Don’t you just hate writer’s block? Some say it’s a disease that only creative workers succumb to. Some say it’s a curse. Others argue that it doesn’t exist at all. But just about everyone has been there–sitting in front of a blank screen, fingers itching to create a masterpiece. And nothing happens.
For me, the most bizarre thing about writer’s block is that it strikes randomly. Most of the time, I’m overwhelmed with more ideas than I can possibly write about. But then I’ll sit down to write and my mind goes blank. Sure, I flip through my notebooks and review all the ideas I’ve stockpiled, but nothing feels right. I want something fresh. I need a new angle.
To help break through this block, I started turning to creative writing prompts. And then I started making up my own prompts. The result: 1200 Creative Writing Prompts, a book designed to spark ideas for writers.
Creative Writing Prompts
Today I’d like to share a mash-up of creative writing prompts, all of which come from 1200 Creative Writing Prompts. There are no rules. Write a poem. Write a short story. Write an essay. Aim for a hundred words or aim for a hundred thousand. Just start writing, and have fun.
- The protagonist is digging in the garden and finds a fist-sized nugget of gold. There’s more where that came from in this hilarious story of sudden wealth.
- Write a poem about something ugly—war, fear, hate, or cruelty—but try to find the beauty (silver lining) in it or something good that comes out of it.
- An asteroid and a meteoroid collide near Earth, and fragments rain down onto the planet’s surface, wreaking havoc. Some of those fragments contain surprising elements: fossils that prove life exists elsewhere in the galaxy, for example.
- The story starts when a kid comes out of the school bathroom with toilet paper dangling from his or her waistband. Does someone step forward and whisper a polite word, or do the other kids make fun? What happens in this pivotal moment will drive the story and have a deep impact on the main character.
- Revisit your earliest memories of learning about faith, religion, or spirituality.
- Use all of the following words in a poem: bit, draw, flex, perilous, bubble, corner, rancid, pound, high, open.
- Write a poem about a first romantic (dare I say sexual?) experience or encounter.
- Write a personal essay describing an exotic animal you’d like to have as a pet.
- Silvery flakes drifted downward, glittering in the bright light of the harvest moon. The blackbird soared.
- Write a tongue-in-cheek, satirical tribute. Tell bad drivers, rude customers, and evil dictators how grateful you are for what they’ve done. Do it with a wink and a smile.
- Write a story about a detective solving a crime that was committed against his or her partner or a crime that his or her partner committed.
- Three children are sitting on a log near a stream. One of them looks up at the sky and says…
- There is a magic talisman that allows its keeper to read minds. It falls into the hands of a young politician.
- We’ve seen cute and cuddly dragons, mean and vicious dragons, and noble dragons. Write a story about a different kind of dragon.
- Use all of the following words in a poem: dash, hard, staple, billboard, part, circle, flattened.
- Write a story set in the distant future when humanity is at a fork in the evolutionary road. Some humans are evolving; others are not.
- The kids were raised on the mantra “Family is everything.” What happens when they find out their parents aren’t who they pretended to be? Will the family fall apart?
- Write a poem about one (or both) of your parents. It could be a tribute poem, but it doesn’t have to be.
- Turn ordinary animals into monsters that prey on humans: dog-sized rats, killer rabbits, or a pack of rabid mountain lions. Give the animals intelligence and set them loose.
- A twinkling eye can mean many things. Write a poem about a twinkle in someone’s eye.
- What determines an action or person as good or evil? Who gets to decide what or who is good or evil? Write a personal essay about it.
- Write a poem about your body.
- The protagonist is about to drift off to sleep only to be roused by the spontaneous memory of an embarrassing moment from his or her past.
- Write about the happiest day of your life.
- Use all of the following words in a poem: feast, fire, modify, squash, robbed, forgotten, understated.
Now It’s Your Turn
Did any of these prompts inspire you? Do you ever use creative writing prompts to ignite a writing session? Tell us what gets your pen moving by leaving a comment, and keep writing!
To get more prompts like these, pick up a copy of 1200 Creative Writing Prompts today.
Wow, there’s something about this list that feels like a lightbulb went off! There are times when I feel stuck, like ideas aren’t there. And this list really shines what can be…limitless possibilities!
26. If my life were a cartoon…
27. Pick two crayons at random. What thoughts/feelings do two color stir up in you?
Ah, I love the feeling of a light bulb illuminating my mind! Thanks for adding to the list!
That spark which seemed like a star, when it approached closer, my lips went white and body shivering despite the fact I knew I was placed in a desert – by them- and the sun shone directly above my head. Then at a distance of 1m probably, I got the sight of…
Thanks for sharing these.
If you have children, visualize one of them running the house for a day.
That’s a good one. Kids running the house…how very Dr. Seuss! Cat in the Hat without the cat, hehee.
Ooh, great prompts! Thanks for sharing these!
Thanks! Glad you like them!
A day in the life of a doormat
The adventures of a shooting star
Making friends with my enemy
Ooh, interesting! Thanks, Fouzia.
Bought 3 of your books. 1. 101 Creative Writing Excercises 2.10 Core Practices For Better Writing and 3. 1,200 Creative Writing Prompts.
I decided to start with 1,200 Creative Writing Prompts.
So far, I have written 4 stories from the prompts. I guess I want to enquire as to whether I need to go through each prompt. Thank you
Wow, Kevin, thanks for getting three of my books. I truly appreciate that. You can use the prompts in any way that is comfortable for you. No, you do not have to go through each and every prompt. I encourage you to skip around, flip through book, and find prompts that inspire. I hope you have fun with it! Thanks again.
When I took my creative writing class in college the instructor gave us a really good one to use if we couldn’t think of what to write. She said to write the word Remember 3 times and that would prompt something. The entire class tried it and it worked and I have used it several times since then!
I like the use of remember. There are a lot of words that help people when they can’t think of anything to write about. Maybe I should do a list of single-word prompts. Hmm…
Wow. I was COMPLETELY stuck and this brought back a great story for me to write about, though only faintly attached to any memory of mine. Thanks!
That’s great, Camille! Good luck with your story!
I like to use the question “what would happen if …. ”
What would happen if your husband retired and your kid left home and you’re getting older? -> ” Always Faithful”
What would happen if a person moved back home to care for a relative after decades of living far away? -> “The Way Home”
What would happen if a person who has been divorced and alone for a long time suddenly met the most perfect mate imaginable … but it turns out the person may not be what she appears to be? -> “Baiting and Fishing”
In a way, I think “What Would Happen If…” is my novelist version of my favorite childhood game, “Let’s pretend that…..”
“What if” is the best creative writing prompt ever! You can apply it to just about any situation. Just look at any movie, book, or even real life and start asking, “What if things happened a little differently?” or “What if this person made a different decision?” Asking these questions can take your writing in all kinds of new and interesting directions! It’s great fun.
I love these. Here’s one:
“She was drifting off to sleep when there was a sharp knock at the door . . . “
Ooh, I like that one.
Fabulous list. I’ve been brainstorming all morning with no luck, and so I came online and VOILA, here you are. Loved the list, especially 22.
I’ve created several interesting works using my personal favourite “things to do on a rainy day”. I usually write from the perspective of a child, but rarely myself as a child. This one just opens up so many possibilities for make beleive!
Thanks, Melanie! Glad this list helped you in a time of need. My favorite “things to do on a rainy day” story is The Cat in the Hat. Of course, it’s a “day when mom’s away” rather than a “rainy day,” but it’s pretty much the same idea. Keep writing!
these are very great… i got this one off of True Jackson VP.. spin around and the first thing you see will give you an idea..
i just did this and i saw flowers…
i’m writing about “you are walking through a field with your best friend.. you spot a flower and pick it up.. it gives you super powers…
Ah, a flower that gives one super powers. I love that idea! You should definitely run with it!
I love True Jackson VP! Cool that you got an idea from it! 🙂
You’re suggestion really helped! Im doing imaginative writing for homework and I was so stuck but I’ve found the right one now!!
That’s awesome, Grace! Keep writing.
ooh those are cool… how about:
He cradled her, taking in all of her burdens as he swept her hair back from her face and stroked her cheek in a gentle calming motion.
I do creative writing as an A level so it would be cool to know if this starter is ok! ty xoxo
Catherine, I think that’s a great starter line, especially for a romantic story or poem! My only suggestion would be the part “gentle calming motion.” There might be one too many adjectives there. If you keep both adjectives, be sure to add a comma after the first one: “gentle, calming motion.” Nice job!
A young man attempts to pull a robbery of some kind on an older man. Things go drastically wrong for the young man. Either viewpoint!
Either viewpoint, or both, could work!
what if the old man was a retired super spy and the young robber is homeless and broke. he tells this to the old man and the man trains him to be a good spy and lets the young robber live with him. then the old man gets the young robber a job as a spy and then they both find out that the retired spy is the young robbers father and the mother ran away while she was pregnant to go be with some rich guy but the rich guy killed the mother and the young robber has been living on the streets since he was 10.
Heres a gorgeous one!
Write a story in the POV of a flower being given from person 2 person.
Wow! These are great, thanks for putting these up. I’m 12 and I really want to be a novelist when I grow up. One of my favourites is: the empty glass.
It’s a bit over-used but I think that it’s so versatile, it doesn’t matter if it’s popular because you can take it in so many different directions!
That’s great, Katie! You’re off to an early start. Just stay focused and passionate, and you’ll become a novelist if that’s what you truly want. Good luck to you!
It is never too young to start living your dreams. Don’t ever let anyone get you down. Keep on writing and believe in yourself that one day you will make it! Best of luck!
I couldn’t agree more, AJ!
I’m 11 and everyone thinks I am a good writer and I love to write so much!
That’s wonderful, Maria. Keep writing!
I’m 16 and i wrote a great alternate ending for an assignment in english, and i wrote a short christmas story on christmas eve, but now i just don’t know what to write about. i have ideas and i have been reading prompts that are good but i just don’t know.
Kristi, give the prompts a try. There are also lots of writing exercises that you can use to spark writing sessions when you’re feeling uninspired. The trick is to write something (anything) rather than sit around waiting for something to write about.
Hi! I am 14 and just wanted to do some creative writing, but could not think of anything to write about. Thank you so much for the ideas! I will definitely be using some.
You’re so welcome! Good luck with your writing!
I’m 14 and writing is my whole life. I recently started a blog with my friend, but she’s not a writer. She just inspires me with ideas and stuff. I love your site, Melissa. I check it almost every day. Your prompts and tips are so completely helpful! Thanks so much!
Thank you! I appreciate your kind words.
I’m fourteen, too, and writing is hard to juggle with school and everything else that’s going on. I know – such a teenager-y thing to say…but true nonetheless. I just wanted to say thank you for posting these prompts because they make for quick, satisfying writing that doesn’t end in frustration (at least, mostly). Thanks again!
Writing is hard to juggle at any age. It takes a lot of perseverance, but if you stick with it, you’ll succeed. Good luck to you, and keep on writing!
Im also fourteen and i love to write! i have won a national competition 2 years in a row and i never dreamed i would have won or anything but that just goes to show that youre never too young to write! Just keep believing in yourself and who knows where you might go!
I am thrilled when young people are so passionate about writing (or any craft, really). Congratulations on your success!
One good place to find good story prompts are the obituaries of a large newspaper. One true example: from the Arizona Republic years ago, an elderly gentleman got hit by a motorist one a late, rainy afternoon as he was crossing the street. He had been an immigrant from Norway, and had been a professor at ASU, and was retired and in his 80’s when he died. I have always imagined what his life had been, what he had experienced, etc.
Yes, newspapers are packed with story ideas!
Write a story from the perspective of a sock being separated from its twin in the laundry.
That would make a great children’s story.
a person went to the football stadium and was wearing manu shirt and came out with a barcalona shirt.why???
Well, I have no idea, but this certainly makes a good writing prompt!
I love these!! 😀
Here are a few I made:
*Make up your own recipes for your favorite foods
*Create your own list of idioms
*Write stories of idioms literally happening
*Write about something blue
*What’s your idea of a perfect vacation?
*List what you fear. pick a few and write how they came, why, and when you got the fear first
*What would you say to an univited guest at your party
*Draw a picture of the setting around you. Now look into your inner being. What do you truly feel?
*Write from the point of view of a stack of paper waiting a few inches from the shredder
*Her laugh broke the silence…
These are great! Thank you for adding them to the list.
By the way, I’m 11, love writing, and hope to publish fiction teen/children books one day
I wish you the best of luck! You have a head start, being such a young writer. Stick with it!
Lovarsnari,that’s kinda funny because l think the same thing! 🙂 My prob is that l start writing with great ideas,get stuck, and then start a new story/play….
same except that I’m 13 and mix my writing with my guitar playing and music
Well when i get stuck I like to think: What would I do if I were to die in a week? Once I picked everything and it turned quite an interesting story…
That’s a good one!
Hey I’m 14 years old and I love writing but I get writers block often and this really helped me. I love reading the ideas and other people’s ideas they are just very interesting. Number 19 seemed the most interesting to me and I’m almost done with my story. 🙂 thanks so much
Thanks, Violet. I often find that prompts and exercises can be used in different ways. You don’t always have to do the actual exercise. Sometimes, just reading through a book of exercises will generate ideas for a project I’m working on or help me understand a writing concept in a new way. Good luck with your story!
Hi Melissa 🙂
Last year i won junior writer of the year ( I’m 13) and I am entering this year as well and in the process of creating my first draft. I love your site and its wonderful, all-inclusive feel.
So, here are my ideas for your list.
26. Post-War oppression & depression ( this was my winning topic last year – i wrote it from the perspective of a scarred war veterans’ emotionally abused child)
I also commend you in your point concerning finding hope and light in darkness ( war, death, etc.) and i am going to write about that! Possibly with an Amish girl as the protagonist? thank you again for inspiring me. I also hope to be a great writer some day.
Congratulations, Bee, and thanks for adding to these prompts. I wish you the best of luck in becoming a great writer. You are certainly well on your way!
POV of a toy sitting on a shelf in a toy store, hoping to be purchased.
your pet starts talking to you in perfect english and tells you what he/she really thinks of you…. what does he/she say?
Ha! That could be enlightening indeed!
I actually saw an animated short based on that premise (or something similar to it) and found it quite compelling. A great idea!
“When I look in the mirror, I don’t see what everyone else sees. What I see is…”
Nice! Thanks for adding this prompt, Nick.
My college English teacher gave my class this prompt. First Line: John closed his eyes. Last Line: It was a good day for the yellow crocuses. Anything in between. I easily made five pages with that prompt. Have fun guys.
Thanks for sharing that prompt, Jessy. It’s a good one.
Im a 17 year old living in the most secluded area of Kentucky, unfortunately. lol My dream is to pursue a career in filmmaking, my goal is to help people who are confused or unsure about life and what they want to do with their oppourtunity of life. I want people to think and find happiness in their lives by doing something they love. My idea of doing this came from being in a depressed state from the past few years as a teen and felt strong enough to overcome it without professional help which is progressing for the good. I found setting goals is a great strategy to stay focused and optimistic about life. I appreciate your time for reading this and if there is any advice you could influence me with id appreciate that as well. Thanks
It’s wonderful that you have set your sights on a clear career path at such a young age. Filmmaking is awesome! I sometimes wish I had taken up an interest in film or photography. The best advice I can offer is to never give up, stay focused, and pursue your goals with heart and soul. I would also advise studying film at college, if you can. The film industry is notoriously networked and you’ll benefit greatly by making friends and acquaintances who share your interest. Best of luck to you!
Thanks for taking the time to reply, it’s very much appreciated and yes im going to film school out in LA next year.
Hi! I am 13 and have been writing since I was 7 or younger, and I am in love with writing. I am a very dedicated author and I have finished books in the past (about 11 or 12) but now I can’t seem to get into any longer stories! I write more short stories now, but it’s not satisfying anymore…and then, when I come up with a new idea, it’s useless, and my brain gets all cluttered! Help!
It sounds like you’re having trouble staying focused. The first (and most important) thing that can help with that is to stay healthy: eat right, exercise, and get enough sleep. You may also need to break up your writing with other activities. Make sure you read regularly! For the time being, maybe you need to write short stories. I’m not sure you need to fight it.
thank you for the advice! 🙂
You are most welcome!
I am 17 and doing my HSC this year. I am attempting (unsuccessfully) to write a creative writing piece as practice for my exams, and thank you so much for these, they’re really helpful 🙂
I am not a writer (and never will be), but these have given me some great ideas that I can hopefully use to increase my writing skills for my exams.
So thank you very much 🙂
You are very welcome, Emily, and best of luck on your exams.
I’ve found that this list, and peoples comments/ideas have been quite inspiring.
I’m 21 and haven’t been in school for a few years and I have that desire to write, but never knew how to get started. I thank you all for these wonderful ideas and I’m hoping that writing will be a good outlet for me and my struggle with depression.
So really I’m just thanking you all 🙂
You’re welcome, Nicole, and thank you for joining in the discussion. Writing is a great way to work through emotions; I wish you the best of luck!
These are great!!!!
My favourite starter would definetly have to be:
“Sometimes a girl just has to run. Sometimes our feet take over. This was one of those times”
I think it holds a lot of suspense but it could also be happy and bright, like a sports day or carnival.
Thanks for adding these, I am going to try to write a story for each one.
I’m not sure where that starter comes from, but it sounds good to me.
Hi! Thanks so much for these prompts. I especially like number two, because I feel like a little bit of positive thinking can go a long way. 🙂
I have a question, too, if you don’t mind.
What is your opinion on fanfictions? I know some creative writers don’t like them and feel they corrupt a series, while others think it’s a great creative exercise.
Thanks so much!
I think fan fiction is a great way for young and new writers to explore the craft. Some copyright holders are extremely strict about allowing fan fiction to be published. Others will actually develop and publish collections of fan fiction. There are also franchises in which fan fiction is encouraged. One of my all-time favorite writers, TV and film writer Damon Lindelof, said in a recent interview that he started out writing fan fiction. Now he’s writing for Ridley Scott and working on the Star Trek films as a fan-fic professional! It’s definitely an avenue worth pursuing if it interests you.
I’m fifteen and I want to write a book before the end of highschool. The problem is I can’t finish what I’ve started. I always find a “better” idea and write about that and the cycle begins again. Please help me!!!
The only way to finish what you’ve started is to simply finish it. When “better” ideas present themselves, make a note and file those ideas away for a future project. Part of being a writer involves developing self-discipline. I recommend setting up a reward system. For example, you have to work on the novel for 20 minutes before you can call or text your friends after school. Or you have to finish a scene before you go out to see a movie. These are self-imposed rewards, so you have to discipline yourself. Nobody else can do it for you.
You might also look into participating in NaNoWriMo. The timing is great because it starts in just a few weeks. That means you’ll have some time to prepare and check it out. Then you can write your novel in November, leaving plenty of time afterwards for you to clean it up (edit, proof, polish).
Finally, if you’re truly committed to writing, start looking at schools with good creative writing programs and plan to study at college. University instructors are quite helpful in teaching students self-discipline and good writing habits and practices.
Best of luck to you, Art!
Hi! Your prompts and the comments have really helped me! I can’t wait to start some stories from them:)
Here are a couple that I’ve come up with:
The Bell sounded. Workers froze in their places…
Kay frowned as she opened her school locker after school. Down the hall, Alexis and Christine exchanged grins…
That’s great, Alyssa. Keep up the good work!
These are fantastic! I’m also 21 and have been out of school for awhile. I used to write all the time when I was in school but not so much these days. These ideas are really going to help once I get started writing again. I’m attempting to set a goal for myself. An hour a day, just writing whatever I want. Just to get me back in the habit.
Thank you so much!!!
One prompt my creative writing teacher in high school gave the class was “It was a smile that darkness could kill…”
That’s wonderful! An hour a day is enough to produce quite a bit of writing. I wish you the best of luck, Ashlee!
Obviously it is now 2011 haha, but these are great!! I have wanted to write a novel for quite some time but I can’t seem to get the creative juices flowing. So I set out on a quest across the World Wide Web and I am finding some amazing ideas!! Thank you so much for this website I look forward to writing now instead of despairing of that dreaded cursor blinking me to oblivion!!
I hope your quest for inspiration is fruitful! And keep writing!
I’ve just been inspired to start a personal blog full of my own creative writing, with the assistance of some of these wonderful writing prompts (both yours, and the ones left in the comment section). Thank you, thank you, thank you.
That’s wonderful! Blogs have been a boon for writers, and I think more writers should take advantage of the technology. I wish you the best of luck with your blog, Emily.
Hi, I’m 17. I started creative writing when I was about 10 or 11. I found myself writing more and more when I was troubled a few years back, so it was good stress relief for me. But now that I’m busy with college, I realize that I haven’t been writing as much as I used to. I reread some of my old work and I thought “Hey, why not? I’ll give it a try for old times’ sake.”
I was a bit confused with where to start off, but these prompts really got my creative juices flowing. After I post this comment, I think I’ll try one or two of them and see how far it takes me. Thanks for the inspiration. 🙂
I’m so glad that these prompts inspired you, Christi. I think many writers go through phases when they drift away from the craft, but when you’re called back to it, that might be a sign. Follow it and keep writing!
In my junior year of high school, we were given a creative writing assignment to expand on this sentence:
“A person walked into the room, looked around, sat down, and ate.”
That’s a great prompt. It would certainly be interesting to see what a whole classroom of people come up with. I imagine each piece of writing would be quite different from the others, even though they are all based on the same premise. Thanks for sharing it, Alli.
Here’s a prompt! Prop open the door. I can actually see my breathe tonight. But that doesnt mean im breathing.
Ooh, sounds like a zombie, robot, or vampire story.
These writing ideas helped a lot thank you. I really want to go to a creative writing school when I get older. One idea which I just came up with is
Write from the perspective of your fish.( does each fish have there own personality, how does each fish react to the different members of the house, what is it like to be a fish) 😛 I hope you like I write often mostly stories with a more poetic base, but once in a while i will feel in the mood to write some thing different. Oh also try continuing after this sentence. Its eyes gleamed pitch black death, creeping into imaginary, azure skies. now continue it :3
Thanks for sharing your prompt, Samantha, and good luck to you!
For school, I have to enter a creative writing competition. I have two days and i was really panicking but then i found this website! It really helped! Thankyou Writing Forward!!
Hannah, I’m so glad you found help and inspiration here. Thank you!
Lately I’ve been trying to write a lot like Sarah Dessen! Were doing stories in class and I’m doin one about a girl who runs away, it starts out “I’m on the run! I don’t know where I’m going or where I’ll end up, but I’m not turning back!” 🙂 Do you like it?
I do like your opening line. It certainly grabs the reader’s attention and rouses curiosity. Nice job.
Thank you so much!!!! This got me over my terrible case of writer’s block. But now my muse is back!
Wow, thanks, Maria. That’s awesome!
I just want to say that this list of prompts has inspired me to take on a challenge of using one every day up until xmas on my blog… or at least until the end of the month!
Thanks for the great list 🙂
That’s awesome, Julz. Good luck with your December writing!
I haven’t tried it yet, but I think a fun way to mix these up even more would be to choose one of these, then draw the name of an author out of a hat, then write that prompt in the style of that author. That would really stretch your creativity.
That’s an excellent exercise and would definitely be challenging. You’d have to be deeply familiar with the author’s voice.
I have found these prompts really helpful for the English lessons that I teach.
That’s great, Cass. I love the idea of these prompts helping students with reading and writing.
i have learnt English as a second language…writing is my passion…this page is REALLY inspiring!thanks for evoking our creative faculties… i want to suggest some topics and the list goes as:
1The beast in me
2Daily journal of a pair of shoes which is in the process of its making
3What the world be if gender roles get changed
4What if i were in the shoes of my English teacher
5How things at the high school are going to be if the concept of beauty gets altered altogether
6It is said that writing is all about pouring your mind on a piece of paper but what it your pen literally starts articulating your thoughts and you end up writing EVERRRRYTHING(What consequences are you going to face)
Thanks for adding your ideas to these prompts!
I haven’t tried the prompts yet but I have always wanted to be a writer since I was eight years old. However ever since graduating and entering the real world I find my muse being choked to death by the responsibility at home. I’ve had to give up my dream of writing for the past two years. I tried taking it up again and was drawing a huge blank, but just by reading a few of these prompts I’ve felt my muse start to breathe. Thank you!
Hi Rochelle. I remember graduating and entering the real world, and I had a similar experience. All of a sudden I just didn’t have the time or inspiration. It took a while, but I adjusted and my creativity returned. I’m so glad you found these prompts helpful!
I found like 5 great writing prompts thank u so much
You are so welcome!
you thought dragoons unicorns and monsters didnt exist? think again! write story of your pet unicorn
That’s a cute idea!
Thank you for these, I am a writer waiting to hear if a publisher is going to publish my novel. Waiting is so hard and my mind has gone blank. These help to stir the jucies again. I’m hand writing them in a note book and taking them with me when I’m out, to write on the go. When I have to wait for a kid to get to the car I can write and not have to figure out how to start a story. So thank you. so much.
That’s awesome. What is it about being in a car or shower that makes us more creative? I always get ideas in those two locations!
thanks sooo much! those were super helfull! you have the most helpfull website ive found! and i’m a picky writer! THANKYOU!!!
here are some more ideas:
you inherit 1 million dollars
your backpack grows wings on the way to school
a zombie invasion stikes your small/big town
a kidnapper captures you
… hope these help 🙂
Hey! These prompts really helped and I can’t wait to use some 🙂 I have started with the one about twinklling eyes and turned it into a story about creatures similar to werewolves XD
Sounds interesting, Molly! Good luck with your story, and keep writing!
My English teacher says she doesn’t believe in writer’s block. I on the other hand am not so sure. Sometimes I sit in the afternoon and stare out the window, unable to come up with anything good but I find that ideas flow like crazy at two in the morning with a cup of coffee in my left hand. That’s always my best remedy, though writing prompts like these always help me get going. Thanks for sharing 🙂
10 things I hate about…
What’s the recipe for those wonderful _______ muffins you baked last night? (Try filling that blank with ‘unicorn’.)
I believe in writer’s block, but I think that it’s presented as being unable to write whereas usually it’s just a case of needing to work a little harder at writing. Sometimes, we need to stop procrastinating, stop trying to force our ideas, or we just need to allow ourselves to write badly for a while. I believe there are ideas everywhere; the trick is to keep ourselves open to them and be willing to explore them. Having said all that, writer’s block still sucks. I’m like you, Maluly, the ideas flow like crazy at two in the morning (no coffee required!).
i dont believe in writiers block.. i think its more like an exuse to hide what we really want to write or say. Like sometimes peoploe wonder if it will be good enough so they put it off or they dont want people who read it to know something.. its all about the way you look at it i guess. Write what you feel. Write whatever you want. I love writing but i find myself wondering will this be good enough? What would someone think if they read it? Maybe thats just me. no self esteem… but, low selfesteem is what keeps creativity hidden…. my advice.. to everyone is to just go for it. if its not good try again you’ll get better(:
I agree: just go for it.
Thanks for these! I definitely believe in writer’s block!! In fact, I am just emerging from what I like to call writer’s ‘droubt’, since it lasted at least a year. But I don’t think you need to be blocked to use prompts. They are great exercises and get you to try new ways of writing. And sometimes, when I get burned out with the story I’m currently writing, it helps to focus on something completely different for a while, and you can come back to it with fresh eyes. Here are some prompts that I came up with and they helped me out:
1) ‘It all started with the cat…’
2) ‘Have you ever seen something out of the corner of your eye, but when you turned to look, found nothing there? You dismiss it as an illusion, a trick of the light. You’re wrong…’
3) Write something from the perspective of a ghost.
4) Write something using the five senses EXCEPT sight (hearing, smell, touch, taste)
5) Instead of using first or third person, write with second person point-of-view (in other words, use ‘you’ instead of ‘he/she’ or ‘I’. Or try writing in present or even future tense, instead of past tense.
Oh yeah, and one more: 6) Write something from the perspective of the BAD guy, instead of the hero
I love when stories do this! Thanks for adding it, CJM.
These are excellent prompts, especially well suited for speculative fiction writers. My favorite is the prompt about seeing something out of the corner of your eye (that happens to me sometimes!). Thanks for adding these.
Here’s one for those of you who have pets
What do your pets do when you and other inhabitants of your house are not at home?
Ooh, that’s a good one, Lily. That could be great for a children’s story!
Thank you SO much for these exciting writing prompts! They really inspire me.
I have one idea for a prompt: Write about a conversation that you would have if were stuck in an elevator with a celebrity or famous book character.
You’re welcome, Arieda. I love your elevator prompt! You could also do it with characters from your novel as a test to see how each would behave in an elevator with a celebrity. That could tell you a lot about your characters. Good one!
Lovely ideas, both of these! Arieda, that prompt gave me a short story idea, one that I’m pretty excited about, and I’m definitely going to have to do that with all my characters now, Melissa. 🙂
I thought up another twist on this prompt that intrigues me:
Your characters get stuck in an elevator with you, their author. How do they react when they discover who you are and that you control their destinies? What sort of conversations would you have? Would you like interacting with your character? Would your character like you?
Hannah, I love your prompt idea. What a fun writing exercise: The Character Meets the Author. That’s quite brilliant!
Thank you so much for these, I’m trying to write a book…and I’ve been at a stand still lately, so this will help me more than ever.
You’re welcome, Alexis. I’m glad you found these prompts helpful.
Hi Ms. Donovan!
thank you so much for the writing prompts! i’ve been using them for all my english creative writing assignments. it’s been my dream to be a writer since i was little. although i find it hard to write mysteries. ironically it’s my favorite genre to read though. any advice on how to get started on a good mystery?
I myself haven’t written mysteries, although I have read a few. My suggestion would be to read as many mysteries as you can, and watch mystery films and television shows, so you thoroughly know your genre (you should still read other stuff too!). Study the greats and ideas will come to you!
Wow i have writers block i have my charecter but i dont know what the problem is……
help any good title ideas?
When I’m stuck and can’t come up with a character or a title, I just skip it. The important thing is to keep writing. You can always come back later and add names and titles. Here’s how I do it:
GIRL said that there was no way out but OLD LADY knew otherwise…
I use all caps for characters who don’t have names yet. Many writers use a “working title” as they are developing their project. A working title can be anything. It’s just temporary.
You’ll find that as you work on your project (and if you work around these little setbacks), ideas will come to you. Good luck!
Awesome post:) Thanks so much, really helped! have a great day! Peace-Jeff
A prompt could be : She started to fall over and _________( fill in the blank) picked her up.
or : The alien gaze stared from above the fence , and I blushed in embarrassment.
100 words about your favorite animal
a short story about a difficult topic like : war , famine , bullying .etc
a poem about the weather
Hi Melody! Thanks for adding your prompts to this ever-growing list!
Your prompts are definitely creative and helpful, but what I’m most impressed with is how you respond so positively and encouragingly to everyone who replied to this. Sometimes all it takes is a little bit of encouragement or approval from even a complete stranger to shift a young writers thought from maybe being able to do something to just doing it. I haven’t written in months, and are still my having any real luck, but I know I will write again someday, and I just thought it should be mentioned that you are a good person for encouraging others to do what they love. Best of luck to you…
Thank you so much, Shannon. Your words mean a lot to me. I try to be an advocate for writers and encourage young and new writers to explore their ideas and find their voices. I believe the world would be a better place if we all followed our passions, and more importantly, encouraged others to do so as well.
The little girl cries with a lie on her lips
The girl can’t remember her name
The little boy’s laugh rings with hollow self-doubt
The little girl feels just the same
A little dog lost in the thick of the woods
A little man sick with dismay
A little boy born in the arms of the girl
A little life born from a day
A little death born from an ignorant choice
A little boy crying away
And a little God laughs at the sight of it all
For this little herd has not a say
Thanks for sharing your poem with us, Conner. Keep writing!
It’s the first time that i’m gonna be doing an inter-school creative writing competition, and i found these prompts really helpful! Thanks a billion!
Really like the prompts! It was really helpful! My brother and I are always gonna use this website! I <3 it!
Thanks! I’m glad you like it here 🙂
Thanks Melissa for the writing prompts. I asked my students to develop their writing skill through these useful prompts.
By the way, I have published my first fiction ‘Faith No More’. I’d be extremely glad if you could manage to read any of it and provide me with feedback.
Hi Afshin. Thanks for sharing these prompts with your students. Requests for feedback should be sent via email (you can use the “Contact” link at the top of this site).
i have been major struggling with writing my second book and when i found these i just opened up my mind more and i decided not to write a second book it was just fine without one and now i can be on a whole other spectrum thanks so much these has inspired me a lot i put a few of em together to get ideas 🙂 well done 🙂 highly appreciated
That’s awesome. Thanks for letting me know that these prompts helped you. Good luck with your writing projects!
I just got a typewriter at a great market the other day so I came looking for something to help me have fun and get inspired while I was using it. Thanks for the help! I ended up writing a thing about an embarrassing moment that helped me learn how to not sweat it when embarrassing moments happen. This particular one had to do with toilet paper… haha. Cheers!
Embarrassing moments always make for good storytelling. Enjoy your new typewriter!
I’ve been really into playwriting lately, but I’ve been stuck with writers block for the longest time. A couple of these prompts really caught my attention and I’ve already got so many new ideas, I don’t know where to begin! 🙂
That’s awesome. I’m glad you found this piece so helpful.
I have had writers block for months now. This site has helped me so much!
I’m thrilled to hear that! Keep writing!
My favorite way to start up a story is to listen to a song and think about the story of it. Sometimes I use the first part of the song as the first sentence of my story. I hope this helps.
That’s an awesome idea! I love music-literature crossovers.
Hi thank you so much for these ideas i have chosen an idea and i have a perfect picture of my idea . Thank you again and as you will see on all of your comments you have helped a lot of children or adults from this website . Thank you !
You’re welcome! Thanks for commenting.
I shared #9 with my page for a fun writing exercise about an hour ago. Great response! 🙂
Thanks for sharing one of these prompts with your readers. I hope they have fun with it.
Thanks for the prompts! Reading other people’s ideas always makes me feel more hopeful about initiating my own.
I have struggled to put my thoughts down on paper for as long as I can remember- there just seems to be a disconnect between the disorganized chaos of possibilities in my head and that little spot where the ink meets the paper.
I wanted to offer an idea that has often provided many interesting and fun possibilities to me-
Think of a time of day ( 7 pm, the sun setting, the day cooling off, night creatures beginning to stir), or a month ( August, the air laden with heat and damp, everything deep and green and vibrant), and then try to think of all the qualities that accompany that period of time ( do most people seem happy then? is it a relaxing time? a tense time? does the weather make life easier or harder?). Once you’ve collected as many descriptions and feelings about this time as you can, then begin to build a world where it is ALWAYS that time- how do people’s lives change?
Ooh, that’s a great exercise. I wasn’t expecting the twist at all! Love it.
This is awesme. i like these. i like writing prompts, and this is a very helpful website
Thanks! I’m glad you liked these prompts.
omg wow, this helped me so much, thankyou so much!! i love my writing and this just helped me ten fold. xxx
You’re welcome. I’m glad you found it helpful.
I’ve been writing since i was eight, [approximately (obviously – i haven’t been counting!)] but I started to loose it… flame was REIGNITED by my best friend. but despite the burning, I have never actually completed a story. It knaws at me all the time! I’m currently writing a revolutionary/Sci-fi, which is odd for me, I’m more into writing realist novels… but your prompts gave me such a PERFECT plot twist that I had to comment on it! this will give me motivation for at least a few weeks… (meanwhile dancing up and down with sheer joy and attracting VERY weird looks.)
Though it IS kind of weird, because non of the prompts have anything to do with it…
My, how strangely the mind works…
Yes, the mind works in mysterious ways. I’m glad one of these prompts inspired you. Best of luck with your story (I love sci-fi).
This website is a life saver. My brain just froze and I was trying to do a creative writing story, and my life and my school / collage life depended on it. Thanks to one of your prompts, it won my school a pride. Thanks a lot. 🙂 bye!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Whoops I meant prize
That’s awesome, Tierrney! Congrats on winning a prize. Keep writing!
wow great writing promts, ive already decided on the start of my story but I cant think of anything that can happen. I want something to happen.
Try throwing some conflict at your main character. Good luck to you!
Wow!! I tried prompt number one just for fun one day, I have not exercised my creative mind in a long time, and I want to thank you for offering these prompts. I really surprised myself at the poem I wrote. It probably wouldnt go over to well with the grammar police because I used old english and standard english.. but the content just really surprised me. I was like, “where did that come from”? Thank you so much!!!!
Blessings and Thanks to you for your website!
Thanks for your kind words, Kathleen. I’m so glad you found inspiration here!
thank you so much i found 3 ideas for a school project i am working on this is going to be one of my most big acomplishments!
You’re welcome! Good luck with your project.
i love this website because it helped me get an A on my project!!! i am soo thankfull to WRITING FORWARD!!! thank you sooo much and i am sooo confident that i will be sure to use this website again….thanX a million luv WRIGHTING FORWARD~~kbb
You’re welcome. Congratulations on getting such a good grade!
Writing comes from the mind and obviously the ideas comes from our real life….The story of mystery novels always comes from the fear we have in our minds and it can come from everything… I can remember the things…when I wrote my first poem ‘Rain’…it was raining in cats and dogs outside…..
I think writing comes from many places. I try not to over-analyze it, but it is interesting to examine our ideas and try to figure out where they came from.
I really like your ideas but I had some of my own that I think you could add to your list. You could add things like:
You’re outside cutting your grass when you come across a large hole in the ground. You’ve never noticed the hole before, but it looks to be some sort of tunnel to another world. You decide to peek through and see where it leads, only it leads you to a pivotal moment in your past—and it’s giving you an opportunity to change it. Write this scene.
A toy, stuffed animal, or game that once meant a lot to me
Why I deserve a larger allowance
The book that got me hooked on reading
This really bugs me.
One thing I want to do by the time I finish 8th grade
I would like to have lived during this time in history.
Thanks for adding these writing prompts, Shreya.
Start your story with:
Jessica had no choice. She closed her eyes and jumped.
You might be surprised.
Ah, that’s an interesting prompt.
Here one possibly
What if you woke up one day with no memories in a strange world where nobody was who they said they were?
That’s a good one!
Wow! I really like this list of prompts! I’ve been looking for inspiration to write a short story and I especially liked the one about dragons! “We’ve all seen cute and cuddly dragons, mean and vicious dragons, and noble dragons write about a different dragon”
Thanks, Meredith! I’m glad you liked these writing prompts.
Anyone considered using visual (photos/paintings) prompts?
A scenic view, a city view, a beach, a hill, a house, a village, a car, a train, a plane, a boat, a castle, a body?
Yes, I’ve used visual prompts, and I’ve included them in my book, 1200 Creative Writing Prompts. The image prompts are described (rather than using images), but they’re a lot of fun.
Hi I’m Hallie I’m 13 years old and I love writing. Just for some reason I can never think of things to write about. I really like fantasy. I look online for writing prompt ideas and I find a lot of good ones but none of them really click. I really want to write something but I don’t know what. What should I do?
Hi Hallie. Thanks for visiting Writing Forward. What you’re experiencing is fairly common among writers. I have experienced it many times — when I want to write but I don’t know what to write and nothing clicks, I will look through prompts and my old notes, and I just don’t get fired up about anything.
I’ve found that in moments like these, the best thing to do is just write anyway. We can’t feel inspired and fired up all the time. And often, when I force myself to just follow some prompt or writing exercise, even when I don’t really feel like it, I start to get into it and eventually, something clicks.
There will be many times when writing is fun or even thrilling. But I’ve found that the people who stick with writing are those who write even when they’re not especially inspired. Sometimes it’s work. Stick with it, and you’ll experience all these highs and lows. Every single one of them is worth it.
Wow! I really like the diversity of your prompts, Mellisa. I’ve been writing a collection of short stories of my childhood experience of the Biafran War in Nigeria and struggled with some troubling memories but you’ve reminded me that I could just write everything as it comes to me and revise later. Also, I love your children stories prompts.
Thank you, Edit. That makes my day. I’m always glad when people find the articles here at Writing Forward useful. Good luck with your stories. That sounds like an important project.
is it weird that when i saw the one on dragons the first thought to my mind is ‘ i counld do one on a gay dragon, right?’ and then when i saw number 4 ( for all the twilight fans, just a heads up), i thought of jasper hale- i’m not calling him ugly- but i saw the fear part and thought to myself how he fears hurting someone/ losing control.
Is it weird? I don’t think it’s weird. The point of the prompts is to engage your imagination, so it seems like they are working, which is great.
I absolutely love these! I have been writing since I was able to talk. I told my dad exactly what to write down on little pieces of paper. Now that I’m fourteen, I was sure I wrote every idea imaginable. But these really gave me a fresh perspective, and for that, I am so grateful! It also inspired me to come up with a prompt of my own:
She sprinted through the trees, quickly twisting around thick trunks as she dodged the sheriff’s arrows. Her stomach ached from the laughs that shook her entire body. Foolish sheriff. He thought he could catch a pirate?
I’m glad you enjoyed these writing prompts. Your prompt is awesome. Keep writing! It will take you places that only you can imagine.
I loved these prompts. I had my friends pick a number between 1 and 25 to chose which on to do. I think they improved my writing skills. Thank you!
I’m glad you enjoyed these prompts, Nora. Thanks for your comment.
I am a 13 year old and I love to write. I have a best friend and she always wants to see my writing, but I didn’t want her to see it because I didn’t think it was very good. She insisted on seeing it, and when I showed her the first chapter in a story I was writing just for myself, she thought it was brilliant. She then disguised it as an excerpt from an e-book app and showed it to our English teacher. My friend pretended that it was a real, published book by an actual author and asked for the teacher’s opinion. The teacher loved it and asked for the name of the book. When she discovered it was written by her own pupil, she was shocked and said i should send it to a publisher. Now I am confused. I didn’t think my writing was very good. What should I do now?
Hi Sam. I was your age when I started writing.
There are a few things you might want to do. First, continue working on your book until it’s finished. This will be hard. You will probably lose interest at some point. You’ll get stuck and feel unsure where to take the story. You’ll have other ideas that seem better, and you’ll be tempted to set this story aside. Don’t be deterred. Stick with it.
Do your parents know about your interest in writing? At 13, you would need their involvement in any publishing or submissions that you might want to do. You can also try talking to your teacher. Don’t be shy about this. It’s the job of teachers to guide their students. But keep in mind, not all English teachers are knowledgeable about the publishing industry. See if she can offer some guidance. You might be able to find literary magazine for kids your age and submit your writing so you can start getting some practice in the publishing world.
Beyond that, make sure you read a lot and write as much you can. If you love writing, it’s something that will always be with you. As you get older, you’ll be able to carve out the path you want, whether that’s to make writing a career or continue enjoying it as a hobby.
Best of luck to you!
I am 10 and I have written a few short stories of my own, and I really enjoy creative writing. I was very pleased when I found this website, now I won’t be struggling to think about what to write.
That’s wonderful, Kaiya. We love having young writers around here. Thanks so much!
I’m 12 and I also really like writing. I have always been trying to write short stories since I was six (I started with mostly seven page picture books). Finding how to start a story has always been pretty hard, but these prompts have really helped! I definitely have to explore some more of these prompts. There are so many! Thank you!!
Wow, Naomi, that’s wonderful. I was just a little older than you (13) when I started writing (poetry for me). You have a long and wonderful journey ahead of you, and I hope you enjoy all of it! You’re welcome for these prompts. I’m so glad you found them helpful.
Thank you so much for sharing this wonderful post with us.
the one that has the tailsman remids me of “Wings of Fire” because one of the dragons named darkstalker put is animus magic on a scroll and called it his tailsman and he can read minds so it really reminded me of that book
I haven’t read Wings of Fire but it sounds interesting!
oh and it fell into the wrong hands or really talons but ya i just wanted to share that information thank you for this i really got some good ideas like the detective one