Is there any difference between descriptive and narrative essay topics?
When two types of essays are similar in any way they are bound to be confused with each other, particularly by new writers. It’s true for persuasive and argumentative essays just as it’s true for descriptive and narrative essays. For some people even the concepts of descriptive and definition essays can be too similar. In any case, here are a few things to consider which can make telling descriptive and narrative essays apart a bit easier:
Descriptive essays are used to paint a word picture for the reader. They are creative in nature and allow writers to explore beautiful words and phrases to build something interesting.
A good descriptive essay topic will allow the writer to describe something in a way that shows skill. Some examples of this are:
- The last Floppy Disk in the Drawer
- The Man who ate from the Dumpster Each Morning
- The Two-Headed Lizard
- My First Broken Bone
- The Mona Lisa
- Justice in this Case
On the other hand...
Narrative essays tell a story and thus place certain limits on the writer in terms of chronological correctness. A story must have order. In a sense a narrative essay can be seen as containing several descriptive aspects which are put together to create a narrative.
Good narrative essay topics should lean naturally to the telling of a good story. Some topics that fit the bill are:
- The Last Time She Agreed Without Thinking
- Life as an Optimistic Late Bloomer
- Learning to Love Broccoli more than Chocolate Cake
- Tale of a Comic Book Aficionado turned Avid Reader
- A Steady Descent into Dubious Decision Making and Finally Madness
- My first Decathlon as a Quadruple Amputee
- Manatees and other Reasons Sailors Need Glasses
An observant writer may have noticed at this point that some similarity exists between the topics that are listed for both essay types. The simplest way to explain this may be to state that a good descriptive essay topic can easily be spun into a compelling narrative essay. It may not work as easily in reverse but with effort it may still be possible.
Having gotten a good feel for the difference between these two essay types, the best way to make sure your certainty remains is to expose yourself good writing and emulate the aspects of it that suit you best. Narratives and descriptions can be found in novels so you won’t have far to look to find what you need.