creative writing prompts

Creative writing prompts for exploring society and culture.

Today’s post includes a selection of prompts from my book 1200 Creative Writing Prompts. Enjoy!

The unofficial motto of the United States of America is E pluribus unum, which means, “out of many, one.” It’s sometimes translated as “one out of many.”

The phrase can be interpreted many ways. According to Wikipedia:

“The traditionally understood meaning of the phrase was that out of many states (or colonies) emerges a single nation. However, in recent years its meaning has come to suggest that out of many peoples, races, religions, languages, and ancestries has emerged a single people and nation—illustrating the concept of the melting pot.

I offer a simpler interpretation, in which “the many” is comprised of every individual, and “one” is the unification of all those individuals. That’s the essence of any society or culture.

Creative Writing Prompts

The prompts below are designed to get you thinking about society and culture. Consider the struggles of a society, especially one that is divided. Think about people who struggle to fit in, and contemplate what it takes to unify a culture.

Some of the prompts ask you to write a story; others ask you to write a poem or essay. However, you should use the prompts in any way that feels comfortable. If a story prompt inspires a poem, go with it.

  • An old-fashioned couple struggles with their child’s decision to marry—a marriage that defies tradition and their biased beliefs, which have been passed down for generations.
  • Dystopia is an imagined world in which humanity is living in the worst possible (or most unfavorable) conditions. One person’s dystopia is another person’s utopia. What would the world look like in your version of dystopia?
  • Write a poem using the following image: a punk rocker covered in tattoos and piercings with a purple mohawk.
  • What are your thoughts and feelings on big-box stores causing mom-and-pop stores to close? What about online stores causing big-box stores to close?
  • What if there were world peace? What would the world look like?
  • Write a story set in a historical era when men and women’s roles were dramatically different than they are today.
  • Time travel goes crazy when people from history and the future start arriving in the present. What happens when unusual people from the past and future all show up in the here and now, and why have they come?
  • Write a story about a student in junior high or high school struggling with a bigoted teacher.
  • Utopia is the opposite of dystopia. It is an imagined world in which humanity is living in the most ideal and favorable conditions. What does your utopia look like?
  • Write a poem using the following image: a metropolis at night when the power is out.

Did any of these creative writing prompts inspire you? Get more prompts by picking up a copy of 1200 Creative Writing Prompts, featured below.

Creative Writing Prompts

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