Writing Prompts

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179 articles found

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

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 31, 2016

The gift

  A child looks in a store window and sees the perfect holiday present. Describe the gift through the child’s eyes. Is the gift for the child or for the child’s loved one? What makes this gift personal and specific to this child? What does it show about the child’s character and interests? What will …

Published: December 2, 2016

Hunter or hunted?

On the final day of hunting season, two hunters perch in a deer stand and wait for their target. They begin to discuss past experiences, and one hunter reveals a surprising secret. What happens in the deer stand? How does the revelation cause both hunters to act? Describe the weather, the landscape and the condition …

Published: November 25, 2016