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? 

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. 

Childhood Narrative Prompts

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? 

Growing Pains Narrative Prompts

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?

Overcoming Adversity Narrative Prompts

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?

Parents and Family Narrative Prompts

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?

Dating and Friendship Narrative Prompts

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”? 

Food and Drink Narrative Prompts

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? 

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School or Education Narrative Prompts

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?

Jobs and Career Narrative Prompts

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? 

Morality and Religion Writing Prompts

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?

Personality Narrative Prompts

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? 

Fun Narrative Writing Prompts

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?

How to Use Narrative Writing Prompts to Improve Your Writing

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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