Writing Prompts

Writing prompts help inspire and motivate writers to write. Writing prompts can help break writer's block by sparking your brain to think creatively. They can also be used to start a story, which is why they are also known as "story starters." Writing prompts come in different formats, including text, photographs and word puzzles.

Our prompts can be used to inspire stories, poems, journal entries and more. You can find a list of 20 more prompts and some prompt resources by scrolling down this page. Get out your pen, pencil or laptop - or site at your desktop - and get ready to write.

Random Word Generators (7-19-21)

Quickly Generate a short or long list of words and then use it as a writing challenge.

Turn Your Bad Boss Into a Character (6-6-2020)

Everyone has had a bad boss or manager that really got on their nerves. It turns out that crazy bosses are not even all that rare. Some are born that way while others are corrupted by power. Get your revenge by turning one of the narcissistic bullies in your workplace into a villain.

Great Escape Story or Scene (10-19-18)

People are always interest in situations where people escape. It could be a jail break or it could be a soldier escaping from the enemy. It could also be a person managing an amazing get away from their captors. Start writing your great escape.

Describe Your Character's Favorite Dish (8-1-18)

How well do you know your characters? Can you describe in detail one of your character's favorite meals? Is this meal a big experience for them? How is it related to their past?

Create a Character To-Do List (6-27-18)

Create a to-do list for one of your characters. What are their plans for the day or week ahead?

Random Facts Writing Prompt (5-27-18)

Random Facts can spark your creativity. Use a random fact generated with the help of Google to spark an idea for a story, poem, journal entry or scene.

Create a Mary Sue (5-17-18)

Mary Sue needs you. It is time to create an ultra perfect character - a true Mary Sue. She can be an idealized version of yourself.

Be the Writer for an Abandoned Character (5-4-18)

In Luigi Pirandello's classic play, "Six Characters in Search of an Author," the characters wander into a rehearsal of another play in search of a new author. Imagine a poor character has been abandoned by his or her author. This forsaken character is looking to you and asking, "Will you be my author?"

Add a Cat (4-22-18)

Add a cat to one of your stories. What role could the cat play? Alternatively, you could write a poem about a cat or a journal entry about what your cat did this week.

Use a Riddle (4-14-18)

The Mad Hatter asks the curious riddle "Why is a raven like a writing desk" in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Find a way to incorporate a riddle into a story. Do you have a character that likes riddles? Is there a riddle that needs to be solved by your characters as part of an adventure?

Twist Your Story (4-9-18)

You probably have a number of unpublished stories. Select one of them and rewrite it from the point of view of a different character. You might be able to go deeper with a minor character or maybe the main villain has hidden depths. You could also add a more sinister villain to a story that does not really have one. If your story is not getting published it could be time to rethink it. Mix it up.

Stolen Glasses (3-27-18)

Write a story where an item of seemingly little value is stolen and a ransom note is left. This actually happened to author Jonathan Franzen when his glasses were stolen at a book launch party.

David's Tools (3-21-18)

David might be up to something nefarious. Has he made a crucial error?

The Amazing Gift (3-14-18)

"Two days ago Mary would have told anyone that she every boy in her school. Today, she was sitting underneath a tree in the park holding the amazing box in disbelief. She couldn't believe he had given her this.

Scary Words Horror Prompt (3-7-18)

Use one or more of of the scary words or phrases below to write a horror poem or short story. If you choose a story, which one of your characters will die? Who will survive?

Twenty More Writing Prompts

Here are twenty more quick ideas to help get you writing.

  1. Write down everything you can about a person who met in the past two weeks.
  2. A strange house on a street in your charaacter's neighborhood has a dungeon.
  3. Write a poem or story that takes place on a train. Keep the color blue in mind.
  4. Put one of your characters in a lineup. Who is in the lineup with them? What is the crime?
  5. Your character is transfixed by an object in a store window.
  6. Your character was forever changed by an incident that happened twenty years ago. Suddenly, he or she sees a person involved in that incident at a cafe.
  7. Have character from two of your stories meet. What do they discuss.
  8. Go visit the nearest museum for inspiration.
  9. Your character has something very important stolen from them and they know who did it.
  10. Create five great romantic lines. Now imagine a character capable of saying one of these great lines.
  11. Describe in detail an outdoor setting that is very familiar to you.
  12. Thirty people are on a bus. So far, none of them know each other. Identify all thirty people and describe them.
  13. Describe your character's morning routine. What is a typical breakfast. Do they workout? Watch TV? Read the news?
  14. How would your friend react if they met one of your characters for real?
  15. Create a short poem for one of the stories you are working on.
  16. Write a paragraph for a story in a genre you have never tried writing in before.
  17. Writing a interior building setting that could be used in any story.
  18. Change one of your story so your main character does something they really regret or goes back on his/her word.
  19. Someone is following your favorite character. What are they after? What do they see your character do?
  20. Take the time now to organize your writing desk. An organized mind may be more open to creativity.

Writing Prompt Resources

We will continue to add new original prompts above page but you don't have to worry. Writing prompts are not a scarce resource. They are all over the Internet. They can be found on social media, on writing sites and in forums. Here are a few good spots to find more free writing prompts:

Short Story Ideas: Your own mind and the world around you can also help you come up with ideas.

Poetry Prompts: Our poetry prompts page can inspire you to write a poem. It might even inspire you to write a short story.

Journal Prompts - Our journal prompts can help you keep the entries in your journal flowing. No more looking at blank page.

Writing Prompts for Kids - Find resources that contain writing prompts for kids. These could also be used by creatively thinking adults.

Writer's Digest Prompts: Writer's Digest has a prompts section that is updated weekly. You can write and leave a response to the prompt in the comments section.

Writing Prompts Tumblr: The Writing Prompts Tumblr blog has a lot of different writing prompts in addition to text. It also uses photographs and puzzles to get you thinking.

Reddit Writing Prompts: The Writing Prompt Reddit is a great source for inspiration. In addition to prompts there are also command-like prompts, such as " Just write a nice story about someone having a good day."

Writing Prompts on Twitter: A search for "writing prompts" on Twitter brings up the latest prompts Twitter users are sharing. Some of them are quite good.

The Time Is Now: The Time is Now from Poets & Writers provides a weekly writing prompt in addition to poetry prompts. The section uses recent events, famous writers and famoue literature to come up with writing prompts and exercises.

Writing Prompts on Pinterest: A search for writing prompts on Pinterest will provide many pinned graphic images of writing prompts to spark your creativity.

Story Starters at The Literacy Shed - The Literacy Shed has a collection of over 50 different story starters.

The Writer Writing Prompts: The Writer magazine has a big collection of over 150 writing prompts with new ones added frequently.

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