Creative Writing Prompts

[description]Get daily creative writing prompts for your short story, fiction or nonfiction novel, essay and more at WritersDigest.com.[/description]
[keywords]writing prompts, creative writing prompts, expository writing prompts, writing prompt[/keywords]

Need an idea to help you get started writing? You’ll find hundreds of fun writing prompts here – perfect for beginning a new novel or short story, or simply giving your writing muscle a workout.

Lost Dog

The family dog has been missing for weeks, and everyone is devastated (except that one family member who was just never a dog person, of course). Suddenly, the dog returns, showing up out of nowhere. (Most of) the family rejoices. But as time goes by, it becomes clear that something isn't...

Did You Hear That?

As you likely know, the term onomatopoeia refers to words that imitate sounds associated with actions and objects. Incorporate as many onomatopoetic words into a story or scene as you can.

The Athlete

Think of an athlete, coach or other sporting-type person you've met before. Using this person as a springboard, identify the following qualities about them and then incorporate these qualities into a character in a story: physical body type, style of walking, usual outfit, reaction under stress, non-athletic passion.

A Roll of the Dice

In the spirit of taking chances, roll two six-sided dice. Whatever number comes up, write down the first word you can think of with that many letters. Repeat six times. Incorporate these six words into a story or scene and see where it takes you.

Awry

Write about a situation in which plans go awry, leading to disastrous consequences. Did you go to college anticipating success, only to flunk out? Does a character fall in love with the wrong person, leading to a difficult breakup? 

Unfairy Tales

Write a scene that involves a fairy tale trope turned on its head or otherwise deviating from typical expectations. For example: A princess who’s cruel to her kind stepmother; a golden goose that lays explosive eggs; a big, frightening wolf who really just wants a friend.

Secrets Within

The police come to your residence with a search warrant. But somewhere inside, there is something you don't want anyone to find, ever.

Character Content

Consider what it means to be "judged by the content of your character." Write a scene in which an individual is not judged by the content of his or her character, but by something else entirely. It doesn't have to be skin color, but perhaps another physical attribute or factor beyond...

Give Them a Hand

Write a scene about a conversation or another interaction, and include a focus specifically on the characters' hands. Include the appearance of the hands, as well as the way they move and gesture. What do the hands say about the personalities involved?

Spent

He wasn't supposed to know about that $20,000 at all, yet somehow he got his hands on it—and spent all of it in less than an hour. What the **** are we going to do now?

Twice a Day

Even a broken clock is right twice a day. Give some good advice from a completely unreliable source, and convince someone to take this advice.

Somnia

You (or a character) awaken suddenly from a strange, vivid dream. You remember that the dream involved an unusual object in a distinctive place, but you don't know what it means. Decide on the object and the setting, then use a dream dictionary to look at common meanings behind those symbols....

Madder Libs

First, think of one of each of the following: a word you use too much; the name of a city you'd like to visit; an unusual color; a hobby; a physical quality a person might wish for; an animal; a famous author; a verb ending in -ing; a number; an adverb....

Bowdlerized

Write about a situation involving an attempt to gently or modestly explain something illegal, outrageous or lewd to someone who might find it offensive, disturbing or problematic.

Lost Journal

While cleaning out your house, you stumble upon a journal you don't remember writing in. As you flip through the pages, it becomes apparent that this journal belongs to a fictional character (either a character you've written, or a character from one of your favorite books). Share one of the entries...

Idiomatic

Choose one of these idioms and include it in a story that also includes a literal use of one of the figurative words in the idiom. For example, if I were to choose the phrase "at the drop of a hat," I would also include a hat or someone dropping something.

Two Stories

J.M. Barrie once wrote, "The life of every man is a diary in which he means to write one story, and writes another; and his humblest hour is when he compares the volume as it is with what he vowed to make it." Writing as yourself or as a fictional character,...

So Close, and Yet…

Writing Prompt: You have nearly arrived at your dream destination. Thus far, the trip has been uneventful, and there's only an hour's drive left between you and vacation bliss—when suddenly the vehicle breaks down, leaving you stranded. Where are you, and what do you do?

All the Feels

It’s typical in stories and manuscripts to use variations on the verb “to feel” to express emotion: He felt mad. I feel scared. But there are much better ways to describe a character's emotional state. Try it with one of these "feeling" prompts. Write a scene based on one of the...

Timelessness

You have discovered what appears to be an ordinary room. But as soon as you enter the room, time stops for you. When you leave the room, time picks up right where you left off. What do you use this room for?

Elementary

There's a knock on your door. Upon opening it, you find yourself facing a man dressed distinctly like Sherlock Holmes. He informs you that he is a detective, and that you are a suspect in the disappearance of a person named John Watson. What happens next?

The Wonderful What of Where?

In memory of L. Frank Baum, choose one of these quotes from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, fill in the blanks, and use it as the opening to a story of your own. (Bonus imaginary internet points if you can include more than one.)

Fourth Wall

Write a story or scene in which one or more of the characters knows that they are in a story. How long have they known? Do they care? If you want, take it a step further: The narrator absolutely hates the main character.

Flavor of the Month

First, write down 12 flavors you can think of (ice cream or candy flavors, savory flavors, etc.). Next, use all 12 flavors to write a story or scene (in 500 words or fewer) beginning with the following: The sparkling water was…