Fiction Writing Exercises for Stimulating Creativity

fiction writing exercises

Stimulate your creativity with these fiction writing exercises.

Do you ever feel like the story you’re writing is bland? Like it needs to be spiced up? Or maybe you want to write a story but you’re fresh out of ideas.

Fiction writing exercises are perfect for toning your storytelling muscles. They can also provide you with a wealth of ideas for writing projects.

Today’s fiction writing exercises are designed to stimulate creativity and get you thinking about storytelling from fresh angles.

Stimulate Your Creativity with These Fiction Writing Exercises

Below, you’ll find a list of simple scenarios. Each one could form the basis for a story. Your job is to come up with three story premises for each scenario. Be creative and try to avoid the most obvious premises.

Let’s use the following scenario as an example:

While hiking alone in the woods, a character comes face to face with a bear.

The obvious premise might show the hiker getting attacked by the bear or dropping and rolling to avoid getting attacked by the bear, but how could you put an unexpected twist on this scenario? Maybe the bear and the hiker strike up a conversation (fantasy or children’s literature). Maybe the bear is sick and weak, so the hiker decides to nurse it back to health. Maybe the bear isn’t a bear at all. Could it be someone in a bear suit?


For each scenario below, come up with three different premises that could be used to build a story. Try to stretch your story premises across a range of genres, including literary fiction, mystery, thriller, suspense, science fiction, fantasy, paranormal, horror, romance, historical, humor, satire, children’s, and young adult. And if you want to come up with more than three premises, go for it!


  • A cruise ship gets caught in a storm, veers off course, and then sinks far from the mainland, but many of the passengers survive and make it to a deserted island.
  • A man and a woman are sitting across from each other at a small table in a dimly lit restaurant.
  • A family watches as their cat gives birth to a litter of nine kittens.
  • Moments after arriving home from a long and difficult day at work, a character is shocked when the police show up with an arrest warrant.
  • In a mid-sized town, somebody is dressing in disguise and fighting crime — a real-life superhero or a masked vigilante?

Feel free to change these scenarios or mix them up. Maybe instead of a cat having kittens, the family’s dog is having puppies. Maybe the character who is served with an arrest warrant is either the man or woman who was dining in the dimly lit restaurant.

If you try any of these fiction writing exercises, come back and tell us how they worked for you.


About Melissa Donovan
Melissa Donovan is a website designer and copywriter. She writes fiction and poetry and is the founder and editor of Writing Forward, a blog packed with creative writing tips and ideas.


4 Responses to “Fiction Writing Exercises for Stimulating Creativity”

  1. Ryan says:

    I’m so excited to work on these writing exercises! Subconsciously, I was toying with the idea of making different stories out of a scenario. I was afraid to do so, because I thought that was insane, that it was just me who thinks this way. Reading this post encourages me to think outside the box. Thank you, Melissa!

    • I love thinking outside the box. Sometimes I have ideas and I’m not sure if they’ll work, but I figure, what’s the worse thing that can happen? I tackle the project, and if it doesn’t look like it’s going to work out, I can move on to something else. Taking risks is how people innovate. I say give your out-of-the-box ideas a shot!

  2. Sanjay Tanwar says:

    I used to be a drama student, and later a theater director, we used to do this exercise in our workshops, we used to select a picture from a newspaper, magazine or even sometime from a painting, and it was given to the students and then they have to create a story from that picture and dramatize it, and present a skit of 10-15 minutes. Now i am trying my hand in writing, and when I saw this article, it inspired me, and gave me a fresh enthusiasm to start like a student. Thank you Melissa..!