Writing Prompts

68 articles found

Pin it!

When writer’s block strikes, swap words for pictures. Photo posting sites such as Pinterest, Juxtapost and WeHeartIt allow users to collect and organize images on a digital inspiration board. Find photos of your setting, like a gritty city street or the cool Appalachian Mountains. Pin photographs of people who resemble your characters, either in mood or …

Published: December 13, 2013

What’s your sign?

According to Western astrology, date of birth can affect a person’s emotional makeup. Explore the signs of the zodiac and the key personality traits that belong to each. Now imagine a character who embodies one of these signs. Is he an independent and impulsive Aries? A loyal but jealous Scorpio? A sensitive Pisces with a …

Published: December 6, 2013

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