Writing Prompts

66 articles found

Black Friday blues

The store doors are about to open, and a line of shoppers has formed out front. Get inside their minds. What items are they most eager to buy? What do those products reveal about their characters? What was their Thanksgiving Day like, and how does that affect their subsequent behavior? Describe the scene that unfolds …

Published: November 29, 2013

Turkey time

A family gathers around the dining room table for Thanksgiving dinner. The kitchen door opens, and someone (or something) unexpected appears. Who or what has arrived? Use dialogue to explore the tensions of the moment. Experiment with point of view. Is the story told best as third person omniscient or from the perspective of one …

Published: November 22, 2013

A Veteran’s Tale

In the heat of combat, a soldier witnesses a love story. What does the soldier see? How does he or she react? Use setting and environment to influence the action. Is he exposed on a battlefield, flying a fighter jet or viewing the conflict from a different perspective? In what war is she fighting? How …

Published: November 8, 2013

One syllable, one story

Write a story, paragraph or poem using only one-syllable words. Don’t limit yourself to logical narratives. Write freely, using the restriction to explore unusual word pairings or unexpected directions. Once you have finished, find the phrase or sentence that most strikes you. Make that line a springboard for another piece of writing.

Published: October 4, 2013

Pipe dreams

“The smell of the moldy sponge clung to her hands. She sighed over the sink, dreaming of the place she would go when she left this town.” Create a character and a story with this line. Where is this woman working? What are her future aspirations? How do these aspirations reflect her nature?

Published: September 27, 2013

On the road

At that moment, she realized her only option was to pack up her old sedan and hit the road. Use this line as the beginning or end of a story. Why does this character have to leave? Where does she go? What does she take with her? Why?

Published: September 20, 2013

Suit yourself

You’re walking through the woods when you come across a suitcase. Describe it. What is inside? Who does it belong to? How did it get there?

By Hillary Casavant | Published: September 13, 2013

5 minutes of fame

Try this approach next time you need an idea for a memoir or personal essay: Pretend you’re standing before a packed stadium, spotlight directed on you. You have one chance and five minutes to share your personal story. What is the story you would most want to tell? What is the story you would never …

Published: September 6, 2013

Literally

Our language is filled with idioms, phrases which have definitions different from their literal meanings. Clichés such as “at the drop of a hat,” “take the words out of your mouth” and “kick the bucket” creep unnoticed in our writing and everyday speech. Write a story or paragraph in which a character or scene literally …

By Hillary Casavant | Published: August 23, 2013

Sea and fog

You wake up on the deck of an empty boat. The boat is adrift, and you’re surrounded by fog. You check your pockets. No cellphone and the navigation equipment is broken. How did you get there? How do you get out? Share your writing in the comments section below. Please keep posts under 500 words.

By Hillary Casavant | Published: August 16, 2013