Writing Prompts

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162 articles found

Coastal crime scene

  While vacationing at a seaside resort, you read about an unsolved murder that occurred in the empty cottage next door. Curious, you decide to try your “psychometric” skills—envisioning the past from an object held in your hand. You sneak into the empty cottage, pick up an object, and clearly visualize the entire crime. The …

Published: June 16, 2017

Yard sale mystery

  During a long car trip, you stop at a yard sale in a strange town and find an interesting picture frame. It holds the photo of a familiar face—your fiancé’s! There’s a passionate inscription to a stranger, dated three weeks ago. You must find an explanation. The first clue comes from the person whose …

By Hal Zina Bennett | Published: June 1, 2017

If these pets could talk

If you have ever had a pet, you surely had many conversations with the animal and probably also wished that he or she could talk. Write a scene from a house pet’s point of view, including verbal and internal responses to conversation created by its owner. Add plenty of personality and mannerisms to make the …

Published: May 19, 2017

Naming names

  The name Eleanor means “bright one.” The name Geoff means “peaceful one.” And the name Petrina means “rock.” Write a dossier for each of these names (or choose three others), and allow a story to unfold based on their qualities. Is it an adventure? a love story? Let the process be a lesson to …

Published: May 9, 2017

Poem within a poem

  Use a line from poetry to inspire new work. Find a line or phrase that resonates with you, then use it as inspiration for a new story, poem or essay. How can you transform the message behind Robert Frost’s “He will not see me stopping here”? What story could emerge from Sonia Sanchez’s “and …

Published: April 26, 2017

All aboard

    A person sprints off of a train as it comes to a stop. Is he or she running to something, somewhere, or someone? Or from something? Describe the setting in detail: Is it a subway, a Victorian-era station, a country stop?   Written by Henry Nichols. For more inspiration, visit our database of writing prompts.

By Henry Nichols | Published: April 18, 2017

Loved to death

  Write a love story about two members of the undead.   For more inspiration, visit our database of writing prompts.

Published: February 10, 2017

Labor of love

  Write a love story about two inanimate objects.   For more inspiration, visit our database of writing prompts.

Published: February 3, 2017

Mystery meat

Write a scene that takes place in an elementary or middle school cafeteria. Pay close attention to sensory details. What smells characterize the location? What is the lighting? Is the cafeteria loud and boisterous or empty and quiet? Play with perspective. What happens if the same scene is told from the viewpoint of a student, …

Published: January 20, 2017

No filter

Search your manuscript and remove these filter words: Saw, smelled, heard, thought, knew, touched, wondered, realized, noticed, watched, looked, seemed, felt, decided, remembered and reminded. Read each sentence with and then without the filters. Take note of the subtle but important difference. —Jacqueline Hesse. For more on how filters can affect your writing, read her …

By Jacqueline Hesse | Published: January 6, 2017