23 Writing Prompts That Ask What If?

What-If Writing Prompts.

What-If Writing Prompts.

Some of the best poems and stories ask the age old question, “What if…?”

The phrase “what if?” is a writing prompt in its own right. Pause to contemplate it for a few minutes, and pretty soon, your mind will produce a host of scenarios that engage your imagination and spark plenty of writing ideas.

Today’s writing prompts use the what-if premise to ignite a writing session. Read More

Journal Prompts to Tickle Your Funny Bone

journal prompts

Journal prompts to make you laugh.

Have you ever tried to write comedy? It’s not easy.

Artists are often regarded as a tortured bunch. From drug-addled rock stars to alcohol-infused writers, we’re all known for madness and melancholy.

But comics form the ranks of some of the most talented artists in the world. The gift of laughter is a rich one, and writing funny material can enrich your work.

After all, art must reflect life and life is a balance of highs and lows. So for today’s journal prompts, we’re going to work on humor. Read More

25 Story Starters for Writing Fiction

story starters

Get creative with these story starters.

Are you a storyteller? Do you want to be a storyteller?

If you’re interested in writing flash fiction, short stories, or novels, then you’re going to need lots of ideas, especially if you want to write professionally.

Some of us have too many ideas; others don’t have enough ideas. Maybe we have a solid idea for a story, but something’s missing. We need to spice it up by adding subplots or characters. Maybe the setting or story world isn’t rich enough. Perhaps your story lacks theme.

Story starters are a great way to get ideas for writing stories, but they can also be used to generate ideas for improving stories that are already in the works.

Story Starters

Today, I’d like to share twenty-five story starters. Read More

Family-Inspired Poetry Prompts

poetry prompts

Poetry prompts inspired by family.

Writers are always looking for new ideas. Sometimes we look so far and wide for inspiration that we’re oblivious to what’s right in front of us.

They say, “You can pick your friends, but you can’t pick your family.” In life, we are presented with many choices, but family is not one of them. It’s pretty much luck of the draw.

That’s why family provides excellent inspiration for writing. Read More

Fiction Writing Prompts for Romance and Love Stories

Fiction writing prompts

Fiction writing prompts for lovers.

The biggest selling books in the world are nonfiction and children’s books, but in the adult fiction categories, romance tops the list, outselling every other genre. And romance readers are voracious — I’ve heard that many romance readers consume a book a day.

The main rule of the romance genre is the happy ending. These stories tend to conclude with a couple figuratively walking into the sunset, hand-in-hand.

But not all real-life or fictional love stories end with a happy couple. Romeo and Juliet immediately springs to mind as a love story with a tragic ending. Even though it’s a wildly romantic tale, we’d never put it in the romance category because it doesn’t have the requisite happy ending.

I have to admit, I think it’s sort of bizarre that we’ve created an entire genre of storytelling where the ending is basically guaranteed. But many romance novels aren’t exclusively about romance. Cross-genre stories meld romance with science fiction or fantasy, and historical romances have always been popular. Some of these work very well because there’s there’s another plot running alongside the romance, and we don’t know how that secondary plot is going to end.

Amorous Fiction Writing Prompts

Today’s fiction writing prompts are designed to spark ideas for writing either a romance or a love story. Some of these prompts encourage you cross genres.

  1. Two characters are at odds with each other because they want the same thing, but only one of them can have it. The thing they want could be a job, winning a contest or sporting event, or they could be on separate quests for a priceless artifact. How do these two end up falling in love, and how does the competition affect their romance?
  2. Explore a relationship between two people who are married for some reason other than love. Maybe they were in love when they married but now they’re not. Maybe they’re in an arranged marriage. Maybe they married for practical reasons, such as merging two kingdoms or a shared political or business goal.
  3. Write a story about a human character falling in love with an alien or magical creature that is not human.
  4. The idea of casting a love spell on someone is unethical because it takes away that person’s free will. The love is therefore not real. Write a story about a character who casts a love spell on another character.
  5. What happens when characters who are mortal enemies fall in love?
  6. They say love is blind, and it makes people do strange things. Write about a character who is blinded by love or who does strange or dangerous things for the object of his or her desire.
  7. Write about a relationship that is genuine and passionate but doesn’t work out in the end, either because tragedy strikes or because circumstances separate the characters and they cannot be together.
  8. In biblical times, men had many wives and most marriages were arranged. Use time travel to develop a story that depicts how love, romance, and marriage have changed throughout the centuries.
  9. Love and fear: two emotions that contradict each other. Love should be safe and warm, everything that fear is not. But what happens when two people who are in love find themselves facing a devastating, life-threatening danger? Do they ultimately fend for themselves or risk their safety for each other?
  10. Write a story that examines traditional gender roles within a marriage. Traditionally, women stayed home to tend to the home and children while men were the breadwinners. What does it look like when a couple bucks these traditional roles? What if one or both wants a traditional marriage but circumstances prevent them from achieving that (maybe the woman earns more than the man, and they need her income)? What if one or both does not want a traditional marriage (maybe the man wants to tend to the home)?

I hope you enjoyed these fiction writing prompts for crafting romance and love stories. Let us know how these worked out for you by leaving a comment, and keep writing!

Creative Writing Prompts

Top Secret Fiction Writing Prompts

Fiction writing prompts filled with secrets.

Fiction writing prompts filled with secrets.

“Ssh, don’t tell anyone. Put it in the vault!”

Most of us have had those very words whispered into our ears. In fact, most of us have probably whispered those words into someone else’s ear.

They say everyone has a secret. I don’t know if that’s true, but I do know that secrets sure pique people’s curiosity.

And if you can capture a reader’s curiosity, you’ll have them hooked.

That’s the essence of today’s fiction writing prompts.

The Power of Secrets

Don’t your ears perk up just a little bit when you hear the word secret? And don’t you get all quiet and attentive when someone says, “I have a secret to tell you?” Secrets are powerful. They imply mystery and drama; they evoke suspense and build tension; and they capture people’s attention. Most importantly, they keep readers turning the pages.

Secrets can be integral to a plot, but usually the secrets belong exclusively to characters. In fact, sometimes a secret will shape a character’s personality. How would keeping a secret for decades impact a person’s behavior? What kind of secret would weigh on someone’s conscience? How do the other characters view someone who can’t keep a secret?

There are big secrets and little secrets, important ones and silly ones. Some secrets are cliché (she had a baby and gave it up for adoption) and others are funny (one time, at band camp…).

The best secrets are surprising. I’m not talking about the sitcom variety of the overheard misunderstanding, where one character overhears another and gets the wrong idea. I’m talking about secrets that, when revealed, make readers’ jaws drop.

Secretive Fiction Writing Prompts

Think about the secrets in books like The Da Vinci Code or in films like The Usual Suspects — secrets that shock you or make you think about the world in new ways. Try to come up with some interesting secrets for your fiction. Use the fiction writing prompts below to write a scene, a whole story, or to come up with some really great character traits or plot twists.

  1. A character is harboring a secret that is preventing him or her from fulfilling a true desire.
  2. Two characters share a secret, but it’s not what everyone thinks it is.
  3. It’s an old family secret, and there’s only one person alive who knows about it. Will he or she take it to the grave?
  4. There’s a secret and everyone knows about it except one particular character and it happens to affect that character the most.
  5. There is a small group of people who meet in secret at regular intervals.
  6. A character has a secret, and if anyone found out, it would destroy his or her life.
  7. One character discovers another character’s shocking, sad, or terrible secret.
  8. A character thinks he or she has a very private secret, but most of the people close to him or her know about it.
  9. A character knows a secret that would destroy one person’s life but save the life of another person.
  10. There is a secret that would affect everyone on the planet, but only a small, elite group of characters know about it.

Tips for Writing Secrets Into Your Fiction

Writing secrets into your story can make it a lot more exciting, and you can conjure up secrets whenever a character seems flat or the plot is thinning out. But you have to be careful with secrets. Here are a few final tips for writing secrets into your fiction:

  • Avoid common or stereotypical secrets unless you can give them a really intriguing twist. Examples: sordid affairs, the family member you never knew you had, the person who went to prison but didn’t commit the crime, etc.
  • Usually, the audience gets in on the secret before a key character does, but don’t let it out too early. If you can, reveal the secret over time and make it a guessing game for the reader to figure out.
  • If you build a lot of tension, you better have a secret that delivers. There’s nothing worse than a lot of buildup for something like “I’m the one who broke your favorite snow globe in second grade.” Try to come up with a real doozy.

Tell Me Your Secrets

If you have any secrets (real or made up), feel free to leave them in the comments, or post a secret from a novel or a film that you thought was especially clever.

Have fun with today’s top secret fiction writing prompts (how could you not?), and keep writing!

If you have any fiction writing prompts to share, feel free to post them in the comments.

Creative Writing Prompts

Journal Prompts for the Fearless and Fearful

journal prompts

Journal prompts for facing your fears.

Fears. We all have them, and we all have to face them sooner or later.

Some people are plagued with fears that interfere with their ability to live a normal and healthy life. Others dance around their fears, cleverly avoiding those things that give them a nervous twitch. Still more people simply live day to day with minor, almost meaningless fears that are a source of mild irritation.

But how often do we sit down and ask ourselves what am I truly afraid of and why?

Today’s journal prompts might not get you over your fears, but they will certainly make you more aware of them and how they might be benefiting you or holding you back.

Fear and Courage

It’s important to note that fears are vast and numerous. Some fears seem rather silly, such as fear of tiny spiders. Others are somewhat reasonable, like fear of war or death. And there are many more fears in between — fears that are rational, irrational, dangerous, or helpful.

You could boil all fears down into two types: those that protect us and those that inhibit us.

The fears that protect us keep us safe from danger. When you’re walking alone down a dark street and hear a rustle in some nearby bushes, your fear might prompt you to cross to the other side of the street. Fears like these keep us safe, so we should heed them.

But the other fears — the ones that inhibit us — those are the ones that we can work on eliminating. We can identify them, analyze them, and finally, dismiss them and move past with a brave smile — the smile of victory.

Journal Prompts

Today’s journal prompts ask you to examine your fears. You don’t need to face them (yet). You just need to identify them and ask yourself a few questions about why you’ve acquired them and how they affect your life and your goals.

This exercise might make you a little nervous, depending on how deep your fears run and how willing you are to dig within yourself to unearth the smallest or greatest of your fears.

  1. What are five things that make you nervous or uncomfortable?
  2. What is it about each of those five things that bothers you?
  3. Where does this discomfort come from?
  4. Write down one thing that truly terrifies you. Is it keeping you safe or preventing you from living the life you want?
  5. How likely is it that you will encounter this thing?
  6. Why are you so frightened of this thing?
  7. If you did encounter this thing, what would happen next?

Try to put on a brave face as you work through these journal prompts. Good luck, be brave, and keep writing!

Got any ideas for more journal prompts? Post them in the comments!

Creative Writing Prompts

People-Inspired Writing Prompts

writing prompts

Writing prompts for people inspired by people.

There are many sources of inspiration in the universe but perhaps none as potent or pervasive as the people who inhabit it.

Naturally, we’re all greatly impacted by other people, so it stands to reason that they would inspire, inform, and ultimately, appear in our writing.

The people with whom we have relationships affect us emotionally, intellectually, and spiritually. Whether it’s a lover, child, friend, stranger, or nemesis, other people provide compelling and meaningful inspiration for our writing.

Writing Prompts

Today’s writing prompts are designed to help you think about the people who have impacted your life. You can use these prompts in any way that feels comfortable for you. Write a poem, a story, an essay, or a private journal entry. Let the words flow, and try to connect emotionally with whatever you’re writing.

  1. They say it’s better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all. Who have you loved and lost?
  2. Too often, writers are more motivated by heartache than by joy (all those broken-hearted poems and love songs!). Write about a love that is not stained by pain, betrayal, or heartbreak — one that is happy and healthy.
  3. Then again, heartbreak is part of life and often full of many lessons. It is worth writing about.
  4. Some relationships aren’t simple enough to be classified as painful or joyous. Writing about a complex relationship is…well, complex. Give it a shot.
  5. It’s possible to have a relationship with someone you’ve never met — a historical figure, a hero, maybe even a fictional character. Many people these days also have relationships (of sorts) with celebrities they admire (leaders and entertainers, for examples).
  6. Most of us have had an enemy of some kind, whether it was a bully on the playground, a nasty co-worker, or someone who caused us or our loved ones great pain and suffering. These people make great models for villains in our stories.
  7. Have you ever encountered a stranger who roused your curiosity? Not someone you found attractive, just a person who drew your attention. If you never had the chance to get to know that stranger, you’ll have to use your imagination.

Did you find these writing prompts helpful? Which did you choose? What did you write? Have you ever used writing prompts to inspire writing sessions? Leave a comment, and keep writing!

Creative Writing Prompts

Creative Writing Prompts Inspired by the Seasons

creative writing prompts

Celebrate the seasons with these creative writing prompts.

Writers and artists, and human beings in general, have always been inspired by the cycle of nature. The seasons provide a rotating backdrop for our lives. They mark the passage of time, and they represent change–moving on and letting go.

A season can provide a setting for your story or the subject for your poem. Seasons can function as metaphors. They can bring challenges for characters in the form of severe weather and natural disasters. Even the absence of seasons will affect a piece of writing.

On a tropical island, the weather doesn’t change much. Seasons barely exist in some places, and that shapes the rhythm of life there. On the other hand, in more common climates, seasons dictate daily life: plant in the spring and harvest in the fall.

Today’s creative writing prompts look to the seasons for inspiration. All of these writing prompts come from my book, 1200 Creative Writing Prompts. Enjoy!

Creative Writing Prompts

All writers get stuck. Call it writer’s block, lack of inspiration, or absence of the muse. Sometimes, ideas just don’t come easily. That’s when creative writing prompts and other writing exercises can keep your creativity going.

These prompts are an accessible way to jump-start a writing session when you’re fresh out of ideas. Use these creative writing prompts to write a poem or a story, jot down a few thoughts in your journal, or compose a blog post.


  • A woman is walking alone on a beach in the summer twilight (or at dawn) when something happens that completely changes her life.
  • The heat is sweltering and everybody’s indoors. The lucky ones have air conditioners. Everybody’s trying to stay cool. Write a poem about what it feels like at the height of a scorching summer.
  • Use all of the following words in a poem: lemonade, cotton, fish, taffy, ripe, saltwater, blackberry.
  • A single mother leaves her two teenage children home alone for the summer.


  • The leaves turned gold and amber, and then they drifted to the ground. We raked them into mounds then leaped and landed.
  • The protagonist is raking leaves on the lawn. He or she pauses for a breath and glances at the neighbors’ lawn. They never rake their leaves, the protagonist thinks, and their dog is always using my yard as a latrine. The protagonist decides to do something about these inconsiderate neighbors.
  • Halloween is just around the corner, and the protagonist has a lot do this year: candy, costumes, and pumpkin carving. The house smells like apples and caramel. While making preparations, he or she looks outside and sees something astonishing.
  • There’s a quiet cracking sound, and then an apple falls, twirling to the ground below and bruising itself against the hard earth.


  • While shopping in a department store during the holidays, a child is separated from his or her parents and discovers a portal to a winter wonderland.
  • All the kids are looking forward to their winter break. There’s a school-sponsored ski trip, and one girl is aching to go so she can try snowboarding for the first time.
  • Puppies and kittens aren’t always born in spring. This winter, a special puppy is born, one that will change people’s lives. Write this story for children.
  • Even though it’s freezing outside, people are out and about, bundled up and chattering among themselves. Write a poem about pedestrians in the winter.


  • It’s the last snowfall of the year. What do you do? Go sledding? Build a snowman? Head to the pond for some ice skating?
  • A young girl and her mother walk to the edge of a field, kneel down in the grass, and plant a tree.
  • Write a poem using the following image: someone standing in a doorway, soaking wet, with rain pouring in the background.

Be Imaginative and Have Fun with These Creative Writing Prompts!

If you use any of these creative writing prompts, come back and tell us how they worked for you. Feel free to make up your own seasonal creative writing prompts and leave them in the comments. And keep writing.

Creative Writing Prompts

Artistically Inspired Journal Prompts

journal prompts

Get artistically inspired with these journal prompts.

We, the people of the arts, feed off each other.

A painter is inspired by a song. A musician is inspired by a novel. A photographer is inspired by a sculpture.

So we come full circle by inspiring one another.

Journal prompts are a useful tool for getting inspired. When you want to write but find yourself without any ideas, you might think your muse has gone MIA, but ideas abound. You need only look to the arts, where there is a whole world of inspiration waiting to move you (and your pen).

Journal Prompts Inspired By the Arts

These journal prompts get you thinking about the arts and entertainment from a fresh perspective. Instead of sitting back and taking it in, look for new ideas in the art that you experience. With these prompts, you can enjoy a session of journal writing while thinking about the broader community of artists.

  • Art is all around. You can purchase books packed with images of art. You can visit museums and galleries. You can simply surf the web in search of paintings and sculptures. Choose a piece of art that speaks to you and write about it. Describe the piece. How does it make you feel? What details give it power or make it captivating?
  • Music makes the world go round. Listen to your old favorites or explore some brand new music. Choose a song or album that you have a visceral response to. Maybe it makes you want to dance, laugh, or cry. Write about it. Is it soft and tender? Hard and brash? Hip and groovy? What moves you? The lyrics? The melody? The rhythm?
  • Film is one of the greatest forms of entertainment. The audience gets to sit back and snack on junk food while the movie plays and takes us on a wild ride through someone else’s life. We all have our favorite films. What are yours and why? What do you love most about them? The characters? The plot? The special effects?
  • Literature is a writer’s home. This is where we eat, sleep, and breathe. And where would we writers be today without our predecessors who, through their art, contributed to the literary canon and years of bestseller lists? Which novels or poets inspired you to become a writer? Which authors embody a voice that resonates in your soul? Which genres are you most drawn to?
  • Dance is one of the most under-appreciated art forms. Dancers are stuck somewhere between the arts and sports. But think about this: dancers get out there and do their thing and the only tools they possess are their own bodies. No pens or computers, no cameras, no paintbrushes, and no instruments. You can watch dance performances on TV, in music videos, or simply by searching through YouTube. Watch a few dance performances and then write about them. Discuss how the dance is tied to the music. Make observations about how the dancer brings the choreography to life. Compare dancing to writing. Are there similarities?

Have fun exploring these journal prompts, and keep writing!

Do you use journal prompts for your writing sessions? Do you have any favorite prompts or ideas for prompts? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment.

Creative Writing Prompts