Writing Prompts

82 articles found

Duck, duck, oops!

You are 6-years-old and at your best friend’s birthday party. The kids from your class are donned in party hats and on a sugar high from the cake. It’s your turn at the piñata, but things go horribly awry and your best friend ends up in tears. From a child’s first-person point of view, write …

Published: January 23, 2015

A visit from the past

January 16 marks the day in 27 BC that the Roman Empire was created. Write a scene bringing its founding fathers, such as Emperor Augustus, to present-day Rome. What will their reaction be to the changes? Will they recognize anything from centuries past? How will they react to seeing the grand structures they built in ruins – …

Published: January 16, 2015

Begin again

Walt Whitman wrote: “Afoot and lighthearted I take to the open road, healthy, free, the world before me.” Draw a sketch of a character who heads out to the open road to “begin again.” Describe the world before him or her: Where is it? How far is the trip? What is the goal? What or who …

Published: January 2, 2015

52 weeks of your writing

As 2014 comes to a close, take this time to do your own “year in review.” Take out something you wrote earlier this year and give it a good read with a fresh set of eyes. Pay attention to the highs and the lows of the piece and see what needs improvement. Take a look …

Published: December 26, 2014

Santas take the subway

Something has gone awry at the North Pole, and these Santas have opted to take the subway. Build a YA story around who they are, how they got here, where they’re going and what they encounter along the way. Write a Christmas story that makes young readers laugh – or shiver.

Published: December 19, 2014

A Shopping Dilemma

You’re next in line after waiting 15 minutes. Holiday music is blaring, the parking lot is a mess, it’s starting to snow, and the cashier at one of the two open registers has just gone on break.  The person behind you, arms full of items, a wailing child at his/her side, taps you on the shoulder. Let the scene play out, driven by dialogue …

Published: December 12, 2014

Put it in perspective

Re-read your most recent piece of fiction and experiment with point of view. What would happen if the story was written in third person omniscient? How about second person?

Published: October 31, 2014

From trash to treasure

Sit down in your character’s office or bedroom. Glance in the waste basket. What’s inside? A photograph? An orange rind? A half empty bottle of whiskey? What we throw away can reveal surprising things about us. Write a paragraph that describes the contents of a character’s trash can.

By Hillary Casavant | Published: September 26, 2014

Photographic memory

Home from your vacation, you flip through the photos on your camera. As you pass a picture of a busy street, something catches your eye, something you didn’t see at the time. You slowly zoom in on a face in the crowd. When the image focuses, you gasp, dropping the camera to the floor. Who …

By Hillary Casavant | Published: September 19, 2014

He said, she said

Write the first draft of a scene using only dialogue: no speaker tags or actions. What can you convey about the characters through their voices or interaction? Avoid the temptation to use dialogue for exposition or back story. Instead, focus on developing character. Let what’s said—or not said—build tension and reveal the workings of a …

Published: September 12, 2014