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Creative Writing Prompts for Creative Writers

Updated on May 21, 2012

Creative Writing Prompts

Need a fresh start? Maybe you have writer's block like a mo-fo. Or maybe you need to get it out on the page, but aren't sure about what you need to get out. Here are creative writing prompts that will ease your creative soul.

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Creative Writing Prompt of the Day

"God, that was really stupid. Really really stupid.."

Let this be the first sentence of your story.

Creative Writing Prompt

Your character has to sell the house where she grew up. A potential buyer comes to look at it and begins to talk about all of the changes she would make to the place. This upsets your character, who decides she wants to find a buyer who will leave everything the way it has always been....

Creative Writing Prompt

Describe a "first" (first apartment, first kiss, first time driving a car, first lie, first big success, first roller coaster ride, first time in this setting). Include as many details as possible, being sure to include an aspect relating to each of the five senses.

Creative Writing Prompt

Recall a photograph from your life and describe it in a way that suggests (but doesn't specifically name) why it matters. (Remember the creative writer's adage, "Show, don't tell.") Describe what happened either just before or just after the photo was taken.

"I loved you so much once. I did. More than anything in the whole wide world. Imagine that. What a laugh that is now. Can you believe it? We were so intimate once upon a time I can't believe it now. The memory of being that intimate with somebody. We were so intimate I could puke. I can't imagine ever being that intimate with somebody else. I haven't been."

Creative Writing Prompts

Story Starters

The nation is controlled by. . .

The most beautiful smile I ever saw. . .

The detective saw his opportunity. He grabbed the waitress's arm and said. . . .

My body. . . .

He turned the key in the lock and opened the door. To his horror, he saw. . . . .

Creative Writing Prompt

At a Chinese restaurant, your character opens his fortune cookie and reads the following message: "Your life is in danger. Say nothing to anyone. You must leave the city immediately and never return. Repeat: say nothing."...

Creative Writing Prompt

After your character loses his job, he is home during the day. That's how he discovers that his teenage son has a small marijuana plantation behind the garage. Your character confronts his son, who, instead of acting repentant, explains to your character exactly how much money he is making from the marijuana and tries to persuade your character to join in the business...

Creative Writing Prompt

Your character is a writer. But his new neighbors are so noisy that he can neither work nor sleep. He decides to take action....

Creative Writing Prompt

Write about a person who has no enemies.

Creative Writing Prompt

Your kids have spent years asking you to get them a dog. You finally break down and get one, only to discover that this dog talks-but only to you. More interestingly, the dog loves to gossip about your kids and their lives. Write a scene where your dog rats out one of your kids for doing something they shouldn't.

Creative Writing Prompt

On the 10th anniversary of your college graduation, you and your closest college friends decide to return to campus for a weekend to relive your “glory days.” Things go awry, though, when late in the evening one of your friends runs into an ex-girlfriend.

Creative Writing Prompt

Write a made-up magic spell, including ingredients, chants, and actions. Now, turn it into a poem.

StickyNote

I keep notebooks everywhere with stories started, some design and plot ideas. Keep them, but don't forget to go back to them!

Creative Writing Prompt

Your character meets someone on an online dating site. Your character writes an e-mail to the person, describing him/herself. Write the e-mail. This e-mail contains two lies. What are they? Why did the character tell them? Also: your character has a very mistaken idea of the impression he/she makes on other people. What impression does your character think he/she makes? What impression does he/she really make? Figure all this stuff out. If you want, fill out a character profile. The character arranges an in-person meeting with the person he/she has met online. What happens at the meeting? Write the story.

Creative Writing Prompt

Years later, the character's first love shows up on his or her doorstep again. Both your character and his/her first love are surprised at how the other person has changed (How?) This encounter causes a disruption in your character's life (How? What does your character do about it?) Write the story.

Creative Writing Prompt

Your character has a family and a stable job. Then something happens that reminds him of the plans he had when he was younger, to become an actor and live a creative life without ties of any kind. What happens to make him remember this? He starts to wonder if he's made the right choices. What does he do?

Creative Writing Prompt

Invent a teenage character who is very shy and hates confrontations of any kind. Her friend Stacy gets into serious trouble at school, and your character knows that the situation is a teacher's fault, not Stacy's. Your character wants to help Stacy, but all of her options seem terrifying: confront the teacher directly, talk to the principal, or tell a parent who might not believe her. What does she do? Write the story.

How Do You Get Through Writer's Block?

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Guestbook Comments

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    • cam8510 profile image

      Chris Mills 

      3 years ago from Missoula, Montana through August 2018

      This is all very helpful Bill. It looks like you've tried a little bit of everything. Thanks for the access to your experience. I like the idea of writing about a talking dog.

    • frazierbarbs lm profile image

      frazierbarbs lm 

      6 years ago

      some of your prompts were really good... I just didn't like having to sort through all the modules... it got a bit confusing to me... but really like some and will try then next time I get stuck... normally I listen to a lot of music while I am trying to write

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