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.

What-If Writing Prompts

The prompts below use “you” as the subject, but you should feel free to insert characters and write fiction. Use these prompts to inspire a poem, a story, a script, or even an essay. Just choose a prompt, think about it for a few minutes, and then start writing! You can sketch ideas, brainstorm characters, or outline a plot. As always, feel free to modify the prompts in whatever way you want.

  1. What if you woke up naked in a public place?
  2. What if the police showed up at your door and arrested you for a serious crime, like murder or treason?
  3. What if someone you loved dearly was injured and in a coma for months?
  4. What if you won the lottery?
  5. What if you could blink your eyes and transport yourself to anywhere in the world in a flash?
  6. What if you could meet any famous person, living or dead?
  7. What if people encouraged you to run for public office, anything from mayor of your city to president (or prime minister) of your country?
  8. What if you wrote a book that became a best-seller and had to go on the talk-show circuit?
  9. What if you went camping or on a nature hike and found a priceless ancient artifact?
  10. What if you could travel though time? When would you go?
  11. What if you could become a master at any one skill, overnight?
  12. What if you had a superpower?
  13. What if you could find the love of your life but would only be together for one year?
  14. What if you discovered a family secret that would change everything?
  15. What if you found a treasure map that would take you all over the world?
  16. What if aliens landed in your back yard?
  17. What if you could visit any fantasy world — Never Land, Wonderland, Oz, Narnia, Hogwarts — which would you pick?
  18. What if you had the opportunity to be a colonist on another planet?
  19. What if you could solve any world problem — hunger, poverty, war, or disease?
  20. What if you found out you were having octuplets — eight babies?
  21. What if you could control your dreams (lucid dreaming) and you could make events occur in the real world simply by dreaming them?
  22. What if you were the sole survivor of a plane crash or sunken ship and had to live out the remainder of your days on a desert island? What if there were one or two other survivors with you?
  23. What if you were drafted to fight in a war?

Did these writing prompts spark any ideas? Do you have any what-if prompts to add to this list? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment, and keep writing!

Creative Writing Prompts

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.


2 Responses to “23 Writing Prompts That Ask What If?”

  1. S.P. Bragg says:

    Those are some great “what ifs” lol… I think that I like… “what if you could travel through time?” the best!!!