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WEEKLY WRITING PROMPTS
Join (probably?) the world's largest writing contest. Flex those creative muscles with weekly writing prompts.
Showing 2024 prompts
Snowed under, write about a character emerging from hibernation, whether literally or metaphorically..
LIVE – Winter
Your character hates the holidays, and jets out of town every year — but a historic snow storm means that this time, they can’t make their escape.
Write a story where someone shares a cup of hot chocolate with a friend..
LIVE – Holiday
Start your story with a description of the cold, using lots of sensory detail.
Start your story with someone looking out the window and seeing the first snowfall of the season..
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🏆 Featuring 12 prize-winning stories from our community. Download it now for FREE .
Black Friday is the one day of the year where the Devil makes selling your soul a good thing, although there are some bizarre T’s & C’s.
Write a story about somebody trying to rationalize giving into temptation, even though they know they shouldn’t., your character finally gives into a temptation they've been avoiding, and becomes better because of it., at some point in your story, a character says “you’re better than this…”., your family’s holiday dinners always end with everyone at each other’s throats. this year you’re determined to keep a low profile, but your patience is being put to the test., subscribe to our prompts newsletter.
Never miss a prompt! Get curated writing inspiration delivered to your inbox each week.
Set your story in a house of mirrors and make the atmosphere increasingly eerie.
Write a story about a character who one day notices that their reflection has taken on a life of its own., write a story about someone coming across their doppelganger., write a story about someone trying to paint (or otherwise create) a self-portrait., start your story with someone buying a cursed — or perhaps blessed —mirror from an antiques store., write about someone who can’t sleep due to jet lag, and decides to set out and explore their new city at night instead., write a story about someone pulling an all nighter., start your story with someone saying “i can’t sleep.”, write a story about two people living together who have opposing sleep cycles, and only cross paths at dawn and dusk., set your story before dawn. your character has woken up early for a particular reason., win $250 in our short story competition 🏆.
We'll send you 5 prompts each week. Respond with your short story and you could win $250!
Contest #227 LIVE
Enter our weekly contest.
This week's theme: Snowed Under
Contest entries, closes at 23:59 - dec 08, 2023 est, recent contests ✍️.
#226 – Temptation Time
#225 – Mirror, Mirror on the Wall
#224 – Night Owls and Early Birds
#223 – Academia
Recent winners 🏆
Olivier Breuleux – read
Mallory Jones – read
AnneMarie Miles – read
Audrey McKenna – read
#1 Zilla Babbitt
#2 Deidra Whitt Lovegren
#3 Abigail Airuedomwinya
#4 Graham Kinross
#5 Scout Tahoe
#6 Thom Brodkin
#7 Rayhan Hidayat
#8 Deborah Mercer
#9 Michał Przywara
#10 Corey Melin
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Creative Writing Prompts
When the idea to start a weekly newsletter with writing inspiration first came to us, we decided that we wanted to do more than provide people with topics to write about. We wanted to try and help authors form a regular writing habit and also give them a place to proudly display their work. So we started the weekly Creative Writing Prompts newsletter. Since then, Prompts has grown to a community of more than 450,000 authors, complete with its own literary magazine, Prompted .
Here's how our contest works: every Friday, we send out a newsletter containing five creative writing prompts. Each week, the story ideas center around a different theme. Authors then have one week — until the following Friday — to submit a short story based on one of our prompts. A winner is picked each week to win $250 and is highlighted on our Reedsy Prompts page.
Why we love creative writing prompts
If you've ever sat in front of a computer or notebook and felt the urge to start creating worlds, characters, and storylines — all the while finding yourself unable to do so — then you've met the author's age-old foe: writer's block. There's nothing more frustrating than finding the time but not the words to be creative. Enter our directory! If you're ready to kick writer's block to the curb and finally get started on your short story or novel, these unique story ideas might just be your ticket.
This list of 1800+ creative writing prompts has been created by the Reedsy team to help you develop a rock-solid writing routine. As all aspiring authors know, this is the #1 challenge — and solution! — for reaching your literary goals. Feel free to filter through different genres, which include...
Dramatic — If you want to make people laugh and cry within the same story, this might be your genre.
Funny — Whether satire or slapstick, this is an opportunity to write with your funny bone.
Romance — One of the most popular commercial genres out there. Check out these story ideas out if you love writing about love.
Fantasy — The beauty of this genre is that the possibilities are as endless as your imagination.
Dystopian – Explore the shadowy side of human nature and contemporary technology in dark speculative fiction.
Mystery — From whodunnits to cozy mysteries, it's time to bring out your inner detective.
Thriller and Suspense — There's nothing like a page-turner that elicits a gasp of surprise at the end.
High School — Encourage teens to let their imaginations run free.
Want to submit your own story ideas to help inspire fellow writers? Send them to us here.
After you find the perfect story idea
Finding inspiration is just one piece of the puzzle. Next, you need to refine your craft skills — and then display them to the world. We've worked hard to create resources that help you do just that! Check them out:
- How to Write a Short Story That Gets Published — a free, ten-day course by Laura Mae Isaacman, a full-time editor who runs a book editing company in Brooklyn.
- Best Literary Magazines of 2023 — a directory of 100+ reputable magazines that accept unsolicited submissions.
- Writing Contests in 2023 — the finest contests of 2021 for fiction and non-fiction authors of short stories, poetry, essays, and more.
Beyond creative writing prompts: how to build a writing routine
While writing prompts are a great tactic to spark your creative sessions, a writer generally needs a couple more tools in their toolbelt when it comes to developing a rock-solid writing routine . To that end, here are a few more additional tips for incorporating your craft into your everyday life.
- NNWT. Or, as book coach Kevin Johns calls it , “Non-Negotiable Writing Time.” This time should be scheduled into your routine, whether that’s once a day or once a week. Treat it as a serious commitment, and don’t schedule anything else during your NNWT unless it’s absolutely necessary.
- Set word count goals. And make them realistic! Don’t start out with lofty goals you’re unlikely to achieve. Give some thought to how many words you think you can write a week, and start there. If you find you’re hitting your weekly or daily goals easily, keep upping the stakes as your craft time becomes more ingrained in your routine.
- Talk to friends and family about the project you’re working on. Doing so means that those close to you are likely to check in about the status of your piece — which in turn keeps you more accountable.
Arm yourself against writer’s block. Writer’s block will inevitably come, no matter how much story ideas initially inspire you. So it’s best to be prepared with tips and tricks you can use to keep yourself on track before the block hits. You can find 20 solid tips here — including how to establish a relationship with your inner critic and apps that can help you defeat procrastination or lack of motivation.
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Explore more writing prompt ideas:
Adults Writing Prompts ⭢
Adventure Writing Prompts ⭢
Angst Writing Prompts ⭢
Character Writing Prompts ⭢
Christmas Writing Prompts ⭢
Dark Writing Prompts ⭢
Dialogue Writing Prompts ⭢
Dramatic Writing Prompts ⭢
Dystopian Writing Prompts ⭢
Fall Writing Prompts ⭢
Fantasy Writing Prompts ⭢
Fiction Writing Prompts ⭢
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High School Writing Prompts ⭢
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Holiday Writing Prompts ⭢
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Kids Writing Prompts ⭢
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Mystery Writing Prompts ⭢
Narrative Writing Prompts ⭢
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Novel Writing Prompts ⭢
Poetry Writing Prompts ⭢
Romance Writing Prompts ⭢
Sad Writing Prompts ⭢
Science Fiction Writing Prompts ⭢
Short Story Writing Prompts ⭢
Spring Writing Prompts ⭢
Summer Writing Prompts ⭢
Teens Writing Prompts ⭢
Thanksgiving Writing Prompts ⭢
Thriller and Suspense Writing Prompts ⭢
Valentine's Day Writing Prompts ⭢
Vampire Writing Prompts ⭢
Winter Writing Prompts ⭢
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- How to write a story
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44 Short Story Ideas
Story ideas - 3 elements.
- A stolen ring, fear of spiders, and a sinister stranger.
- A taxi, an old enemy, and Valentine's Day.
- Identical twins, a party invitation, and a locked closet.
- A broken wristwatch, peppermints, and a hug that goes too far.
- Aerobics, a secret diary, and something unpleasant under the bed.
- An ex-boyfriend, a pair of binoculars, and a good-luck charm.
- An annoying boss, a bikini, and a fake illness.
- The first day of school, a love note, and a recipe with a significant mistake.
- A horoscope, makeup, and a missing tooth.
- A campfire, a scream, and a small lie that gets bigger and bigger.
More short story ideas
- A babysitter is snooping around her employer's house and finds a disturbing photograph...
- 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."...
- Your character's boss invites her and her husband to dinner. Your character wants to make a good impression, but her husband has a tendency to drink too much and say exactly what's on his mind...
- It's your character's first day at a new school. He or she wants to get a fresh start, develop a new identity. But in his or her homeroom, your character encounters a kid he or she knows from summer camp...
- Your character has to tell his parents that he's getting a divorce. He knows his parents will take his wife's side, and he is right...
- At the airport, a stranger offers your character money to carry a mysterious package onto the plane. The stranger assures your character that it's nothing illegal and points out that it has already been through the security check. Your character has serious doubts, but needs the money, and therefore agrees...
- Your character suspects her husband is having an affair and decides to spy on him. What she discovers is not what she was expecting...
- A man elbows your character in a crowd. After he is gone, she discovers her cell phone is too. She calls her own number, and the man answers. She explains that the cell phone has personal information on it and asks the man to send it back to her. He hangs up. Instead of going to the police, your character decides to take matters into her own hands...
- 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...
- At a garage sale, your character buys an antique urn which she thinks will look nice decorating her bookcase. But when she gets home, she realizes there are someone's ashes in it....
Even more short story ideas
- Your character starts receiving flowers and anonymous gifts. She doesn't know who is sending them. Her husband is suspicious, and the gifts begin to get stranger....
- A missionary visits your character's house and attempts to convert her to his religion. Your character is trying to get rid of him just as storm warning sirens go off. Your character feels she can't send the missionary out into the storm, so she lets him come down into her basement with her. This is going to be a long storm....
- Your character is caught shoplifting. The shop owner says that she won't call the police in exchange for a personal favor....
- Your character is visiting his parents over a holiday. He is returning some books to the library for his mother and is startled to notice that the librarian looks exactly like him, only about thirty years older. He immediately begins to suspect that his mother had an affair at one time and the librarian is his real father...
- Your character picks up a hitch-hiker on her way home from work. The hitch-hiker tries to persuade your character to leave everything and drive her across the country...
- 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....
- A bat gets in the house. Your character's husband becomes hysterical, frightened that it might be rabid. In his panic, he ends up shutting the bat in a room with your character while he calls an exterminator from a safe place in the house. His behavior makes your character see her husband in a new way....
- Your character changes jobs in order to have more time with his family. But his family doesn't seem interested in having him around...
- Your character develops the idea that she can hear the voices of the dead on a certain radio channel. She decides to take advantage of this channel to find answers to some questions that are bothering her about her dead parents....
- Your character's dream is to be a professional dancer. At a party, she mentions this dream to a stranger, who says that he has contacts in the dance world and gets her an audition for a prestigious dance troupe. One problem: your character doesn't know how to dance. Your character decides to accept the audition anyway and look for a solution....
And still more short story ideas
- Your character thinks her boss is looking for an excuse to fire her. She decides to fight back....
- Your character goes out for dinner on a date and becomes attracted to the waiter or waitress....
- Your character notices that a stranger is following her. She pretends not to notice. The stranger follows her home and watches her go inside. Then when he leaves, your character turns the tables and starts to follow him....
- A child moves into a new house and finds out that the other kids in town think it's haunted. She begins to invent ghost stories to tell at school in order to get attention. But the more stories she tells, the more frightened she becomes of the house...
- Your elderly character escapes from the retirement home where his or her children have placed him or her....
- Your character gets cosmetic surgery in an attempt to make her boyfriend love her more. But then she worries he only loves her for her looks....
- Your character is a writer. But his new neighbors are so noisy that he can neither work nor sleep. He decides to take action....
- Your character's mother-in-law comes to visit for a week, and your character suspects she is trying to poison him. He shares his suspicion with his wife, who says he's always hated her mother but this accusation is going too far. Meanwhile, your character has stomach cramps, and his mother-in-law is downstairs making breakfast again....
- It's a freezing cold night. Your character finds a homeless family on his doorstep and invites them into his home to sleep. But in the morning, the family doesn't leave....
- Your character has recently married a man with two teenage children. The children resent her, and she tries to avoid them altogether. Then her new husband (their father) disappears suddenly, leaving only a short good-bye note....
Story ideas: personal creative writing challenges
- Make a list of five things you're afraid of happening to you. Then write a story in which one of them happens to your character..
- Think of a big problem that one of your friends had to face. Then write a story in which your character battles with that problem..
- What is one of your bad habits? Invent a character who has the bad habit, but a much worse case of it than you have. Write a story where this habit gets your character into trouble.
- What is one of your greatest strengths? Invent a character who doesn't have this strength. Create a situation in which having this strength is very important for your character. What does your character do? Write the story.
Photo credit: Pascal van de Vendel
Keep the short story ideas flowing
- Looking for more detailed short story ideas? Find them here .
- Use our free worksheet to develop your story plot.
- Our online writing course Irresistible Fiction will show you how to write stories people can't put down.
- Click here for a list of CWN pages with creative writing prompts and short story ideas.
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Top 100 Short Story Ideas
by Joe Bunting | 128 comments
Do you want to write but just need a great story idea? Or perhaps you have too many ideas and can’t choose the best one? Well, good news. We’ve got you covered.
Below are one hundred short story ideas for all your favorite genres. You can use them as a book idea, as writing prompts for writing contests , for stories to publish in literary magazines , or just for fun!
Use these 100 story ideas to get your creative writing started now.
Editor’s note: This is a recurring guide, regularly updated with ideas and information.
If you're in a hurry, here's my 10 best story ideas in brief, or scroll down for the full version.
Top 10 Story Ideas
- Tell the story of a scar.
- A group of children discover a dead body.
- A young prodigy becomes orphaned.
- A middle-aged woman discovers a ghost.
- A woman who is deeply in love is crushed when her fiancé breaks up with her.
- A talented young man's deepest fear is holding his life back.
- A poor young boy or girl comes into an unexpected fortune.
- A shy, young woman unexpectedly bumps into her soulmate.
- A long journey is interrupted by a disaster.
- A young couple run into the path of a psychopath.
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Why Creative Writing Prompts Are Helpful
Below, you'll find our best creative writing prompts and plot ideas for every genre, but first, why do we use prompts? Is it just a waste of time, or can they actually help you? Here are three reasons we love writing prompts at The Write Practice:
1. Practice the Language!
Even for those of us who are native English speakers, we're all on a language journey to go from beginners to skilled writers. To make progress on this language journey, you have to practice, and at The Write Practice, believe it or not, we're really into practice! Creative writing prompts are easy, fun ways to practice.
Use the prompts below to practice your storytelling and use of language. The more you practice, the better of a writer you'll become.
2. When you have no ideas and are stuck.
Sometimes, you want to write, but you can't think up any ideas. You could either just sit there, staring at a blank page, or you could find a few ideas to help you get started. Even better if the list of ideas is curated from our best plot ideas over the last decade that we've been publishing lessons, writing exercises, and prompts.
Use the story ideas below to get your writing started. Then when your creativity is warmed up, you'll start to come up with your own ideas!
3. To develop your own ideas.
Maybe you do have an idea already, but you're not sure it's good. Or maybe you feel like it's just missing some small piece to make it better. By reading other ideas, and incorporating your favorites into your story, you can fill your plot holes and generate creative ideas of your own.
Use the story ideas below to develop your own ideas.
4. They're fun!
Thousands of writers use the prompts below every month, some at home, some in classrooms, and even a few pros at their writing “office.” Why? Because writing prompts can be fun. They get your creativity started, help you come up with new ideas of your own, and often take your writing in new, unexpected directions.
Use the plot ideas to have more fun with writing!
How to Write a Story
One last thing before we get to the 100 story ideas, let’s talk about how to write a great short story . (Already know how to write a great story? No problem. Just skip down to the ideas below.)
- First, read stories. If you’ve never read a story, you’re going to have a hard time writing one. Where do you find great stories? There are a lot of places, but check out our list of 46 Literary Magazines we’ve curated over here .
- Write your story in a single sitting. Write the first draft of your story in as short a time as possible, and if you’re writing a short story , try to write it in one sitting. Trust me, this works. Everyone hates being interrupted when they’re telling compelling stories. Use that to your advantage and don’t stop writing until you’ve finished telling yours.
- Read your draft. Read your story through once, without changing anything. This will give you a sense of what work it needs going forward.
- Write a premise. After reading your first draft, get your head around the main idea behind your story by summarizing your story in a one sentence premise. Your premise should contain four things: a character, a goal, a situation, and a special sauce. Not sure what that means or how to actually do that? Here’s a full premise writing guide .
- Write, edit, write, and edit. Good writing is rewriting. Use your second draft to fill in the plot holes and cut out the extraneous scenes and characters you discovered when you read the first draft in step #2. Then, polish up your final draft on the next round of edits.
- Submit! Real writers don’t keep their writing all to themselves. They share it. Submit your story to a literary magazine , an anthology series , enter it into a writing contest , or even share it with a small group of friends. And if it gets rejected, don’t feel bad. You’ll be in good company.
Want to know more? Learn more about how to write a great short story here .
Our 100 Best Short Story Ideas, Plot Ideas, and Creative Writing Prompts
Ready to get writing? Here are our 100 best short story ideas to kickstart your writing. Enjoy!
10 Best General Short Story Ideas
Our first batch of plot ideas are for any kind of story, whether a spy thriller or a memoir of your personal life story. Here are the best story ideas:
- Tell the story of a scar, whether a physical scar or emotional one. To be a writer, said Stephen King, “The only requirement is the ability to remember every scar .”
- A group of children discover a dead body. Good writers don’t turn away from death, which is, after all, the universal human experience. Instead, they look it directly into its dark face and describe what they see on the page.
- A young prodigy becomes orphaned. Orphans are uniquely vulnerable, and as such, they have the most potential for growth.
- A middle-aged woman discovers a ghost. What do Edgar Allen Poe, Ron Weasley, King Saul from the Bible, Odysseus, and Ebenezer Scrooge have in common? They all encountered ghosts!
- A woman who is deeply in love is crushed when her fiancé breaks up with her. “In life every ending is just a new beginning,” says Dakota Fanning’s character in Uptown Girls.
- A talented young man’s deepest fear is holding his life back. Your character’s biggest fear is your story’s secret weapon. Don’t run from it, write about it.
- A poor young boy or girl comes into an unexpected fortune. Not all fortunes are good. Sometimes discovering a fortune will destroy your life.
- A shy, young woman unexpectedly bumps into her soulmate (literally bumps into him). In film, this is called the “meet cute,” when the hero bumps into the heroine in the coffee shop or the department store or the hallway, knocking her books to the floor, and forcing them into conversation.
- A long journey is interrupted by a disaster. Who hasn’t been longing to get to a destination only to be delayed by something unexpected? This is the plot of Gravity , The Odyssey , and even Lord of the Rings .
- A young couple run into the path of a psychopath. Monsters, whether people who do monstrous things or scaly beasts or a monster of a natural disaster, reveal what’s really inside a person. Let your character fall into the path of a monster and see how they handle themselves.
Now that you have an idea, learn exactly what to do with it. Check out my new book The Write Structure which helps writers take their ideas and write books readers love. Click to check out The Write Structure here.
More Short Story Ideas Based on Genre
Need more ideas? Here are ideas based on whichever literary genre you write. Use them as character inspiration, to start your own story, or borrow pieces to generate your own ideas. The only rule is, have fun writing!
By the way, for more story writing tips for each these plot types, check out our full guide to the 10 types of stories here .
10 Thriller Story Ideas
A thriller is any story that “thrills” the reader—i.e., gets adrenaline pumping, the heart racing, and the emotions piqued.
Thrillers come in all shapes and forms, dipping freely into other genres. In other words, expect the unexpected!
Here are a few of my favorite thriller story ideas :
Rosa Rivera-Ortiz is an up-and-coming lawyer in a San Diego firm. Held back by her ethnicity and her gender, she works twice as hard as her colleagues, and she’s as surprised as anyone when she’s requested specifically for a high-profile case. Bron Welty, an A-list actor and action star, has been arrested for the murder of his live-in housekeeper. The cop heading the case is older, ex-military, a veteran of more than one war, and an occasional sufferer of PTSD. Rosa’s hired to defend the movie star; and it seems like an easy win until she uncovers some secrets that not only make her believe her client is guilty, but may be one of the worst serial killers in the past two decades… and he knows she found out .
It’s the Cold War. Sergei, a double-agent for the CIA working in Berlin, is about to retire when he’s given one final mission: he’s been asked to “defect” to the USSR to help find and assassinate a suspected double-agent for the Kremlin. Sergei is highly trusted, and he’s given to understand that this mission is need-to-know only between him and very few superior officers. But as he falls deeper into the folds of the Iron Curtain, he begins to suspect that his superior officer might just be the mole, and the mark Sergei’s been sent to kill is on the cusp of exposing the leak.
It is 1800. A lighthouse on a barren cliff in Canada. Two lighthouse keepers, German immigrants, are alone for the winter and effectively cut off from the rest of the world until the ice thaws. Both Wilhelm and Matthias are settled in for the long haul with warm clothes, canned goods, and matches a-plenty. Then Wilhelm starts hearing voices. His personal belongings disappear from where he’d placed them, only to reappear in strange spots—like the catwalk, or dangling beneath the spiral stair knotted in brown twine. Matthias begs innocence. Little by little, Wilhelm grows convinced that Matthias is trying to convince him (Wilhelm) to kill himself. Is the insanity real, or is this really Matthias’ doing? And if it is real, what will he do to defend himself? There are so many months until the thaw.
20 Mystery Story Ideas
Enjoy a good whodunit? Then you’ll love these mystery story ideas .
Here are a few of my favorites:
Ever hear the phrase, “It is not who fired the shot but who paid for the bullet?” This is a philosophy Tomoe Gozen lives by. Brave and clever, Tomoe follows clues until she learns who ordered the murder: Emperor Antoku himself. But why would the emperor of Japan want to kill a lowly soldier?
Mystery writer Dan Rodriguez takes the subway every day. Every day, nothing happens. He wears earbuds and a hoodie; he’s ignored, and he ignores. Then one evening, on his way home from a stressful meeting with his publisher, Dan is startled out of his funk when a frantic Middle-Eastern man knocks him over at a dead run, then races up the stairs—pursued by several other thugs. The Middle-Eastern man is shot; and Dan discovers a mysterious package in the front pocket of his hoodie. What’s inside, and what does he need to do to survive the answer?
A headless corpse is found in a freshly-dug grave in Arkansas. The local police chief, Arley Socket, has never had to deal with more than missing gas cans and treed cats. His exploration of this weird murder digs up a mystery older than the 100-year-old town of Jericho that harkens all the way back to a European blood-feud.
20 Romance Story Ideas
Ready to write a love story? Or perhaps you want to create a subplot with a secondary character? We've got ideas for you!
Hint: When it comes to romance, a sense of humor is always a good idea. Have fun! Here are a few of my favorite love story ideas :
She’s a cop. He’s the owner of a jewelry store. A sudden rash of break-ins brings her to his store over and over and over again, until it becomes obvious that he might be tripping the alarm on purpose—just to see her. That’s illegal—but she’s kind of falling for him, too. Write the moment she realizes she has to do something about this crazy illicit courtship.
Colorado Animal Rescue has never been more challenging than after that zoo caught on fire. Sally Cougar (no jokes on the name, or she’ll kill you) tracks down three missing tiger cubs, only to find they’ve been adopted by millionaire Bryce Champion. Thanks to an antiquated law on the books, he legally has the right to keep them. It’s going to take everything Sally has to get those tiger cubs back.
He’s a museum curator with a fetish for perfection. No one’s ever gotten close to him; how could they? They’re never as perfect as the portraits, the sculptures, the art that never changes. Then one day, an intern is hired on—a young, messy, disorganized intern, whose hair and desk are in a constant state of disarray. The curator is going half-mad with this walking embodiment of chaos; so why can’t the he stand the thought of the intern leaving at the end of their assistantship?
20 Sci-Fi Story Ideas
From the minimum-wage-earning, ancient-artifact-hunting time traveller to the space-exploring, sentient dinosaurs, these sci-fi writing prompts will get you set loose your inner nerd.
Here are a few of my favorite sci-fi ideas :
In a future society, neural implants translate music into physical pleasure, and earphones (“jacking in”) are now the drug of choice. Write either from the perspective of a music addict, OR the Sonforce agent (sonance + enforcer) who has the job of cracking down.
It’s the year 5000. Our planet was wrecked in the great Crisis of 3500, and remaining human civilization survives only in a half dozen giant domed cities. There are two unbreakable rules: strict adherence to Life Quality (recycling doesn’t even begin to cover these laws), and a complete ban on reproduction (only the “worthy” are permitted to create new humans). Write from the perspective of a young woman who just discovered she’s been chosen to reproduce—but she has no interest in being a mother.
So yeah, ancient Egypt really was “all that” after all, and the pyramids turn out to be fully functional spaceships (the limestone was to preserve the electronics hidden inside). Write from the perspective of the tourist exploring the ancient society who accidentally turns one on.
20 Fantasy Story Ideas
Need a dose of sword-in-the-stone, hero and/or heroine packed coming-of-age glory? We love fantasy stories!
Here are a few of my favorite fantasy story ideas:
Bored teenaged wizards throwing a graduation celebration.
Uncomfortable wedding preparation between a magic wielding family tree and those more on the Muggle side of things.
A fairy prince who decides to abandon his responsibilities to become a street musician.
Just try to not have fun writing (or even just reading!) these fantasy writing prompts.
The Secret to Choosing the Best Story Idea
Stories, more than any other artistic expression, have the power to make people care. Stories have the ability to change people’s lives.
But to write a great story, a life-changing story, don’t just write about what your characters did, said, and saw. Ask yourself, “Where do I fit in to this story? What is my personal connection to this story?”
Robert Frost said this:
If you can connect your personal story to the story you’re writing, you will not only be more motivated to finish your story, you might just be able to change the lives of your readers.
Next Step: Write Your Best Story
No matter how good your idea, writing a story or a book can be a long difficult process. How do you create an outline, come up with a great plot, and then actually finish it?
My new book The Write Structure will help. You'll learn how to take your idea and structure a strong plot around it. Then you'll be guided through the exact process I've used to write dozens of short stories and over fifteen books.
You can learn more about The Write Structure and get your copy here.
Have a great short story idea? We'd love to hear it. Share it in the comments !
Choose one of these ideas and write a short story in one sitting (aim for 1,000 words or less!). When you're finished, share your story in the practice box below (or our latest writing contest ) for feedback from the community. And if you share, please be sure to comment on a few stories by other writers.
Joe Bunting is an author and the leader of The Write Practice community. He is also the author of the new book Crowdsourcing Paris , a real life adventure story set in France. It was a #1 New Release on Amazon. Follow him on Instagram (@jhbunting).
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121 Short Story Prompts to help You Write Unforgettable Stories
Are you staring blankly at your computer screen, struggling to develop a new short story idea for your next project? Or are you simply in the mood to flex your creative muscles with a new writing project but need help figuring out where to start? Look no further!
I have compiled a whopping 121 short story prompts and story ideas in this blog post to inspire you to write engaging and imaginative stories across various genres and themes. From romance to horror, science fiction to thriller, these short story prompts are designed to inspire you to explore new characters, settings, and plots.
So whether you're a seasoned writer or a beginner, read on and let your imagination run wild!
Fantasy short story prompts
1. A thief attempts to steal a magical object from a powerful wizard's tower but is caught and forced to make a deal to avoid imprisonment.
2. A young woman inherits a cursed ring from her grandmother and must decide whether to keep it and its power or destroy it and break the curse.
3. A brave knight and a cunning rogue team up to rescue a princess from a dragon, but their personalities clash and threaten to derail the mission.
4. A witch and a sorcerer have been hired to assassinate the same target and must outsmart each other to succeed.
5. Two siblings with opposing magical abilities must unite to stop an evil sorcerer who seeks to destroy the world.
6. A dwarf and an elf are hired to transport a valuable artifact, but obstacles and betrayal plague their journey.
7. A shape-shifter and a vampire are trapped in a magical prison and must work together to escape and clear their names of false accusations.
8. A powerful enchantress and a cursed prince embark on a quest to break the curse, but their journey is filled with danger and unexpected challenges.
9. Two sworn enemies, a goblin and a dwarf are forced to work together to survive in a hostile environment after being shipwrecked on a mysterious island.
10. A cursed adventurer and a skilled archer are trapped in a magical maze and must work together to solve its puzzles and escape before time runs out.
adventure short story prompts
11. A group of adventurers stumble upon a cursed temple and must navigate its deadly traps and puzzles to reach the treasure at the heart of the temple.
12. A group of divers must explore a sunken ship and retrieve a valuable artifact before their oxygen runs out.
13. A detective must solve a case that hits too close to home, dealing with their own past mistakes and failures while racing against the clock to catch the culprit.
14. A pirate seeks revenge against an old enemy but must confront the anger and bitterness consuming them while trying to outmaneuver their foe in a high-stakes sea battle.
15. An adventurer discovers their trusted partner has betrayed them and must navigate a dangerous jungle to retrieve stolen treasure before their former ally does.
16. A thrill-seeking mountaineer rushes to summit a dangerous peak before a deadly storm hits, recklessly risking their own safety and the safety of their team.
17. A natural disaster survivor must stay optimistic and hopeful while racing against time to find food, water, and shelter before it's too late.
18. A team of spies must infiltrate a secret lab and retrieve valuable information before it falls into the wrong hands.
19. A mountaineer with an insatiable hunger for fame and glory must overcome their own ego and hubris while attempting to climb a treacherous peak.
20. A shipwreck survivor must stay hopeful and optimistic while stranded on a deserted island, struggling to find a way to escape before running out of supplies.
21. A group of miners must find a way out of a collapsing mine before they are buried alive.
Halloween short story prompts
22. A group of trick-or-treaters accidentally stumble upon a haunted house, but things turn sinister when they realize they can't leave.
23. Two friends sneak into a local cemetery to play a game of "ghost hunting," but they realize they may have awoken something that should have been left undisturbed.
24. A man is tormented by his deceased wife's ghost on Halloween night, leading to a confrontation that could change everything.
25. A young couple's Halloween party turns dark when they realize one of their guests is not who they seem.
26. Two siblings get lost in a corn maze on Halloween night and must fight for their lives against a murderous scarecrow.
27. A group of college students gets more than they bargained for when they spend the night in a supposedly haunted asylum.
28. A young girl discovers that her neighbor, whom she thought was a witch, may be something much more dangerous.
29. Two teenagers are trapped in a department store overnight, only to realize they're not alone.
30. A family's Halloween decorations come to life and start attacking them.
31. A group of friends goes on a ghost tour of a supposedly haunted town, but they soon discover that the stories may be more than just legends.
Horror short story prompts
32. A woman wakes up in a hospital room, only to realize she's the only person in the building.
33. Two friends get lost in a pitch-black underground cave system, where they encounter something that's not of this world.
34. A babysitter discovers that the child she's watching is not what they seem, and their true identity is far more sinister.
35. A family road trip takes a dark turn when they encounter a mysterious figure on the side of the road.
36. A man is forced to confront his deepest fears when he's trapped in a room with something that wants to kill him.
37. A couple's romantic city trip weekend getaway turns into a nightmare when they encounter a strange creature in the subway.
38. Two campers discover that their campsite may be the site of a horrific crime.
39. A woman discovers a dark secret about her family's history when she inherits an old piece of art from her deceased relative.
40. A group of strangers is trapped in an airport terminal during a storm, but they soon realize they're not alone.
41. A man discovers that his new job at a remote research facility may be more dangerous than he ever imagined.
Romance short story prompts
42. Two coworkers who hate each other are forced to work together on a project and discover a hidden attraction.
43. A woman runs into her high school crush at a grocery store and realizes they still have chemistry.
44. Two neighbors who have never spoken before are suddenly forced to spend time together during a blackout.
45. A woman goes on a blind date with a man she met online and discovers he's not who he seems to be.
46. A woman meets a man at a wedding and is torn between her feelings for him and her loyalty to the bride.
47. A woman is forced to choose between her boyfriend and her family's expectations for her future.
48. Two coworkers are secretly in love and forced to keep their relationship secret from their boss.
49. A woman meets a man on a train and is drawn to his mysterious past but struggles to trust him.
50. A woman's ex-boyfriend shows up unexpectedly at her workplace and forces her to confront their past.
51. Two people in a long-distance relationship meet for the first time but struggle to bridge the gap.
Sad short story prompts
52. Two estranged siblings meet to scatter their mother's ashes and are forced to confront their unresolved feelings.
53. A woman visits her husband in prison and has to come to terms with the fact that their marriage is over.
54. Two exes meet up to return each other's belongings and are forced to confront the pain of their breakup.
55. A man meets with his estranged father to discuss the inheritance left by his late mother but discovers that their relationship is irreparable.
56. A man visits his dying father and is forced to confront the pain of their troubled relationship.
57. A woman goes to a support group for the first time and finds it difficult to connect with the other members.
58. A woman attends a funeral for a close friend and struggles to come to terms with her grief.
59. Two siblings meet up to confront their abusive parents and realize that they are stronger together than apart.
60. Two former friends meet up to apologize for past hurts and try to reconcile but recognize that the damage is irreversible.
61. Two siblings meet up to go through their late parents' belongings and are forced to confront the painful memories of their childhood.
Funny short story prompts
62. A woman accidentally sends a text message to the wrong person and has to fix the situation before it gets out of hand.
63. A man accidentally locks himself out of his apartment and has to find a way back in.
64. Two passengers accidentally switch suitcases at the airport and have to track down the other before their flight leaves.
65. A woman accidentally sends a love letter to her boss and has to figure out how to undo it.
66. Two friends decide to play a game of Truth or Dare, but things quickly get out of hand.
67. A man tries to impress a woman by cooking a fancy meal, but everything that can go wrong does.
68. Two roommates compete to see who can pull off the best prank on their other roommate, but things quickly escalate.
69. A woman tries to keep her adult entertainment job a secret from her nosy neighbor but has to show her everything.
70. A man accidentally sends a text message meant for his ex to his current girlfriend, and things quickly spiral out of control.
71. Two friends decide to start a business together, but their conflicting creative ideas lead to hilarious results.
Scary short story prompts
72. A woman takes a shortcut through a dark alley and realizes she's being followed.
73. A man wakes up in a coffin and realizes he's been buried alive.
74. A woman discovers a strange door in her basement that leads to a dark and creepy tunnel.
75. A man starts hearing strange noises from his attic and realizes he's not alone in the house.
76. A woman wakes up to find her reflection in the mirror is not her own.
77. Two coworkers stay late at the office and hear strange noises from the ventilation system.
78. A woman hears a voice whispering her name in her ear while she's home alone.
79. Two neighbors are forced to confront the dark secrets they've been hiding from each other.
80. A man finds an old journal that describes a ritual for summoning a demon.
81. A woman wakes up handcuffed in a hospital bed without remembering how she got there.
Valentine's Day short story prompts
82. Two friends attend a Valentine's Day party and do everything it takes to compete for the same person's affection.
83. Two high school sweethearts reunite on Valentine's Day, but they quickly discover that the past is not always what it seems.
84. A man tries to propose to his girlfriend on Valentine's Day, but everything seems to go wrong.
85. A couple decides to try a new, experimental drug to enhance their Valentine's Day experience, but things take a dangerous turn.
86. A woman goes on a blind date with a man who seems too good to be true, but she soon discovers his dark and dangerous secrets.
87. Two best friends decide to spend Valentine's Day together, but their feelings for each other become more complicated.
88. A woman receives a series of cryptic messages from an unknown sender, leading her on a scavenger hunt through the city.
89. Two coworkers have secret crushes on each other, but neither knows how to make the first move.
90. Two people meet on a dating app and decide to meet in person on Valentine's Day, but things quickly spiral out of control.
91. Two coworkers receive the same Valentine's Day gift, leading to a competition for the affection of their mutual crush.
Christmas short story prompts
92. Two people get into a heated argument over who gets to keep the last Christmas tree at the local tree lot.
93. A couple on a tight budget gets into a heated debate over how much they can afford to spend on gifts for their family.
94. A person accidentally ruins the Christmas dinner and must find a way to fix it before the guests arrive.
95. Two coworkers who don't get along are forced to work together on the Christmas project.
96. Two family members get into a heated argument over the best Christmas movies to watch.
97. A fighting couple must navigate a snowstorm to get to their Christmas dinner on time.
98. A person gets stuck in an elevator with a stranger on Christmas Eve.
99. A person discovers their significant other has been lying about their Christmas plans.
100. A person accidentally breaks a vital family heirloom on Christmas morning.
101. A person discovers their partner has been cheating on them with Santa Claus.
Sci-Fi short story prompts
102. A time traveler accidentally ends up in the wrong era and must convince their skeptical partner that they're telling the truth.
103. Two scientists argue over the ethical implications of a new technology that can alter memories.
104. A character discovers they can communicate with an alien race through their dreams.
105. A person wakes up to find that their entire reality is a simulation.
106. Two survivors of a deadly virus must navigate a post-apocalyptic world and find a way to rebuild society.
107. Two friends discover a portal to another dimension and must decide whether to explore it.
108. A person is sent on a mission to colonize a new planet but discovers that their ship has a dangerous malfunction.
109. Two people with different genetic enhancements clash over their beliefs and must find common ground to save their community.
110. Two detectives investigate a series of strange disappearances that lead them to an otherworldly source.
111. A person discovers a time loop that allows them to relive the same day repeatedly.
Thriller short story prompts
112. A person discovers that their new roommate is a serial killer.
113. Two people on a first date realize that a stalker is watching them.
114. A person finds a hidden room in their house and realizes someone has been living there.
115. Two coworkers discover a hidden camera in their office and must figure out who is spying on them.
116. A person wakes up in a dark, abandoned building and realizes they've been kidnapped.
117. A person discovers that their new therapist is a psychopath.
118. A person is blackmailed into committing a crime by someone who has incriminating evidence against them.
119. A person receives a mysterious package in the mail that threatens their life.
120. A person realizes their online stalker has found their physical address and is coming for them.
121. Two survivors of a plane crash must navigate a dangerous wilderness to find help.
In conclusion, short story prompts can be a great source of inspiration for writers looking for inspiration and flexing their creative muscles.
By limiting the scope of your story to a single location and a few characters, you can focus on developing conflict, drama, and tension, creating a powerful and engaging story that will captivate your audience.
Whether you're a seasoned writer or just starting out, I hope these writing prompts can help you break through writer's block and explore new genres and styles.
Frequently Asked Questions About Short Story Prompts (FAQs)
What are short story prompts.
Short story prompts are creative ideas, scenarios, or questions designed to ignite your imagination and help you write a story. They can range from fantasy short story prompts to science fiction to everyday life situations.
How Can I Use Writing Prompts?
Idea Generation: If a blank page stares at you, prompts help you break the ice. Use them to create short stories, a character's life arc, or even a world!
Writing Exercises: These are great ideas for honing your skills. Set aside writing time and pick a prompt like "A character notices a mysterious package at their front door."
Character Development: Watch as your character develops from an only child to a hero facing a natural disaster.
Where Can I Find More Creative Writing Prompts?
From a fortune cookie to online forums, you can find prompts everywhere. Search for specific genres like sci-fi or fantasy , or ask old friends and fellow writers to share their favorite genres or ideas. Sometimes life itself is the best writing prompt ever!
Can You Share Some Short Story Ideas?
Short Story Ideas:
An old friend from a century ago appears at your front door.
A character finds a deceased uncle's letter revealing family secrets.
A teenage son's rebellion leads to unexpected friends and lessons.
Fantasy Short Story Prompts:
A character meets a dragon who is surprisingly fond of coffee shops.
Science Fiction Prompts:
A main character's latest project opens a portal to a world never seen before.
I'm Stuck with Writer's Block. What Should I Do?
Stop writing? Never! Try these:
Read Short Stories: Sometimes, reading stories from your favorite genres brings back the flow.
Create New Characters: Craft a character's life story, maybe an only child who discovers they have a twin, or a best friend who unveils a family fortune.
How Can I Build a Character in My Story?
Think of your character like an everyday person:
Life and Background: Where are they from? What's their family like?
Character Traits: How does the character talk, sense the world, and handle money?
Goals and Conflict: What does the character want? What stands in their way?
Any Additional Tips for Writing A Short Story?
Sure, here's a creative twist:
Surprise Prompt: Have a friend send you a prompt daily.
Character Challenge: Give all the characters in your story unique traits.
Natural Inspiration: Write outside, let the world be your prompt!
Now, grab your pen, and may your heart racing with excitement lead you to worlds only you can create! Feel free to share your stories with friends and ignite the writer within. Happy writing!
I help filmmakers sell their ideas, get more clients, and make more money.
101+ Spine-Tingling Horror Writing Prompts for Creating Truly Terrifying Tales
101 flash fiction prompts to craft compelling stories faster.
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50 Fiction Writing Prompts and Ideas to Inspire You to Write
Table of Contents
How fiction writing prompts can help writers, top 50 fiction writing prompts, how prowritingaid can help with fiction writing, conclusion on fiction writing prompts and ideas.
Have you ever wanted to write a story but had no idea what to write about?
If you’re familiar with that feeling, you’re not alone. At some point in their lives, every writer has sat down in front of a blank page with no idea what to write next.
When you’re in that situation, it might be helpful to look at a list of potential story ideas. A great prompt can help kick-start your creativity and get you in the mood for writing again.
In this article, we’ll give you all our favorite fiction writing prompts to inspire you to write.
There are countless ways fiction writing prompts can benefit you. Here are a few reasons you might want to use a writing prompt:
To start a new short story or novel
To practice writing in a new genre or writing style so you can expand your skill set and try something new
To warm up at the beginning of each writing session
To make sure you’re in a creative state of mind when you tackle your existing writing projects
So, pick up a pen and a notebook, and let’s get started!
Here are 50 fantastic fiction writing prompts that will help you start your next story. To help you choose a prompt that excites you, we’ve split them into several categories: fantasy, sci-fi, mystery, romance, and contemporary.
You’ve inherited your grandfather’s antique shop, and you’re surprised to find strange objects with magical powers inside.
You set out to break the curse that’s followed your family for generations.
You can see visions of the future, but you learned long ago to keep them to yourself. Now, you have to speak up or risk losing everything you love.
You work for a zoo filled with magical creatures.
You’re a lawyer in a fantasy world, and your job is to negotiate contracts between the humans and the gods.
A company harvests dragon scales, unicorn hair, and other magical items to sell for profit.
You find a portal to a fantasy world in your backyard.
You find a magical item that will make all your wishes come true—but it’s extremely literal in its interpretations.
A supernatural monster kidnaps your best friend. You set out to rescue her.
Your parents gave different aspects of their magical powers to each of their children. Compared to your siblings, you definitely got the short end of the stick.
Write an adaptation of your favorite classic tale—in space.
Aliens come to Earth, but they’re here for reasons no one expected.
Scientists have found ways to transfer memories between different people. You're the first person to sell all of yours.
Write about an entire world where people can buy and sell years of their lives.
What would happen if you woke up in someone else’s body and they woke up in yours?
You live in a moon colony surrounded by high walls. One day, someone breaches the walls.
Your parents send you to a summer camp filled with time travelers.
You accidentally stumble through a portal to a parallel universe where everything is the same as our universe, except for one key difference.
In a world where everyone’s DNA is genetically engineered to best suit their roles in the community, you have to hide that your DNA doesn’t match your chosen career.
You land on a new planet and realize the plants there are more intelligent than humans.
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You wake up with no memory of who you are, except for a single name.
Every day, a strange drawing appears in your mailbox, and they get more and more disturbing.
You receive a letter inviting you to a free weekend getaway, and you have no idea who the host is.
Your father is keeping something strange in the attic.
A man throws an elaborate party in an attempt to conceal a crime.
You realize you’ve been sleepwalking every night, and you have no idea what your sleeping self has been up to.
You thought your husband was dead. So why is he still writing you letters?
Your brother was murdered years ago. The police have stopped investigating, but you’re still looking for the killer.
Two friends discover a serial killer's secret hideout.
A young woman discovers a frightening secret while she's on her first hunting trip with her husband's family.
Two soldiers on different sides of a war develop feelings for each other.
A member of the royal family falls in love with her bodyguard.
You’ve resigned yourself to a loveless arranged marriage, but fate has other plans.
You’ve had a crush on your best friend your entire life. Now, he’s about to get married to someone else.
You go on a first date and find yourself stuck in a time loop, so you have to keep going on that date over and over.
Two rivals have to pretend to be in a relationship—and end up accidentally falling for each other.
After a bad breakup, you move to a new town—and find yourself attracted to your next-door neighbor.
When two exes are forced to work together, they rekindle old feelings.
You fall in love with someone from a different dimension, so you can only see each other once a year when the portal opens.
After your plane crash-lands on a deserted island, you develop a bond with one of the other survivors.
Write an adaptation of your favorite classic tale set in the town you grew up in.
Two best friends go on a road trip and encounter a problem they never expected.
An adopted orphan goes on a journey to reconnect with her birth family.
You’re told a family secret that changes everything you think you know about your life.
A group of friends takes a practical joke too far, leading to disaster.
A college student creates an invention for a technology class and accidentally goes viral.
A painter in her early eighties struggles with her slow descent into blindness.
A couple breaks up, but the ramifications of their breakup follow them for decades.
A carefree playboy is forced to adopt a child, which changes his whole life.
You’re framed for a crime you didn’t commit, and nobody believes you’re innocent—except for your estranged sister.
No matter what type of story you’re writing, ProWritingAid is a great tool to help you make your writing shine.
ProWritingAid will suggest ways to improve various weaknesses in your writing, such as grammar mistakes, repetitive words, passive voice, unnecessary dialogue tags, and more.
You can even tell ProWritingAid what type of fiction you’re writing, such as fantasy or historical fiction, to get customized suggestions that match your genre.
There you have it—our complete list of the best fiction writing prompts to inspire you to write.
Try out your favorite one, and see if you can turn it into a unique story.
Good luck, and happy writing!
Hannah is a speculative fiction writer who loves all things strange and surreal. She holds a BA from Yale University and lives in Colorado. When she’s not busy writing, you can find her painting watercolors, playing her ukulele, or hiking in the Rockies. Follow her work on hannahyang.com or on Twitter at @hannahxyang.
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225 Fun & Free Creative Writing Prompts for Kids in All Grade Levels
Written by Maria Kampen
Prodigy English is here! Get your students playing — and learning — today.
- Teacher Resources
- Elementary school writing prompts
Middle school writing prompts
High school writing prompts.
- Social emotional learning jounal prompts
- Math writing prompts
Writing prompts are meant to unlock creativity. They’re story starters designed to inspire creative thinking. They can take you to places you’ve been or recall an important time in your life.
But mostly, they’re useful tools for teachers to inspire writing growth in students from grade school to high school.
“Once upon a time, in a land far, far away…”
It’s amazing how one simple sentence can send you on a journey to places you’ve never been, filled with untold possibilities.
Reading is great, but you know what’s even better? Giving your students the power to write stories for themselves.
Writing prompts for kids help students:
- Express themselves and their creativity
- Grasp lifelong literacy skills and concepts
- Tell their own stories and build self-confidence
- Develop a growth mindset when it comes to their writing skills
Writing is like a muscle — it takes practice to build up skills. Luckily, we put together a list of over 200 writing prompts to help your students get started. We’ve also organized them by middle school, high school and elementary school to help teachers decide whether these prompts are age-appropriate for their students.
Grade school writing prompts
Grade schoolers can definitely begin to address complex ideas when it comes to story writing — but you should seek to keep the prompts simple and straightforward.
Reluctant writers might be intimidated by complicated writing ideas — and this is an age where we should be encouraging creativity.
Creative writing prompts for elementary schoolers
Whether it’s exploring the furthest reaches of outer space, traveling across the Sahara desert or sticking a little closer to home, these creative writing prompts will have students imagining endless possibilities for their writing.
- Write about what your life would be like if you turned into a squirrel. What would you do every day?
- A strange spaceship just crashed and landed in your backyard. What happens next?
- Make up a story about where thunder comes from.
- You find an old notebook hidden in an attic. What does it say? Who did it belong to?
- You have a magic garden. What magical plants do you grow? How do you take care of them?
- Write a story about running away with the circus when it comes to town.
- Rewrite “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” from the perspective of one of the dwarfs (Happy, Sleepy, Dopey, Doc, Grumpy, Sneezy and Bashful).
- There once was a little boy who ate nothing but oranges. What happened to him?
- Write a story about a magical hat. Where is it from? What does it do? What does it look like?
- You’re exploring the rainforest and come across a flower that no one’s ever seen before. Describe it!
- Tell me a story about a dinosaur living a long, long time ago.
- Tell me a story about an astronaut visiting another planet. Where are they going? How do they get there? What do they take with them?
- You discover a magic portal in the park. Where does it lead to?
- Pick a partner and write a story together! Start by writing the first sentence, then pass it to your partner to write the second sentence.
- You find buried treasure in the park, hidden in a big wooden chest. What kind of treasure is it? Who left it there?
- Write a story about a family that can travel in time.
- Write a story without using the letter “E”.
- Write the funniest story you can think of.
- There’s a kangaroo in your classroom. How did it get there? What happens when you find it?
- Write a story about an explorer who keeps getting lost. Where are they trying to go? What do they find along the way?
- Write a story about a wooden door, a can of soda and a blue shoe.
- If there was a magical portal in the back of your closet, where would it lead to?
- Finish this story: There was a knock on the door. I opened it to find a dog sitting there, and…
- You come home and find that everything in your house is upside down. What happened?
- Describe the color “red” without using the word “red”.
- There’s an old, abandoned house at the end of your street that’s been empty for years. One day, someone moves in.
- Rewrite the story of Cinderella from the perspective of the stepsisters.
- Write a backstory for Ed, the orange Prodigy mascot.
- You wake up one morning and find a mermaid in your bathtub. How did they get there? What do you do?
- Write a story about a monster looking for some friends.
- Oh no — your balloon blew away! Write about what happens from the balloon’s perspective.
- You and your friends are out for a walk when, out of nowhere, your friends start disappearing! What’s going on?
- Once upon a time, an old inventor built a weather machine. It sat undiscovered for years — until you found it. What happens next?
- You just ate a cookie that turned you 15 feet tall. What do you do next?
Fun writing prompts for grade schoolers
Everyday life is full of great inspiration for writing! Get students thinking with these easy and fun writing prompts.Write about something you are good at.
- If you could write a book about anything, what would you write about?
- If you could have any animal as a pet, what would it be and why?
- Do you have a favorite animal? Tell me all about it! Why do you like it?
- What would you do if you woke up one morning and everything was pink — including you?
- What food can you not live without? Why?
- If you could add any class to your school schedule, what would it be?
- Invent a new day of the week. What is it called? When is it? What do people usually do on that day of the week?
- If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live?
- If you could spend a Saturday doing anything you wanted, what adventures would you get up to?
- If you could have any wild animal as a pet, what would you choose? Why?
- What's your favorite, wacky food?
- Where is your favorite place to read? Why?
- What was the coolest day of school for you? What made it exciting?
- Which of your toys do you wish could talk? What would they say?
- If you could only wear one outfit for the rest of your life, what would it look like?
- Invent a machine to do a chore for you. What does the machine do? What does it look like?
- What's your favorite season? What makes it the best?
- What is your favorite math game and why?
- Describe your real-life superpower.
- Finish the story: When I'm older I want to be an expert in…
- If pets could talk to each other, what would they say?
- If you were the captain of a ship, what would you call your ship? What would it look like? Where would you go?
- If your pet could talk to you, what do you think it would say?
- If you were the only person on earth for one day, what would you do?
- Plan the perfect birthday party for yourself.
- What is your favorite thing to do over summer break?
- Describe your ideal birthday cake.
- If you could add any type of room to your house, what would it be?
- What’s your favorite movie and why?
Persuasive writing prompts for elementary school
Are your students’ opinions up for debate? Ask them to flex their critical thinking skills with these persuasive writing prompts. Once they’re done, get class discussion flowing with a spirited debate!
- Write a letter convincing your parents to let you get a pet dog. What arguments do you use to persuade them?
- Convince your teacher that you should be allowed an extra 15 minutes of recess.
- Convince your best friend to read your favorite book.
- How would you convince someone to do your chores for you?
- Write a commercial for your favorite breakfast food. What would convince someone else to try it?
- What flavor of chips is the best? Why?
- What would make a better pet — a monkey or a peacock?
- Do you think children should be allowed to stay up as late as they want?
- What’s your favorite holiday and why should it be everyone’s favorite?
- Convince us that your favorite food should be a staple in everyone’s diet.
As students enter middle school, they’re starting to feel like bigger, older kids. They can start writing original short stories and abstract persuasive essays.
It’s best to inspire creativity at this age and encourage them to explore their own voice and different writing styles. These prompts will definitely go a long way in inspiring that.
Creative Writing Prompts for Middle Schoolers
- Invent a new type of transportation for the future. Who uses it? Where does it go?
- If you had a time machine, where would you visit first — the past or the future? Why?
- You get on the bus and find a four-piece jazz band giving a concert. What do you do?
- Design and name your own Prodigy pet . What element are they? What’s their special power?
- Finish this story: “Something just touched my foot,” they shouted, swimming frantically towards the shore.
- Write a silly or scary story to tell around a campfire.
- Finish this story: Everything was going so well today — until I tripped and fell, right in front of…
- Throughout your adventures as a pirate on the high seas, you’ve seen lots of strange and magical creatures. Which one was the most interesting?
- Deep in the heart of a dark and mysterious cave, there lies a magic stone. Write about your quest to find it.
- Write an acrostic poem using the word “strawberry.”
- There was an old woman who lived in a shoe. She knit and she baked, but what else did she do?
- Finish this story: “One thing I’ll never do again,” she said, “Is go on vacation with an alpaca.”
- Make up a new planet and describe it.
- Write a story about a family of penguins living on an iceberg.
- Write a story about a girl who can walk through walls.
- You’ve been invited to a ball at the Queen’s palace! What is it like?
- Imagine you’re exploring the Amazon jungle. Write a diary entry about your day.
- If you could invent a TV show, what would it be about?
- You discovered an underwater kingdom! What is it like there?
- A lonely trumpet player makes friends with the dancer who lives next door. What happens next?
- You go to the park to fly a kite, but get carried away by the wind! What happens next?
- Write a story about a volcano that’s about to erupt.
- Write a story about visiting an old lady who lives deep in the woods.
- Boom, you’re a superhero! Give yourself an origin story, describe your superpowers and plan what you’ll do to make the world a better place.
- Write a story using these six words: calendar, headphones, lipstick, mug, bear.
- You wake up to find you’re invisible. How did it happen? What do you do?
- There’s been a robbery at the bank, and you’re in charge of finding the culprit. How do you solve the case?
- Finish the story: Once upon a time, there was a dragon...
- You just joined a super-secret spy organization. What’s your first mission?
- Write a story about being cold without using the word “cold.”
- You’re a scientist and you’ve just discovered a new type of bug. Describe what it looks like, where it’s from and what you’re going to call it.
- Imagine a world where all the birds can talk. What would they say?
- Write about what happens after the end of your favorite book or movie.
- Finish the story: She sprinted down the driveway to the mailbox. The package was here!
- You’re on a hike and a bird starts talking to you. What do you do? What does it say?
- Write a story using these five words: bubblegum, stapler, spoon, lightbulb, strawberry.
- You ate a magical carrot and your skin turned orange! What happens next?
- Write about what it would be like if you had an elephant for a pet.
Fun Writing Prompts for Middle Schoolers
- If you were in charge of the classroom for a day, what would your class do?
- Tell me about the last dream you had.
- You’re trapped on a desert island. What three things did you bring with you and why?
- What mythical creature would you like to have as a pet? Why?
- Invent a new type of pasta. What does it look like? What does it taste like?
- If you could go on vacation anywhere in the world, where would you go? Make a plan and tell the story of your dream vacation.
- Plan the perfect picnic. Where would it be? What food would you have?
- If you could decorate your bedroom any way you wanted, what would it look like?
- Write a story that sounds loud, using onomatopoeia (words that sound like their meaning, like crash, snort, bang and boom.)
- Invent a new type of cookie. What does it taste like?
- Invent a new sport. What is it called? What are the rules?
- How would you disguise yourself to blend in with a forest?
- You just won a special award from the president. What did you do to earn that award?
- Do you collect anything? What is it and why? If not, what would you like to collect?
- You just found a genie in a bottle. What three things would you wish for? (Remember, no wishing for extra wishes!
- Explain how to play your favorite sport or do your favorite hobby. Make it as exciting as possible!
- Describe the most beautiful sunrise or sunset you’ve ever seen.
- If you could live in any book or movie, which one would you choose and why?
- Imagine that you’re going on a camping trip. What do you pack to make sure the trip is fun?
- If you could invent a robot to do any chore, what chore would it be? How would the robot do it?
- Would you rather it was always raining, or always snowing?
- Imagine you’re a toy inventor. What will you create?
- Would you rather climb to the top of a mountain or go scuba diving?
- Interview a family member about their childhood, then write it as a story.
- What was your favorite toy growing up — why was it so special to you?
Persuasive Writing Prompts for Middle School
- If you could change one thing about your school, what would it be and why?
- Is it better to read the book before you watch the movie, or watch the movie before you read the book?
- Persuade someone to try out your favorite hobby or sport.
- What’s the best way to try and persuade a friend to do what you want to do?
- When is peer pressure good? When is peer pressure bad?
- Is it better to have lots of friends, or just a few really good friends?
- Should students be in charge of what they learn in school?
High school students can either be tasked with more complex writing prompts or breathe nuance into simple story ideas. Students can drive these prompts in a million different ways.
So while not necessarily more complicated than middle school, these prompts can be tweaked, either by the student or teacher, to encourage thought-provoking output.
Creative Writing Prompts for High Schoolers
- Write a story about someone your age who lives on the other side of the world.
- Pick up the nearest book and turn to page 7. Close your eyes and point to a random word on the page, then write a story about that word.
- Write a story in ten words or less.
- You fell asleep for 100 years. What does the world look like when you wake up?
- Finish the story: “This isn’t what I hoped would happen,” she said….
- You’re walking down the street when you see someone who looks exactly like you.
- Write a story where the main character learns something new about themselves.
- Write a story that takes place in the desert.
- Write a story about a day where everything seems to go wrong.
- Write a poem about the color blue.
- How would your life be different if you didn’t have access to a computer, video games or your phone?
Fun writing prompts for high schoolers
- You win a million dollars, but there’s a catch — you have to spend it all in 24 hours, or you lose all the money. What do you do?
- Write about something you or your family does from the perspective of someone from another country.
- If you could make up a new holiday, when would it be and what would it celebrate?
- Go out on a nature walk and find a tree. Write the story of that tree, from the time it was a seed until now.
- What’s the most boring superpower you can think of? How would it be useful?
- If you could pass any law, what would it be?
- You meet yourself in the future, as a grown-up at age 35 — what do you talk about?
- If you had to show aliens the most important/best things in the world, what would you show them?
- Who is your hero and why?
- Write about the best surprise you ever got.
- What are three good things you can do for the environment? How can you encourage the people around you to do good things for the environment?
- What is your earliest memory? Write down as many details as you can remember.
- If you could take two people – real or fictional – on a cross-country road trip, who would you take? Where would you go?
- If you could have any job in the world tomorrow, what would you do?
- What is the best thing about living in your city or neighbourhood?
- Write a letter to your 30-year-old self. What do you think you’ll accomplish by then?
- Teach me how to make your favorite recipe.
- Describe the sound of your favorite song using descriptive words.
Persuasive writing prompts for high school
- Should kids be allowed to use social media unsupervised? Why or why not?
- Persuade someone to start a healthy habit, or get rid of a bad one.
- Should all single-use plastics be outlawed? Why or why not?
- Should our school have a dress code? Why or why not?
- Is it more important to be right or to not hurt someone else’s feelings?
- What important historical figure do you think belongs on the ten-dollar bill?
- Do you think you’re born with your personality traits, or do you gain them as you grow up?
- Should mobile apps be responsible for protecting your privacy — why or why not?
Social emotional learning journal prompts
School is about more than just books and quizzes — it’s about preparing students for the rest of their lives. Social emotional learning teaches them how to build good relationships with peers, understand and control their emotions and make healthy life decisions.
Journaling is a great way for students to reflect on their feelings in a safe, private space. Use these journaling prompts as thought starters for more social emotional learning!
Check out our list of the 25 best social emotional learning activities for students here.
- Tell me about a tradition you have with your family or friends.
- What’s the best gift you’ve ever received?
- Have you ever found something that you lost? How did you feel when you found it?
- What is something you haven’t learned this school year that you’re still wondering about?
- What do you do when you’re angry? Write about three ways you calm yourself down.
- Where do you feel the safest? Why do you feel safe there?
- Write a poem to make a friend happy.
- When was the last time you were kind to someone? How can you be kind to someone today?
- How are you feeling today? Are you happy, sad, excited or anxious?
- If you could give your best friend a present, what would it be?
- What are the qualities you look for in a friend? Why is it important to be a good friend?
- What does responsibility mean to you?
- Who do you talk to when you’re worried about something? How do they make you feel better?
- If you could make a card for anyone in your life, who would it be for and what would it say?
- What’s your favorite thing about yourself?
- Write about a time you had to make a hard decision. How did you make your decision?
- What do you do to make yourself happy when you’re sad?
- Write about a time you were disappointed.
- What are three things that make your best friend awesome?
- What do you think empathy means? Why is it important?
- How can you cheer up a friend who is sad?
- What makes you a good friend? How can you be a better friend?
- What’s the best piece of advice a friend, parent or teacher has ever given you?
- Write three goals for the rest of the school year. How are you going to accomplish them?
- What does responsibility mean to you? What are you responsible for at school and at home?
- What person in your life makes you feel confident?
- What scares you? How can you overcome your fears?
- Tell me about a time when you tried something new. How did it feel? Did you do it again?
Math writing prompts for kids
Whether it’s tackling word problems or explaining a new concept, writing is a surprisingly good tool for the math classroom.
A math journal can help you understand what students already know, while giving them space to work through tricky concepts on their own. Use these writing prompts to promote literacy in every subject — and help students avoid math anxiety .
- Tell me everything you know about ________.
- Explain, in words, how to solve this problem.
- What is and isn’t true about this situation?
- What is _______?
- Explain two different ways to solve this problem. Which one is better?
- What did you get correct in this problem?
- What mistakes did you make while solving this problem?
- What do you not understand about _____?
- Write a word problem using the concept we’re learning about.
- What did you learn today?
- How do you use math in your everyday life?
- What is the easiest/hardest part of math class?
- What discoveries did you make in math class today?
Final thoughts on writing prompts for kids
Writing prompts aren’t the end of the story — they’re just the beginning. Encourage your students to build a regular writing practice, and soon you’ll see the benefits in every class.
Where will your students’ imaginations take them?
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32 Short Story Prompts to Get Students’ Creativity Flowing
Suddenly, they won’t stop writing!
Some of my favorite teaching moments come from a unit that culminated with my students writing an original short story. When given the freedom to write fiction, so many of my students came alive. They wanted to write suspense, mystery, horror, or romance. They wanted their characters to feel like real people. Suddenly, after weeks of ignoring my helpfully provided feedback, they were crowding my desk to ask me to read their work. It was glorious. Narrative writing is a wonderful way to allow every student to use the skills they’ve practiced in class to create something new. Getting started, however, can often be tricky. This is where I’ve found short story prompts to be so helpful. Give your students the following list of intriguing short story prompts and watch what they create.
Want this entire set of short story prompts in one easy document? Get your free PowerPoint or Google Slides bundle by submitting your email here .
Suspenseful Short Story Prompts
- The tombstones in the town’s cemetery are going missing.
- You discover the new student at school looks exactly like you.
- There are muddy footprints leading up to the front door of the house … but it hasn’t rained for days.
- An obscure relative passes away and leaves you $500,000 in their will under the condition that you move into their 100-year-old house immediately. Alone.
- A new app promises to help you get your life together, and it works! If you follow everything it tells you to do, you have an awesome day. If you don’t follow it exactly …
Adventurous Short Story Prompts
- You are obsessed with the ancient Aztecs. When a mysterious corporation that claims to have mastered time travel recruits you to travel back to the 15th century to learn more about what life was like for Aztec children, you agree almost immediately. Will you regret your decision?
- The school field trip was supposed to be fun. Then, the natural disaster hit.
- You and your friends decide to hike the Appalachian Trail for the summer.
- You just found out that your mother/father is a spy for the CIA. In addition to that crazy realization, they tell you they need your help for one very important mission.
- You lose a bet with your most adventurous friend and for one day have to say “yes” to whatever crazy activities they choose.
Science Fiction Short Story Prompts
- In the future, students go to school virtually. You’ve done this since kindergarten, but a new law is passed stating that virtual school is unhealthy and, next year, all students will go to school in person. You will be meeting friends you’ve known since kindergarten for the first time in real life.
- Scientists have solved all the world’s problems, and we now live in a utopia … or do we?
- Your family has been selected to join 24 other families colonizing Mars. At the first meeting, you realize that the kid who has bullied you since elementary school is also on the mission.
- Due to a computer virus, all social media disappears overnight. It might not ever come back. How does it change things?
- Like every other kid in the year 2122, you were given your very own robot best friend when you were little, and they’ve grown up with you. One day, your robot friend tells you that the robots are planning on taking over the world and imprisoning the humans.
Scary Short Story Prompts
- While camping on a school field trip, the chaperones all get sick/injured. You and your best friend are the two students chosen to hike back in the dark for help.
- You were born and raised in a house that’s over one hundred years old and never found it a bit spooky. But when you return home after suffering a concussion during a soccer game, you start to notice shadows that seem to move on their own and the sounds of people walking in empty rooms.
- You’ve finally convinced your parents to let you stay home alone, but now it’s dark out, and your dog won’t stop growling at the back door, even though no one’s out there.
- While on vacation, you bought an antique locket from a weird little store you found while sightseeing. Whenever you put it on, it makes you feel more confident and powerful … and angry.
- The teens didn’t believe in Ouija boards until the things it told them started coming true.
Funny Short Story Prompts
- One day, we woke up, and all of the animals could talk.
- The teacher had to leave class due to an emergency and left you in charge. That was two weeks ago. The teacher never returned, and the principal hasn’t come in to check on you. How are things going?
- Your best friend bets you $100 that you can’t make it an entire school day without telling a single lie.
- Your imaginary friend never went away and pops up at unexpected times to ask you to play, but you are still the only one who can see them.
- The class realizes the substitute teacher has a phobia of school supplies.
Fantasy Short Story Prompts
- Rewrite your favorite fairy tale, but make it take place today in your town.
- Due to a magic spell gone wrong, the young wizard and the dragon have switched bodies. How well will the dragon do at pretending to be a human wizard? How will the wizard figure out how to be a dragon?
- After watching a video about it on YouTube, you teach yourself how to shape-shift.
- You are given a ring on your birthday. It allows you to control the weather.
- You forgot your backpack and run back to get it, only to witness your teacher using magic to tidy up the classroom. She tells you that all teachers can secretly do magic.
Get a PPT or Google Slides version of these short stories.
Looking for more short story prompts?
These sites have tons of great ideas. Give your students time to scroll and jot down ideas that inspire them.
- Writing Prompts That Don’t Suck
- 100 Writing Prompts for Grades 4-8
What short story prompts get your students excited about writing? Share it with us in the comments.
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