Creative writing exerices and writing prompts for the fiction writer

One of the fastest way to hone your writing skill is simply by writing and then writing more, not just writing when you are inspired, but writing even when you are not, writing everyday despite experiencing writers block or not.

The act of writing everyday helps to keep your mind sharp and ready to be creative, but sometimes it seems impossible to stay inspired, and the ideas that once flowed like a raging torrent becomes a trickle that if not fed, may dry up all together.

A great way to challenge yourself and expand on your writing skill is by the use of creative writing exercises and writing prompts, you may find yourself finding hidden strengths in your writing and hopefully unlocking your inner muse as you work through the process.


Write a poem or short story based on the above picture promt
Write a poem or short story based on the above picture promt

Creative Writing exercises to hone your craft

 

Backwards storytelling

1. Write a story from the end to the start, drag your readers from the present to the past as you and they explore the events leading up to the start of you story. A great exercise in bringing different ideas and themes together into one plot…

 

Point of view

2 Select a piece of your writing (I find flash fiction or short stories work best for this exercise) and rewrite the entire thing, using a new point of view, so if it was originally written with first person point of view, (I held my breath, waiting) now rewrite with a third person point of view instead (She held her breath, waiting)

This is a great exercise at experimenting with different Point of views and how they influence the flow of the story.

Write a poem or a ballad inspired by the above picture prompt
Write a poem or a ballad inspired by the above picture prompt

 

Character hop

3. Again select a piece of your writing (like above) and rewrite the entire story from a different character’s perspective. This can be a lot of fun exploring what the other characters in your story may be thinking and feeling giving you the writer a new perspective that you may not have tried before.

 A great example of this can be found in Stephenie Myer’s Twilight (special edition). At the back of the book there is a small addition titled Midnight Sun. essentially it is Edwards take on that first meeting of Bella, written with his point of view and feelings leading the story. If you can check it out it is a fantastic example of what can be done with this writing exercise.

 

Conflict

4. Choose two fictional characters (new or familiar to you and your writing) then create a topic or event that would place these two characters into a verbal argument, where each feels that they are completely right. Write in a way that both you and your reader would be unsure who is right, using the verbal sparring as a platform to expose the motivations and emotions of both characters.

This is a great creative writing exercise for those writers who are unsure of creating conflict between their characters; I personally think its more fun to use characters that are a different gender. (Man and woman) as it allows the writer to explore the way that each sex differs in confrontation moments.

Write a short horror story  inspired by the picture promt above
Write a short horror story inspired by the picture promt above

 

 

Memory

5. Writing from what we know and have experienced in our lives can add depth and a certain realism that can sometimes be hard to recreate when writing solely fiction. So for this writing exercise Think back to the first memory that you have, give yourself time to lose yourself in the moment that your mind recalls for you. Then pick up the pen and write with the voice of the child you were, keep your writing on that path, use a child’s language and understanding.

Once you have finished, rewrite the same scene but with the view of the adult you have become, reminiscing on the same moment with both the understanding of the child you were and the how you feel now as on older wiser adult

 

Using your own emotions

6. We all have fears, be they of a thing of a situation, for this writing exercise think of the thing that you are most afraid of, Of a situation that could happen but hasn’t, then write about it the form of a short story, using a fiction version of yourself as the main character who has to deal with and overcome the situation.

Fear is a great motivator for us and our characters and this writing exercise is a good way to use a strong emotion of your own to move a story forward.

Write a love poem inspired by the above picture prompt
Write a love poem inspired by the above picture prompt

 

Journal

7. Start keeping a journal of a fictional character; add to it every day exploring this character through her own words,

A great creative writing exercise that not only encourages you to write every day, but it allows for the full exploration of a character that writers don’t always have the time or patience to do when gripped with inspiration to write a story.

On a side note, It is a good writing habit to keep your own journal, to track your thoughts feelings dreams and progress, it is also a great way to help yourself write every day which will only help hone your writing skill in the long run.

 

A love poem (or song)

8. Choose a love poem or song that you are familiar with (doesn’t matter if it is yours or not) Read over it a few times before writing back a response, you can of course write back a poem or song just as loving or you can mix it up a bit, which I think writing exercises a great excuse to do, so your response may be loving, or scornful, scared or even from someone else that the song wasn’t meant for (like her husband or his wife)

 Be imaginative with your writing you may just surprise yourself in what you can create

 

Flash fiction

9. Take one of your short stories and turn it into a piece of flash fiction (under 800 words)  A simple way to do this by opening a new copy of your story in a word document and eliminating every word that is not 100% needed to propel the story forward. Of course you can start from scratch using the same plot either way is good.

A great writing exercise designed to tighten sentence and story structure.

Write a poem  inspired by the above picture prompt
Write a poem inspired by the above picture prompt

10. Writing prompts.

Writing prompts are by far my favorite type of writing exercise, they are a great way to get the imagination started or to try something new in your writing all together. The three kinds of writing prompts that I am going to touch on are the creative story prompts, themes and the wonderful picture prompts all three meant to inspire and kick start your writing.

Creative Story Prompt

The story prompt or story starter is generally presented as an opening sentence that the writer completes, weaving it into a larger overall story.


 

Some examples to get you started

Write a short story of at least 750 words using of the following opening sentences from below

The sun was warm on my bare skin…

The phone wouldn’t stop ringing…

It was supposed to be one of the happiest days of my life…

The earth was on fire…

The bells where tolling…

 

Write a short horror story of at least 750 using one of the following opening sentences from below

The garden was perfect…

The pills scattered across the floor…

“Don’t’ leave me here”…

It happened, three doors down…

The screaming had finally stopped…

 

Write a short romance story of at least 750 words using one of the opening sentences from below

I knew it was wrong…

I couldn’t believe my ears…

“Are you insane”…

The stairs seemed to wind forever…

Pulling her behind him, he snarled…

 

Write a short story or poem inspired by the above picture prompt
Write a short story or poem inspired by the above picture prompt

 

Writing theme prompts

Writing for a theme is a bit more relaxed then the story starters where the opening is given to you to expand on.

When writing for a theme you can write anything at all be it a poem or short story as long as it ties into the overall theme that you have chosen

Some examples of this creative writing prompt are below to get you started

Write a poem of any length or short story of at least 750 words based on one of the themes below

Devils Dance

A mother’s Choice

Rage

Shattered Image

Dream Lover

Never Say Never

Hearts call

Denial

Seduce me

Possession

Forever

Secrets Untold

Magic Reborn

Mine

Death’s Touch

Angels Fall

Innocence Lost

Insanity

First Kiss

Hunted

Memories Lost

Write a short story or poem inspired by the above picture prompt
Write a short story or poem inspired by the above picture prompt

Picture Prompts

Picture prompts are a lot like themes in that what you write is entirely up to you as long as it ties in somehow to the picture that you have chosen to work.

Some more examples of this are below

Write a short romance story inspired by the picture prompt above
Write a short romance story inspired by the picture prompt above
Write a short story inspired by the above picture prompt
Write a short story inspired by the above picture prompt

Picture prompts

Picture prompts are a great way to get the imagination started be if for short story writing or poetry, Choose a picture that holds some interest even if the prompt is for a genre that you don’t normally write for ( a good challenge) take in the image for a while, let your imagination absorb it before you write. For a short story aim for at least 750 words, this helps to kick-start the imagination as we force ourselves to write a certain amount of words, even helping deal with dreaded writers block.

When you write don’t edit yourself, trust you inner muse even if you don’t like what you are writing as it goes onto the page, you may be happily surprised with the results and if not remember...

 it is all practise meant to hone your writing, and often even in our worst attempts there can be found hidden gems of ideas, or characters that you as a writer can always return to at a later date for other projects.

 

Write a charactor profile inspired by the above picture prompt
Write a character profile inspired by the above picture prompt

Create a character Picture prompt

Sometimes using a visual aid with our writing can be a great help, especially when working on creating a character, so For this writing exercise use the picture prompt to the right, to create a character profile for girl shown.

Her age, race, her career, her skills, her flaws, character quirks, background, go into as much detail as you can , it should be at least ½ page to a full page of information. This exercise is great at helping you build a portfolio of characters for future use, or immediate it is all up to you.

Write a short horror story or a poem using the scene from the picture prompt
Write a short horror story or a poem using the scene from the picture prompt

Within the setting picture prompt

With this prompt the idea is to use the setting shown in the prompt as the background of your story, to draw upon the items in the image for the props in your story or poem, often times this type of picture prompt is occupied with a genre for the writer to aim for, such as romance, horror, thriller etc.

Writing is a joy and a craft, so write for pleasure and the more that you write and practise your skill the sooner you will see improvements in your craft, I hope that some of these exercise's and prompts have been  helpful, and if you are hungry for more check out some of the marvellous links below, Happy Writing....

© Kae Grove

More by this Author


Comments 45 comments

MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 5 years ago from South Africa

Wow! This is brilliant creative writing exercises and writing prompts for the fiction writer! This hub gets bookmarked straight away and voted UP and UP. Thanks nighthag! Much appreciated.


nighthag profile image

nighthag 5 years ago from Australia Author

I am so glad that you like them, I have been working on setting up a blog in a similar style and really wanted to get the feedback from the wonderful writers here at hubpages, So I am thrilled that you found these exercises and prompts useful, Thanks so much!!


vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 5 years ago from Nashville Tn.

An incomparable hub, nighthag! I feel as though an angel sent me this beautiful and treasured gift as a way to tell me to continue my writing. I so want to be more than just an average writer. I love the prompt exercises. While observing the photo labeled "falling", I created a poem as an exercise. It is my next hub. You are an inspiring teacher. A magnificent teacher. I look forward to more instruction like this. Voted up and thank you so very much.


Stigma31 profile image

Stigma31 5 years ago from Kingston, ON

Well I tried what you suggest and here is the results

http://hubpages.com/literature/Poem-And-the-Fog-Ke...

Thanks, awesome article.


nighthag profile image

nighthag 5 years ago from Australia Author

vocalcoach

I am thrilled to have been able to help inspire you with your writing, that in itself is a huge compliment, but I am left blushing and a little speechless with your very generous words, Wow.

I have been writing my own prompts for a while now and I am so glad that they were useful to you, I am very amazed to be called a teacher, as I feel that I still have so much to learn about the art of writing myself, but I am so pleased to have helped even a small way to inspire you to keep going with your writing, (It can be so easy to listen to the self doubt)

I am excited to know that you have already written a poem using the falling prompt and cant wait to read it.

again thank you for such a wonderful uplifting message, it has inspired be to continue working on these exercises and prompts, thank you


nighthag profile image

nighthag 5 years ago from Australia Author

Stigma13,

I am so pleased that you liked this and thrilled to know that it even inspired a great new poem.(which I totally enjoyed)

thanks for sharing the link it was wonderful to read something inspired from this page...


epigramman profile image

epigramman 5 years ago

....well this is truly in every sense of the word - a hall of fame hub - I must 'bookmark' this hub as a useful reference for my future writing endeavors - but there is also one important exercise to ensure one's flow of creative writing and that is to visit other great writers for inspiration - like you!!!!


epigramman profile image

epigramman 5 years ago

..also I must thank you for supporting my writing and your visits to my hub are always anticipated by yours truly ......

This creative writing hub by the way should be installed into every virtual classroom on the internet as an introduction to the world of writing - it's that good!


Beata Stasak profile image

Beata Stasak 5 years ago from Western Australia

I also believe that writing...and writing more is the best way to practise this specific skill but also a good advice from well researched and acknowledged writers is necessary..thank you for that:)


rx4u 5 years ago

NH- thank you for this! This post is like an adrenalin infusion to the creative corners of every writer's mind. Voted up, useful and awesome ......


SilentReed profile image

SilentReed 5 years ago from Philippines

Thank you for sharing.Learn a lot from this hub and will bookmark it.Your fiction stories are among those that I avidly look forward to reading.


Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 5 years ago from North Carolina

Great hub-I bookmarked it. Add another: music prompts. I've used that working with my patients. I love your ideas here. I've used the books, The Pocket Muse for some of my writing prompts. My hubs: The Gambler and The Encounter were both prompts from those books. Thanks for sharing.


nighthag profile image

nighthag 5 years ago from Australia Author

Ah my dear epigramman, you certainly know how to make a girl blush, I am thrilled that you liked this these Prompts and Exercises they were a lot of fun to create and to think they may even inspire a writer such as yourself is very humbling.

thank you dear sir, and I look forward to read more of your wonderful poems


nighthag profile image

nighthag 5 years ago from Australia Author

Beata Stasak,

writing everyday, changed my life and the way I view my work, all for the better :) I am really happy that you liked this, and hope that it helps somewhat in your creative journey


nighthag profile image

nighthag 5 years ago from Australia Author

rx4u, thrilled that you liked it :) I have always loved writing prompts myself so I am so glad that others are finding the prompts and the exercises useful.

Thanks for the support


nighthag profile image

nighthag 5 years ago from Australia Author

SilentReed,

I am so glad that you liked these, I have been using my own writing prompts for sometime, so I am thrilled to think that they may inspire and help others especially a writer such as yourself

Should have some more stories soon, once the kids are back at school :)


nighthag profile image

nighthag 5 years ago from Australia Author

Denise Handlon,

thanks for the advice, I will be sure to add some music prompts to the next one of these that I am hoping to do in February (maybe one a month for the year )

My short story 'Hell found me' was written from a writing prompt and I too find them very useful. I am so very glad that you found my prompts and the writing exercises here useful, thanks for letting me know


saddlerider1 profile image

saddlerider1 5 years ago

Nighthag what a brilliant post, I have bookmarked it for reference and will refer to from time to time. When I feel a writer cramp/block overwhelming me I will open up your hub for uplifting. Thank you for this wonderful share coming from a gifted writer like yourself. Hugs and peace from the Saddlerider.


nighthag profile image

nighthag 5 years ago from Australia Author

I am so very glad that you found this inspiring, thank you, I find writing through writers block is a great way to overcome it so I sincerely hope that these ideas are in someway helpful to you at some point. Thank for the bookmark and your wonderful support its is always a pleasure to have you visit


epigramman profile image

epigramman 5 years ago

...well I am back in the wee small hours of the Canadian morning to say that I really really love (that's two 'reallys' by the way!) this most wonderful and definite hub to 'quickstart' any writer - or as my wonderful writer buddy/colleague Saddlerider said - get my mojo working again - hold on!!!!!! that was Muddy Waters - lol lol lol - but either please someone who has a vision - post this hub in every virtual classroom in the world - and watch a whole new generation of writers blossom!!!!!!!!


Granny's House profile image

Granny's House 5 years ago from Older and Hopefully Wiser Time

Thank you so much for all the great info. I have been looking for this for a long time. Thanks to loving Will Star I found you.

Will bookmark and vote up


nighthag profile image

nighthag 5 years ago from Australia Author

i am so glad that you found this to be useful to you, I am a huge lover of both writing prompts and exercise's and am thrilled that this hub has been so well received, I am hoping to have another one up soon, :)

thanks heaps for the vote up and the bookmark,


cbpoet profile image

cbpoet 4 years ago from Las Vegas, Nevada

Nighthag, Your hub inspires many of us to explore other techniques when writing to be more creative. Thanks for sharing.


nighthag profile image

nighthag 4 years ago from Australia Author

there is nothing I enjoy more than helping or inspiring other writers to be creative, it has been a great unexpected joy that I have received since joining hubpages

so very glad that you enjoyed this page :)


B. Leekley profile image

B. Leekley 4 years ago from Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA

This hub has lots of very good suggestions. Thanks. Up, Useful, Interesting, shared, and bookmarked.


Judi Bee profile image

Judi Bee 4 years ago from UK

Just what I needed - thank you!


anusujith profile image

anusujith 4 years ago from Nilambur, Kerala, India

Pretty helpful... I love to write, especially fictions. But recently came to know I'm back in writing reality... I hope when I started writing in HUBPAGES....

Appreciating you again... wonderful...


Elise-Loyacano profile image

Elise-Loyacano 4 years ago from San Juan, Puerto Rico

The picture prompt is a great idea. I've never seen that one anywhere else. Thanks.


nighthag profile image

nighthag 4 years ago from Australia Author

B.Leekly

Thank you so very much :) I am thrilled that you found it helpful!


nighthag profile image

nighthag 4 years ago from Australia Author

I am so glad to have helped :) happy writing!


nighthag profile image

nighthag 4 years ago from Australia Author

Thank you so very much, I love writing fiction and everything that comes with it, and the thing i love about writing for hubpages is the chance to share what I know and love with others, So I am so glad you where able to appreaciate this ... thank you :)


nighthag profile image

nighthag 4 years ago from Australia Author

I am so glad that you enjoyed it :)

if your looking for more I have a blog which is focussed on writing prompts with a lot more picture prompts then here. http://nighthagscorner.blogspot.com.au/

I am so glad that I was able to help inspire :)


Vellur profile image

Vellur 3 years ago from Dubai

Great writing prompts and exercises for fiction writers, very useful and informative. Voted up.


Cyndi10 profile image

Cyndi10 3 years ago from Georgia

Fantastic selection of prompts that you have collected. One that works for me is to stop trying to reach for an idea and just sit still. The very act of trying to clear my mind creates new thoughts. You know how the mind can be sometimes, doing the opposite of what you want. That is the premise behind clearing the mind.

Anyway, I am bookmarking these as arsenal for those times I'm struggling. Voted up and sharing.


rohanfelix profile image

rohanfelix 3 years ago from Chennai, India

A great hub that I find to be meaningful on a personal level as I struggle with writer's block pretty often... My takeaway from here is that I simply must keep writing, whether I feel inspired or not. Thanks! Keep it up! Voted up and useful!


midnightbliss profile image

midnightbliss 3 years ago from Hermosa Beach

Very true but sometimes instead of writing it is useful to study English to learn more about writing properly.


nighthag profile image

nighthag 2 years ago from Australia Author

Vellur

thanks so much, I had a lot of fun writing this one for hubpages and am always glad when someone finds them useful :) thanks for the votes up I do appreciate it :)


nighthag profile image

nighthag 2 years ago from Australia Author

cyndi10

I think the mediating idea is a great way to let your subconscious work for you! thanks for sharing it and inspiring me to daydream a little more :)

I am so glad that you liked these thanks so much for the votes and share


nighthag profile image

nighthag 2 years ago from Australia Author

rohanfelix

I am so glad that this helped, I find that when I am struggling the best thing to do is to write and then write some more. this seems to help me kinda "flex" my way back to a clear path that I can focus on.

THanks for you comment and votes :)


nighthag profile image

nighthag 2 years ago from Australia Author

midnightbliss

Studying the craft of writing is of course useful and a much needed skill, but if you focus too much on the learning side of things you may not be as writing as often as you should be to find your "writing voice" that is uniquely to you alone.

That being said i personally still have a long way to go with my own grammar skills, but writing is a creative journey that should be enjoyed for the art it is...

thanks for stopping by :)


Homeplace Series profile image

Homeplace Series 2 years ago from Hollister, MO

These are excellent suggestions. I've used some, and some are new to me. I'll have to try some of them. Thank you for sharing theses. We all can use reminders, just to keep up writing! ;-)


Jodah profile image

Jodah 18 months ago from Queensland Australia

Wonderful hub Nighthag. Great writing prompts here, I may even use a few. Voted up.


aesta1 profile image

aesta1 12 months ago from Ontario, Canada

Learned some useful tips from your hub. Just keep writing is key.


StephanieStephason 8 months ago

Thank you so much for your advices!

I loved to write, but couldn't really get started without inspiration, till now :D

creating the characters for example worked wonderfully for me, their story happens to appear from nowhere!

Besides, I would recommend you to NOT listening to your favourite music, this is far to distracting!

Better you try something like this, wich gets you much better in the mood

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H-k6q7DqF4k&index=...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BU6bE-pRGQo&list=P...

Thanks for your advices again! :)


johnmariow profile image

johnmariow 4 months ago from Connecticut

Thanks for this excellent post on honing writing skills. A strong command of the English language is also important in writing. The verbs and adjectives used make a difference.

My golden rules are: If the scene does not affect me emotionally, it won't affect the reader. If each paragraph does not make me want to read more, it probably won't make the reader want to read more. Etc.

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article
    working