October 2014 Issue
Free Writing Downloads
Workshops Starting October 2nd
Writer’s Digest Popular Fiction Awards—Deadline Coming Soon!
Writer's Digest Popular Fiction Awards—Deadline Coming Soon!
Hurry—submit your short story by October 15!
Submit your best short stories in the Romance, Thriller, Young Adult, Crime, Horror or Science Fiction genres for a chance at the Popular Fiction Awards Grand Prize of $2,500 cash and a trip to the 2015 Writer’s Digest Conference!
Enter as many stories as you like in multiple genres, but all entries must be fewer than 4,000 words. Don’t delay—this could be your winning year!
Creative Writing Prompts
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.
On your way into work this morning, you look at the car on your left. Inside are two men dressed in dark suits, wearing sunglasses. They simultaneously look at you and meet your gaze. The one in the passenger seat rolls down his window and says something. Write what he says, and what happens next. Read more
Finish these sentences: “Ever day of the week I _________, but Sundays are different. On Sundays, I ¬¬________.” Read more
Walking home, you find a shoe on the side of the road. What kind of shoe is it? Who is its owner? What happened? Why is the shoe there? Where is the other shoe now? You can use all of these questions or just one to explore what happened. Read more
After a long night out, you return to your house to find that every picture and painting in your house can speak to you. What do the characters in the artwork and photographs say? Write a conversation between you and one of them, or a conversation between two of them. Read more
You and your three closest friends decide to go camping. You arrive and set up camp nearly three miles away from where you left your car. Late that evening, as you sit around the campfire roasting marshmallows, one of your friends reveals a deep dark secret that turns what was to be a fun weekend into one of the scariest weekends of your life. Read more
Two men stop you on your way into your local post office. One flashes a badge at you. They tell you about a top secret sting operation they are about to execute and they need your help. They can’t give you any of the details, only that you are to walk into the post office, go up to the counter with the gentleman named Bert working it, and you have to say to him, “My stamps are looking a bit square these days, if you know what I mean.” Write what happens next. Read more
You put your house on the market and, on the first day, a extremely old woman comes knocking on your door. She’s not interested in buying your house, though. Instead she tells you that this is the house she lived in as a child. The friendly mood suddenly changes when she reveals something terrible that took place in the house years ago. Read more
You and two other people are stranded on an island. Both are people who have played an important role in your life, but both are furious with you for different reasons. You become concerned that one (if not both of them) is plotting to kill you. You decide it’s time to save yourself. Read more
The snow storm across the nation shut down many businesses and people went home early. The business where you work had closed for two days. Although you turned off the computer before going home, when you returned to work, your computer had been very active while you were away—plotting a terrorist attack. You now find yourself tasked with stopping the attack. Read more
One day, while reading your favorite book on the beach, you notice a boat slowly drifting to shore. It eventually lands near your spot. A person, draped in pirate clothes, yells to you from the boat, “I have a treasure map and I need help. Are you in?” Read more
Write a Valentine’s Day poem of no more than 20 lines about spending a Valentine’s Day all by yourself. The only rules are that it must rhyme and the final line of the poem must include the title of your favorite song. Read more
You’re searching through your closet and find an old stuffed animal or doll from your childhood. It starts to bring back a warm memory of a specific night that’s near and dear to your heart. Suddenly, your stuffed companion begins to talk and says, “There’s something you need to know about that night.” Write this scene. Read more
You are helping out at a charitable center by organizing donated items. When searching through an old suitcase, you find a suicide note dated six months prior. What’s peculiar is that you know the person. What’s even more peculiar is that the person is still alive. Write the story about what happens when you pay that person a visit and ask him or her about the note. Read more
You’ve just been to the worst concert of your life. Afterward, you head to a bar with friends and start drowning your disgust. Moments later, the musician (or musicians) shows up. You decide to confront the musician about the lousy performance and ask for your money back. The musician suggests a different approach to repaying you. Write what happens. Read more
Pretend you are a recovering alcoholic who falls off the wagon while attending your high school reunion. Start your story with “I hadn’t had a drink in nearly 10 years” and end it with “If only I could remember where I left my pants.” Read more
A mad scientist approaches you with an offer—he will heighten one of your senses, but it will make one of your other senses duller. It isn’t optional; he’s going to perform the surgery anyway, but you get to choose which two senses. Write this scene. Read more
Make a New Year’s resolution list that includes 10 goals. They don’t all have to be writing-related, but at least 3 of them do. Then refer to this post often this year and update it as you complete your goals. Read more
At exactly midnight on New Year’s Eve you receive an email labeled “Open Immediately.” The really strange thing is that the email is apparently from your future self. What does it say? Read more
You wake up in a daze only to find out you’ve been kidnapped and are currently tied up to a chair. After hours of unsuccessfully trying to escape, a door starts to open. Your kidnapper is none other than—Santa Claus? Write a story explaining why Santa kidnapped you and what he intends to do with you. Read more
You brought an Elf on the Shelf into your home, but instead of him visiting Santa every night, you believe that he is mysteriously stealing money from your wallet and taking nightly trips to (fill in the blank). One night you stay awake and secretly follow him to find out the truth. Write this scene. Read more
Last year, Santa didn’t bring you what you wanted for Christmas and you were left to assume it’s because you weren’t a good boy (or girl). Start building a case for getting that gift you want this year by making a list of your good deeds to date and what else you plan to do before December 25th. Read more
While driving to pick up lunch, you accidentally bump into the car in front of you—a light fender bender—that pops open the other car’s trunk. When you get out to assess the damage, you notice that the driver of the other car is none other than your favorite actor. More important, you notice a dead body in the trunk. Who is the actor and what elaborate excuse does he give you to explain the dead body in his trunk? Read more
Write a letter to your family (or friends) explaining why you are thankful this Thanksgiving. Read more
Write about the only time you hosted Thanksgiving—and how it went so terribly wrong. Start with the line, “For my first Thanksgiving as host, I bought the biggest turkey they had in the store,” and end your story with “And that’s why we all ate hamburgers.” Read more
You decide to run for president of your high school class only to find that your opponent is running a smear campaign about you. Worse yet, your opponent has been telling everyone that he/she will drop a bombshell announcement in front of the entire school during your first debate. The debate is here. Write the scene where the bombshell is announced and describe how you react to it—remember, the entire school is watching. Read more