Today’s post includes prompts from my book, 1200 Creative Writing Prompts. Enjoy!
Writing is a tool we can use to express ourselves or share our ideas. But it can also be used to help us think.
Writing forces us to articulate our thoughts and ideas, which in turn forces us to scrutinize our thinking. Tackling complex issues and dynamic questions with writing is an excellent way to sharpen our critical thinking skills, clarify our thought processes, and challenge our views.
Today’s creative writing prompts are designed to provoke deeper thinking. Are you willing to take up the challenge? Read More
Most authors agree that fiction is primarily driven by characters. Successful authors talk about characters who take over the story, who have their own separate and independent consciousnesses. Outlines and plans for plot go out the window as characters insist on moving the story in a direction of their own design.
Because characters are central to most stories and because their primary function is to explore the human condition, it’s essential for characters to be believable. In other words, characters may not be real, but they most certainly should feel real. Read More
Today’s prompts come from my book, 1200 Creative Writing Prompts. Enjoy!
We writers are full of ideas for stories, poems, essays, scripts, and other types of creative writing projects. We’re often so busy focusing on our output that we don’t take enough time for self-reflection.
It’s a good idea to pause every once in a while and think about who we are, what we do, why we do it, and how we’re getting it done. Read More
Today’s post includes a selection of prompts from 1200 Creative Writing Prompts. Enjoy!
Civilization. Society. Culture.
We live in a complex world fraught with struggles.
Most of us are so busy worrying about our own personal problems that we have little time to think about problems that plague our communities, countries, and the planet.
Yet many of us want to be good citizens and stewards. We want to do our part to make the world a little better, or perhaps a lot better. Read More
What if you won the lottery? What if you woke up in someone else’s body? What if you could fly?
What if you could open your imagination to a whole new world of writing ideas?
Today’s journal prompts encourage you to wonder. Some of them are based on reality. Others ask you to step outside the realm of possibility (or likelihood) and leave the world as we know it behind.
Journal writing is excellent for birthing new ideas and fleshing them out. Journal prompts help by giving you a launching pad — a place to start your writing session. Read More
Fiction writing prompts are a great way to stimulate creativity when you’re in the mood to do a little writing but need some fresh story ideas.
Prompts and other creative writing exercises can trigger your imagination. Sometimes, prompts and exercises help you come up with new ideas for projects you’re already working on, and other times, they give you ideas for projects you haven’t started yet. They’re also a great source of motivation.
10 Fiction Writing Prompts
The fiction writing prompts below are story starters. Try starting the first sentence of a new piece with one of the prompts and run with it, or write a story that includes one of the prompts somewhere in the text. As an alternative, use the prompts to generate story ideas and plan a story around a prompt (you don’t have to include the actual prompt anywhere in the story). You can even use one of the prompts as the final sentence in a story and use your imagination to fill in what happens leading up to it.
Feel free to alter any of the prompts to your liking. Use one or use them all. Have fun.
- She rolled over and felt her body push up against something hard.
- My wife disappeared on August 28, 1998.
- Sonny jumped up against the chain-link fence, wagging his tail furiously.
- Mom says it happens to all girls, but I think she’s just trying to make me feel normal.
- I’ve been to nine planets in twelve years and it’s starting to show.
- They say Old Weezie’s been reading palms out of her run-down shack for a hundred years or more.
- Acronyms give me a headache in general, but PBRT gives me a migraine.
- Ashley stared at the fruit, so lost in amazement that she didn’t think to comment on its size.
- Every day the sun comes up and every night it goes down again.
- When the elven guard put out a call to action, their plea went unheard and what followed was sheer terror.
Bonus challenge: Write a story that includes each and every one of the ten prompts above. That would be quite a feat!
Looking for more fiction writing prompts and story starters? Some of today’s fiction prompts appear in 1200 Creative Writing Prompts, available in paperback and ebook.
Today’s post features a selection of prompts from 1200 Creative Writing Prompts. Enjoy!
We all want our writing to be compelling, even mesmerizing. One effective way to captivate readers is to engage their senses.
When you trigger a reader’s sense of sight, smell, sound, touch, or taste, you illicit a physiological response to your writing, and the reader will connect with it on a deeper, sensory level.
Food is a fantastic way to stimulate readers’ senses, because food has the rare ability to affect any or all of the senses. We see food, smell it, touch it, and taste it. We even hear it. Just think about french fries sizzling in a greasy skillet. Mmm.
Writing about food or incorporating food into our writing are ideal ways to engage readers’ senses. That’s why today’s creative writing prompts focus on food, drink, and delectable treats.
Creative Writing Prompts — Good Enough to Eat
Choose one of the creative writing prompts below and write a story, a poem, an essay, or a journal entry. Try to convey each of the five senses in whatever you write (sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch).
- Write about a banana split: three scoops of ice cream with banana halves on either side and a big mound of whipped cream on top laced with chocolate sauce and sprinkled with chopped nuts—all topped off with a plump red cherry.
- After a light but satisfying meal, you order dessert. It’s rich, sweet, and freshly baked. You bite into it and your taste buds explode with delight.
- Write about the smell of cheesy, doughy, saucy, spicy pizza baking in the oven.
- You dip your chip into a bowl of salsa, and when you take a bite, your mouth goes up in red-hot flames.
- Write about the fizzing sound of cola being poured into a glass full of ice cubes.
- You’re feeling under the weather, so you put the teapot on. Soon it starts to scream.
- Write about the taste of medicine: cherry-flavored cough syrup.
- Describe a grand feast: the spread of a holiday meal.
- Write about waking up to the smell of hot, freshly brewed coffee.
- It’s Halloween and you’re bobbing for apples. You stick your face in the cool water, chomp around searching for purchase, and feel the apples bumping against your face and floating away from you. Then you get a ripe little apple lodged firmly between your teeth.
- Write about the sound in your head when you munch on crispy chips or crunchy crackers.
- You’re digging your fingers through a box of hot, buttered, salted popcorn in a dark movie theater.
- Write about the squishy sensation of kneading dough between your fingers and the smooth texture of it when you pat it and roll it out.
- There’s a big bowl of chilled, fresh summer fruit in the fridge. It’s colorful, juicy, and sweet.
- You’re driving through town with your windows down, and you pass that intersection where you can smell all the fast food restaurants.
Did you find these creative writing prompts helpful or challenging? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment. And keep writing!
I’ve always had mixed feelings about television. It’s a bit disturbing when people spend all their free waking hours staring at a screen with their brains turned off and a glazed look on their faces. And television is unreliable as a source of information. I’ve found that many of the news shows and documentaries that air on commercial television stations are full of factual errors and misinformation. These days, we all need to double-check the facts (and sources) before repeating what we hear on TV.
On the other hand, there are some great shows that have graced television screens over the past century.
I often think about how my favorite books, movies, and TV shows can influence my own writing. For example, I’ve recently named a few of my characters after TV actors. I’ve observed non-linear storytelling on television and thought about how I could translate that to a novel. I’ve even made it a point to study dialogue from television shows (TV writers have a knack for good dialogue).
All in all, I’ve found that if you’re selective about your viewing habits and thoughtful about how much time you give the old boob tube, television can actually be an excellent source of inspiration. Therefore, all of today’s writing prompts are inspired by TV shows.
Writing Prompts from Television
For these writing prompts, I tried to cover a variety of decades and genres. Each prompt includes a brief overview of one television show plus a few writing prompts and ideas that come directly from the show.
Because of the nature of television, these prompts are perfect for fiction writing and storytelling, but feel free to use them to write whatever you want — poems, blog posts, or essays. You can even write a review of one of these TV shows (make sure you watch all the episodes first!).
- Star Trek boldly went where no one had gone before, to the far reaches of outer space. Set your story somewhere in deep space. Or write about a group of adventurers (in any time or place) intent on discovery and exploration. Star Trek also emphasized logic and rational thinking balanced by compassion and humanism. These ideals were embodied in the characters of Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock. Try creating characters that embody specific philosophic ideals.
- Happy Days was a classic show about family, friendship, and growing up. From its sock-hop theme song to all the characters telling each other to “sit on it,” Happy Days captured the culture of the 50s and imparted coming-of-age lessons to its audience. Write about an iconic time period. Mix friends, family, and outcasts together in a ensemble of characters for your story. Develop catchy bits of dialogue and original expressions for your tale.
- What a great premise for a serialized TV show: every week, guests visited Fantasy Island to live out their dreams. I don’t think we ever learned where the island got its magic or how Mr. Roarke and Tattoo came to live there and run the place. Write a concept for a series (novels, books, or movies) in which characters’ greatest fantasies or worst nightmares are realized. Focus on world building and explaining how this mysterious fantasy fulfillment works by developing an origin story.
- Twin Peaks is a cult classic, a mystery show about the murder of a teenage girl that had everyone asking, “Who killed Laura Palmer?” This dark story was colored with bizarre symbols and dream sequences contrasted against intensely ordinary characters living in a small town. The show featured a haunting score and a deeply disturbing conclusion. Everyone has a dark side, and we are all subjected to evil. Face your own dark side by writing something mysterious, terrifying, and horrific — but believable (in other words, not supernatural or paranormal). Look for ways to embellish your piece with bizarre surrealism through hallucinations and dream sequences.
- Friends was one of the most successful shows in television history. It seemed like everyone in the country watched must-see TV on Thursday nights for Friends’ entire run. Stories about friendship have always been a hit when they’re cast with lovable and relatable characters in a distinct setting. These New Yorkers were in their late twenties, navigating friendship, their love lives, and New York City (a premise we’ve seen in many stories). Write about friendship and group dynamics. Put your characters in a real but vivid setting. Establish their age group and think about the types of issues they would be facing. What are their goals? Struggles? What challenges affect their group dynamics?
- I had to save the best for last. LOST is the ultimate adventure — a story about a group of survivors living on a mysterious island after their plane crashes. They must learn to survive and live together. They have to remember and let go. LOST was considered a breakthrough show because it felt like a movie, with sweeping cinematography and an original, live-recorded score. Mysteries and puzzles abounded, and every time the show answered one question, we got ten new questions to puzzle over. The show’s unique format included non-linear storytelling through flashbacks, flashforwards, and flashsideways. LOST was also deeply philosophical. But for all of its experimentalism, the characters always came first. Think about how you can use non-linear storytelling in a story or poem. Develop a setting that has magical and mysterious qualities and functions as a character in the story. Plant lots of classic literary symbols, pop culture references, and just plain confusing twists in your story. Go ahead and get LOST in your writing!
Do you watch a lot of TV? What are your favorite shows? Has television ever inspired you? Do you love stories, whether they’re told on film or paper? Did any of these writing prompts spark ideas? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment.
Throughout the centuries, poets have composed meditations on seasons, landscapes, and constellations. Vegetation and animals have been the subjects of countless poems, and even when poetry is not centered around nature, it often makes references to it.
In poetry, nature may function as the backdrop — the setting in which the action takes place. Nature and various elements of nature may also hold center stage. Why are so many poets compelled to write about nature?
Consider the closing stanza from “Crossings” by Ravi Shankar:
Suspended in this ephemeral moment
after leaving a forest, before entering
a field, the nature of reality is revealed.
Words like forest and field hint at nature’s presence in this piece, but the closing line cleverly reminds us that nature is not present in individual words. Nature is reality, and it’s everywhere, all the time.
Poetry prompts are a great way to start a writing session when you’re feeling uninspired or when you simply want to try something new. Maybe you’ve never written a poem before. Maybe you’ve never written about nature. Maybe you’ve never tackled a writing exercise. Whatever your reason, these poetry prompts are meant to provide loose guidelines for kick-starting your creativity and get you pushing your pen across the page.
Below you’ll find a list of words that relate to nature. These words are your poetry prompts. You can use these prompts in several different ways. You can choose a single word and build a poem around it as a topic. You can choose a handful of words (about five would be good) and use those words to kick off different lines or verses. Or you can challenge yourself to write a single poem with all of the words included in it.
As you read through the list and choose which words will act as prompts for your poem, relax. Engage your imagination and visualize different images that these words might describe. Build actions with them. String them together with words from your own vocabulary. Put them in lines and verses. And make a poem.
If you have any ideas or suggestions for poetry prompts, share your thoughts by leaving a comment. And keep writing!
Where do dreams come from? Many philosophers, psychiatrists, and other experts, as well as everyday people, have made conjectures about the sources of our night visions. But they remain a mystery.
Some dreams are obvious, of course. We’ve all experienced dreams that are clearly relevant to what’s going on in our lives or dreams that are some reflection of the past. Some people claim they’ve dreamed events before they actually happened — precognitive dreams that allow a dreamer to peer into the future.
Some of us remember every single dream we have. A few of us may even take time to jot down our dreams in a dream journal. Others cannot remember any of their dreams and will claim they don’t dream at all. There are those whose dreams are so vivid that they are induced into sleepwalking, and there are those whose dreams carry the essences of their greatest fears — nightmares.
Some dreamers are so attuned to their dreams that they can actually control a dream while they are having it (this is called lucid dreaming). They decide to fly in a dream, and they are off, soaring through the dream-sky.
Dreaming for Inspiration
Dreams may unlock mysteries, answer questions, or give us new insights. They inform artists’ work, help scientists solve complex problems, and they give writers plenty of fodder for fiction and poetry.
In fact, many famous works of art and inventions were inspired by dreams. In an article titled “Dream Art,” Wikipedia provides a list of artists and their works, which came directly from dreams. Some of the most notable artists, writers, musicians, and filmmakers who have captured dream material to produce great works of art include William Blake, Salvador Dali, Clive Barker, Mary Shelley, Robert Louis Stevenson, Stephen King, Carlos Castaneda, David Lynch, Rush, Paul McCartney, and Roger Waters, to name a few.
Dreams can even provide the answers to complex technical or scientific problems. Sewing machine inventor Elias Howe was having trouble figuring out how the needle on his machine would work, until one night he had a dream in which he was imprisoned by a group of natives, who were dancing around him and holding spears that had holes near their tips. This image finally gave Howe the idea he needed to make his invention work: a needle with a hole at the tip, which was designed much like those natives’ spears.
Journal Prompts and Dreams
If you’ve ever kept a dream journal, then you have some experience with exploring your dreams during waking hours. When you keep a dream journal, you learn to pay more attention to your dreams, and you start remembering your dreams better and in greater detail. Dream journals are ideal for generating raw creative material.
Today’s journal prompts aren’t based around a dream journal, and they don’t ask you to keep one, although doing so is definitely recommended. If you do happen to keep a dream journal, then you’ll have an advantage here, because these journal prompts do require that you remember a dream or two. Yet the main goal with these journal prompts is to add another tool to your writer’s toolbox, to leverage a little bit more of your imagination by paying attention to the messages, images, and signals that your subconscious is sending you when you’re sound asleep.
To complete these journal prompts, you do need to be a dreamer. If you don’t make a habit out of remembering your dreams, or if you rarely remember them, then you might try keeping a dream journal for about a week. As you fall asleep, remind yourself that in the morning your first task will be to write down your dreams. Promote dreaming and remembering dreams by using affirmations such as “I will dream” and “I will remember my dreams.” Then give these journal prompts a try.
- Write down a full account of a dream you’ve had recently. Try to include as many details as possible.
- Think back over some of the dreams you’ve had and try to identify recurring themes. Perhaps you’re often being chased in dreams (or doing the chasing), maybe a lot of your dreams are set in nature or feature animals.
- Identify the people, creatures, and animals in your dreams by describing them. Could they become characters in your next short story?
- Do you ever notice minute details in your dreams? Elias Howe noticed that in his dream, the natives’ spears had holes in them. Try to pinpoint seemingly minor details that appear in your dreams and write descriptions of them.
- Do your dreams ever stick with you throughout the day? Are images from your dreams haunting you as you go about your business? Why do you suppose this happens with some dreams but not others? What are the images that linger?
- Have you ever felt like a dream was trying to tell you something or send you an important message? What was the dream? What message did you come away with?
- If you could construct a full, vivid dream, which you will have tonight and remember in full tomorrow, what would happen in the dream? Who would be there? Where would it take place?
Interesting Facts About Dreams
- The scientific study of dreams is known as oneirology.
- Abraham Lincoln dreamed of his assassination.
- At one time, some experts believed that dreams only happened in black and white. Most people actually dream in color.
Good luck with these journal prompts! Now let’s talk about dreaming and how we can use dreams to inspire our writing!