessment for the final copy.  Informal assessments can be completed with written comments or student-teacher conferences.

It would be very difficult to use a rubric for every narrative writing a student completes in their notebook.  Instead, most teachers prefer to choose one to three writing pieces to assess with a rubric.  These assessments are ideal for benchmarks, progress reports, and report cards.  Below you will find three types of narrative writing rubrics.  Check out this blog post to learn more about student-friendly, teacher-friendly, and time-saving rubrics: 3 Types of Writing Rubrics for Effective Assessments

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Narrative writing enables kids to be creative and use their imagination. They can write a fiction story or about a real event from their life. Writing prompts are a helpful tool to get kids engaged and ready to get started. Did you grab your Free Writing Prompt Guide yet? I love using prompts for morning work, writing time, centers, or as a homework assignment. The possibilities are endless! Be sure to try these prompts for narrative writing with your students!

Genre Based Prompts

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How to Write a Personal Narrative [in 10 Easy Steps]

This blog post will explain how to write a personal narrative by exploring how to craft engaging personal narratives, drawing on your own experiences and emotions.

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Do you hate writing personal narratives? So did I, until I learned how to do it correctly. This blog post will explain how to write a personal narrative by exploring how to craft engaging personal narratives, drawing on your own experiences and emotions. So pull up a chair, get comfortable, and let’s get started!

What is a Personal Narrative?

A personal narrative is a story about a significant event in your life. It can be funny, heartwarming, painful, or all of the above. The key is that it needs to be meaningful to you somehow.

Think back to the last personal narrative you wrote. Chances are, you started with a scene: maybe you were climbing a tree on a hot summer day or looking out at the snow-capped mountains from your window on a frigid winter night.

Whatever the scene, it was likely something that stirred up strong emotions within you and compelled you to write about it. And that’s the key to writing a good personal narrative: start with a scene that will hook your readers and make them feel something.

A personal narrative essay is usually based on a single event that significantly impacted the writer. It could be something as small as a childhood memory or as momentous as a life-changing event.

The important thing is that the event should have affected you and that you can share what happened clearly and interestingly.

Why Write a Personal Narrative?

There are many reasons why you might want to write a personal narrative. Maybe you want to share a funny story about something that happened to you, or maybe you want to write about a time when you faced a challenge and overcame it.

Personal narratives can also be used to communicate important lessons that you’ve learned in life. By sharing your experiences, you can help others learn from your mistakes or inspire them to face their own challenges.

Whatever your reason for writing a personal narrative, remember that your goal is to connect with your reader and make them feel something. With that in mind, let’s move on to some tips for how to write a personal narrative

Features of a Personal Narrative

When writing a personal narrative, it’s important to keep the following features in mind:

First-person point of view: Personal narratives are usually written in first person, meaning they’re written from your perspective. This helps create a more intimate connection between you and the reader.

Dialog: Dialog, or conversation, can be a great way to add interest to a personal narrative. It can also help to further develop the characters in your story.

Vivid descriptions: Personal narratives are all about painting a picture for the reader. Be sure to use descriptive language to bring your story to life.

Emotional appeal: As we mentioned before, personal narratives should stir up strong emotions in the reader. Whether you’re writing about a funny moment or a life-changing event, your goal is to connect with your reader on an emotional level.

Now that we’ve gone over some of the key features of a personal narrative, let’s move on to the next step: brainstorming ideas for your narrative.

Brainstorming Ideas for Your Personal Narrative

One of the best ways to come up with ideas for a personal narrative is to brainstorm a list of potential topics. To get you started, here are some prompts that you can use to spark your creativity:

  • A time when you faced a challenge
  • An experience that changed your life
  • A memory that makes you laugh or cry
  • A place that’s special to you
  • A relationship that’s significant to you
  • A hobby or interest you’re passionate about
  • Something you’re afraid of
  • A time when you felt embarrassed or ashamed
  • A moment when you were proud of yourself
  • A time when you made a mistake

Once you’ve brainstormed a list of potential topics, it’s time to choose the one that you’re going to write about.

To do that, ask yourself the following questions:

What’s the most memorable experience I want to write about?

What’s the best way to tell this story?

What details can I include to make this story more interesting?

What lessons have I learned from this experience?

By asking yourself these questions, you should be able to narrow down your list of potential topics to the one that you’re going to write about.

Now that we’ve gone over how to brainstorm and choose a topic for your personal narrative let’s move on to the next step: creating an outline.

Creating an Outline for Your Personal Narrative

Once you’ve chosen your topic, it’s time to start planning your story. The best way to do that is to create an outline.

Here’s a basic outline for a personal narrative:

Introduction:

Start with a hook or an interesting opening that will grab the reader’s attention. Then, give some background information about your topic. Finally, explain what you’re going to write about in your story.

Body paragraphs:

In the body paragraphs of your narrative, you’ll need to include enough detail to bring your story to life and make it interesting for the reader. Be sure to include sensory details, dialogue, and other elements to help create a vivid picture for the reader.

Conclusion:

In the conclusion of your narrative, you’ll want to wrap up your story and leave the reader with a strong final impression. You can share the lessons you learned from your experience or explain how this experience has affected you. By creating an outline before you start writing, you’ll be able to organize your thoughts and ensure that your story flows smoothly.

Now that we’ve gone over how to create an outline for your personal narrative, let’s move on to the next step: writing your story.

How to Write a Personal Narrative: 9 Tips

Now that we’ve answered the question.”What is a personal narrative?” and discussed some reasons why you might want to write one, it’s time to get started! Here are nine tips for how to write a personal narrative that will resonate with your readers:

1. Start with a scene

As we mentioned, the best way to hook your reader is to start with a scene. This could be a specific event that you remember vividly, or it could be an ongoing experience you feel strongly about.

Whichever route you choose, set the scene by providing enough details for your reader to picture what’s going on. If you’re writing about a specific event, describe where it took place, the weather, who was there, and what you were doing.

If you’re writing about an ongoing experience, describe the setting in detail and provide some background information on why it’s significant to you.

2. Use strong verbs

Once you’ve set the scene, it’s time to move into the action. Use strong verbs to describe what’s happening and help your reader feel like they’re right there in the thick of things.

For example, instead of saying, “I was walking down the street,” you could say, “I strutted down the street.” The verb “strut” adds attitude and makes the scene more interesting to read.

Likewise, instead of saying, “I was scared,” you could say, “I quaked with fear.” This not only sounds more interesting, but it also provides insight into your emotional state at the time.

3. Use sensory details

In addition to using strong verbs, another way to make your readers feel like they’re in the scene is to use sensory details. Describe what you see, hear, smell, taste, and feel.

For example, if you’re writing about a time when you were very scared, you might say: “My heart pounded in my chest, and I felt like I was going to vomit.” Using these types of details, you can help your reader feel the same emotions you felt at the time.

4. Be honest

One of the most important things to remember when writing a personal narrative is, to be honest. Don’t try to make yourself look better or worse than you are – just write about what happened as truthfully as you can.

Being honest doesn’t mean you have to share everything – sometimes, it’s okay to leave out details that are too personal or hurtful. But in general, try to be as open and truthful as you can about your experiences.

5. Avoid cliches

When writing a personal narrative, it’s easy to fall into the trap of using cliches. For example, you might be tempted to say something like, “It was a dark and stormy night,” or “I had an epiphany.”

While there’s nothing wrong with using a well-known phrase every once in a while, try to avoid relying on them too much. Instead, challenge yourself to be creative and develop your own way of describing things.

6. Write in first person

When writing a personal narrative, it’s important to write in first person. This means using “I” statements, such as “I walked down the street.”

Writing in first person gives your story a more personal feel and allows your readers to connect with you more easily.

7. Use flashbacks sparingly

While flashbacks can be a great way to provide background information or add intrigue to your story, they should be used sparingly. If you use too many flashbacks, it can be confusing for your reader and make your story less cohesive.

If you do decide to use a flashback, make sure it’s relevant to the current story and that you provide enough context for your reader to understand what’s going on.

8. Write a strong ending

The ending of your personal narrative is just as important as the beginning. After all, this is the part of the story your reader will remember the most.

One way to end your story on a strong note is to tie everything back to the main theme or moral of the story. For example, if you’re writing about a time when you overcame a challenge, you might say, “I learned that I was stronger than I thought I was.”

Another way to create a strong ending is to leave your reader with a question or a cliffhanger. This will make them think about your story long after reading it.

9. Edit and revise

Once you’ve finished writing your personal narrative, editing and revising your work is important. This will help you fix any errors and ensure your story is as strong as it can be.

When editing, pay attention to spelling, grammar, and punctuation. You should also make sure your story flows smoothly and that there are no plot holes.

narrative, it’s important to edit and revise it. This will help you fix any errors and ensure your story is as strong as it can be.

Consider using Grammarly to help you with editing. This tool can catch grammar mistakes that you might miss. It’s also a great way to improve your writing skills in general.

When revising your story, ask yourself if there’s anything you can add or remove to make it better. Sometimes, less is more. Removing unnecessary details can make your story more impactful.

Finally, make sure the overall structure of your story makes sense. This includes the order of events and how each scene transitions into the next.

10. Publish your story

Once you’re happy with your story, it’s time to share it with the world. There are a few different ways you can do this.

If you want to keep your story private, you could simply save it on your computer or print it out. You could also bind it into a book or create a digital book using a program like Scrivener.

If you’re interested in sharing your story with a wider audience, you could submit it to a literary magazine or website. You could also self-publish your story as an ebook or print book.

No matter how you share your story, just remember that the most important thing is that you’re happy with it. Don’t worry about what other people think—just focus on creating a story you’re proud of.

Examples of Personal Narratives

Now that you know how to write a personal narrative, it’s time to see some examples. Reading examples of personal narratives can give you an idea of how to structure your story.

Below, you’ll find a few examples of personal narratives. The first compelling personal narrative is about a young woman’s experience with her father, and the second is about a young boy’s experience at summer camp.

Example 1: “My Father and I”

I was always close with my father, but it wasn’t until I went away to college that I realized how much he truly meant to me.

Growing up, my father was always busy with work. He was a successful lawyer, and his job often required him to travel. As a result, I didn’t see him as much as I would have liked.

When I left for college, I was nervous about being away from home. But my father assured me that everything would be okay. He told me he was always there for me, even if he couldn’t be there in person.

Throughout my first year of college, my father and I texted each other almost daily. He would ask me about my classes, and I would tell him about my friends and what I was doing. Even though we were so far apart, it was great to connect with him.

Then, one day, I got a call from my father. He sounded strange, and he told me he had some bad news. He had been diagnosed with cancer.

I was shocked. I didn’t know what to say. All I could think about was how much I wanted to be with him.

Fortunately, my father’s cancer was caught early, and he was able to receive treatment. I flew home as soon as possible and spent the next few months helping him recover.

Although it was difficult, it also brought my father and me closer together. We talked more than ever, and I could finally see how much he truly loved me.

Now, my father is healthy and happy. We still text each other almost daily, and I cherish our relationship more than ever.

Example 2: “My Summer at Camp”

When I was ten years old, I went to summer camp for the first time. I was nervous about being away from home, but I was also excited to meet new people and try new things.

As soon as I arrived at camp, I made a beeline for the nearest bunk. I had been assigned to a bunk with other ten-year-old girls and was eager to get to know them.

However, I soon realized that the other girls in my bunk didn’t want to be friends with me. They would exclude me from their games and conversations and often make fun of me.

I was hurt and confused. I didn’t understand why they didn’t like me.

One day, I decided to take a walk around camp. I had always loved exploring, hoping to find someplace new to play.

As I was walking, I heard laughter coming from a nearby cabin. I walked closer and saw a group of girls my age playing together. They looked like they were having so much fun.

I hesitated for a moment, unsure whether I should go over. But then I decided that there was nothing to lose. So, I walked up to the group of girls and asked if I could join them.

At first, they were hesitant. But after a few minutes, they welcomed me into the group. We spent the rest of the summer playing together and becoming close friends.

That experience taught me a lot about friendship and acceptance. I learned that being different is okay and that there’s always a place for you somewhere.

Now, whenever I see someone who looks like they’re feeling left out, I make sure to include them. Because I know what it feels like to be excluded, and I don’t want anyone to feel that way.

Personal narratives are a great way to connect with your reader. They allow you to share your experiences and lessons learned relatable and engagingly. Hopefully, these examples have inspired you to start writing your personal narrative.

Happy writing!

A personal narrative is a story that recounts a writer’s personal experience.

What is the purpose of a Personal Narrative?

The purpose of a personal narrative is to share an experience that has affected the writer in some way. The goal is to connect with the reader and give them a glimpse into your life.

How long should a Personal Narrative be?

A personal narrative can be as short or as long as you want it to be. There is no set length for a personal narrative. However, it’s generally best to keep your story focused and concise.

Show Don’t Tell Writing Exercises: How To

Conversational style writing examples.

Willow Tenny

When it comes to writing, Willow Tenny is a true pro. She has a wealth of experience in SEO copywriting and creative writing, and she knows exactly what it takes to produce quality content. On her blog, Willow Writes, Willow shares top writing strategies with both beginners and experienced writers.

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Journal Prompts for Mental Health: 31+ Ideas to Get Started

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How to Journal for Mental Health

How do i start journaling for mental health.

Journaling can be an amazing tool for self-care and mental health .

Journal Prompts For Mental Health Graphics 01 What Is Mental Health Journaling Inline Image

The beauty of journaling for mental health is that there is really no right or wrong way to do it. Simply grabbing a pen and a notebook to jot down what you are feeling is a fantastic place to start.

There is no need to buy anything new, all you need is a couple of minutes and a place to write down your thoughts.

What Should I Put In My Mental Health Journal?

Your mental journal should include anything that helps you to process your emotions, such as events that have happened throughout the day, things that stress you out, and self-care activities that you have noticed make you feel better.

The special thing about your journaling practice is that it is entirely yours. You can write, draw, or even scribble if you find it to be helpful.

Writing about your experiences can help you process certain emotions. Some people even write letters to their past, present, or future self.

Don’t be afraid to experiment or get creative; no one is grading your mental health journal and there is no way to do it wrong.

Whether you use a guided journal, a bullet journal, or something else entirely, writing tools can help you to kickstart your mental health journey.

If you don’t know where to start, that’s okay too! We’ll give you plenty of ideas to get started in this post.

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How Do You Journal When Overwhelmed?

When you are feeling overwhelmed, the act of writing can feel strange or even impossible, but by keeping your journal both physically and emotionally accessible you can help yourself to write under any circumstance.

Keep your journal somewhere you can access it easily, whether that is in a bag, a bedside drawer, or on your phone. The less digging you have to do for your journal the more likely you are to actually use it when you need it most.

The second step is to keep your journal emotionally accessible, which means approaching your writing without judgment. Don’t set high expectations or complicated themes to bend your entries into.

When you are overwhelmed, you aren’t going to be writing the next great American novel, and that is okay! The best entry is the one that actually gets written down.

Many people find that journaling when they are overwhelmed helps them process emotions, process them, or de-stress and return to the present moment.

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Developed by chief clinical officer sarah fletcher, lpc, benefits of journaling for mental health, why is journaling good for mental health.

Journaling provides many benefits for one’s mental well-being and physical health.

It can be incredibly valuable for any person in any circumstance, especially because it is entirely free and accessible to try.

Some of the benefits of journaling can include:

  • Increased self-awareness
  • Self-love and self-compassion
  • Improved sleep
  • Self-discovery
  • Serves as a coping strategy for difficult feelings or experiences
  • Personal growth
  • Stress-relief
  • Increased mindfulness

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What Does Journaling Do to the Brain?

Studies show that positive affect journaling has positive effects on the brain including improved memory, boosted mood, better sleep, improved cognitive function, and decreased stress.

Positive affect journaling is an emotional expression-focused intervention that helps to regulate stress responses in the brain.

It is also associated with decreased mental distress and less depressive and anxiety symptoms.

Emotional Journal Prompts

How do you release emotions through journaling.

Some tips for helping release emotion through journaling include:

  • Find a quiet, private place to write
  • Try to write for 15-20 minutes
  • Allow yourself to write journal entries without holding anything back
  • Incorporate journaling into your everyday life
  • Use prompts to help you ask yourself questions you may not think of on your own

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What Is the Journal Prompt for Emotional Vulnerability?

One way to start journaling for emotional vulnerability is to start by writing what vulnerability means to you.

For some people, emotional vulnerability might mean expressing feelings they usually keep hidden, like sadness, fear, or joy.

It can involve admitting to insecurities or fears, and sharing personal experiences that may evoke strong emotions.

This openness can feel risky, even when you are only trusting the page with your inner thoughts and feelings.

Some journal prompts for emotional vulnerability that you can ask yourself are:

  • When was there a time in your life when you remember feeling vulnerable?
  • Have your experiences with emotional vulnerability been good or bad?
  • Do you try to stop yourself from feeling vulnerable with your loved ones?
  • How did you feel after being emotionally vulnerable with someone?
  • Have you ever held back on telling someone how you truly feel? Why?
  • What is a positive side that you can see of being vulnerable?
  • In what ways would you like to be more vulnerable?

Sandstone Care's Immanuel Jones explains Avoidance Behavior

What Are Journal Prompts for Emotional Detachment?

Emotional detachment can happen when a person is disconnected or disengaged from other people.

They might not engage in deep conversations with others, share their emotions with others, or be honest about their feelings.

Some journal prompts that may help with emotional detachment can include:

  • Which emotions do I try to avoid?
  • Are there certain people or contexts where I am more emotionally closed-off than others?
  • Why am I trying to hide these emotions from other people?
  • What do I fear when it comes to talking about emotions with other people?
  • What is a negative experience I have had when I tried to show my emotions?
  • What steps would I like to take to connect with my emotions and others?

What Should I Journal About for Anxiety?

For anxiety, you can write down specific things that cause you to feel anxious (triggers), and you can also write down how the anxiety made you feel and what helped you to come out of it.

Do not feel too worried about finding big explanations just yet, most of the time those realizations will come on their own as you write more and identify patterns between your entries.

While focusing on the content you are writing can be helpful, it’s important to remember that the very act of writing when you feel anxious is already helping you to interrupt the spiral of fear you are in.

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Writing about anxious feelings may help a person work through anxious thoughts. It also gives them a place to reference, helping them learn more about themselves and restructure anxious thoughts.

One way to journal for anxiety is by simply writing down your thoughts and feelings when you are feeling anxious to help release them or let them off your chest.

Some daily journal prompts to use for anxiety can include:

  • How does my anxiety make me feel?
  • What are some things you can control about the current situation and things you can’t control?
  • Where do you feel anxiety in your body?
  • Write down the thoughts that are going on in your mind.
  • How would you help someone else who is anxious?
  • If you are thinking about the worst thing that can happen, what is the best-case scenario?
  • When has there been a time when you had anxiety about something, but everything turned out better than you expected?
  • What are some things that make you the most anxious?
  • Is there something that you’re constantly anxious about?
  • How is your anxiety trying to help you?
  • Imagine if you didn’t have anxiety for one day; how would you go about your day? What would you do/not do? How would you talk to yourself?
  • Make a list of your worries. Are they internal or external?
  • How can you be more kind and patient with yourself when you are feeling anxious?

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Trauma Journal Prompts

How do you journal trauma.

Journaling trauma can feel difficult because it might bring up some feelings or memories that are difficult to talk about or think about.

There are a variety of different ways a person can journal for trauma.

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Some tips to help with journaling trauma can include:

  • Create a private, safe space where you feel comfortable writing about your feelings and experiences
  • Take a few minutes to reflect and think about your experiences before writing
  • Write in pen or without an eraser to remind yourself that you can write without censoring yourself
  • Prioritize time for journaling by adding it to your daily routines
  • Read back the things that you wrote when you feel ready to
  • Create a plan that can help you manage or cope with difficult feelings when they come up. This may include simply allowing yourself to cry, practicing breathing exercises, or calling a friend to talk to when you are overwhelmed
  • Take a step back if you start to feel that journaling is too much for you to handle in the moment, you can always come back later

What Do You Write in a PTSD Journal?

In a PTSD journal, you can write daily entries about your emotional state, physical sensations, and reactions to events.

Include reflections on trauma-related triggers, coping strategies you used, and positive experiences to balance the narrative.

Some prompts that may help with PTSD can include:

  • Write about your traumatic experiences. Include as many details as you can and describe the way it made you feel mentally, physically, and emotionally.
  • What causes you stress in your life now?
  • What role has trauma played in your daily life? How does it impact the things you do or the decisions you make?
  • Did your traumatic experience impact others?
  • Have you learned anything from these experiences, both good and bad?
  • What has been the hardest challenge in your life? How is it impacting you now?
  • Is there something you need to let go of?
  • What holds you back and keeps me from moving forward?

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Journal Prompts for Overthinking

Does journaling help with overthinking.

Journaling can be a beneficial way to work through overthinking because it forces you to articulate your emotions, face contradictions, find patterns, and even engage the part of your brain that focuses on reasoning.

When a person is stressed, anxious, worried, or just going through a whirlwind of emotions, journaling can help a person organize their thoughts, bring them to the present moment, and release those stressful thoughts onto paper.

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How Do You Journal Intrusive Thoughts?

You can journal your intrusive thoughts by identifying what the thought is, describing how it makes you feel, questioning if they are honest or helpful, and finally reframing them as fleeting moments rather than something that defines you as a person.

Intrusive thoughts are unwanted and disturbing thoughts that come to mind and can make people feel uncomfortable, scared, or stressed.

These thoughts can commonly occur as symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, bipolar disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder , and anxiety disorder.

Journaling can help reduce intrusive thoughts or release some of the stress and discomfort that comes with it.

What Should I Write In My Stress Journal?

Some questions you can ask yourself when writing in a stress journal can include:

  • What are some of the things that make you feel the most stressed?
  • Where do you feel tense or stressed in your body?
  • When do you feel the most safe and at ease?
  • What takes up a lot of my energy or makes me feel burnt out or exhausted?
  • How does stress impact my relationships and everyday life?
  • Who in my life handles stress in a way that I admire? What can I learn from them?

Journal Prompts For Mental Health Graphics 08 Identifying Patterns Of Physical Stress Through Journaling Inline Image

Journal Prompts for Depression

What type of journaling is best for depression.

Gratitude journals and affirmation journals are helpful types of journaling for depression .

A gratitude journal is where a person can record and reflect on things for which they are grateful. This can help with symptoms of depression by reminding them of things that make them happy, worthy, safe, and calm.

Affirmation journaling involves positive statements and self-talk that you can incorporate into your everyday life. Examples of affirmations that people use can include, “you are worthy,” “you are enough,” or “you can let go of anything that isn’t serving you.”

Many types of journaling can be helpful for depression. Sometimes, just keeping a journal and writing in it consistently, daily, or weekly, and writing about your day or how you feel can help with the symptoms of depression.

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Can Journaling Help Dissociation?

Journaling may help with dissociation by bringing you to the present moment and increasing your self-awareness.

Journaling can also help you to reflect and remember your experiences, which can help you make sense of the events that may be causing you to dissociate.

What Are Some Journaling Prompts for Depression?

Some journaling prompts for depression can include:

  • Are you thinking about yourself kindly? How can you show yourself patience today?
  • Where do you feel your emotions in your body?
  • Write about a time when you felt happy or at peace. What do you remember when you think of this moment?
  • Is there something you feel you need more of in your daily life? How can you start to incorporate this into your daily routine?
  • What is something you look forward to?
  • When was the last time you did something nice for yourself?
  • If there was one thing you could change about your life, what would it be? What can you do to start small with these changes?
  • Is there something you grieve? Whether it is a person, a relationship, a specific time in your life, etc.
  • Write about a time when you have been resilient or when you have overcome challenging symptoms of depression.
  • What is one way you can practice self-care?
  • Are there challenges/difficulties you need support with?
  • How long have you been feeling this way?
  • What is a healthy way you can cope with the feelings you have?
  • Write down 3 things you are grateful for today.
  • What is something you would tell your younger self today?

You Have Questions, We Have Answers.

Our goal is to provide the most helpful information. Please reach out to us if you have any additional questions. We are here to help in any way we can.

Why Do Therapists Want You to Journal?

Many therapists recommend journaling as a way to help people cope with difficult situations or feelings because it can be difficult to open up about challenging subjects for the first time. Journaling is a great starting point to help you learn how to understand yourself.

It can be difficult to talk about or understand what a person, even yourself, is going through. Journaling can help you work through these things by allowing you to release distressing thoughts that you may bottle up.

Journaling can also help you with self-reflection.

What Is a Creative Writing Prompt for Mental Health?

Writing can be an amazing self-care practice for many people.

Creative writing can be a form of self-expression, help individuals release stress, and promote self-reflection, acceptance, and self-awareness.

Some creative mental health journal prompts can include:

  • How would you spend a perfect day?
  • What can you do to take better care of yourself ?
  • How would you describe yourself?
  • Write down some of your biggest strengths.
  • What is your favorite part of your day?
  • When do you feel the most inspired?
  • What are some of the biggest challenges or obstacles you have faced?
  • Is there something that is holding you back?

Some people may even write poetry, stories, or songs to help with their mental health.

A few more prompts for mental health journaling can include:

  • Write yourself a letter.
  • When was the last time you cried?
  • What are some ways you feel connected to the world around you, other people, and to yourself?
  • Write down some of the things you are most grateful for.
  • What is a lesson in life that you have learned?
  • How has your mental health impacted your daily life?
  • Write down a few affirmations to recite to yourself every day.

How Do You Write an OCD Journal?

With obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), a person experiences unwanted, recurring, and uncontrollable thoughts or obsessions, followed by repetitive actions to get rid of these thoughts, also known as compulsions.

An OCD journal can be a powerful tool in coping with the symptoms of OCD and helping a person release some of their mental stress and also reflect on their own triggers and work through them.

A person with OCD might use journaling to write down their obsessive thoughts, their fears, their feelings, or simply write about their day.

Journaling for OCD can help to relieve stress from some of the symptoms of OCD but can also be a tool they can use to examine their own thoughts, reflect, and plan certain coping mechanisms or strategies that may help them in the future.

What Is the 4-Day Trauma Journaling Protocol?

The 4-day trauma journaling protocol can involve the person writing down a stressful or traumatic experience for four consecutive days for 15-20 minutes per session.

A mental health professional might suggest 4-day trauma journaling as part of psychotherapy or suggest journaling as an everyday habit to help a person who has gone through traumatic experiences.

Is It Okay to Cry While Journaling?

It is completely okay to cry while journaling.

When a person is journaling, it can help them to release emotions or make sense of their thoughts and feelings. This can bring up a lot of feelings.

A person may cry because they are overwhelmed with emotions; they might be sad or might feel a weight lifted off of their chest.

Can I Journal My Negative Thoughts?

Journaling can help a person become more aware of their negative thoughts, use that awareness to learn more about themselves and address negative thought processes.

People are often encouraged to journal their thoughts, whether positive or negative, without holding them back so that they can release them and find relief.

Journaling your negative thoughts can also show a person certain patterns of thinking or behaving that they fall into, help them recognize where they might need help, and help them plan what they can do in the future.

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Let’s Take the Next Steps Together

Journaling can be a powerful tool for self-care and beneficial for one’s mental health and overall well-being. Sandstone Care is here to support teens and young adults with mental health and substance use disorders.

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  1. Printable Writing Prompts For Adults

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  3. 20 Prompts for Narrative Writing That Spark Creativity

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  6. Personal Narrative Writing Prompts by Christina Ellis

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COMMENTS

  1. 650 Prompts for Narrative and Personal Writing

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    125 Awesomely Clever Narrative Writing Prompts. November 30, 2023 by Barrie Davenport. From the time you learn how to talk, you have stories to tell. Faced with a classroom writing assignment, though, you can feel the fog rolling in, hiding all your best personal narrative ideas. To clear that fog, sometimes, all you need are some simple ...

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    ive and Personal WritingChildhood Memories1. Wh. t. as your most precious childhood possession?2. What wer. y. ur favorite childhood shows and characters?3. What were yo. r. avorite picture books when you were little?4. Wh. t. hings did you create when you were a child?5. Wha.

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  9. 500 Prompts for Narrative and Personal Writing

    Now, five years later, we've collected 500 of them that invite narrative and personal writing and pulled them all together in one place (available here as a PDF ). The categorized list below touches on everything from sports to travel, education, gender roles, video games, fashion, family, pop culture, social media and more, and, like all our ...

  10. Best Narrative Writing Prompts of 2023

    If you're looking to cut to the chase, here's a top ten list of our favorite narrative writing prompts: "The apple doesn't fall far from the tree!" You've heard this all your life, and you're starting to hate it. Write a story about a mistake that results in wonderful consequences. Write a story about someone forced out of their home.

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    A personal narrative outline is one of the best ways to start brainstorming ideas for the final piece. After the students have created an outline, they can write the first draft of their personal narrative. At that point, the teacher can review the draft, or the students can participate in a peer-review process.

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    137. Do You Have 'Emerging Adult' Skills? 138. What Do Older Generations Misunderstand About Teenagers Today? 139. What Have You Learned From a Younger Person — and What Have You Taught An Older Person? 140. Have You Ever Helped an Adult? 141. What Advice Do You Have for Younger Students? 142. Do You Want to Have Children Someday? 143.

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    3. Pick three tropes from your favorite writing genre and use them to inform your story. (Example: Horror story (genre), vampires, mad scientist, and a questionable ally.) 4. Write about a character who goes on a blind date that either goes really well or really poorly. 5.

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    A long list of personal narrative ideas. 1. The journey of rediscovering my passion for painting after years of neglect sparked by an unexpected encounter with a street artist. 2. How a single conversation with my grandmother over her old photo album reshaped my understanding of family history and legacy. 3.

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    2. Greater emotional resonance. By addressing experiences and concerns relevant to adults, these prompts can evoke stronger emotional responses, leading to more personal and impactful writing. 3. Expansion of vocabulary and writing styles. Adult prompts often encourage the use of richer vocabulary and more complex sentence structures, helping ...

  16. 140 Creative Writing Prompts For Adults

    Use these creative writing prompts for adults to get you started on the right path to a successful story and suffer from writer's block for the last time. This list of writing prompts for adults can be taken and used in any way you want. Details can be changed, and characters can be added or removed. They are meant to be a fun way to get your ...

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    2. "Why I Hate Mother's Day" by Anne Lamott. The author of the classic writing text Bird by Bird digs into her views on motherhood in this piece from Salon. At once a personal narrative and a cultural commentary, Lamott explores the harmful effects that Mother's Day may have on society—how its blind reverence to the concept of motherhood erases women's agency and freedom to be flawed ...

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    Tell a story about what you would wish for and why. Write a story called, "The Luckiest Day of My Life.". Imagine you went to the zoo and could take home any animal for the day. Tell a story about your time together. Write a silly story that uses these words: airplane, grapes, elephant, and book.

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    6. Write in first person. When writing a personal narrative, it's important to write in first person. This means using "I" statements, such as "I walked down the street.". Writing in first person gives your story a more personal feel and allows your readers to connect with you more easily. 7.

  21. 365 Daily Writing Prompts for Creative Writers

    How to Use Daily Writing Prompts. Press the GENERATE button above. (If it doesn't work, refresh the page.) The text box will generate a short creative writing prompt or topic you can write about today. (If you can't see the whole line, use your cursor to highlight the text and keep scrolling to the right.) Bookmark this pageand write at ...

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    You Are an Adult? 140.Would You Most Want to Live in a City, a Suburb or the Country? Your Home 141.What is Your Favorite Place in Your House? 142.Do You Wish You Had the Go-to House? 143.Do You Need to De-Clutter Your Life? 144.Do You Plan on Saving Any of Your Belongings for the Future? 145.Is Your Bedroom a Nightmare? 146.What Would You Grab ...

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