Announcing: The Great WD Writing Prompt Contest

Hi Writers,
One of the most fun, creative and productive writing exercises I know of is coming up with writing prompts, so I thought I’d hold a little contest here on “The Writer’s Perspective” and on our forum, to come up with the best writing prompt.

So if you’ve come up with a good writing prompt, let’s hear it. You can post it here in the comments section, or on our forum.

The only rules are keep the prompts PG-13 and fewer than 100 words.

This contest is open until end-of-day Wednesday (September 24). I’ll chose my five favorite prompts and put them up on our forum for a popular vote. The winner will be announced Monday (September 29). [please note: the voting is being postponed until October 13. Brian A. Klems, our online managing editor will be choosing his favorite five prompts and posting them on our forum so please check our forum October 13.]

The winner will receive this very cool 2009 Writer’s Digest Weekly Planner and be featured in an upcoming issue of Writer’s Digest magazine!

Let the prompts begin!

Keep Writing,

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63 thoughts on “Announcing: The Great WD Writing Prompt Contest

  1. Maria Schneider

    Hey everyone,
    We haven’t forgotten about the prompt contest, it’s just been postponed! Brian Klems will be selecting the top five prompts and posting them on the Writer’s Digest forum for a vote on October 13 so please check the forum then!

  2. L.H.Poole

    I’ve not seen anything more about this contest, either. I’m assuming that the five prompts weren’t selected, nor put to a vote. Can anyone shed some light on this?

  3. Diana Murray

    "Be careful," said the mystic. "You must drink it slowly."

    "It smells terrible," said Isadora. "Are you sure this is going to work?"

    "Would you like to find out?" asked the mystic.

    Isadora held her nose and took a sip of the thick, black potion.

  4. Elizabeth Burger

    Have you ever wondered what it would be like to overnight in a museum like the children in "From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler”? Daydreamed about which museum to choose or what to do? Would you ride the bony back of a T-Rex? Peek under a mummy’s wraps? Or would you find the nearly forgotten museum from your childhood – the one that never had water in the reflecting pool and many empty galleries blocked with red velvet ropes. Would you choose to wander that one and see how it, and you, have changed since then?

  5. KM Fox

    Prompt 1: Tinkerbell is freelancing for one day. She wants to take you on a trip. Where do you want to fly?

    Prompt 2: James refused to kiss her. Her breath was not the problem. Actually, it smelled like peppermint. Was it her nose? Her lips? Give a reason why he will not kiss her.

    Prompt 3: After three days of searching, the Coast Guard suspended the search and rescue mission. The local authorities closed the case–man overboard. The boat was in a state of chaos. The GPS system data was deleted. Maybe more was involved. Foul play?

    Prompt 4: You see two ladies fighting in the local bar. What is your reaction?

    Prompt 5: List 5 cities or towns in your state. Write one sentence about each one.

  6. MJ

    You’re driving a rental car, a thousand miles from home, and come up behind a car like the one back home in your garage. And not merely its model, you realize, but its identical twin. You draw close enough to read the license plate. Your eyes widen.

    What’s the story?

  7. Ana Rios

    Speed dating is just not for me, I should not have let my friend convince me to join her in this venture. At first glance, there seemed to be no one interesting in the room. I sat at my table and prepared to put a smile on my face to greet the man coming toward me. As he got closer, I realized who it was. My smile froze on my face, he was my first love who I had broken up with over 20 years ago … and still loved.

  8. Kim Kasch

    The wind blew my hair away from my eyes. I looked down. He was crumpled in the dust, nearly covered by the leaves. My hands started to shake, my throat tightened, as I opened my mouth to scream. A gust of air escaped my lips but no words came rushing out. Nothing. I stood helpless, staring at the one man I’d ever loved. Now, what would I do, who could I turn to, and where would I end up? In a land where I couldn’t even speak the language, not a penny to my name, and no friends. . .

  9. Jack Christopher Richards

    The old woman stared into the painting that was so full of color, action, and love. She longed to be a part of it again. Her fingers gently brushed across the canvas and…

  10. Jack Christopher Richards

    Your name has finally been called. It’s what you have waited your whole life to hear. But is it really what you want after what happened last night?

  11. L.H.Poole

    As I lather up my hair in the steaming shower, I hear my cell phone ring on the nightstand beside her bed. "Please don’t answer it," I silently plead as I stop in mid-lather, arms raised above my head. The ringing stops. "Please don’t be my wife," I beg even harder to the forces in the universe. A voice comes through the closed door. "Jack, who is Melanie?"

  12. Jack Christopher Richards

    The radio was emitting more static than music when a voice that I had not heard in years suddenly interrupted to warn me of what would come next.

  13. R.F. Marazas

    Your grammar school girlfriend tells you you don’t know how to kiss. You become enraged and wish her dead. She bolts across the street into an oncoming truck. Years later you see her at a downtown parade, kissing someone. She disappears into the crowd and you follow her. Is she really back from the dead?

  14. Ana Rios

    Prompt: Are you where you want to be in your life right now? If yes, how did you get to that point, what did you do. If not, what do you need to do to get to where you want to be.

  15. Sharon

    You have just completed The Decorators’ Show House Tour, an annual symphony fund-raiser held at an estate for sale. You went with three long time friends, two of whom have become more chic and moneyed over the years. While friends browse the gift shop, you wander down to the field toward a huge ancient tree you saw on the way in. You gingerly touch the bulbous, wart-like nodules on the graying bark, and the tree begins communicating with you. It needs to make something known. Up the hill by the mansion,though, your pals are waving at you.

  16. Daniel Pearson

    1) Write a letter to an old friend you have not contacted in years.

    2) Imagine you are on a job interview for a position you do not want but need because you are out of work. How does the interview go?

    3) A hypnotist calls you on stage in a nightclub. He says that after the bit the keyword he uses on you will have no effect once you leave the club. But you find out later it does while you’re running errands the next day. What happens?

    4) You are having dinner with your old boyfriend/girlfriend from college whom you have not talked to in years and you are both single. Tell the story of the evening through dialogue only. You can use five descriptive sentences that are not dialogue.

    5) You’re driving home from a job you just quit for ethical reasons, and all the money you have is $1,088.

    6) Write a childhood memory from a third-person perspective.

    7) You are attending your first AA meeting and decide to speak. What did you decide to share?

    8)You run into your favorite celebrity standing in line at the post office.

  17. melanie

    Finally settling down for my afternoon lunch break, belly grumbling for the first bite of that meaty hoagie. A smile beams against my face smooshing down those crunchy lettuce between the bread…CRASH!!!!!! a booming sound echos through the building…………..

  18. Khara House

    Can we enter more than one? Because I have two more!

    1. "Upon discovering she’s entered the wrong hospital room, a nurse finds herself in a major pickle when the patient, who she knows is a terminal case close to the end, mistakes her for his wife and begins begging her forgiveness for something terrible."

    2. "A woman winds up at the wrong graveyard, missing the final rest of her father. Instead she winds up getting caught in the funeral procession of a complete stranger. She decides to let it slide and go with the flow . . . until someone asks her to say a few words about the deceased."

  19. Khara House

    I wrote this prompt, and proceeded to bust up laughing for about five minutes thinking of all the horrible implications of it! I think I may use it as my nanowrimo jump pad … Enjoy!

    Polly Wanna Killer?:
    A man buys a parrot, and is horrified when he discovers the only thing it can say is, “If you ever tell anyone what you saw, I’ll kill you.”

  20. Rusty La Violette

    Get an old magazine that has many advertisements and pictures in it. Skim through it cutting out a person from each of the first three photos that have people. Next, find the first two material objects you find (usually in teh advertisements), then the first land or seascape. Now open the magazine at random in five places and find one vivid verb off each of the five pages. Now write a story that includes all the people, the objects, the scene, and the five words.

  21. Liz Hubbs

    What do you do when you realize that you just sent home a letter to 60 parents of kindergardners about a school shirt order, and the word shirt is missing the "r"??

  22. Raymond Masters

    You and 24 of your closest friends have won the ulitmate radio contest: Eating Thanksgiving with Ozzie Osborne. You’re very excited. Unfortunately 25 enter, but only one leaves. Why?

  23. kathryn murdock

    Writing Prompt

    Your spouse has died and you are down to your last two thousand dollars. You need to get your life in order or start a new one so you take the two thousand and leave to go [where and how].

  24. Popovic

    1. You stumble into your kitchen to construct your first pot of coffee. As you go to remove the old filter, the coffee pot jumps away and says, “Look. I don’t know how to tell you this, but…”

    2. Dreams jumble the subconscious and are rich in symbols. Construct a dream that belies what’s going on in your (or your character’s) life at the moment.

    3. What would YOU do to bail out this abysmal economy?

    4. You just went through the drive-through at your fav fast-food guilty pleasure. Expecting warm, yummy [fill in the blank], you stick your hand in the bag and pull out [fill in the blank]. What happens next?

    5. You just took your kid to the dentist; he doesn’t want to go to school and you don’t want to go to work so you decide to call a hookie day. What does the rest of your afternoon end up looking like?

  25. Katie Tuccelli

    You are in a public bathroom stall and you notice a single phone number written on the wall beside you. Out of curiosity, you decide to call the number and someone answers who seems to know who you are. They ask you to do something absolutely ridiculous. What is it?

  26. Yvonne Everette


    Your life is in turmoil and you dream of escaping. Lying in bed, starring at the poster of your favorite hero from history you wish that you could switch places with them and magically it happens. He is living your life and you are living his. How would you deal with the events in his life, good and bad and how would he deal with the events in yours good or bad? Were some people born to be heros or successful and others born to be losers? do we destroy our own lives? Is it destiny or is it you?

  27. Kimberly Thompson Strickler

    The phone rings for the eighth time. You glance at the caller ID. It’s him again. A teenage boy who keeps asking for a girl named Allie. Instead of telling him he has the wrong number like before, you decide to have a little fun at his expense. You disguise your voice and say what?

  28. Alex Cwalinski

    "Hey! Chica!" I yelled after my german shepard as she took off from our log cabin and into the woods. I had never seen her move so fast with such determination. As soon as I made my way outside with jacket and all, I could see birds frantically take off into the cloudy moon lit sky in all directions and the squirrels and other animals running from underneath the cabin into the tree line. Leaving their young ones behind as they fled. At this point I wondered if I should be running as well.

  29. Lori

    I thought I’d posted a few days ago. Hmm… Let’s try again:

    "She arrived in our town at the same time as the hurricane winds, and things haven’t been the same thanks to both."

    "He had the face only a mother could love, but apparently not his mother as she didn’t return his calls, didn’t answer her door and had moved twice without telling him."

  30. Lisa Mc Clintic

    Im walking through the wooded park and notice a man with a baseball cap sitting on the swing all alone. Its 8:30 am i cant help but wonder.Then a car pulls in and a women gets out and shes got a cap on she walks to him and stands in front of him.

  31. writerbug

    You (or your character) thought you were dying. You made decisions based on the fact that you only had five years left. Now they’ve found a cure for your disease, and, though you know you should feel happy, you instead are in shock. How did you change your life when you thought you were dying, and what will you do now?

  32. Tina McKeon

    You are driving, and end up at a lake you didn’t know even existed. Something has happened here. You don’t know what, but your intuition guides you. Don’t describe the lake Using all your senses, except sight, comprise a scenario.

  33. Holly Petraglia

    Thank you, Olivia! You’ve written a great prompt yourself! You know, the thought of a tall red-headed clown makes me hungry for strawberry milkshakes and fries.

  34. Dulcie

    Here is one I thought of in a dream or at least was reminded of and thought it would be a fun start…

    Tell me of a place real or imagined how you get there (too many bourbon, sleep travel, an airplane, etc.). Who lives there and what do you do there, is it always the same or does life carry one without you? How does this place make you feel? How you get there and why you go? Make the reader feel as if they have gone on this journey with you…it can be as many words as you like but make sure to show and tell not just one or the other, practice both skills.

  35. Olivia Schneider

    Wow these are all very good!!! I especially love the puppy one Holly.

    How ’bout this one…

    You’re in an unfamiliar place and get the sensation that you are being followed. You turn around to find a very large red-headed clown standing just inches away from you with a gun in his hand. What comes next?

  36. Holly Petraglia

    You have a new puppy and are housetraining the puppy by using these new "puppy pads," which make the puppy go to the bathroom on them. On Monday, you come home from work, and you can’t help but notice that the "present" the puppy left you resembles an "H". The next day, the "present" resembles an "E". What is the puppy trying to tell you?

  37. Tracey Gates

    While helping your family clear out your deceased great uncle’s house you notice something scurrying along the wall. As you look, you find a rodent staring back at you. Immediately, you notice this is no ordinary rodent. Stranger yet, no one else seems to see it. Believing it wants you to do so, you follow it and make a surprising discovery. What is it and what does it say about your great uncle’s secret life?

  38. Liz Straw

    How did I get myself into these situations? I was always tripping over something because I wasn’t looking where I was going. Usually I stumbled over tree roots, cracks in sidewalks, rugs, or my own feet. However, body lying in my driveway was a first.

  39. Nichole Roundy Rushing

    You burst through the doors at the Halloween party dressed as Wonder Woman. The hostess, your supposed best friend, invited your boyfriend to the party but somehow forgot to invite you. Unfortunately, you left your Lasso of Truth at home. How will you discover your friends true intentions?

  40. Cheryl Barker

    Okay, here goes, Maria. This should be fun :)

    As you pull into your parents’ drive, you spot your dad in the wooded far reaches of their property in the middle of a task that leaves you scratching your head and laughing at the same time.