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★ Creative Writing Prompts & Novel Story Ideas ★

Updated on February 9, 2015

Get Your Creative Juices Flowing!

I am one of the many people who want to write a book in their lifetime, but I find it very difficult to get going and write that first word, paragraph or page. So if you need a kick start to get your creative juices flowing, then use one of my many writing prompts written below.

The best way to use the prompts is as follows:

- Try to use them in order without reading ahead.

- Only pass on one if you really get no inspiration from the prompt.

- Don't feel you have to write loads for each idea or starting point, simply start writing and stop when you run out of ideas or stop enjoying yourself!

I hope the prompts are helpful :-)

How to Write a Novel

I've bought the following book previously from Amazon and it has some great advice for writing a novel, and if you don't believe me, the reviews are pretty good too!

How to Write a Damn Good Novel: A Step-by-Step No Nonsense Guide to Dramatic Storytelling
How to Write a Damn Good Novel: A Step-by-Step No Nonsense Guide to Dramatic Storytelling

Aimed at beginner writers as well as those with plenty of experience, this book is an excellent (5-star rated) guide to storytelling.

It provides lots of inspiration for curing writer's block, plus practical tips for character building, adding conflict, how to use different popular devices, and how to construct dialogue.


Starting Points 1-25

1) Imagine you are Henry VIII, King of England and it's year 1537. Write a letter to the woman you would like to marry, in 'Ye Olde English'. Or imagine yourself as the woman and write a diary piece on how you felt receiving such a letter from the King of England, knowing the last Queen was beheaded.

2) Imagine you are walking home in the dark after you have stayed late at work or school, and you notice someone is following you. What do they look like? Do you recognise them? How do you know they are following you? How do you feel and what do you do? Do you try and hide or run away, or do you confront them?

3) Write a short story involving yellow shoes. For instance, are they a gift, did you find them or did you buy them? Do they have secret powers? Perhaps they fell from the sky and hit you on the head!

4) Write a short story where the first sentence is 'The trouble really began early that morning, when no-one noticed that the pilot scheduled for Flight 215 was 4 times over the alcohol limit for flying...'

5) Base a story around a random fact you know, such as 'Your stomach has to produce a new layer of mucus every two weeks, otherwise it will digest itself', 'Only one person in two billion will live to be 116 or older', 'A snail can sleep for three months' or 'The electric chair was invented by a dentist' etc etc

6) Write a story where the first words are 'Little did James know what that drink contained' and the last word is 'caught'.

7) Imagine a real-life Cluedo murder - where was it committed? When? How? Describe the murderer, the motive, and what evidence led to the murderer being caught? For instance, was it Mrs White in the drawing room after she mistook Col. Mustard for her husband? Try and be as creative as possible.

8) How would you imagine the hero of a Hollywood blockbuster to look? How did he/she save the day? What do you imagine the hero's home life to be like? What are their hobbies? Where does the hero live? Does he/she live in the rough part of town or are they rich? Is he/she really lonely? Does the hero do the crossword in their spare time?

9) If you could trade lives with anyone for the day, who would it be? What do you imagine the day to be like? Who would you meet? What do you like most about being that person?

10) If you could change one thing about how the human species looks, what would you change? Would you have wings so you could fly? Or a wheels on your feet? Why would you choose that change and how would it change everyday life?

11) Spend up to 10 minutes writing a story using the words: rocket, control, feet, resonated, cloud, doctor, language, ladder,

12) If Elvis took over as school headteacher, what would the school be like?

13) I found the strangest thing in my pocket today.....

14) Think of a celebrity you had a crush on when you were younger (or still do) and imagine they took over as your boss. How would you act? What would change? Would it make you happier or not?

15) You go to a swimming pool, but before you swim you go to put your belongings in a locker - and inside the locker is something unusual someone has left behind. What is it? How does it affect your day?

16) 'She seemed like such a lovely lady. Who would have thought she was really...'

17) Imagine your favourite character from a book started in your year at school or became a work colleague.

18) You're the only person on a train late at night, when suddenly it stops in an isolated place for no reason. The door opens and a man comes through the door and places a cardboard box on the floor, before walking back out again. The doors shut and the train continues. What do you do?

19) You, and you alone, are told you have one day of freedom left before the Earth is blown into oblivion by an alien species. What would you do with your last day of freedom? You have a teleporter and an endless supply of money just for that one day, but you must remain on Earth.

20) You go to a restaurant and your meal arrives with a dead cockcroach. What do you do and what do you say?

21) You receive a telephone call from someone you would never have expected to call. Who is it? What do they say? Does it change your life?

22) Tell a story about a bad hair cut.

23) If you could create a uniform for a group of people to wear (such as McDonald's workers, air hostesses, MPs etc), what would you choose?

24) If you threw a dinner party, which 6 people would you invite? It can be anyone in the world, fictional or real, alive or dead. Explain your reasons, and say what questions you would want to ask your guests. Who do expect to get on, and who wouldn't get on?

25) If you could create a secret club, what would it be called? Who would be allowed in? How would you get invited to join? What are the benefits of joining? Is there a particular uniform or strange joining ceremony? What happens at meetings? How do you keep it secret - where do you tell people you're going? Where do you meet?

Henry David Thoreau Quote


More Cures For Writer's Block

26) Think of a famous actor or actress - imagine they haven't made it yet and write about the pain of rejections at audition after audition, struggling for money, trying to keep the dream of hitting the big time alive. You can write about them getting their big break too if you like.

27) Imagine you are in the reality show 'Big Brother' - What are your housemates like? Do you like them or are they your worst nighmare? What's the best and worst thing about being inside the house? What do you do to occupy yourself? Have you been given a task?

28) Think of and describe a new animal which has been discovered deep in the rainforest, deep underground, or perhaps at the bottom of the ocean. What's unusual or shocking about it? What does it look like, and what does it eat to survive? Has it got any special characteristics or skills/powers/abilities?

29) Pick one word in the dictionary randomly, put it in Google images and write a story involving something on the first page of images.

30) Describe a school prank you've carried out, witnessed or made up. Describe the reactions and consequences of the prank. Why was it done? Did it have the required effect? Did you feel guilty?

31) Use the first line from a book you have in your bookcae to start off a story of your own.

32) Write a story with the title 'Phantom Quest'

33) In your head, randomly think of 3 numbers between around 1 and 500. Look at the according pages of the dictionary, and pick a word of each page. Include all of them in a story.

34) You're at a shopping centre by yourself treating yourself to a shopping spree, and just before you leave for the day, you go to the toilet and end up locking yourself in the cubicle. You're trapped, calling for help, for about half an hour, before deciding your best bet is to climb over the door. When you get out, you realise the shopping centre is closed, the main doors are locked, there's no-one around and many of the lights have been turned off. What do you do?

35) You are at a theme park, early evening, just before the park closes for the night, and you go on the ghost train with a friend. Halfway through the ride, you turn to look at your friend and realise she's not there. What do you do?

36) You're walking your dog in the woods one day when you find a case resting against a tree. Your curiosity gets the better of you and you open it to discover it's stuffed full of money. What happens next? What do you do?

37) During a trip to the beach, you find something in a cave in the cliff. What is it? Is it good or bad? Is it a body perhaps, or a weapon, or pirate's treasure? What do you do with it?

38) You are out in a rowing boat on your own on a lake when you see a shadow move beneath you. What happens? Are you scared? Is it dangerous or do you befriend it? What does it look like? Do you keep it a secret or tell the media?

39) Seen 'Indiana Jones & the Temple of Doom'? Well imagine you are Indiana and describe the booby traps and obstacles you find in your way as you attempt to find a long-lost solid gold statue in an ancient temple.

40) Imagine you decide to have a look around the empty, derelict house at the end of your street - which has apparently been unoccupied for many years after the evil witch who lived there died. What does it look like (inside and out) and what peculiar things do you find?

41) MI5 agents have been monitoring you and think you have the potential to be a spy. But first they need to interview you and put you through a series of tests. How do these go? Write about the experience from being written to by the secret service, to being recruited after the tests.

42) A new next-door-neighbor has just moved in and is rather a mysterious figure. You start to notice noises and strangely colored light coming from their house at night. Do you investigate? What do you find?

More Books on How to Write a Novel

I've picked the most appropriate books with the best reviews:

Have you ever attempted to write a novel?

See results

Please Comment On My Lens!

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    • Babbyii profile image

      Barb Johnson 2 years ago from Alaska's Kenai Peninsula

      Great prompts. Kind of like enjoying someone else's cooking more than your own for a change. Thanks for the inspiration.

    • inkovic lm profile image

      inkovic lm 4 years ago

      Anything to help get the creative juices flowing. That and coffee. Lots and lots of coffee...

    • profile image

      bskcom 5 years ago

      I always need inspiration during the day, otherwise my writing begins to sound dull and flat.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Love the stranded in the shopping centre prompt. I would add that the person is trapped, the next day is Christmas so the centre is closed and the next day there is a huge blizzard that shuts down the city. Then all of a sudden there are more people coming out into the mall food court and saying they live at the mall all the time. They show the person how to survive in a closed mall.

    • profile image

      Li-Li-ThePinkBookworm 5 years ago

      Great selection of prompts! And I loved the quote by Louie L'Amour.

      Li Li

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      enjoyed your write up on this, good insight for writers like myself.

    • bames24 lm profile image

      bames24 lm 6 years ago

      great ideas.... :)

    • profile image

      organicgoofy 6 years ago

      I like your ideas. You certiantly know how to overcome. Great lens!

    • profile image

      pixiepot 6 years ago

      Wow, well done. This is really cool. Similar to my most recent lens, lol. This is very good, I must admit.

    • profile image

      CofCJenny LM 7 years ago

      Cool lens! I'm always looking for new creative writing ideas