Creative Writing Prompts
Go outside, pick up one object, and write a story about how it got there.
Tell a short story about your first crush/first love.
Come up with a character for a horror story you would love to write or read. Describe the character in great detail.
Think of whether that character was good or evil. Reflect on your choice.
Create a mind map for a character in a romantic story.
Map out a short story about someone overcoming a physical disability.
Story prompt: You wake up in the middle of the night, and none of the lights work. You hear a sound in the attic, but you also hear a sound in the basement. Describe what you do next.
Story prompt: You call up your best friend to chat, but he/she doesn’t know who you are. Write a story based on why or how that is.
Story prompt: Your main character wakes up in a boat, stranded at sea…
Write a poem that rhymes about your weekend plans.
Outside the Window: What’s the weather outside your window doing right now? If that’s not inspiring, what’s the weather like somewhere you wish you could be?
The Unrequited love poem: How do you feel when you love someone who does not love you back?
The Vessel: Write about a ship or other vehicle that can take you somewhere different from where you are now.
Dancing: Who’s dancing and why are they tapping those toes?
Food: What’s for breakfast? Dinner? Lunch? Or maybe you could write a poem about that time you met a friend at a cafe.
Eye Contact: Write about two people seeing each other for the first time.
The Rocket-ship: Write about a rocket-ship on its way to the moon or a distant galaxy far, far, away.
Dream-catcher: Write something inspired by a recent dream you had.
Animals: Choose an animal. Write about it!
Friendship: Write about being friends with someone.
Dragon: Envision a dragon. Do you battle him? Or is the dragon friendly? Use descriptive language.
Greeting: Write a story or poem that starts with the word “hello” or another greeting.
The Letter: Write a poem or story using words from a famous letter or inspired by a letter someone sent you.
The Found Poem: Read a book and circle some words on a page. Use those words to craft a poem. Alternatively, you can cut out words and phrases from magazines.
Eavesdropper: Create a poem, short story, or journal entry about a conversation you’ve overheard.
Addict: Everyone’s addicted to something in some shape or form. What are things you can’t go without?
Dictionary Definition: Open up a dictionary to a random word. Define what that word means to you.
Cleaning: Hey, even writers and creative artists have to do housework sometimes. Write about doing laundry, dishes, and other cleaning activities.
Great Minds: Write about someone you admire and you thought to have had a beautiful mind.
Missed Connections: If you go to Craigslist, there is a “Missed Connections” section where you can find some interesting storylines to inspire your writing.
Foreclosure: Write a poem or short story about someone who has lost or is about to lose their home.
Smoke, Fog, and Haze: Write about not being able to see ahead of you.
Sugar: Write something so sweet, it makes your teeth hurt.
Numbers: Write a poem or journal entry about numbers that have special meaning to you.
Dread: Write about doing something you don’t want to do.
Fear: What scares you a little? What do you feel when scared? How do you react?
Closed Doors: What’s behind the door? Why is it closed?
Shadow: Imagine you are someone’s shadow for a day.
Good Vibes: What makes you smile? What makes you happy?
Shopping: Write about your shopping wishlist and how you like to spend money.
The Professor: Write about a teacher that has influenced you.
Rewrite: Take any poem or short story you enjoy. Rewrite it in your own words.
Jewelry: Write about a piece of jewelry. Who does it belong to?
Sounds: Sit outside for about an hour. Write down the sounds you hear.
War and Peace: Write about a recent conflict that you dealt with in your life.
Frame It: Write a poem or some phrases that would make for good wall art in your home.
Puzzle: Write about putting together the pieces of puzzles.
Fire-starters: Write about building a fire.
Coffee & Tea: Surely you drink one or the other or know someone who does- write about it!
Car Keys: Write about someone getting their driver’s license for the first time.
What You Don’t Know: Write about a secret you’ve kept from someone else or how you feel when you know someone is keeping a secret from you.
Warehouse: Write about being inside an old abandoned warehouse.
The Sound of Silence: Write about staying quiet when you feel like shouting.
Insult: Write about being insulted. How do you feel? Why do you think the other person insulted you?
Mirror, Mirror: What if you mirror started talking to you? What might the mirror say?
Dirty: Write a poem about getting covered in mud.
Light Switch: Write about coming out of the dark and seeing the light.
The Stars: Take inspiration from a night sky. Or, write about a time when “the stars aligned” in your horoscope.
Joke Poem: What did the wall say to the other wall? Meet you at the corner! Write something inspired by a favorite joke.
Just Say No: Write about the power you felt when you told someone no.
Sunrise/Sunset: The sun comes up, the sun goes down. It goes round and round. Write something inspiring about the sunrise or sunset.
Memory Lane: What does Memory Lane look like? How do you get there?
Tear-Jerker: Watch a movie that makes you cry. Write about that scene in the movie.
Dear Diary: Write a poem or short story about a diary entry you’ve read or imagined.
Holding Hands: The first time you held someone’s hand.
Photograph: Write a story or journal entry influenced by a photograph you see online or in a magazine.
Alarm Clock: Write about waking up.
Darkness: Write a poem or journal entry inspired by what you can’t see.
Refreshed: Write a poem about a time you really felt refreshed and renewed. Maybe it was a dip into a pool on a hot summer day, a drink of lemonade, or other situation that helped you relax and start again.
Handle With Care: Write about a very fragile or delicate object.
Drama: Write about a time when you got stuck in between two parties fighting with each other.
Slip Up: Write about making mistakes.
Spice: Write about flavors and tastes or a favorite spice of yours.
Sing a New Song: Take a popular song off the radio and rewrite it as a poem in your own words.
Telephone: Write about a phone call you recently received.
Name: Write a poem or short story using your name in some way or form.
Dollhouse: Write a poem or short story from the viewpoint of someone living in a doll house.
Random Wikipedia Article: Go to Wikipedia and click on Random Article. Write about whatever the page you get.
Silly Sports: Write about an extreme or silly sport. If none inspire you, make up the rules for your own game.
Recipe: Write about a recipe for something abstract, such as a feeling.
Famous Artwork: Choose a famous painting and write about it.
Where That Place Used to Be: Think of a place you went to when you were younger but it now no longer there or is something else. Capture your feelings about this in your writing.
Last Person You Talked to: Write a quick little poem or story about the last person you spoke with.
Caught Red-Handed: Write about being caught doing something embarrassing.
Interview: Write a list of questions you have for someone you would like to interview, real or fictional.
Missing You: Write about someone you miss dearly.
Geography: Pick a state or country you’ve never visited. Write about why you would or would not like to visit that place.
Random Song: Turn on the radio, use the shuffle feature on your music collection or your favorite streaming music service. Write something inspired by the first song you hear.
Hero: Write a tribute to someone you regard as a hero.
Ode to Strangers: Go people watching and write an ode to a stranger you see on the street.
Advertisement: Advertisements are everywhere, aren’t they? Write using the slogan or line from an ad.
Book Inspired: Think of your favorite book. Now write a poem that sums up the entire story in 10 lines.
Magic: Imagine you have a touch of magic, and can make impossible things happen. What would you do?
Fanciest Pen: Get out your favorite pen, pencils, or even colored markers and write using them!
A Day in the Life: Write about your daily habits and routine.
Your Muse: Write about your muse – what do they look like? What does your muse do to inspire you?
Convenience Store: Write about an experience you’ve had at a gas station or convenience store.
Natural Wonders of the World: Choose one of the natural wonders of the world. Write about it.
Status Update: Write a poem using the words from your latest status update or a friend’s status update. If you don’t use sites like Facebook or Twitter, you can often search online for some funny ones to use as inspiration.
Green Thumb: Write about growing something.
Family Heirloom: Write about an object that’s been passed through the generations in your family.
Bug Catcher: Write about insects.
Potion: Write about a magic potion. What is it made of? What does it do? What is the antidote?
Swinging & Sliding: Write something inspired by a playground or treehouse.
Adjectives: Make a list of the first 5 adjectives that pop into your head. Use these 5 words in your story, poem, or journal entry.
Fairy Tales: Rewrite a fairy tale. Give it a new ending or make it modern or write as a poem.
Whispers: Write about someone who has to whisper a secret to someone else.
Smile: Write a poem about the things that make you smile.
Seasonal: Write about your favorite season.
Normal: What does normal mean to you? Is it good or bad to be normal?
Recycle: Take something you’ve written in the past and rewrite it into a completely different piece.
Wardrobe: Write about a fashion model or what’s currently in your closet or drawers.
Secret Message: Write something with a secret message hidden in between the words. For example, you could make an acrostic poem using the last letters of the word or use secret code words in the poem.
Vacation: Write about a vacation you took.
Heat: Write about being overheated and sweltering.
Spellbinding: Write a magic spell.
Collection: Write about collecting something, such as salt shakers, sea shells, or stamps.
Taking Chances: Everyone takes a risk at some point in their life. Write about a time when you took a chance and what the result was.
Carnival: Write a poem or story or journal entry inspired by a carnival or street fair.
Country Mouse: Write about someone who grew up in the country visiting the city for the first time.
Questions: Write about questions you have for the universe. Optional: include an answer key.
Rushing: Write about moving quickly and doing things fast.
Staircase: Use a photo of a staircase or the stairs in your home or a building you love to inspire you.
Neighbors: Make up a story or poem about your next door neighbor.
Black and Blue: Write about a time you’ve been physically hurt.
All Saints: Choose a saint and create a poem about his or her life.
Beach Inspired: What’s not to write about the beach?
Shoes: What kind of shoes do you wear? Where do they lead your feet?
The Ex: Write a poem to someone who is estranged from you.
My Point of View: Write in the first person point of view.
Stray Animal: Think of the life of a stray cat or dog and write about that.
Stop and Stare: Create a poem or story about something you could watch forever.
Your Bed: Describe where you sleep each night.
Fireworks: Do they inspire you or do you not like the noise and commotion? Write about it.
Frozen: Write about a moment in your life you wish you could freeze and preserve.
Alone: Do you like to be alone or do you like having company?
Know-it-all: Write about something you are very knowledgeable about, for example a favorite hobby or passion of yours.
The Promise: Write about a promise you’ve made to someone. Did you keep that promise?
Commotion: Write about being overstimulated by a lot of chaos.
Read the News Today: Construct a poem or story using a news headline for your first line.
Macro: Write a description of an object close-up.
Transportation: Write about taking your favorite (or least-favorite) form of transportation.
Gadgets: If you could invent a gadget, what would it do? Are there any gadgets that make your life easier?
Bring on the Cheese: Write a tacky love poem that is so cheesy, it belongs on top of a pizza.
Ladders: Write a story or poem that uses ladders as a symbol.
Bizarre Holiday: There is a bizarre holiday for any date! Look up a holiday for today’s date and create a poem in greeting card fashion or write a short story about the holiday to celebrate.
Blog-o-sphere: Visit your favorite blog or your feedreader and craft a story, journal entry, or poem based on the latest blog post you read.
Mailbox: Create a poem, short story, or journal entry based on a recent item of mail you’ve received.
Sharing: Write about sharing something with someone else.
Cactus: Write from the viewpoint of a cactus. What’s it like to live in the desert or have a prickly personality?
It’s a Sign: Have you seen any interesting road signs lately?
Furniture: Write about a piece of furniture in your home.
Failure: Write about a time you failed at something. Did you try again or give up completely?
Mystical Creatures: Angels or other mystical creatures – use them as inspiration.
Flying: Write about having wings and what you would do.
Clear and Transparent: Write a poem about being able to see-through something.
Break the Silence: Record yourself speaking, then write down what you spoke and revise into a short story or poem.
Beat: Listen to music with a strong rhythm or listen to drum loops. Write something that goes along with the beat you feel and hear.
Color Palette: Search online for color palettes and be inspired to write by one you resonate with.
Magazine: Randomly flip to a page in a magazine and write using the first few words you see as an opening line.
The Grass is Greener: Write about switching the place with someone or going to where it seems the “grass is greener”.
Mind & Body: Write something that would motivate others to workout and exercise.
Shaping Up: Write something that makes a shape on the page…ie: a circle, a heart, a square, etc.
Twenty-One: Write about your 21st birthday.
Aromatherapy: Write about scents you just absolutely love.
Swish, Buzz, Pop: Create a poem that uses Onomatopoeia.
What Time is It? Write about the time of day it is right now. What are people doing? What do you usually do at this time each day?
Party Animal: Have you ever gone to a party you didn’t want to leave? Or do you hate parties? Write about it!
Miss Manners: Use the words “please” and “thank you” in your writing.
Cliche: Choose a common cliche, then write something that says the same thing but without using the catch phrase.
Eco-friendly: Write about going green or an environmental concern you have.
Missing You: Write about someone you miss.
Set it Free: Think of a time when you had to let someone or something go to be free…did they come back?
Left Out: Write about a time when you’ve felt left out or you’ve noticed someone else feeling as if they didn’t belong.
Suitcase: Write about packing for a trip or unpacking from when you arrive home.
Fantasy: Write about fairies, gnomes, elves, or other mythical creatures.
Give and Receive: Write about giving and receiving.
Baker’s Dozen: Imagine the scents and sights of a bakery and write.
Treehouse: Write about your own secret treehouse hideaway.
Risk: Write about taking a gamble on something.
Acrostic: Choose a word and write an acrostic poem where every line starts with a letter from the word.
Crossword Puzzle: Open up the newspaper or find a crossword puzzle online and choose one of the clues to use as inspiration for your writing.
Silver Lining: Write about the good that happens in a bad situation.
Gloves: Write about a pair of gloves – what kind of gloves are they? Who wears them and why?
All that Glitters: Write about a shiny object.
Jealousy: Write with a theme of envy and jealousy.
How Does Your Garden Grow? Write about a flower that grows in an unusual place.
Jury Duty: Write a short story or poem that takes place in a courtroom.
Gifts: Write about a gift you have given or received.
Running: Write about running away from someone or something.
Discovery: Think of something you’ve recently discovered and use it as inspiration.
Complain: Write about your complaints about something.
Gratitude: Write a poem or journal entry that is all about things you are thankful for.
Chemistry: Choose an element and write a poem or story that uses that word in one of the lines
Applause: Write about giving someone a standing ovation.
Old Endings Into New Beginnings: Take an old poem, story, or journal entry of yours and use the last line and make it the first line of your writing today.
Longing: Write about something you very much want to do.
I Am: Write a motivational poem or journal entry about positive traits that make you who you are.
Rainbow: What is at the end of a rainbow? Or, take a cue from Kermit the Frog, and ask yourself, why are there so many songs about rainbows?
What’s on the other side of this rainbow? Who’s waiting for you? Write about it!
Museum: Take some time to visit a nearby museum with your journal. Write about one of the pieces that speaks to you.
Cartoon: Think of your favorite cartoon or comic. Write a poem or story that takes place in that setting.
Copycat: Borrow a line from a famous public domain poem to craft your own.
From the Roof-tops: Imagine you could stand on a rooftop and broadcast a message to everyone below – what would you say?
Time Travel: If there was a time period you could visit for a day, where would you go? Write about traveling back in time to that day.
Changing Places: Imagine living the day as someone else.
Neighborhood: Write about your favorite place in your neighborhood to visit and hang out at.
Pirates: Write about a pirate ship.
Interview: Write based on a recent interview you’ve read or seen on TV or heard on the radio.
Hiding Spaces: Write about places you like to hide things at. What was a favorite hiding spot for you as a child playing hide-and-seek?
Extreme Makeover: Imagine how life might be different if you could change your hair color or clothing into something completely opposite from your current style.
Empathy: Write about your feelings of empathy or compassion for another person.
Opposites: Write a poem or story that ties in together two opposites.
Boredom: Write about being bored or make a list of different ways to entertain yourself.
Strength: Think of a time when you’ve been physically or emotionally strong and use that as inspiration.
Hunger: Write from the perspective of someone with no money to buy food.
Greed: Write about someone who always wants more – whether it be money, power, etc. etc.
Volcano: Write about an eruption of a volcano.
Video Inspiration: Go to Vimeo.com or YouTube.com and watch one of the videos featured on the homepage. Write something based on what you watch.
Sneeze: Write about things that make you sneeze.
Footsteps on the Moon: Write about the possibility of life in outer-space.
Star-crossed: Write a short modern version of the story of Romeo and Juliet or think of real-life examples of lovers who are not allowed to be together to use as inspiration for your writing.
Font-tastic: Choose a unique font and type out a poem, story or journal entry using that font.
Schedule: Take a look at your calendar and use the schedule for inspiration in writing.
Grandparents: Write about a moment in your grandparent’s life.
Collage: Go through a magazine and cut out words that grab your attention. Use these words to construct a poem or as a story starter or inspiration for your journal.
Oh so Lonely: Write a poem about what you do when you are alone – do you feel lonely or do you enjoy your own company?
Waterfall: Think of a waterfall you’ve seen in person or spend some time browsing photos of waterfalls online. Write about the movement, flow, and energy.
First Kiss: Write about your first kiss.
So Ironic: Write about an ironic situation you’ve been in throughout your life.
Limerick: Write a limerick today.
Grocery Shopping: Write about an experience at the grocery store.
Fashion: Go through a fashion magazine or browse fashion websites online and write about a style you love.
So Close: Write about coming close to reaching a goal.
Drinks on Me: Write a poem or short story that takes place at a bar.
Online Friends: Write an ode to someone online you’ve met and become friends with.
Admiration: Is there someone you admire? Write about those feelings.
Trash Day: Write from the perspective of a garbage collector.
Mailbox: Open your mailbox and write something inspired by one of the pieces of mail you received.
Fresh & Clean: Write about how you feel after you take a shower.
Energized: Write about how you feel when you’re either at a high or low energy level for the day.
Rhyme & No Reason: Make up a silly rhyming poem using made up words.
Tech Support: Use computers or a conversation with tech support you’ve had as inspiration.
Hotel: Write from the perspective of someone who works at a hotel or staying at a hotel.
Underwater: Write about sea creatures and under water life. What’s under the surface of the ocean? What adventures might be waiting?
What’s it like deep in the ocean? How did you get there?
Breathing: Take a few minutes to do some deep breathing relaxation techniques. Once your mind is clear, just write the first few things that you think of.
Liar, Liar: Make up a poem or story of complete lies about yourself or someone else.
Obituaries: Look at the recent obituaries online or in the newspaper and imagine the life of someone and write about that person.
Pocket: Rummage through your pockets and write about what you keep or find in your pockets.
Cinquain: Write a cinquain poem, which consists of 5 lines that do not rhyme.
Alphabetical: Write a poem that has every letter of the alphabet in it.
Comedy Club: Write something inspired by a comedian.
Cheater: Write about someone who is unfaithful.
Sestina: Give a try to writing a sestina poem.
Fight: Write about witnessing two people get in an argument with each other.
Social Network: Visit your favorite Social Networking website (ie: Facebook, Pinterest, Google, Twitter, etc.) and write a about a post you see there.
Peaceful: Write about something peaceful and serene.
In the Clouds: Go cloud watching for the day and write about what you imagine in the clouds.
At the Park: Take some time to sit on a park bench and write about the sights, scenes, and senses and emotions you experience.
Sonnet: Write a sonnet today.
Should, Would, And Could: Write a poem or story using the words should, would, and could.
How to: Write directions on how to do something.
Alliteration: Use alliteration in your poem or in a sentence in a story.
Poker Face: Write about playing a card game.
Timer: Set a timer for 5 minutes and just write. Don’t worry about it making sense or being perfect.
Dance: Write about a dancer or a time you remember dancing.
Write for a Cause: Write a poem or essay that raises awareness for a cause you support.
Magic: Write about a magician or magic trick.
Out of the Box: Imagine finding a box. Write about opening it and what’s inside.
Under the Influence: What is something has impacted you positively in your life?
Forgotten Toy: Write from the perspective a forgotten or lost toy.
Rocks and Gems: Write about a rock or gemstone meaning.
Remote Control: Imagine you can fast forward and rewind your life with a remote control.
Symbolism: Think of objects, animals, etc. that have symbolic meaning to you. Write about it.
Light at the End of the Tunnel: Write about a time when you saw hope when it seemed like a hopeless situation.
Smoke and Fire: “Where there’s smoke, there’s fire.” Use this saying as inspiration to write!
Railroad: Write about a train and its cargo or passengers.
Clipboard: Write about words you imagine on an office clipboard.
Shipwrecked: Write about being stranded somewhere – an island, a bus stop, etc.
Quotable: Use a popular quote from a speaker and use it as inspiration for your writing.
Mind Map it Out: Create a mind map of words, phrases, and ideas that pop into your head or spend some time browsing the many mind maps online. Write a poem, story, or journal entry inspired by the mind map.
Patterns: Write about repeating patterns that occur in life.
Scrapbook: Write about finding a scrapbook and the memories it contains.
Cure: Write about finding a cure for an illness.
Email Subject Lines: Read your email today and look for subject lines that may be good starters for writing inspiration.
Wishful Thinking: Write about a wish you have.
Doodle: Spend some time today doodling for about 5-10 minutes. Write about the thoughts you had while doodling or create something inspired by your finished doodle.
Chalkboard: Imagine you are in a classroom. What does it say on the chalkboard?
Sticky: Imagine a situation that’s very sticky, maybe even covered in maple syrup, tape or glue. Write about it!
Flashlight: Imagine going somewhere very dark with only a flashlight to guide you.
A Far Away Place: Envision yourself traveling to a fictional place, what do you experience in your imaginary journey?
On the Farm: Write about being in a country or rural setting.
Promise to Yourself: Write about a promise you want to make to yourself and keep.
Brick Wall: Write a poem that is about a brick wall – whether literal or figurative.
Making a Choice: Write about a time when you had to make a difficult choice.
Repeat: Write about a time when you’ve had to repeat yourself or a time when it felt like no one was listening.
Outcast: Write about someone who is not accepted by their peers. (for example, the Ugly Ducking)
Scary Monsters: Write about a scary (or not-so-scary) monster in your closet or under the bed.
Sacrifice: Write about something you’ve sacrificed doing to do something else or help another person.
Imperfection: Create a poem that highlights the beauty in being flawed.
Birthday Poem: Write a poem inspired by birthdays.
Title First: Make a list of potential poem or story titles and choose one to write from.
Job Interview: Write about going on a job interview.
Get Well: Write a poem that will help someone who is sick feel better quick!
Lost in the Crowd: Write about feeling lost in the crowd.
Apple a Day: Write about a health topic that interests you.
Cravings: Write about craving something.
Phobia: Research some common phobias, choose one, and write about it.
In the Moment: Write about living in the present moment.
Concrete: Write about walking down a sidewalk and what you see and experience.
Battle: Write about an epic battle, whether real, fictional or figurative.
This Old House: Write about an old house that is abandoned or being renovated.
Clutter: Is there a cluttered spot in your home? Go through some of that clutter today and write about what you find or the process of organizing.
Go Fly a Kite: Write about flying a kite.
On the TV: Flip to a random TV channel and write about the first thing that comes on – even if it is an infomercial!
Fruit: Write an ode to your favorite fruit.
Long Distance Love: Write about a couple that is separated by distance.
Glasses: Write about a pair of eyeglasses or someone wearing glasses.
Robotic: Write about a robot.
Cute as a Button: Write about something you think is just adorable.
Movie Conversation: Use a memorable conversation from a favorite movie to inspire your writing.
Easy-Peasy: Write about doing something effortlessly.
Idiom: Choose from a list of idioms one that speaks to you and create a poem around that saying or phrase. (Ie: It is raining cats and dogs)
Playground: Whether it is the swings or the sandbox or the sliding boards, write about your memories of being on a playground.
Romance: Write about romantic things partners can do for each other.
Rock Star: Imagine you are a famous rock star. Write about the experience. What’s it like to live a day in the life of a rock star? Imagine your story!
Come to Life: Imagine ordinary objects have come to life. Write about what they do and say.
Airplane: Write about meeting someone on an airplane and a conversation you might have.
Health & Beauty: Take some time to peruse your medicine cabinet or the health and beauty aisles at a local store. Write a poem, short story, or journal entry inspired by a product label.
Determination: Write about not giving up.
Instrumental Inspiration: Listen to some instrumental music and write a poem that matches the mood, beat, and style of the music.
Wait Your Turn: Write about having to wait in line.
Personality Type: Do you know your personality type? (There are many free quizzes online) – write about what type of personality traits you have.
Decade: Choose a favorite decade and write about it. (IE: 1980’s or 1950’s for example)
I Believe: Write your personal credo of things you believe in.
Lost and Found: Write about a lost object.
Say it: Write a poem or story that uses dialogue between two people.
The Unsent Letter: Write about a letter that never made it to its recipient.
The Windows of the Soul: Write a poem about the story that is told through someone’s eyes.
Trial and Error: Write about something you learned the hard way.
Escape: Write about where you like to go to escape from it all.
What’s Cooking: Write something inspired a favorite food or recipe.
Records: Go through your file box and pull out old receipts or records…write something inspired by what you find!
Banking: Write about visiting the bank.
Sweet Talk: Write about trying to convince someone of something.
Serendipity: Write about something that happened by chance in a positive way.
Distractions: Write about how it feels when you can’t focus.
Corporation: Write about big business.
Word of the Day: Go to a dictionary website that has a word of the day and use it in a poem, story or journal entry you write.
Pick Me Up: What do you do when you need a pick me up?
Unfinished: Write about a project you started but never completed.
Forgiveness: Write about a time when someone forgave you or you forgave someone.
Weakness: Write about your greatest weakness.
Starting: Write about starting a project.
Mechanical: Think of gears, moving parts, machines.
Random Act of Kindness: Write about a random act of kindness you’ve done for someone or someone has done for you, no matter how small or insignificant it may have seemed.
Underground: Imagine living in a home underground and use that as inspiration for writing.
Classic Rock: Pick a classic rock love ballad and rewrite it into a story or poem with a similar theme.
Night Owl: Write about staying up late at night.
Magnetic: Write about attraction to something or someone.
Teamwork: Write about working with a team towards a common goal.
Roller-coaster: Write about the ups and downs in life.
Motivational Poster: Look at some motivational posters online and write a poem or journal entry inspired by your favorite one.
Games: Write about the games people play – figuratively or literally.
Turning Point: Write about a point in life where things turned for the better or worse.
Spellbound: Write about a witch’s spell.
Anniversary: Write about the anniversary of a special date.
Gamble: Be inspired by a casino or lottery ticket.
Picnic: Write about going on a picnic.
Garage: Write about some random item you might find in a garage.
Review: Review your week, month, or year in a journal entry or poem format.
Detective: Write about a detective searching for clues or solving a mystery.
Camera: Take your camera for a walk and write based on one of the photographs you take.
Visiting: Write about visiting a family member or friend.
Trust: Write about putting trust in someone.
Congratulations! Did you write a poem, short story, or journal entry every day for a whole year? Write about what you’ve learned and celebrate your achievement!
Write a story about someone who has just completed a huge challenge. What have they learned? What did they sacrifice? Was it worth it?
Write a story in three sections, each section recounting the same event from a different character’s point of view
“Loretta’s face was hidden by the wide brimmed hat boldly covered in ribbons and one rose. Rising slowly from the fourth pew, she raised her chin towards the minister and declared, “I object.”
Write a story for children. Prompt is “The Golden Rule,” treat others are you wish to be treated.
Like the list story, this prompt encourages you to break the narrative rules. Let the story unfold through a series of updates, memos, social media posts, a technical manual, or some other document that creates gaps the reader must fill in. Remember that each memo will be written in real time, reporting on an event, before the character experiences the next ‘episode’ and writes about it.
Someone finds two dates listed on a piece of paper. The dates are in their own handwriting, but they do not know what the dates mean. They have to find out what the dates signify.
I love concept albums, albums in which a singular story is told throughout the tracks. Some are silly, some are deep, but all of them are fascinating. Write the story that comes to you out of this lyric from Eagles’ Desperado album: “The towns lay out across the dusty plains like graveyards filled with tombstones waiting for the names.”
Write a story in the form of a list.
Use this list of words in your story: gallery, contemplated, identity, point, behind, tastes, followed, forty, like, generations.
The banging on the cabin’s door is incessant. Your character throws the soufflé into the oven and rushes to open the door. No one is there, but on the floor, they see three antique brass keys and a Tarot card (JUSTICE, MAIDEN OF CUPS, or any other card). Write what happens next.
Write about the person you see on either side of the reflection.
Food can trigger visceral memories and strong emotions. Think of your favorite thing to eat and also your least favorite. Today, write a story inspired by food. Maybe your character is at a grocery store, or maybe they’re cooking at home with the kids. Maybe they’ve come across a fruit stand on the side of the road. The item you choose can be of central importance to the story or not. Anything goes!
Venture into an unfamiliar thrift shop or antiques market and find an object you’ve never seen before. Even better–one whose function you can only guess! Then, tell a story in which that object plays a key role. Perhaps you can explain how it arrived there; perhaps it’s a lost heirloom or the key to unimaginable power. Or perhaps the object itself isn’t as important as how it brings two strangers together–or sunders a seemingly impenetrable bond.
There is a llama sitting on the seat beside you, drinking coffee. No one else finds this odd. He turns to you, about to speak.
Here’s a prompt from Edna St. Vincent Millay’s poem Travel:
. . . there isn’t a train I wouldn’t take, No matter where it’s going.
Create a character who cannot wait to leave their town. Why do they want to leave? What or whom will they leave behind? Will the decision to start anew prove to be a good one?
It’s a sign! This prompt idea came from an episode of Valley 101, a podcast about Arizona This episode was about who writes their funny highway signs, the history of them and what sort of messages they deliver. The idea of constraints appealed to me, often it drives creativity in unexpected directions. Arizona’s highway sign messages are three lines long, with up to 18 characters per line. You can have commas, spaces, apostrophes, and dashes, which all count toward the 18 character limit. Now 18×3 characters isn’t long to tell a story, but it is long enough to deliver an important message. So the prompt is this: Your character is in the middle of doing something mundane when they see a message that causes them to change course. The message could be something they see on a highway sign, a sign on the window of a store, a dashboard displayed in an office, or even a text message, but the limit is 18×3 characters and the message causes the character to change what they were doing/going to do.
Write a story where your character is half way between one thing and another — at a transition. This can be literal, emotional, or metaphorical.
Your character is doing something innocuous and habitual like washing dishes or driving in a car or picking up dry cleaning or taking a walk in the neighborhood when a ghost/spirit appears to them. Whether it is human, animal, or other, what is it saying and why has it appeared to the character at this moment? (This is good for dredging up something from the character’s subconscious and also for throwing your character off track with something unexpected.)
Write a story from the perspective of a character that is not a human or other animal. The character could be something from nature, like a rock or a puddle or a tree, or it could be something built (for example, a lamp or a shoe or a fountain pen). Consider:
How does your character think? And what do they think about it?
What is most important to them?
What happens to them and how are they able, or not able, to react?
How do they feel about this?
“One Thousand and Two Arabian Nights.” Story as survival: Your protagonist tells a story within a story in order to avoid some kind of disaster.
Write a story in exactly 100 words.
Write a letter to your 14-year-old self. Address that young person’s fears, concerns, questions, and insecurities. Offer reassurance based on what you now know as an adult.
Write a six-word story complete with a beginning, middle, and end. Classic example from Hemingway: “Baby shoes for sale. Never worn.” Suggested prompt word: May. Could be the month, a person, a permission request, a game (e.g. Mother May I?). Or use another word. Bonus points if every word starts with the same letter.
In a mysterious valley, two rival abbeys of nuns and monks serving the same strange god play a secret game unbeknownst to their superiors. When the stakes for the game become souls, how can the game be ended — and the debts to the demon of chance be paid?
Write a story that doesn’t use unhappiness as its narrative catalyst. That is to say, write a happy story, one that is textured, interesting, not overly sentimental, but that is at its core, a happy story, however, you choose to imagine that.
Write an interview with a character who invented something that changed the world…years after the change took place.
A character has lost an object that is of great value to someone they love.
Write a 1000 word flash fiction story that ends with the line: “That’s how a small cut in her finger led to the end of the world.”
This prompt comes from thinking about point of view and you could use it to write the whole story in two parts. For the first part create a character who does something that you did during that week: e.g. go to the grocery store and you buy oranges. now. Now write about it in the third-person perspective and fictionalize it. In the second part move your story 10 years into the future. Change perspective to make it a first person perspective. And it turns out that that non-momentous moment from your life (e.g. going to the super supermarket and buying oranges) ended up being extremely important to this character. Don’t forget to include how the world has changed from 10 years ago to now and how the character’s world has changed, how they think of the world, and how they move through the world differently.
Write a story or a scene in a setting you have never used before. It can be somewhere you have been or somewhere you have always wanted to go. It can be real or imagined. The goal is to try something new.
There is a point, in the distance, that your character very badly wants to reach. What is it? What is the point from which they’ve started out, what are they willing to do to get to that point in the distance? What will they sacrifice? The bridge is the point between those two places. The bridge is where what they must do to get there, what they’re willing to sacrifice, and the consequences of those decisions coexist. Write their story, on the bridge.
Write a short story about what happens when your town digs up a time capsule from 1950.
Write a short story about an outcast teenage boy who one day suddenly discovers he can fly.
Write a short story about a group of friends who are reunited under unusual circumstances after many years apart.
Write a short story about a mystical mirror that shows viewers something surprising—and different—each time someone looks inside.
Write a short story about a young girl who struggles to keep her grades up amidst trouble at home.
Write a short story about a famous historical figure—from the perspective of him or her in the days leading up to the most significant thing he or she is known for.
Write a short story about a woman who has the power to communicate with and understand animals.
Write a short story about a group of explorers who find what they were looking for—only to discover that they never should have searched for it to begin with.
Write a short story about a news photographer who learns a shocking truth one day while editing images.
Write a short story about a man who returns to his hometown after 10 years away—only to discover things are all still the same.
Write a short story about two strangers who cross paths every day but never meet.
Write a short story about a family reunion that takes place on a two-week cruise.
Write a short story about a college student who must make the toughest decision of his or her life.
Write a short story about a farmer who spends a year growing an unusual crop.
Write a short story about a friendly road trip that reveals an unexpected secret.
Write a poem about your body.
Write a poem about your worst quality.
Write a poem about someone you love.
Write a poem about the solar system.
Write a poem about language and the power of words.
Write a poem about the best dessert you ever had.
Write a poem about the feeling of a wish come true.
Write a poem about dinosaurs.
Write a poem that imagines what you would do if you were invisible.
Write a poem about power.
Write a poem about a childhood memory.
Write a poem about someone who isn’t sure where they’re going.
Write a poem about your first crush.
Write a poem about a tactile experience.
Write a poem about your favorite type of music.
Write a short, dialogue-based scene between two people who are both hiding something from each other.
Write a short, dialogue-based scene between a young child and his or her grandfather.
Write a short, dialogue-based scene between 2-4 characters who aren’t really listening to one another.
Write a short, dialogue-based scene between two friends who have just been through an exhilarating experience.
Write a short, dialogue-based scene between a pair of strangers who are waiting to be rescued after getting trapped on an elevator together.
Write a brief memoir or personal essay about an experience in a brand new location.
Write a brief memoir or personal essay about a time when you felt like you belonged somewhere.
Write a brief memoir or personal essay about a great memory with your favorite family member.
Write a brief memoir or personal essay about a formative moment you had at school.
Write a brief memoir or personal essay about something that always makes you laugh.
Reflect on sadness through the lens of an object.
Reflect on a relationship in your life through the lens of an object.
Reflect on growing up through the lens of an object.
Reflect on karma through the lens of an object.
Reflect on a mystery through the lens of an object.
Choose your own genre and write about your favorite place in the world.
Choose your own genre and write about nature.
Choose your own genre and write about the future.
Choose your own genre and write about a special family tradition.
Choose your own genre and write about your favorite book.
Choose your own genre and write about the most interesting thing you ever saw.
Choose your own genre and write about what you would do if you could travel through time.
Choose your own genre and write about learning.
Choose your own genre and write about how two people can be wildly different and totally alike at the same time.
Choose your own genre and write about the first day of a new season.
Choose your own genre and write about your parents.
Choose your own genre and write about a celebration.
Choose your own genre and write about water.
Choose your own genre and write about an important truth.
Choose your own genre and write about something you don’t understand
Write a scene starting with a regular family ritual that goes awry.
Describe exactly what you see/smell/hear/etc, right now. Include objects, people, and anything else in your immediate environment.
Suggest eight possible ways to get a ping pong ball out of a vertical pipe.
A shoe falls out of the sky. Justify why.
If your brain were a tangible, physical place, what would it be like?
Begin your writing with the phrase, “The stage was set.”
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?
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.)
Look at everyday objects in a new way and write about the stories one of these objects contains.
One person meets a stranger on a mode of transportation. Write the story that ensues.
Include something falling in your writing.
Write a short poem (or story) with the title, “We don’t know when it will be fixed.”
Write from the perspective of someone of a different gender than you.
Write a dumb internet quiz.
Finish this thought: “A perfect day in my imagination begins like this:”
Write a character’s inner monologue (what they are thinking as they go about their day).
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.
Start a story with a quote from a song.
Begin a story with, “It was the summer of ______ when ______”
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.
Start a story with the phrases “My grandparents are/were,” “My parents are/were,” or “My mother/father/parent is/was.”
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).
Walk around and write down a phrase you hear (or read). Make a story out of it.
Write using no adjectives or adverbs.
Write a character’s inner dialogue between different aspects of a character’s self (rather than an inner monologue).
Write a true story from your past that involves light or darkness in some way.
“Saying goodbye awakens us to the true nature of things.” Write something in which someone has to say goodbye and has a realization.
Begin by writing the end of the story.
Write a recipe for an intangible thing.
Write a horror story about an ordinary situation (e.g., buying groceries, going to the bank, listening to music).
Write a story from within a bubble.
Write down 2-3 short character descriptions and then write the characters in conversation with one another.
Write a story in second person.
Write a story that keeps contradicting itself.
Write about a character with at least three big problems.
Write something that takes place on a Friday, the 13th (of any month).
Write a story which starts with someone eating a pickle and potato sandwich.
Write a short script where the plot has to do with evil dolls trying to take over something.
Write about writers’ block.
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.
Write a children’s story that is insanely inappropriate but can’t use graphic language, curses, or violence.
List five careers. Write about someone with one of those careers who wants to quit it.
Write down a list of murder methods. Choose one at random from the list to use in a story.
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).
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
Write a story involving at least one of these methods.
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!”).
Write starting with a word that sounds like “chute” (e.g. “chute,” “shoot,” “shooed”).
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”).
Write down a paragraph each describing two wildly different settings. Write a story involving both settings.
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.
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”).
Borrow a character from some other form of media (or create your own). Write from that character’s perspective.
Write for and against a non-consequential controversy (e.g., salt vs. pepper, Mac vs. PC, best kind of door).
Choose an ancestor or a person from the past to write about or to.
Write a pirate story with a twist.
Have a character talk about another character and their feelings about that other character.
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.
Think of something very complicated and long. Write a page about it using short sentences.
Write a story as a dream.
Describe around a food without ever directly naming it.
Write a monologue (one character, talking to the audience/reader) (*not* an inner monologue).
Begin a story with the phrase, “It only took five seconds to…”
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).
Write a chapter of the memoir of your life.
Look through the (physical) things you’re currently carrying with you or wearing. Write about the memories or emotions tied with each of them.
Go be in nature. Write drawing your story from your surroundings (both physical, social, and mental/emotional).
Write from the perspective of a bubble (or bubble-like creature).
A person is jogging along an asphalt road. Write a story.
Title your story (or poem, or play, etc) “Anti-_____”. Fill in the blank and write the story.
Write something that must include an animal, a mineral, and a vegetable.
Begin your writing with the phrase, “6 weeks later…”
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.
Practice your poetic imagery: overwrite a description of a character’s breakfast routine.
Write about a character (or group of characters) trying to convince another character to try something they’re scared of.
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”).
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.
Write from the point of view of your most-loved possession. What does it think of you?
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.
Write a scene in which two characters are finally hashing out a long-standing misunderstanding or disagreement.
You start receiving text messages from an unknown number. Tell the story of what happens next.
Write one character bragging to another about the story behind their new tattoo.
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.
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.
Write a story that begins in the middle of the plot’s action (en media res).
Everyone says you can never have too much of a good thing. Write a story where that isn’t true.
What do ghosts do when they’re not creating mischief? Write about the secret lives of ghosts.
Every year, you dread the last week of April. Write a story about why.
Write a story about what it would be like to have an animal sidekick in real life.
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.
“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.
Write a story about a secret room.
You find a message in a bottle with very specific directions. Write a story about the adventure you embark upon.
“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.
Forcing people into prolonged proximity can change and deepen relationships. Write about characters on a road trip together.
In music, sonata form includes three main parts: exposition, development, and recapitulation. Write a short story that follows this format.
Begin writing with a character saying, “I’m afraid this simply can’t wait.”
Write a story with a happy ending (either happily-ever-after or happy-for-now).
Write about a character before and after a tragedy in that character’s life.
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.
“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).
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.
You’ve been called to the principal’s office for bad behavior. You know what you did. Explain and justify yourself.
A character discovers their sibling owns a cursed object. Write about what happens next.
Write a character description by writing a list of items that would be on a scavenger hunt about them.
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.
You find strange, muddy footprints leading up to your front door.
A stranger sits down next to you on a train and gets up, leaving a package behind. Do you investigate the package?
You hear news of your next-door neighbor vanishing without a trace.
One day the national news channel shuts off. And the next day after that, too.
One day at work, you look across the street to see a hooded figure in a black coat pointing directly at you. What do they want?
You stumble upon a strange house you’ve never seen before on your morning run.
You get a text message from an unknown number saying, “Meet me outside. Now.”
Your parents tell you that they actually don’t know whose child you are.
Someone puts a large black box on your doorstep. A note on the front reads, “Caution: may bite.”
You wake up to discover a completely different, unknown face staring back at you from the mirror.
The protagonist of your story discovers that there is a person who looks exactly like him.
An international spy group recruits you to be their latest member.
You begin to realize that your reflection is no longer appearing in mirrors.
You aunt passes away, leaving you $500,000 in her will under the condition that you resume care for your hundred-year-old home.
Your best friend tells you that she feels like someone’s been watching her. The next day she goes missing.
Three words: Long lost brother.
The day of your wedding, you wake up to find every person in your wedding party has been brutally murdered.
The FBI begs you to come back to work on a special case. Your former partner has turned and is now wanted for the murders of three co-workers.
Local gravestones begin disappearing.
You can solve murders simply by stepping foot at the crime scene. Problem is, no one believes you.
Write a short story where the protagonist has a doppelganger.
Your fingers tensed around the object in your pocket, ready to pull it out at a moment’s notice.
You’re sitting by a window watching the flakes slowly and silently fall. Suddenly, you see something outside that snaps you out of your reverie.
You’re at a huge store scouting out Black Friday deals. You start to notice that all the security cameras in the store seem to be following your each and every move.
You work for the CIA who send you undercover in the FBI, who send you undercover in M16, who send you undercover in the CIA, who are very confused that you are back after only two weeks.
A terrorist group has been infiltrated by so many agencies that it is now run by spies, unbeknownst to the spies themselves. This fact becomes apparent to an actual extremist who joins their ranks.
Ever since childhood, a dark figure no one else can see has been following you around, whispering in your ear. Today you see it lying a few feet away, screaming and asking you to run.
You’ve lived an average life up until today, your 20th birthday. You just found out that your dad is the runaway son of a doting criminal warlord, and your mom is the daughter of an equally doting secret agent. Both family businesses are looking to make you the next heir.
She has been walking for hours. Her feet are starting to bleed. But she can’t stop moving… she can’t let him find her again.
The morning after a blizzard you make your way outside and slowly start to realize everyone has disappeared.
You find a hand-written note on your windshield that says, “Drive west for 100 miles.”
You wake up in a jail cell, crusted blood covering your hands. You have no idea how you got there. The cell door clangs open, and an officer walks you to interrogation room where two detectives wait to question you.
You walk into your job and find a secret, coded note pinned to your desk. What do you do next?
Guard this with your life.
A loved one confides in you, but the secret could damage someone else you care about. What do you do?
As you’re browsing through a rack of sweaters, someone approaches you and says, “I need you to listen to me very carefully.”
Write a short dark comedy in which a long-unsolved mystery is finally cracked.
They say a picture is worth a thousand words but you knew the one you’d just taken was worth a million.
You were the oldest person still living in the town and you remembered things no one else did.
Looking through old family photos, multiple generations back, you notice there is a cat in almost every group photo. The same cat – color, pattern, one docked ear – that is currently purring on your lap.
“… and that’s why dividing by three is illegal.”
You’re a serial killer who murders anyone you see hitchhiking up your mountain. One day, you pick up a hitchhiker who kills anyone who picks them up.
You are legally allowed to commit murder once, but you must fill out the proper paperwork and your proposed victim will be notified of your intentions.
You hire two private investigators to investigate each other. One month later both come to you to present their findings.
20 years after your daughter was abducted, a detective finds you to reopen the case. The detective turns out to be your daughter.
You’re shaking hands with a stranger at a networking event when you ask for their name. “I have no name,” they reply.
As you’re paying for your groceries, you mention to the clerk, “There’s a mess in aisle 16.” They give you a puzzled look and reply, “There is no aisle 16.”
The detective didn’t realize they were being foiled by a competing detective.
The first day you opened your own office as a private investigator, you didn’t expect it to be busy. You were wrong.
You are the world’s greatest detective. With your near superhuman intellect, you have never failed to solve a case before. One day, you finally meet your match: a criminal so unbelievably stupid that you cannot possibly comprehend and predict what he’s going to do next.
Left at the altar, you decide to seek revenge on your ex.
You got ditched at the last minute before prom – who will your date be?
A stranger texts the wrong number, and accidentally sends you a declaration of love. The message is so sweet and heartfelt that you know you can’t let it go.
A divorced former couple find each other on the same flight to Paris… Sitting next to each other.
After joining an adult swim league, you realize that your coach is irresistibly cute.
Your husband accidentally sends you a text meant for his mistress.
You and a hot stranger get trapped in an elevator.
Write a love story set at the zoo.
A college professor and their teaching assistant hit it off a little too well.
You get to make one wish to create your dream romantic partner. What is it?
Two strangers on an online chat room hit it off. Turns out they’re childhood sweethearts.
A parole officer falls in love with his parolee.
After their catamaran crashes, a husband and wife on their anniversary trip are left marooned on an island in the tropics.
She’s a burgeoning lingerie model who needs her cute neighbor to take portfolio shots of her.
An alien falls in love with a forbidden human.
Desperate for cash, a med student signs up to be a nude model for a retired women’s art club.
A cutthroat business woman swore she’d never find love until her best friend sets her up on a blind date.
Two widowed people meet at a community garden.
A chef decides to embark on an international culinary tour for inspiration and falls in love with their tour guide.
A daughter tries to set her widowed father up on an online dating app – without him knowing.
A Republican presidential candidate and Democratic presidential candidate fall in love.
You are a popular book heroine’s love interest. You now have 60 seconds to convince them that saving the city is more important than saving you.
The love of your life is your brother’s nemesis.
You fall in love with every person you make eye contact with.
You’re a mail order bride arriving at her new home for the first time.
After you move to a new city, you fall in love with your realtor while buying a new house.
You realize that you’ve fallen out of love with your new wife while you’re on your honeymoon.
You and your best friends decide to try a new dating app for the first time.
At your friend’s urging, you begrudgingly attend a Valentine’s Day speed dating event.
Every day, you return to your apartment and say, “Honey, I’m home. Oh wait, that’s right… I live alone.” But then one day, a voice replies, “I picked up some pizza.”
Cupid offers to shoot an arrow into the person you love. He warns you that if the person already has a pre-existing affection towards you, it will disappear when the arrow strikes.
You meet your doppelganger of the opposite sex and find you are strangely attracted to each other.
Write a romantic comedy. Difficulty: both lovers are emotionally mature and have excellent communication skills.
In the future, romantic attraction is literal: each person is fitted with an electromagnetic bracelet which, they claim, will pull you to your soulmate. It’s the day they turn the magnets on, and you’re waiting.
A fortune teller falls in love with their client who has their palm read every month.
It wasn’t love at first sight. But now you were starting to see them in a new light…
Someone with anxiety falls in love with someone extremely adventurous.
The lives of two people are changed forever when they coincidentally meet and engage in a weekend-long affair.
They lived in a world where PDA is forbidden. One day, they slipped up and held hands on the street.
Two characters who are perfect for one another are foiled by bad timing.
Two mortal enemies fall in love when they’re trapped in an elevator together and begin to see the other person’s perspective.
Valentine’s Day at a retirement home.
Well, that was a New Year’s Eve kiss you won’t forget any time soon.
You have the ability to make anyone fall in love with you. You’ve just fallen in love for the first time. Do you use your power?
You and your partner finally have the most romantic vacation planned. Problem is, your in-laws decided to tag along at the last minute.
You never would have guessed that in 48 hours you’d be married.
A dog lover and cat lover fall in love… and must find a way to get their animals to fall in love, too.
You’ve been bumping into the same stranger for months. Finally, you decide to say hello.
They might have aged 50 years, but when they held you, those hands felt exactly like they did the first time.
An avalanche strands two mortal enemies together… and they start to fall in love.
You wake up one morning to find out that you get to move to any planet of your choosing.
Your wife is a droid.
Every day, you get one hour to revisit any moment from your life. What do you pick?
Gravity no longer exists.
You are chosen to go on the first ever recreational space journey.
After people die, their spirits can be brought back from death but at the cost of one random human life. Is it worth it?
Everyone in the world has the ability to read thoughts. Except for one person.
You have to power to build one separate planet. How do you build it? Who gets to live there?
What team do you gather to fight the largest alien and terrorist threat on Earth?
The world is dying. In order to save it, you’ve been commanded to sacrifice yourself to an invading alien group.
You are the first person able to breathe in outer space.
A rare form of cancer is the newest superbug. With a team of scientists, you all must find a cure before the population is wiped out.
Human beings begin to find themselves growing extra limbs as global warming amps up.
It turns out humans have been the aliens all along.
You are in charge of a secretive government agency that aligns people’s fates. Their livelihood is entirely up to you and what you want to do with it.
Technology becomes illegal.
All plant life on the planet is wiped out, except for in Florida.
You are one of the mechanics on the first ever self-flying airplane.
Walking through the woods one day, you come across a small animal that has the ability to instantaneously clone itself.
Your whole family has fought in the space military, but you’ve decided to no longer take part in it.
In an alternate universe where global warming has ruined the planet, you’ve spent your entire life living in an airplane on autopilot.
You’re a 15-year-old in the middle of a zombie apocalypse. However, a cure has been found that not only rids the infected person of the virus before they turn but prevents it altogether. Only one problem… Your parents are anti-vaxxers.
Nasa engineers monitor the curiosity rover’s actions. All seems normal until the robot suddenly changes its course. The scientists attempt to correct it over and over until they suddenly receive a transmission from the rover: “Will Save Oppy”
What if a nuclear submarine was ordered to launch their nuclear arsenal onto the world?
What if the world we live in is actually a computer simulation?
What if the past and present timelines began to merge?
What if your stepfather or stepmother is actually your future self?
What if the sun began to die?
What if the universe as we know it is actually someone’s imagination?
Everyone on earth begins to experience universal amnesia.
The year is 2200. What does the world look like to you?
In the future, we no longer require water, air, or food. We are a super efficient team of robots.
What do you think happens when the grid goes down?
Describe your perfect utopian world.
Your penpal lives on the opposite side of the universe.
Aliens who only communicate with sign language invade. To avoid war, our governments must engage a vastly marginalized portion of the human population: the hearing-impaired.
A rogue planet with strange properties collides with our sun, and after it’s all over, worldwide temperature falls forty degrees. Write from the perspective of a someone trying to keep his tropical fruit trees alive.
Ever read about the world’s loneliest whale? Write a story in which he’s actually the survivor of an aquatic alien species which crashed here eons ago, and he’s trying very hard to learn the “local” whale language so he can fit in. Write from his perspective the first time he makes contact.
An alien planet starts receiving bizarre audio transmissions from another world (spoiler: they’re from Earth). What does it mean? Are they under attack? Some think so…until classic rock ‘n’ roll hits the airwaves, and these aliens discover dancing. Write from the perspective of the teenaged alien who first figures it out.
Take anything we find normal today (shopping malls, infomercials, products to remove facial hair, etc.) and write a story from the perspective of an archeologist five thousand years in the future who just unearthed this stuff, has NO idea what any of it was for, and has to give a speech in an hour explaining the historical/religious/sociological significance.
House cats are aliens who have succeeded in their plan to rule the world. Discuss.
A high schooler from fifteen hundred years in our future is assigned a one-page writing project on a twenty-first century person’s life based entirely on TV commercials. Write the beginning of the essay.
Time travel works, but only once in a person’s life. Write from the perspective of someone who chooses to go back in time, knowing they can never return. Where do they go and why?
So yeah, ancient Egypt really was “all that” after all, and the pyramids turn out to be fully functional spaceships (the limestone was to preserve the electronics hidden inside). Write from the perspective of the tourist who accidentally turns one on.
Ten years from now, scientists figure out how to stop human aging and extend life indefinitely—but every time someone qualifies for that boost, someone else has to die to keep the surplus population in check. Oh, it’s all very humane; one’s descendants get a huge paycheck. Write from the perspective of someone who just got a letter in the mail saying they’re the one who has to die.
In the future, neural implants translate music into physical pleasure, and earphones (“jacking in”) are now the drug of choice. Write either from the perspective of a music addict, OR the Sonforce agent (sonance + enforcer) who has the job of cracking down.
It’s the year 5000. Our planet was wrecked in the great Crisis of 3500, and remaining human civilization survives only in a half dozen giant domed cities. There are two unbreakable rules: strict adherence to Life Quality (recycling doesn’t even begin to cover these laws), and a complete ban on reproduction (only the “worthy” are permitted to create new humans). Write from the perspective of a young woman who just discovered she’s been chosen to reproduce—but she has no interest in being a mother.
In the nineteenth century, there’s a thriving trade in stolen archeological artifacts. Write a story from the perspective of an annoyed, minimum-wage employee whose job is traveling back in time to obtain otherwise unobtainable artifacts, then has to bring them back to the present (the 1800s, that is) and artificially age them before they will sell.
Steampunk! Write a story from the perspective of a hot air balloon operator who caters to folks who like a little thrill… which means she spends half her time in the air shooting down pterodactyls before the paying customers get TOO scared.
Creation myth! Write from the perspective of a crazy scientist in the year 28,000 who, determined to discover how the universe began, rigs up a malfunctioning time machine, goes to the “beginning” of the universe, and ends up being the reason for the Big Bang. (Logic? Causal effect? Pfft. Hush, it’s time-travel, and that was never logical.)
A mysterious creature speaks to you in your dreams and tells you that when you awake, you will have the ability to see into another realm.
Your pet dragon transforms into a person.
You are gifted with the strongest, most elusive sword in the kingdom, but if you use it you will never be able to speak again.
A magical world exists underground. To get there, you’ll need to start digging.
You wake up and find out that you’re the only living person left on the planet.
On her deathbed, your grandmother tells you that there’s a hidden treasure buried in her backyard. The family has been trying to locate it for decades. It’s up to you to finally find it.
The ocean becomes the sky.
You must save your kingdom from ruin by learning how to breathe fire.
You have the power to read the lost language, making you the only person to decipher the scroll.
Fairies are tired of being used for free labor.
Your favorite fairy tale is now set in 2019.
You are kidnapped by a knight who demands your assistance in sleighing the city’s most dangerous dragon.
A man and his wife own the largest potion store in town. Little do the townspeople know, but they’re all being slowly poisoned by the potions.
A magical toad begins talking to you, but you’re the only person who can hear him.
You come into possession of a ring that can change the weather to whatever you decide.
You’re selected to take part in a secretive, underground magic university… but you have to kill someone to go.
You wake up to find yourself a member of King Arthur’s Round Table.
An underwater society decides to overtake the world.
Regular person by day, a shape shifter by night.
Satan puts you in charge of Hell.
You are the king. After your daughter was kidnapped by a dragon, you offered the standard reward to whoever rescued her. You weren’t expecting a different dragon to rescue her.
A woman has been dating guy after guy, but it never seems to work out. She’s unaware that she’s actually been dating the same guy over and over; a shapeshifter who’s fallen for her and is certain he’s going to get it right this time.
The cocky main character of a popular book is sent to the real world. He is shocked to find that the fans of his book not only like the villain more but favor his side kick over him.
You’re an immortal who lives at a beach resort. You have many summer flings with mortals on getaways. One day you see someone you had a hot romantic night with 50 years ago. They look exactly the same.
The stars have been watching you your whole life, as you laughed and cried, loved and suffered. Today, you’re finally going to do something that none of them can bear to watch. They blink out, the whole night sky turning dark, just as you’re about to do it.
A lord takes a fancy to a peasant girl and kidnaps her for his own. Little does he know that she’s a trained assassin who has been preparing to take his life for years.
You are the last person on Earth, and you are able to make one wish. What do you wish for?
You and your family are on a hike when you stumble upon a group of witches in the forest, in the midst of casting spells.
You have the power to transform into whatever mystical creature you choose.
You and your ghost best friend are an infamous crime-solving team.
No, there’s absolutely no way that ghosts are real. Sure, you just saw a mysterious fuzzy figure you appear before you in your house, but that had to be your imagination… right?
You’re the one human who is capable of seeing ghosts. It’s up to you to save them from being removed from the human world for good.
You were born to be a villain, but you find yourself leaning more and more towards the good as you get older.
Spend some time working on world building. How can you create a believable fantasy world that readers can picture clearly? What types of characters does your world include?
Dream up your own, one-of-a-kind mythical race.
You and your adventurous crew on a quest for the old King’s hidden gold. Just one problem – so is the rest of your village.
10 cm of snow had fallen overnight, just as the weatherman predicted. The only thing is… the snow isn’t white.
You start realizing that at least one aspect of every dream you have comes true the next day.
You can buy a pill that lets you decide exactly what you will dream about while you sleep.
You find a polaroid camera that seems to predict the future: its pictures show what will happen exactly 5 minutes from the moment you take them.
You were on your way to see a doctor who promised to know the secret to making yourself fall out of love with someone.
Write a story that includes a character hearing their fate by a fortune teller.
As a joke, you put on a tinfoil hat. Suddenly your mind goes completely silent.
Silence is now literally golden. For every day of total silence a person completes, they receive a piece of gold.
A new candy had been invented that allowed the person who ate it to relive any memory they wanted. There was a lineup outside the shop.
It’s 1AM at night. But the sun is out.
You wake up 10 years younger. What do you do?
I wish I could skip next week, you think as you get into bed that night. In the morning, you wake up 100 years in the future. (Reesy)
They found out about us. They’re coming. They were the words the kingdom had feared hearing for thousands of years.
A group of scientists on a submarine are alarmed when they spot what looks like a functioning lighthouse at the bottom of the ocean.
You’re chasing your dream of being the first person to fly.
Coffee is illegal and you have to single handedly smuggle it into the country.
You have to get to the bottom of your family’s deepest secret.
What was the strangest thing you’ve ever seen in public?
Detail the life of the person who inspires you the most.
Imagine what would happen if you woke up one morning unable to see, speak, or hear.
Think about what you are most proud of. Follow the story of how you got to that point.
By way of a lottery system, the king chooses you to be his queen.
Use five points of view to describe one situation.
Describe the life of a struggling author attempting to make it “big.”
Tell the story of one woman on the mission to find her lost biological daughter.
Your dream is to open a restaurant and be a top chef, but how can you do that when you were born without taste buds?
You’ve just returned home from war only to find your family missing without a trace.
A famous shoe designer asks you to quit your job and be his latest model.
You have the power to create, and star in, your own reality show. What does it look like?
The dark family secret that’s always been hidden comes to light.
As an 80-year-old, you decide to finally learn how to swim so you can participate in a triathlon.
Write a scene detailing your greatest fear. Now imagine that has come true for your character.
What’s the greatest advice you’ve ever been given? What if you lived solely according to it?
You live in a world with no stress and fear.
Death has been flirting with you for a long time, but they’ve become a bit annoying. After another attempting to hang out with you again, you jokingly tell them, “If I was the last person on Earth, I’d maybe give you a chance.” Death believes you and will double their efforts.
When people are born, they are assigned a soulmate. They have a song in their head that only them and their soulmate know. How do you find your soulmate?
Write a story about a character waking up to something absurd.
Write a story about a character waking up to the best news of their life.
Write a short story with an unreliable narrator that readers can never quite trust.
Write a short story in which the main “character” is the setting: for example, a house.
Write a story about someone who would be described, above all else, as honest. Or kind. Or intelligent.
Using only dialogue, write a short story about a first date, a reunion between old friends, an argument that gets heated, an adult explaining something to a child, or the reveal of a long-hidden secret.
Imagine telling the story of a professional hypnotizer.
Tell a story through text messages.
Tell the story of what you would do if you won the lottery.
Write your own obituary.
Tell a story from your favorite era.
Imagine how you would help solve the greatest challenges that the world faces. What would your plan be?
What would a world be like with no poverty? What would change? What would stay the same?
Tell the story of the first time that you learned to do something really well.
Imagine what it would be like to be a pop star.
Tell a story through song.
Write from the perspective of your worst enemy.
Tell a story using only one sense – seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling, or touching.
After years on the job search, you’ve finally gotten your dream job – but it changes you for the worst.
You own a tiny mom and pops-type store that you run with your family.
The worst thing that you could imagine happening happens.
You’re the judge of the annual pie contest in your hometown but, unbeknownst to you, one of the pies is poisoned.
You go on a road trip to visit your late father’s grave.
Tell the story of seeing the ocean for the first time. Or the last.
You’re allergic to oxygen.
Imagine what would happen if every person in the world woke up in a good mood every day.
You’re put in charge of taking care of your elderly grandmother towards the end of her life.
You get one chance to talk to any person in the world. Who do you choose?
What makes you believe in God?
God speaks directly to you – what does He say?
What do you find to be most beautiful in the world?
You get to build a religion of your own. What do you make it into?
You must live every single day according to a holy text of your choice. What happens?
Explore what it means to be religious versus spiritual.
What helps you meditate?
What is the greatest wisdom that you would like to impart on the world?
Who is one religious figure you would like to have dinner with? What do you talk to them about?
Describe your idea of heaven.
Detail your favorite story in the holy text of your choosing.
You live in a world where no Gods exist.
What does karma mean to you?
What would your ideal world look like?
You have the power to make every single person in the world ether religious or nonreligious. What do you do? What changes about the world?
What makes you a religious or spiritual person?
Describe what a church means to you. Have you had positive or negative experiences in a church?
Write a poem about your religious path in life.
Write a religious comedy.
What happens when a priest decides he doesn’t want to be a priest anymore?
Think about what morality means to you.
What is the difference in good versus evil? How do you know?
How does one know what is innately good?
What makes you religious?
What makes you non religious?
Put yourself in the shoes of someone who has completely opposite spiritual or religious views from you. Why do they think a certain way?
Describe what your childhood views in spirituality or religion were.
What do you hope your religious or spirituality path to look like as you age?
How would you advise someone to strengthen their faith?
If you could talk to God, what would you want to say?
The Southern Baptist Convention elects its first woman president, though she is subsequently removed from the position due to an obscure rule. In protest, every woman leaves the Southern Baptist denomination to form an independent, women-only sect of Baptists.
God needs a vacation from heaven, so he comes to earth to experience life as a dog. He is captured by animal control and is impounded, and you adopt god-the-dog after a tragedy that makes you question your faith.
An opiate addict going through severe withdrawal symptoms has a conversation with the Buddha – what did they talk about, and was it the result of a fever dream, or a spiritual awakening?
You record a video that seemingly shows a woman walking on water at a small rural pond. The video goes viral as proof that Jesus has returned, and Christians begin to wonder if Christ was the Daughter, not the Son, of God.
A secular Jew and a devout Muslim debate food and faith on a train from Quebec to Montreal.
What are your personal ten commandments?
When was a specific moment where you felt a “divine presence” in your life?
Have you ever felt like you’ve experienced a glimpse into the afterlife?
What form do you think the afterlife will take, if you believe that it exists?
Have you ever had an out of body experience?
William Blake, famous British poet, thought that to love was to be in tune with the divine. Do you think this is true? How have you experienced divine love?
How have you experienced the divine through love?
Emanuel Swedenborg believed that there was a soulmate for every person, and that you couldn’t get into heaven until your soul mate had also passed away. Do you believe in the concept of soul mates?
Do you believe in reincarnation?
What would reincarnation look like to you?
Some religions believe that animals and plants have souls. Do you agree with this? Why or why not?
Describe a particularly spiritual moment in your life. What were you doing? Were you by yourself or with someone else?
What is your most taboo religious belief?
Some religions believe that human beings could never truly represent a higher power in art. Do you agree with this? What is an example of art or words that you feel represent the higher power?
What are your thoughts on love languages?
Write about your favorite vacation.
What culture interests you the most?
You get lost in a foreign city with no cell phone and no money. What do you do?
Your favorite chef asks you to join them on a culinary tour of the world.
What country have you always dreamt of traveling to?
What’s your dream vacation?
Tell the story of the worst traveling experience of your life.
A country of your choosing fuses with North America.
You and your best friends go on a road trip across America, with no budget and for however long you want.
You are asked to review a luxury hotel on the beach.
You are forced to leave your home and move to a remote foreign country. What do you pack with you?
What about traveling excites you?
Go back in time to the era of your choosing and describe how you live.
Rate your top five favorite places in the world. What do you like about each place? What do you dislike?
If you could have any travel-related job in the world, what would it be?
You and your partner are kidnapped on your honeymoon.
Describe a 100-day walking journey around your state.
Imagine if you had never left your home in your entire life and then were forced to go outside and never come back to your house.
What do you say to your family in a postcard from a new location?
Describe what it’s like to sit in rush hour traffic in one of the busiest cities in the world.
A journey to a new location is disrupted by natural disaster.
Describe what it’s like to travel with a crippling fear of airplanes.
What is it that you love about traveling? Explore that feeling.
What is frightening about traveling? Explore that feeling.
What stories would you most like to share about the town that you’re from?
You have the opportunity to move anywhere in the world. Where do you choose?
Explore what your travels in Asia have been like.
Explore what your travels in Europe have been like.
Explore what your travels in South America have been like.
Explore what your travels in North America have been like.
Explore what your travels in Africa have been like.
What is the most unusual place you’d like to travel?
What do you think is most misunderstood about the culture of your home country?
What cultural norms are you most interested in exploring from foreign countries?
Describe the foreign foods that you most want to try.
Imagine that you are a successful chef in a foreign city.
Describe a time when you have been excited to explore a new place.
What is the most beautiful image that you have ever seen while traveling?
You get to go to any museum in the world. Which one do you choose?
What is your greatest horror story from traveling?
What is your happiest story from traveling?
Picture yourself on a foreign vacation with a person of your choosing. What do you do?
If you had to move to a foreign country tomorrow, what five items would you pack with you?
Set the scene for a beautiful beach that you have never traveled to.
Set the scene for a gorgeous castle that you have never traveled to.
A three day visit to Budapest becomes a maritime adventure down the Danube River to the Black Sea.
You are a sales representative for a roulette table manufacturer. While visiting the Harrah’s Cherokee Casino for work, you decide to discard all your possessions, cash out your minimal savings, and hike the Mountains-to-Sea trail from Clingmans Dome to the Ocracoke Lighthouse.
While en route to visit your college roommate in Kyoto, Japan you meet a stranger at Tan Son Nhat International Airport who needs your help finding a prophetic monk hiding from persecution in Saigon.
You have to make it from Cairo to Alexandria (Egypt). You have no money. Your only mode of transport is a temperamental camel.
In a high-stakes game of poker in the French Quarter, you wagered your soul to a voodoo doctor on a pretty bad hand. The only way to null the bet is to find a woman in Port-au-Prince, Haiti who has an item – the only item – the man is willing to trade for.
You wake up to a world in which all prisons are shut down, releasing dangerous prisoners into your neighborhood.
A masked stranger appears at your front door with a knife.
A random number texts you saying, “Don’t forget, you’re next.”
Someone knocks at your door. You open it to find your deceased grandfather who has come back from the dead to pay you a visit. What does he want?
Animals take over the world.
Strange murmuring sounds being to come from the door that leads to your basement.
While watching the evening news, the anchor looks directly at the camera and begins screaming before the camera cuts to black.
A polar vortex freezes the entire planet.
Whatever building you enter, you can see all of the people who died there.
You wake up in a strange room, tied to a chair, with a single knife on the floor pointed at you.