Writing Prompts

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185 articles found

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

1,000 words: Giving thanks

Our “1,000 Words” writing prompts take a picture – beautiful, wacky, abstract, or otherwise – and ask the writer to write whatever comes to mind. Fiction? Poetry? Essay? The choice is yours, scribes. Just start writing.   For more inspiration, visit our database of writing prompts.

Published: November 18, 2016

Poetry for veterans

Write a patriotic poem to pay tribute to the men and women of the armed forces. Consider the emotions they must feel on the battlefield, about being away from home and of facing the unimaginable. Incorporate the rhythms of military life, and consider the tensions of adventure, fear, patriotism and the experience of innocent non-combatants. …

Published: November 11, 2016

Sing it

  Take a line from your favorite song and incorporate it into a short story. Let the song’s style set the rhythm of your narrative. Dance to the song or sing it out loud (and with feeling) to get a sense of its spirit and rhythm. Can’t pick a favorite? Try these: “Every time when …

Published: November 4, 2016

Tricks and treats

In parts of the U.S. and Canada, Mischief Night – also known as Gate Night and Cabbage Night – is celebrated on the eve of Halloween with tricks and pranks. Use this setting to develop a conflict between two or more characters: neighbors, friends or lovers. Who tricks whom? How do the events of that …

Published: October 28, 2016