Writing Prompts

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189 articles found

First day of school

The first day of school. We’ve all gone through it – getting lost in a new building, trouble with a locker combination, bad outfits, summer dreams coming to fruition (or not), new friends, horror stories. Write a first-person account of your most memorable first day of school, maintaining the innocence, naivety, wisdom and mind-set of …

Published: September 9, 2016

The core of the matter

“With an apple I will astonish Paris.” —Paul Cezanne Post-impressionist painter Paul Cezanne transformed the 20th century art world by making simple objects extraordinary. Write a scene or short story in which an ordinary object such as an apple or clothespin plays an astonishing role in your character’s future. How can you transform something conventional …

Published: September 1, 2016

1,000 words: Mannequin mania

  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: August 19, 2016


  Much of who we later become is formed in adolescence, and the lessons we learn in the school yard often stick with us for the rest of our lives. What was your main character like in elementary school? How did they adjust to high school? How did they handle their newfound freedom in college? …

Published: August 12, 2016


Every piece of writing contains golden nuggets – moments or phrases that make the story special. Go through some of your favorite texts to find the golden nuggets within. What makes them stand out? Why do they work? Next, do the same with your own work. How many golden nuggets do you have in one …

Published: August 5, 2016

Fly on the wall

  Part of being a good writer – and especially of being a good humor writer – is being an eavesdropper. So much inspiration can be found in real life, as has been proved countless times by stand-up comedians. The next time you are in a crowded place – on a train, in a mall, …

Published: July 29, 2016

Last summer

  “I love writing about the summer between high school and college. It’s the last gasp of really being a teen.” —Sarah Dessen   Craft a fictional story about a teen’s final summer before heading to college; alternatively, write a nonfiction retelling of your own final summer. What are the stakes? What emotions does a …

Published: July 22, 2016

Bouquet of secrets

A character opens the front door and discovers a bouquet of flowers on the doorstep. But the flowers have a hidden meaning. What do they symbolize? Who left them there? How does the character react?   For more inspiration, visit our database of writing prompts.

Published: July 15, 2016

In knots

The woman smoothed down the knots in her hair, not noticing the ragged rip in her skirt or the dark stain on her blouse. What happened to this woman? Where is she going? Create a backstory and decide how this experience will affect her future.   For more inspiration, visit our database of writing prompts.

Published: July 8, 2016

Wedding bells

After saying “I do,” a bride bursts into laughter. Meanwhile, bells are about to ring for another bride. But as she steps into her gown, she’s not thinking about her fiancé. Or her wedding. Write a story about how these two moments are connected by the secret these brides share.   For more inspiration, visit our …

Published: July 1, 2016