23 Writing Prompts That Ask What If?
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.
- What if you woke up naked in a public place?
- What if the police showed up at your door and arrested you for a serious crime, like murder or treason?
- What if someone you loved dearly was injured and in a coma for months?
- What if you won the lottery?
- What if you could blink your eyes and transport yourself to anywhere in the world in a flash?
- What if you could meet any famous person, living or dead?
- What if people encouraged you to run for public office, anything from mayor of your city to president (or prime minister) of your country?
- What if you wrote a book that became a best-seller and had to go on the talk-show circuit?
- What if you went camping or on a nature hike and found a priceless ancient artifact?
- What if you could travel though time? When would you go?
- What if you could become a master at any one skill, overnight?
- What if you had a superpower?
- What if you could find the love of your life but would only be together for one year?
- What if you discovered a family secret that would change everything?
- What if you found a treasure map that would take you all over the world?
- What if aliens landed in your back yard?
- What if you could visit any fantasy world — Never Land, Wonderland, Oz, Narnia, Hogwarts — which would you pick?
- What if you had the opportunity to be a colonist on another planet?
- What if you could solve any world problem — hunger, poverty, war, or disease?
- What if you found out you were having octuplets — eight babies?
- What if you could control your dreams (lucid dreaming) and you could make events occur in the real world simply by dreaming them?
- 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?
- 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!