creative writing prompts

Mystery Cookie

One day you come into work and find a cookie mysteriously placed on your desk. Grateful to whoever left this anonymous cookie, you eat it. The next morning you come in and find another cookie. This continues for months until one day a different object is left–and this time there’s a note.

Steps Challenge

In an effort to improve the health of the office, your company has issued a steps challenge—who can take the most steps in a week. The winner gets a free trip to the Bahamas (something you are determined to win). It’s come down to the final day and it’s between you and one other...

Smartphoney

After weeks of secret detective work, partners Barbara and Nolan are on the verge of cracking the case. They’ve been posing as employees at a high-profile financial firm named MoneyMakers LLC., trying to prove that the CEO named (fill in the blank) has been ripping customers off. After hearing him say incriminating things into...

Coupon Cutter

You’ve been an extreme coupon cutter for years, to the point where you have gained national recognition for it. But you’ve developed a rival coupon-er named (fill in the blank). He/she has challenged you to an extreme coupon-off, with a list of specific groceries, a budget and only one day to see who can...

Headless Halloween

You and two of your friends are working at a Halloween haunted house. You each get into costume, representing scary creatures. On the first night, hundreds come through the house. You scare them over and over again. As you jump out to scare one of the people, you hear her scream and then feel...

The Hitchhiker

Write a story about three people who are on a road trip together, only to stop off at a gas station and pick up a fourth person whom they don't know. Why did they pick this person up? Where are they taking him/her? What happens?

What I Would Tell My Younger Self

You've been given one-time access to a time machine to visit your younger self. After a brief pause, you know the when and the where, hop in the machine and take off. When there, you chat with your younger self but offer one piece of advice to him/her that you hope will change his/her...

Three’s a Crowd

After months of planning, you and two of your friends pull off a major scam and steal $10 million dollars from a Vegas Casino. Your tracks are completely covered, there's no way they can track it to you guys and you've escaped to a far away country. While you lay in your bed, dreaming...

The Flood That Sparked Your Memory

A dark and heavy storm suddenly takes over your neighborhood, dropping 6 feet of water so quickly that the storm drains can't handle it. The water flooded your street and your basement, ruining many of your things. As you rummage through your stuff, you are filled with memories. Think about your basement and pick...

Lunch Gone Wrong

After arriving at your favorite lunch destination and eating your favorite meal, your waitress rushes to your table. She looks panicked. She grabs you and looks into your eyes, but doesn't say anything. Finally, she turns toward the wait staff, who is all gathered just outside the kitchen, and yells, "We only have 6...

Aunt Edna’s Money

Your wealthy Aunt Edna has died and left you all of her money. At first you're excited, as you've been living paycheck-to-paycheck your whole life, and this newfound money offers you endless possibilities. But, in her will, Aunt Edna left one big catch—and, if you don't do it, all of the money is to...

Olympic Games Unraveled

After four years of training, you've finally made it: To the Olympics. Your sport (fill in the blank) is highly competitive this year. As you take in the scene on your first day of competition, you notice that a member from another country is cheating. What do you do? Write this scene.

A Long, Long Flight

After a hectic day, you are looking forward to a long flight you have planned. It's the first vacation you've taken in two years, so you're extra excited. But when you get on the plane, you get seated next to a person who wants to tell you his/her life story (which you're not in...

Writer’s Block

With a book deadline fast approaching and an empty document tormenting you on your laptop, you realize you need a change of scenery to get your work done. You go to the airport and take the next flight out. Your travels take you to the gorgeous country of Ireland. But now you need a...

Love Boat

After a long, hard breakup, you decide to treat yourself and go on a two-week cruise. You get onto the boat, put your bags in your room, and take a stroll around the deck. As you look around you, everyone seems to be in couples and everywhere you look, lovebirds are spending time together....

Moral Dilemmas

It’s Sunday morning. You’re ready for a relaxing day at home but you realize that you’re all out of coffee. You take a quick trip to the grocery store, and while you’re in line to check out, someone comes up behind you and points a gun at the cashier. “Stop what you’re doing. Give...

Surprise on the Doorstep

The doorbell rings. You check the alarm clock and notice it’s way too early for someone to be visiting. You crawl out of the warm bed and scuffle across the house to the front door. You crack it open and no one is there. Upon opening the door, you notice an unmarked package on...

Home Sweet Home

After months of living in a bug-infested apartment, you decide it’s finally time to get a new place. While you’re shopping for a new place to live, you drive past a beautiful Victorian house with a large lawn. A sign in the front says “FOR SALE,” so you decide to call the realtor out...

wd0816_500

Write a Standout Chapter 1

We all know the importance of starting our stories strong: Without a beginning that draws the readers in (whether those readers are agents, editors or bookstore browsers), they may never make it to the middle. Enter the July/August 2016 Writer’s Digest: An entire issue devoted to helping you make your Chapter 1 shine. When...

The Beautiful Voice

You've received a bill in the mail and it's incorrect. There's a phone number to call so you give it a ring. The person who answers has a beautiful voice. After several minutes the issue is resolved, but you can't help wondering who this person is with such a beautiful voice so you take...

Crime Log

Opening up the daily paper, you decide to catch up on the local news. When you check the crime log, you notice a familiar name: yours. The log says you’re wanted for a crime you didn’t commit. Suddenly, you hear three loud knocks on the door, followed by a man yelling, “Police! Open up!”...

Technovision

We all stare at our phones, laptops and televisions more than we probably should. But what happens when the screens have made us go blind? Describe a morning where you’ve lost your sight and are forced to find your way to work without your eyesight. Don’t forget: everyone else is blind, too!

Telling Your Life Story

On the long flight to a foreign country, you wind up telling your seatmate much of your life story. Only it isn’t yours. You’ve always wanted to pretend to be somebody else, just for an hour or two, and this seemed like the perfect opportunity. Only now you find yourself falling for your seatmate,...

Post-apocalyptic Wasteland

It’s 50 years in the future, and the world is at war. Luckily, when the nuclear bombs dropped, you had a bomb shelter under your house to hide out in. When your monitors tell you it’s safe to go outside a year later, what do you find? Who is still alive? Have the plants...