Creative Writing Prompts

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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.

Captain off Deck

The ocean is a vast and beautiful thing. Taking a quick peak off the side of your boat you realize something strange. The tentacles slowly creeping up the hull aren’t your imagination and the captain’s nowhere to be found. Where do we go from here?

The Open Window

You had that dream again. The one where the beast with the drooping hands and wicked fangs stares you down from your window. Except the windows open this time—and you’re awake! What happens next?

War Never Changes

During your trip to Turkey, you check into an old hotel. After settling yourself you notice a weathered chest in the corner. Upon opening it, war relics from the First World War and the Ottoman Empire lay before you. What stories do you find?

Alien Rock

Being a famous rock star is hard. Especially when an alien invasion hits mid-concert. As lasers and abductions abound, do you think your sick beats can stop this catastrophe? Write about how you attempted to fight off the aliens and whether or not you succeeded.

The Robert Syndrome

You wake up in—wait this isn’t your room. Confused you step to the mirror and see that you’re famous actor Robert Downey Jr. How did you get here and what do you do?

Where Does The Tunnel Lead?

You're outside cutting your grass when you come across a large hole in the ground. You've never noticed the hole before, but it looks to be some sort of tunnel to another world. You decide to peek through and see where it leads, only it leads you to a pivotal moment in your past—and...

Going on Chore Strike

Your family isn't cooperating with your writing career, so you've decided to go on strike. Write a list of demands that must be met in order for you to return to your chores and household responsibilities. (Don't forget to make a concession or two to speed up the negotiation process.)

World Cup Madness

You're a soccer player on your national team at a World Cup soccer game. It's an elimination game. The game has been intense and is tied 0-0. It comes down to the final play and the ball is yours. Do you make it? Miss and send to a shootout? Write this scene, but here's...

Wrong Bathroom

You head into the bathroom at work, walk into a stall and close the door. Moments later, as you leave the stall, you notice two people standing there and there's one major problem: They are of the opposite sex. On the spot, you make up an excuse as to why you are in their...

Zombie Killer

It's the last day of school and you're clearing out your locker when your best friend runs up to you out of breath. "You have to come with me right now," your friend says. "It's a matter of life and death." So you rush with your friend to the cafeteria, only to find several...

Spelling Bee

You've entered a national spelling bee competition only to find out that your neighbor—and arch rival—has also entered the competition. You've both made it to the final three, along with a person neither of you know. Your arch rival comes to you with a plot to sabotage the third person, but aside from the...

Tough Decision

Pick one moment in your life where you had to make a tough decision—picking a college, quitting a job, going on a diet, putting a parent in a retirement home, etc. Now write about a fictional character who was faced with the same situation and choose to make the opposite decision. How did things...

Saving a Life

You're walking to grab lunch when you see a crowd gathered around a building. You look up and see that someone is standing on the ledge, looking to jump. You hear a police office close to you mention that the person is about to commit suicide. He also mentions the person's name: and it's...

X Marks the Spot

You're a pirate on a small pirate ship, that consists of only you, one other pirate and a captain. Recently you ransacked another ship and found a treasure map. After weeks of following it, you've finally found the island where "X" marks the spot. Write a scene where you find the buried treasure, only...

Back in Time

You wake up one morning to find that you are your three year old self, with your parents again, with all of the memories and experiences of your current life. Write this scene and express the emotion and frustration your character undergoes as you internally try to sort this out.

The Discovery

When you return to school for a conference, you bump into one of your old professors, who is rambling on excitedly about a new discovery. He asks you to follow him to his office—he has something he wants to show you. What is the new discovery? Why is your professor so excited? Write this...

A Mind of its Own

Your computer won’t shut down when you are getting ready to leave work at five. Instead, it is looping a message, and then attempts to tell you something. What is your computer doing? Write this scene.

The Confrontation

Daydreaming on your way to work, you get into a car accident. Frustrated because you will be late for an important meeting, you curse and yell as you get out of the car. When you go to confront the other drive, you find out it is your boss. Write this scene.

When a Stranger Taps You on the Shoulder

You’re leaving your favorite restaurant after eating breakfast when a stranger taps you on the shoulder. But this tap leads to a conversation—and adventure—that leaves you with one item that you never thought you’d ever own.  Start your story with “I hate to bother you, but I have something important to ask.” And end...

Frozen Solid

The phone rings. It's your mother and she's upset. "What's wrong?" you ask. "It's your father. A spell has been cast upon him and he's been frozen solid." You pause, knowing two things that your mother doesn't: 1) This is your fault and 2) you're the only one who can fix it. "Don't worry,...

You’re Not Really Human

It's your 18th birthday and, upon it, you parents deliver some pretty shocking news: You're not really human. They admit that they've been covering up the fact that you are actually a (fill in the blank). After hearing the news you still decide to go to school, but this school day is different than...

Howdy, Partner

There’s a knock on your door. When you open it, you find a cowboy—complete with the hat, boots, spurs, six-shooter, the accent, everything—standing on your front step. He claims he has no idea who he is or what he’s doing there. Write this scene, as you try to sort out his (and your) confusion....

Shut In

The department store elevator shuts down on the way to the fourth floor, with you and ten other people in it. You remain calm, but other people begin to panic. Write this scene and the dialogue between characters.

Your Life: A Mystery Novel

You are a world-renowned mystery writer living a life of seclusion. A random email informs you of a great story, the next bestseller. Unfortunately, you find the details to be a little too close to home. Write a scene where you confront this mysterious informant, who seems to know a little too much about...

Dear John Letter

You return home from work to find a Dear John letter on your kitchen table. Oddly enough, it's from one of your favorite pieces of furniture. What does the letter say?