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Write Here: Creative Writing Prompts to Inspire You

Updated on March 22, 2016

Word Prompt: Phobias

Atelophobia: the fear of not being good enough. What lengths will your character go to in order to be good enough in the eyes of someone with outrageous expectations?

Acousticophobia: fear of noise. Where can someone go to escape noise altogether?

Ophthalmophobia: the fear of being stared at. Your character has some kind of physical deformity that causes people to stare.

Gamophobia: the fear of marriage. Your character is madly in love, yet afraid of marriage.

Lyssophobia: the fear of going insane. Your character is petrified by this fear and it drives him/her insane.

Peladophobia: the fear of bald people. Your character peladophobic character looks in the mirror one day to find that he is balding.

Anablephobia: the fear of looking up. Your character goes to a psychiatrist who tells her to lie on his couch, which causes her to look up.

Kakorraphiophobia: the fear of failure. Your character is very successful, but becomes sick and has to give up his/her work and lifestyle. He/she sees this as failure and can't live with himself.

Latrophobia: the fear of hospitals and doctors. Your character will die unless treated soon.

Agliophobia: the fear of pain. Your character develops chronic pain.

Inspiration Activities

If you're anything like me, inspiration for a story doesn't just come. You have to intentionally track it down and don't take your eyes off of it until you have your story. Creative writing is not for the lazy but takes patience, time, and effort. So here are some ways to get inspired.

People Watching

You can do this anywhere in public and are sure to at least be entertained, if not inspired. My personal favorite spot is the airport, where you see people at their most extreme states. Maybe the guy that his frantically running to his gate doesn't want to miss this flight because he is going to Atlanta to meet his daughter, 20 years after putting her up for adoption. Or you could write about that little girl holding a "Welcome home Daddy" sign with an enormous smile on her face. It's always interesting to observe how radically people change when their flight has been delayed or canceled. What is it about that news that has the ability to turn seemingly normal human beings into irrational, extremely emotional beings? Where are they going that could be so important and urgent? You could also do this at Walmart, the park, the mall, or a restaurant.


Nobody is perfect. And if you were to read a novel full of perfect people, I can assure you that you'd be bored out of your mind. That's because the conflict in a story most always goes back to flawed characters. So when coming up with a plot, first give your characters some flaws. Like an evil mastermind, you can then decide what the worst possible thing that could happen to them would be. For example, if you have a character who is prideful, humble them by taking away everything that they were proud of. Or if you have an OCD character, write a tornado into his life.

Visit a Graveyard

This one may seem weird, but it's actually pretty helpful. Try visiting a graveyard and imagine what these people's lives were like. What kind of family did he have? Growing up, were they rich or did they just barely get by? Did she have a family of her own one day? Was he murdered or did he die of natural causes? Who is impacted by the death of these people? As you see the graves of those who died too young, imagine how meaningful their short lives were to their loved ones. What was the grief process like for the parents who lost their young child?

Think about the genre that you are aiming for. A graveyard could provide inspiration for anything from horror, mystery, dark comedy, or even romance. Let that guide you.


Artists often don't give an explanation for why they painted what they did. Visit an art museum or look at paintings online. Think about what the character is doing and why. Name the characters and come up with personalities for them. Also consider the context of the situation and what is going on outside of the frame. The painting may be of a mother and her baby, but it's up to you to decide whether there are more mothers and babies surrounding her, if she's by herself, or if there's a large crowd watching. Think about the artist's intention was. What do you think he/she was trying to say or what statement he/she was making with this piece of art.

What are some things that help inspire you?

Which one did you try?

See results

© 2016 Maggie Bushway


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