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.
A movie hero steps out of your television and proclaims that you are his/her arch-nemesis. Write about what happens. Read more
Tell us the story of when you first realized that you needed to be a writer. (Did it happen when you were young? Was it after you read a particular book? Etc.) Read more
You are 16 years old and you and your friends have just been caught breaking into the local gas station. After your parents post your bail, you must explain why you did it, since this is not something you would usually do. What your parents—and others—don’t realize is that you did it for heroic reasons. Read more
You’ve written a novel with a character that eventually murders one of his or her neighbors. Suddenly, a new person moves into your neighborhood with the same name as your character. Looks similar too. In fact, you can’t help but notice this new neighbor is doing several of the same things as your character—including laying the groundwork to murder someone. You decide to follow this person because, if all holds true to your plot, you know what’s going to happen. Write this scene. Read more
You’ve died and gone to heaven, only it’s nothing like you’ve imagined. You’re greeted by a guide—someone from your past—who gives you a tour and explains what you can expect out of the afterlife. There’s one question you’ve been dying to know and, at the end of the tour, you decide to ask. Read more
You’re at the doctor’s office for a regular check up when the doctor suggests you get a flu shot as well. You hate shots, so you come up with the most outlandish excuse as to why you can’t get one. Start your story with “You’re not going to believe this, but … ” and end it with “And that’s why I can’t get a flu shot today.” Read more
You are 15 years old and, while still living with your parents, you discover a secret room in your house. It is filled with all sorts of strange things, but one thing in particular catches your eye: It’s a love letter to your mom from someone who isn’t your dad. What’s more peculiar is that it is dated five years into the future. Write a scene where you confront your mom about the letter. Read more
There’s been a break-in at your house. The robbers took everything—your couch, your clothes, your toilet paper—except for one odd item that they left right in the middle of your living room. This item, though meaningless to the police, is a clue that you recognize and will lead you to the culprits. Read more
Your high school math teacher disappeared when you were sixteen years old, but now you have reason to believe she’s not dead. A week ago before your high school reunion, you received a mysterious letter that appears to be in code—much like the puzzles she once gave her students. Now, at the reunion, you discover that several of your classmates have received similar letters. Read more
You’re on a top-secret spy mission—for your grandmother. She can’t make it to her Monday Night Bingo (you tell us why), but she’s certain that one of the regulars is cheating, and she sends you to check it out. Conduct a covert operation to catch this cheater in the act. Read more
You’ve agreed to give a talk at your child’s school for Career Day. Not only do you hate public speaking, you found out yesterday that you’ve been fired from your job—and you haven’t told your kid yet. Write what happens when you go to the school to present. Read more
You receive a letter at your workplace from a high school classmate, who is now in prison. “I know I’ve caused you a lot of grief,” the letter says, “but there’s something I need that only you can get for me. Don’t tell anyone about this.” Read more
You’ve just been to the worst rock concert of your life. You’re at a bar with friends, drowning your disgust, when the lead singer of the band shows up and offers to buy you a drink. You agree to under one condition—and that deal leads to one memorable night. Read more
Your best friend from college has invited you to his wedding. You haven’t seen him for years, so you’re excited to catch up. But when you arrive at the wedding, you discover that your best friend’s bride is someone from your past—and you realize you must stop the wedding at all costs. Read more
You are walking to your car when you pass a boy selling newspapers on the street. He doesn’t look like he’s getting any customers, so you buy a copy, only to discover that it’s dated a week from today. And one particular story makes you realize you need to take action—now. Read more
You’re a taxi driver in a one-light town. You’ve arrived at the county library to pick up your passenger, a girl no older than thirteen. She says, “You see that Mexican restaurant across the street? In about five minutes, a man is going to come out of that restaurant, and I want you to follow him.” Read more
You’re on a golf course taking part in a fundraiser to cure a disease that’s near and dear to your heart. On the 11th hole, you hit a ball into the woods. While searching for that ball, you see a white rabbit that stops, looks you right in the eye and says, “Follow me.” Read more
A mad scientist approaches you with an offer: He has a secret potion that will help you get the thing you want most in this world—be it a person, a thing, an ability, etc. What you don’t know (and won’t reveal until the end of your story) is that there is one dire consequence (not death) from drinking the potion. Read more
When you go to get dressed one morning, you discover that there really is a skeleton in your closet. Write this scene—discover how it got there, why it is there, what to do with it now. Read more
This time, you’re in too deep. You’re gambling losses have been mounting and, with a recent ill-advised bet, have put you $50,000 in debt. Your bookie, knowing you don’t have that kind of cash, is willing to wipe your debt clean if you carry out a very dangerous mission for him. Read more
You’re on your way to lunch when you walk by a crowd of people staring up toward the sky. You look up and see someone at the top of a building getting ready to jump to his or her death. Quickly you realize you know this person—in fact, it’s someone from work. Something about this moment overtakes, so you rush to the top of the top of the building to save this person’s life. Read more
A friend rings your doorbell way too early in the morning to be ringing doorbells. You answer the door in your PJs, and the friend says, “Pack a bag quickly. I have to get out of here now and need you to come with me.” You are intrigued. Read more
You get a message, it is obviously for you, but it is scrawled in lipstick on a mirror in a public restroom. It’s unexpected, but now you know exactly where the killer is hiding. It’s time to find him and, hopefully, your friend (and hopefully your friend is still alive). Write this scene. Read more
The person of your dreams shows up on your doorstep, asking if you’d like to go out for coffee. You are surprised and confused, but you say yes. At the coffee shop, as he/she is talking, you discover that he/she thinks that you are someone else. Instead of coming clean, you go with it—only to be foiled by an unexpected twist that reveals your identity. Read more
You’ve been outside digging a large hole for several hours when you realize that you can’t recall why you are digging it. Retrace your steps to try to discover your motivation. Read more