Writing prompts can be great tools to help you get your creative juices flowing.
Grab a spiral notebook and scroll through the prompts below till you find one that looks interesting, then start writing.
You’ll also find more creative writing prompts added to our blog each week.
You may turn one of these prompts into a full-fledged short story or even a novel.
1. Every morning it was the same thing for Martin Hedges. He’d put on a pot of coffee and get dressed as he waited for the coffee to brew. But today, things would be different…
2. I counted the cash I’d taken from the ATM and turned around. My next door neighbor was standing before me with a gun in his hand…
3. It’s not easy loving a loser like Johnny…
4. My husband slid two twenty dollar bills across the table. “That’s all we have left,” he said…
5. No one had ever kissed me like that…
6. My trip to the grocery store was uneventful. But as I turned onto my street I noticed the police cars surrounding my house…
7. Mrs. Johnson inched toward me with her walker, clutching the leash in one hand. The little “rat on a string” she called a dog snarled…
8. It was a long way to Philadelphia and, if anyone asked, Jennifer couldn’t really explain why she was going there. All she knew was that she HAD to make the trip…
9. It was going to rain all day, and there was nothing Samantha could do about it…
10. Spring was in the air. There was no doubt about it. People all across the village were outside enjoying the sunshine.
But not Fiona. She cringed at the thought of walking outside into the sunlight.
11. Maria had just spent $700 on a pair of shoes. ONE pair of shoes. WHAT had she been thinking?
12. Jason said it was an accident. But was it, really….
13. My life changed the day I found that huge envelope stuffed with cash in the coupon exhange bucket at the supermarket.
14. Write a short scene between two characters who are lost in a strange city for some reason. Try to include a variety of “sensory” details in this scene, to help readers feel as if they are actually right there WITH the characters and not simply reading about them.
15. What’s the most exciting thing that has ever happened to you? Describe this in detail.
16. It wasn’t going to be easy to admit that he had made a mistake. But that’s exactly what Jeremy would need to do if he hoped to be taken seriously anymore.
17. The rain tap, tap, tapped against the windows as Mary sat in the kitchen sipping her 10th cup of coffee. It was way past noon, yet she was still in her ratty bathrobe and bunny slippers. But she didn’t care. She didn’t care at all.
18. Marty was sick and tired of being pushed around. Today he was finally going to do something about it.
19. Nicole looked at her husband and frowned. “Are you crazy?” she shouted at him.
20. Sarah studied the old man carefully. She couldn’t quite put her finger on it. But something about him reminded her of someone else. But who?
21. Getting old was the most difficult thing Jonathan Sears had ever done.
22. Marlene made sure she set all her clocks ahead one ahead before she climbed into bed. She was dreading the time change because…
23. Brandon lit a cigarette as soon as he was out of the building, standing on the sidewalk. He took a deep drag and looked up at the window of what used to be his office.
24. Angela hated parades, yet here she was, right in the middle of the biggest parade of the year. Everywhere she turned she saw green, green, and more green!
25. Connie turned the key in the front door, then walked into the entryway. She put her keys and purse on the table there, then moved to the living room. “Oh, no!” she cried.
26. Describe a St. Patrick’s Day parade appealing to all 5 senses: taste, touch, smell, sight, hear.
27. John woke to a bright sunny day without a cloud in the sky. He opened one eye and noticed he was seated on an old sofa perched on a dumpster in some alleyway. Oh, no! What have I done? he wondered.
28. Marsha looked up from the breakfast table. Her husband Carl was seated across from her, sipping a cup of coffee and reading the morning paper.
29. It had been years since Katherine smelled the saltiness of the sea and heard the squawk of seagulls overheard. But she was home again now…
30. Today, open your window. Now…describe the “sounds” of spring!
31. Brian Addison needed cash. And he needed it NOW!
32. Allison turned to her sister. “Of course you can’t keep it,” she said. “You’ve got to give it back NOW!”
33. Use a variety of sensory details to describe your favorite place in the world. This place could be your home, your city, your favorite country, your favorite vacation spot…any place that you enjoy. Make this spot come alive through sensory details.
34. Marcy looked at the dog and burst into tears…
35. Although “spring had sprung” the week before, winter now returned with a vengeance.
36. Create a character for a story. But before you write the story, find out what this character’s biggest fear is. Write about it in great detail as if the character were dictating this information to you.
37. Ryan loved Jennifer more than life itself!
38. Maggie couldn’t keep the secret any longer. She just had to tell Mitchell!
39. Daisy polished off the last cream puff in the box and wiped her face with a napkin. She would start her new diet tomorrow….always tomorrow!
40. Being a good parent was more difficult than James had ever imagined.
41. Mary was a fulltime freelance writer, which meant she had little rituals that helped her start working. Every day she would …
42. Describe your best friend. Include as many details about this person as you can.
43. Gerald was tired of losing. He was determined he wasn’t going to lose again.
44. Little Margaret had never been to a funeral before.
45. George turned to Marcus and frowned. “Who do you think you are, Sherlock Holmes?” he asked.
46. Kevin’s felt a cold wet wave rush over his feet. He looked down. The entire floor was covered in water and more was pouring into the room.
47. There was just enough light in the darkened room for Devin to notice two large orange eyeballs staring right at him!
48. Alison knew she shouldn’t read her sister’s diary. But she just couldn’t help herself. She pushed a bobby pin into the lock that kept the book shut and it easily opened with a click. Alison turned to page one…
49. Mary gentled poured water over the baby’s head and massaged his scalp with the soft washcloth.
50. It was another dark, dreary day in the city. Kelly pulled on a sweater and looked out the window.
The following 10 prompts were provided by Sharon Blumberg (see her bio on the “Our Columnists” page)
51. You just received a package in the mail with no return address. when you open it, you discover…
52.You have been offered a full scholarship to college, you will study…
53. You run into an old flame in town, you talk about…
54. You have been entrusted with inventing a new holiday. Describe it.
55. If you could become a celebrity overnight, what would you be famous for?
56. You wake up only to discover you are in a foreign country. What happened to get you there?
57. You have been offered to live for free on an island. Where would you live?
58. Nobody knows that I…
59. If you could create a TV show, what would it be?
60. You have just been born. What kinds of technology will you look forward to?
If you enjoy longer writing prompts, try adding to some of these, provided by Peggy Dallmann (see her bio on the “Our Columnists” Page):
61. Keys in hand, Samantha exited the elevator and walked swiftly through the deserted, dim parking garage. Suddenly, she heard footsteps running toward her from behind. Samantha turned around as she dug the pepper spray out of her coat pocket. She knew who was following her, and he wasn’t there to exchange pleasant greetings.
62. Connie stepped out onto her patio to survey the quiet, dark hillside behind her home as she did each night before retiring. She looked up to bid goodnight to the moon and the stars as was her habit but was suddenly surprised by a startled, high-pitched yowl off in the distance—a brief yowl that ended abruptly and then left the night dead silent.
63. Was someone pranking her? Gaslighting her? Too many items had been mysteriously moved or misplaced in Linda’s home, and she had no memories of even touching the items before each incident. Her latest discovery, however, just about pushed her over the edge. “This may well be the final straw,” she mumbled to herself as she stood surveying the scene.
64. Now eighty-nine years old, Rosa spent much of her days daydreaming and reminiscing about her youth in Sicily. She often wished she could turn back the clock—and return to the arms of Anjelo.
65. Phoebe dashed behind a stack of boxes to adjust the lining of her skirt. She was with a group of executives touring the warehouse, and she thought she was able to slip away unnoticed. If she had known they would be climbing all over everything, she would have worn slacks! Just as she pulled up her skirt and began to yank down on the lining, she heard Todd ask if everything was okay, just before he appeared from around the corner of the boxes!
66. Lucinda observed that both brother and sister were striking in a delicate and waiflike way. Yet their eyes revealed a strength and wisdom that belied their youth.
67. The audience began to laugh hysterically after Jane brought up the last slide on the big screen behind her. Holding her breath and closing her eyes, she turned around to see what else had gone wrong with the presentation. When she opened her eyes, she let out a huge gasp.
68. Stacy eyed the plate of raw fish, working very hard to control her gagging reflex. Her latest in a long line of blind dates must have ordered the sushi for her after she called to say she was running late. Obviously, he did not consider that she may not like to eat raw fish! She wondered about the best way to politely resolve this dilemma. Wait a minute, she thought. Do I really need to mind my manners with this jerk?
69. When her new client walked into the room, Belinda had to grasp the arms of her chair to keep from falling over. Standing before her was the Asian man from her dream last night, except that his hair was styled perfectly for the twenty-first century, and he wore a modern gray suit and dark-rimmed glasses. In her dream, this man’s silky black hair streamed halfway down his back, and he wore a resplendent red, black and white robe that resembled the authentic traditional ones worn in eastern Asia. Belinda wondered how a coincidence like this could occur. Or was it merely a coincidence?
70. Meg hung up the phone after her sister, Cassie, ended the call. Cassie had called to discuss the latest events in her own life, but never once asked Meg how she was doing or what was happening in her life. Meg had long ago come to accept the fact that Cassie was not interested in anything that did not directly involve or impact Cassie. Meg thought she understood the reason for this self-centeredness when Cassie was younger, but they both were in their thirties now. It had become impossible to rationalize Cassie’s narcissism as a consequence of youth. Still, this was one time Meg could really use a sister’s advice or shoulder to lean on.
The following 10 creative writing prompts were provided by Claudette Young (see her bio on the “Our Columnists” page):
71. Across from your car is a house with a fenced yard. In the yard is a tree, some large boulders and early spring grass. And dozens of black bears being attended by an old woman.
72. Maniacal laughter spread down the corridor like a heavy mist. Daryl tried to disappear into the wall, but ….
73. Well, the agent had said the place was small. What did the woman call a service station restroom? Marcy looked around the micro apartment and could have kicked herself for agreeing to rent sight-unseen.
74. Two rows over and three seats back sat the man who’d changed my life forever.
75. She put the zester down on the counter and wiped up the droplets of blood. “That’s one job done.”
76. Tammy loved her angora rabbit almost as much as her little brother, but ….
77. “Just because she asked you for a favor doesn’t mean you have to finance it, too,” Laura growled as she whirled around to confront her husband.
78. Generosity had always been his strong suit, but sometimes it could get you killed.
79. “Sorry, ma’am. I can’t get you any closer.” The cabbie looked both concerned and impatient to leave, as he pulled her suitcase from the trunk.
80. “Generally, we don’t allow pets in our establishment, but you do have your human under control and certified harmless.” The Drenishi hotelier puffed up.
The following 10 prompts were provided by Gladys Swedak (see her bio on the “Our Columnists” page):
81. My first experience with an acupuncturist was…
82. I dreamed I met my favorite person in the whole world and s/he asked me on a date. What should I do, I didn’t have the kind of clothes to go out with…
83. I dreamed I met the person I hated most in the world. I wanted to hurt him/her as much as s/he had hurt me, but something changed my mind.
84. I saw only the mare and her colt in that open field. “Where was the rest of her herd?” I wondered.
85. I could see the wild stallion (or any wild animal) was hurt and lying on his side, there was blood oozing from his side. I approached, not sure if he would let me help him. The look in his eyes pleaded with me, but his body language said the opposite.
86. It wasn’t easy living after the sudden death of my husband of 50 years, but one day there was a knock on the door…
87. The end of the month was just around the corner and I only had $10.00 in my wallet to feed my kids for the next week. What could I do? I could ask Alice for a loan, but how would I pay her back? I could ask Tom to ….
88. The hair on the back of my neck stood straight up as I entered the grocery store. I wasn’t sure what was about to happen but I knew something wasn’t right.
89. An envelope was delivered to my door, no name or address on it, no return address, just “Open and spend this $1,000 before 5PM or you will deal with me.” Who was me? I knew what to do with the money, but what if it were marked bills or there was something wrong with the bills? I checked each of the $100.00 but found nothing. I ran out the door….
90. I knew the way to Heaven was supposed to be after I passed. I also knew I wasn’t dead or, if I were, you could have fooled me. I was talking to my husband Bill and eating dinner. But now, here I am standing at the gate with St. Peter asking me, “What do you think you are doing here? It isn’t your time.”
Here are 20 more creative writing prompts from Claudette Young (see her bio on the “Our Columnists” page):
91. She’d just moved into her new bungalow, and already wishing she could move out.
92. Within the last five minutes, he’d seen three people die and had looked down the road toward his own death. The question
was—how would he go out?
93. The wind had risen, causing the trees to sway, as if dancing to a waltz. The scent of camellias was carried on the air.
94. Through a government mix-up, you have been declared dead. Now what?
95. The flower looked like a mouse; even its color was right. It fascinated her until it grew teeth.
96. A night of storms had nearly whipped away the town. Geena was left with only a suitcase and her dogs.
97. Flags waved, crowds cheered, bands played. The celebration was on and you are in the middle of it.
98. Last night a spot light from outside illuminated the bedroom. It seemed to come from nowhere and everywhere.
99. The little girl played happily with the litter of puppies, giggling and squealing.
100. Who said faeries and elves don’t exist?
101. A shriek erupts from inside the bathroom, followed by the word “spider”. Inside the room, the situation looks extreme.
102. She felt like she was living inside a modern-day western movie. All she needed now was the cow-poke.
103. He gazed at the painting, recognizing the woman in the portrait. Trouble was, the woman he’d known was dead and the
painting was new.
104. Lively conversation swirls around you. Now all you have to do is understand what people are saying.
105. “Take it away. Even the smell is disgusting.”
106. Three figurines, a bowl, and a large doily. What an inheritance.
107. “I wish I could help you, darlin’.” The man smiled with a vague leer.
108. Drought had claimed the entire valley. Only one source of reliable water remained—inaccessible on a ridge overlooking the
109. A set of jacks with ball lay piled in the square of sunlight on the attic floor.
110. Her eyes popped open when a man’s voice said, “Scooch over, sweetie. You’re hogging the bed again.”
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