Writing Prompts

86 articles found


A burglar breaks into a home and steals three unusual objects which appear to be worthless. What are the objects? Why does he or she steal them? What happens next to the burglar and the homeowner?

Published: February 21, 2014

Waiting room

Three strangers are sitting in a doctor’s office waiting for their appointments. A patient’s bag tips over on the floor and something falls out. What is it? What do the characters say to each other that makes this a significant moment in their lives?

Published: February 14, 2014

Seventh floor, please

A character walks into an elevator and accidentally presses the wrong button. The elevator doors open on the seventh floor. What does the character see, or who steps onto the elevator? How does this event change the course of the character’s story?

Published: February 7, 2014

One-way ticket

A character walks into a bus station and blindly chooses a destination. Why is she leaving? Where does he go? What will she find there?

Published: January 31, 2014

Forget to remember

Write a story, poem or essay inspired by “forgetting.” A character forgets a key piece of information or an important object before an event. How does this affect him? How does the act of forgetting change the outcome of her story?

Published: January 17, 2014


Winter is a time for stillness: hibernation, freezing, stagnation. Use a winter setting to represent these themes in a fictional story. Imagine a psychological or physical “polar vortex” that immobilizes a character and prevents forward progress. What causes the freeze? What keeps the character from reaching a certain goal? Identify what freezes your character—a clear …

Published: January 10, 2014

Writing resolutions

Before the clock strikes midnight, make a list of your writing wishes for the New Year. Will you find an agent? Complete the research for a nonfiction essay? Embark on a national book tour? Free write a list of your aspirations, no matter how big or small. Next, create a list of resolutions. What can …

Published: December 27, 2013

A midnight clear

A character steps outside on a snowy Christmas Eve night. The air is hushed, holiday lights twinkling, when he looks down and discovers something surprising on his steps. What does he find? How does it transform his perspective of the holiday? What happens next?

Published: December 20, 2013

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