We believe students will engage quickly with the tutorial if they can begin by writing about a topic they are interested in, have experience with, or have studied formally or informally (through a hobby or scouting, for instance). Use the activity to stress the authority of the student: everyone has life experiences other folks are interested in reading about. But don't necessarily limit students to experience-based topics. Students are often excited about writing on topics in their majors or even ethical concerns. Be prepared to ask questions to help students flesh out the list. The more topics they list, the more likely they are to find good starting points for their tutorial writing.
Also, although the first two papers are described as narratives, if students generate topics that lend themselves to non-narrative development, don't hesitate to use those topics. Story-telling is often the most comfortable way for writers to get a paper started, but let the topics or the questions students want to answer about the topics dictate the form of the paper. Help your tutees, though, by jotting down a key question that the paper could answer.
Getting Started: Listing Topics to Write about in the Tutorial
The questions you'll answer: What are some of the topics I know the most about? What am I an expert on? Are there other topics I know enough about to write on them even if I'm not an expert? Be sure to draw on the various life experiences you have that readers will be interested in hearing about from you.
You're answering these questions for yourself and your tutor. The two of you will decide which topics to pursue in at least the first papers you write.
The goals are (1) to generate a list of at least ten topics you could write about without doing any research; (2) to list topics you would be comfortable writing about and then sharing your writing with others.