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Sat / act prep online guides and tips, 105 creative writing prompts to try out.
The most common advice out there for being a writer is, "if you want to write, write." While this is true (and good advice), it's not always that easy, particularly if you're not writing regularly.
Whether you're looking for help getting started on your next project, or just want to spend 20 minutes being creative, writing prompts are great ways to rev up your imagination. Read on for our list of over 100 creative writing prompts!
feature image credit: r. nial bradshaw /Flickr
10 Short Writing Prompts
If you're looking for a quick boost to get yourself going, these 10 short writing prompts will do the trick.
#1 : Write a scene starting with a regular family ritual that goes awry.
#2 : Describe exactly what you see/smell/hear/etc, right now. Include objects, people, and anything else in your immediate environment.
#3 : Suggest eight possible ways to get a ping pong ball out of a vertical pipe.
#4 : A shoe falls out of the sky. Justify why.
#5 : If your brain were a tangible, physical place, what would it be like?
#6 : Begin your writing with the phrase, "The stage was set."
#7 : You have been asked to write a history of "The Summer of [this past year]." Your publisher wants a table of contents. What events will you submit?
#8 : Write a sympathetic story from the point of view of the "bad guy." (Think fractured fairy tales like Wicked or The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs! , although the story doesn't have to be a fairy tale.)
#9 : Look at everyday objects in a new way and write about the stories one of these objects contains.
#10 : One person meets a stranger on a mode of transportation. Write the story that ensues.
11 Writing Prompts for Kids
Any of these prompts can be used by writers of any age, but we chose the following 11 prompts as ones that would be particularly fun for kids to write about. (Most of them I used myself as a young writer, so I can vouch for their working!)
#1 : Include something falling in your writing.
#2 : Write a short poem (or story) with the title, "We don't know when it will be fixed."
#3 : Write from the perspective of someone of a different gender than you.
#4 : Write a dumb internet quiz.
#5 : Finish this thought: "A perfect day in my imagination begins like this:"
#6 : Write a character's inner monologue (what they are thinking as they go about their day).
#7 : Think of a character. Write a paragraph each about:
- An important childhood experience that character had.
- The character's living situation.
- Two hobbies or things the character likes to do.
- The room where the character sleeps.
- An ambition of the character.
- Two physical characteristics of the character.
- What happens when a second person and this character meet.
- Two important defining personal traits of this character.
#8 : Start a story with a quote from a song.
#9 : Begin a story with, "It was the summer of ______ when ______"
#10 : Pretend everyday objects have no names. Think about what you would name them based on what they do, what you can use them for, and what they look like.
#11 : Start a story with the phrases "My grandparents are/were," "My parents are/were," or "My mother/father/parent is/was."
15 Cool Writing Prompts
#1 : List five issues that you're passionate about. Write about them from the opposite point of view (or from the perspective of a character with the opposite point of view).
#2 : Walk around and write down a phrase you hear (or read). Make a story out of it.
#3 : Write using no adjectives or adverbs.
#4 : Write a character's inner dialogue between different aspects of a character's self (rather than an inner monologue).
#5 : Write a true story from your past that involves light or darkness in some way.
#6 : "Saying goodbye awakens us to the true nature of things." Write something in which someone has to say goodbye and has a realization.
#7 : Begin by writing the end of the story.
#8 : Write a recipe for an intangible thing.
#9 : Write a horror story about an ordinary situation (e.g., buying groceries, going to the bank, listening to music).
#10 : Write a story from within a bubble.
#11 : Write down 2-3 short character descriptions and then write the characters in conversation with one another.
#12 : Write a story in second person.
#13 : Write a story that keeps contradicting itself.
#14 : Write about a character with at least three big problems.
#15 : Write something that takes place on a Friday, the 13th (of any month).
15 Funny Writing Prompts
#1 : Write a story which starts with someone eating a pickle and potato sandwich.
#2 : Write a short script where the plot has to do with evil dolls trying to take over something.
#3 : Write about writers' block.
#4 : List five election issues that would be ridiculous to includes as part of your election platform (e.g. outlawing mechanical pencils and clicky pens, mandating every person over the age of 30 must own an emergency last rites kit). Choose one of the ridiculous issues and write a speech in favor of it.
#5 : Write a children's story that is insanely inappropriate but can't use graphic language, curses, or violence.
#6 : List five careers. Write about someone with one of those careers who wants to quit it.
#7 : Write down a list of murder methods. Choose one at random from the list to use in a story.
#8 : Write a romance story in which the hero must have a last name corresponding with a physical characteristic (e.g. Jacques Hairyback or Flora Dimple).
#9 : Come up with 10 different ways to:
- order a pizza
- congratulate someone on a job well done
- return to the store something that's broken
#10 : Search for "random Renaissance painting" (or any other inspirational image search text you can think of) on any online internet image search engine. Picking one image, write half a page each of:
- Statements about this image (e.g. "I meant bring me the BREAD of John the Baptist").
- Questions about this image (e.g. "How many of those cherubs look like their necks are broken?").
- Explanations of this image (e.g. "The painter ran out of blue paint halfway through and had to improvise for the color of the sky").
- Commands said by people in this image or about this image (e.g. "Stop telling me to smile!" or "Bring me some gasoline!").
#11 : Write starting with a word that sounds like "chute" (e.g. "chute," "shoot," "shooed").
#12 : Write about a character named X "The [article of clothing]" Y (e.g. Julie "The Yellow Darted Skirt" Whyte) or simply referred to by their clothing (e.g. "the man in the brown suit" or "the woman in black").
#13 : Write down a paragraph each describing two wildly different settings. Write a story involving both settings.
#14 : Think of a fictional holiday based around some natural event (e.g. the Earth being at its farthest point from the sun, in memory of a volcanic eruption, that time a cloud looked like a rabbit riding a bicycle). Write about how this holiday is celebrated.
#15 : Write a "Just-So" type story about a fictional creature (e.g. "how the dragon got its firebreath" or "how the mudkip got its cheek gills").
54 Other Writing Prompt Ideas
#1 : Borrow a character from some other form of media (or create your own). Write from that character's perspective.
#2 : Write for and against a non-consequential controversy (e.g., salt vs. pepper, Mac vs. PC, best kind of door).
#3 : Choose an ancestor or a person from the past to write about or to.
#4 : Write a pirate story with a twist.
#5 : Have a character talk about another character and their feelings about that other character.
#6 : Pick a season and think about an event in your life that occurred in that season. Write a creative nonfiction piece about that event and that season.
#7 : Think of something very complicated and long. Write a page about it using short sentences.
#8 : Write a story as a dream.
#9 : Describe around a food without ever directly naming it.
#10 : Write a monologue (one character, talking to the audience/reader) (*not* an inner monologue).
#11 : Begin a story with the phrase, "It only took five seconds to..."
#12 : List five strong emotions. Choosing one, write about a character experiencing that emotion, but only use the character's actions to convey how they are feeling (no outright statements).
#13 : Write a chapter of the memoir of your life.
#14 : Look through the (physical) things you're currently carrying with you or wearing. Write about the memories or emotions tied with each of them.
#15 : Go be in nature. Write drawing your story from your surroundings (both physical, social, and mental/emotional).
#16 : Write from the perspective of a bubble (or bubble-like creature).
#17 : A person is jogging along an asphalt road. Write a story.
#18 : Title your story (or poem, or play, etc) "Anti-_____". Fill in the blank and write the story.
#19 : Write something that must include an animal, a mineral, and a vegetable.
#20 : Begin your writing with the phrase, "6 weeks later..."
#21 : List 5-10 office jobs. Pick one of them and describe a person working in that job as if you were a commentator on an Olympic sporting event.
#22 : Practice your poetic imagery: overwrite a description of a character's breakfast routine.
#23 : Write about a character (or group of characters) trying to convince another character to try something they're scared of.
#24 : Keep an eye out in your environment for examples of greengrocer's apostrophes and rogue quotation marks. Pick an example and write about what the misplaced punctuation implies (e.g., we have the "best" meat or we have the best "meat" ).
#25 : Fill in the blank with the first word that comes to mind: "_______ Riot!" Write a newspaper-style article describing the events that that took place.
#26 : Write from the point of view of your most-loved possession. What does it think of you?
#27 : Think of five common sayings (e.g., "An apple a day keeps the doctor away"). Write a horror story whose plot is one of those common sayings.
#28 : Write a scene in which two characters are finally hashing out a long-standing misunderstanding or disagreement.
#29 : You start receiving text messages from an unknown number. Tell the story of what happens next.
#30 : Write one character bragging to another about the story behind their new tattoo.
#31 : Superheroes save the world...but they also leave a lot of destruction in their wake. Write about a normal person in a superhero's world.
#32 : Sometimes, family is who we are related to; sometimes, family is a group of people we gather around ourselves. Write a story about (some of) a character's found family and relatives meeting for the first time.
#33 : Write a story that begins in the middle of the plot's action ( en media res ).
#34 : Everyone says you can never have too much of a good thing. Write a story where that isn't true.
#35 : What do ghosts do when they're not creating mischief? Write about the secret lives of ghosts.
#36 : Every year, you dread the last week of April. Write a story about why.
#37 : Write a story about what it would be like to have an animal sidekick in real life.
#38 : Heists don't just have to be black-clad thieves stealing into vaults to steal rare art or money. Write about a group of people (adults or children) who commit a heist for something of seemingly little monetary value.
#39 : "Life is like a chooseable-path adventure, except you don't get to see what would have happened if you chose differently." Think of a choice you've made and write about a world where you made a different choice.
#40 : Write a story about a secret room.
#41 : You find a message in a bottle with very specific directions. Write a story about the adventure you embark upon.
#42 : "You'll always be okay as long as you know where your _______ is." Fill in the blank and write a story (either fictional or from your life) illustrating this statement.
#43 : Forcing people into prolonged proximity can change and deepen relationships. Write about characters on a road trip together.
#44 : In music, sonata form includes three main parts: exposition, development, and recapitulation. Write a short story that follows this format.
#45 : Begin writing with a character saying, "I'm afraid this simply can't wait."
#46 : Write a story with a happy ending (either happily-ever-after or happy-for-now).
#47 : Write about a character before and after a tragedy in that character's life.
#48 : Choose an object or concept you encounter in everyday life (e.g. tables, the feeling of hot or cold, oxygen) and write an infomercial about it.
#49 : "Life is a series of quests, whether important or mundane." Write about a quest you've gone on (or would like to go on, or will have to go on).
#50 : List 10 different ways to learn. Choose one (or more) and write a story where a character learns something using that one (or more) method.
#51 : You've been called to the principal's office for bad behavior. You know what you did. Explain and justify yourself.
#52 : A character discovers their sibling owns a cursed object. Write about what happens next.
#53 : Write a character description by writing a list of items that would be on a scavenger hunt about them.
#54 : The slogan for a product or service you're advertising is, "Kid-tested, _____." Fill in the blank and write the copy for a radio or podcast advertisement for your product.
How to Use Creative Writing Prompts
There's no wrong way to use a creative writing prompt (unless it's to harass and hurt someone)—the point of them is to get you writing and your imagination flowing.
To help you get the most out of these writing prompts, however, we've come up with the six tips below. Try them out!
#1: DON'T Limit Yourself to Prose
Unless you're writing for a particular assignment, there's no reason everything you write in response to a writing prompt has to be prose fiction . Instead of writing your response to a prompt as a story, try writing a poem, nonfiction essay, play, screenplay, or some other format entirely.
#2: DON'T Edit as You Write
The purposes of writing prompts is to get you writing, typos and weird grammar and all. Editing comes later, once you've finished writing and have some space from it to come back to what you wrote.
It's OK to fix things that will make it difficult to read what you've written (e.g., a weird autocorrect that changes the meaning of a sentence), but don't worry too much about typos or perfect grammar when you're writing; those are easy enough to fix in edits . You also can always insert asterisks or a short note as you're writing to remind yourself to go back to fix something (for instance, if as you're writing it seems like you want to move around the order of your paragraphs or insert something earlier).
#3: DO Interpret the Prompt Broadly
The point of using a writing prompt is not to write something that best exemplifies the prompt, but something that sparks your own creativity. Again, unless you're writing in response to an assignment with specific directions, feel free to interpret writing prompts as broadly or as narrowly as you want.
For instance, if your prompt is to write a story that begins with "The stage was set," you could write about anything from someone preparing to put a plan into motion to a literal theatre stage constructed out of pieces of old sets (or something else entirely).
If you're using a writing prompt, it doesn't have to be the first sentence of your story or poem, either; you can also use the prompt as a goal to work towards in your writing.
#4: DO Try Switching Up Your Writing Methods
If it's a possibility for you, see if you write differently in different media. Do you write the same kind of stories by hand as you would typing at a computer? What about if you dictate a story and then transcribe it? Or text it to a friend? Varying the method you use to write can affect the stories you're able to tell.
For example, you may find that it's easier for you to tell stories about your life to a voice recorder than to try to write out a personal essay. Or maybe you have trouble writing poetry, but can easily text yourself or a friend a poem. You might even find you like a writing method you've not tried before better than what you've been doing!
#5: DO Mix and Match Prompt Ideas
If you need more inspiration, feel free to combine multiple prompts (but don't overwhelm yourself with too much to write about).
You can also try switching genres from what might be suggested in the prompt. For instance, try writing a prompt that seems funny in a serious and sad way, or finding the humor in something that otherwise seems humorless. The categories we've organized the prompts into are by no means limiters on what you're allowed to write about.
#6: DO Try to Write Regularly
The more regularly you write, the easier it will be to write (with or without writing prompts).
For some people, this means writing daily; for others, it means setting aside time to write each weekend or each month. Set yourself an achievable goal (write 2x a week, write 1000 words a month) and stick to it. You can always start small and then ramp your wordcount or frequency up.
If you do better when you have something outside yourself prompting to write, you may also want to try something like morning pages , which encourages you to write at least 750 words every day, in any format (story, diary entry, social media postings, etc).
Thinking about attending college or grad school for creative writing? Our articles on whether or not you should major in creative writing and the best creative writing programs are there for you! Plus, if you're a high schooler, you should check out these top writing contests .
Creative writing doesn't necessarily have to be fiction. Check out these three examples of narrative writing and our tips for how to write your own narrative stories and essays .
Just as writing prompts can help give form to amorphous creative energy, using specific writing structures or devices can be great starting points for your next story. Read through our discussion of the top 20 poetic devices to know and see if you can work at least one new one into your next writing session.
Still looking for more writing ideas? Try repurposing our 100+ easy drawing ideas for characters, settings, or plot points in your writing.
Laura graduated magna cum laude from Wellesley College with a BA in Music and Psychology, and earned a Master's degree in Composition from the Longy School of Music of Bard College. She scored 99 percentile scores on the SAT and GRE and loves advising students on how to excel in high school.
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Over 170 Prompts to Inspire Writing and Discussion
Here are all of our Student Opinion questions from the 2020-21 school year. Each question is based on a different New York Times article, interactive feature or video.
By The Learning Network
Each school day we publish a new Student Opinion question, and students use these writing prompts to reflect on their experiences and identities and respond to current events unfolding around them. To introduce each question, we provide an excerpt from a related New York Times article or Opinion piece as well as a free link to the original article.
During the 2020-21 school year, we asked 176 questions, and you can find them all below or here as a PDF . The questions are divided into two categories — those that provide opportunities for debate and persuasive writing, and those that lend themselves to creative, personal or reflective writing.
Teachers can use these prompts to help students practice narrative and persuasive writing, start classroom debates and even spark conversation between students around the world via our comments section. For more ideas on how to use our Student Opinion questions, we offer a short tutorial along with a nine-minute video on how one high school English teacher and her students use this feature .
Questions for Debate and Persuasive Writing
1. Should Athletes Speak Out On Social and Political Issues? 2. Should All Young People Learn How to Invest in the Stock Market? 3. What Are the Greatest Songs of All Time? 4. Should There Be More Gender Options on Identification Documents? 5. Should We End the Practice of Tipping? 6. Should There Be Separate Social Media Apps for Children? 7. Do Marriage Proposals Still Have a Place in Today’s Society? 8. How Do You Feel About Cancel Culture? 9. Should the United States Decriminalize the Possession of Drugs? 10. Does Reality TV Deserve Its Bad Rap? 11. Should the Death Penalty Be Abolished? 12. How Should Parents Support a Student Who Has Fallen Behind in School? 13. When Is It OK to Be a Snitch? 14. Should People Be Required to Show Proof of Vaccination? 15. How Much Have You and Your Community Changed Since George Floyd’s Death? 16. Can Empathy Be Taught? Should Schools Try to Help Us Feel One Another’s Pain? 17. Should Schools or Employers Be Allowed to Tell People How They Should Wear Their Hair? 18. Is Your Generation Doing Its Part to Strengthen Our Democracy? 19. Should Corporations Take Political Stands? 20. Should We Rename Schools Named for Historical Figures With Ties to Racism, Sexism or Slavery? 21. How Should Schools Hold Students Accountable for Hurting Others? 22. What Ideas Do You Have to Improve Your Favorite Sport? 23. Are Presidential Debates Helpful to Voters? Or Should They Be Scrapped? 24. Is the Electoral College a Problem? Does It Need to Be Fixed? 25. Do You Care Who Sits on the Supreme Court? Should We Care? 26. Should Museums Return Looted Artifacts to Their Countries of Origin? 27. Should Schools Provide Free Pads and Tampons? 28. Should Teachers Be Allowed to Wear Political Symbols? 29. Do You Think People Have Gotten Too Relaxed About Covid? 30. Who Do You Think Should Be Person of the Year for 2020? 31. How Should Racial Slurs in Literature Be Handled in the Classroom? 32. Should There Still Be Snow Days? 33. What Are Your Reactions to the Storming of the Capitol by a Pro-Trump Mob? 34. What Do You Think of the Decision by Tech Companies to Block President Trump? 35. If You Were a Member of Congress, Would You Vote to Impeach President Trump? 36. What Would You Do First if You Were the New President? 37. Who Do You Hope Will Win the 2020 Presidential Election? 38. Should Media Literacy Be a Required Course in School? 39. What Are Your Reactions to the Results of Election 2020? Where Do We Go From Here? 40. How Should We Remember the Problematic Actions of the Nation’s Founders? 41. As Coronavirus Cases Surge, How Should Leaders Decide What Stays Open and What Closes? 42. What Is Your Reaction to the Inauguration of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris? 43. How Worried Should We Be About Screen Time During the Pandemic? 44. Should Schools Be Able to Discipline Students for What They Say on Social Media? 45. What Works of Art, Culture and Technology Flopped in 2020? 46. How Do You Feel About Censored Music? 47. Why Do You Think ‘Drivers License’ Became Such a Smash Hit? 48. Justice Ginsburg Fought for Gender Equality. How Close Are We to Achieving That Goal? 49. How Well Do You Think Our Leaders Have Responded to the Coronavirus Crisis? 50. To What Extent Is the Legacy of Slavery and Racism Still Present in America in 2020? 51. How Should We Reimagine Our Schools So That All Students Receive a Quality Education? 52. How Concerned Do You Think We Should Be About the Integrity of the 2020 Election? 53. What Issues in This Election Season Matter Most to You? 54. Is Summer School a Smart Way to Make Up for Learning Lost This School Year? 55. What Is Your Reaction to the Senate’s Acquittal of Former President Trump? 56. What Is the Worst Toy Ever? 57. How Should We Balance Safety and Urgency in Developing a Covid-19 Vaccine? 58. What Are Your Reactions to Oprah’s Interview With Harry and Meghan? 59. Should the Government Provide a Guaranteed Income for Families With Children? 60. Should There Be More Public Restrooms? 61. Should High School-Age Basketball Players Be Able to Get Paid? 62. Should Team Sports Happen This Year? 63. Who Are the Best Musical Artists of the Past Year? What Are the Best Songs? 64. Should We Cancel Student Debt? 65. How Closely Should Actors’ Identities Reflect the Roles They Play? 66. Should White Writers Translate a Black Author’s Work? 67. Would You Buy an NFT? 68. Should Kids Still Learn to Tell Time? 69. Should All Schools Teach Financial Literacy? 70. What Is Your Reaction to the Verdict in the Derek Chauvin Trial? 71. What Is the Best Way to Stop Abusive Language Online? 72. What Are the Underlying Systems That Hold a Society Together? 73. What Grade Would You Give President Biden on His First 100 Days? 74. Should High Schools Post Their Annual College Lists? 75. Are C.E.O.s Paid Too Much? 76. Should We Rethink Thanksgiving? 77. What Is the Best Way to Get Teenagers Vaccinated? 78. Do You Want Your Parents and Grandparents to Get the New Coronavirus Vaccine? 79. What Is Your Reaction to New Guidelines That Loosen Mask Requirements? 80. Who Should We Honor on Our Money? 81. Is Your School’s Dress Code Outdated? 82. Does Everyone Have a Responsibility to Vote? 83. How Is Your Generation Changing Politics?
Questions for Creative and Personal Writing
84. What Does Your Unique Style Say About You? 85. How Do You Spend Your Downtime? 86. Would You Want to Live to 200? 87. How Do You Connect to Your Heritage? 88. What Do You Think Are the Secrets to Happiness? 89. Are You a Sneakerhead? 90. What Role Have Mentors Played in Your Life? 91. If You Could Make Your Own Podcast, What Would It Be About? 92. Have You Ever Felt Pressure to ‘Sell Your Pain’? 93. Do You Think You Make Good Climate Choices? 94. What Does TikTok Mean to You? 95. Do Your Parents Overpraise You? 96. Do You Want to Travel in Space? 97. Do You Feel You’re Friends With Celebrities or Influencers You Follow Online? 98. Would You Eat Food Grown in a Lab? 99. What Makes You Cringe? 100. What Volunteer Work Would You Most Like to Do? 101. How Do You Respond When People Ask, ‘Where Are You From?’ 102. Has a School Assignment or Activity Ever Made You Uncomfortable? 103. How Does Your Identity Inform Your Political Beliefs and Values? 104. Are You an Orchid, a Tulip or a Dandelion? 105. Are You Having a Tough Time Maintaining Friendships These Days? 106. How Is Your Mental Health These Days? 107. Do You Love Writing or Receiving Letters? 108. What Has Television Taught You About Social Class? 109. Are You Easily Distracted? 110. What Objects Bring You Comfort? 111. What Is Your Favorite Memory of PBS? 112. Have You Ever Felt Embarrassed by Your Parents? 113. What Are You Doing to Combat Pandemic Fatigue? 114. Have You Ever Worried About Making a Good First Impression? 115. What Do You Want Your Parents to Know About What It’s Like to Be a Teenager During the Pandemic? 116. How Have You Collaborated From a Distance During the Pandemic? 117. How Important Is It to You to Have Similar Political Beliefs to Your Family and Friends? 118. How Are You Feeling About Winter This Year? 119. Which Celebrity Performer Would You Like to Challenge to a Friendly Battle? 120. How Mentally Tough Are You? 121. What Smells Trigger Powerful Memories for You? 122. What Are You Thankful for This Year? 123. Do You Miss Hugs? 124. Are You a Good Conversationalist? 125. What Habits Have You Started or Left Behind in 2020? 126. What Was the Best Art and Culture You Experienced in 2020? 127. What’s Your Relationship With Masks? 128. What Role Does Religion Play in Your Life? 129. How Will You Be Celebrating the Holidays This Year? 130. What Is Something Good That Happened in 2020? 131. What New Flavor Ideas Do You Have for Your Favorite Foods? 132. What Are Your Hopes and Concerns for the New School Year? 133. How Has 2020 Challenged or Changed You? 134. What Do You Hope for Most in 2021? 135. How Do You View Death? 136. What Is Your Favorite Fact You Learned in 2020? 137. What Are the Places in the World That You Love Most? 138. Have You Ever Experienced ‘Impostor Syndrome’? 139. How Well Do You Get Along With Your Siblings? 140. Do You Talk to Your Family About the Cost of College? 141. Do You Have a Healthy Diet? 142. How Do You Feel About Mask-Slipping? 143. Do You Believe in Manifesting? 144. How Do You Express Yourself Creatively? 145. What Are Your Family’s House Rules During the Covid Crisis? 146. What Online Communities Do You Participate In? 147. Have You Experienced Any Embarrassing Zoom Mishaps? 148. What Does Your Country’s National Anthem Mean to You? 149. Are Sports Just Not the Same Without Spectators in the Stands? 150. Would You Volunteer for a Covid-19 Vaccine Trial? 151. What ‘Old’ Technology Do You Think Is Cool? 152. Have You Ever Tried to Grow Something? 153. How Has the Pandemic Changed Your Relationship to Your Body? 154. How Do You Find New Books, Music, Movies or Television Shows? 155. Are You Nervous About Returning to Normal Life? 156. How Do You Celebrate Spring? 157. How Do You Talk With People Who Don’t Share Your Views? 158. Would You Want to Be a Teacher Someday? 159. What Would You Recommend That Is ‘Overlooked and Underappreciated’? 160. What Children’s Books Have Had the Biggest Impact on You? 161. What Is Your Gender Identity? 162. Have You Hit a Wall? 163. What Is the Code You Live By? 164. Do You Think You Have Experienced ‘Learning Loss’ During the Pandemic? 165. What Are the Most Memorable Things You’ve Seen or Experienced in Nature? 166. Do You Want to Have Children Someday? 167. What Have You Learned About Friendship This Year? 168. What Seemingly Mundane Feats Have You Accomplished? 169. Has a Celebrity Ever Convinced You to Do Something? 170. How Have You Commemorated Milestones During the Pandemic? 171. How Often Do You Read, Watch or Listen to Things Outside of Your Comfort Zone? 172. Do You Think You Live in a Political Bubble? 173. What Is Your Relationship With the Weight-Loss Industry? 174. What Have You Made This Year? 175. How Are You Right Now? 176. What Are You Grateful For?
Want more writing prompts?
You can find even more Student Opinion questions in our 300 Questions and Images to Inspire Argument Writing , 550 Prompts for Narrative and Personal Writing and 130 New Prompts for Argumentative Writing . We also publish daily Picture Prompts , which are image-centered posts that provide space for many different kinds of writing. You can find all of our writing prompts, added as they publish, here .
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Writing Prompts & Exercises
The time is now.
The Time Is Now offers three new and original writing prompts each week to help you stay committed to your writing practice throughout the year. We also curate a list of essential books on writing —both the newly published and the classics—that we recommend for guidance and inspiration. Whether you’re struggling with writer’s block, looking for a fresh topic, or just starting to write, our archive of writing prompts has what you need. Need a starter pack? Check out our Writing Prompts for Beginners.
Tuesdays: Poetry prompts Wednesdays: Fiction prompts Thursdays: Creative nonfiction prompts
Get immediate access to more than 1,800 writing prompts with the tool below:
Alien and Familiar
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In a recent piece published in the New Yorker , Rivka Galchen writes about a new nature documentary miniseries titled Life on Our Planet , in which dozens of species of dinosaurs and other long-extinct animals are rendered into existence alongside footage of animals still living on the planet today, with the help and expertise of paleontologists and cutting-edge CGI technology. Galchen notes that the effect “does as much to reveal the extraordinary and alien nature of the animals we currently share the world with as it does to make familiar the extinct ones.” Write a pair of short creative nonfiction pieces—one about someone no longer in your life and one about someone still in your life. How can you bring the past into the present and vice versa? Do familiar memories somehow feel alien to you now?
In Adania Shibli’s novel Minor Detail (New Directions, 2020), translated from the Arabic by Elisabeth Jaquette, the second part of the book is narrated by an unnamed Palestinian woman who gives a first-person account of her life in Ramallah in near-present day as she investigates a violent wartime atrocity that occurred in the region in 1949. The character recounts everyday details of her life living under occupation in the West Bank, revealing that “there aren’t many people alive today who remember little details about what life was like before all this, like the detail about the wilting lettuce in an otherwise closed vegetable market, for example.” Write a story that hinges on a before and after. Instead of being explicit about the inciting incident or pivotal occurrence, focus instead on the smaller, everyday details. How can you rely on the seemingly mundane to create a sense of tension?
Put the Bunny Back
Action films provide excitement through fight scenes, car chases, explosions, and other high-octane thrills, but emotional conflict is what keeps audiences engaged. Whether it’s the death of a puppy or the bond between a cyborg and a child, emotions fuel the action. In the classic 1997 blockbuster Con Air , Nicolas Cage plays a good-hearted ex-convict waiting for the moment he can reunite with his wife and young daughter when his transport plane descends into chaos as a planned prison break unfurls aboard. Throughout the turbulent turmoil, the protagonist goes to great lengths (at times to a comedic level) to protect and hold onto sentimental objects: a handwritten letter from his daughter and a plush stuffed bunny for her birthday. Consider how action and sentimentality can work together and experiment with inserting an opposing emotion or sensation into a poem you’ve written in the past. How might the contrast emphasize or highlight a previously submerged aspect of the poem?
More Tabs, Please
In an essay published in New York Times Magazine ’s Letter of Recommendation series, Ali Jaffe Ramis writes about her love for web browser tabs, which she sees as her own personal curated Internet. “These tabs reflect what’s on my mind. They contain my agenda and provide answers to the mundane questions that demand my attention,” Ramis writes. Select a handful of tabs you have open right now on your computer or cell phone (or if you don’t have any open, pick a few selections from your browser history). Based on your findings, piece together a series of memoiristic anecdotes that recount your Internet browsing tendencies, and then perhaps continue on to expand upon how each specific web page reveals something about your current mindset, or your past or future selves.
Gain Some, Lose Some
For those who observe Daylight Savings Time, one hour is gained in autumn and one hour is lost in spring—though since the cycle repeats, all evens out in the end. But what if an extra hour could be injected into the day, or an hour just fell out of time? This week write a short fiction piece in which time has become elastic, ballooning to allow more to unfold, or vanishing along with missed opportunities. Although the warping of time may seem to lend itself to science fiction, you might try other genre conventions for a challenge—perhaps elements of mystery, historical fiction, horror, romance, or satirical comedy. Is there a logic to adding or subtracting time? Do your characters take advantage in mundane or dramatic ways, or are they hapless in the face of this inexplicable occurrence?
Verses of Protection
In an essay by Fady Joudah published on Literary Hub , the first section includes his translated lines of a poem by Palestinian author Hiba Abu Nada, written ten days before she was killed in a bombing in Gaza last month: “I shelter you / from wound and woe, / and with seven verses / I shield // the taste of orange / from phosphorus, / the color of clouds / from smoke.” Write a poem that seeks to shield or shelter something you hold dear to your heart—a person, memory, or idea that has deep value to you. You might experiment with verses that maintain a consistent length, or that increase or decrease in size. How can you modulate a balance between a tone of protectiveness and one of “wound and woe?”
This I Once Believed
In the early 1950s, broadcast journalist Edward R. Murrow hosted a radio program titled This I Believe , in which short personal essays written about deep personal convictions and motivations were read on air by a variety of guests. Segments included pieces by Pearl S. Buck, Robert Heinlein, Margaret Mead, and Jackie Robinson, as well as everyday people, on a variety of topics ranging from intimate to worldly, such as freedom, prejudice, caring for the environment, and caring for each other. To add a twist to this idea, write a personal essay that starts with the phrase: “This I once believed.” Think back to a time when you felt strongly about an issue, perhaps related to family bonds, romantic relationships, religion, or world politics, and focus on how your views have transformed over the years. What experiences have influenced your convictions?
“So never mind the darkness, we still can find a way / 'Cause nothin’ lasts forever, even cold November rain,” sings Axl Rose in the Guns N’ Roses 1992 classic rock ballad “November Rain.” Lasting nearly nine minutes long (and reportedly based on a short story by their road manager, writer and journalist Del Rey), guitarist Slash claimed in his autobiography that an even longer eighteen-minute version was once recorded. This week select an epic song that resonates with your current mood and compose a fictional scene that occurs while the tune plays in the background. Do the lyrics drift in and out as the story unfolds? How might the themes in the song mirror, foreshadow, or provide contrast to what’s happening with your characters in your chosen environment?
Orange You Sad?
During the months of October and November, the color orange seems to be everywhere you look: the tree leaves turning burnt sienna, the honeyed glint of autumn sunlight, jack-o’-lanterns set out on stoops and stairways, pumpkin spice flavored beverages, persimmons ripening on trees, Mexican marigolds decorating Dia de los Muertos altars, the multicolored hues of calico corn, the bronze and amber of decorative gourds galore. These golden months are typically associated with a tendency toward slowing down, nostalgia, and moving inward—whether looking within oneself or spending more time indoors. Write a poem that attempts to capture the feeling of this autumnal color. How do its many hues contribute to the elegiac sensations of the season?
Duped by Duplication
In his 1919 essay “Das Unheimliche,” translated from the German as “The Uncanny,” Sigmund Freud describes and examines the concept of uncanny or eerie feelings and how they can be expressed in the presence of a doppelgänger or a doubling. In this situation, something unexpectedly recurs—a repetition which may seem random, but when given context, takes on significance or meaning. Write a memoiristic anecdote about a time when you observed or experienced an unsettling recurrence. Perhaps you saw, in a short amount of time, the same number, person, or chain of events. Or perhaps you were wandering aimlessly and found yourself on the same street again and again. How were you able to break out of the cycle of duplication? Does it still creep into your mind at inopportune times?
Going, Going, Gone
Earlier this month the United States Fish and Wildlife Service officially removed twenty-one animal species from the Endangered Species Act after determining they are now extinct. The list includes the Little Mariana fruit bat from Guam; ten bird species, most of which are from Hawaii; the Scioto madtom fish from Ohio; and the Turgid-blossom pearly mussel. Many of the species were placed under protection in the 1970s and 1980s when they were in very low numbers and may have already past the point of no return. Write a short story this week that revolves around something that is the last of its kind, whether a plant, animal, or place. Is protection possible? What happens once something endangered is gone forever?
“The Tell-Tale Heart,” “The Pit and the Pendulum,” “The Raven,” “The Masque of the Red Death.” Each episode in filmmaker Mike Flanagan’s The Fall of the House of Usher , a new television miniseries based on Edgar Allan Poe’s eponymous story, is named after a famed poem, story title, or line penned by the master of the macabre. While Poe lived and wrote during the first half of the nineteenth century, his lyrical words continue to resound in all their gothic-horror glory in contemporary times. Browse through Poe’s works—all of which are in the public domain and freely available to read online—and write a poem inspired by his favorite themes of love, death, uncertainty, guilt, sickness, regret, revenge, and the subconscious. If you’re having trouble getting started, choose one of Poe’s famous lines as the first line of your poem.
In This Brilliant Darkness: A Book of Strangers (Norton, 2020), journalist and photographer Jeff Sharlet captures two years of his life, between his father’s heart attack and his own, through snapshots and short chapters that read like a travel journal. Sharlet documents Skid Row in Los Angeles, gay nightclubs in Russia, a New Jersey Dunkin’ Donuts, and other places, urging readers to step into the shoes of the strangers he meets while seamlessly weaving journalism, photography, and evocative storytelling to elicit an overwhelming sense of empathy. “I am a reporter, and this is a book of other people’s lives, lives that became, for a moment—the duration of a snapshot—my life, too,” writes Sharlet. Inspired by Sharlet’s immersive journalistic style, write an essay reflecting on an interaction with a stranger and how you made an unexpected connection. Immerse readers into an atmosphere that might be unfamiliar to them.
In Carmen Maria Machado’s short story “Horror Story,” published in Granta magazine in 2015, the narrator and her partner move into a new house where a series of inexplicable events occur, leading to a deepening sense of fear and unease within their relationship. The narrator describes a gradual progression of strange happenings—a mysteriously clogged drain, missing spices from the kitchen, unexplained sounds. As the couple attempts to find rational explanations, blaming neighbors and even each other, the occurrences intensify until the narrator sees the ghost of a young woman in her bedroom. Inspired by Machado’s story, write a short story from the perspective of a ghost. What is their motivation and how does their haunting serve as a form of communication or release? Craft a compelling narrative that weaves together the ghost’s history and their evolving manifestations.
In Safia Elhillo’s poem “Final Weeks, 1990,” which appears in her collection Girls That Never Die (One World, 2022), the speaker envisions the moments before her birth, exploring her origins and parents’ relationship. She writes: “My mother is almost my mother now, / darker color of the noontime sun.” In Chen Chen’s poem “Self-Portrait With & Without,” published in Narrative magazine, he paints a portrait of the speaker in relation to the characteristics of his parents. “With my / mother’s worry. Without, till recently, my father’s glasses,” he writes. For this week’s poem, consider who you are through the eyes of your parents or guardians. Write about the day of your birth, specifying the time of day and year, or try a self-portrait reflecting on inherited traits and your distinct individuality beyond family ties.
The manifesto is a form that many writers, artists, philosophers, and politicians have used for centuries to publicly declare the intentions or ideologies behind their practice. Some influential artist manifestos include Concerning the Spiritual in Art by Wassily Kandinsky, in which he argues that painting is an expression of the artist’s inner life; The Laws of Sculptors by artist duo Gilbert Proesch and George Passmore, which argues against the intellectual and economical elitism of contemporary art; and William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s introduction to their collection Lyrical Ballads , which marked the beginning of the English Romantic movement in literature. Inspired by this form’s rich history, write a manifesto that declares why you write and what you hope to accomplish through your writing.
“I remember loneliness because it is pervasive,” writes Athena Dixon in “Say You Will Remember Me,” the first essay in The Loneliness Files , published by Tin House in October. “It squeezes tightly in my mind until what makes sense, what’s actually happened, is distorted.” In this memoir in essays, Dixon considers the power of technology to connect and divide us while confronting the loneliness she has experienced in her life. “If I believe this, that sometimes drifting away from the world is not abandonment or isolation, it makes my own disconnect less frightening. It leaves me with hope that even if I am still sequestered in my own bedsit, it is not because I am forgotten,” she writes. Consider Dixon’s relationship to loneliness as well as your own and write a story in which a character spends the entirety of the story alone. Think about how to sustain the story’s tension without the presence of other characters.
The poems in Dorothea Lasky’s The Shining , published by Wave Books in October, portray the physical and psychological horrors that take place in the labyrinthine Overlook Hotel, the setting of the iconic Stephen King novel and Stanley Kubrick film adaptation. Lasky guides readers into the hotel of her imagination in the opening poem, “Self-Portrait in the Hotel”: “When I checked into this / Godforsaken hellhole / They locked me in the tiny yellow room / With no belongings but my lipstick,” she writes. Throughout the book, Lasky meditates on the many horrors of simply being alive, finding inspiration in the hotel’s high ceilings, the Gold Ballroom, and the final shot of the film featuring a terrifying photograph of the protagonist, Jack Torrance, in the ballroom in 1921. Take note of Lasky’s ekphrastic practice and write a poem that places you in the setting of your favorite film. What conflicts come to mind in this newly imagined world?
“I am not convinced that we live at the same time as the people we love. I cannot be the only child who felt like their grandparents came from a different planet,” writes Arthur Asseraf in his essay, “My Time Machine,” published in Granta magazine. In the essay, the author and historian muses over feeling disconnected from his grandparents, perceiving them as inhabitants of a distant era. This week write an essay reflecting on this quote and explore the idea of dissonance in the context of relationships with loved ones. How do generational gaps shape our understanding of each other’s experiences, values, and worldviews? Can these disparities lead to a sense of detachment or connection?
Sympathy for the Devil
“The more surmountable flaws your characters have, the better readers will connect with them,” writes Jordan Rosenfeld in Writing the Intimate Character: Create Unique, Compelling Characters Through Mastery of Point of View (Writer’s Digest Books, 2016), a craft book exploring character development and point of view. How do readers sympathize with a character who has committed terrible acts? Explore this notion by writing a short story with a character traditionally perceived as the antagonist. Delve into the gray area between hero and villain, evoking sympathy for an otherwise unlikable character. Unravel the complexities of your character’s choices and look for the humanity and relatable flaws that will challenge and connect with readers.
Thresholds of Artifice
In 1950, Alan Turing devised a test that could assess the intelligence of computers and determine if they were capable of sentient thought—an uncertainty that lingers as artificial intelligence (AI) continues to develop. Franny Choi’s poem “Turing Test,” published in the Summer 2016 issue of the Poetry Review , plays with this subject of identity and consciousness. The poem responds to objective questions posed by an AI entity, including, “How old are you?” with elaborate answers that reveal more about the speaker. “My memory goes back 26 years / 23 if you don’t count the first few / though by all accounts i was there / i ate & moved & even spoke,” writes Choi. Write a poem in which your speaker, whether AI or not, answers unassuming questions, such as, “Where did you come from?” and “Do you believe you have consciousness?”
“When I was twelve, I saw a terrible movie called Devil Girl From Mars . And I turned off the television and said to myself, I can write a better story than that. I sat down and began writing my first science fiction story,” says award-winning science fiction author Octavia E. Butler in a 1993 interview for BBC News. Butler, whose work has recently made a resurgence with multiple television and film adaptations, expanded and revolutionized the science fiction genre by writing from the perspective of a marginalized Black woman and celebrating her voice. Is there a film, book, or work of art that you encountered in your childhood that inspired you to start writing? Write an essay that reflects on the impact of this work. Whether through resistance or celebration, how can you trace the development of your artistry back to this first encounter?
In an interview for the Yale Review , Elisa Gonzalez, author of the debut poetry collection, Grand Tour (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2023), discusses her relationship with perfectionism as a young poet with senior editor Maggie Millner. “I believed that the book would present itself to me as a kind of perfect object, nothing like all these flawed poems I had lying around,” says Gonzalez. “The gap between the dreamed-of poem and the real poem is painful. It is also, sometimes anyway, a gorgeous private thing, which no one else can ever touch.” Inspired by this reflection of the writing process, write a story in which a burgeoning artist reckons with the kind of art they make. Does this spiritual conflict affect the way they see themselves? How far will they go to be the artist they dream of becoming?
Earlier this month, the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, London, announced its list of winners for their astronomy photographers of the year awards. The photographs, which were published in the Guardian , show various perspectives of observing the cosmos. In the overall winning photograph created by a team of amateur astronomers, a huge plasma arc shines next to the swirling Andromeda galaxy. In the young astronomy photographer category, the Running Chicken Nebula is captured, a diffused glow of crimson, violet, and black gases shining amidst a cluster of white stars. The photographs taken from Earth show the unexpected manifestations of space seen in our sky, as one features rare cloud formations in Hungary and another captures the orbital rotation of stars forming an infinite circle in Lancashire, England. This week write a poem inspired by these photographs that meditates on your place in the universe. For inspiration, read Tracy K. Smith’s poem “My God, It’s Full of Stars.”
Autumn of Life
For centuries the autumn season has inspired writers to reflect on nature’s cycle of renewal. Temperatures drop, leaves change color and shed, and crops are harvested offering much to contemplate during the season about what it means to live. Poets are continually inspired by the season: Larry Levis writes about the “steadfast, orderly, taciturn, oblivious” yellowing of the leaves in “The Widening Spell of the Leaves;” John Keats reflects on the “season of mists and mellow fruitfulness” in “To Autumn;” and Marilyn Chin recalls how “all that blooms must fall” in “Autumn Leaves.” What comes to mind when observing the changing of seasons? Write an essay that reflects on how the days of autumn affect you.
About Our Writing Prompts
What is a writing prompt and how do you use one? Whether you find yourself in front of a blank page or stuck in a work-in-progress, writing prompts can offer a spark that ignites your creative thinking and can lead to new writing. Prompts offer guidance, fresh ideas, and direction for writers of all levels of experience. First, choose a prompt for the genre in which you’d like to write, then carefully read it and consider what it is asking you to think about. It could be a specific setting, a writing technique, or an element of an imagined character; a specific poem, story, essay, song, book, or film from which you might take inspiration; or a current event or a topical theme. A writing prompt is filled with endless possibilities—and there is no wrong way to use one to generate new writing!
What makes our writing prompts unique? We have an archive of nearly 2,000 prompts, all original and offered here and in our weekly newsletter . You’ll find a variety of poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction prompts—some inspired by recent and classic literature and other forms of art, current events, and writing practices, and others that offer guidance for a particular form, including sonnets, erasure poetry, flash fiction, lyric essays, and more. For more than fifty years, Poets & Writers has supported creative writers with trustworthy information and inspiration, and our weekly prompts provide a regular dose of encouragement and motivation.
What are the benefits of using writing prompts? Writing prompts can help you get unstuck if you’re in a rut and the ideas aren’t flowing. But even if you’re not experiencing writer’s block, writing prompts can offer a fresh take or a new approach to a work-in-progress. Writing prompts can also provide the motivation to experiment with a new form, try out a new genre, or learn about other writing techniques. And writing prompts are an invaluable tool for teachers who want to encourage and inspire their writing students.
What is this list of Best Books? Best Books for Writers is a list of essential books for creative writers that we curate to support your writing practice. Every week, we add a book (whether new or a classic) with a synopsis and highlights. Included are books on the writing life, anthologies of craft essays, collections of lectures, practical guides with writing exercises, and more.
Poetry writing prompts Every Tuesday we post a new poetry prompt to guide you in your practice. Get to know the work of contemporary and classic poets, as well as a variety of poetic forms.
Fiction writing prompts Every Wednesday we post a new fiction prompt to spark your imagination. Take inspiration from recently published short stories and novels, and of course, the classics.
Creative nonfiction writing prompts Every Thursday we post a new creative nonfiction prompt to help your exploration of this ever-changing genre. These prompts include information and inspiration for a variety of essays as well as memoirs. Discover new writers and their craft, and fresh ways to generate writing inspired by your life.
Need a starter pack? Check out our Writing Prompts for Beginners .
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Writing Prompts By Genre: 250+ Creative Writing Prompts For Book Ideas
POSTED ON Apr 12, 2023
Written by Angelica Hartgers
Writing prompts are powerful vessels for jumpstarting your creativity, and planting the seed for your next book idea.
Dealing with writer’s block or self-doubt as a writer ? Experiencing a creative rut? Looking to improve your writing development? Experimenting with a new genre? Stuck on finding a book idea? Looking for your author voice?
No matter which of those situations you are struggling with as a writer, you might find your answer in some creative writing prompts.
These original writing prompts can be categorized in nonfiction and fiction groups. There's a long list of genres you could write within. And here, you'll find creative writing prompt topics for nearly all of them!
Here are the best creative writing prompts for writers to use:
- Business Writing Prompts
- Self-Help Writing Prompts
- Memoir Writing Prompts
- Health & Fitness Writing Prompts
- Family & Relationships Writing Prompts
- Horror/Thriller Creative Writing Prompts
- Romance Creative Writing Prompts
- Mystery Creative Writing Prompts
- Sci-Fi Creative Writing Prompts
- Fantasy Creative Writing Prompts
- Historical Fiction Creative Writing Prompts
- Sentence Starters Creative Prompts
What are writing prompts?
Writing prompts are story-starters that are used as a guided learning or creativity exercise to help writers get started with a new idea or story.
Often used in an educational setting for students learning to practice writing specific genres, creative writing prompts are also used by advanced writers and authors who are experiencing writer’s block or are in need of inspiration.
Writing prompts are designed to get people to think, by providing a starting place for a story premise or book idea, which can be further developed using the writer’s own imagination and creativity.
There are many benefits to using creative writing prompts as a frequent writing exercise, both for seasoned writers and those just starting out.
Here are some benefits to using writing prompts:
- Fight writer’s block. Next time you don’t know what to write about, or aren’t able to produce any writing for your current work-in-progress, try your hand at a writing prompt.
- Guide your inspiration. Writing prompts often help writers discover new topics by allowing them to start a story from the prompt, and finish it in their own way. Writing prompts can also inspire deviations from the story, or additional writing material, that the author can tap into.
- Identify new genres. Sometimes it’s beneficial to try your hand at a genre you’re not used to writing in. It can help you discover a topic you never knew you might enjoy, or it can further solidify your strength in your current genre. Either way, it’s good to get out of your comfort zone.
- Jumpstart a book idea. Writing prompts can incite a new story or book idea for you. If you’re having trouble figuring out what to write a book about, experiment with some writing prompts and see if anything sticks.
- Improve writing development. Part of improving your writing craft has to do with experimenting – especially when you’re in a writing rut. Dabbling in new genres, practicing how to show and not tell , and using writing prompts you’d never think to write about, can also help you identify opportunities to strengthen your writing, and increase your versatility as a writer.
- Sharpen creative skills. Creative writing prompts help you hone in on your creative skills. By starting with a story idea from a writing prompt, you’re forced to develop the story through your own imagination and creativity.
- Practice poetry. Sometimes, a great way to get the creative juices flowing is to write some poetry. You don't need to put it out into the world (though you might find yourself looking up how and where to publish poetry after!), but it can help you with your prose.
- Experiment with tone. There are many different tones in writing , and it can take years to establish your own as an author. Writing prompts can help you arrive there quicker!
How to use creative writing prompts
The process of using a writing prompt is loose, as they are designed to be used in a way that benefits you as the writer most.
You can be as structured, or as flexible as you choose when using one of our writing prompts. That means you can start with a writing prompt, think of your own premise for the story, and get to writing your own detailed account. Or, you can use all of the details given in the writing prompt, and answer the prompt exactly as you see fit. It’s up to you!
However, if you’re not sure where to start, and need some beginner’s guidelines, there are a few tips we can provide.
Here’s how to use creative writing prompts:
- Use pen and paper. If you’re struggling with writing block, I encourage you to use pen and paper to really get your creative juices flowing.
- Choose a writing prompt. Read through some possible creative writing prompts, taking note of any that spark your imagination. Then, you can choose which one calls out to you most. Alternatively, if you’re having trouble deciding, you can choose a random writing prompt and challenge yourself to write about
- Pick and choose your own details. Some writing prompts include specific details to incorporate in your story. Don’t feel boxed in by your writing prompt; if you want to omit certain details or events and replace them with your own creative idea, feel free to do so.
- Time your writing. Once you have a prompt chosen, set a timer for 15-20 minutes and challenge yourself to not stop writing until the timer goes off. This will prevent you from overthinking the prompt, and will ensure you stay focused.
- Expand your own ideas. Use the writing prompt as a seed for your story, but develop it in your own creative way. The key to successfully using a creative writing prompt is to help your own brainstorming process, so it’s okay if you veer off from the writing prompt and take a different direction with your story and characters. You can even use character bio templates to expand your own ideas.
Writing Prompt Generator for Book Ideas
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Nonfiction writing prompts.
If you're on the hunt for the best nonfiction writing prompts to exercise your creativity and help you brainstorm some book ideas to write a nonfiction book , then start with this category.
Here, you'll find a variety of nonfiction topics, from business and self-help, to relationships, wellness, and memoir topics.
Business Writing Prompts
- Write about the biggest lesson you’ve learned in business.
- Write about how you have failed in business, and how you overcame that failure.
- Write about the biggest mistake you made in your industry, and what you learned about it.
- Write about how your industry can impact lives across the world.
- Write about the top authorities in your industry and what you can learn from them.
- Write about how you got started in your industry, and how others can learn from your process.
- Write about industry secrets that can help other people grow their authority.
- Write about how businesses in your industry can maximize their profits.
- Write about what you’ve learned in your industry, and educate readers on how to
- Write about opportunities for innovation in your industry.
- Write about the top qualities an authority in your industry must have to succeed.
- Write about the top issues in your industry, and how readers can avoid them.
- Write about how to empower others in your industry, and why it’s important.
- Write about the future of your industry, and how readers can adapt to the changes.
- Write about the history of your industry, and how it has shaped the present and how it will shape the future.
- Write about a major time period in your industry’s progression, and the lessons from that time that can be learned and applied today.
- Write about common fears in your industry, and how others can overcome them.
- Write about the common stressors in your industry, and how others can manage this.
- Write about a time when you had to start over in your career, and the lessons you learned that can help readers.
- Write about how to generate ideas in your industry.
- Write about how to be a better leader in the workplace.
- Write about the importance of company culture, especially in our digital age.
- Write about the secrets to sustainability in your industry.
- Write about decision making in your industry, and how others can make better decisions.
- Write about the habits of authority figures in your industry, and what others can learn from them.
- Write about the failures of authority figures in your industry, and what others can learn from them.
- Write about the successes of authority figures in your industry, and what others can learn from them.
- Write about the key to productivity in your industry.
- Write about the key to creativity in your industry.
- Write about the key to working smarter in your industry.
- Write about how to think big, and when to think small, in your industry.
- Write about what you wish you knew now when you first started in your career.
- Write about setting up a successful atmosphere to thrive in your industry.
- Write about something big you accomplished in your career, and share your blueprint for success.
- Write about developing a team, and how to successfully work with others.
Self-Help Writing Prompts
Want to know how to write a self-help book ? Start with these prompts:
- Write about a time when you had to start over in your life, and what you learned from that.
- Write about why it’s important to break the rules in life sometimes.
- Write about how to generate creative ideas.
- Write about the secrets to gaining unshakeable self-confidence.
- Write about the secrets to gaining lasting happiness.
- Write about the secrets to developing laser-focus in work and life.
- Write about the secrets to living a regret-free life.
- Write about the secrets to creating lasting love.
- Write about the power of forgiveness, and how others can tap into this.
- Write about the power of gratitude, and how to apply it to daily life.
- Write about critical thinking, and strategies for improving critical thinking skills.
- Write about how to reduce everyday stress and anxiety with practical tips.
- Write about effective communication, and how others can communicate more clearly.
- Write about your creativity process, and include strategies for how to be more creative.
- Write about the secrets to a successful relationship, and how anyone can be a better partner.
- Write about how to stay disciplined, and why most people fail at self-discipline.
- Write about society’s hustle culture, and why working hard is good or bad.
- Write about your favorite country or travel destination, and what you’ve learned from the people and culture.
- Write about the key to being a more productive person, and how it can transform others’ lives.
- Write about finding your passion, and how others can discover their purpose.
- Write about the power of positive self talk, and how others can implement it in their daily life.
- Write about dealing with anxiety.
- Write about dealing with change.
- Write about creating an atmosphere of peace.
- Write about controlling the controllables for happiness.
- Write about controlling the controllables for peace.
- Write about something a big goal you’ve accomplished, and share your blueprint for success.
- Write about finding inspiration, and teach others how they can find it, too.
- Write about how to better understand the people in your life.
- Write about the art of simplicity in life, and how others can benefit from it.
- Write about decision-making and the best practices for making big and small decisions in life.
- Write about the power of tapping into your imagination, and why it’s so important for people, including adults.
- Write about the importance of truth, and how others can be more honest with themselves and the people in their life.
- Write about dealing with life transitions, and strategies to improve adaptability when things change and its out of your control.
- Write about how to regain control in your life, and what to do when you’ve hit rock bottom.
- Write about finding your identity, and how people in your niche can discover themselves again.
- Write about the purpose of life.
- Write about how an individual can increase their confidence.
- Write about how the fear of rejection has been holding you back and what action you can take consistently everyday to break this fear.
- Write about 7 daily habits that can increase your self esteem and make you feel unbreakable.
29 Memoir Prompts
- Write about a big goal you’ve accomplished, and share your blueprint for success.
- Write about a major time when you had to start over in your life, and what you learned from that.
- Write about the greatest lesson you’ve learned so far in life, and how others can learn from your life.
- Write about one of your biggest regrets, and teach others going through the same thing how to deal with it.
- Write about the most difficult decision you’ve ever had to make, and what you’ve learned from that process.
- Write about a traumatic experience in your life, and how you have dealt with it.
- Write about a time you failed, and how you were able to rise up.
- Write about a major event in your childhood, and how that shaped you as an adult.
- Write about the saddest time in your life, and encourage others who are going through similar situations.
- Write about the happiest time in your life, and the greatest thing that moment has taught you.
- Write about the most influential people in your life, and how they helped shape the person you have become.
- Write about how you have developed self-love, and why it’s important to have a relationship with yourself first.
- Write about your journey towards self-discovery, and share tips with others who are lost.
- Write about a time you lost your way in life, and what helped you find your path again.
- Write about your spirituality and beliefs, and how you can share your message with others.
- Write about the biggest heartbreak you experienced, and what it’s taught you about love and life.
- Write about the time you broke someone else’s heart, and what it’s taught you about loving others.
- Write about a time you experienced compassion, and share how others can be more compassionate in their own life.
- Write about the biggest self-defining moment in your life thus far, and how you’ve developed from the experience.
- Write about your biggest accomplishment, and how its helped you banish self-defeating thoughts and behavior.
- Write about a toxic relationship you had, and how you were able to overcome it.
- Write about an influential travel experience in your life, and what it taught you about yourself and others.
- Write about the town you grew up in, and how it’s shaped your perspective on life.
- Write about how you were raised, and what you learned from the people that raised you.
- Write about a significant historical event you lived through, and what others can learn from your experience.
- Write about your life’s journey from where you were ten years ago to how you arrived to this point today, and, the most important lesson you have learned on the way.
- Write about five life lessons you believe everyone should practice/follow.
- There is an experience from your past that has always held you back from thriving in life. Write about what this experience is, and if you were to overcome your trauma, how could you lead the life you've been dreaming of?
- There is a saying: “You are the sum of the five people you spend most of your time with.” Write about the people you spend your time with and how they influence your life on a day to day basis.
29 Health & Fitness Prompts
- Write about emotional health: what it means, why it’s important, and how.
- Write about a time you were very unhealthy, and how you were able to transform yourself.
- Write about the secrets to dieting.
- Write about diet culture fads, and why they do or do not work.
- Write about the idea of health, and how people can shift their priorities to be more healthy both mentally and physically.
- Write about the taboo around mental health, and how we can change this mindset as a society.
- Write about your struggles with mental health, and help others with what you’ve learned.
- Write about your struggles with physical health, and help others struggling with the same thing.
- Write about what health and wellness means to you, and share your perspectives with others.
- Write about the power of superfoods, and how they can positively affect health.
- Write about the health practices in a different country.
- Write about an ancient health practice, and what we can learn from it today.
- Write about the medicinal properties of certain foods and plants.
- Write about how to break free from unhealthy habits.
- Write about food production practices, and how they affect the quality of what we eat.
- Write about health in children, and how to raise health-conscious individuals.
- Write about raising a healthy family while balancing a busy life
- Write about a time your health was impacted, and how the experience transformed your life
- Write about a time someone you love experienced health issues, and how the experience changed that person’s life, as well as your own
- Write about a time you felt unhappy with your health. What did you do to change your mindset?
- Write about body acceptance, and how societal expectations affects our mindset.
- Write about the influence of culture on health, and how it affects a group of people differently.
- Write about a harmful everyday practice, how it affects our health, and what we can do to change it.
- Write about dealing with mental health on an everyday basis, and help others understand how to be more compassionate.
- Write about the idea of health, and what contributing factors affect our perspectives.
- Identify a distraction that is wasting your time and causing you to be very unproductive. Write about your plan to eliminate this distraction from your life, and the positive impact it will have.
- Internal dialogue is powerful in developing positivity. Identify your negative internal dialogue and write out your new, positive dialogue to communicate to yourself.
- Write out seven ways you can practice self care and why this is important to you.
- Write about how vulnerability is keeping you scared. Then, write down an action step to overcome this fear.
40 Family & Relationships
- Write about how to build character in your children.
- Write about teaching children how to practice self-love.
- Write about strategies parents can use to instill healthy habits in their children.
- Write about the secrets to balancing discipline and friendship as a parent
- Write about the concept of soulmates, and why the idea is helpful or harmful in our society.
- Write about how to find friends as an adult.
- Write about the importance of having a support group.
- Write about the dangers of toxic parenthood.
- Write about the dangers of toxic relationships.
- Write about the dangers of toxic friendships.
- Write about the power of compassion in marriage.
- Write about the importance of compromise in relationships.
- Write about dealing with heartbreak and starting over.
- Write about the idea of dating in the digital age.
- Write about co-dependence and why its toxic.
- Write about breaking up with a friend, and why it’s necessary sometimes.
- Write about disciplining children in a positive way.
- Write about instilling a positive mindset in the youth.
- Write about developing your child’s uniqueness.
- Write about the struggles in parenthood and how to stay sane.
- Write about the beauty in parenthood and how to make it last, even when your children are being difficult.
- Write about sibling rivalry and how to cultivate a healthier sibling relationship.
- Write about how to be a better parent.
- Write about how to be a better daughter/son to an aging parent.
- Write about how to be a better friend.
- Write about dealing with the loss of a loved one.
- Write about your journey to find love and what you’ve discovered along the way.
- Write about developing healthy and nurturing relationships.
- Write about the importance of self-confidence in finding love.
- Write about the importance of self-esteem in developing healthy relationships.
- Write about the importance of mindset on the search for love.
- Write about the role self-awareness plays in being a better parent.
- Write about the importance of communication in relationships.
- Write about the red flags in a failing relationship, and how to save it before it’s too late.
- Write about the idea of being single, and how to embrace it in a society that does not.
- Write about the idea of finding the perfect partner, and how this perspective can affect our ability to find someone.
- Write about falling in love, and how to keep the fire alive in a relationship.
- Write about the importance of expectations in relationships.
- Write about disagreements in friendships, and how to overcome and learn from them.
- Write about different styles of parenting, and how to identify which type you are.
Fiction Creative Writing Prompts
Now it's time for the creative fun. Use these fiction creative writing prompts to explore new genres, practice your creative writing development using literary device examples , and get inspired to venture off into a new fiction story.
These fiction writing prompts are categorized based on genre, so you'll find topics for horror or thriller stories, romance writing prompts, historical fiction topics, Sci-Fi and fantasy prompts, and story starters.
While we provide the prompts, it's up to you to expand on your own ideas, create exciting plot twists, and fully develop your elements of setting and characters.
16 Horror/Thriller Prompts
- Write about your last nightmare.
- A couple is awoken at the witching hour (3 AM) by three forceful bangs at their front door. When they call aloud to see who's there, no one answers, but a demonic snarl can be heard from outside.
- Waking up from a slumber with eyes still closed, your character stretches their arms out, only to hit a cold body next to them. They live alone.
- You made a late night trip to the gas station, and it’s pouring down rain as you stand outside in the empty parking lot, holding the nozzle to pump gas. Suddenly, a hearse pulls up slowly next to your car, and when you glance over, all you can see is bright red eyes glaring at you from the driver’s seat.
- Your character just finished the night shift at work. As they walk through the empty parking lot towards their car, its eerily silent and they can’t help but feel like someone is watching them. The hairs on your character’s arms start to stand up, even though it’s a relatively warm night. Your character quickly jumps into their car, starts the engine, and begins to drive home. As they look up into the rearview mirror, a sinister, smiling face appears behind them.
- Two kids venture off into the woods behind their neighborhood, scouting for a place to build their tree house. Before long, they see the streetlights of their neighborhood come on in the distance, which is a sign that it's time to head back home. As they gather their belongings to make the trek back home, they hear a twig snap behind them, and a guttural voice whisper, “You can’t leave yet – the fun’s only just begun.”
- Ten thousand dollars to own a 3 bedroom cabin? It was a once-in-a-lifetime deal, that you, as a new real estate investor, just couldn’t pass up. But in order to secure your purchase quickly, you had to skip the house tour. Now that the home was purchased by you, it was time to start the renovations. But first, you had to do an in-depth survey of the house to see exactly what work needed to be done. As you enter the creaky, old home, a rancid smell fills your nostrils and in the dark, dusty corner of the entryway, you notice a large, fat rat chewing boldly on a piece of bloody flesh.
- ‘Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the house. There was a creature stirring, but it wasn’t a mouse…Write about a holiday visitor who isn’t jolly or nice, and who brings gifts nobody would ever dare to ask for.
- A young family on vacation joins an excursion to a beautiful, remote beach. As they run into the ocean to splash around, they notice something dark lurks in the water, and it doesn’t look like a creature that belongs on Earth.
- Choose a scary story that you were told as a child, and add your own frightening twist.
- After a lifetime of waiting, your character has finally found the love of their life. But things turn sinister when one night, your character discovers that their new-found love must eat raw human flesh in order to stay alive.
- Her mind was racing, but she knew she had to conceal her fear. As she turned to face him, she noticed his eyes. They were colorless, and taunted her without saying a word.
- They weren’t raised to believe in ghosts, ghouls, or demons, but the darkness that began to possess their once-loving father couldn’t be explained any other way. It all happened after he brought home the newest novelty for his antique collection: an 18th century wooden cross, said to belong to a woman that was tortured and hung for committing witchcraft.
- Vampires, werewolves, and witches. He knew they were the stuff of fiction, or at least, he thought he knew, until tonight.
- It’s time to put your nine-year-old to bed. As you tuck the child in, pulling the blankets over her shoulders, you can’t help but notice the fear in her eyes. Concerned, you ask her what’s going on. “She visits me every time I fall asleep. Can’t you make her stop?” she whispered in fear. When you probe your child for more details on who this woman is, and what she looks like, your blood turns to ice. She sounds exactly like the woman from the nightmares that plagued your own childhood.
- It was love at first sight – for her, anyway. After years of being single, and sought after by all the eligible bachelors in town, everyone was surprised when Mr. Ezra came in, seemingly out of nowhere, to swoop her off her feet. He was tall, dark, and handsome, and everything she always dreamed of finding in a man. After a brief two weeks of dating, she announced that they had wed in secret. Not only that, but she would be leaving town with him, to start a new life. Little did they know that they would never see her again. Little did she know that the man of her dreams would soon become the man of her nightmares. And he was dead set on making her wish she’d never been born.
15 Romance Creative Prompts
- An exchange student goes to a foreign country to live for a year abroad, with high goals to learn the language and culture. Little does she know, she’s actually there to learn a lesson on love, from none other than a foreign classmate who has a strong distaste for outsiders like her.
- Your character is widowed, left to raise two young children on his/her own. When it’s least expected, someone from the past comes back into their life. But things aren’t all that they seem, and falling in love again is the last thing on her to-do list.
- A restless man going through a midlife crisis. A free-spirited woman ready to embrace graceful aging. They butt heads often, but can’t seem to leave each other alone for good. Can they survive through something that threatens to tear them apart forever?
- They were childhood friends that hardly left their small hometown, and now they are distant strangers that live in two opposite parts of the world. When a tragedy calls them back home, they feel like they never left each other. How do they hold on to one another when they live two very separate lives?
- It’s the day before their second marriage anniversary. As he’s making plans to celebrate, he gets a call from his doctor with news that will change their lives forever.
- Years of heartbreak and relationship failures have left her disillusioned with the idea of love. But one chance meeting with someone new makes her question her ideology forever.
- He’s a serial dater that enjoys the chase. She’s a serious achiever with a distaste for men like him. What happens when their two worlds collide?
- She’s carefully designed her life’s milestones, and is dead set on sticking to her plan. When she meets the man of her dreams and marries him after two years of maintaining a long distance relationship, she’s in for an earth-shattering awakening that not even she could prepare for.
- She’s a successful powerhouse business owner. He’s a humble trades worker who’s never been to college (and has no desire to ever do so). What started out as a temporary fling for fun has turned into a passionate love affair. But what happens when things settle down, and their everyday lives go on?
- As the caretaker of their ailing parent, who has no one else in the world to rely on, your character has put their life aspirations on hold to uphold their family duty. So what happens when love comes knocking on their door unexpectedly?
- They were childhood sweethearts that grew up together, and have been inseparable ever since. Now that they have entered the next chapter as adults, their family and friends have urged them to get married. But the night before the wedding, the couple suddenly realizes that they are no longer in love. Where do they go from here?
- Rich man, poor girl. It’s a story as old as time, but what happens when there’s a modern twist to it?
- A young couple is ready to welcome their first child into the world, when a violent war suddenly ravages their town. The young man is forced away to defend his country, and the pregnant young woman is left to face the harsh winter alone. How can they keep their love alive?
- She’s never been in love, but she’s plagued by vivid memories and dreams of a man who seems so familiar, only she’s never met him. Could she have a lover from a past life that haunts her from another dimension?
- Think of a famous love story that’s always intrigued you. It could be from history, or from your own experience. Now imagine a new ending for it, and write your own version of the story with a twist.
10 Mystery Prompts
- The crystal clear blue waters. The bright green foliage. The black sand beach. This would be the last thing she saw before she died, and no one would ever know.
- He went missing twelve years ago. He was just a boy, then. After years of searching for him to no avail, his parents – now in their old age – have succumbed to hopelessness and heartbreak. That is, until a visitor arrives on their doorstep in the pouring rain one stormy night. The visitor looks like their son, but something is very, very different…
- Your character goes for an evening stroll every night after dinner. She passes by each of her neighbors homes down the quiet street, until she gets to a fork in the road and turns back around. Only tonight, she goes on her usual walk, and decides to take a left at the fork instead of turning around. What she discovers is sure to wake the sleepy small town from their slumber.
- A high profile lawyer on the hunt for justice, he’s adamant about defending his client, accused of committing a crime no mother could ever commit. Or can she?
- She’s an experienced detective with years under belt, solving the city’s most horrific crimes. As she digs deep on the trail of one of the most sinister serial killers she’s ever dealt with, she begins uncovering some details that brings the case too close to home.
- Research your favorite unexplained mystery, then re-write the story with your own twist and turn of events.
- Your character is on a mission to discover the truth about his/her birth parents, two people s/he has been shielded from ever knowing any details about. On a quest to self-discovery, your character learns the truth, and it can be summed up in three words: Murder, lust, and greed. Write about your character’s journey towards discovering where they came from, and the shocking truth they learn along the way.
- Today is your birthday. You wake up, ready to celebrate with your family and friends, but things get weird when you discover that the year you thought it was, doesn’t seem to be right.
- You are house sitting for your best friend, who you’ve known your entire life. One quiet evening, you rummage through the library in search of a good book. Instead, you find a chest of photos that piques your interest. The chest is full of old photographs featuring your best friend, dressed in old attire and surrounded by people from long, long ago.
- While driving home in the pouring rain one night, you spot a young girl, dressed in all white, on the side of the deserted highway. You pull over to give her a ride home, but she doesn’t know who she is, why she’s here, or where’s she going.
11 Sci-Fi Creative Writing Prompts
- Earth is dissolving, and it’s up to you to get all of the remaining human children to the new “home” for humans – a newly inhabited planet that mimics Earth’s environment. The issue? The planet is twice as small as Earth, which means there is only room for half of the children in the spacecraft you’ve been given.
- Your character is a scientist for NASA, and is on the edge of developing a cutting-edge breakthrough technology that will allow humans to be transported to space in half the time. The only problem is, the process ages humans twice as fast…
- The sun burns too bright, causing people to go blind the moment they catch a glimpse of the sun’s rays. This means that humans have learned to avoid the sun, living out their days in protective pods to shield them from the sun. But now, there’s a plague that’s quickly spreading amongst the population, and there seems to be only one cure: a look at the sun.
- You live in a futuristic world, almost 300 years from present day. Technology has taken its toll on evolution, and the only way to communicate with other humans is through a digital screen.
- The world as we know it is over, and you’re the leader of this new era. Decide how you want to rule society, and what type of world you will create.
- Your character starts the day off like any other day. She wakes up, brushes her teeth, then walks into her closet to get dressed for work. Only today, she opens her closet door to find a wide-eyed woman standing there, dripping wet as if she has been rained on. She says her planet is at war, and she has been sent to bring you back home with her, for you are the only one with the power to save her people.
- Research one of Earth’s unknown mysteries or conspiracy theories. Now, re-write it through the lens of someone who knows all the answers, and has a powerful reason for keeping it all a secret…
- Virtual reality meets the real world. You live in a society where there’s a fine line between who is actually a real person, and who is not.
- Your character is an expert researcher that’s been chosen to lead a submarine journey to the bottom of the Mariana Trench, the deepest part of the ocean. Uninhabitable by humans, the team witnesses sea life that’s never before been seen by man. But things take a turn for the worst when they realize a massive creature has claimed a death grip on their submarine vessel.
- You’ve been given the task to create the perfect species, but in your effort to do so through multiple experiments, you’ve given life to an army of children who are far from perfect.
- You’re exiled to a new planet, and you can only take 3 people with you. Who do you take and why?
12 Fantasy Writing Prompts
- An expert diver, your character takes a trip to a remote island to explore all the underwater sights he’s read all about in books and documentaries. When he takes a diving excursion to a cave known for its colorful color, exotic fish schools, and vivid sea foliage, he stumbles upon a secret cave door. What it leads to is a bustling seaworld that’s quite literally, straight out of a storybook.
- A device has been invented that can solve any of mankind’s problems – big or small. The catch is, that along with a solution, comes an even bigger problem…
- You wake up one day to discover that you have been transported to the world from your favorite book. But you quickly discover that things aren’t all that they seem…
- You come from a long line of witches, dating back to the 12th century. But a modern day witch hunt is now in full effect, and to save your life, you must find a way to give up all of your powers.
- Your character suddenly finds themself in an alternate dimension, where everything is backwards. How can they make sense of this new world, to find their way back to the dimension they actually belong in?
- Think of your favorite superhuman. Now, imagine that they use their powers for evil. Write a story featuring the dark side of your superhuman’s character.
- Every morning, your alarm sounds off at 6 a.m. Only this morning, instead of the usual beep beep beep to wake you, a voice comes over the alarm and announces, “Today is the day you will say goodbye to everyone.”
- Time no longer exists, and the worlds of the past, present, and future have collided, meshing them all into one. Write a fantasy story about this new world that exists – and the pitfalls that come with not having any boundaries within time.
- Your character unexpectedly gives birth to a healthy baby boy. What’s strange is that your character was only pregnant for two weeks, and she didn’t even realize it. As the baby grows, she starts to notice that she has quite an extraordinary child on her hands, and she must protect him from those who know he exists.
- A dream-like world where everything seems to go your character’s way. He’s happy, peaceful, and surrounded by those he loves. But one day, he discovers that this isn’t in fact the world that he belongs in…and those that really love him desperately need him to return.
- You’re given the chance to build your own character taking five of the best traits from people you know. What traits do you take from whom?
- Your memory is erased and you have to start learning from scratch. (You can still feed and clothe yourself.) What is the first thing you want to learn and why?
10 Historical Fiction Writing Prompts
- Write about a specific folklore tale from your cultural background, but add a special twist.
- Imagine your modern-day character suddenly finds themself in the past. Not only that, but they are the neighbor to a famous historical figure. Write about a significant event in the historical figures life with a modern day twist.
- Your character is caught between love and war. A passionate crusader with a prominent position in a revolutionary war, they fall in love with someone across the enemy lines. Do they give up their fight in a cause they stand so strongly for, or say goodbye to the one person they would give up their life for?
- Research a significant event from your favorite time period. Then, create a character who was there to witness it all – the good, the bad, and the ugly. Write a story from this character’s point of view, sharing how the event changed their lives forever.
- You’re given the opportunity to travel back and time to a significant moment in history. Write about where you go, what you see, and who you meet.
- Your character is a factory worked living in Victorian London
- Think of a time period you would never wish to live in. Now, imagine you suddenly wake up living in that era. Write about your experience from the perspective of someone who is actually living the reality you have no wish to be part of.
- Write about a character that was born a slave, and is the mastermind behind a dangerous mission to lead others to freedom.
- Research a historical figure who is considered a real-life villain. Then, write a story from their lover, or spouse's perspective.
- Research the history of your favorite place (city, country, etc.), then write a story from the perspective of a character who witnessed how the place as you know it came to be.
20 Sentence Starter Prompts
- The unrelenting sun beat down on his forearms, and all he could think about was how cold he felt inside.
- A sick feeling caused by strong alcohol on an empty stomach, mixed with unsettling anxiety, caused her to crouch over in discomfort. But she couldn’t stop now.
- The clock struck three, and it was as if the entire world turned upside down.
- Whoosh whoosh whoosh. The dryer violently spun the wet clothes around, and
- He wasn’t sure what the crying creature was, but he knew it couldn’t be human.
- He stared at her, staring at him. And in the blink of an eye, an insatiable fury seemed to paint the sky blood red.
- The spacecraft zinged through the blackened bubble, and as she looked outside the window, she couldn’t help but feel the gravity of her eternal loneliness.
- No one knew him more than she did, but there were things she simply could not look past.
- This place was home – it always had been, so why did it feel so strange?
- The tapping of the keyboard was all she could hear in the empty office, and the room seemed to start spinning around her.
- A fast heartbeat, thumping uncontrollably inside his chest, was all he could to react; after all, this was the greatest moment of his life.
- “This is your moment, and you can either rise to the occasion, or crumble to your shortcomings,” the speaker said over the intercom.
- They were the only ones who knew the truth, and try as they might, they couldn’t forget that fateful day, even when they desperately wanted to.
- Despite the enchantment, her intuition gnawed at her core, warning her that this was a very, very bad idea.
- Today is the day you realize your entire life is going to change forever because…
- As soon as the words came out of her mouth, her eyes widened in horror; how could she have let herself say such a thing?
- The storm raged on outside the window, and the world in all its chaos was truly coming to an end, just like they had warned.
- The sun looked blood orange as it lifted off the horizon, and she knew the time had come.
- “Your heart belongs to me,” said the stranger in a hushed, yet familiar tone.
- Ding dong. He ran to get the door, and when he looked through the eyehole, as was his habit before unlocking it, he couldn’t believe his eyes.
Once you've had your fun with these writing prompts, it's time to get started with your new book idea and start writing your book, so that you can move on to self-publishing your book and sharing it with the world.
There is a world of readers waiting for your story. It's time to start writing.
Whether you used these creative writing prompts to help brainstorm what to write about, or fight writer's block, it's time to actually sit down, grab your pen or keyboard, and get to writing a captivating story.
Didn't find what you were looking for with these prompts? Don't worry – we are constantly updating this list with new writing prompts for our readers.
Which type of writing prompts would you like to see more of?
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25 Creative Writing Prompts
by Melissa Donovan | Oct 23, 2018 | Creative Writing Prompts | 236 comments
Twenty-five creative writing prompts to inspire and motivate you.
Don’t you just hate writer’s block? Some say it’s a disease that only creative workers succumb to. Some say it’s a curse. Others argue that it doesn’t exist at all. But just about everyone has been there–sitting in front of a blank screen, fingers itching to create a masterpiece. And nothing happens.
For me, the most bizarre thing about writer’s block is that it strikes randomly. Most of the time, I’m overwhelmed with more ideas than I can possibly write about. But then I’ll sit down to write and my mind goes blank. Sure, I flip through my notebooks and review all the ideas I’ve stockpiled, but nothing feels right. I want something fresh. I need a new angle.
To help break through this block, I started turning to creative writing prompts. And then I started making up my own prompts. The result: 1200 Creative Writing Prompts , a book designed to spark ideas for writers.
Creative Writing Prompts
Today I’d like to share a mash-up of creative writing prompts, all of which come from 1200 Creative Writing Prompts . There are no rules. Write a poem. Write a short story. Write an essay. Aim for a hundred words or aim for a hundred thousand. Just start writing, and have fun.
- The protagonist is digging in the garden and finds a fist-sized nugget of gold. There’s more where that came from in this hilarious story of sudden wealth.
- Write a poem about something ugly—war, fear, hate, or cruelty—but try to find the beauty (silver lining) in it or something good that comes out of it.
- An asteroid and a meteoroid collide near Earth, and fragments rain down onto the planet’s surface, wreaking havoc. Some of those fragments contain surprising elements: fossils that prove life exists elsewhere in the galaxy, for example.
- The story starts when a kid comes out of the school bathroom with toilet paper dangling from his or her waistband. Does someone step forward and whisper a polite word, or do the other kids make fun? What happens in this pivotal moment will drive the story and have a deep impact on the main character.
- Revisit your earliest memories of learning about faith, religion, or spirituality.
- Use all of the following words in a poem: bit, draw, flex, perilous, bubble, corner, rancid, pound, high, open.
- Write a poem about a first romantic (dare I say sexual?) experience or encounter.
- Write a personal essay describing an exotic animal you’d like to have as a pet.
- Silvery flakes drifted downward, glittering in the bright light of the harvest moon. The blackbird soared.
- Write a tongue-in-cheek, satirical tribute. Tell bad drivers, rude customers, and evil dictators how grateful you are for what they’ve done. Do it with a wink and a smile.
- Write a story about a detective solving a crime that was committed against his or her partner or a crime that his or her partner committed.
- Three children are sitting on a log near a stream. One of them looks up at the sky and says…
- There is a magic talisman that allows its keeper to read minds. It falls into the hands of a young politician.
- We’ve seen cute and cuddly dragons, mean and vicious dragons, and noble dragons. Write a story about a different kind of dragon.
- Use all of the following words in a poem: dash, hard, staple, billboard, part, circle, flattened.
- Write a story set in the distant future when humanity is at a fork in the evolutionary road. Some humans are evolving; others are not.
- The kids were raised on the mantra “Family is everything.” What happens when they find out their parents aren’t who they pretended to be? Will the family fall apart?
- Write a poem about one (or both) of your parents. It could be a tribute poem, but it doesn’t have to be.
- Turn ordinary animals into monsters that prey on humans: dog-sized rats, killer rabbits, or a pack of rabid mountain lions. Give the animals intelligence and set them loose.
- A twinkling eye can mean many things. Write a poem about a twinkle in someone’s eye.
- What determines an action or person as good or evil? Who gets to decide what or who is good or evil? Write a personal essay about it.
- Write a poem about your body.
- The protagonist is about to drift off to sleep only to be roused by the spontaneous memory of an embarrassing moment from his or her past.
- Write about the happiest day of your life.
- Use all of the following words in a poem: feast, fire, modify, squash, robbed, forgotten, understated.
Now It’s Your Turn
Did any of these prompts inspire you? Do you ever use creative writing prompts to ignite a writing session? Tell us what gets your pen moving by leaving a comment, and keep writing!
To get more prompts like these, pick up a copy of 1200 Creative Writing Prompts today.
Melissa, Wow, there’s something about this list that feels like a lightbulb went off! There are times when I feel stuck, like ideas aren’t there. And this list really shines what can be…limitless possibilities!
26. If my life were a cartoon… 27. Pick two crayons at random. What thoughts/feelings do two color stir up in you?
Ah, I love the feeling of a light bulb illuminating my mind! Thanks for adding to the list!
what about… That spark which seemed like a star, when it approached closer, my lips went white and body shivering despite the fact I knew I was placed in a desert – by them- and the sun shone directly above my head. Then at a distance of 1m probably, I got the sight of…
Thanks for sharing these.
If you have children, visualize one of them running the house for a day.
That’s a good one. Kids running the house…how very Dr. Seuss! Cat in the Hat without the cat, hehee.
Ooh, great prompts! Thanks for sharing these!
Thanks! Glad you like them!
A day in the life of a doormat
The adventures of a shooting star
Making friends with my enemy
Ooh, interesting! Thanks, Fouzia.
Bought 3 of your books. 1. 101 Creative Writing Excercises 2.10 Core Practices For Better Writing and 3. 1,200 Creative Writing Prompts.
I decided to start with 1,200 Creative Writing Prompts.
So far, I have written 4 stories from the prompts. I guess I want to enquire as to whether I need to go through each prompt. Thank you
Wow, Kevin, thanks for getting three of my books. I truly appreciate that. You can use the prompts in any way that is comfortable for you. No, you do not have to go through each and every prompt. I encourage you to skip around, flip through book, and find prompts that inspire. I hope you have fun with it! Thanks again.
When I took my creative writing class in college the instructor gave us a really good one to use if we couldn’t think of what to write. She said to write the word Remember 3 times and that would prompt something. The entire class tried it and it worked and I have used it several times since then!
I like the use of remember . There are a lot of words that help people when they can’t think of anything to write about. Maybe I should do a list of single-word prompts. Hmm…
Wow. I was COMPLETELY stuck and this brought back a great story for me to write about, though only faintly attached to any memory of mine. Thanks!
That’s great, Camille! Good luck with your story!
I like to use the question “what would happen if …. ”
What would happen if your husband retired and your kid left home and you’re getting older? -> ” Always Faithful”
What would happen if a person moved back home to care for a relative after decades of living far away? -> “The Way Home”
What would happen if a person who has been divorced and alone for a long time suddenly met the most perfect mate imaginable … but it turns out the person may not be what she appears to be? -> “Baiting and Fishing”
In a way, I think “What Would Happen If…” is my novelist version of my favorite childhood game, “Let’s pretend that…..”
“What if” is the best creative writing prompt ever! You can apply it to just about any situation. Just look at any movie, book, or even real life and start asking, “What if things happened a little differently?” or “What if this person made a different decision?” Asking these questions can take your writing in all kinds of new and interesting directions! It’s great fun.
I love these. Here’s one:
“She was drifting off to sleep when there was a sharp knock at the door . . . “
Ooh, I like that one.
Fabulous list. I’ve been brainstorming all morning with no luck, and so I came online and VOILA, here you are. Loved the list, especially 22.
I’ve created several interesting works using my personal favourite “things to do on a rainy day”. I usually write from the perspective of a child, but rarely myself as a child. This one just opens up so many possibilities for make beleive!
Thanks, Melanie! Glad this list helped you in a time of need. My favorite “things to do on a rainy day” story is The Cat in the Hat . Of course, it’s a “day when mom’s away” rather than a “rainy day,” but it’s pretty much the same idea. Keep writing!
these are very great… i got this one off of True Jackson VP.. spin around and the first thing you see will give you an idea..
i just did this and i saw flowers…
i’m writing about “you are walking through a field with your best friend.. you spot a flower and pick it up.. it gives you super powers…
Ah, a flower that gives one super powers. I love that idea! You should definitely run with it!
I love True Jackson VP! Cool that you got an idea from it! 🙂
You’re suggestion really helped! Im doing imaginative writing for homework and I was so stuck but I’ve found the right one now!!
That’s awesome, Grace! Keep writing.
ooh those are cool… how about: He cradled her, taking in all of her burdens as he swept her hair back from her face and stroked her cheek in a gentle calming motion.
I do creative writing as an A level so it would be cool to know if this starter is ok! ty xoxo
Catherine, I think that’s a great starter line, especially for a romantic story or poem! My only suggestion would be the part “gentle calming motion.” There might be one too many adjectives there. If you keep both adjectives, be sure to add a comma after the first one: “gentle, calming motion.” Nice job!
A young man attempts to pull a robbery of some kind on an older man. Things go drastically wrong for the young man. Either viewpoint!
Either viewpoint, or both, could work!
what if the old man was a retired super spy and the young robber is homeless and broke. he tells this to the old man and the man trains him to be a good spy and lets the young robber live with him. then the old man gets the young robber a job as a spy and then they both find out that the retired spy is the young robbers father and the mother ran away while she was pregnant to go be with some rich guy but the rich guy killed the mother and the young robber has been living on the streets since he was 10.
Heres a gorgeous one! Write a story in the POV of a flower being given from person 2 person.
Wow! These are great, thanks for putting these up. I’m 12 and I really want to be a novelist when I grow up. One of my favourites is: the empty glass. It’s a bit over-used but I think that it’s so versatile, it doesn’t matter if it’s popular because you can take it in so many different directions!
That’s great, Katie! You’re off to an early start. Just stay focused and passionate, and you’ll become a novelist if that’s what you truly want. Good luck to you!
Katie, It is never too young to start living your dreams. Don’t ever let anyone get you down. Keep on writing and believe in yourself that one day you will make it! Best of luck!
I couldn’t agree more, AJ!
I’m 11 and everyone thinks I am a good writer and I love to write so much!
That’s wonderful, Maria. Keep writing!
I’m 16 and i wrote a great alternate ending for an assignment in english, and i wrote a short christmas story on christmas eve, but now i just don’t know what to write about. i have ideas and i have been reading prompts that are good but i just don’t know.
Kristi, give the prompts a try. There are also lots of writing exercises that you can use to spark writing sessions when you’re feeling uninspired. The trick is to write something (anything) rather than sit around waiting for something to write about.
Hi! I am 14 and just wanted to do some creative writing, but could not think of anything to write about. Thank you so much for the ideas! I will definitely be using some.
You’re so welcome! Good luck with your writing!
I’m 14 and writing is my whole life. I recently started a blog with my friend, but she’s not a writer. She just inspires me with ideas and stuff. I love your site, Melissa. I check it almost every day. Your prompts and tips are so completely helpful! Thanks so much!
Thank you! I appreciate your kind words.
I’m fourteen, too, and writing is hard to juggle with school and everything else that’s going on. I know – such a teenager-y thing to say…but true nonetheless. I just wanted to say thank you for posting these prompts because they make for quick, satisfying writing that doesn’t end in frustration (at least, mostly). Thanks again!
Writing is hard to juggle at any age. It takes a lot of perseverance, but if you stick with it, you’ll succeed. Good luck to you, and keep on writing!
Im also fourteen and i love to write! i have won a national competition 2 years in a row and i never dreamed i would have won or anything but that just goes to show that youre never too young to write! Just keep believing in yourself and who knows where you might go!
I am thrilled when young people are so passionate about writing (or any craft, really). Congratulations on your success!
One good place to find good story prompts are the obituaries of a large newspaper. One true example: from the Arizona Republic years ago, an elderly gentleman got hit by a motorist one a late, rainy afternoon as he was crossing the street. He had been an immigrant from Norway, and had been a professor at ASU, and was retired and in his 80’s when he died. I have always imagined what his life had been, what he had experienced, etc.
Yes, newspapers are packed with story ideas!
Write a story from the perspective of a sock being separated from its twin in the laundry.
That would make a great children’s story.
a person went to the football stadium and was wearing manu shirt and came out with a barcalona shirt.why???
Well, I have no idea, but this certainly makes a good writing prompt!
I love these!! 😀 Here are a few I made: *Make up your own recipes for your favorite foods *Create your own list of idioms *Write stories of idioms literally happening *Write about something blue *What’s your idea of a perfect vacation? *List what you fear. pick a few and write how they came, why, and when you got the fear first *What would you say to an univited guest at your party *Draw a picture of the setting around you. Now look into your inner being. What do you truly feel? *Write from the point of view of a stack of paper waiting a few inches from the shredder *Her laugh broke the silence…
These are great! Thank you for adding them to the list.
By the way, I’m 11, love writing, and hope to publish fiction teen/children books one day
I wish you the best of luck! You have a head start, being such a young writer. Stick with it!
Lovarsnari,that’s kinda funny because l think the same thing! 🙂 My prob is that l start writing with great ideas,get stuck, and then start a new story/play….
same except that I’m 13 and mix my writing with my guitar playing and music
Well when i get stuck I like to think: What would I do if I were to die in a week? Once I picked everything and it turned quite an interesting story…
That’s a good one!
Hey I’m 14 years old and I love writing but I get writers block often and this really helped me. I love reading the ideas and other people’s ideas they are just very interesting. Number 19 seemed the most interesting to me and I’m almost done with my story. 🙂 thanks so much
Thanks, Violet. I often find that prompts and exercises can be used in different ways. You don’t always have to do the actual exercise. Sometimes, just reading through a book of exercises will generate ideas for a project I’m working on or help me understand a writing concept in a new way. Good luck with your story!
Hi Melissa 🙂 Last year i won junior writer of the year ( I’m 13) and I am entering this year as well and in the process of creating my first draft. I love your site and its wonderful, all-inclusive feel. So, here are my ideas for your list.
26. Post-War oppression & depression ( this was my winning topic last year – i wrote it from the perspective of a scarred war veterans’ emotionally abused child) I also commend you in your point concerning finding hope and light in darkness ( war, death, etc.) and i am going to write about that! Possibly with an Amish girl as the protagonist? thank you again for inspiring me. I also hope to be a great writer some day. Bee
Congratulations, Bee, and thanks for adding to these prompts. I wish you the best of luck in becoming a great writer. You are certainly well on your way!
POV of a toy sitting on a shelf in a toy store, hoping to be purchased.
your pet starts talking to you in perfect english and tells you what he/she really thinks of you…. what does he/she say?
Ha! That could be enlightening indeed!
I actually saw an animated short based on that premise (or something similar to it) and found it quite compelling. A great idea!
“When I look in the mirror, I don’t see what everyone else sees. What I see is…”
Nice! Thanks for adding this prompt, Nick.
My college English teacher gave my class this prompt. First Line: John closed his eyes. Last Line: It was a good day for the yellow crocuses. Anything in between. I easily made five pages with that prompt. Have fun guys.
Thanks for sharing that prompt, Jessy. It’s a good one.
Im a 17 year old living in the most secluded area of Kentucky, unfortunately. lol My dream is to pursue a career in filmmaking, my goal is to help people who are confused or unsure about life and what they want to do with their oppourtunity of life. I want people to think and find happiness in their lives by doing something they love. My idea of doing this came from being in a depressed state from the past few years as a teen and felt strong enough to overcome it without professional help which is progressing for the good. I found setting goals is a great strategy to stay focused and optimistic about life. I appreciate your time for reading this and if there is any advice you could influence me with id appreciate that as well. Thanks
It’s wonderful that you have set your sights on a clear career path at such a young age. Filmmaking is awesome! I sometimes wish I had taken up an interest in film or photography. The best advice I can offer is to never give up, stay focused, and pursue your goals with heart and soul. I would also advise studying film at college, if you can. The film industry is notoriously networked and you’ll benefit greatly by making friends and acquaintances who share your interest. Best of luck to you!
Thanks for taking the time to reply, it’s very much appreciated and yes im going to film school out in LA next year.
Hi! I am 13 and have been writing since I was 7 or younger, and I am in love with writing. I am a very dedicated author and I have finished books in the past (about 11 or 12) but now I can’t seem to get into any longer stories! I write more short stories now, but it’s not satisfying anymore…and then, when I come up with a new idea, it’s useless, and my brain gets all cluttered! Help!
It sounds like you’re having trouble staying focused. The first (and most important) thing that can help with that is to stay healthy: eat right, exercise, and get enough sleep. You may also need to break up your writing with other activities. Make sure you read regularly! For the time being, maybe you need to write short stories. I’m not sure you need to fight it.
thank you for the advice! 🙂
You are most welcome!
Hello 🙂 I am 17 and doing my HSC this year. I am attempting (unsuccessfully) to write a creative writing piece as practice for my exams, and thank you so much for these, they’re really helpful 🙂 I am not a writer (and never will be), but these have given me some great ideas that I can hopefully use to increase my writing skills for my exams. So thank you very much 🙂
You are very welcome, Emily, and best of luck on your exams.
I’ve found that this list, and peoples comments/ideas have been quite inspiring. I’m 21 and haven’t been in school for a few years and I have that desire to write, but never knew how to get started. I thank you all for these wonderful ideas and I’m hoping that writing will be a good outlet for me and my struggle with depression.
So really I’m just thanking you all 🙂
You’re welcome, Nicole, and thank you for joining in the discussion. Writing is a great way to work through emotions; I wish you the best of luck!
These are great!!!! My favourite starter would definetly have to be: “Sometimes a girl just has to run. Sometimes our feet take over. This was one of those times”
I think it holds a lot of suspense but it could also be happy and bright, like a sports day or carnival. Thanks for adding these, I am going to try to write a story for each one.
I’m not sure where that starter comes from, but it sounds good to me.
Hi! Thanks so much for these prompts. I especially like number two, because I feel like a little bit of positive thinking can go a long way. 🙂
I have a question, too, if you don’t mind.
What is your opinion on fanfictions? I know some creative writers don’t like them and feel they corrupt a series, while others think it’s a great creative exercise.
Thanks so much!
I think fan fiction is a great way for young and new writers to explore the craft. Some copyright holders are extremely strict about allowing fan fiction to be published. Others will actually develop and publish collections of fan fiction. There are also franchises in which fan fiction is encouraged. One of my all-time favorite writers, TV and film writer Damon Lindelof, said in a recent interview that he started out writing fan fiction. Now he’s writing for Ridley Scott and working on the Star Trek films as a fan-fic professional! It’s definitely an avenue worth pursuing if it interests you.
I’m fifteen and I want to write a book before the end of highschool. The problem is I can’t finish what I’ve started. I always find a “better” idea and write about that and the cycle begins again. Please help me!!!
The only way to finish what you’ve started is to simply finish it. When “better” ideas present themselves, make a note and file those ideas away for a future project. Part of being a writer involves developing self-discipline. I recommend setting up a reward system. For example, you have to work on the novel for 20 minutes before you can call or text your friends after school. Or you have to finish a scene before you go out to see a movie. These are self-imposed rewards, so you have to discipline yourself. Nobody else can do it for you.
You might also look into participating in NaNoWriMo. The timing is great because it starts in just a few weeks. That means you’ll have some time to prepare and check it out. Then you can write your novel in November, leaving plenty of time afterwards for you to clean it up (edit, proof, polish).
Finally, if you’re truly committed to writing, start looking at schools with good creative writing programs and plan to study at college. University instructors are quite helpful in teaching students self-discipline and good writing habits and practices.
Best of luck to you, Art!
Hi! Your prompts and the comments have really helped me! I can’t wait to start some stories from them:) Here are a couple that I’ve come up with: The Bell sounded. Workers froze in their places… Kay frowned as she opened her school locker after school. Down the hall, Alexis and Christine exchanged grins…
That’s great, Alyssa. Keep up the good work!
These are fantastic! I’m also 21 and have been out of school for awhile. I used to write all the time when I was in school but not so much these days. These ideas are really going to help once I get started writing again. I’m attempting to set a goal for myself. An hour a day, just writing whatever I want. Just to get me back in the habit.
Thank you so much!!!
One prompt my creative writing teacher in high school gave the class was “It was a smile that darkness could kill…”
That’s wonderful! An hour a day is enough to produce quite a bit of writing. I wish you the best of luck, Ashlee!
Obviously it is now 2011 haha, but these are great!! I have wanted to write a novel for quite some time but I can’t seem to get the creative juices flowing. So I set out on a quest across the World Wide Web and I am finding some amazing ideas!! Thank you so much for this website I look forward to writing now instead of despairing of that dreaded cursor blinking me to oblivion!!
I hope your quest for inspiration is fruitful! And keep writing!
I’ve just been inspired to start a personal blog full of my own creative writing, with the assistance of some of these wonderful writing prompts (both yours, and the ones left in the comment section). Thank you, thank you, thank you.
That’s wonderful! Blogs have been a boon for writers, and I think more writers should take advantage of the technology. I wish you the best of luck with your blog, Emily.
Hi, I’m 17. I started creative writing when I was about 10 or 11. I found myself writing more and more when I was troubled a few years back, so it was good stress relief for me. But now that I’m busy with college, I realize that I haven’t been writing as much as I used to. I reread some of my old work and I thought “Hey, why not? I’ll give it a try for old times’ sake.”
I was a bit confused with where to start off, but these prompts really got my creative juices flowing. After I post this comment, I think I’ll try one or two of them and see how far it takes me. Thanks for the inspiration. 🙂
I’m so glad that these prompts inspired you, Christi. I think many writers go through phases when they drift away from the craft, but when you’re called back to it, that might be a sign. Follow it and keep writing!
In my junior year of high school, we were given a creative writing assignment to expand on this sentence:
“A person walked into the room, looked around, sat down, and ate.”
That’s a great prompt. It would certainly be interesting to see what a whole classroom of people come up with. I imagine each piece of writing would be quite different from the others, even though they are all based on the same premise. Thanks for sharing it, Alli.
Here’s a prompt! Prop open the door. I can actually see my breathe tonight. But that doesnt mean im breathing.
Ooh, sounds like a zombie, robot, or vampire story.
These writing ideas helped a lot thank you. I really want to go to a creative writing school when I get older. One idea which I just came up with is Write from the perspective of your fish.( does each fish have there own personality, how does each fish react to the different members of the house, what is it like to be a fish) 😛 I hope you like I write often mostly stories with a more poetic base, but once in a while i will feel in the mood to write some thing different. Oh also try continuing after this sentence. Its eyes gleamed pitch black death, creeping into imaginary, azure skies. now continue it :3
Thanks for sharing your prompt, Samantha, and good luck to you!
For school, I have to enter a creative writing competition. I have two days and i was really panicking but then i found this website! It really helped! Thankyou Writing Forward!!
Hannah, I’m so glad you found help and inspiration here. Thank you!
Lately I’ve been trying to write a lot like Sarah Dessen! Were doing stories in class and I’m doin one about a girl who runs away, it starts out “I’m on the run! I don’t know where I’m going or where I’ll end up, but I’m not turning back!” 🙂 Do you like it?
I do like your opening line. It certainly grabs the reader’s attention and rouses curiosity. Nice job.
Thank you so much!!!! This got me over my terrible case of writer’s block. But now my muse is back!
Wow, thanks, Maria. That’s awesome!
I just want to say that this list of prompts has inspired me to take on a challenge of using one every day up until xmas on my blog… or at least until the end of the month!
Thanks for the great list 🙂
That’s awesome, Julz. Good luck with your December writing!
I haven’t tried it yet, but I think a fun way to mix these up even more would be to choose one of these, then draw the name of an author out of a hat, then write that prompt in the style of that author. That would really stretch your creativity.
That’s an excellent exercise and would definitely be challenging. You’d have to be deeply familiar with the author’s voice.
I have found these prompts really helpful for the English lessons that I teach.
That’s great, Cass. I love the idea of these prompts helping students with reading and writing.
i have learnt English as a second language…writing is my passion…this page is REALLY inspiring!thanks for evoking our creative faculties… i want to suggest some topics and the list goes as: 1The beast in me 2Daily journal of a pair of shoes which is in the process of its making 3What the world be if gender roles get changed 4What if i were in the shoes of my English teacher 5How things at the high school are going to be if the concept of beauty gets altered altogether 6It is said that writing is all about pouring your mind on a piece of paper but what it your pen literally starts articulating your thoughts and you end up writing EVERRRRYTHING(What consequences are you going to face)
Thanks for adding your ideas to these prompts!
I haven’t tried the prompts yet but I have always wanted to be a writer since I was eight years old. However ever since graduating and entering the real world I find my muse being choked to death by the responsibility at home. I’ve had to give up my dream of writing for the past two years. I tried taking it up again and was drawing a huge blank, but just by reading a few of these prompts I’ve felt my muse start to breathe. Thank you!
Hi Rochelle. I remember graduating and entering the real world, and I had a similar experience. All of a sudden I just didn’t have the time or inspiration. It took a while, but I adjusted and my creativity returned. I’m so glad you found these prompts helpful!
I found like 5 great writing prompts thank u so much
You are so welcome!
you thought dragoons unicorns and monsters didnt exist? think again! write story of your pet unicorn
That’s a cute idea!
Thank you for these, I am a writer waiting to hear if a publisher is going to publish my novel. Waiting is so hard and my mind has gone blank. These help to stir the jucies again. I’m hand writing them in a note book and taking them with me when I’m out, to write on the go. When I have to wait for a kid to get to the car I can write and not have to figure out how to start a story. So thank you. so much.
That’s awesome. What is it about being in a car or shower that makes us more creative? I always get ideas in those two locations!
thanks sooo much! those were super helfull! you have the most helpfull website ive found! and i’m a picky writer! THANKYOU!!!
here are some more ideas: you inherit 1 million dollars your backpack grows wings on the way to school a zombie invasion stikes your small/big town a kidnapper captures you … hope these help 🙂
Hey! These prompts really helped and I can’t wait to use some 🙂 I have started with the one about twinklling eyes and turned it into a story about creatures similar to werewolves XD
Sounds interesting, Molly! Good luck with your story, and keep writing!
My English teacher says she doesn’t believe in writer’s block. I on the other hand am not so sure. Sometimes I sit in the afternoon and stare out the window, unable to come up with anything good but I find that ideas flow like crazy at two in the morning with a cup of coffee in my left hand. That’s always my best remedy, though writing prompts like these always help me get going. Thanks for sharing 🙂
10 things I hate about… What’s the recipe for those wonderful _______ muffins you baked last night? (Try filling that blank with ‘unicorn’.)
I believe in writer’s block, but I think that it’s presented as being unable to write whereas usually it’s just a case of needing to work a little harder at writing. Sometimes, we need to stop procrastinating, stop trying to force our ideas, or we just need to allow ourselves to write badly for a while. I believe there are ideas everywhere; the trick is to keep ourselves open to them and be willing to explore them. Having said all that, writer’s block still sucks. I’m like you, Maluly, the ideas flow like crazy at two in the morning (no coffee required!).
i dont believe in writiers block.. i think its more like an exuse to hide what we really want to write or say. Like sometimes peoploe wonder if it will be good enough so they put it off or they dont want people who read it to know something.. its all about the way you look at it i guess. Write what you feel. Write whatever you want. I love writing but i find myself wondering will this be good enough? What would someone think if they read it? Maybe thats just me. no self esteem… but, low selfesteem is what keeps creativity hidden…. my advice.. to everyone is to just go for it. if its not good try again you’ll get better(:
I agree: just go for it.
Thanks for these! I definitely believe in writer’s block!! In fact, I am just emerging from what I like to call writer’s ‘droubt’, since it lasted at least a year. But I don’t think you need to be blocked to use prompts. They are great exercises and get you to try new ways of writing. And sometimes, when I get burned out with the story I’m currently writing, it helps to focus on something completely different for a while, and you can come back to it with fresh eyes. Here are some prompts that I came up with and they helped me out: 1) ‘It all started with the cat…’ 2) ‘Have you ever seen something out of the corner of your eye, but when you turned to look, found nothing there? You dismiss it as an illusion, a trick of the light. You’re wrong…’ 3) Write something from the perspective of a ghost. 4) Write something using the five senses EXCEPT sight (hearing, smell, touch, taste) 5) Instead of using first or third person, write with second person point-of-view (in other words, use ‘you’ instead of ‘he/she’ or ‘I’. Or try writing in present or even future tense, instead of past tense.
Oh yeah, and one more: 6) Write something from the perspective of the BAD guy, instead of the hero
I love when stories do this! Thanks for adding it, CJM.
These are excellent prompts, especially well suited for speculative fiction writers. My favorite is the prompt about seeing something out of the corner of your eye (that happens to me sometimes!). Thanks for adding these.
Here’s one for those of you who have pets What do your pets do when you and other inhabitants of your house are not at home?
Ooh, that’s a good one, Lily. That could be great for a children’s story!
Thank you SO much for these exciting writing prompts! They really inspire me. I have one idea for a prompt: Write about a conversation that you would have if were stuck in an elevator with a celebrity or famous book character.
You’re welcome, Arieda. I love your elevator prompt! You could also do it with characters from your novel as a test to see how each would behave in an elevator with a celebrity. That could tell you a lot about your characters. Good one!
Lovely ideas, both of these! Arieda, that prompt gave me a short story idea, one that I’m pretty excited about, and I’m definitely going to have to do that with all my characters now, Melissa. 🙂 I thought up another twist on this prompt that intrigues me: Your characters get stuck in an elevator with you, their author. How do they react when they discover who you are and that you control their destinies? What sort of conversations would you have? Would you like interacting with your character? Would your character like you?
Hannah, I love your prompt idea. What a fun writing exercise: The Character Meets the Author. That’s quite brilliant!
Thank you so much for these, I’m trying to write a book…and I’ve been at a stand still lately, so this will help me more than ever.
You’re welcome, Alexis. I’m glad you found these prompts helpful.
Hi Ms. Donovan! thank you so much for the writing prompts! i’ve been using them for all my english creative writing assignments. it’s been my dream to be a writer since i was little. although i find it hard to write mysteries. ironically it’s my favorite genre to read though. any advice on how to get started on a good mystery?
I myself haven’t written mysteries, although I have read a few. My suggestion would be to read as many mysteries as you can, and watch mystery films and television shows, so you thoroughly know your genre (you should still read other stuff too!). Study the greats and ideas will come to you!
Wow i have writers block i have my charecter but i dont know what the problem is…… help any good title ideas?
When I’m stuck and can’t come up with a character or a title, I just skip it. The important thing is to keep writing. You can always come back later and add names and titles. Here’s how I do it:
GIRL said that there was no way out but OLD LADY knew otherwise…
I use all caps for characters who don’t have names yet. Many writers use a “working title” as they are developing their project. A working title can be anything. It’s just temporary.
You’ll find that as you work on your project (and if you work around these little setbacks), ideas will come to you. Good luck!
Awesome post:) Thanks so much, really helped! have a great day! Peace-Jeff
A prompt could be : She started to fall over and _________( fill in the blank) picked her up.
or : The alien gaze stared from above the fence , and I blushed in embarrassment.
100 words about your favorite animal
a short story about a difficult topic like : war , famine , bullying .etc
a poem about the weather
Hi Melody! Thanks for adding your prompts to this ever-growing list!
Your prompts are definitely creative and helpful, but what I’m most impressed with is how you respond so positively and encouragingly to everyone who replied to this. Sometimes all it takes is a little bit of encouragement or approval from even a complete stranger to shift a young writers thought from maybe being able to do something to just doing it. I haven’t written in months, and are still my having any real luck, but I know I will write again someday, and I just thought it should be mentioned that you are a good person for encouraging others to do what they love. Best of luck to you…
Thank you so much, Shannon. Your words mean a lot to me. I try to be an advocate for writers and encourage young and new writers to explore their ideas and find their voices. I believe the world would be a better place if we all followed our passions, and more importantly, encouraged others to do so as well.
The little girl cries with a lie on her lips The girl can’t remember her name The little boy’s laugh rings with hollow self-doubt The little girl feels just the same A little dog lost in the thick of the woods A little man sick with dismay A little boy born in the arms of the girl A little life born from a day A little death born from an ignorant choice A little boy crying away And a little God laughs at the sight of it all For this little herd has not a say
Thanks for sharing your poem with us, Conner. Keep writing!
It’s the first time that i’m gonna be doing an inter-school creative writing competition, and i found these prompts really helpful! Thanks a billion!
Really like the prompts! It was really helpful! My brother and I are always gonna use this website! I <3 it!
Thanks! I’m glad you like it here 🙂
Thanks Melissa for the writing prompts. I asked my students to develop their writing skill through these useful prompts. By the way, I have published my first fiction ‘Faith No More’. I’d be extremely glad if you could manage to read any of it and provide me with feedback.
Hi Afshin. Thanks for sharing these prompts with your students. Requests for feedback should be sent via email (you can use the “Contact” link at the top of this site).
i have been major struggling with writing my second book and when i found these i just opened up my mind more and i decided not to write a second book it was just fine without one and now i can be on a whole other spectrum thanks so much these has inspired me a lot i put a few of em together to get ideas 🙂 well done 🙂 highly appreciated
That’s awesome. Thanks for letting me know that these prompts helped you. Good luck with your writing projects!
I just got a typewriter at a great market the other day so I came looking for something to help me have fun and get inspired while I was using it. Thanks for the help! I ended up writing a thing about an embarrassing moment that helped me learn how to not sweat it when embarrassing moments happen. This particular one had to do with toilet paper… haha. Cheers!
Embarrassing moments always make for good storytelling. Enjoy your new typewriter!
I’ve been really into playwriting lately, but I’ve been stuck with writers block for the longest time. A couple of these prompts really caught my attention and I’ve already got so many new ideas, I don’t know where to begin! 🙂
That’s awesome. I’m glad you found this piece so helpful.
I have had writers block for months now. This site has helped me so much!
I’m thrilled to hear that! Keep writing!
My favorite way to start up a story is to listen to a song and think about the story of it. Sometimes I use the first part of the song as the first sentence of my story. I hope this helps.
That’s an awesome idea! I love music-literature crossovers.
Hi thank you so much for these ideas i have chosen an idea and i have a perfect picture of my idea . Thank you again and as you will see on all of your comments you have helped a lot of children or adults from this website . Thank you !
You’re welcome! Thanks for commenting.
I shared #9 with my page for a fun writing exercise about an hour ago. Great response! 🙂
Thanks for sharing one of these prompts with your readers. I hope they have fun with it.
Thanks for the prompts! Reading other people’s ideas always makes me feel more hopeful about initiating my own. I have struggled to put my thoughts down on paper for as long as I can remember- there just seems to be a disconnect between the disorganized chaos of possibilities in my head and that little spot where the ink meets the paper. BUT- I wanted to offer an idea that has often provided many interesting and fun possibilities to me- Think of a time of day ( 7 pm, the sun setting, the day cooling off, night creatures beginning to stir), or a month ( August, the air laden with heat and damp, everything deep and green and vibrant), and then try to think of all the qualities that accompany that period of time ( do most people seem happy then? is it a relaxing time? a tense time? does the weather make life easier or harder?). Once you’ve collected as many descriptions and feelings about this time as you can, then begin to build a world where it is ALWAYS that time- how do people’s lives change? 🙂
Ooh, that’s a great exercise. I wasn’t expecting the twist at all! Love it.
This is awesme. i like these. i like writing prompts, and this is a very helpful website
Thanks! I’m glad you liked these prompts.
omg wow, this helped me so much, thankyou so much!! i love my writing and this just helped me ten fold. xxx
You’re welcome. I’m glad you found it helpful.
I’ve been writing since i was eight, [approximately (obviously – i haven’t been counting!)] but I started to loose it… flame was REIGNITED by my best friend. but despite the burning, I have never actually completed a story. It knaws at me all the time! I’m currently writing a revolutionary/Sci-fi, which is odd for me, I’m more into writing realist novels… but your prompts gave me such a PERFECT plot twist that I had to comment on it! this will give me motivation for at least a few weeks… (meanwhile dancing up and down with sheer joy and attracting VERY weird looks.) Though it IS kind of weird, because non of the prompts have anything to do with it… My, how strangely the mind works…
Yes, the mind works in mysterious ways. I’m glad one of these prompts inspired you. Best of luck with your story (I love sci-fi).
This website is a life saver. My brain just froze and I was trying to do a creative writing story, and my life and my school / collage life depended on it. Thanks to one of your prompts, it won my school a pride. Thanks a lot. 🙂 bye!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Whoops I meant prize
That’s awesome, Tierrney! Congrats on winning a prize. Keep writing!
wow great writing promts, ive already decided on the start of my story but I cant think of anything that can happen. I want something to happen. HELP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Try throwing some conflict at your main character. Good luck to you!
Wow!! I tried prompt number one just for fun one day, I have not exercised my creative mind in a long time, and I want to thank you for offering these prompts. I really surprised myself at the poem I wrote. It probably wouldnt go over to well with the grammar police because I used old english and standard english.. but the content just really surprised me. I was like, “where did that come from”? Thank you so much!!!! Blessings and Thanks to you for your website!
Thanks for your kind words, Kathleen. I’m so glad you found inspiration here!
thank you so much i found 3 ideas for a school project i am working on this is going to be one of my most big acomplishments!
You’re welcome! Good luck with your project.
i love this website because it helped me get an A on my project!!! i am soo thankfull to WRITING FORWARD!!! thank you sooo much and i am sooo confident that i will be sure to use this website again….thanX a million luv WRIGHTING FORWARD~~kbb
You’re welcome. Congratulations on getting such a good grade!
Writing comes from the mind and obviously the ideas comes from our real life….The story of mystery novels always comes from the fear we have in our minds and it can come from everything… I can remember the things…when I wrote my first poem ‘Rain’…it was raining in cats and dogs outside…..
I think writing comes from many places. I try not to over-analyze it, but it is interesting to examine our ideas and try to figure out where they came from.
I really like your ideas but I had some of my own that I think you could add to your list. You could add things like:
You’re outside cutting your grass when you come across a large hole in the ground. You’ve never noticed the hole before, but it looks to be some sort of tunnel to another world. You decide to peek through and see where it leads, only it leads you to a pivotal moment in your past—and it’s giving you an opportunity to change it. Write this scene.
A toy, stuffed animal, or game that once meant a lot to me
Why I deserve a larger allowance
The book that got me hooked on reading
This really bugs me.
One thing I want to do by the time I finish 8th grade
I would like to have lived during this time in history.
Thanks for adding these writing prompts, Shreya.
Start your story with: Jessica had no choice. She closed her eyes and jumped.
You might be surprised.
Ah, that’s an interesting prompt.
Here one possibly
What if you woke up one day with no memories in a strange world where nobody was who they said they were?
Wow! I really like this list of prompts! I’ve been looking for inspiration to write a short story and I especially liked the one about dragons! “We’ve all seen cute and cuddly dragons, mean and vicious dragons, and noble dragons write about a different dragon”
Thanks, Meredith! I’m glad you liked these writing prompts.
Anyone considered using visual (photos/paintings) prompts?
A scenic view, a city view, a beach, a hill, a house, a village, a car, a train, a plane, a boat, a castle, a body?
Yes, I’ve used visual prompts, and I’ve included them in my book, 1200 Creative Writing Prompts . The image prompts are described (rather than using images), but they’re a lot of fun.
Hi I’m Hallie I’m 13 years old and I love writing. Just for some reason I can never think of things to write about. I really like fantasy. I look online for writing prompt ideas and I find a lot of good ones but none of them really click. I really want to write something but I don’t know what. What should I do?
Hi Hallie. Thanks for visiting Writing Forward. What you’re experiencing is fairly common among writers. I have experienced it many times — when I want to write but I don’t know what to write and nothing clicks, I will look through prompts and my old notes, and I just don’t get fired up about anything.
I’ve found that in moments like these, the best thing to do is just write anyway. We can’t feel inspired and fired up all the time. And often, when I force myself to just follow some prompt or writing exercise, even when I don’t really feel like it, I start to get into it and eventually, something clicks.
There will be many times when writing is fun or even thrilling. But I’ve found that the people who stick with writing are those who write even when they’re not especially inspired. Sometimes it’s work. Stick with it, and you’ll experience all these highs and lows. Every single one of them is worth it.
Wow! I really like the diversity of your prompts, Mellisa. I’ve been writing a collection of short stories of my childhood experience of the Biafran War in Nigeria and struggled with some troubling memories but you’ve reminded me that I could just write everything as it comes to me and revise later. Also, I love your children stories prompts.
Thank you, Edit. That makes my day. I’m always glad when people find the articles here at Writing Forward useful. Good luck with your stories. That sounds like an important project.
is it weird that when i saw the one on dragons the first thought to my mind is ‘ i counld do one on a gay dragon, right?’ and then when i saw number 4 ( for all the twilight fans, just a heads up), i thought of jasper hale- i’m not calling him ugly- but i saw the fear part and thought to myself how he fears hurting someone/ losing control.
Is it weird? I don’t think it’s weird. The point of the prompts is to engage your imagination, so it seems like they are working, which is great.
I absolutely love these! I have been writing since I was able to talk. I told my dad exactly what to write down on little pieces of paper. Now that I’m fourteen, I was sure I wrote every idea imaginable. But these really gave me a fresh perspective, and for that, I am so grateful! It also inspired me to come up with a prompt of my own: She sprinted through the trees, quickly twisting around thick trunks as she dodged the sheriff’s arrows. Her stomach ached from the laughs that shook her entire body. Foolish sheriff. He thought he could catch a pirate?
I’m glad you enjoyed these writing prompts. Your prompt is awesome. Keep writing! It will take you places that only you can imagine.
I loved these prompts. I had my friends pick a number between 1 and 25 to chose which on to do. I think they improved my writing skills. Thank you!
I’m glad you enjoyed these prompts, Nora. Thanks for your comment.
I am a 13 year old and I love to write. I have a best friend and she always wants to see my writing, but I didn’t want her to see it because I didn’t think it was very good. She insisted on seeing it, and when I showed her the first chapter in a story I was writing just for myself, she thought it was brilliant. She then disguised it as an excerpt from an e-book app and showed it to our English teacher. My friend pretended that it was a real, published book by an actual author and asked for the teacher’s opinion. The teacher loved it and asked for the name of the book. When she discovered it was written by her own pupil, she was shocked and said i should send it to a publisher. Now I am confused. I didn’t think my writing was very good. What should I do now?
Hi Sam. I was your age when I started writing.
There are a few things you might want to do. First, continue working on your book until it’s finished. This will be hard. You will probably lose interest at some point. You’ll get stuck and feel unsure where to take the story. You’ll have other ideas that seem better, and you’ll be tempted to set this story aside. Don’t be deterred. Stick with it.
Do your parents know about your interest in writing? At 13, you would need their involvement in any publishing or submissions that you might want to do. You can also try talking to your teacher. Don’t be shy about this. It’s the job of teachers to guide their students. But keep in mind, not all English teachers are knowledgeable about the publishing industry. See if she can offer some guidance. You might be able to find literary magazine for kids your age and submit your writing so you can start getting some practice in the publishing world.
Beyond that, make sure you read a lot and write as much you can. If you love writing, it’s something that will always be with you. As you get older, you’ll be able to carve out the path you want, whether that’s to make writing a career or continue enjoying it as a hobby.
Best of luck to you!
I am 10 and I have written a few short stories of my own, and I really enjoy creative writing. I was very pleased when I found this website, now I won’t be struggling to think about what to write.
That’s wonderful, Kaiya. We love having young writers around here. Thanks so much!
I’m 12 and I also really like writing. I have always been trying to write short stories since I was six (I started with mostly seven page picture books). Finding how to start a story has always been pretty hard, but these prompts have really helped! I definitely have to explore some more of these prompts. There are so many! Thank you!!
Wow, Naomi, that’s wonderful. I was just a little older than you (13) when I started writing (poetry for me). You have a long and wonderful journey ahead of you, and I hope you enjoy all of it! You’re welcome for these prompts. I’m so glad you found them helpful.
Thank you so much for sharing this wonderful post with us.
the one that has the tailsman remids me of “Wings of Fire” because one of the dragons named darkstalker put is animus magic on a scroll and called it his tailsman and he can read minds so it really reminded me of that book
I haven’t read Wings of Fire but it sounds interesting!
oh and it fell into the wrong hands or really talons but ya i just wanted to share that information thank you for this i really got some good ideas like the detective one
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Love To Write? Check Out These 51 Creative Writing Prompts For Adults
An essential part of being a writer is daily practice —even if that practice is only a few minutes.
And even when the results are less inspired than you hoped.
As long as you’re committed to building a writing habit and practicing your craft, you’re a writer—not just an “aspiring” one.
Sometimes, all you need is a generous supply of fun writing prompts for adults to get you started.
We’re happy to help with that.
What Are Some Interesting Writing Prompts?
The best, most effective writing topics for adults are those you enjoy. They should stimulate your memory and imagination and create connections in the mind. All you need to do at that moment is to let the words flow onto the page.
Writing prompts can do this in one or more of the following ways:
- Remind you of a significant event in your own life;
- Trigger a powerful emotion about a particular event or relationship;
- Connect to a meaningful experience you’d like to dwell on for a bit;
- Connect to other disjointed details in your memory;
- Relate to universal themes you’d like to explore.
How You Can Use Daily Writing Prompts for Adults
Here are a few ideas for using adult writing prompts:
- Start a creating writing journal using these as daily prompts ;
- Take one prompt and break it down into smaller installments;
- Start a creative writing group and share 1-3 prompts per week;
- Play music that fits the mood of a particular prompt;
- Set a timer and commit to writing for at least five minutes straight.
The best ideas for using the list of prompts below are those you’ll actually use and enjoy.
51 Creative Writing Prompts for Adults
Read through the following list of adult writing prompts and let your imagination respond to each one. Some will get your mind going more quickly than others. Some will have a stronger effect at different times.
You’re welcome to keep this whole list handy or make a smaller list with your favorites.
1. You’ve just been jolted out of a dream you’d give all your worldly possessions to return to. What was it about?
2. Someone you look up to makes an unexpected and hurtful remark about your body. What goes through your head, and how do you respond?
3. You’re alone at night in your apartment in the city, and the doorbell starts ringing repeatedly. You look through the peephole and…
4. You write an anonymous advice column and one day discover the unintended consequences of advice you thought was helpful.
5. By day, you’re a responsible, if reclusive, college student. By night, you fly over your city as a dragon.
6. On the advice of her therapist, you write about a character from her dreams, and they show up at your door.
7. Your significant other interrupts your work one day to say, “I need to tell you something.” What goes through your mind?
8. You don’t really want a pet, but when a friendly stray follows you home, your tender heart wins out and you let it in.
9. You meet someone with whom you feel not only safe but wanted and cherished. One day you catch them with someone else.
10. You wake up in a different place lying next to someone else and, for some reason you feel more at home. But which life is real?
11. You’re a few short hours away from facing your worst nightmare. What is it, and how do you prepare?
12. You wake up with a headache in a coffin-size box and hear voices outside it speaking a different language.
13. What comes to mind with the words, “What were you thinking ?”
14. For some reason, everyone is giving you strange looks and tip-toeing around you.
15. Figures. Just when you get good at coding, the internet shuts down — everywhere.
16. You were digging in your yard when you found it. And you fully intend to keep it secret.
17. You’re comfortable with anonymity, so it’s unsettling when, one day, everyone you meet acts as if they’ve known you all your life.
18. Your spouse thinks you’re leaving for work, but you know the truth. Maybe, one day, you’ll tell them—if you survive today.
19. Someone slips a note underneath your apartment door. You unfold it to find a phone number and a brief, urgent message.
20. Your spouse asks if you’re interested in trying something different with your marriage. And it’s not fantasy role-play.
21. You wake up one day, and everyone seems shocked to see you alive. You look in the mirror and understand why.
22. You wake up in the body of a famous historical figure you’ve been studying. How does your day go?
23. Ever since the accident, you’ve been hearing voices—not all the time but often when it’s least convenient.
24. You show up alone at an old friend’s funeral to pay your respects, but when you reach the coffin, the face you see is your own.
25. You’ve always taken comfort in the presence of your own shadow, but it’s started taking on a life of its own.
26. You have one day to do whatever you want without any consequences. What do you do?
27. You’re visited one night by the disembodied spirit of someone you know (still living). Why do they visit you?
28. You’re on the worst vacation ever. And you’re about to do something crazy to change it for the better.
29. An evil genius hires you as his personal assistant. Your first day on the job is life-changing.
30. Your life is the subject of a favorite TV show. Describe your character and write about an important scene of your own making.
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31. You find a high-paying job doing something you love. But when your devoutly religious relatives ask what you do, you lie.
32. Your parents have just revealed a family secret they hoped they’d never have to tell you. You’re about to share it with your partner.
33. You’re in couple’s therapy, and the therapist suggests something you initially consider outrageous but are then… surprisingly open to it.
34. Write about a time when you had to hide from someone. Were you protecting yourself—or them?
35. Write about an animal you identify with and describe the traits you share with them—or wish you shared.
36. Describe a moment when someone you were once attracted to tried to intimidate you, and you turned the tables.
37. Write about how different your life might be if, back at a pivotal moment in your life, you’d taken a different turn.
38. Write about a relationship that taught you an important lesson and what you would tell that person now.
39. You inherit a house and discover a secret door leading to a surprise your deceased relative clearly knew about.
40. You meet and become friends with someone who’s the living equivalent of a favorite character from a novel you’ve read—or written.
41. You become famous, and your life changes overnight. Write about how it happens and what it leads to.
42. Create a powerful antagonist character and describe them. What kind of relationship would you or your protagonist have with them?
43. “She looked at me as if seeing me for the first time. When she finally spoke, she said… “
44. You did or said something that has left your family and friends speechless with shock. What is it, and what are the consequences?
45. You have this eerie feeling someone or something is following you home. You’re right. What or who is it, and what do they want?
46. You make a birthday wish, and it comes true. Describe what happens as a result.
47. You stand up to a bully, and the results are mixed. What happens?
48. You finally get your dream job (or gig), and then you learn something about it that changes everything.
49. For the first time in your life, you feel free to express your thoughts and see them as worth expressing. Why?
50. You write a book that becomes a bestseller , and someone you meet tells you it’s their new favorite. Describe the book and your fan.
51. You get a dream job, and your boss turns out to be something other than human. The problem? You’re falling hard for them.
Now that you’ve looked through all the above writing prompts, which ones stood out for you as favorites? And which will you use today?
Creative Writing Prompts
Need some inspiration for what to write next? Be inspired with these writing prompts for fiction, poetry, journaling and more!
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99 Creative Writing Prompts For Overcoming Writer’s Block
I want to start writing fiction this year. It’s a goal I’ve had on my mind for a while now, but as an essayist and nonfiction writer, I’ve been getting in my head about it. I have no idea how to create stories or characters. But it’s something I want to learn.
In preparing to make this pivot, I’ve discovered that writing prompts are invaluable. They can help us think about stories and subject matter in new ways and serve as a source of inspiration. Even for writers who aren’t looking to explore a new genre, prompts can be useful when we’re in a rut or need some creative magic. Instructions and parameters can help get the words flowing.
While these writing prompts are organized by month, they are designed to be used at your leisure. Feel free to follow it weekly or jump around. You may need to take breaks throughout the year or come back in the summer when you have more time to write—that’s okay, too! Use this list however it works for you and your creative flow!
For further inspiration and encouragement, here are some tips for starting a writing practice .
1. The human spirit is strong. Write about an experience in your life that has made you more resilient .
2. Releasing resolutions can be as important as reaching them. Write an essay in which you reflect on a resolution you didn’t keep.
3. Martin Luther King Jr. said , “I am not interested in power for power’s sake, but I’m interested in power that is moral, that is right and that is good.” Write a story in which your main character uses their power for good. End it with a time jump showing the long-term ripple effects.
4. Craft a story where your main character gets caught outside in a winter storm. How do they find their way home?
5. The darker months can sometimes feel lonely, but moments alone often shape us in powerful ways. Write a lyrical essay about your own isolation experiences and what you’ve discovered about yourself through these seasons.
6. Write a story about a group of friends who travel somewhere warm for a winter holiday.
7. Imagine a group of strangers meeting while trapped in an airport for 24 hours due to flight delays. Who are they? What types of conversations do they have? How will these new relationships evolve and shape the rest of their lives?
8. Begin a short story in which your main character accepts an important award.
9. What does it mean to say, ‘I love you?’ Write an essay that includes an anecdote about the first time you remember feeling loved.
10. Write a comedic story from the perspective of a restaurant server on Valentine’s Day.
11. Who was your childhood best friend? Write an essay using the second-person (try crafting it as a letter ) about what that friendship meant to you.
12. Think about a favorite story or fairytale from your childhood. Rewrite it with an alternative ending.
13. Begin a short story in which your main character is at a coffee shop with their love interest on a winter day.
14. Write about a time you did something that scared you.
15. Imagine a world in which the days are getting progressively shorter. How will your characters stop this countdown and save humanity before it’s too late?
16. Create a story in which two friends meet at a Lunar New Year celebration.
17. Write a scene based on a recent encounter with a stranger.
18. For International Women’s Day (March 8), write a first-person story that takes place at a protest during the women’s liberation movement .
19. In an essay, reflect on the women who’ve helped you become who you are today.
20. Craft a poem from the sun’s perspective in honor of the spring equinox (March 20).
21. In spring, there is a turning. Write an essay about how seasonal changes mirror a transformation in your own life.
22. Try your hand at an allegory using natural elements to convey a larger message about humanity.
23. Your main character just came home from a trip to find their house has disappeared and been replaced with a supermarket. It’s like it was never even there. What happens next?
24. Consider the meaning of beauty and how it has shifted and evolved with time. Write an essay about this.
25. Write a poem about the power of music. Use these playlists for inspiration.
26. Create a short story that begins with you waking up on a train destined for somewhere tropical.
27. For Earth Day 🌎 (April 22), write an essay about sustainable living . What does it mean to you? If you need help getting started, try opening the piece with an anecdote about the first time you thought about climate change and sustainability.
28. In the circle of life, beginnings are preceded by endings. Write about an ending that has led to a new beginning in your life.
29. Begin a story in which your main character wakes up with a superpower.
30. What was the last great novel you read? Try your hand at a book review, writing as if you’re a famous critic for a publishing house or magazine.
31. Imagine a famous chef loses their sense of taste and serves an overly salted meal to eager patrons. What happens next?
32. Write an essay about your childhood home.
33. Write a third-person story about two friends playing in the rain. Rather than focusing on creating climax, aim to capture their feelings of pure love and friendship.
34. What is something you’ve always been scared of? Write a future-tense essay about when and how you will overcome this fear.
35. Toni Morrison once wrote , “Definitions belong to the definers, not the defined.” Write an essay defining yourself, starting with the sentence, “To others, I may seem…but that is not who I am.”
36. Write a poem about your first pet. If you’ve never had a pet, write about your plants or something else you’ve cared for.
37. Write an essay about the day you got your driver’s license.
38. Creativity can be a tool for processing our heartaches. Craft a personal essay about the last time you felt grief—and be gentle with yourself as you get the words on the page.
39. Your main character is on a rooftop in New York City, escaping the crowd of a party. What happens next?
40. Write a summer scene that begins with dialogue.
41. In a personal essay, describe your last vacation, but write about the trip in present tense .
42. Write a short story from an inanimate object’s perspective, either in nature or in your home.
43. The main characters in your story have gone on a camping trip. But when they return from the woods, their city is no longer there. In fact, they can’t find any sign of civilization. Write a suspenseful thriller about what happens next.
44. Craft a poem using the word “citrus.”
45. A couple is sharing a picnic lunch on a beach. By the end of the story, one of them is walking away in tears. What happens? Focus on building tension and the backstory that leads to this moment.
46. Write an essay about a time you worked tirelessly for something, and it didn’t turn out as you hoped or planned.
47. Create a story in which your main character is experiencing profound joy.
48. In a personal essay, revisit a moment when you learned to take your own advice .
49. Using this list of instrumental covers , rewrite the lyrics to a hit song.
50. Write a story in which you’re a tourist and visiting your home city for the first time.
51. Two friends take out a boat on the lake and discover the water has magic powers. Write a fantasy scene about their adventure.
52. Learn about your Enneagram number , then write a personal essay with anecdotes that exemplify your basic desire and basic fear.
53. You and your best friend are on a sailboat off the coast of Italy when suddenly the captain disappears. What happens next?
54. Write a story about an encounter with a sea creature.
55. Create a lyrical essay in which the main character is “summer heat.”
56. Write an essay through the lens of your childhood self about your first year at school. Try to be as specific as possible, including the names of friends and teachers. You can use old photos or talk to your parents for reference if needed.
57. Write a story that begins with your main character swimming in a lake.
58. Sometime this week, spend a few minutes sitting outside or staring out your window to observe another person. Write about what you notice that can help to sketch them as a character.
59. Make a case for one of your favorite traditions —whether it be celebrating a recognized holiday or a personal ritual.
60. Write a short story that begins with the ending. For example, perhaps your story is about a girl who gets lost at sea and then captured by pirates—only to become a pirate herself. Begin the story with the girl as a pirate, and then show the readers how she got there.
61. What is the happiest you’ve ever been?
62. Create a short story that starts with your main character going off to college.
63. What is the most important lesson you’ve learned this year?
64. Lidia Yuknavitch says , “There is so much to learn from the edge of things, from the cracks and cuts and fissures of the earth, of our hearts.” Write a lyrical essay about the cuts and fissures in your own heart and how they’ve led you to this very moment.
65. Write a sensory essay about nature without naming the objects you’re writing about. For example, “The towering giants boast cherry-ripe foliage at this time of year.”
66. Craft a short story about the final day of summer (September 22). 🍂
67. Try your hand at children’s lit by creating a story for a younger audience. Have your main character learn a valuable life lesson, and use these stories for inspiration if you need help!
68. When was the last time you felt most alive?
69. Write an essay about a change you knew was coming and how you prepared for it.
70. Create a story where the main character is a caregiver for a loved one.
71. Write a poem about shadows.
72. On Indigenous People’s Day (October 10), write a historical nonfiction essay about the native land you’re living on . For guiding questions, use the Catalyst Project’s worksheet and Resource Generation’s Land Reparations Toolkit and Indigenous Solidarity Toolkit .
73. Write a story in which a “monster” turns out to be a “hero,” or vice versa. This can be either nonfiction or fiction.
74. You and your significant other are at home watching a scary movie when the power goes out. Create a spooky story about what happens next!
75. Create a spooky children’s story that takes place in a magical forest.
76. Write a story that begins with a girl making her own Halloween costume.
77. Write a persuasive essay about an unconventional fear. Make a case for why more people should consider this fear.
78. A group of friends escapes to a private island for an end-of-year holiday. But when they arrive, the hotel is deserted, and the boat has already left the dock. What happens next?
79. Write about the last time you felt hopeful.
80. In preparation for losing an hour of daylight this month, write a poem about all your favorite cozy things.
81. Write a story that begins with your main character dreaming.
82. In “ Braiding Sweetgrass ,” Robin Wall Kimmerer writes, “In some Native languages the term for ‘plants’ translates to ‘those who take care of us.’” In an essay, write about how the earth cares for humanity. Begin with a personal anecdote about a time you felt nurtured by nature.
83. Write a first-person essay that revolves around food or a family recipe.
84. Practice shifting between past and present tense by writing an essay about a childhood experience that impacts who you are today.
85. Write a letter to your younger self.
86. Create a story based on a time you went on a spontaneous adventure.
87. Your main characters are at a college football game when, suddenly, the sky goes black. What happens next?
88. How do you overcome self-doubt? Write a how-to essay.
89. What are you most grateful for this year?
90. Write a poem about your favorite sound.
91. Reflect on winter pastimes. What do you love most about this season? Write a short essay about it.
92. Make up your own holiday poem reminiscent of “Night Before Christmas” (or the equivalent for your celebrated traditions).
93. Your main character is a ballerina performing in The Nutcracker, but secretly, they wish to be a teacher. Write a story about this.
94. Who is someone you admire in your life? Write a tribute essay to them.
95. To get in the spirit, create a Hallmarkesque script for a cheesy holiday film.
96. Write an essay that begins with your favorite holiday memory.
97. Your main character is a flight attendant working the holiday season. Write about a strange encounter they have on the plane.
98. What is the importance of rest, and why is it such a necessary practice for our lives?
99. In your final prompt of the year, write an essay about time and forward motion. Begin by reflecting on the past, write about the importance of mindfulness and living in the present moment, and then welcome whatever comes next.
If you write a story with one of these writing prompts and you’d like to share, feel free to link or paste it in the comments below! 💛
Kayti Christian (she/her) is the Managing Editor at The Good Trade. She has a Master’s in Nonfiction Writing from the University of London and is the creator of Feelings Not Aside , a newsletter for sensitive people.
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BEST ADULTS WRITING PROMPTS
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Mirror, mirror on the wall, end your story with two characters reconciling., set your story at a large entertainment venue, after the show has ended, amongst the discarded plastic cups and confetti., your main character has a secret superpower; the gossip they spread always comes true., write a story about someone trying to track down the source of a rumor., your character is known as the town gossip. one day, it comes back to bite them..
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Write about two old friends meeting for the first time in years., end your story with a character receiving a deeply meaningful gift they weren’t expecting., in this world, everyone is born knowing how old they will be when they die., you get to star in a reality tv show of your choice. which show do you choose, and what kind of a character do you become on that show, write a short story that charts the beginning of a relationship to its end., you just got promoted at work... but your new boss is a piece of work. or so you thought., describe your ideal holiday., your grandfather has just passed away, leaving you with an inheritance of $1 million. what do you do with it, re-write alice's adventures in wonderland... but make it mystery., win $250 in our short story competition 🏆.
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The best writing prompts for adults
Are you struggling to find an outlet for your imagination as an adult? There's an easy solution for that: creative writing prompts for adults. Though writing prompts might look like simple questions and topics on the surface, they are powerful tools that can help you put pen to paper and explore such topics as food, technology, family, people, life, and the universe around us through a story.
Best of all, they work for authors of all stages, whether you're a beginner looking to overcome writer's block or an established writer thinking about exploring different genres. So what are you waiting for? You, too, might find that a writing prompt will inspire and give you ideas for everything from a short story to a full-blown book.
If you're looking to cut to the chase, here's a top ten list of writing prompts for adults:
- Write a story about a 40th birthday party.
- Set your story at a retirement party.
- It's your wedding day, and as you're saying your vows, a voice from the crowd yells, "I object!"
- Start your story with the line 'Back in my day…'
- Start your story with the line, "That's the thing about this city…"
- Write a cautionary fable about someone who always lies.
- Write a day-in-the-life story about a first-time parent and their newborn child.
- Write a short story about someone doing laundry.
- Write a story about a character obsessed with one of the long-dead "greats" in their profession.
- Write a story about a parent putting their child to bed.
If you'd like to go beyond the world of writing prompts and dip a toe into becoming an author, check out our free resources on the topic:
- Develop a Writing Routine (free course) —You might hear a lot of advice on how to write a book, but at the end of the day, what it takes is simply the commitment to regularly sit down in front of a computer and put words down on paper. A writing routine is key to that sort of dedication — and our free 10-day course will show you how to develop one that works for you.
- How to Write a Novel 101 (free course) — Once you’ve got a writing routine now, all that’s left is the hard part: actually writing the book! That’s where this free course comes in. In the process of ten days, we take you through how to write a novel, including structuring your plot and developing your characters.
- Character Development 101 (blog post) — As an author, you become the psychologist of your characters. Learn how to build a great character in this comprehensive blog post and build one up, from their motivations to their goals. Don’t forget to download the free character profile template while you’re in the blog post!
Ready to start writing? Check out Reedsy’s weekly short story contest for the chance of winning $250! You can also check out our list of writing contests or our directory of literary magazines for more opportunities to submit your story.
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30 November Writing Prompts
by Sue Weems | 0 comments
November is here! It's a perfect time to dust off your writing journal (the one you got for the holidays last year?) and start exploring some creative writing ideas before the end of the year. Today we have 30 November writing prompts to get you started. Let's go!
We're deep into fall in the United States, and here, November is usually marked by American holidays such as Veteran's Day and Thanksgiving. If you're a football fan, the college competition is usually heating up heading into the finals, while the NFL is deep into their regular season.
Everyone's gearing up for the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade at my house, along with a day of meals and games with family. But November is also a great time to hone your writing skills. Today we have a series of daily writing prompts to spark ideas for your next creative writing project whether you're in 3rd grade or deep into the second half of life.
November Creative Writing Prompts
1. What do you look forward to most in November? Why?
2. Create an acrostic poem using the letters of NOVEMBER or a holiday this month. Challenge: make sure the word you use for each letter is something in nature (or related to Thanksgiving, or describes turkeys or football or autumn).
3. Write about your favorite holiday traditions during November. If you don't have any traditions, create your own, serious or silly. Describe what activities, food, and people you'd have at your celebrations.
4. November is a perfect time to begin making room for the new year. If you could clear out one area of your home or life, what would it be and why?
5. What is your favorite memory of school or learning during the month of November? A class feast? A trip to a local park?
6. Write a celebratory poem to the month of November, listing everything you love about it.
7. If you could fill a backpack with things to get you through the month of November, what would you add? Describe the contents and why you'd need each item.
8. Write about a person in your life who you are thankful to know.
9. Create a scene with a character stumbling into your favorite November event for the first time (whether Thanksgiving dinner or a football game or a parade or some other event).
10. You discover a magical pen that brings your drawings to life for one day only. What do you draw, and what adventures unfold as your creations come to life in November?
11. Write a dinner scene that exaggerates the character traits of each person at the table.
12. Create a setting that captures a perfect November day (or alternately a less than perfect November setting).
13. Convince someone who hates your favorite dessert to try it.
14. Write a short adventure story about a turkey visiting your hometown.
15. Create a new type of sandwich and describe everything that goes on it.
“The thinnest yellow light of November is more warming and exhilarating than any wine they tell of. The mite which November contributes becomes equal in value to the bounty of July.” —Henry David Thoreau
16. November marks the time when a group of friends gathers in a circle time to share stories around a bonfire. What tales are told, and do they hold any hidden truths?
17. November brings the annual Migration Festival, where birds from different lands gather. Explore the unique stories of these migratory creatures and the impact they have on your town.
18. Imagine that a scarecrow comes to life once all the crops have been harvested. What adventure will he go on?
19. November often brings a sense of reflection. Write about a lesson you've learned recently and how it contributes to your personal growth.
20. Imagine that one of the elders at your holiday feast drops a secret they've been keeping for years. What is it and how does everyone react?
21. Explore the concept of slowing down in November. What activities or habits can you adopt to savor the present moment?
22. Write about the the changes in nature around you during November.
23. Create a character who discovers a hidden path that can only be seen once the leaves begin to fall each year. Where does it lead?
24. Describe the sensory experiences of November – the scents, sounds, and sights that make this month unique. How do these elements contribute to your overall mood?
25. Write about a character who made an ambitious list of resolutions in January, and is committed to doing all of them in November.
26. Your pet turkey has a secret talent. What is it, and how does it surprise everyone during the Thanksgiving celebration?
27. Imagine you could take a Time Machine back to your favorite November. What year would it be and why? Write about it.
28. Create a place named “The November Cafe.” Describe it and what it offers inside.
29. As the first snowfall blankets a town, the residents discover mysterious footprints leading to an ancient tree. What happens next?
30. Write a letter to your future self, outlining your aspirations and intentions for the upcoming year. What steps can you take in November to set the stage for success?
Psst… if one of those ambitions is writing a book, consider joining the thousands of writers who have finally finished their book during our 100 Day Book Program . Our next session is starting soon!
November Writing Fun Ahead
We hope one of these creative writing prompts gets you in the mood to write this November. Choose one and share your practice below!
Choose one of the prompts above. Set your timer for 15 minutes and write without stopping. Share your practice in the Pro Practice Workshop , and leave feedback for a few other writers.
Not a member? Join us .
Sue Weems is a writer, teacher, and traveler with an advanced degree in (mostly fictional) revenge. When she’s not rationalizing her love for parentheses (and dramatic asides), she follows a sailor around the globe with their four children, two dogs, and an impossibly tall stack of books to read. You can read more of her writing tips on her website .
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