Creative writing prompts are designed as a kick in the butt to get you rolling with your writing. Writer’s block? Forget it. Prompts can help you dig deeper into a story you’ve already started or head you off into a whole new direction. Writing prompts are also great for teaching writing. They are the best for teachers who wish to get their students writing with no specific project in mind, but just want to get their students to feel what it means to write creatively.
Below are a few sample writing prompts to get you going.
Writing Prompt #1:
Write a list. A list of anything will do. A grocery list, a packing list, a list of traits, a list of fears, of hopes, of dreams, any list with at least five items. Here’s an example: “Narrow eyes, bald, stocky, angry, smiling”
Now ask: who is writing this list and why? Is it the description of a murder suspect, a friend, a long lost cousin? If they’re angry, why are they smiling? Why does the person making the list need to convey this information? Who is the list for?
Consider these questions and then write a scene starting with this list.
Writing Prompt #2:
Talk about the weather. Remember the last intense weather condition that you witnessed. Was it a thunderstorm, hail, a heatwave, gusting winds, a blizzard, thick fog, or days of endless rain? Describe every detail of it, from the sounds to the smells. Use every sense to make the scene real. Write about a paragraph of sheer description.
Now, if you’re already writing a longer story, put one of your characters into these weather conditions and see how they react. Are they put into a foul mood by the rain? Are they excited by the winds? Do they tremble at the thunder? Invent the place they are coming from and the place they must get to that requires them to pass through this intense weather. There must be a compelling reason for them to step outside in these conditions, what is it? Do they make it, or are they forced to turn back or seek shelter elsewhere?
Writing Prompt #3:
Consider the above image. At first it looks somewhat mundane. But consider all the motives and intentions that had to go into this very common scene. For instance, the man in red, what or who is he waiting for? Or is he transfixed by something off the screen that we cannot see? Or consider the person walking away from the camera. His/her bag looks pretty full. What’s in it? His/her left hand is raised…bringing a cigarette to his/her mouth or stifling a yawn from another sleepless night? What country is this in? What city? What is the mood of this place? Pay attention to details.
Pick one of the figures and write out the entire last two hours leading up to this picture, and then then next hour after this picture.