Writing Prompts

89 articles found

Breaking news

Three individuals in three separate locations see a breaking news item flash across a TV screen. How does each person respond? How does the event affect (or not affect) each viewer? How does this incident unite them in the future?

Published: March 14, 2014

Park bench confession

Two strangers sit beside each other on a park bench, both hiding secrets they’ve never told anyone before. In the course of their interaction, how do these secrets come out? How are their stories related? How does this encounter change their futures?

Published: March 11, 2014

Road block

A woman is driving her car when she sees something unexpected in the middle of the road. She pulls over to get a closer look. What is in the road? What happens when she gets out of the car? How does the object in the road reflect something significant in her life?

Published: February 28, 2014


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