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The most common advice out there for being a writer is, "if you want to write, write." While this is true (and good advice), it's not always that easy, particularly if you're not writing regularly.

Whether you're looking for help getting started on your next project, or just want to spend 20 minutes being creative, writing prompts are great ways to rev up your imagination. Read on for our list of over 100 creative writing prompts!

feature image credit: r. nial bradshaw /Flickr

10 Short Writing Prompts

If you're looking for a quick boost to get yourself going, these 10 short writing prompts will do the trick.

#1 : Write a scene starting with a regular family ritual that goes awry.

#2 : Describe exactly what you see/smell/hear/etc, right now. Include objects, people, and anything else in your immediate environment.

#3 : Suggest eight possible ways to get a ping pong ball out of a vertical pipe.

#4 : A shoe falls out of the sky. Justify why.

#5 : If your brain were a tangible, physical place, what would it be like?

#6 : Begin your writing with the phrase, "The stage was set."

#7 : You have been asked to write a history of "The Summer of [this past year]." Your publisher wants a table of contents. What events will you submit?

#8 : Write a sympathetic story from the point of view of the "bad guy." (Think fractured fairy tales like Wicked or The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs! , although the story doesn't have to be a fairy tale.)

#9 : Look at everyday objects in a new way and write about the stories one of these objects contains.

#10 : One person meets a stranger on a mode of transportation. Write the story that ensues.


11 Writing Prompts for Kids

Any of these prompts can be used by writers of any age, but we chose the following 11 prompts as ones that would be particularly fun for kids to write about. (Most of them I used myself as a young writer, so I can vouch for their working!)

#1 : Include something falling in your writing.

#2 : Write a short poem (or story) with the title, "We don't know when it will be fixed."

#3 : Write from the perspective of someone of a different gender than you.

#4 : Write a dumb internet quiz.

#5 : Finish this thought: "A perfect day in my imagination begins like this:"

#6 : Write a character's inner monologue (what they are thinking as they go about their day).

#7 : Think of a character. Write a paragraph each about:

  • An important childhood experience that character had.
  • The character's living situation.
  • Two hobbies or things the character likes to do.
  • The room where the character sleeps.
  • An ambition of the character.
  • Two physical characteristics of the character.
  • What happens when a second person and this character meet.
  • Two important defining personal traits of this character.

#8 : Start a story with a quote from a song.

#9 : Begin a story with, "It was the summer of ______ when ______"

#10 : Pretend everyday objects have no names. Think about what you would name them based on what they do, what you can use them for, and what they look like.

#11 : Start a story with the phrases "My grandparents are/were," "My parents are/were," or "My mother/father/parent is/was."


15 Cool Writing Prompts

#1 : List five issues that you're passionate about. Write about them from the opposite point of view (or from the perspective of a character with the opposite point of view).

#2 : Walk around and write down a phrase you hear (or read). Make a story out of it.

#3 : Write using no adjectives or adverbs.

#4 : Write a character's inner dialogue between different aspects of a character's self (rather than an inner monologue).

#5 : Write a true story from your past that involves light or darkness in some way.

#6 : "Saying goodbye awakens us to the true nature of things." Write something in which someone has to say goodbye and has a realization.

#7 : Begin by writing the end of the story.

#8 : Write a recipe for an intangible thing.

#9 : Write a horror story about an ordinary situation (e.g., buying groceries, going to the bank, listening to music).

#10 : Write a story from within a bubble.

#11 : Write down 2-3 short character descriptions and then write the characters in conversation with one another.

#12 : Write a story in second person.

#13 : Write a story that keeps contradicting itself.

#14 : Write about a character with at least three big problems.

#15 : Write something that takes place on a Friday, the 13th (of any month).


15 Funny Writing Prompts

#1 : Write a story which starts with someone eating a pickle and potato sandwich.

#2 : Write a short script where the plot has to do with evil dolls trying to take over something.

#3 : Write about writers' block.

#4 : List five election issues that would be ridiculous to includes as part of your election platform (e.g. outlawing mechanical pencils and clicky pens, mandating every person over the age of 30 must own an emergency last rites kit). Choose one of the ridiculous issues and write a speech in favor of it.

#5 : Write a children's story that is insanely inappropriate but can't use graphic language, curses, or violence.

#6 : List five careers. Write about someone with one of those careers who wants to quit it.

#7 : Write down a list of murder methods. Choose one at random from the list to use in a story.

#8 : Write a romance story in which the hero must have a last name corresponding with a physical characteristic (e.g. Jacques Hairyback or Flora Dimple).

#9 : Come up with 10 different ways to:

  • order a pizza
  • congratulate someone on a job well done
  • return to the store something that's broken

#10 : Search for "random Renaissance painting" (or any other inspirational image search text you can think of) on any online internet image search engine. Picking one image, write half a page each of:

  • Statements about this image (e.g. "I meant bring me the BREAD of John the Baptist").
  • Questions about this image (e.g. "How many of those cherubs look like their necks are broken?").
  • Explanations of this image (e.g. "The painter ran out of blue paint halfway through and had to improvise for the color of the sky").
  • Commands said by people in this image or about this image (e.g. "Stop telling me to smile!" or "Bring me some gasoline!").

#11 : Write starting with a word that sounds like "chute" (e.g. "chute," "shoot," "shooed").

#12 : Write about a character named X "The [article of clothing]" Y (e.g. Julie "The Yellow Darted Skirt" Whyte) or simply referred to by their clothing (e.g. "the man in the brown suit" or "the woman in black").

#13 : Write down a paragraph each describing two wildly different settings. Write a story involving both settings.

#14 : Think of a fictional holiday based around some natural event (e.g. the Earth being at its farthest point from the sun, in memory of a volcanic eruption, that time a cloud looked like a rabbit riding a bicycle). Write about how this holiday is celebrated.

#15 : Write a "Just-So" type story about a fictional creature (e.g. "how the dragon got its firebreath" or "how the mudkip got its cheek gills").


54 Other Writing Prompt Ideas

#1 : Borrow a character from some other form of media (or create your own). Write from that character's perspective.

#2 : Write for and against a non-consequential controversy (e.g., salt vs. pepper, Mac vs. PC, best kind of door).

#3 : Choose an ancestor or a person from the past to write about or to.

#4 : Write a pirate story with a twist.

#5 : Have a character talk about another character and their feelings about that other character.

#6 : Pick a season and think about an event in your life that occurred in that season. Write a creative nonfiction piece about that event and that season.

#7 : Think of something very complicated and long. Write a page about it using short sentences.

#8 : Write a story as a dream.

#9 : Describe around a food without ever directly naming it.

#10 : Write a monologue (one character, talking to the audience/reader) (*not* an inner monologue).

#11 : Begin a story with the phrase, "It only took five seconds to..."

#12 : List five strong emotions. Choosing one, write about a character experiencing that emotion, but only use the character's actions to convey how they are feeling (no outright statements).

#13 : Write a chapter of the memoir of your life.

#14 : Look through the (physical) things you're currently carrying with you or wearing. Write about the memories or emotions tied with each of them.

#15 : Go be in nature. Write drawing your story from your surroundings (both physical, social, and mental/emotional).


#16 : Write from the perspective of a bubble (or bubble-like creature).

#17 : A person is jogging along an asphalt road. Write a story.

#18 : Title your story (or poem, or play, etc) "Anti-_____". Fill in the blank and write the story.

#19 : Write something that must include an animal, a mineral, and a vegetable.

#20 : Begin your writing with the phrase, "6 weeks later..."

#21 : List 5-10 office jobs. Pick one of them and describe a person working in that job as if you were a commentator on an Olympic sporting event.

#22 : Practice your poetic imagery: overwrite a description of a character's breakfast routine.

#23 : Write about a character (or group of characters) trying to convince another character to try something they're scared of.

#24 : Keep an eye out in your environment for examples of greengrocer's apostrophes and rogue quotation marks. Pick an example and write about what the misplaced punctuation implies (e.g., we have the "best" meat or we have the best "meat" ).

#25 : Fill in the blank with the first word that comes to mind: "_______ Riot!" Write a newspaper-style article describing the events that that took place.

#26 : Write from the point of view of your most-loved possession. What does it think of you?

#27 : Think of five common sayings (e.g., "An apple a day keeps the doctor away"). Write a horror story whose plot is one of those common sayings.

#28 : Write a scene in which two characters are finally hashing out a long-standing misunderstanding or disagreement.

#29 : You start receiving text messages from an unknown number. Tell the story of what happens next.

#30 : Write one character bragging to another about the story behind their new tattoo.

#31 : Superheroes save the world...but they also leave a lot of destruction in their wake. Write about a normal person in a superhero's world.

#32 : Sometimes, family is who we are related to; sometimes, family is a group of people we gather around ourselves. Write a story about (some of) a character's found family and relatives meeting for the first time.

#33 : Write a story that begins in the middle of the plot's action ( en media res ).

#34 : Everyone says you can never have too much of a good thing. Write a story where that isn't true.

#35 : What do ghosts do when they're not creating mischief? Write about the secret lives of ghosts.


#36 : Every year, you dread the last week of April. Write a story about why.

#37 : Write a story about what it would be like to have an animal sidekick in real life.

#38 : Heists don't just have to be black-clad thieves stealing into vaults to steal rare art or money. Write about a group of people (adults or children) who commit a heist for something of seemingly little monetary value.

#39 : "Life is like a chooseable-path adventure, except you don't get to see what would have happened if you chose differently." Think of a choice you've made and write about a world where you made a different choice.

#40 : Write a story about a secret room.

#41 : You find a message in a bottle with very specific directions. Write a story about the adventure you embark upon.

#42 : "You'll always be okay as long as you know where your _______ is." Fill in the blank and write a story (either fictional or from your life) illustrating this statement.

#43 : Forcing people into prolonged proximity can change and deepen relationships. Write about characters on a road trip together.

#44 : In music, sonata form includes three main parts: exposition, development, and recapitulation. Write a short story that follows this format.

#45 : Begin writing with a character saying, "I'm afraid this simply can't wait."

#46 : Write a story with a happy ending (either happily-ever-after or happy-for-now).

#47 : Write about a character before and after a tragedy in that character's life.

#48 : Choose an object or concept you encounter in everyday life (e.g. tables, the feeling of hot or cold, oxygen) and write an infomercial about it.

#49 : "Life is a series of quests, whether important or mundane." Write about a quest you've gone on (or would like to go on, or will have to go on).

#50 : List 10 different ways to learn. Choose one (or more) and write a story where a character learns something using that one (or more) method.

#51 : You've been called to the principal's office for bad behavior. You know what you did. Explain and justify yourself.

#52 : A character discovers their sibling owns a cursed object. Write about what happens next.

#53 : Write a character description by writing a list of items that would be on a scavenger hunt about them.

#54 : The slogan for a product or service you're advertising is, "Kid-tested, _____." Fill in the blank and write the copy for a radio or podcast advertisement for your product.


How to Use Creative Writing Prompts

There's no wrong way to use a creative writing prompt (unless it's to harass and hurt someone)—the point of them is to get you writing and your imagination flowing.

To help you get the most out of these writing prompts, however, we've come up with the six tips below. Try them out!

#1: DON'T Limit Yourself to Prose

Unless you're writing for a particular assignment, there's no reason everything you write in response to a writing prompt has to be prose fiction . Instead of writing your response to a prompt as a story, try writing a poem, nonfiction essay, play, screenplay, or some other format entirely.

#2: DON'T Edit as You Write

The purposes of writing prompts is to get you writing, typos and weird grammar and all. Editing comes later, once you've finished writing and have some space from it to come back to what you wrote.

It's OK to fix things that will make it difficult to read what you've written (e.g., a weird autocorrect that changes the meaning of a sentence), but don't worry too much about typos or perfect grammar when you're writing; those are easy enough to fix in edits . You also can always insert asterisks or a short note as you're writing to remind yourself to go back to fix something (for instance, if as you're writing it seems like you want to move around the order of your paragraphs or insert something earlier).

#3: DO Interpret the Prompt Broadly

The point of using a writing prompt is not to write something that best exemplifies the prompt, but something that sparks your own creativity. Again, unless you're writing in response to an assignment with specific directions, feel free to interpret writing prompts as broadly or as narrowly as you want.

For instance, if your prompt is to write a story that begins with "The stage was set," you could write about anything from someone preparing to put a plan into motion to a literal theatre stage constructed out of pieces of old sets (or something else entirely).

If you're using a writing prompt, it doesn't have to be the first sentence of your story or poem, either; you can also use the prompt as a goal to work towards in your writing.

#4: DO Try Switching Up Your Writing Methods

If it's a possibility for you, see if you write differently in different media. Do you write the same kind of stories by hand as you would typing at a computer? What about if you dictate a story and then transcribe it? Or text it to a friend? Varying the method you use to write can affect the stories you're able to tell.

For example, you may find that it's easier for you to tell stories about your life to a voice recorder than to try to write out a personal essay. Or maybe you have trouble writing poetry, but can easily text yourself or a friend a poem. You might even find you like a writing method you've not tried before better than what you've been doing!


#5: DO Mix and Match Prompt Ideas

If you need more inspiration, feel free to combine multiple prompts (but don't overwhelm yourself with too much to write about).

You can also try switching genres from what might be suggested in the prompt. For instance, try writing a prompt that seems funny in a serious and sad way, or finding the humor in something that otherwise seems humorless. The categories we've organized the prompts into are by no means limiters on what you're allowed to write about.

#6: DO Try to Write Regularly

The more regularly you write, the easier it will be to write (with or without writing prompts).

For some people, this means writing daily; for others, it means setting aside time to write each weekend or each month. Set yourself an achievable goal (write 2x a week, write 1000 words a month) and stick to it. You can always start small and then ramp your wordcount or frequency up.

If you do better when you have something outside yourself prompting to write, you may also want to try something like morning pages , which encourages you to write at least 750 words every day, in any format (story, diary entry, social media postings, etc).


What's Next?

Thinking about attending college or grad school for creative writing? Our articles on whether or not you should major in creative writing and the best creative writing programs are there for you! Plus, if you're a high schooler, you should check out these top writing contests .

Creative writing doesn't necessarily have to be fiction. Check out these three examples of narrative writing and our tips for how to write your own narrative stories and essays .

Just as writing prompts can help give form to amorphous creative energy, using specific writing structures or devices can be great starting points for your next story. Read through our discussion of the top 20 poetic devices to know and see if you can work at least one new one into your next writing session.

Still looking for more writing ideas? Try repurposing our 100+ easy drawing ideas for characters, settings, or plot points in your writing.

Laura graduated magna cum laude from Wellesley College with a BA in Music and Psychology, and earned a Master's degree in Composition from the Longy School of Music of Bard College. She scored 99 percentile scores on the SAT and GRE and loves advising students on how to excel in high school.

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Author : Caroline Chartrand

22nd Feb 2024

Creative Writing Prompts for Writers: 80 Ideas Will Inspire You

Writing Prompts

Don’t Have Time to Read? Listen to this Article Instead!

Key Takeaways: Creative Writing Prompts

  • Writing prompts are designed to spark creativity and help overcome writer’s block. They serve as a starting point for storytelling by providing a scenario, question, as well as theme to explore.
  • Prompts can vary widely, from single words or phrases to sentences, questions, or even images. They are versatile tools that can be tailored to any genre, theme, or writing style.
  • Effective prompts should balance specificity and openness, spark curiosity, encourage imagination, evoke an emotional response, and sometimes utilize visual stimuli to inspire creativity.
  • The guide provides examples of prompts for various genres, including mystery and thriller, romance, science fiction, fantasy and paranormal, general fiction, travel and adventure, horror, and young adult.
  • Beyond the initial prompt, developing a story involves character development, setting the scene, as well as creating conflict and plot twists to drive the narrative forward.
  • Regular writing practice using prompts can boost creativity, improve discipline, and enhance one’s writing skills over time.
  • Books, online communities, and daily prompt apps are valuable resources for finding new writing prompts and engaging with a community of writers for feedback and inspiration.

Craft Your Book Using Writing Prompts

Write your next ebook with us. Authors Breeze use creative writing prompts to create compelling narratives that captivate your readers.

Introduction to Creative Writing Prompts

Ever found yourself staring at a blank page, blinking your eyes as you try to summon words that seem to have taken a vacation? You’re not alone. Every writer, at some point, faces writer’s block. But fear not! Creative writing prompts and writing ideas are here to rescue you from the lack of creativity. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore creative writing prompts. They can ignite your imagination, help you weave compelling stories, and significantly improve your writing craft.

Feeling stuck when you want to write is something many of us experience. It can be really tough to come up with ideas or even know where to start. This challenge is something even professional writers face, especially before their work reaches bookshelves or sells books on Amazon . But there’s a helpful solution for when you feel like you’re hitting a dead end: writing prompts. So, these prompts can kickstart your creativity and help you get your writing and publishing going.

What is a Writing Prompt?

At its core, a writing prompt is a starting point to get your creativity flowing. But what does prompt mean in writing? A prompt is 1 to 3 sentences that raise an issue or ask a question that fuels your writing ideas.

No matter if it is a single word, a phrase, a sentence, or even a picture, a writing prompt can open doors to untold stories waiting to be told. So, if you learn how to write a prompt, you can enhance its effectiveness in sparking creativity.

However, what makes prompts for writing so magical? Well, they come with built-in writing challenges: to conjure up a unique story based on a predefined starting point. This constraint, surprisingly, liberates rather than confines creativity. It is a paradox of the creative process. Boundaries often lead to the most boundless imagination.

How to Write a Writing Prompt?

Writing Prompt

Crafting effective writer prompts is an art in itself. Your goal should be to strike a delicate balance between specificity and openness. In addition, you need to provide just enough detail to guide the writer, but not so much that it stifles their creativity. Here are some tips to consider:

Spark Curiosity

An excellent prompt should pique interest. It could be something as simple as:

“The clock struck thirteen,” prompting the question, “Why thirteen?”

This could serve as a fantastic mystery and thriller writing prompt.

Encourage Imagination

Allow room for interpretation. A prompt like the following opens up endless narrative possibilities:

“In a world where dreams are currency.”

It is perfect for science fiction writing prompts or even dystopian writing prompts.

Emotional Connect

Try to evoke an emotional response. Prompts that relate to universal feelings, love, fear, and joy, can be particularly compelling.

Visual Stimulus

Sometimes, a picture can be worth a thousand words. For example, a mysterious photograph or a bizarre painting. It can serve as a powerful prompt.

The beauty of writing prompts lies in their versatility. You can tailor them for any genre, theme, or writing style . It makes them invaluable tools for writers of all stripes.

Pro Writing Tip: Incorporate direct quotations, summaries, and rephrased content from the provided material to bolster your opinions and insights. It’s crucial to demonstrate to your audience that you are actively interacting with the author’s ideas and the content they’ve shared. For instance, if you find yourself at odds with a recommendation in the material, refer to a specific section and articulate your reasons for disagreement. This approach will aid in convincing others to understand and possibly align with your perspective.

How to Start a Writing Prompt?

Staring down a prompt can be as intimidating as the blank page itself. Here’s how to leap over that initial hurdle:

Allow yourself to write without judgment or editing . Let the prompt lead you wherever it may, even if it initially seems nonsensical.

Ask Questions

Who? What? Where? When? Why? How? These questions can help you unpack the prompt and start weaving a narrative web.

Play with Perspectives

If the prompt is a sentence, try writing from the perspective of different characters or objects within that scenario.

Mix and Match

Combine the prompt with another idea you’ve been toying with. The intersection of two ideas can often be where the magic happens.

Genre-Specific Creative Writing Book Prompts

Let’s look at some writing prompt examples that will help you with more writing prompt ideas:

Mystery and Thriller Writing Prompts

Everyone loves a good mystery or a heart-pounding thriller. These genres keep readers on the edge, eager to turn the page. So, here are a few prompts for mysterious writings:

  • While renovating your grandmother’s attic, you discover a diary belonging to a relative you never knew existed. The entries hint at a family secret buried for decades.
  • You receive a series of anonymous letters, each with a clue that leads you closer to uncovering the identity of a person who claims to have changed your life forever.
  • A renowned magician disappears during a live performance. However, this time, it is not part of the act.
  • A detective receives a series of cryptic letters. They seem to be linked to unsolved cases from decades ago.
  • You witness a crime that hasn’t happened yet. Can you be able to prevent it, or will you become part of it?
  • A journalist stumbles upon a conspiracy tied to a secret society that has influenced historical events.
  • An ordinary book contains a secret message. It leads to a dangerous treasure hunt across the city.
  • A family heirloom is stolen on the eve of a meaningful ceremony. It reveals long-buried family secrets.
  • Someone is following you, always a step behind. However, when you turn around, there’s never anyone there.
  • A small town is gripped by fear as residents receive anonymous threats predicting their deaths.
Pro Writing Tip: Always start with a relatable scenario but add a twist that invites curiosity. For example , instead of presenting a generic setting like “ walking in a park, ” twist it into something unexpected like “ walking in a park where every bench tells a story of a lost civilization. ” This approach not only grabs the reader’s attention but also provides a fertile ground for their imagination to take off. It encourages them to think beyond the ordinary and dive into the creative process with enthusiasm.

Romance Writing Prompts

Love fuels countless stories, from the tragic to the transcendent. Therefore, with the help of romantic writing prompts, you can explore the complexities of relationships and the human heart. In addition, you can try these creative writing prompts for romance novels :

  • Two former lovers unexpectedly reunite in a small coffee shop after years apart. What led to their separation? Moreover, what secrets have they held onto?
  • A love letter meant for someone else lands in your hands. It leads you on a quest to find the intended recipient and, perhaps, a love of your own.
  • Messages in bottles wash up on the shore. They are penned by a lovelorn sailor from the past.
  • A scientist discovers a way to time travel, only to fall in love with someone from a different era.
  • Two rival dance champions are forced to partner up, finding love in their quest for the title.
  • An astronomer and a poet, sharing a love for the stars, find their paths intertwined under a celestial event.
  • Two strangers exchange notes daily in a coffee shop’s suggestion box, leading to an unexpected romance.
  • A musician rediscovers a love song written by their late partner. It leads them to a new beginning.
  • Two people meet on a cross-country train ride. They form a connection that challenges their destinations.
  • Longtime friends make a pact to marry if they’re both single at 30. Then, as the deadline approaches, real feelings emerge.

Science Fiction Writing Prompts

The future is a playground for the imagination. It offers endless possibilities for exploration. Moreover, science fiction writing prompts can take you on journeys through time, space, and the depths of the human mind. Here are some short fiction ideas:

  • You discover the last remaining library in the future where all books are banned. What will you do to protect it?
  • In a world where memories can be bought and sold, you wake up one day with no recollection of your past. The quest for your identity leads you to dark and unexpected places.
  • Earth’s sun is dying. Humanity’s last hope rests on a crew sent to reignite it with untested technology.
  • A new technology allows people to swap consciousnesses. However, one person discovers they can’t switch back.
  • An ancient alien artifact is unearthed. It holds the key to unlimited energy and the potential for interstellar war.
  • A scientist accidentally opens a portal to a parallel dimension where history turns dark.
  • There is a world where memoirs can be engineered. One person uncovers a conspiracy to manipulate the human race.
  • AI servants start to develop consciousness. It leads to a society-wide debate on rights and existence.
  • On a distant space colony, sabotage reveals deep-seated corruption and a fight for survival.
  • A time capsule meant to be opened in a thousand years is accidentally triggered early. It reveals the unforeseen future of humanity.

Fantasy and Paranormal Writing Prompts

Get into worlds where magic is real and the paranormal is just another part of life. These prompts invite you to explore good story starters:

  • You stumble upon a forest that everyone in your village avoids. Inside, you find a world that is teemed with creatures and magic you never believed possible.
  • A ghost bound to an ancient mansion seeks your help to solve the mystery of their death. They reveal secrets that will change the history of the place.
  • A librarian discovers their library is alive, with books that can transport readers into their stories.
  • There is a discovery of the last dragon egg. It threatens to ignite a war between humans and dragonkin.
  • A person makes a deal with a ghost to solve their unfinished business, entangling their fates.
  • A royal heir finds their destiny intertwined with a crown that grants immense power and a deadly curse.
  • Magic is banned in a world where a young mage discovers a hidden truth about their power.
  • A keeper of magical portals between worlds faces a dilemma when a forbidden love crosses boundaries.
  • An unlikely hero is chosen as the apprentice to the last witch in the world, tasked with saving magic.
  • A mysterious carnival appears in town overnight, offering fantastical wonders and hidden dangers.
Pro Writing Tip : When crafting a fantasy or paranormal novel, the key to captivating your audience is to blend the familiar with the extraordinary. Simple Writing Prompt : Imagine a world where everyone has a magical talent that manifests on their 16th birthday. Your protagonist, however, wakes up on their 16th birthday to discover they have no talent. Explore their journey as they navigate a world where they feel out of place, only to uncover a hidden power within themselves that transcends the known talents. Creative Writing Prompt : In a city where the night brings out not just stars but also portals to other dimensions, your main character is a night courier, delivering packages to these alternate realms. One night, they receive a mysterious package that is not to be delivered to another dimension, but to a being that hasn’t been seen in centuries. This delivery leads them on an adventure through various dimensions, uncovering secrets about the city, its night-time wonders, and themselves.

General Fiction Writing Prompts

Sometimes, the most compelling stories to write are those that reflect our own world, warts and all. General fiction story ideas and prompts offer a canvas for the human condition:

  • You find a phone with one unread message that changes your perspective on life.
  • At a pivotal moment in your life, you meet a stranger. He offers you advice that could change everything.
  • Once a year, a lottery gives one person the chance to change their life completely—but at what cost?
  • An artist discovers they can paint pictures that make others relive memories. It alters their perception of the past.
  • A café sits at the crossroads of reality. The customers of the café find themselves confronted with life-changing decisions.
  • A box of unsent letters was found in an attic. They tell the story of a family’s hidden history.
  • The last bookstore in a world dominated by digital media. It becomes the center of a community’s struggle to remember its humanity.
  • A watchmaker creates a watch that can stop time for everyone but the wearer, exploring the consequences of isolation.
  • A series of balcony gardens across a city weaves together the lives of its residents in unexpected ways.
  • Two childhood friends make a promise to achieve their dreams. However, life takes them on very different paths.

Travel and Adventure Writing Prompts

For the wanderlust-driven soul, travel and adventure prompts whisk you away to far-off lands and thrilling escapades:

  • You get an old map that leads to a place not found on any modern map. What do you discover at the end of the journey?
  • After a storm at sea, you wash up on the shores of an island. It hides a civilization untouched by the outside world.
  • A map is marked with unknown names. It leads to a journey uncovering hidden histories and forgotten places.
  • In the heart of the desert, a mirage reveals a hidden oasis with secrets of its own.
  • An expedition to an uncharted island reveals a civilization thought to be a myth.
  • A trip to see the Northern Lights uncovers a phenomenon more magical. But it is more dangerous than ever expected.
  • A hidden path in an ancient forest leads to a world untouched by time.
  • An urban explorer discovers an underground city beneath the streets of a bustling metropolis.
  • A mysterious castle appears in the sky. It is accessible only to those who dare to find a way up.
  • A traveller returns from an otherworldly journey with tales. They challenge the limits of belief.

Horror Writing Prompts

Horror writing prompts are a great resource for vampire romance books and other horror-related genres. So, tap into the depths of fear with horror story prompts that are sure to send shivers down your spine:

  • A painting you acquire at an estate sale changes each time you look at it. Eventually, it reveals something horrifying.
  • A person discovers their reflection. It has a mind of its own. In addition, it reveals dark truths.
  • The woods near your house are said to be haunted. One night, you hear your name whispered among the trees.
  • You hear about a melody that haunts a town. It drives its listeners to madness and reveals a sinister history.
  • A house filled with lifelike dolls that seem to watch your every move. It hides a grim secret.
  • A fog rolls into a small town, and with it comes whispers that drive people to do unspeakable things.
  • You see a door in the basement that was never there before. It leads to a dark and forgotten place.
  • Residents of a small town are visited by a figure in the night, who watches from afar, never approaching until.
  • A grave that doesn’t appear on any map is found to hold the key to a century-old curse.
  • A rare lunar eclipse reveals a horrifying figure walking across the moon’s surface. It signals a dark event.

Young Adult Writing Prompts

Young adult fiction often tackles the tumultuous journey of growing up. The following prompts focus on the challenges and triumphs of youth:

  • At your new school, you’re invited to join a secret society. It promises adventure but hides a dark secret.
  • On your sixteenth birthday, you discover you have a power. It could change the world or destroy it.
  • A group of friends discovers a hidden bunker during summer break. It leads to a mystery that tests their friendship.
  • A secret society meets at midnight to share stories. However, their tales start to come true.
  • A teen discovers their ancestry is linked to an ancient legend. It thrusts them into a world of magic and danger.
  • Teens have the power to enter dreams. They must save one of their own from a nightmare that could trap them forever.
  • A high school talent show reveals a student’s unique ability. It attracts unwanted attention.
  • There is a society where books are banned. A group of teens starts an underground library and fights for the right to read.
  • A teen discovers a parallel world where their every decision creates ripples. It affects both worlds in unexpected ways.
  • At a summer camp set to close, campers encounter a mystery that ties the camp’s history to their own lives.

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Beyond the Prompt: Develop Your Story with Creative Writing Prompts

You now have ideas for writing prompts. Then, it is time to transition from story writing prompts to a fully realized story. Writing prompts serve as the initial stage. However, the journey from prompt to page is where the real magic happens. Let’s look at how you can develop writing prompts into captivating narratives.

Character Development

Start with questions.

Who is your protagonist? What do they want more than anything? What’s stopping them? Characters drive stories, such as:

  • Foil Characters
  • Morally Grey Characters
  • Round Characters

Therefore, you need to understand the motivations, fears, and strengths of your characters.

Give Them Flaws

Perfect characters are boring. Flaws make characters relatable and their journeys compelling. So, think about how the weaknesses of your character might impact their decisions and the outcome of the story.

Set the Scene


World-building is especially important in genres such as fantasy and science fiction. However, every story needs a setting. Look at how the environment affects the story. Is it a dystopian future that challenges the characters at every turn, or a buzzing city filled with opportunities and threats?

Sensory Details

Bring your world to life with sensory details. What does it smell like in the haunted mansion or on the alien planet? In addition, what sounds fill the air in the bustling marketplace or the quiet village?

Plot Twists and Turns

Outline the journey.

Even if you’re not an outliner by nature, you should have a rough idea of where your story is headed. As a result, it can help keep you on track. So, think of it as a map with room for detours.

Conflict is Key

Conflict is one of the top elements of fiction . No conflict, no story. So, your characters should face challenges, make decisions, and deal with the consequences. In addition, these conflicts can be external (a villain, a natural disaster) or internal (fear of failure, struggling with identity).

Bring Your Story to Life

Our ghostwriters transform your ideas into mesmerizing stories using creative writing prompts to ensure your voice shines through.

The Value of Practice

Keep in mind that the goal is not to write a book on your first try. The goal is to write. Each story you write and each prompt you explore help hone your skills and deepen your learning of the craft. So, practice regularly with writing prompts. As a result, it will:

Boost Creativity

The more you write, the easier it becomes to develop new ideas for writing a book and solve narrative problems.

Improve Discipline

Set a writing routine, even if it’s just a few minutes a day. It can help turn writing from a hobby into a habit.

Resources and Ideas for Creative Writing Prompts

Find new and exciting prompts. It doesn’t have to be a chore. Here are some resources to keep your prompt well full:

Books and Journals

Many books are dedicated to providing writers with prompts. Similarly, literary journals sometimes offer prompt-based contests.

Online Communities

Websites like Reddit have communities dedicated to writing prompts. Participating can also provide you with feedback from fellow writers. Such platforms are excellent sources of free writing prompts, daily writing prompts as well as random writing prompts.

Daily Prompt Apps

There are several apps available that deliver a new writing prompt to you each day. In addition, they ensure you always have a source of inspiration at your fingertips.

Captivate Your Audience with Unique Articles

Infuse your articles with creativity and depth. Our article writers leverage unique prompts to craft articles that stand out.

Additional Resources:

Books on Writing Craft: “ On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft” by Stephen King “ Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life” by Anne Lamott “The Elements of Style” by William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White “Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within” by Natalie Goldberg “The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles” by Steven Pressfield Online Writing Communities: Reddit ‘s r/Writing and r/WritingPrompts Wattpad : A platform for writers to share their work and connect with readers Scribophile : A writing group and online writing workshop where writers can critique each other’s work NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month): An annual event that encourages writers to complete a novel in a month, held every November Writing Software and Tools: Scrivener : A powerful content-generation tool for long documents Grammarly : A writing assistant that helps with grammar, punctuation, and style Hemingway Editor : A tool that highlights complex sentences and common errors to improve readability Evernote : A note-taking app that can be useful for organizing research and ideas Creative Writing Courses and Workshops: Local community colleges or universities often offer creative writing courses Online platforms like Coursera , Udemy , and Skillshare offer a variety of writing courses taught by experienced authors Writing retreats and workshops, such as those offered by The Highlights Foundation or The Loft Literary Center

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some cool prompts.

Here are a few writing prompts to get you started:

  • Write about a song that evokes a strong emotion in you.
  • Narrate a childhood memory from the perspective of someone else who was there.
  • Describe an object that isn’t valuable but means a lot to you.
  • Today’s color: What color do you feel like today and why?

What are 500 writing prompts?

The “500 Writing Prompts” journal is a treasure trove for writers. It offers a wide range of prompts across genres and themes. Moreover, it is designed to spark your creativity and help you explore the depths of your imagination, one prompt at a time.

What are 5-minute writing prompts?

These quick prompts are perfect for daily journaling or warming up your writing muscles. They include gratitudes, aspirations, affirmations, reflections on the day, and thoughts on improvement.

What are some good writing questions?

Here are a few journal prompts to ponder:

  • What do you aspire to be?
  • List five adventures you want to have before you turn 20.
  • What’s your dream job?
  • Imagine your life at 30. What does it look like?
  • What are the three most impactful jobs in the world, in your opinion?
  • Would you ever want to be president?

Writing prompts are not just a cure for writer’s block. They’re an excellent tool that can help your growth as a writer. In addition, they make your way to explore new genres and a method for honing your craft. Every word you write brings you one step closer to the writer you aspire to be. So, grab some good writing prompts from the many creative writing topics we have discussed. Then, see where it leads you. In addition, if you face any problems, you can always come to Authors Breeze .

Enhance Your Blog with Writing Prompts

Our blog writers use innovative writing prompts to produce posts that engage, inform, and delight your audience.

writing prompts for creative writing classes

Caroline Chartrand

As a writing expert, Caroline R Chartrand has written numerous books across various genres, from memoirs to self-help guides. With a passion for history and literature, she has delved into the lives of some of the fascinating figures in history, uncovering hidden stories and surprising facts.

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365 Creative Writing Prompts

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Here are 365 Creative Writing Prompts to help inspire you to write every single day! Use them for journaling, story starters, poetry, and more!

365 creative writing prompts

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If you want to become a better writer, the best thing you can do is practice writing every single day. Writing prompts are useful because we know sometimes it can be hard to think of what to write about!

To help you brainstorm, we put together this list of 365 creative writing prompts to give you something to write about daily.

Want to Download these prompts?  I am super excited to announce due to popular demand we now have an ad-free printable version of this list of writing prompts available for just $5. The  printable version  includes a PDF as a list AND print-ready prompt cards. {And all the design source files you could ever need to customize any way you would like!}

Here are 365 Creative Writing Prompts to Inspire:

Whether you write short stories, poems, or like to keep a journal – these will stretch your imagination and give you some ideas for topics to write about!

1. Outside the Window : What’s the weather outside your window doing right now? If that’s not inspiring, what’s the weather like somewhere you wish you could be?

2. The Unrequited love poem: How do you feel when you love someone who does not love you back?

3. The Vessel: Write about a ship or other vehicle that can take you somewhere different from where you are now.

4. Dancing: Who’s dancing and why are they tapping those toes?

5. Food: What’s for breakfast? Dinner? Lunch? Or maybe you could write a poem about that time you met a friend at a cafe.

6. Eye Contact: Write about two people seeing each other for the first time.

7. The Rocket-ship: Write about a rocket-ship on its way to the moon or a distant galaxy far, far, away.

rocket ship writing prompt

8. Dream-catcher : Write something inspired by a recent dream you had.

9. Animals: Choose an animal. Write about it!

10. Friendship: Write about being friends with someone.

11. Dragon : Envision a dragon. Do you battle him? Or is the dragon friendly? Use descriptive language.

12. Greeting : Write a story or poem that starts with the word “hello” or another greeting.

13. The Letter: Write a poem or story using words from a famous letter or inspired by a letter someone sent you.

14. The Found Poem : Read a book and circle some words on a page. Use those words to craft a poem. Alternatively, you can cut out words and phrases from magazines.

15. Eavesdropper : Create a poem, short story, or journal entry about a conversation you’ve overheard.

16. Addict: Everyone’s addicted to something in some shape or form. What are things you can’t go without?

17. Dictionary Definition : Open up a dictionary to a random word. Define what that word means to you.

dictionary success

18. Cleaning: Hey, even writers and creative artists have to do housework sometimes. Write about doing laundry, dishes, and other cleaning activities.

19. Great Minds: Write  about someone you admire and you thought to have had a beautiful mind.

20. Missed Connections: If you go to Craigslist, there is a “Missed Connections” section where you can find some interesting storylines to inspire your writing.

21. Foreclosure : Write a poem or short story about someone who has lost or is about to lose their home.

22. Smoke, Fog, and Haze: Write about not being able to see ahead of you.

23. Sugar: Write something so sweet, it makes your teeth hurt.

24. Numbers:  Write a poem or journal entry about numbers that have special meaning to you.

25. Dread: Write about doing something you don’t want to do.

26. Fear: What scares you a little? What do you feel when scared? How do you react?

27. Closed Doors: What’s behind the door? Why is it closed?

writing prompts for creative writing classes

28. Shadow: Imagine you are someone’s shadow for a day.

29. Good Vibes: What makes you smile? What makes you happy?

30. Shopping:  Write about your shopping wishlist and how you like to spend money.

31. The Professor: Write about a teacher that has influenced you.

32. Rewrite : Take any poem or short story you enjoy. Rewrite it in your own words.

33. Jewelry: Write about a piece of jewelry. Who does it belong to?

34. Sounds : Sit outside for about an hour. Write down the sounds you hear.

35. War and Peace: Write about a recent conflict that you dealt with in your life.

36. Frame It: Write a poem or some phrases that would make for good wall art in your home.

37. Puzzle: Write about putting together the pieces of puzzles.

38. Fire-starters: Write about building a fire.

39. Coffee & Tea: Surely you drink one or the other or know someone who does- write about it!

40. Car Keys: Write about someone getting their driver’s license for the first time.

41. What You Don’t Know: Write about a secret you’ve kept from someone else or how you feel when you know someone is keeping a secret from you.

42. Warehouse : Write about being inside an old abandoned warehouse.

warehouse writing prompt

43. The Sound of Silence: Write about staying quiet when you feel like shouting.

44. Insult: Write about being insulted. How do you feel? Why do you think the other person insulted you?

45. Mirror, Mirror: What if you mirror started talking to you? What might the mirror say?

46. Dirty: Write a poem about getting covered in mud.

47. Light Switch : Write about coming out of the dark and seeing the light.

48. The Stars : Take inspiration from a night sky. Or, write about a time when “the stars aligned” in your horoscope.

writing prompt star idea

49. Joke Poem : What did the wall say to the other wall? Meet you at the corner! Write something inspired by a favorite joke.

50. Just Say No : Write about the power you felt when you told someone no.

51: Sunrise/Sunset : The sun comes up, the sun goes down. It goes round and round. Write something inspiring about the sunrise or sunset.

52. Memory Lane : What does Memory Lane look like? How do you get there?

53. Tear-Jerker : Watch a movie that makes you cry. Write about that scene in the movie.

54. Dear Diary: Write a poem or short story about a diary entry you’ve read or imagined.

55. Holding Hands : The first time you held someone’s hand.

56. Photograph : Write a story or journal entry influenced by a photograph you see online or in a magazine.

57. Alarm Clock: Write about waking up.

58. Darkness: Write a poem or journal entry inspired by what you can’t see.

59. Refreshed: Write a poem about a time you really felt refreshed and renewed. Maybe it was a dip into a pool on a hot summer day, a drink of lemonade, or other situation that helped you relax and start again.

60. Handle With Care : Write about a very fragile or delicate object.

61. Drama: Write about a time when you got stuck in between two parties fighting with each other.

62. Slip Up: Write about making mistakes.

63. Spice: Write about flavors and tastes or a favorite spice of yours.

64. Sing a New Song: Take a popular song off the radio and rewrite it as a poem in your own words.

65. Telephone: Write about a phone call you recently received.

66. Name: Write a poem or short story using your name in some way or form.

67. Dollhouse: Write a poem or short story from the viewpoint of someone living in a doll house.

68. Random Wikipedia Article : Go to Wikipedia and click on Random Article . Write about whatever the page you get.

69. Silly Sports: Write about an extreme or silly sport. If none inspire you, make up the rules for your own game.

70. Recipe : Write about a recipe for something abstract, such as a feeling.

71. Famous Artwork: Choose a famous painting and write about it.

72. Where That Place Used to Be : Think of a place you went to when you were younger but it now no longer there or is something else. Capture your feelings about this in your writing.

73. Last Person You Talked to: Write a quick little poem or story about the last person you spoke with.

74. Caught Red-Handed: Write about being caught doing something embarrassing.

75. Interview: Write a list of questions you have for someone you would like to interview, real or fictional.

76. Missing You: Write about someone you miss dearly.

77. Geography: Pick a state or country you’ve never visited. Write about why you would or would not like to visit that place.

geography writing prompt

78. Random Song: Turn on the radio, use the shuffle feature on your music collection or your favorite streaming music service. Write something inspired by the first song you hear.

79. Hero: Write a tribute to someone you regard as a hero.

80. Ode to Strangers: Go people watching and write an ode to a stranger you see on the street.

81. Advertisement: Advertisements are everywhere, aren’t they? Write using the slogan or line from an ad.

82. Book Inspired: Think of your favorite book. Now write a poem that sums up the entire story in 10 lines.

83. Magic : Imagine you have a touch of magic, and can make impossible things happen. What would you do?

84. Fanciest Pen: Get out your favorite pen, pencils, or even colored markers and write using them!

85. A Day in the Life: Write about your daily habits and routine.

86. Your Muse: Write about your muse – what do they look like? What does your muse do to inspire you?

87. Convenience Store : Write about an experience you’ve had at a gas station or convenience store.

88. Natural Wonders of the World: Choose one of the natural wonders of the world. Write about it.

89. Status Update: Write a poem using the words from your latest status update or a friend’s status update. If you don’t use sites like Facebook or Twitter, you can often search online for some funny ones to use as inspiration.

90. Green Thumb: Write about growing something.

91. Family Heirloom: Write about an object that’s been passed through the generations in your family.

92. Bug Catcher: Write about insects.

93. Potion: Write about a magic potion. What is it made of? What does it do? What is the antidote?

94. Swinging & Sliding: Write something inspired by a playground or treehouse.

95. Adjectives: Make a list of the first 5 adjectives that pop into your head. Use these 5 words in your story, poem, or journal entry.

96. Fairy Tales: Rewrite a fairy tale. Give it a new ending or make it modern or write as a poem.

97. Whispers: Write about someone who has to whisper a secret to someone else.

98. Smile: Write a poem about the things that make you smile.

99. Seasonal: Write about your favorite season.

100.  Normal: What does normal mean to you? Is it good or bad to be normal?

101. Recycle : Take something you’ve written in the past and rewrite it into a completely different piece.

102. Wardrobe: Write about a fashion model or what’s currently in your closet or drawers.

103. Secret Message : Write something with a secret message hidden in between the words. For example, you could make an acrostic poem using the last letters of the word or use secret code words in the poem.

104. Vacation: Write about a vacation you took.

105. Heat: Write about being overheated and sweltering.

106. Spellbinding: Write a magic spell.

107. Collection : Write about collecting something, such as salt shakers, sea shells, or stamps.

108. Taking Chances: Everyone takes a risk at some point in their life. Write about a time when you took a chance and what the result was.

109. Carnival: Write a poem or story or journal entry inspired by a carnival or street fair.

110. Country Mouse: Write about someone who grew up in the country visiting the city for the first time.

111: Questions: Write about questions you have for the universe. Optional: include an answer key.

112. Rushing: Write about moving quickly and doing things fast.

113. Staircase : Use a photo of a staircase or the stairs in your home or a building you love to inspire you.

114. Neighbors: Make up a story or poem about your next door neighbor.

115. Black and Blue: Write about a time you’ve been physically hurt.

116. All Saints: Choose a saint and create a poem about his or her life.

117. Beach Inspired: What’s not to write about the beach?

118. Shoes: What kind of shoes do you wear? Where do they lead your feet?

119. The Ex: Write a poem to someone who is estranged from you.

120. My Point of View: Write in the first person point of view.

121. Stray Animal: Think of the life of a stray cat or dog and write about that.

122. Stop and Stare : Create a poem or story about something you could watch forever.

123. Your Bed: Describe where you sleep each night.

124. Fireworks : Do they inspire you or do you not like the noise and commotion? Write about it.

125. Frozen: Write about a moment in your life you wish you could freeze and preserve.

126. Alone : Do you like to be alone or do you like having company?

127. Know-it-all: Write about something you are very knowledgeable about, for example a favorite hobby or passion of yours.

128. The Promise: Write about a promise you’ve made to someone. Did you keep that promise?

129. Commotion: Write about being overstimulated by a lot of chaos.

130. Read the News Today : Construct a poem or story using a news headline for your first line.

131. Macro: Write a description of an object close-up.

132. Transportation : Write about taking your favorite (or least-favorite) form of transportation.

133. Gadgets: If you could invent a gadget, what would it do? Are there any gadgets that make your life easier?

134: Bring on the Cheese: Write a tacky love poem that is so cheesy, it belongs on top of a pizza.

135. Ladders: Write a story or poem that uses ladders as a symbol.

136. Bizarre Holiday : There is a bizarre holiday for any date! Look up a holiday for today’s date and create a poem in greeting card fashion or write a short story about the holiday to celebrate.

137. Blog-o-sphere : Visit your favorite blog or your feedreader and craft a story, journal entry, or poem based on the latest blog post you read.

138. Mailbox: Create a poem, short story, or journal entry based on a recent item of mail you’ve received.

139. Sharing : Write about sharing something with someone else.

140. Cactus: Write from the viewpoint of a cactus. What’s it like to live in the desert or have a prickly personality?

141. It’s a Sign : Have you seen any interesting road signs lately?

142. Furniture: Write about a piece of furniture in your home.

143. Failure: Write about a time you failed at something. Did you try again or give up completely?

144. Mystical Creatures: Angels or other mystical creatures – use them as inspiration.

145. Flying: Write about having wings and what you would do.

146. Clear and Transparent: Write a poem about being able to see-through something.

147. Break the Silence : Record yourself speaking, then write down what you spoke and revise into a short story or poem.

148. Beat: Listen to music with a strong rhythm or listen to drum loops. Write something that goes along with the beat you feel and hear.

149. Color Palette: Search online for color palettes and be inspired to write by one you resonate with.

150. Magazine: Randomly flip to a page in a magazine and write using the first few words you see as an opening line.

151. The Grass is Greener : Write about switching the place with someone or going to where it seems the “grass is greener”.

152. Mind & Body: Write something that would motivate others to workout and exercise.

153. Shaping Up : Write something that makes a shape on the page…ie: a circle, a heart, a square, etc.

154. Twenty-One: Write about your 21st birthday.

155. Aromatherapy: Write about scents you just absolutely love.

156. Swish, Buzz, Pop : Create a poem that uses Onomatopoeia .

157. What Time is It? Write about the time of day it is right now. What are people doing? What do you usually do at this time each day?

158. Party Animal: Have you ever gone to a party you didn’t want to leave? Or do you hate parties? Write about it!

159: Miss Manners : Use the words “please” and “thank you” in your writing.

160. Cliche: Choose a common cliche, then write something that says the same thing but without using the catch phrase.

161. Eco-friendly : Write about going green or an environmental concern you have.

162. Missing You: Write about someone you miss.

163. Set it Free: Think of a time when you had to let someone or something go to be free…did they come back?

164: Left Out : Write about a time when you’ve felt left out or you’ve noticed someone else feeling as if they didn’t belong.

165. Suitcase: Write about packing for a trip or unpacking from when you arrive home.

writing prompts for creative writing classes

166. Fantasy : Write about fairies, gnomes, elves, or other mythical creatures.

167. Give and Receive : Write about giving and receiving.

168. Baker’s Dozen: Imagine the scents and sights of a bakery and write.

169. Treehouse: Write about your own secret treehouse hideaway.

170.  Risk: Write about taking a gamble on something.

171. Acrostic : Choose a word and write an acrostic poem where every line starts with a letter from the word.

172. Crossword Puzzle: Open up the newspaper or find a crossword puzzle online and choose one of the clues to use as inspiration for your writing.

173. Silver Lining : Write about the good that happens in a bad situation.

174. Gloves: Write about a pair of gloves – what kind of gloves are they? Who wears them and why?

175. All that Glitters: Write about a shiny object.

176. Jealousy: Write with a theme of envy and jealousy.

Want to Download these prompts?  I am super excited to announce due to popular demand we now have an ad-free printable version of this list of writing prompts available for just $5. The  printable version  includes a PDF as a list AND print-ready prompt cards. {And all the design source files you could ever need to customize any way you would like!}

177. How Does Your Garden Grow? Write about a flower that grows in an unusual place.

178. Jury Duty : Write a short story or poem that takes place in a courtroom.

179. Gifts: Write about a gift you have given or received.

180. Running: Write about running away from someone or something.

181. Discovery: Think of something you’ve recently discovered and use it as inspiration.

182. Complain:  Write about your complaints about something.

183. Gratitude: Write a poem or journal entry that is all about things you are thankful for.

184. Chemistry: Choose an element and write a poem or story that uses that word in one of the lines.

185. Applause: Write about giving someone a standing ovation.

186. Old Endings Into New Beginnings:  Take an old poem, story, or journal entry of yours and use the last line and make it the first line of your writing today.

187. Longing: Write  about something you very much want to do.

188. I Am: Write a motivational poem or journal entry about positive traits that make you who you are.

189. Rainbow : What is at the end of a rainbow? Or, take a cue from Kermit the Frog, and ask yourself, why are there so many songs about rainbows?

end of the rainbow writing idea

190. Museum: Take some time to visit a nearby museum with your journal. Write about one of the pieces that speaks to you.

191. Cartoon: Think of your favorite cartoon or comic. Write a poem or story that takes place in that setting.

192. Copycat: Borrow a line from a famous public domain poem to craft your own.

193. From the Roof-tops:  Imagine you could stand on a rooftop and broadcast a message to everyone below – what would you say?

194. Time Travel: If there was a time period you could visit for a day, where would you go? Write about traveling back in time to that day.

195. Changing Places: Imagine living the day as someone else.

196. Neighborhood: Write about your favorite place in your neighborhood to visit and hang out at.

197. Pirates: Write about a pirate ship.

198. Interview : Write based on a recent interview you’ve read or seen on TV or heard on the radio.

199.  Hiding Spaces : Write about places you like to hide things at. What was a favorite hiding spot for you as a child playing hide-and-seek?

200. Extreme Makeover: Imagine how life might be different if you could change your hair color or clothing into something completely opposite from your current style.

201. Empathy: Write about your feelings of empathy or compassion for another person.

202. Opposites: Write a poem or story that ties in together two opposites.

203. Boredom: Write about being bored or make a list of different ways to entertain yourself.

204. Strength : Think of a time when you’ve been physically or emotionally strong and use that as inspiration.

205. Hunger: Write from the perspective of someone with no money to buy food.

206. Greed: Write about someone who always wants more – whether it be money, power, etc. etc.

207. Volcano: Write about an eruption of a volcano.

208. Video Inspiration : Go to or and watch one of the videos featured on the homepage. Write something based on what you watch.

209. Sneeze: Write about things that make you sneeze.

210. Footsteps on the Moon:  Write about the possibility of life in outer-space.

211: Star-crossed: Write a short modern version of the story of Romeo and Juliet or think of real-life examples of lovers who are not allowed to be together to use as inspiration for your writing.

212. Font-tastic: Choose a unique font and type out a poem, story or journal entry using that font.

213. Schedule: Take a look at your calendar and use the schedule for inspiration in writing.

214. Grandparents: Write about a moment in your grandparent’s life.

215. Collage: Go through a magazine and cut out words that grab your attention. Use these words to construct a poem or as a story starter or inspiration for your journal.

216. Oh so Lonely: Write a poem about what you do when you are alone – do you feel lonely or do you enjoy your own company?

217. Waterfall: Think of a waterfall you’ve seen in person or spend some time browsing photos of waterfalls online. Write about the movement, flow, and energy.

218. First Kiss: Write about your first kiss.

219. So Ironic: Write about an ironic situation you’ve been in throughout your life.

220. Limerick: Write a limerick today.

221. Grocery Shopping: Write about an experience at the grocery store.

daily writing prompt ideas

222. Fashion : Go through a fashion magazine or browse fashion websites online and write about a style you love.

223. So Close: Write about coming close to reaching a goal.

224. Drinks on Me: Write a poem or short story that takes place at a bar.

225. Online Friends: Write an ode to someone online you’ve met and become friends with.

226. Admiration: Is there someone you admire? Write about those feelings.

227. Trash Day: Write from the perspective of a garbage collector.

228. Mailbox: Open your mailbox and write something inspired by one of the pieces of mail you received.

229. Fresh & Clean: Write about how you feel after you take a shower.

230. Energized: Write about how you feel when you’re either at a high or low energy level for the day.

231. Rhyme & No Reason: Make up a silly rhyming poem using made up words.

232. Tech Support: Use computers or a conversation with tech support you’ve had as inspiration.

233. Hotel: Write from the perspective of someone who works at a hotel or staying at a hotel.

234. Underwater: Write about sea creatures and under water life. What’s under the surface of the ocean? What adventures might be waiting?

underwater life picture

235. Breathing: Take a few minutes to do some deep breathing relaxation techniques. Once your mind is clear, just write the first few things that you think of.

236. Liar, Liar: Make up a poem or story of complete lies about yourself or someone else.

237. Obituaries: Look at the recent obituaries online or in the newspaper and imagine the life of someone and write about that person.

238. Pocket: Rummage through your pockets and write about what you keep or find in your pockets.

239. Cinquain: Write a cinquain poem, which consists of 5 lines that do not rhyme.

240. Alphabetical: Write a poem that has every letter of the alphabet in it.

241.  Comedy Club: Write something inspired by a comedian.

242. Cheater: Write about someone who is unfaithful.

243. Sestina: Give a try to writing a sestina poem.

244. Fight: Write about witnessing two people get in an argument with each other.

245. Social Network : Visit your favorite Social Networking website (ie: Facebook, Pinterest, Google, Twitter, etc.) and write a about a post you see there.

246. Peaceful: Write about something peaceful and serene.

247. In the Clouds: Go cloud watching for the day and write about what you imagine in the clouds.

248. At the Park: Take some time to sit on a park bench and write about the sights, scenes, and senses and emotions you experience.

249. Sonnet: Write a sonnet today.

250. Should, Would, And Could: Write a poem or story using the words should, would, and could.

251. How to: Write directions on how to do something.

252. Alliteration: Use alliteration in your poem or in a sentence in a story.

253. Poker Face: Write about playing a card game.

254. Timer: Set a timer for 5 minutes and just write. Don’t worry about it making sense or being perfect.

255. Dance: Write about a dancer or a time you remember dancing.

256. Write for a Cause: Write a poem or essay that raises awareness for a cause you support.

257. Magic : Write about a magician or magic trick.

258. Out of the Box: Imagine finding a box. Write about opening it and what’s inside.

259. Under the Influence: What is something has impacted you positively in your life?

260. Forgotten Toy : Write from the perspective a forgotten or lost toy.

261. Rocks and Gems: Write about a rock or gemstone meaning.

262. Remote Control: Imagine you can fast forward and rewind your life with a remote control.

263. Symbolism: Think of objects, animals, etc. that have symbolic meaning to you. Write about it.

264. Light at the End of the Tunnel: Write about a time when you saw hope when it seemed like a hopeless situation.

265. Smoke and Fire : “Where there’s smoke, there’s fire.” Use this saying as inspiration to write!

266. Railroad: Write about a train and its cargo or passengers.

writing prompts for creative writing classes

267. Clipboard: Write about words you imagine on an office clipboard.

268. Shipwrecked: Write about being stranded somewhere – an island, a bus stop, etc.

269. Quotable: Use a popular quote from a speaker and use it as inspiration for your writing.

270. Mind   Map it Out: Create a mind map of words, phrases, and ideas that pop into your head or spend some time browsing the many mind maps online. Write a poem, story, or journal entry inspired by the mind map.

271. Patterns : Write about repeating patterns that occur in life.

272. Scrapbook : Write about finding a scrapbook and the memories it contains.

273. Cure: Write about finding a cure for an illness.

274. Email Subject Lines: Read your email today and look for subject lines that may be good starters for writing inspiration.

275. Wishful Thinking: Write about a wish you have.

276. Doodle : Spend some time today doodling for about 5-10 minutes. Write about the thoughts you had while doodling or create something inspired by your finished doodle.

277. Chalkboard: Imagine you are in a classroom. What does it say on the chalkboard?

278. Sticky: Imagine a situation that’s very sticky, maybe even covered in maple syrup, tape or glue. Write about it!

279. Flashlight : Imagine going somewhere very dark with only a flashlight to guide you.

280. A Far Away Place : Envision yourself traveling to a fictional place, what do you experience in your imaginary journey?

281. On the Farm : Write about being in a country or rural setting.

282. Promise to Yourself: Write about a promise you want to make to yourself and keep.

283. Brick Wall : Write a poem that is about a brick wall – whether literal or figurative.

284. Making a Choice: Write about a time when you had to make a difficult choice.

285.  Repeat: Write about a time when you’ve had to repeat yourself or a time when it felt like no one was listening.

286. Outcast : Write about someone who is not accepted by their peers. (for example, the Ugly Ducking)

287. Scary Monsters: Write about a scary (or not-so-scary) monster in your closet or under the bed.

288. Sacrifice: Write about something you’ve sacrificed doing to do something else or help another person.

289. Imperfection: Create a poem that highlights the beauty in being flawed.

290. Birthday Poem: Write a poem inspired by birthdays.

291. Title First : Make a list of potential poem or story titles and choose one to write from.

292. Job Interview : Write about going on a job interview.

293. Get Well : Write a poem that will help someone who is sick feel better quick!

294. Lost in the Crowd: Write about feeling lost in the crowd.

295. Apple a Day: Write about a health topic that interests you.

296. Cravings: Write about craving something.

297. Phobia: Research some common phobias, choose one, and write about it.

298. In the Moment: Write about living in the present moment.

299. Concrete : Write about walking down a sidewalk and what you see and experience.

300. Battle: Write about an epic battle, whether real, fictional or figurative.

301. This Old House : Write about an old house that is abandoned or being renovated.

302. Clutter: Is there a cluttered spot in your home? Go through some of that clutter today and write about what you find or the process of organizing.

303. Go Fly a Kite: Write about flying a kite.

304. On the TV: Flip to a random TV channel and write about the first thing that comes on – even if it is an infomercial!

305. Fruit: Write an ode to your favorite fruit.

306. Long Distance Love: Write about a couple that is separated by distance.

307. Glasses: Write about a pair of eyeglasses or someone wearing glasses.

308. Robotic : Write about a robot.

309. Cute as a Button: Write about something you think is just adorable.

310. Movie Conversation: Use a memorable conversation from a favorite movie to inspire your writing.

311. Easy-Peasy : Write  about doing something effortlessly.

312. Idiom: Choose from a list of idioms one that speaks to you and create a poem around that saying or phrase. (Ie: It is raining cats and dogs)

313. Playground: Whether it is the swings or the sandbox or the sliding boards, write about your memories of being on a playground.

314. Romance: Write about romantic things partners can do for each other.

315. Rock Star: Imagine you are a famous rock star. Write about the experience.

rock star life

316. Come to Life: Imagine ordinary objects have come to life. Write about what they do and say.

317. Airplane: Write about meeting someone on an airplane and a conversation you might have.

318. Health & Beauty: Take some time to peruse your medicine cabinet or the health and beauty aisles at a local store. Write a poem, short story, or journal entry inspired by a product label.

319. Determination: Write about not giving up.

320. Instrumental Inspiration: Listen to some instrumental music and write a poem that matches the mood, beat, and style of the music.

321. Wait Your Turn: Write about having to wait in line.

322. Personality Type : Do you know your personality type? (There are many free quizzes online) – write about what type of personality traits you have.

323. Decade: Choose a favorite decade and write about it. (IE: 1980’s or 1950’s for example)

324. I Believe: Write your personal credo of things you believe in.

325. Lost and Found: Write about a lost object.

326. Say it: Write a poem or story that uses dialogue between two people.

327. The Unsent Letter: Write about a letter that never made it to its recipient.

328. The Windows of the Soul: Write a poem about the story that is told through someone’s eyes.

329. Trial and Error: Write about something you learned the hard way.

330. Escape : Write about where you like to go to escape from it all.

331. What’s Cooking: Write something inspired a favorite food or recipe.

332. Records : Go through your file box and pull out old receipts or records…write something inspired by what you find!

333. Banking: Write about visiting the bank.

334. Sweet Talk: Write about trying to convince someone of something.

335. Serendipity: Write about something that happened by chance in a positive way.

336. Distractions: Write about how it feels when you can’t focus.

337. Corporation: Write about big business.

338. Word of the Day: Go to a dictionary website that has a word of the day and use it in a poem, story or journal entry you write.

339. Pick Me Up:  What do you do when you need a pick me up?

340. Unfinished: Write about a project you started but never completed.

341. Forgiveness: Write about a time when someone forgave you or you forgave someone.

342. Weakness: Write about your greatest weakness.

343. Starting: Write about starting a project.

344. Mechanical: Think of gears, moving parts, machines.

345. Random Act of Kindness : Write about a random act of kindness you’ve done for someone or someone has done for you, no matter how small or insignificant it may have seemed.

346. Underground: Imagine living in a home underground and use that as inspiration for writing.

347. Classic Rock: Pick a classic rock love ballad and rewrite it into a story or poem with a similar theme.

348. Night Owl : Write about staying up late at night.

349. Magnetic : Write about attraction to something or someone.

350. Teamwork: Write about working with a team towards a common goal.

351. Roller-coaster : Write about the ups and downs in life.

352. Motivational Poster: Look at some motivational posters online and write a poem or journal entry inspired by your favorite one.

353. Games: Write about the games people play – figuratively or literally.

chess game story starter

354. Turning Point: Write about a point in life where things turned for the better or worse.

355. Spellbound: Write about a witch’s spell.

356. Anniversary: Write about the anniversary of a special date.

357. Gamble:  Be inspired by a casino or lottery ticket.

358. Picnic: Write about going on a picnic.

359. Garage: Write about some random item you might find in a garage.

360. Review: Review your week, month, or year in a journal entry or poem format.

361. Detective: Write about a detective searching for clues or solving a mystery.

362. Camera: Take your camera for a walk and write based on one of the photographs you take.

363. Visiting : Write about visiting a family member or friend.

364. Trust: Write about putting trust in someone.

365. Congratulations : Did you write a poem, short story, or journal entry every day for a whole year? Write about what you’ve learned and celebrate your achievement!

We hope you enjoy these creative writing prompts! And of course, if you write anything using these prompts, we’d love to know about it! Tell us how you’ll use these everyday creative writing prompts in the comments section below!

And of course, if you’d like the printable ad-free version of these prompts to reference again and again or to use in your classroom, you can find them at our Etsy shop !

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Chelle Stein wrote her first embarrassingly bad novel at the age of 14 and hasn't stopped writing since. As the founder of ThinkWritten, she enjoys encouraging writers and creatives of all types.

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I have been on a reading binge since being on vacation from school. By rereading Little House, Anne of Green Gables, and Little Women among others, one wonders about writing a book. I stumbled across this while looking up unit supplements for my kiddos, and thought, hey, write a page a day and see what happens! Thank you for this collection of prompts! I’ve linked back to this page several times so others can try their hand at writing. Thank you again!

The Flicker, The Teeth, and A Warehouse in the Dark (the warehouse prompt)

I am in a large abandoned warehouse with a flickering light The only light in the whole room. It flickered leaving me in temporal darkness It flickered again and as it was dark I swore I saw something glowing It looked like glowing teeth The lights return and I see nothing Flickers on Flickers off I see the teeth closer Flickers on I see nothing Flickers off The teeth so close Flickers on An empty warehouse Flickers off The glowing teeth are inchings away bright red blood drips from their tips Flickers on Panic rises in my chest but nothing is there Turns off The mouth of bloody teeth is before my eyes I wait for the light to flicker back on I wait in complete darkness I wait And wait And wait The teeth open wide I try to scream by the darkness swallows it A hear the crunch of my bones I see my blood pore down my chest But I wait in darkness for the pain I wait And wait And wait The mouth of teeth devours my lower half I wait for pain and death I wait And wait And wait The light flickers on I see no monster Only my morphed body And blood And blood And blood And so much blood The light flickers off The monster eats my arm Flickers on I wait for pain Flickers off I watch as the creature eats my limbs Flickers on I wait for death Flickers off Slowly the teeth eat my head All I see is dark I wait for it to flicker on Where is the warehouse light? Where is the only light in the room? Where is the flicker? Where am I? Where are the bloody teeth? I wait for the light to come back And wait And wait And wait And wait And wait And wait And wait in eternal darkness

WOW. Thank you!

This is such a helpful tool! I’ve learned a lot about my self through picking a random prompt and writing the first thing that comes to mind. I’d love to see a follow up list of possible! Definitely a recomended sight!

I agree. Very helpful.

I am new at the blogging game. You have provided some wonderful ideas for blog posts. Great ideas just to get used to writing every day. Thanks

This list is really impressive and useful for those of us who are looking for good topics to blog about. Thanks!

Thank you! That somes in handy

Very nice list. Thanks for compiling and posting it. It’s not only good for bloggers, but poets, as well.

yess im using it for my new years resolution, which is to write a poem daily!

Wow, thanks so much for all these wonderful prompts! They are lots of fun and very helpful. I love how you’ve provided 365 of them–A prompt for every day of the year! 🙂

Not if it’s a leap year…

Haha. Yea. This is great though all the same.. ;-;

Lol actually there’s 364 days in a year and 365 in a leap year so……yeah

are you fucking stupid

There are actually 366 days in a leap year so… yeah

I use this for my homeschooling-I love it! Thank you so much!! This is a wonderful list. So creative! 🙂 🙂

Thanks! I’m preparing for writing every day next year and this will come in really handy. It’s just 364 writing prompts though. 164 is missing. 😉

MiMschi is wrong 164 is there i looked

I think they meant that as a joke, 164 is called left out…

Good it is useful

no its not you nonce

You Don’t Love Me, Damn You

things left unsaid

and then some

anger strangles the baby

in its crib,

flowers wilt,

rivers dry up

harsh words clatter upon the day,

echo unfortunately

till silence smothers

in its embrace

you wish you could take it back

what’s done is done

never to be undone

though things move on

part of you remains

locked in the middle of protesting

one last thing,

mouth open,

no words emerging

why must you be misunderstood?

why must everything you say

no way of straightening things out

gestures halted mid-air

an accusatory finger

shoulders locked

in sardonic shrug

dishes smash on the floor

spray of fragments

frozen mid-air

slam the door

it doesn’t open

but in spite of yourself

you turn and look

one last time…..

(Greg Cameron, Poem, Surrey, B.C., Canada)

Love these. Thank you!

This is really amazingly deep. I love it so much. You have so much talent!!

Thanks SOOO much for the prompts but I have another suggestion!

A Recipe for disaster- write a recipe for a disastrous camping trip…

that one sounds awesome.

Haha. Reminds me of the old twin’s show.. what was it.. where the two girls switch places when they meet at camp?

Pretty sure I know what you’re talking about. The Parent Trap, right? Never seen the whole movie, but it seems funny.

and also #309, everyone should have thought of a hamster “write” away XD!

May I have permission to use this list at my next Ozarks Chapter of the American Christian Writers meeting. Thank you for consideration.

Hi Leah, please send some more info here:

i am using it for my homeschooling and i love it

i am using it for my homeschooling

where is prompt 165?

sorry I meant 164, my mistake.

well kay, there is a 164 AND 165. So your head is clearly ????????????

What I like most about these is how you can combine them and get really weird ideas. For example, empathy from the rooftops: what if you shouted something positive in public every day – or if everyone did so? It might be fun to try, and then write a diary about it. Online time travel: if people could live virtually in incredibly well=constructed versions of different time periods, what would the effects be on today’s society? Could it change our language or customs?

It would be cool if we could have goggles that showed places during a certain time period. Like Seattle 1989. And you could buy special plugins, like specific people you want to hang out with, famous or non.

That one about online time travel is crazy brilliant!!! And highly thought-provoking.

It is amazing what creative writing could do to you. Daily prompts have proven to be very inspiring and overtime writers develop their own style of writing depending on how passionate they are about it. I would love to write about all 3, online, space, and time travel. cheers! and Don’t stop writing!

I belong to a writing club. We seem to have a lot of prompts to use. I love stories having to do with rain. Would you join me. I am jim

Wow! Inspiration right here.

May I use this list for a speech at my Ozarks Chapter of the American Christian Writers?

Love the inspiration


What about a leap year? You’re missing one topic.

Wonderful! I love writing and these prompts are very helpful. Thank you very much! ♥

It’s been really useful in getting me to write again! Thank you very much!

I really love the list of writing ideas you have compiled here. I will be using it and others to get myself back into writing every single day if I can be away with it. Also, I have noticed a few problems with this list. One is a repeat topic. Those are numbers 76 and 162. And you skipped a number. And have only 364 days of writing. Still through! All these ideas are absolutely amazing and awesome ideas! I commend you for putting it all together in an easy to read format too. Thank you so very much.

I think we have the list all fixed now, but thanks for catching a couple of early mistakes!

Thank you for helping me edit Lora! I don’t always have a second pair of eyes + appreciated this to fix + update the post! I always say my readers are my best editors. 🙂

these days get brighter, mine gets darker, why does it has to be me , why not life.

Mirror, Mirror: What if you mirror started talking to you?

u r awesome man

Wonderful compilation of ideas! I will send your blog along to my many Creative Writing students. I’m enjoying reading your posts.

wow!! great tips! but how long did it take you to write that? its a lot of words!! lol great stuff though..

This is so cool! I love these prompts and will definitely recommend some to my teacher!!

The promise “I made a promise with my best friend, I said i’d never break, Our personalities really did blend, But then I lied awake, The people disappearing, Her gaze was always leering. I never thought she was serious, I always took it as a joke, But it really made me curious, When she was digging around that oak, My best friend is a serial killer, And i knew the truth, My life turned into a thriller, And eating at me took away my youth, I couldn’t take it any long living with this weight, To the police I went to tell my tale, Looking at me with eyes of hate, she smiled and said, without her I would fail. Now i sit in the prison cell, Waiting for my call My friend across the room smiling, my eyes begin to swell, My neck snapping on the, from my sides my hands fall

Although my writing style is dark, that’s the way I enjoy writing, and thank you for this list, even though I didn’t do one per day, scrolling through I was able to see keywords that formed ideas in my mind

I love this <3 It's amazing :))

These are really nice I absolutely love them.

This is very helpful and I’ve been finding a way to help improve my creative writing!!! Thank you very much!

You are such a life developer, who can virtually transform a life busy with unnecessary activities humans are posted to through internet. And who can restore the appetite of people to purchase pen and paper which have considered the last commodity in the market at the expense of that great vampire ‘social media’ that left both old and young paralyzed. Thanks to the proponent of this great idea.

These are great. The Closed door one gives me a great idea for a new story! Thank you so much!

man what the fuck is this shit! i was looking for short story writing prompts and I get stuck with shit like “write about the weather outside”. Damn this shit is disappointing.

Hi John, the weather might seem boring, but there are a lot of ways you can springboard from that – maybe you write a story about a character who despises the sunshine or melts if they get rained on or they live in a underground tunnel and the house gets flooded…You can also use it as an exercise in developing more descriptive writing that shows, not tells for the scenes in your story. Writing about the weather seems “easy and boring” but seriously challenge yourself to write about it in a way that makes it interesting – it is not so easy to avoid the cliches as you might think!

I LOVE IT SO MUCH i do not know why but my kids, they will just like come on this website every time it is time to have a little bit of video games! XD

The weather outside that day was dark.

It was a perfectly reasonable sort of darkness. The kind of darkness you might get if you wake up an hour before sunrise. But it was late in the morning.

He had to make sure of that. He checked his alarm clock, his microwave oven clock, and his cell phone.

The sun was supposed to be out. But the moonlit sky was starlit and clear.

And as he looked outside again, he saw that people were out, going about their business, as if none of this really mattered at all.

What was he missing here?

(There. Now you have a short story writing prompt..)

You know what “John” i think this website is great so fuck you.

yeah you tell him john

It depends on how you view it. That one topic for instance has given me a beautiful story telling. I am currently about to round up with it and trust me the feedback has been amazing.

That is great! I’m glad it helped inspire you!

Dude kids go on here so stop swearing “John”

Maybe you need to work on improving the quality of your writing. Your use of expletives is totally uncalled for. I see nothing wrong with “writing about the weather outside”. In fact, this is a great topic and can lead to awesome discussions.

Very useful indeed. Thank u

i think this is a good prompted

I think it’s awesome, I looked for inspiration, I found inspiration, thank you

well! i fall in love with all these ideas! i loved this page! thanks for sharing these amazing ideas!

Great stuff mat Keep up the good work


When I read your comment, I thought you said “DAIRY,” not “DIARY.”

So… why not both? Write something based on a dairy farmer’s diary. Or… a dairy COW’S diary. Tell their stories, their private dreams. Or hidden shame…

That’s the way to think + use this list 🙂

Great idea!

Awesome list! Thank you!

Thanks so much! I’ve always been told I’m a great writer and should publish. I haven’t done a lot of leisure writing because I’m afraid I might realize I’m NOT a good writer. My therapist wants me to write more and these prompts are perfect!

This is fun i will keep doing this no matter what every year. I can’t stop writing either. Thanks for making this, it is very fun.

This helps so much! love these ideas

Can this website give me a write on the following topic. –

Imagine that the scientists could replace the human brains with computers or invent the computers with human feelings. What do you think would happen?Would the world become a better place to live in???

I’ve been looking for prompts to work through my creative art/collage journal for 2017…and love the ones you offer here….LOVE THEM! I like that they are more than just one word and give me something to think about before I start creating each day as a warm up to what is ahead.

I hope don’t mind, but I shared them on both Instagram and my FaceBook page in hopes to get my artist/creative friends to follow along with me in creating each day. I would like to include a link to your page in a near future blog post about my creative journal.

Thank you for posting and sharing you prompts…I’m excited to get started!

I’m on number 43 and I’ve already discovered a whole bunch about myself! These prompts are amazing and I can’t wait for the next 322 of them. I’ve recommended this to several of my friends. Totally worth several notebooks chock full of prompts and a years worth of writing 🙂

Very inspiring….

Hello! Is it alright if I add some of these to a little book I’m making for my Grandmother? She hasn’t opened a computer in her life but I know these prompts would do her a world of good. I believe in the importance of asking permission to use the creative property of another person 🙂 Cheers!

Hi Maxx, of course you may share with your grandmother – the only thing we would worry about is if you were to publish them for monetary gain. Enjoy! 🙂

This is really helpful. I’m glad I saw it first. ♥

OMG!! I’ve never been in this website before!!

Thank u so much this was so helpful. Idk how u came up with all thoughts prompts. It was very helpful. Thank u again.

For the first time in a long time it finally felt like I knew was going to happen next. I was gazing into her eyes and she was gazing back. I remember it like it was just yesterday, when she was still the one for me but never forgave me. I miss the sweet sound of her laughter and now all i hear are friends. I have tried to go back and apologize to her just to see if the answer will change but even I know that it will never change because I will never be enough for her. But if she ever decides that she wants me back she can have me because a life without love is one not worth living.


can u give me one using the prompt “normal”

Thanks for this!!!!! Will definitely help me in learning to tap into my creative writing genius 🙂

Thanks, this helped me a lot!

u have a typo!!!! 364

Thanks for pointing out, got it fixed 🙂 Sometimes my brain goes faster than the computer. 🙂

I wrote this, tell me what you think; prompt #4-dancing You see her tapping her toes, always listening to music. Although she doesn’t like the music, what she doesn’t know yet is it will be stuck in her head for the next year. She’s as graceful as a butterfly yet as strong as a fighter. Many only see a pretty face yet those close enough to the fire know the passion burning deep inside of her. At home she’s quiet, always in her room yet making loud noises through the floorboards. Her parents know what she’s up to but her little brothers don’t quite understand yet. All they know is that when she goes up there she’s listening to music and soon she will play it for the whole neighborhood to hear. They don’t know that she’s practicing, practicing for the most important day of the year. The one she’s been waiting for since she’s been a little girl. Tapping her toes at the table only stops when her parents beg her to rest. Even in her dreams she on stage, dancing like a swan. Yet deep down she’s scared of the failure that she will feel if this one day goes a bit to south. Tapping her toes to the beat of her music gives her a bit of pip in her pep when she walks down the halls. No one quite understands the stress she’s going through. Through her smile she’s worries, scared that one misstep might end it all for her. But she won’t let anyone see that she’s nervous. She’s used to getting bruises, she falls on the ground but always gets back up. Because she’s a dancer, the show must go on.

Brilliant. Loved it.


I’m working on a site in Danish about writing and I would love to translate these awesome prompts into Danish and use it on the site. Would that be OK? I’ll credit with links of course!

Hi Camilla, you cannot copy + post these on your site, but feel free to link to the article – our site is compatible with Google translate 🙂

Hi Camilla, this list cannot be republished, even if translated into another language. However, if you would like to link to our website that would be great, your readers are able to translate it into any language if they use a web browser such as Google Chrome.

My goal is to write all of these prompts before 2018

This is amazing! I am writing for fun and this is a list of amazing prompts!

Ha, Ha . I see what you did , #164 was missing and now it say write about being left out .

Thanks a ton !!!

This link has been really helpful for my blog, loved the ideas.

Thanks for not publishing my email address

You are welcome! We never publish email addresses. If you’d like to learn more about how we collect and use information you may provide us with on this website, you can read more on our privacy policy page. Hope that helps!

I have another suggestion, What about “The Secret Journey to the Unknown”. I reckon it’s awesome!

I was wondering if you could please send new ideas to me, much appreciated thanks.

I love all of these so much and i try to write referring to these at least once everyday thank you so much for these!

Trust, It is a beautiful thing. You give it to others, For them to protect. They can keep it forever, Or they can destroy it.

Wow what a treasure! Am glad I have found the right place to begging my writing journey.Thanks guys

Super awesome! Thanks so much for this collection of writing prompts!!

Today is the last day of the year 2017. I’m proud to say that I was able to complete this challenge. Thank you for the inspiring prompts! 🙂

That is awesome! We might just have to think of some new ones!!

how about one with sports like the NBA

I thought my life was over when I couldn’t access this for a couple weeks. These prompts are excellent. I write two page short stories on one every day. I hope you guys never take down this site but I’m printing these for insurance because it truly was devastating. I’m very emotionally attached to this list. Thank you so much for sharing.

Yes, we did have a small glitch in our hosting services for a few days! Fortunately, it was only temporary and unexpected! {Though I’m sure it did feel like 2 weeks!} Good to hear you are using the prompts!

Very nice article. Very useful one for improving writing skills

Thank you Sid! Glad it is useful for you!

Oh my god.. This is something a different, thought provoking and a yardstick to those who cultivated passion on writing, like me, beginners. Wishes for this website. I really wanted to try this 365 days of writing. Thanks in tons.

Glad you find it helpful! I hope it keeps you inspired to keep growing as a writer!

i love writing too! i am writing a book and this website inspired me too!

i have been writing lots of things and am getting A + on writing

thxs for your time with the web

i am making a epic book. it is because of this website. you really help. i will share a link of my book once i am done with it to your awesome cool really helpful website! thank you for your time

That is great to hear Christopher! Would love to see some of your work when you are ready to share! 🙂


I’m going to write few marvelous essays based on ideas in your impressive list. Thanks!

Just to tell some people that 165 or 164 is not missing because some people probably can’t see but just to let u know that 164 is a prompt called “Left Out”

Dang. The second idea about writing about what it feels like to love someone who doesn’t love you back, I wrote something like that BEFORE I found this website.

You can always try writing it again, maybe from the other person’s perspective this time? That is the beauty of the open-ended writing prompts – you can always interpret them in a way to push and challenge you as a writer!

Thank you for these prompts! I enjoyed looking through them and writing them! They gave me great ideas and inspired me so much.

This is my favorite website to find inspiration to write. I had run out of ideas and i had a huge writers block but this made it all go away. Here’s something i wrote:

He is a mess She is beautiful He has tears streaming down his face She glides across the room as if it were her kingdom And she’s The reigning queen He’s curled up in a ball In the corner of the room He looks at me I wonder what he thinks I can’t take my eyes off her The way she subtly smiles when she realizes Someone is looking She seems to be happy all the time But I can see through the smile It’s my first time noticing It’s not complete That was the first time I wanted to say hi But I thought Why would he look at me? The nerd with all the answers in her head All the books in her hands And Her sleeves full of hearts She looked at me From the corner of her eye She saw me looking The boy with the tear stains She saw me His tears were no longer streaming He had finally stood up Tall and handsome As he is Eyes Bluer than the blue jay that sat outside my bedroom window She had opened a book and started reading She hadn’t changed pages for a while Safe to assume She was distracted She looked up and Without knowing I was in front of her “Hi” Her brown eyes Stared in to my soul Erased the memory of why the tears Were streaming in the first place “Hi”

I love it Cynthia, thank you for sharing and glad that it inspired you to keep writing! 🙂

Thank you for so many amazing ideas! I love the sound of mirror, mirror!

Glad you found it inspiring Ar!

read the whole thing and didn’t find anything I’d enjoy writing 🙁

What kinds of things do you like to write? We have a whole collection of additional writing prompts lists here. Sometimes challenging yourself to write something you don’t like all in its own can be a good exercise for writing. Hope that helps!

These are ingenious!

I love these prompts! They’re inspiring! I’ve chosen to challenge myself by using one of these prompts every day of this 2019 year. I posted my writings for the first prompt on my Tumblr and Facebook pages with the prompt and a link back to this article- I hope that’s alright. If not, I can take it down, or I would love to discuss a way I could continue to do this. I hope more people can see and use these prompts because I have already found joy in using the first one.

Hi Elizabeth! Glad you are enjoying the prompts! You can definitely post what you write with these prompts as long as you do not copy the entire list or claim them as your own. Linking back to our website or this post will help others find the prompts so they too can use them for writing! If you have any questions feel free to contact us anytime using our contact form. Thanks!

Amazing original prompts Thank you so much!

Good list, but you’re not supposed to mistake it’s for its. Not on a website for writers, of all places!

I appreciate your comment, especially because after triple checking the article AND having a few grammar-police personality type friends do the same we could not find any typos. All of the instances of its and it’s are the correct usage.

However, one thing we did remember is that it is very easy for the person reading to accidentally misunderstand and not interpret it the way as the writer intended.

To clarify when we should use it’s vs. its:

We use it’s when we intend the meaning as the contraction. This is a shortened way of writing it is . We use its without an apostrophe when we use it as a possessive noun. Any instances you may note here are correct for their intended meaning.

Some examples:

Prompt #141 It’s a Sign : In this case we intend it to be interpreted as IT IS a Sign , where the usage is a contraction.

Prompt #7 The Rocket Ship : In this case we intend it to be interpreted as the possessive form.

I hope that helps clear up any possible confusion for you!

Thank you soooo much! That helped me a lot!

You’re welcome Keira! Glad you enjoyed our list of writing ideas!

It is so rich in bright and thought-provoking ideas. Thank you so much. Get inspired to have more, please

Thanks for this. I love to write things like this. Some of these though, weren’t as interesting as I wanted it to be, not saying that they aren’t interesting. I like the help you’ve added in, such as being led into a dark room with only a flashlight to help so it gets us started. Great job!

Thanks Maya, I’m glad you like the prompts. Sometimes the prompts that seem boring are the best ones to help you practice your skills as a writer to make them interesting topics. Some of the best writers can make the most mundane topics fun!

Nice….I don’t think I’ll ever lack something to write on … I so appreciate your ideas ..,they are great

Thank you, glad you enjoyed them!

Thank you for providing these writing prompts! They are great!

Thank You so much, these are amazing to start of with to get the creative juices flowing

Thank you very much

Sweet! Thank you so much! I plan to use some of these for some creative writing on

I’m glad they inspired you Steve! I always love seeing what everyone writes with these prompts – I really enjoyed your post about the cookie ad jingle! 🙂

Thanks so much for this list. I needed something to kickstart my writing. This is exactly what I’ve been looking for! I just wrote #1. WooHoo!!

Thank you for your list. This is great!

I write feature articles for our church library’s monthly newsletter. Perusing this list has helped me come up with a couple dozen ideas to consider for future issues! Thanks much for putting this together – it is being used beyond the scope of what you intended, I think!

That’s wonderful Debbie! There are so many ways to apply these prompts to any sort of project – thank you for sharing how you are using them!

Thanks for your prompts, an idea I have for a prompt is write a story based on your favorite story for example I’m writing a fantasy book based on the game dungeons and dragons…

i guss its ok

cgv hbvkd vjvhsvhivhcickbcjh

Just needed to ask: I’d like to think these prompts are for free writing with no pauses? But, does one edit and polish the piece after that? I keep reading about writing every day…like brain dumping. But, there is never a mention of what one does with the piece after that??

This article has been written with sheer intelligence. Such 365 creative writing prompts has been written here. This article is worth marking as Good. I like how you have researched and presented these exact points so clearly.

Thank you for this list! You’ve inspired me to take up the challenge, though I haven’t written anything in years!

I have even created a blog to post my ideas, and keep myself accountable. I hope this is okay, I will credit, and provide a link back to this page on each post.

I love it Ariadne, I’ll definitely come check out your site! Keep at it!

This is really Helpful thanks I love it😊

I never knew how much I had to write about. This should definitely keep me busy! Thank you so much for the list.

Hi! I saw a note saying this had been updated for 2020. I was curious if there are plans to update it for 2021. If so, when would the 2021-updated list become available?

Hi Gabrielle, I am not sure when we will next update this list, but feel free to check out some of our other writing prompts lists if you’ve exhausted this one! Writing Prompts for Kids {which is for grown-ups too!} and Poetry Writing Prompts are two great ones to check out. Hope that helps!

Loved this a lot! I would like to ask permission for using these prompts for my poetry and stories page on Instagram. Kindly let me know if I can use these and let my followers write on them too.

Hi, Piyusha, I’m just a user of the site like you, so I’m not “official”. But if you hit CTRL + F in your browser, that should open the “Find” dialog. Search on “Camilla”, and that will take you to a post and response concerning your request. Have a great and productive writing day. K. B. Tidwell

very informative thank you

I have always had problems finding something to write about. My problem is solved🥰 Thank you

I love this

Oh great. Good for everyone who enjoys picking the pen and writing something readable

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Home › Study Tips › Creative Writing Resources For Secondary School Students

308 Creative Writing Prompts To Unlock Your Writing Skills

  • Published November 23, 2022

writing prompts for creative writing classes

Table of Contents

You want to start creative writing but how? It’s hard to be creative on demand. Most people need some inspiration or a push in the right direction. That’s why we teach our creative writing summer courses with various techniques to conquer your fear of the blank page. 

And we’ve put together a stimulating list of Creative Writing prompts to get those creative wheels turning! But, if you want to niche down then feel free to check out our high school writing prompts .

General Writing Prompts

  • An envelope from a passing plane falls out of the sky and lands on your character. What would the contents of the envelope be?
  • You’re invulnerable except for one weakness. What’s your weakness?
  • Create a character that abhors your favourite hobby, and explain why.
  • Create a story that revolves around the main character, “the girl with the red balloon.”
  • What’s the most boring job you can imagine? Write a sports commentary on a person doing it. 
  • Describe a character’s morning routine as if you’re writing an inspiring script for a personal development Youtube channel. 
  • Your character is dancing in the rain. What’s the backstory?
  • Write a story beginning with the climax, then proceed to give flashbacks. 
  • Who is your least favourite person? What do you dislike most about them? Write a backstory on how they may have developed these negative traits.
  • Two characters are talking about a topic. Write the same dialogue twice, each from two different perspectives.
  • You have 7 days to complete a mission. Should you fail, the world ends. What’s the mission about?
  • Think about a person you want to be with. What do you wish they’d tell you? Write the scenario.
  • Your character is making a magic potion that steals 5 years of life from the maker. Why are they willing to give up their time for the potion?
  • Is there a moment in your life you wish would last forever? Capture it with your writing.
  • Write a story that begins with a tribal ritual. What’s the ritual about? How is it performed?
  • Choose a random holiday on the calendar, and write a greeting card about it. 
  • Rewrite the lyrics to a song with a good beat. 
  • Write a pokemon battle from the pokemon’s perspective.
  • Write about a character suffering from a disease without mentioning the disease.
  • If you had 1 hour left to live, what would you do?

Before moving on, creative writing examples can also help you conquer the fear of the blank page. We highly recommend reading through our resource, as well as our tips for creative writers like you.

Mythical Creatures/Places Prompts

  • You meet a dragon. How would the story go? Describe the dragon as much as you can.
  • Your character is running away from a perilous situation. Suddenly, a pegasus and their rider swoop down from the sky to their rescue.Who is the rider?
  • Losing your way while travelling, you accidentally stumbled on a golden city. You think it’s El Dorado! Before you take one more step, large soldiers materialise, golden spears pointed at your throat. How do you escape?
  • Write a poem about a mythical place that has always fascinated you.
  • If you could choose one mythical creature to meet in real life, who would it be?
  • You heard a beautiful melody while walking through a forest on a guided tour. You wandered off on your own and found a group of fairies singing a ritual song. Suddenly, they all turn to you and say in unison, “We have been waiting for you.” What’s happening?
  • You’re in a submarine on the ocean floor. When a mermaid approaches you with open curiosity. Describe the mermaid in as much detail as you can.
  • Describe the underworld from Cerberus’ perspective.
  • Your character went island hopping on vacation. When they encounter the irresistible song of the sirens. What happens next?
  • Write about Hades from Zeus’ perspective.
  • You just found out you’re a reincarnated Egyptian god/goddess. How do you react?

Superpower Writing Prompts

  • If you could choose any superpower, what would it be? Why?
  • You just discovered you have the power of invisibility. What would you do with this power?
  • What responsibilities come with having superpowers?
  • How would the world be different if everyone had superpowers?
  • You’re at a party, and you can read everyone’s mind. How will the scene go?
  • Write about what it would be like to have the power of flight.

Tired yet? Keep going or take a break by reading through the top UK universities for creative writing – maybe that will provide some extra motivation to keep you racing through these prompts.

“For the First Time” Prompts

  • A tourist from a tropical country encounters snow for the first time. How would they react?
  • Write about a person who grew up in a desert and saw the sea for the first time. 
  • What was the most crucial decision you made? Write a story of what would’ve happened if you chose differently. 
  • A colourblind person sees colour for the first time. How did the experience go?
  • Write about a deaf toddler who hears their mommy for the first time. 
  • Write a romantic story about first-time lovers.
  • How was your experience riding the boat for the first time?
  • You eat a foreign fruit for the first time. Describe the taste in a way that makes the reader’s mouth water.
  • Write about a character who skydives for the first time. 
  • What would Christopher Columbus have felt seeing America for the first time? 
  • Write about a character who experiences the death of an immediate family member for the first time. 
  • It was your first time seeing a Kangaroo. Write the experience from the Kangaroo’s perspective. 
  • Write about a character who gets caught up in a riptide for the first time. 

Creative writing has, and always will be, a popular university course. Knowing exactly what the a-level requirements for creative writing are helps ensure you have the best chance of getting into a top university of your choice.

Unfortunate Events

  •  Write a story wherein a character experiences 3 unfortunate events in quick succession within 24 hours. 
  • A businessman loses all his money in one day. What happens next?
  • Burglars break into your home 4 consecutive times in one month. Write a thrilling narrative.
  • You wake up to your empty garage. Someone stole your car. The carnapper happens to be the leader of an infamous gang, and you happen to be a CIA agent. Write an action-packed story.
  • Write about an innocent character framed to be the murderer. 
  • You entered the class with all your classmates glaring at you with anger and indignation, except one. Who smiles at you in evil triumph. What happened?
  • A character starts the day wrong and ends up ruining the rest of the day because of a bad mood. They go to bed screaming in frustration, “THE WORST DAY EVER!” Write what transpired in a way that’ll make your readers laugh. 
  • Your protagonist has a goal. But every time they try to achieve it, something bad happens. Is it a coincidence, or is someone sabotaging their efforts?

Alternate Ending/Path

  • Write an alternate ending to a movie or story you wished ended differently.
  • Write a character who’s born into a military family, and who is expected to follow their father’s footsteps. But they feel called to a different path. 
  • Who would you be if you could be anyone you want to be?
  • Julius Caesar survived his assassination. How will his story continue after the betrayal?
  • An heir to the throne chose to run away and travel the world in disguise. Write about their journey. 
  • Romeo and Juliet didn’t die. So how will their romance continue?
  • Harry Potter ended up marrying Hermione. Write the alternate ending.
  • Augustus didn’t die in the Fault in Our Stars. Write a happy ending. 
  • How would you have wanted the Game of Thrones to end instead? Write the script.
  • Gatsby was discovered to be innocent, and his life was spared. What happens next? 
  • If Jack didn’t die, how would his romance with Rose continue?

From the Object’s Perspective

  • Your character is an expert samurai. Write about the samurai from the sword’s perspective. 
  • Write a story with art materials as the main characters.
  • What is your most prized possession? Write from its perspective about how it thinks and feels about you.
  • Write about a family’s history from an heirloom’s perspective.
  • Write a scene from Dr Strange from his cape’s perspective.
  • Write about the Elder Wand’s previous masters before it became Dumbledore’s, from the wand’s perspective.
  • Narrate a Percy Jackson scene from Riptide’s perspective.
  • Write a scene from Dr. Strange from his cape’s perspective.
  • If Gandalf’s staff could talk, what legendary tales would it tell you? 
  • A castle houses multiple generations of nobles. What secrets does it know?

Is the Grass Greener on the Other Side?

  • Write a story about two characters who wish they live the other person’s life without the other knowing. 
  • A character believes the grass is greener on the other side. Turns out it isn’t. How did the story go?
  • Write about a little girl who wanted to be a mermaid, and her wish was granted.
  • A character thought having instant millions could make them happy. It didn’t. Write about their inner monologue on their deathbed. 
  • You had the opportunity to live the life of your favourite Hollywood star in a day. How will it go?
  • Do you think abundant money can buy happiness? Why or why not?
  • If you could shift into any career in the world, what would it be? Why? 
  • Your character’s best friend just got engaged. They’re happy for them, but they can’t help feeling a little jealous. Write about the internal struggle. 

Time Travel/History

  • Choose a historical event, and insert a fictional character who experiences it and has no idea how significant it is in human history. 
  • If you could travel back in time as a mere observer, what 3 historical events would you want to witness in person?
  • What would you tell your younger self from 10 years ago?
  • If you could change one event in human history, what would it be? Why?
  • What would you tell a parent if you could meet them before they had you?
  • You travel back in time but can’t return to your own time. What happens next?
  • If you could save one person from dying at their appointed time, who would it be? Why?
  • What would you tell your great-grandchild if you could travel to the future?
  • If you could relive an event that happened in the past without changing it, what would it be? Why?
  • Choose one decision you wouldn’t make if you could go back in time. How will your life change?
  • Your character travels through time, but they keep getting stuck in the same year. What year is it, and what’s happening?
  • You’re travelling back in time, but you accidentally go too far and land in the middle of a prehistoric jungle. Describe your experience.

Describe ___ To A Blind Person

If you were to describe the:

  • Northern Lights
  • Empire State Building
  • Mona Lisa Painting
  • Pyramids of Giza
  • Most beautiful person you met

How would you go about it?

The Villain/Wrongdoing

  • Write about a bully who undergoes a change of heart after being bullied. 
  • A mad scientist concocted a deadly solution in their lab to eradicate a huge percentage of the human race. What events pushed them to such measures?
  • Write a story about a manipulative character who always found a way to escape problems unscathed. Until they meet their match.
  • An important event is going on. A biassed journalist creates fake news. What events made the journalist regret what they did?
  • Write about a character who is falling in love with the villain.
  • Write a scene from Narnia from the White Witch’s perspective.
  • What would the final Lord of the Rings battle look like from Sauron’s perspective? Write the scene.
  • Write a Star Wars scene from Darth Vader’s perspective. 

Inner Monologue

  • You’re waiting in line to buy pizza. And you see a person reading the menu. What would their inner monologue be?
  • What goes on in the mind of a traitor?
  • Write a character who’s about to end their life. But they changed their mind at the last minute. Why?
  • Write the inner monologue of a genius taking a maths exam.
  • What goes on inside a gamer’s mind while playing Mobile Legends? 
  • Write about what Martin Luther must have been thinking while writing his momentous speech “I Have A Dream.”
  • What do you think were the thoughts of Julius Caesar during his assassination?
  • Write about what Taylor Swift’s inner monologue must have been while she wrote her famous song “All Too Well.”
  • Write about a character’s internal monologue while on a blind date.
  • What went on in the mind of the Titanic’s captain as they sunk?

Family and Friendship

  • Think about your top 5 friends. Make them characters in your story with you as the antagonist. 
  • You want to give a favourite book to a friend. Write the dedication note.
  • Recall a favourite moment you had with your best friend. Write the event from their perspective.
  • A family was eating dinner as usual. But something happened that changed their lives forever. What was the life-changing event?
  • Write a story about a hero who gave their lives to protect their loved ones against a powerful foe.
  • If a friend were to introduce you in an essay, what would they write?
  • Write an essay convincing your close friends to watch a movie they haven’t watched before. 
  • If you and your family were the main characters of an alien invasion story, how would it go? 
  • Two friends have been debating a topic for years. One dies first at a young age. How does the remaining person live his remaining life in reaction to his friend’s untimely death?
  • Write about a character who looks back on their life and discovers how they’ve hurt the people closest to them. How will they try to repair these relationships?
  • What’s your favourite bread? Describe its deliciousness without using the word delicious or any of its synonyms.
  • What’s your favourite dish? Narrate a chef preparing it in a suspenseful way.
  • Start your story with someone drinking their usual morning coffee at a local coffee shop.
  • How would the dialogue go if you were to instruct a younger sibling on how to prepare a dish through the phone?
  • Write a romantic story about food lovers who met at a restaurant. 
  • Describe how a stew smells so tasty as to make your readers’ mouths water. 
  • Brewed vs 3-in-1-Coffee, why is one better than the other?
  • You watch a person eating food with such satisfaction that it makes you hungry. Describe how they ate the food. 
  • Describe a dish without revealing its name.
  • Write about a character suffering from depression, then they taste food that reminds them of happy childhood days. 
  • What’s a vegetable you hate? Write an inner monologue from its perspective, detailing how it hates you back.
  • A mother receives the last letter from her son before he dies in the war. What does the letter say?
  • A couple parts ways. A year later, one of them decides to win back the relationship and proceeds to search. Only to discover the other died a week ago. What happens next? 
  • In a snap, your young character’s life takes a cruel turn because every family member dies in one day. What will they do in the aftermath of the tragedy?
  • A superhero shines bright. But what about the normal person who lost a loved one because of the superhero’s rash action in saving the world? Write a story about the normal person.
  • Your character is dying, and their life is flashing before their eyes. What are they seeing?
  • Write a character who has to let go of a loved one who recently passed away. 
  • What would you say if you could talk to someone you desperately want to talk to, but can’t?
  • Write about a character who goes through the motions but is frozen in the past. What situation forces them to move on?
  • Write about a war veteran struggling with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
  • A young student suffers from bullying. What development do they go through that allows them to stand up for themselves later in the story?
  • You stumbled upon a mostly empty house with a picture frame hanging on a wall. Who’s in the picture?
  • An old woman walks by every 3pm in the afternoon. Where is she going?
  • You look out and see a couple fighting behind a closed window. What are they arguing about?
  • Who do you find most mysterious? Imagine what their inner monologue sounds like. Write it down. 
  • Someone gave you a key necklace. You later discovered it’s an actual key to a secret door. What happens next?
  • Write a story about a character surfing on the beach. When they stumbled upon a message in a bottle. The very next day, they leave everything behind to go someplace else. What’s the message?
  • A locket has been passed down multiple generations and ended up with you. Little did you know it was hiding a secret yet to be discovered. What is the secret? How did you find out?
  • You sit at a playground and notice a young girl looking sullen and withdrawn. What do you think is her story?
  • Someone played the public piano at the airport. Your character watched as a tear ran down their face. Why?
  • Choose a painting of a deceased painter. What are they trying to tell you?
  • Your great-grandchild went back in time to meet you. Why?
  • There’s a secret room that’s been walled off. Why?
  • You find a hidden door in your apartment. Where does it lead to? 
  • “With his last breath, he uttered a name.” Continue the story.
  • You’re walking down a street, and you see someone who looks exactly like you. Your eyes meet, and both freeze in astonishment. What happens next?
  • Every year, a character dreads June 13th. Why?
  • What’s your most hated insect? Describe the expression of disgust on your face from the insect’s perspective.
  • Your character lands in a new world, and they encounter an animal they never saw before. How would you describe the animal?
  • The wolves sing to the moon. Write a song about it. 
  • Write the inner monologue of a cat intent on world domination.
  • Two cats are playing a mock fight. What would their dialogue be?
  • Write the inner monologue of a dog waiting for its owners to return.
  • A dog jumped on you. And you hear a voice say, “Sorry, sorry!” Who is it?
  • Write from the perspective of a porcupine. What does it feel like to have a soft body covered with spikes?
  • Write a war scene from the horse’s perspective. 
  • A male bird is courting a female bird. Write a dialogue. 
  • An ocean diver gets surrounded by a hundred squids. What happens next? 
  • Write what blood tastes like to a female mosquito. 
  • What’s the daily life of an ant in a colony like? Write a story. 
  • Ravens have a mourning ritual for their dead. Write about the ritual from a raven’s perspective. 
  • A male lion searches for his brother and finds him right before he’s about to be killed by hyenas. Write the suspenseful scene from the searching lion’s perspective.


  • You pass by a restaurant and see two people laughing their heads off. What is making them laugh?
  • Write a comedy with your neighbour as the main character.
  • A character tries a new hobby but is really bad at it. What is their hobby, and how do they fail?
  • Your character goes on a date with someone who has a strange quirk. Describe the quirk and the date.
  • You’re at a job interview, and the interviewer asks you an absurd question. How do you answer it?
  • Write a funny story about a man who is either always early or always late. 
  • Your character is in a meeting, but they keep dozing off. What’s the meeting about, and how do they stay awake?
  • You’re at a party, but you’re really bored. How do you entertain yourself?
  • Write about a character explaining that the dog ate their homework, with the line “true story.”
  • A man discovered an unknown bird species. It happens to be a parrot. And it scared the man senseless when it heard the bird talk. Write about the details of the horrifying encounter. 
  • You’re stuck in traffic, but you must hit the loo quickly. What do you do?
  • Write a detailed essay that makes a mundane object sound massively life-changing. 
  • You’re about to eat food you abhor, but you must act like it’s the best thing ever. What is the food, and how do you react?
  • Write about a character who can read minds and cannot help but answer unspoken thoughts, garnering horrified and bewildered glances. 
  • Your character falls in love. But they had no clue it was the child of their sworn enemy! How do they untangle the mess?  

New/Parallel World 

  • Create a world where the currency is food. 
  • You see a planet at night that glows especially bright. If it housed living creatures, what would it be like?
  • Who’s your favourite fictional character? Imagine they came to life in the real world. How would they adjust? What would their reaction be to the modern world? 
  • You stumbled upon a parallel universe. What happens next?
  • A portal opens up and transports you to another world. What is the world like, and how do you get back home now that the portal’s closed? 
  • Write Snow White’s story from the Evil Queen’s perspective. 
  • What would you ask if you had access to the Evil Queen’s Mirror on the Wall?
  • Write Mulan’s story from her father’s perspective.
  • Write Ariel’s story from King Triton’s perspective. 
  • If the Prince in Sleeping Beauty wrote a poem for Princess Aurora, how would it go?
  • Write Cinderella’s story from the lost shoe’s perspective.
  • Narrate Cinderella’s story from the Evil Stepmother’s perspective. 
  • Write Simba’s story from Scar’s point of view.
  • Write Elsa’s story from Olaf’s perspective.
  • A war broke out in an ancient era, and a runner bolts out, carrying a crucial message. Write a story about the journey. 
  • You woke up to people screaming, “Invasion! RUN!” What will you do next?
  • Your character is a soldier who’s captured by the enemy. How do they escape?
  • You find a wounded soldier on the battlefield. What happens next?
  • People are falling sick with a new, unknown disease. A doctor tries to find a cure amidst all the chaos. Did the doctor succeed?


  • Your character encounters a monster in an alley. Write the scene. 
  • You open your door, and there’s a note on the floor that says, “I’m watching you.” What happens next?
  • Write a character that stumbled upon a human corpse while exploring a cave. Who is it?
  • You live in a new home, and you discover it’s haunted. By whom?
  • You watch a beautiful lady receive a bouquet of roses. She reads the attached note and drops it in an expression of utter horror. What did she read?
  • Write a story about an attractive man with a dark secret. 
  • You’re riding the train. Suddenly, someone who looks familiar approaches you and says with alarm, “Quick, we have to get off this train now .” What happens next?
  • Write a horror story about a character going to the grocery store. 
  • Someone shares a secret with you that has a huge impact on your circle of friends. You promise to keep it. But the owner of the secret dies the next day. Unable to carry the burden, you reveal the secret. Only to end up being haunted by the owner’s ghost. How does the story resolve itself?
  • You had a nightmare about a character chasing you. You wake up remembering only one detail: a tattoo. As you go about your day, you notice a stranger with the same tattoo. What happens next?
  • A series of events led to you receiving a cursed package. Why did it choose you? How do you get rid of it?
  • Write a story about a character who wakes up with someone shaking their shoulders and looking into their eyes, asking frantically, “What happened?!”
  • If a zombie apocalypse broke out right now, what are the first 3 things you would do? Why?
  • A character in your story wants to confess to someone they fell in love with by sending them a text message. How would the message go?
  • Write about a character looking for love on a dating site…and finding it. 
  • Write a story about two people falling in love, only to discover they are closely related. 
  • Two characters meet on a pilgrimage together. Write about how they fell in love.
  • “Wherever you are in the world, I will find you.” Write a romantic story starting with this sentence.
  • Two lovers are separated by war. They swore to get married after, but they both died before they could reunite. Write their story via the letters they exchanged with each other. 
  • You held the hand of someone you’re attracted to for the first time. What does it feel like?
  • Write about two characters who like each other in secret. Did they end up confessing their mutual attraction?
  • A character goes on a journey to understand what love means. How did it go? 
  • What’s your favourite poem? Write a poem responding to it. 
  • Compose a poem about falling for someone who doesn’t return your affections.
  • Write a short poem about your name.
  • A sailor is wrestling against a stormy ocean. Write a poem from the ocean’s perspective.
  • Write a poem about an object or a place you once had access to when you were a child. But it’s no longer there today. 
  • Planet Earth has many beautiful places. Choose one and write a poem praising its beauty.
  • What is the most beautiful building you’ve ever laid eyes on? Write a poem about it. 
  • What does your favourite perfume smell like? Describe the scent in a poem.
  • Use lots of onomatopoeia in a poem. 
  • Write a poem about the colour green.
  • Who’s the most attractive person you met in your life? Write a poem about them.
  • What are you most afraid of? Why? 
  • Someone is trying to convince you to try something you’re scared of. How would the dialogue go?
  • A character is afraid of public speaking. But they end up being a world-renowned public speaker. Write a story about the journey. 
  • Write about a character who’s terrified of the deep ocean. 
  • Your character is afraid of aliens. But they proceed to fight them anyway to protect others. Write the story from the first-person point of view.

General Personal Essay

  • What is the greatest regret of your life? Write an essay about it. 
  • How would you define “love”?
  • Who do you admire the most today? Why?
  • How would your day go if you were someone’s shadow for a day?
  • What is your happy place? Why?
  • What do you feel, hear, smell, or see right now? Describe it in as much detail as you can.
  • Write about your favourite hobby and how it affects your life.
  • If you could create a national holiday, what would it be? How would the country celebrate it?
  • What’s your favourite season? Why?
  • What makes you happy? Write the answer from the perspective of a very young person or a very old person.
  • What are three personal weaknesses you want to improve on? How do you plan on improving?
  • What are the top 3 words that describe you best? Why?
  • Write a story about a character falling for a narcissist, then finding a way out. 
  • What are your 3 greatest achievements in life? Write an essay about it.  
  • You’re nominated for an award. The host reads out the winner’s name, and it’s you! Write your 1-minute speech. 
  • What’s your favourite piece of clothing? What are the memories you’ve made while wearing it?
  • What’s your favourite mode of transportation? Write an essay convincing the readers why it’s the best option. 
  • If you could invent anything, what would it be? Why?
  • If you had wings, how would you take care of them? Write an essay entitled “Top 10 Tips for Wing-care.”
  • If you were the president of the country, what 3 policies would you reinforce first? Why?

A Line in the Story

  • Include this line in your story: “It wasn’t…what I wanted.” 
  • Write about a character who lives their life according to this statement by Nelson Mandela, “The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.”
  • Write a short story that begins with “My life was never the same since.”
  • What’s your favourite song? Write a story that begins with the first verse. 
  • Write a story that ends with “she never looked back.”
  • “Practice makes perfect,” the common saying goes. Write a thriller story with the line repeated at least 3 times throughout. 
  • “I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it.” Write a story from the perspective of someone who lives by this quote.
  • Start your story with this quote by Michael Jordan, “I can accept failure; everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying.”
  • You meet someone who wants to lose weight but easily gets discouraged. Write 5 inspiring letters to motivate them to keep going. 
  • You see “Reach out to a friend” posters hanging everywhere to advocate for mental health. Write a letter to someone who is lonely and desperately needs a friend. 
  • What would you write if you could send a letter to a renowned historical person?
  • If you could send a letter to a politician, what would you write?
  • Write a letter to your younger self, convincing them not to give up on their dreams.
  • Your character finds an old love letter from a previous relationship. What do they do with it?
  • A Gratitude Letter: You’ve just been diagnosed with cancer, and you’re going through chemotherapy. Write a letter to your body, thanking it for everything it’s been through.
  • Create an essay around the theme, “It’s not about how much you earn, but how much you spend.”
  • A character undergoing a financial crisis wins the lottery. Did their life improve? Or did it become worse?
  • Write an orphan character who rises through the ranks and becomes a millionaire. What’s their motivation?
  • A rich man gives away all his money and lives a life of poverty. Why?
  • A carefree couple racks up a large amount of debt, and they have to face the consequences. How do they go about reforming their lives?
  • Your character has to choose between love and money. Which do they choose and why?

Out of This World

  • You’re on a space mission when you suddenly find yourself stranded on an unknown planet. Describe the planet and your experience.
  • You’re a space shuttle pilot, and you encounter a black hole. What happens next?
  • Your character is the first human to make contact with aliens. How does the meeting go?
  • You’ve been chosen to be the first human to live on Mars. Describe your experience.
  • You wake up one day to find that you’ve been turned into an alien. What happens next?
  • You’re an alien who is observing humans for the first time. Write your observation notes.

There you have it! A wealth of writing prompts to help get you started. Whether you’re aiming to write a story, poem, or personal essay, we’ve got you covered.

And if you’re looking to go deeper into honing your skills then try out some creative writing exercises to get the brain juices flowing.

Don’t forget to bookmark this post for future reference!

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writing prompts for creative writing classes

Krystal N. Craiker

classroom of kids and teacher

It’s that time of year. Winter break is behind us and summer break still seems so far away. Some of your teacher creativity might be running a little dry right now, and you aren’t alone. If you’re struggling to come up with fresh, new writing prompts for your writing classes, we’ve got you covered.

Here is a round-up of writing prompts . Each of these are adaptable to multiple grade levels. I’ve divided them into expository, persuasive, personal narrative, and creative writing groups.

Expository Writing Prompts

Persuasive writing prompts, personal narrative writing prompts, creative writing prompts.

1. Write about a character from the most recent book you’ve read.

  • Elementary: Write about your favorite character in the book. Explain why they were your favorite character. Was there anything you didn’t like about them?
  • Middle: Compare and contrast your favorite and least favorite characters from the book.
  • High: Which character had the strongest development in the book? Why do you think this?

2. Pick a scientist or inventor you would like to meet. Why do they interest you? What would you ask them?

3. You must invite three historical figures from different times and places to a dinner party. Who would you invite and why? Would they get along?

4. Write about sustainability and the environment.

  • Elementary: Explain three ways you can help the environment every day.
  • Middle: What are the two biggest issues affecting the environment? What solutions can you think of for these problems?
  • High: Create a plan for increasing sustainability in your neighborhood.

5. Would you explore space? What are the risks and rewards?

6. Should single-use plastic bags, straws, and utensils be banned? Why or why not?

7. Which world leaders have had the biggest impact?

  • Elementary: Was George Washington or Abraham Lincoln more important to history?
  • Middle and High: Which world leader has had the biggest impact in the last 50 years?

8. What technological innovation has changed the world the most?

9. Should we spend more money on space research or ocean research?

10. Is it more important to be loved or respected? Can you be both?

boy writing in class

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Teaching writing can be difficult at the best of times, and it’s only made more difficult if you’re teaching remotely. From creating the original writing prompts to providing personalized, timely feedback to every student, there’s a lot to organize.

If your students keep making the same writing mistakes, try ProWritingAid. Our editing tool shows students grammar, spelling, and style suggestions as they write. Our suggestions are positive-focussed—they don’t feel like red pen all over a student’s work. Each suggestion has a link to informative articles and videos so that writers can learn more about why a certain suggestion has been made.

sentence fragment suggestion

Beyond grammar, spelling, and style, ProWritingAid offers 20 other writing reports to help your class learn more about their writing. They’ll have access to visualizations of the sentence lengths in their work and be able to see all of the words they repeat frequently. The thesaurus report and Word Explorer features allow students to find contextually relevant synonyms and learn more about how certain words are used by other writers.

Ready to see quick improvements in your students’ work?

Back to the writing prompts!

11. Write about a time when you felt overwhelmed or scared. How did you overcome it?

12. Describe your perfect day. Who is there? Where are you? What do you do?

13. Write about a time when you chose to be either a leader or a follower. Why did you make the choice you did? What would you change?

14. If you had a million dollars, what would you do with it?

15. Write about a family memory.

  • Elementary: How do you celebrate holidays?
  • Middle: What family member or close friend has had the biggest impact on your life and why?
  • High: Write about a time that your family came together to overcome an obstacle.

16. Find an interesting piece of art. Write a story about it.

17. You’ve just discovered a new planet. What is the environment like? What species are there?

18. In your grandmother’s attic, you find a mysterious box. What do you find when you open it?

19. You have one round-trip time travel ticket. Where do you go and why? What will you bring? What do you experience?

20. You and your classmates have 24 hours and unlimited resources to make the world a better place. What do you do?

I hope this list has inspired some innovation for your writing classes again. Do you have favorite writing prompts to share with other teachers? Drop them in the comments below.

Want to use ProWritingAid with your classroom? Download this free book now:

ProWritingAid Teacher’s Manual

ProWritingAid Teacher’s Manual

Editing technology like prowritingaid provides immediate, personalized feedback that will help students to better understand grammar and writing techniques., in this guide , we walk you through exactly how to use prowritingaid in your classroom and give you tools and templates for creating a rigorous, effective independent writing practice with your students..

writing prompts for creative writing classes

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Check every email, essay, or story for grammar mistakes. Fix them before you press send.

Krystal N. Craiker is the Writing Pirate, an indie romance author and blog manager at ProWritingAid. She sails the seven internet seas, breaking tropes and bending genres. She has a background in anthropology and education, which brings fresh perspectives to her romance novels. When she’s not daydreaming about her next book or article, you can find her cooking gourmet gluten-free cuisine, laughing at memes, and playing board games. Krystal lives in Dallas, Texas with her husband, child, and basset hound.

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Creative Writing Prompts - Featured - StudioBinder

  • Brainstorming
  • Scriptwriting

82 Creative Writing Prompts and Writing Exercises for Screenwriters

C reative writing prompts are powerful tools that aid you to become a consistent writer. It’s easy to get inspired once, maybe twice about a project or story that means something to you. But if and when that light dims, or you finally finish that project, what’s next? Writer’s block isn’t much of an avenue. Excuses are for amateurs because professional writers write. Writing prompts and writing exercises, give you the momentum to keep going when the mind slows down, or if you’re anything like me, when doubt sets in.

Creative Writing Prompts

Character prompts work for every genre.

I’m going to start with some creative writing prompts that are universal across all writing mediums and all genres. These will be character driven exercises. 

Why start with character? 

Genre isn’t the seed of a good story, nor are high concepts. 

High concept stories can be insightful, mind-bending, and just straight up entertaining, but they are not what makes a compelling narrative. 

If you’re not sure who your characters are, or what it is they want, your story may fall apart some time in Act 2, halfway through the novel, or during the first 5 pages of your short.  The point is, you may lose the point if your characters are unclear, because in any great story, character suggests plot.  

Have you ever tried to write a screenplay, only to find your having a hard time “fitting in” certain details you wanted to have or saying to yourself that you just haven’t “figured it out” yet. When character intention is clear, the story unfolds. 

And these upcoming character prompts can be applied to any genre you feel most comfortable writing, which is the best part about them. 

But don’t worry, in later sections, I’ll make sure to separate fantasy writing prompts from horror or romance writing prompts for those that just need an extra boost for the genre specific piece they’re writing. 

Character Driven Exercises and Prompts 

Character writing exercises.

For all of these, try not to think too much. You can edit later. These responses should be purely intuitive. Give perfectionism a rest, and allow yourself to enter the world of your story, even if you’re not sure exactly what is looks like. 

So let’s start with some direct questions to ask your character. Try these with every character, antagonists too. But let’s start answering as your protagonist: 

  • What food would you take to a deserted island, and why?
  • Your house is burning. What three things do you save? Why?
  • If you could have had a different job, what would you have picked? Why?
  • What are you scared of losing?
  • First vivid memory of childhood?
  • When was the first time you were embarrassed? What happened?
  • Is there something you’re hiding from the world? What is it?
  • What do you like about yourself? What do you hate about yourself?
  • What do you want out of life?

Creating something from nothing isn’t easy. But there’s help!  

Embrace your new world, and finish the next set of sentences as your protagonist: 

  • My last thought before I fall asleep is…
  • I believe the reason I was put on this planet is to…
  • What breaks my heart is…
  • What makes me happy is…
  • Worst thing anyone has ever said to me was…
  • Nicest thing someone has ever said to me was…
  • Most romantic thing anyone has ever done for me, or I, them was…
  • My attitude toward god is…
  • The person who understands me no matter what is…
  • My greatest achievement has been...

Knowing the flavor jam your character prefers, what kinds of flowers they like, or who their favorite band is, may or may not yield any helpful information. But fine, I get it.  

Here are some prompts to get the useless information people love to write about. Maybe they actually are relevant and will help your story:

  • Zip up or pull over hoodies
  • Flannels or silk pajamas...birthday suit?
  • Chocolate cake, ice cream, or salty chips
  • Hair color, eye color, your other physical attributes?
  • What book are you reading?

Now for you as the writer. Answer as yourself: 

  • Why this story? What is it about this story that makes you want to write it?
  • Are you scared to write about something? Why?
  • What do you want to express through your story?
  • Why should this be a screenplay and not a novel, short story, or take some other form?
  • Did you pick the right protagonist to properly express what it is what you want to show?
  • Mess around with loglines to distill what your character really wants. Learn to write loglines if you’re unfamiliar.
  • What do you think your characters might need?

**Take your characters to a party**

This is one of my favorite exercises because it can lead anywhere. Now that you have some more info about who these people are, throw them in the same room. See what happens. 

Who gets along? Who doesn’t? 

There can be dialogue, but there doesn’t have to be. 

What kind of party is it? Why are they there? 

Try these out with no intentions that it will lead to a finished product. Just have fun with it to see what else you can discover.

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Dialogue Writing Prompts

Try just dialogue prompts .

Dialogue exercises are great because they help you understand your characters more. But they also provide a kind of creative spark for story ideas. Now while you’re actually writing them, it’s not good to let your story idea control the conversation. In fact, I wouldn’t think about story at all while you’re writing them. But later, when you go back to take a look at them, you might find some hidden gems that spark more ideas.

Here are a list of dialogue prompts. It doesn’t matter if you don’t know who the characters are yet, or which character a certain line would be good for. Try not to think about how this could fit into your already existing story, or what scene this should belong in, just write:

  • “Why didn’t you answer before? I called you three times. Now you’re pretending like nothing happened.”
  • “I just have a lot of friends so…”
  • “You hate coffee?”
  • “It just doesn’t seem normal.”
  • “I’ve developed a kind of aversion to it. I don’t know, it made sense at the time.”
  • “Have you ever seen it in person?”
  • “It’s not that I love her…”
  • “How much do you need?”
  • “I don’t know! Don’t yell at me. I just found it on the street.”
  • “How do I know if you’re lying?”
  • “It would be easier if you’d just apologize.”
  • “It’s not much of a cause, really. Just a bunch of grown children who weren’t accepted anywhere else.”
  • “Why won’t this thing work?”
  • “I’m trying, I’m really actually trying.”
  • “It’s been weird without him.”
  • “It’s not that I’m against it…”
  • “I hear something, can you come over?”
  • “I guess it’
  • “Where did you go for 3 hours?”
  • “What’s wrong with your face?”

You can use these at the party, brainstorming a fantasy novel, rom-com script, or even just to work out that writing muscle. 

Though actions sometimes speak a little louder than words...

**Now try writing a scene with NO dialogue. Only action.**

This is helpful if you already know a bit about your characters.

What do they want, what’s stopping them from getting it? 

Writing Exercises 

Fantasy writing prompts.

Fantasy prompts are weird. Not because they’re other worldly and actually strange, but because these prompts are usually plot ideas, which shifts us away from character a bit. But of course these can be equally as interesting. 

So feel free to write your heart out and go off into some weird dimension with space warlocks, or flying dogs, but just remember to come back to character eventually. In fact, everything above, could of course be used in a fantasy script, novel, or short story. But again, plot ideas and premises, can really get the mind moving. 

Let’s jump in:

  • In this town, if enough people start to believe something, it quickly becomes true. Except to you. 
  • An animal has turned into a person. 
  • An archaeologist is led to a dig in a major city. And what she finds changes the course of her life. 
  • An archaeologist finds a fossil of something that couldn’t have ever existed.
  • A land has been praised with only sunlight. Nighttime no longer exists.
  • It’s the 1980s. You’re driving from St. Louis to California. You pull off the road to purchase a map. But the map you bought is a bit misleading. You end up in a city that doesn’t exist. 
  • You sit down at a coffee shop at the window. Across the street you see a claymation couple walking down the street. No one else seems to notice, except for one man waiting for the bus. You both make eye contact. 
  • You wake up in a world where you can purchase emotions. 
  • You’re a child with no fear. You meet a dragon in the woods.
  •  Every single leader, politician, or otherwise “high-up” government official dies.

More Creative Writing Exercises

Romance writing prompts.

Of course, the character writing prompts and dialogue prompts can work especially well for romance stories. But I want to give a few more options for what to consider when writing a love story. 

And these prompts in of themselves, have been used forever. But the way to avoid cliches is in your specificity of character and uniqueness in story. The more specific you get, the more unique, and yet, universal your story will be. 

  • A couple is vying for the same job opening. 
  • Two people in an arranged marriage eventually fall in love. 
  • A student graduates and he and his former teacher run into each other at a bar. It goes a little too well. 
  • A doctor is falling in love with her recent fling. They decide to get serious and shortly after he is accused of murder. 
  • A tourist travels to another country and falls in love with a local.
  • A toxic relationship kills a romance and pushes the protagonist away. The main character leaves and gets involved with someone new. But now she can’t stop treating them as her ex treated her. 
  • Two friends who know everything about each other start dating. Was this a bad idea?
  • Two people in love can never make it work. 
  • Opposing politicians hide their romance. 
  •  A psychic and a scientist meet on a blind date.

Prompts to Die For

Horror writing prompts.

Okay, now for the creepy stuff. 

  • You wake up in a world where you’re a serial killer
  • Freelancers accept job offers online. They begin to disappear. One woman survives, but ends up somewhere she can’t seem to come back from. 
  • A grown man discovers he wasn’t adopted, he was kidnapped. He goes abroad to find his real family but his trip turns into a horror show.
  • Mass shooters take over a city. 
  • A doll equipped with artificial intelligence takes over one family’s home.
  • A group of senior citizens at a nursing home get bored and try to  connect to their loved ones through a Ouiji board. Unfortunately, they connect to something else. 
  • A group of friends go to an Escape Room party but only a few make it out. 
  • A restaurateur slowly poisons his customers over several years, maintaining a seemingly normal life. 
  • A medium begins to get attacked by those she’s connecting to. Can she escape?
  • A couple begins to have the same nightmares that escalate quickly.

Can you blend any of these with the fantasy prompts?

Be as creative with the prompts as you are in your writing.

Give yourself all the freedom you want, because once you start writing, you’ll have to make decisions. 

Stephen King - Headshot - StudioBinder

“The real importance of reading is that it creates an ease and intimacy with the process of writing… Constant reading will pull you into a place where you can write eagerly and without self-consciousness. It also offers you a constantly growing knowledge of what has been done and what hasn’t, what is trite and what is fresh, what works and what just lies there dying (or dead) on the page. The more you read, the less apt you are to make a fool of yourself with your pen or word processor.” — Stephen King

Daily Writing Practice

Wrapping up.

A good prompt can be anything. A line of dialogue, a character’s strongest desire, an object, a new kind of world, a seemingly stupid question. It doesn’t matter. Something will bode well with your imagination and it’ll just click. And depending on your story, characters, or even time in your life, different exercises may feel more natural. 

Allow yourself the time and space for this brainstorm work.  

Inspiration can come from anywhere, and it often comes fast. So even if you aren’t stuck on the treacherous writer’s block, train yourself to catch it when it comes, so stagnancy and complacency don’t become habitual. You may reap some pretty incredible short-term rewards, but you’ll also be laying a foundation for a potentially, fruitful and consistent career. 

Brainstorm Short Film Ideas

So after you’ve worked with some of the above prompts, you may have that hunger. It’s time to start writing! What will you write? Maybe you already know. But considering writing a short film might be a good next step.  Short films are great mediums because the turnaround time is much shorter than a feature. And finishing projects, especially early on, creates momentum. So let’s brainstorm some short film ideas!

Up Next: Get Short Film Ideas! →

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23 creative writing prompts

By BBC Maestro Writing Last updated: 02 February 2023

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If you’re an aspiring writer, you might know that it’s sometimes difficult to think of something to write about. Whether you’re already writing a novel and are struggling to write a particular scene, or you want to write a short story but don’t know where to start, creative writing prompts are a great tool to have in your back pocket.

Here are some of our favourites to get you started.

  • What are creative writing prompts?

Creative writing prompts are anything that gets you writing and gets your creative juices flowing. It could be an invitation to write about a particular topic, a sentence to get you started, a question, or even a visual. It could draw on aspects of your real life, could get you to write about something from someone else’s point of view, or ask you to write something entirely fictional.

Why use writing prompts?

How to make the most of creative writing prompts.

Writing prompts are designed to kickstart your imagination by giving you something to write about. This saves you from staring into space while you try to come up with story ideas. You might generate writing ideas that you’ll take forward, discover a new character you want to write about, or even just write a really strong sentence that you know you need to incorporate into your next story.

They can be a great way to write about new topics. Sometimes we’re all guilty of writing about what we know but writing prompts can force you to think about subjects you’ve never broached before.

It can be hard to get started sometimes when it comes to writing, but prompts give you a specific starting point. That can make it easier to pick up the pen and start writing and often, you’ll find that once you’ve overcome that first hurdle, the ideas start to flow and you move onto different topics.

In that sense, you can think of writing prompts as a warm-up. You wouldn’t get on the football pitch and start playing a 90-minute match without warming up first, nor would you attempt a 200-metre sprint without dynamically stretching your muscles beforehand.

So creative writing prompts, then, are like your warm-up. They help you to flex your writing muscles, getting your brain stimulated, so you might want to sit down and tackle a writing prompt before working on a new poem or novel chapter.

Writing prompts can be used as part of a free writing exercise, which is when you allow yourself to write for a set period – say two minutes – without any editing. That means no worrying about form, grammar, structure or even topic. You just write and see what comes out, which can be a good way of gathering your thoughts or generating ideas. To get started with free writing, some people like to follow a prompt to help remove any writer’s blocks that might be holding them back.

A person writes

Whatever type of creative writing you do, it’s worth giving prompts a go to come up with new ideas, release your writer’s block, and get into the flow. But don’t worry about following the prompts too closely. They’re not meant to be prescriptive – rather, you should use them as inspiration for your own writing. If a prompt asks you to write about a mistake you made, but it sparks an idea for a poem or a story about travel instead, then just write whatever you want and let your imagination guide you.

Here are some other tips to get the most out of creative writing prompts:

  • Don’t overthink it – just start writing anything, it doesn’t matter if it’s not directly related to the writing prompt. The important thing is that you get something down on paper.
  • If the prompt isn’t resonating with you, you don’t need to force it. Feel free to move on to another one and see if it’s a better fit for you.
  • Don’t feel under pressure to write anything complete – you don’t need to write a full short story, poem, or novel chapter as a result of your writing prompt. It’s simply the starting point, and you’re free to abandon it halfway through or take it in a different direction.

Now, here are some fiction writing prompts for you to try next time you’re stuck for story ideas!

An open book

1.     Write your life story in five sentences, writing it in the first person. Then try writing it in the third person.

2.     Write about your favourite holiday. What did you do, where did you go, who were you with, and why was it so special?

3 .     Look through today’s newspaper until you find a story that speaks to you.

Use it as your starting point for your creative writing practice. This is a technique Malorie Blackman likes to use. In her BBC Maestro course on Writing For Young Adults, she explains “Pig-Heart Boy was inspired by a newspaper article stating that we’d have to use animal organs for transplant because there is such a shortage of human donors. I thought that was a wonderful idea for a story.”

4.     Open the dictionary and choose a word on whatever page you open. Use that as your jumping-off point and write about whatever springs to mind.

5.     Write from the perspective of an inanimate object. Choose any object, like a tree, saucepan, or backpack.

6.     Sketch out a character, and answer key questions about them like:

  • What is their name?
  • What’s their occupation?
  • What’s their background?
  • Where did they grow up?
  • What motivates them?

You can use our character bio template to help you develop your character further.

7.     Write about your biggest heartbreak. Did you learn any lessons from it? How did it affect you?

8.     Time travel exists. Write about where you’d go. Will you travel to the future or the past? What do you see, smell, eat and do? Is there anything that surprises you?

9.     Write a story that begins with a character having a strange gut feeling they can’t explain. If you love the idea of writing a thriller , this is a great one to get you into the right mindset.

10.  Write a scene inspired by your favourite film. It could be a deleted scene from the movie, or it could be a story about the main characters with events that aren’t featured in the film.

11.  Go for a walk and take a notebook. Write down what you see around you. As Alan Moore says in his BBC Maestro course on Storytelling , “if you look at any place deeply enough, I am convinced it will have a spectacular story to tell you.” So go for a walk and see if anything around you sparks a story, as “wherever you live, there is something sacred and fascinating about that ground on which you are standing. It is your duty as a writer to excavate the meaning from that ground and convey it to your readers.”

12.  You get a letter that will change your life forever. Write that letter – or write about what it will change.

13.  Write a story set in an airport. Who is there, where are they going and why?

14.  Write about a time you were treated unfairly. When writing the character of Jack Reacher, Lee Child drew on his own experiences to create a relatable character who was seeking revenge. As he says in his BBC Maestro course on Writing Popular Fiction , “I was feeling a desire for revenge. The question was, how do I fictionalise that in an interesting way? Reacher was thrown out in the same way I had been thrown out, and like me, he was learning how to live on the outside.” Taking inspiration from Reacher, write about how being rejected made you feel, and how you dealt with it. Then write about what you’d do if there were no real-world consequences.

15.  Your character’s child comes home from school with a detention slip. But your character isn’t angry. Write about what happened and why they’re not bothered that their child got into trouble at school.

16.  Visit a charity shop and pick out one item that inspires you . Write about it, thinking about what it is, where it came from, what it’s used for and who might have owned it previously.

17.  Write a story, scene or poem set during an apocalypse.

18.  Go to a café and write about the people at the table next to you. Jot down notes about their body language, their clothing, what they’re doing, and even snippets of their conversation. Be nosy, as Malorie Blackman says: “Pay attention to people’s conversations, what they say and also how they say it – accents, body language, level of gesticulation.”

19.  What’s cooking? Write a story or scene about someone cooking something. What dish are they making, who are they cooking for, and what significance does it hold? What does it smell and taste like?

20.  Costume party. Write a scene or story in which a character is wearing a costume. Why are they wearing it? What is the costume? And what happens while they’re in disguise?

21.  Write about someone fulfilling another character’s dying wish.

22.  Write something from a child’s point of view.

23.  Describe a normal object from the perspective of an alien. Take a normal, everyday object and write about it from the point of view of someone who’s seeing it for the first time and finds it very strange.

Creative writing prompts are one of the best ways to incorporate writing practice into your daily routine. Give them a go and see what you come up with! And if you want to find out more about the art of writing fiction, take a look at some of our writing courses from Lee Child , Alan Moore and Malorie Blackman .

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70 Picture Prompts for Creative Writing (with Free Slides)

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Visual writing prompts help young writers generate new ideas and overcome writer’s block. We’ve put together 70 picture prompts for creative writing that you can use in your writing centers or lesson plans to get your students’ creative juices flowing.


Picture Writing Prompts for All Ages

Writers of all ages and experience levels can get stuck thinking about what to write. Writer’s block is not just a challenge for reluctant writers. Even professional writers have days when they feel less than inspired.

Visual prompts can result in a vast array of story ideas. A single image viewed by ten writers will result in ten completely different stories. Even if you use verbal cues to get students thinking about the picture, each student will still write a unique response to the image.

Visual creative writing prompts are fantastic for elementary school because younger students often relate more to a pictorial prompt than a written one, but don’t shy away from using these with high school and middle school students as well. Pictures make a fun alternative to your typical writing prompts and story starters and can help shake up your regular routine.

How to Use Picture Prompts for Creative Writing

There’s no limit to the ways you can use writing prompts. Here are some of our favorite ways to incorporate image prompts into your weekly lesson plans .

  • Writing Center. Print cards or writing pages with these images on them and put them in a writing center for your students to discover at their own pace.
  • Specific Skills. Use story picture prompts to help kids work on specific writing skills. For example, you could work on descriptive writing by having them describe the setting of the picture in detail. Or you could work on character development by having them make up a history for a person in a picture.
  • Warm-up Activity: You could pop the pictures into Google slides and project an image on a screen or whiteboard for the first fifteen minutes of class and have students work on a short story as soon as they enter the class.

No matter how you decide to use them—whether at home or in the classroom—photographic writing prompts are a great way to cultivate a daily writing habit and encourage kids to explore new topics.

70 Pictures for Writing Prompts

We’ve selected 70 of the most interesting pictures we could find for this exercise. When choosing photos for writing prompts, we look for high-quality photos with intriguing subject matter, but we try to go beyond that. We want to share images that suggest a story, that make the viewer ask questions and wonder why things are the way they are.

We want to feel propelled to explore questions like, What happened before the photo that led to this moment? What are we witnessing in this photo? What’s about to happen?

A photo doesn’t make much of a story starter if it doesn’t suggest that there might be a bigger picture lurking beneath the surface.

We hope you and your students love these picture prompts for creative writing as much as we do. If you love them, go ahead and scroll to the bottom to grab your own copy.

We’ve included a couple of questions with each picture that you could use to spark pre-writing conversations in your classroom, which can be helpful when working with younger students who might need a little more direction.

writing prompts for creative writing classes

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Whose cat is this? What is he looking at? Where is he?

a cat sits alone against a blue wall

What is the owl thinking about? Is he alone? What does he hope to eat for dinner?

an owl sits outside

Who are these frogs? What is their relationship with each other? Why are they taking photos?

two toy frogs stand in a field. One takes pictures of the other.

How did the dog get a phone? Why is he taking selfies? What is he doing with the pictures he takes?

a dog lays on a field and takes selfies

This cat doesn’t look too happy. What’s bugging him? Did he get too many phone calls or is he waiting on an important call that’s taking too long to come?

a black and white cat sits beside a phone

What do these chicks think of the dog? What does the dog think of the chicks? Do you think they can communicate with each other? If so, what would they say?

a dog lies beside two chicks

Where do these lemurs live? What are they looking at? What is something unusual that might happen to them?

a lemur lies on a branch while another hides in the background

What is this fox doing? Is he yawning and stretching or is he trying to scare someone away? What kind of mischief does he like to get up to?

a fox stretches and opens its mouth

Is this wolf alone? If not, who is with him? What is he planning to do? Does he have a family to feed or protect?

a lone wolf stands in a misty clearing

What is this child doing on the laptop? Can he actually read and type or is he just playing? If he can read and type, how did he learn that at such a young age? What other cool things can he do?

a toddler wearing a toque and glasses types on a laptop

Where is this woman? Is she lost? How did she get to this street? What interesting things might she discover as she explores this new city?

a woman stands in an empty street holding a map

Why is the dog wearing glasses? Can he see through them? What are he and the girl doing? How does he feel about it?

a woman holds a dog. Both wear glasses.

Who are these two little boys? What is their relationship with each other? What is the teddy bear’s story?

two boys sit in a bath holding a teddy bear

Who are these children? Why are they running? Is it a race or are they playing a game? Who’s going to win?

a group of children run across a field

Whose horse is this? Does the little boy own it or does he just visit it? Can the horse talk? How does the boy feel when he’s with the horse?

a boy sits on a fence and feeds a horse

What is this boy reading? Does the book have magical powers? Does the boy? Do the stories in the book become real or does something else special happen?

a boy reads a book that has some magical elements in it

Where is this man? How did he get there? What is he looking for?

a man dressed like a pirate looks through a telescope

Who is walking over the bridge? What’s on the other side? Is it worth the risk?

a top-down view of a person crossing a bridge

What are these people doing on the elephant? Where are they? Are they tourists or is the elephant their pet? What would life with an elephant be like?

two people ride an elephant through a field

Who made this map? It looks old. Has it been hidden away for a long time? Who discovered it and how? What does it lead to?

an old map

Whose typewriter is this? What important or secretive thing might they be working on? What could happen if the wrong person finds their work?

an old typewriter

Who are these three stuffed animals? Are they living? What is their story?

the backs of three stuffed animals

Whose ukulele is this? Why did they leave it here? Who might find it?

a green ukulele sticks out of the sand

Where is the owner of the bike? Where does this path lead? What if the bike’s not there when the owner returns?

a bike leans against a wooden railing

Whose shoes are these? Why did they leave them here? Why are they so dirty?

a pair of dirty shoes in the mud

Who was reading the newspaper? What was the most interesting thing they read? Where have they disappeared to?

a stack of newspapers, a white cup, and a pair of glasses

Who put this sign on the old truck? What do you think of it? How did the truck end up in its current condition and location?

a deserted old truck

Who set the table? Who are they expecting? What special occasion are they celebrating? What could go wrong?

a fancy table setting

Whose birthday cake is this? Are they having a party? Who is there? Who did they want to have there that didn’t show up?

a birthday cake

Who lives here? How do they access their home? What is their life like?

a home surrounded by water

Who built the igloo? Where is it? How does it feel to spend the night inside it?

an igloo

What is the history of this castle? Who lives in it now? Does it have any special or magical features?

a castle

Is this barn abandoned or do people live on the property? What kind of animals might live here? How do they keep themselves entertained?

a big red barn

What is it like living on a houseboat? What kind of community do you think forms among the neighbors? Imagine you live on one of these boats and think about how your daily life might change. What interesting things could you do if you lived here? What would you miss the most?

a row of houseboats

Where is this hut? Who lives here? What mystery might unfold if a stranger came knocking at their door?

a round hut

What is this lighthouse called? Who runs it? How often do they leave? What is the most memorable experience they’ve had as a lighthouse operator?

a lighthouse

How did this house get here? Does anyone live in it? What would life be like here?

a house on a rock surrounded by water

Where is this festive street? Are the people there celebrating something? Where is everybody?

a colorful European town

Who lives here? How did they build this house? Are they hiding from something? What does it look like inside?

a hobbit house with a yellow door

Whose notebook is this? Why did they leave it here? What’s written in it and how might it change the life of the person who finds it?

a notebook lying on a beach

What are these women doing? What are they supposed to be doing? Will they be in trouble if they get caught?

two women playing on a piece of wood

Who might be represented in this statue? Why is she being pulled by lions? What amazing things might she have done to deserve a statue in this prominent place?

a statue of a woman being pulled in a carriage by two lions

Where is this? Who is riding in the hot air balloons? Where are they going and why?

hot air balloons fly over a town

How old is this tree? Where is it? What are some of the most fascinating stories it could tell?

an old oak tree

Where is this carousel? Who is riding it? Can you think of a special or strange story about how it came to exist in this particular place?

a woman rides a carousel

What are these people thinking about? What’s at stake for them? What happens if one of them sneezes?

tightrope walkers walk on tightropes

Where are these penguins? What are they talking about? Which one of them is the leader?

4 penguins stand in a huddle

What is this place? Was it designed to be open like this or was it once part of someone’s home or a public building? How have people’s opinions of this place changed over time?

a room with statues in it

Who are these kids? Is this what they’re supposed to be doing? What happens when their teacher sees them?

kids play around in a dance studio

Who is supposed to ride in this boat? Where are they going? Will they make it there?

a small boat with a fancy seat

Is this plane special to someone? What did they have to do to get it/build it? Where will they fly to in it?

a yellow plane

Who decorated this train car? Which passengers will fill it up? What will they talk about?

an upscale train car with fancy seats

Whose skis are these? Why are they sticking out of the snow? How did their owner get down the mountain without them?

two skis and two poles stick out of a snowbank

Where does this gondola go? Who rides it? How does it feel to ride it?

a gondola

Who’s driving the monster truck? Why is it at the beach? What is it going to crush? Who is watching?

a monster truck does tricks on a beach

Where is the boat going? Who is on it? What is their mission?

a ship sails away from shore

What city is the helicopter flying over? Why? Is the driver looking for something specific or do they have a special delivery?

a helicopter flies over a city

What’s the little boy doing in the boat? Is he alone or is someone with him? Where is he trying to go?

a little boy holds an oar in a boat

Who is in the sub? What’s it like inside? What are they doing?

a submarine

Whose book is this? What’s it about? What’s happening to it?

a book that has water flowing out of it

How did that piece of land with the house on it break off from the rest of the world? Why? Where is it going? Is anyone in the house?

a fantasy graphic with a piece of land separating from the earth and floating away

Who is this girl? Where is she? Who is she shooting at?

a woman in the woods shoots a bow and arrow

Where does this scene take place? Is the lizard/dragon good or bad? What is its relationship with the girl?

a girl standing on the tip of a cliff pats the nose of a giant lizard

What do these books represent? What kind of world is this? What (or who) is inside the books?

a row of books designed to look like houses

What are these dinosaurs discussing? Where are they? What do they do for fun?

two dinosaurs

Whose cottage is this? Do they still live there? If not, where have they gone? If so, what do they do there?

a fairy tale cottage in the woods

What is the moth thinking about? Is it alone? What’s the biggest challenge it faces in this moment?

a moth on a flower

Who is the owl looking at? Has it read these books? What is its greatest talent?

an owl wearing beside a stack of books

Where are these trees? Why are they pink? Do they have any special powers or features?

trees in a wood covered with something pink

What do you think? Which kind of pictures do you like best for creative writing prompts ? Let us know in the comments.

Tuesday 5th of March 2024

I LOVE these! My daughter has always struggled with written story prompts and an internet search this week convinced me of the value of picture prompts for reluctant readers/writers ( if you're interested!). I'll definitely be using these to help improve her writing skills. Thanks so much!

Tuesday 26th of December 2023

I think the idea of using picture prompts is a great idea. It initiates oral language thus building vocabulary. It allows lends itself to students working in small groups to stimulate new ideas. The prompts engage the students and gives the teacher the opportunity to focus on specific writing skills.

luke elford

Wednesday 13th of December 2023

cloey mckay

Tuesday 17th of October 2023

I tried this with myself and my 6th-grade students, and they love it. it gives room for so much creativity.

Nayyar Abbas

Tuesday 30th of May 2023

This is very good idea and it really works, viewing these one try to think one's own way that what these pictures are telling or asking? I also recommend that this idea should also be given to the students for building their creative instinct.

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Writing Prompts & Exercises

The time is now.

The Time Is Now offers three new and original writing prompts each week to help you stay committed to your writing practice throughout the year. We also curate a list of essential books on writing —both the newly published and the classics—that we recommend for guidance and inspiration. Whether you’re struggling with writer’s block, looking for a fresh topic, or just starting to write, our archive of writing prompts has what you need. Need a starter pack? Check out our Writing Prompts for Beginners.

Tuesdays: Poetry prompts Wednesdays: Fiction prompts Thursdays: Creative nonfiction prompts

Get immediate access to more than 2,000 writing prompts with the tool below:

Animals Are People Too

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The human tendency to anthropomorphize may come with risks great or small, but could there also be benefits? Last month, Indigenous leaders of New Zealand, Tahiti, and the Cook Islands signed a historic treaty granting legal personhood to whales, with the hope that the bestowal will lead to negotiations with Polynesian governments to enforce greater protective rights for the animals, which hold a position of sacred cultural importance. This week, write a personal essay that reflects on a moment, memory, or encounter that propelled you to project humanlike qualities onto an animal, whether a pet, insect, pest, or country critter. Do your personal beliefs about personhood collide or align with arguments about humanity and nature, or different types of sentience and consciousness?

In the Abyss

In the 1989 science fiction thriller film The Abyss , a search and rescue team descends thousands of feet into the depths of the ocean after a U.S. nuclear submarine mysteriously sinks in the Caribbean Sea. The word abyss could refer to both the oceanic zone that lies in perpetual darkness and to the more general space of mystery, fear, and awe in the face of the seemingly infinite expanse that the crew encounters, including an encounter with an alien being. Write a story that revolves around characters who find themselves in conflict with something deeply unknown and unfathomable. How might feelings of isolation surface or be exacerbated in such a situation? Play around with the pacing and order and quantity of revealed information to create a feeling of suspense.

What Is an Elephant?

In the ancient parable of the blind men and the elephant, a visually impaired group has gathered around an unfamiliar creature to them, each encountering by touch a different part of the animal. Although there are different interpretations of the parable, a poem by nineteenth-century poet John Godfrey Saxe describes how the first of the six men falls upon the elephant and exclaims that the animal is nothing but a wall, the second feels the tusk and disagrees saying the animal is like a spear, the third approaches the squirming trunk and calls the animal snakelike, and another feels the ear and states that the animal is like a fan. The story points at the limits of subjective truths and what is lost by only seeing one side of something. Write a poem that explores a single item, image, or action through a prism of different potential truths. Experiment with expressing contradictions and coexisting truths.

How do you tell the tale of your nose, lips, teeth, eyes, brows, and cheeks? This week, study yourself closely in a mirror, and write a memoiristic essay that relays the backstories of your facial features. Are there elements that have shifted, scarred, or been modified in some way with orthodontics, makeup, surgery, or the natural processes of aging? Have there ever been parts of your countenance that you’ve disliked or preferred, and has that changed over time? Take a long, hard look at yourself and reflect on the memories that come up and how your facial expressions and textures have evolved. You might decide to cover just one or two features, or be inspired to cover each part of your face and how they all have a story.

Raring to Go

This spring brings a rare occurrence of cicadas to the eastern United States: the simultaneous emergence of two separate broods, Brood XIII (the seventeen-year cycle Northern Illinois Brood) and Brood XIX (the thirteen-year cycle Great Southern Brood). Though otherwise harmless to humans, male cicadas serenade females at a range of up to ninety decibels, making for a pretty noisy season. In celebration of this double brood, write a short story set against the backdrop of an infrequent or unusual natural occurrence. How can you play with the imagery or symbolism of the phenomenon to expand on what your characters are experiencing? Do their actions reflect or contrast in some way with what’s happening in the background environment?

Seeing Shapes

“I read Call It in the Air , / Ed’s book about his painter sister & her death / at 44, like Billie Holiday, & I start to consider / 44. No. Not the death, just the conch of it, / how it whorls & opens, limelights / —44 limelights a woman,” writes Shamala Gallagher in her poem “‘The New York Times’ Says Aloe Is a Hoax,” published in the Academy of American Poets’ Poem-a-Day series. The lines in the poem shift from lightness to darkness, and the image of recursion and spiraling reappear as the speaker allows her mind to wander freely after a long day. Write a poem that experiments with a recurring shape that you’ve observed. Consider the connotations or associations with this shape, whether it be a number, ray of light, or plant. How might a simple form inspire you to think about the shape of time in your life?

Daily Grind

Day Jobs , an exhibition currently on display at Stanford University’s Cantor Art Center in California, examines the impact of day jobs on artists. Showcasing the work of three dozen visual artists, the accompanying catalogue offers first-hand accounts of how their employment in places like a frame shop, hair salon, and museum helped inform their creativity. The exhibit deconstructs the romanticized image of the artist and draws attention to how one’s economic and creative pursuits are often intertwined. Write a personal essay that considers how one of your day jobs unexpectedly influenced your own writing projects. How might something undertaken because of financial necessity also provide valuable ideas to explore in your art?

Order and Disorder

Sheila Heti’s new book, Alphabetical Diaries , published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux in February, is just that—rearranged sentences in order from A to Z made up of the author’s diaries kept over the course of a decade. By placing previously composed sentences into this structure, patterns emerge, and unexpected juxtapositions reveal fresh connections that form a new kind of narrative. “Basically it’s a crazy year, that’s what Claire said, this is going to be a crazy year. Be a pro , Lemons said. Be a woman. Be an individual , he suggested. Be bald-faced and strange. Be calm,” Heti writes. Take this idea of reordering your writing and use sentences from a story you’ve written in the past to create a new story. Experiment with different constraints, whether alphabetizing or grouping by another type of category, perhaps using recurring images or places. See where these arrangements take you.

Anne Carson’s 2017 poem “Saturday Night as an Adult,” which had a viral moment on X last summer, is structured as a short block of text recounting observations and thoughts around a dinner date with two couples. “We really want them to like us. We want it to go well. We overdress. They are narrow people, art people, offhand, linens,” writes Carson. “We eat intently, as if eating were conversation.” While the existential despair may seem tragicomic, Carson conveys an honest vulnerability that touches upon disappointment at the potential smallness of life. Write a poem that builds upon your observations of a mundane social encounter in order to capture larger concerns on your mind, perhaps using sharp, terse statements as Carson does in her poem. Is there humor to be found in these minute details?

Opposite Effects

In her groundbreaking 1962 book, Silent Spring , biologist Rachel Carson foretold of “a spring without voices.” Documenting the harmful effects of chemical pesticides used in the agricultural industry, her book sparked an awakening to the environmental crisis in the 1960s and 1970s and launched a movement that brought about the founding of the Environmental Protection Agency. “The history of life on earth has been a history of interaction between living things and their surroundings,” she writes. “Only within the moment of time represented by the present century has one species—man—acquired significant power to alter the nature of his world.” Write an essay that begins by examining how the environment, whether natural or manufactured, has molded you. Then consider how you have modified your surrounding environment—the nature of your world.

Feeling Lucky?

With Saint Patrick’s Day around the corner, you might be feeling as if luck is everywhere you look: in four-leaf clovers, Shamrock Shakes, horseshoes, a rabbit’s foot, and the number seven. Or perhaps everything is just a coincidence, or predetermined by destiny. In a 2008 Guardian essay critiquing Victor Hugo’s 1862 novel, Les Misérables , Adam Thirlwell writes: “In this gargantuan novel, everything seems utterly improbable. Every plot operates through coincidence. Normally, novelists develop techniques to naturalize and hide this. Hugo, with his technique of massive length, refuses to hide it at all. In fact, he makes sure that the plot’s coincidences are exaggerated.” Thirlwell notes Hugo’s classic novel straddles the ideas of lucky coincidence and predetermination. Based on your personal beliefs about luck, coincidence, and destiny, write a story in which a plot unfolds according to a series of consequential encounters, discoveries, and mistakes. How do your own convictions about these ideas affect your characters’ decision-making and the overall philosophy of your story?

The Thing With Feathers

For one year, fans of Flaco the Eurasian eagle-owl enjoyed watching him fly freely around New York City and become, for many city dwellers, a feathered symbol of liberation. Released from his cage at the Central Park Zoo by a vandal, zoo officials were initially concerned for his survival, but Flaco quickly learned to hunt prey and move about the city. His fans grew, and for them, Flaco began to represent resilience and the ability to embark on a new chapter of life, a gesture at the potential of rewilding. Sadly, Flaco died in February after apparently striking a building on the Upper West Side. This week, write a poem that incorporates a subject that signifies qualities of freedom and hope for you personally. Consider strengths and weaknesses, and address both in your poem.

Regional Representation

A new immersive installation by artist Cauleen Smith uses scent, sight, and sound to explore the work of the late poet Wanda Coleman, widely considered the unofficial poet laureate of Los Angeles. Smith turned to Coleman’s work to help reacquaint her with the city after a sixteen-year absence. “L.A. is a shy one, a real one, and a terrible beauty,” Smith writes in the liner notes to an EP in the listening room of the exhibit. “You can’t really see how gorgeous it is in a drive-by, you have to sit with the banality, the horrors, the wildness of the city until it begins to become legible.” Select a poet who writes about your town, city, or region, and write a personal essay that reflects on their perspectives and your own. How can reading another writer’s observations and emotions about your hometown provide a refreshing lens to what might otherwise seem familiar?

Strangers in a Strange Land

When a group of strangers gathers in one setting, whether in a horror story, mystery, or in real life, the situation makes for a great premise. In The Extinction of Irena Rey (Bloomsbury, 2024), the debut novel by author and translator Jennifer Croft, eight translators from eight different countries arrive at an author’s house located in a primeval Polish forest to begin their work when the author disappears. As they investigate the author’s whereabouts while attempting to continue their work, rivalries and paranoia begin cropping up. Write a story that revolves around a group of unacquainted people, all confined in one location. Experiment with different modes of dialogue, setting description, and point of view. How will their secrets be revealed?

“Because curfews of / Because strip search at the checkpoint into / Because grandmother’s undergarments splayed on / Because two men with guns on the way to / Because grandmother saves plastic Coke liters to / Because the water could without notice be,” writes Jessica Abughattas in her poem “Litany for My Father” published by Split This Rock. The poem consists of twenty-two lines, which, all but the last line, begin with the word “because” and end abruptly, as if in mid-thought. The lines build into a powerful expression of loss and a sublimated sense of intense sorrow, how powerless one can feel in grief. Write a poem that makes use of omission or erasure in this way, taking into consideration how the format might influence your subject or theme. How does this repeated absence of words achieve emotive force?


In a recent essay in the New York Times Magazine , Mireille Silcoff explores the evolving concept of subcultures and how teenagers today are primarily engaged with subcultural aesthetics (such as Preppy, Messy French It Girl, Dark Academia, and Goblincore) popularized on social media, “a fleeting personal pleasure to be had mainly alone.” Silcoff argues that there is no longer a shared experience and work to get into a scene, and that “subcultures in general —once the poles of style and art and politics and music around which wound so many ribbons of teenage meaning—have largely collapsed.” Write a personal essay about a subculture you were engaged with long ago or more recently. Detail your introduction to the scene, the behaviors, styles, and accessories that accompanied it, and its positioning within society at large. How did this sense of belonging inform who you are today?

Maggot, Humvee, Peg, Swap-Out, Baggy Eyes, Creaky, Fast Forward, Extra Eye. These are all nicknames of characters found in Barbara Kingsolver’s Pulitzer Prize–winning novel, Demon Copperhead , whose title itself is the nickname of Damon Fields who narrates the coming-of-age story set in the Appalachian Mountains in Virginia. In an early chapter of the book, Damon talks about how prominent nicknames are in his town and that even his mother no longer uses his real name. “Some name finds you, and you come running to it like a dog until the day you die and it goes in the paper along with your official name that everybody’s forgotten,” says Damon. Write a short story in which a group of characters have colorful nicknames for each other. Start with a list of names and consider the power dynamics at play for those who use and bestow the nicknames.

Follow the Language

“I wanted to think freely, let my mind wander, follow ideas (and phrases) wherever they might go,” said the late poet Lyn Hejinian in a 2020 interview for the Wheeler Column at the University of California in Berkeley, where she was a professor and John F. Hotchkis Chair Emerita. “For a while—but not for very long—I used poetry to express my adolescent angst and longings, but very soon I recognized the banality and the limits of that. It wasn’t self-expression I was seeking but loss of self.” Inspired by Hejinian , who died at the age of eighty-two on February 24, write a poem that avoids a preconceived intention of style or thematic experience, and instead allow these elements to emerge as you let your mind wander. How might language, in the abstract as the material of your thinking, lead to a new mode of expression or representation?

More Than Chores

Doing laundry, washing dishes, grocery shopping, vacuuming, running out to the bank—do the chores ever end? Perhaps not, but there are small delights and incidental pleasures to be found in all the errands to be completed: a breath of fresh air, the feel of a tidy home, running into a friend, an interesting exchange with a stranger, or a long-forgotten memory that surfaces. This week write a personal essay that focuses on a single mundane task you regularly carry out and expand on the activity by looking at it from a variety of angles. Consider who taught you how to complete the chore, obscure observations, bodily movements, happenstance, and societal relevance. Can the chore become more?

Rediscovered Classic

Our Daily News series reports a recent New Yorker article telling the story of how a bartender in Manchester came across a novel from the 1930s and tracked down the rights for the book in order to get it back in print. Thanks to Jack Chadwick’s discovery , Caliban Shrieks by Jack Hilton will be republished in March by Vintage Classics in the United Kingdom. This week write a short story in which your character comes across an out-of-print book and finds adventure while tracking down the whereabouts of its author. Do plot points from the mysterious book come into play in your tale?

Drawing on a wealth of botanical vocabulary, Canadian poet Sylvia Legris explores themes of nature in her new book, The Principle of Rapid Peering , forthcoming in April from New Directions. In the book, the title of which is derived from early-twentieth-century ornithologist Joseph Grinnell’s study on the behavior of birds around food, Legris categorizes birds as either “those who wait passively for food to approach them” or rapid-peering active-seekers “whose target[s] of desire [are] stationary.” She writes: “The rapid-peerer’s eyes turn / as the head changes position. // The eyes focus the beak, / the instrument of capture. // ... The head follows the feet, / quick moves, to, fro. // Feet with an intelligence of texture, / bark, branch, gravel, soil.” Browse through nature guides or encyclopedias in search of unique animal attributes, specifically looking for evocative terminology with potentially expansive interpretations. Then write a poem that both touches on the term’s original meaning and imagines a new interpretation connecting to a personal experience or memory.

Happy 2,000th!

To celebrate publishing our two-thousandth writing prompt, spend some time this week jotting down a list of the most significant milestones of your life so far. Reflect on both traditional milestones, such as school or education-related achievements and relationship or family developments, as well as other hard-won goals that might be related to creative pursuits or something considered unconventional. You might also choose to focus on an important event that occurred unexpectedly and set your life in a new, progressive direction. Write an essay that expands upon one or more of these milestones. In what ways has your outlook on life evolved over the years, from before the event, immediately after, and then many years later?

The One That Got Away

While the origins of the phrase “the one that got away” may come from the sport of fishing, and how the biggest and best would-be catch seems to always escape, the phrase can also refer to a past love, one that was lost to the whims of fate. Oftentimes this lost love is a source of regret or nostalgia, as is the case in Katy Perry’s song which takes the phrase as its title and reflects on a relationship from the “summer after high school.” Write a scene in a short story that sees one of your main characters recounting a lost love. Does the character encounter something that reminds them of their long-ago amour or does the reminiscence set off a further chain of consequences?

Cosmic Connection

“You have changed me already. I am a fireball / That is hurtling towards the sky to where you are,” begins Dorothea Lasky’s “Poem to an Unnameable Man” from her 2010 collection, Black Life . The poem’s speaker regales their addressee with the projected story of their intense connection, as Lasky incorporates cosmic imagery, a confessional tone, and grandiose language combined with an intimate, idiosyncratic voice. This week write a poem that traverses the galaxy and addresses someone or something you feel tethered to, as if you’re “hurtling towards” them. As you write, play around with figurative language that points to both sizable and smaller, nuanced observations.

Dreamy Wisdom

“Why do we dream? Because it’s the only mechanism our brain has for sorting through all the myriad associations it discovers and deciding which ones are potentially of value,” says Robert Stickgold, professor and director of the Harvard Center for Sleep and Cognition and coauthor of When Brains Dream: Exploring the Science and Mystery of Sleep , in his TEDx Talk on the purpose of dreams and how sleep sews together the pieces of our memories. Write an essay that begins with the description of a dream you’ve had recently, recounting it in as much detail as you can remember. Then expand and explore how the conflicts and emotions brought up by your dream might be connected to another time in your life when you experienced something similar. What do you think your brain was trying to figure out?

About Our Writing Prompts

What is a writing prompt and how do you use one? Whether you find yourself in front of a blank page or stuck in a work-in-progress, writing prompts can offer a spark that ignites your creative thinking and can lead to new writing. Prompts offer guidance, fresh ideas, and direction for writers of all levels of experience. First, choose a prompt for the genre in which you’d like to write, then carefully read it and consider what it is asking you to think about. It could be a specific setting, a writing technique, or an element of an imagined character; a specific poem, story, essay, song, book, or film from which you might take inspiration; or a current event or a topical theme. A writing prompt is filled with endless possibilities—and there is no wrong way to use one to generate new writing!

What makes our writing prompts unique? We have an archive of over 2,000 prompts, all original and offered here and in our weekly newsletter . You’ll find a variety of poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction prompts—some inspired by recent and classic literature and other forms of art, current events, and writing practices, and others that offer guidance for a particular form, including sonnets, erasure poetry, flash fiction, lyric essays, and more. For more than fifty years, Poets & Writers has supported creative writers with trustworthy information and inspiration, and our weekly prompts provide a regular dose of encouragement and motivation.

What are the benefits of using writing prompts? Writing prompts can help you get unstuck if you’re in a rut and the ideas aren’t flowing. But even if you’re not experiencing writer’s block, writing prompts can offer a fresh take or a new approach to a work-in-progress. Writing prompts can also provide the motivation to experiment with a new form, try out a new genre, or learn about other writing techniques. And writing prompts are an invaluable tool for teachers who want to encourage and inspire their writing students.

What is this list of Best Books? Best Books for Writers is a list of essential books for creative writers that we curate to support your writing practice. Every week, we add a book (whether new or a classic) with a synopsis and highlights. Included are books on the writing life, anthologies of craft essays, collections of lectures, practical guides with writing exercises, and more.

Poetry writing prompts Every Tuesday we post a new poetry prompt to guide you in your practice. Get to know the work of contemporary and classic poets, as well as a variety of poetic forms.

Fiction writing prompts Every Wednesday we post a new fiction prompt to spark your imagination. Take inspiration from recently published short stories and novels, and of course, the classics.

Creative nonfiction writing prompts Every Thursday we post a new creative nonfiction prompt to help your exploration of this ever-changing genre. These prompts include information and inspiration for a variety of essays as well as memoirs. Discover new writers and their craft, and fresh ways to generate writing inspired by your life.

Need a starter pack? Check out our Writing Prompts for Beginners .

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Best Online Creative Writing Classes

Masterclass is our best overall writing course to learn the art of writing

writing prompts for creative writing classes

We independently evaluate all recommended products and services. If you click on links we provide, we may receive compensation. Learn more .

Creative writing is often focused around writing fiction (but may also include nonfiction), which can feature any type of writing from poems to short stories, novels, and more. Online creative writing classes help you learn how to become a better storyteller, produce completed manuscripts, and publish your work. Since the classes takes place over the internet, you can study anywhere. The best online creative writing classes offer a rich curriculum, provide a good value for the cost, and are taught by experienced professionals.

Here, we've rounded up our top picks for prospective students to learn about creative writing from the comfort of their own homes. Some online courses even offer certifications upon completion to pursue creative writing as a career. Compare top options to find the best price range, topics, and class schedule to help you get started. 

Best Online Creative Writing Classes of 2023

  • Best Overall: Neil Gaiman Teaches the Art of Storytelling
  • Best for Beginners: Beginning Writer’s Workshop by ed2go
  • Best for Certification: Coursera's Creative Writing Specialization by Wesleyan University
  • Best Live Class: Creative Writing 101 by Gotham Writers
  • Best for Writing Critique: UCLA Extension’s Introduction to Creative Writing
  • Best for Creative Non-Fiction: Udemy’s Creative Non-Fiction Writing - You Can’t Make This Stuff Up!
  • Best Ivy League Class: Harvard's Fundamentals of Fiction
  • Our Top Picks
  • Neil Gaiman Teaches the Art of Storytelling
  • Beginning Writer’s Workshop by ed2go
  • Coursera's Creative Writing Specialization by Wesleyan University
  • Creative Writing 101 by Gotham Writers
  • UCLA Extension’s Introduction to Creative Writing
  • Udemy’s Creative Non-Fiction Writing - You Can’t Make This Stuff Up!
  • Harvard's Fundamentals of Fiction
  • See More (4)

Final Verdict

  • Compare Classes

Can I Teach Myself Creative Writing?

Can you make a living off of creative writing, methodology, best overall : neil gaiman teaches the art of storytelling.


  • Cost: $180 for annual Masterclass membership
  • Length: Approximately 5 hours
  • Certificate: No

Neil Gaiman Teaches the Art of Storytelling took our top spot because the course has a robust curriculum and is taught by an award-winning author.

Short, engaging videos

Access content from your computer or smartphone

Easy-to-digest video lectures

No instructor feedback

Masterclass subscription required

No student collaboration

We like this class because students learn many creative writing techniques from a world-renowned fiction writer. The course is a series of 19 short video lectures, which include:

  • Truth in Fiction
  • Sources of Inspiration
  • Finding Your Voice
  • Dialogue and Character
  • Character Case Study
  • Worldbuilding
  • Dealing with Writer's Block
  • The Writer's Responsibilities

As you watch the nearly five hours of content, you'll learn the fundamentals of writing stories (including how to make your story feel real), find unique angles to explore, develop your writing voice, create compelling plots, characters, settings, and dialogue, and edit and improve your work. You’ll also write short stories, understand different writing genres, and learn tips for getting unstuck when you have writer’s block. 

This course of study is self-paced, so you won’t receive any feedback on your writing. You can access the videos on your smartphone or computer.

There are no requirements to enroll. However, you can only access the class if you have a Masterclass subscription, which currently costs $180 for the year. Once you have a Masterclass membership you can take any course offered. If you’re dissatisfied with the learning platform, you can email customer service within 30 days of purchase for a full refund.

Best for Beginners : Beginning Writer’s Workshop by ed2go

  • Length: 24 hours

Beginning Writer’s Workshop by ed2go gives new writers the foundational information they need to complete a piece of creative work.

Rich curriculum including various genres, literary techniques, the writing process, and more

Instructor and peer feedback


Course access ends after six weeks

Must adhere to a schedule to participate in discussions

Not all course requirements are included in enrollment

We like Beginning Writer’s Workshop because it’s designed to quickly turn a true beginner into a confident writer with a publication-worthy piece. When you finish the six-week, 12-lesson course, you’ll know how to:

  • Distinguish between and speak to the different writing genres and subgenres
  • Use various literary techniques and devices like similes, metaphors, imagery, etc.
  • Develop plots, characters, and other story elements
  • Navigate the entire writing process, including pre-writing, drafting, editing, and finalizing a piece
  • Peer-edit the creative work of others
  • Combat writer’s block
  • Go through the publishing process

The class includes 24 hours of instructional content. For the first six weeks, you’ll get access to two new self-paced lessons per week. Lectures include reading material and videos.

There’s also an online discussion board where you can post questions and talk about the lectures. Discussions only remain open for two weeks after a lesson is released. So, while you can study when it fits your schedule, you’ll want to keep up with the work.

The course is facilitated by Carmen Marquez, a journalist, writer, and teacher. They’ll reply to any inquiries you post on the discussion board within 24 to 48 hours. You’ll also have the opportunity to get feedback on your writing from the instructor and other students. 

The class costs $149. A new round of the course begins every month, so you can get started when it’s convenient for you.

Best for Certification : Coursera's Creative Writing Specialization by Wesleyan University

  • Cost: $0 or $49 per month to unlock more features
  • Length: Approximately 11 hours
  • Certificate: Yes

Coursera's Creative Writing Specialization by Wesleyan University is our choice for this category because it offers a certificate upon completion, allowing students to use the knowledge gained for their career path. As a bonus, this class is free, so students can access content from the school at no cost.

Access to free content from a well-regarded school

Self-paced study

Free trial and "audits" allow students to view material before purchasing

No feedback or interaction without a subscription to Coursera

Does not include lessons on literary style

May take up to six months to complete

The course is hosted by Coursera, an online learning platform. Coursera gives you the option to “audit” the class at no charge, allowing you to view all of the included videos and reading materials without subscribing to the platform.

The specialization includes four classes you can audit:

  • Creative Writing: The Craft of Plot
  • Creative Writing: The Craft of Character
  • Creative Writing: The Craft of Setting and Description
  • Creative Writing: The Craft of Style
  • Capstone: Your Story

Each class features a few hours of content, and you can take them in any order and on your own time.

As you go through the lessons, you’ll learn how to:

  • Develop a story with a beginning, middle, and end
  • Bring the players in your tale to life
  • Create a detailed world with your words
  • Refine your piece via the editing process

The course of study has multiple instructors, all with backgrounds in English or creative writing.

If you want a more interactive experience that includes writing assignments, access to a discussion board, or feedback on your work, you’ll have to purchase a Coursera membership for $49 per month. The company offers a seven-day free trial, so you can test it out before buying.

Having full access will also allow you to obtain a certificate of completion once you’ve finished the specialization.

Best Live Class : Creative Writing 101 by Gotham Writers

Gotham Writers

  • Cost: $319 plus $25 registration fee
  • Length: 18 hours

Creative Writing 101 by Gotham Writers is our best pick for live classes because it features weekly live lectures via Zoom. Students are also offered feedback for their writing while learning about both fiction and nonfiction.

Live, interactive meetings

Writing feedback available

Includes both fiction and nonfiction

Course is somewhat pricey

Registration fee required

No certificate offered upon completion

We like this class since you can learn about creative writing in a fully interactive environment and get your questions answered in real time. The course is designed specifically for newer writers or experienced writers looking for a refresher.

The six-week class meets for three hours a week and features:

  • An introduction to creative writing
  • A discussion on fiction writing to include types of fiction, components of the genre—such as plot, characters, and point of view—and how to write it
  • A discussion on the different types of nonfiction, including narrative nonfiction, memoirs, and personal essays
  • Guidance on how to find story ideas, cultivate good writing habits, and get past writer’s block

Between lectures, you’ll also complete writing assignments and get feedback on your work. The course has multiple instructors, all with education and experience in writing.

You must be 18 or older to take the course. The class is offered on various days and times, so you’ll have to look online to see which option fits your schedule.

Creative Writing 101 costs $319 for the online or Zoom classes. The company also charges a $25 registration fee per term, but you might be able to find discounts or promotions to reduce the cost.

Best for Writing Critique : UCLA Extension’s Introduction to Creative Writing

UCLA Extension 

UCLA Extension’s Introduction to Creative Writing is our choice as best for writing critique because the class features small, weekly breakout sessions to workshop student writing.

Small group workshops for detailed feedback

Guest lecturers

Offers lessons on writing in multiple styles

Limite to 12 students; not always available for enrollment

Requires students to be present for 3-hour weekly class

This class allows you to learn from and work closely with instructors, writing experts, and other students. The course is limited to 12 students and is designed to help learners explore creative writing.

The Introduction to Creative Writing course runs for six weeks and meets live over Zoom for three hours weekly. In each class meeting, you’ll start in a breakout session to discuss the writing assignment and how you’re feeling as a writer. Then, you’ll transition into a lecture with a guest expert about topics like fiction, nonfiction, screenwriting, and poetry.

Throughout the class, you’ll:

  • Experiment with writing in different styles
  • Learn how to critique the work of other writers
  • Network with other creatives
  • Be inspired to write and learn more about the craft

The course has several different instructors who are all accomplished writers.

Since this is a beginner course, you won’t get graded on the writing you produce. Instead, you’ll be evaluated based on assignment completion, the feedback you provide to your peers, and overall participation.

The course costs $485, and if you need to withdraw, you must do so within two weeks of the start date to receive a refund.

Best for Creative Non-Fiction : Udemy’s Creative Non-Fiction Writing - You Can’t Make This Stuff Up!

  • Cost: $19.99
  • Length: Approximately 2 hours

Udemy’s Creative Non-Fiction Writing won this category because the class specifically focuses on creative nonfiction. While the class is short, it's also the most affordable on our list, and it's a great introduction to the topic for curious students.

Specific focus on creative nonfiction

Most affordable option for beginner writers

Certificate of completion given

No writing feedback available

Only 2 hours of lectures available

Not in-depth on each topic compared to similar courses

If you’re interested in writing true stories rather than fiction but still want that creative element, you might want to consider creative nonfiction, like personal essays and memoirs. We like this class because it helps you dive into the world of creative nonfiction at a budget-conscious price.

The $19.99 course is self-paced and includes nine modules and 26 video lectures. The modules include:

  • What is Creative Nonfiction?
  • Writing the Vignette
  • Using Sensory Language
  • Writing in Scenes
  • Using a Plot Diagram
  • Making the Personal Universal

During the nearly two hours of lectures, you’ll learn the skills required to write creative nonfiction pieces, such as memoirs and essays, the basic building blocks of storytelling, such as plots, characters, and scenes, and several writing techniques and literary devices. You’ll also learn: 

  • How to find your writer’s voice and be more confident
  • How to turn your personal experience into a compelling story that will appeal to the masses
  • The revision process

Although you won’t get any feedback from your instructor, the class includes writing projects you can complete independently and quizzes to review your learning. To supplement the lectures, you’ll also have access to downloadable resources like templates and graphics.

Your instructor is the creator of the class, Trace Crawford. Crawford has more than 20 years of writing and teaching experience.

You don’t have to meet any particular requirements to take this course. It’s designed for any curious writer. 

In case you’re unhappy with the class, it’s backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee. When you finish the last lecture, you’ll receive a certificate of completion. You’ll also have lifetime access to the content.

Best Ivy League Class : Harvard's Fundamentals of Fiction

  • Cost: $3,100
  • Length: 5 months

Harvard's Fundamentals of Fiction is designed for intermediate to advanced writers interested in applying their skills to creative fiction. This is not a course for beginners, but rather an in-depth study that concludes with each student finishing their own short story or the first chapter of a novel.

Students learn creative writing from Ivy League professors

Offers formal experience in creative writing

Students will complete their own short story or the first chapter of a novel by course end

Intended for graduate students with strong writing skills

Considerably more expensive than others

Students must enroll in degree program

Harvard's Fundamentals of Fiction course is a great choice for graduate-level students to focus on their creative writing skills. The course covers several topics, including:

  • Plot analysis
  • Structure analysis
  • Fundamentals of character
  • Fundamentals of dialogue
  • Showing versus telling
  • Point of view
  • Building a narrative foundation
  • Using scene structure to craft stories

The course is split into two sections: Students study plot and structure in various creative writing works, then apply this knowledge in the second half of the course to write their own short story or the first chapter of a novel.

As an Ivy League class, online students receive all the benefits of professor feedback and student collaboration that they'd receive in-class. However, students must enroll with the Harvard Department of Continuing Education to register.

There are countless online creative writing classes available, so it may be hard to choose the best course for you. Investigate any online creative writing class before you enroll to select an option that can help you finish and publish your creative masterpiece.

However, Neil Gaiman Teaches the Art of Storytelling is an excellent place to start your search. The content comes from an award-winning author and is designed to inspire you, help you develop your voice, and teach you new creative writing techniques.

Compare the Best Online Creative Writing Classes

Frequently asked questions, what do you learn in an online creative writing class.

Creative writing classes teach topics like genres of writing, outlining ideas, developing a plot and characters, and storytelling. Specific classes vary from course to course, but many include lessons about editing your work and establishing productive writing habits. The class may also include a peer-critique component to improve your own editing skills by reviewing other writers' work.

Should New Writers Take an Online Creative Writing Class?

New writers can and should take an online creative writing class. Some classes are designed especially for beginners so that learners can get the foundational information that they need. Taking an entry-level class can help you decide if creative writing is right for you and what direction to take as a writer.

How Can an Online Creative Writing Class Help Me Improve My Writing?

An online creative writing class can help you improve your writing in several ways. You'll learn about new literary techniques, refresh your knowledge about writing basics, find your unique voice, overcome writer's block, refine your work, and establish productive habits. An online creative writing class may also include personalized feedback from the instructor to hone your skills further.

How Much Do Online Creative Writing Classes Cost?

Online creative writing classes vary in cost. You can access some courses for free, while others are priced at several hundred dollars or more.

Are Online Creative Writing Classes Worth It?

Depending on your career goals , online creative writing classes can be worth your time, effort, and money. If you’re a hobbyist writer, it probably makes sense to stick with short, budget-friendly courses. But if you’re a writer by trade or would like to become a professional writer, it may be worth investing a more substantial number of hours and dollars into your development.

It's possible to teach yourself the fundamentals of creative writing when it comes to practicing narratives and storytelling, and many writers start without a formal education. However, creative writing classes can help you hone in on skills like developing characters and plots, writing in different styles, editing your work, and more.

Many writers and authors make their living from creative writing. Creative writers may focus on producing books, or they may write poetry, short stories, biographies, and other fictional or non-fictional works. The best creative writing classes can also teach you about submitting your work to publishers to develop a career .

We closely evaluated 10 online creative writing classes before making our selections. We considered the course curriculum, instructor credibility, and value. We also accounted for any unique features.

All of our choices offer a rigorous course of study for a fair price and are designed to help creative writers hone their craft and get ready for publication.

Alexander Spatari / Getty Images

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Ed2Go. " Carmen Marquez ."

Coursera. " Instructors ."

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Udemy. " Trace Crawford Profile ."

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The Best High School Creative Writing Prompts of 2023

Imaginary worlds.

1. A woman discovers a mystical island where her dreams are played out in physical form, including her nightmares.

2. A librarian discovers that some of the books in the library open portals to different times and places.

3. A group of adventurers discover a forest where trees possess ancient knowledge and they must decipher the messages written in the leaves to prevent impending catastrophe.

Mystery and suspense

1. A detective investigates the disappearance of a famous illusionist during a live performance.

2. An antique shop owner unravels the history of a cursed heirloom and must break an ancient curse.

3. A reclusive artist’s masterpiece holds a hidden message and an art expert must discover its meaning before it goes on display.

Magical adventures

1. In a world where music has magical properties, a musician with a mysterious instrument must stop a malevolent sorcerer.

2. An alchemist creates a potion which allows communication with mythical creatures and is able to learn their secrets.

3. A twenty-first century map-maker discovers a map that reveals a hidden continent which is home to dozens of mythical creatures.

Historical journeys

1. During the Renaissance, a young artist discovers a magical paintbrush that brings his creations to life.

2. A medieval farmer discovers an abandoned aircraft from the future and must unravel its mystery.

3. A group of friends discover a collection of letters written by a forgotten World War I soldier and set about tracking down ancestors.

Outer space and sci-fi

1. A team of interstellar archaeologists stumble across an ancient spaceship graveyard, each vessel holding clues to the mysteries of a forgotten civilisation.

2. A space mechanic encounters and fixes a malfunctioning robot that is more dangerous than it seems.

3. A group of friends acquire a device that enables them to swap places with their counterparts in parallel universes.

Family and relationships

1. Siblings discover letters left behind by their great-grandparents and realise how similar they are to their ancestors.

2. An estranged family reunite in their childhood home and learn to forgive each other and rediscover shared memories.

3. Sibling rivalry takes a sudden turn when a family crisis compels a brother and sister to set aside their differences.

Magical creatures

1. An ancient dragon, once feared by a village, seeks redemption by aiding a group of heroes on their quest.

2. A phoenix visits a young boy whenever he is in crisis and he wants to discover who is sending the phoenix to help him.

3. A young goblin rebels against tradition and explores forbidden realms beyond their home, discovering the diversity of the land.

Humorous adventures

1. During a summer job at an amusement park, a student discovers a hidden portal to a Victorian circus.

2. A group of students form a paranormal investigation club to unravel the mysteries of their strange, eccentric hometown.

3. A school science project goes haywire and creates a machine that swaps personalities among classmates.

Superhero scenarios

1. A retired superhero comes out of retirement to vanquish a villain who is able to manipulate people’s memories.

2. A superhero loses their powers after a strange cosmic event and must rely on their intellect to face a new wave of threats.

3. A superhero who can control time is suspended by the government due to ethical concerns about time-travel.

Dystopian worlds

1. In a world where emotions are outlawed, a resistance group tries to restore fundamental human experience.

2. In a future society where half the population lives underground after being convinced that radiation levels are too high, and the other half live above ground in the assumption that everything is in fact fine, one woman has to determine who is right.

3. An authoritarian regime uses AI to predict and punish crimes before they happen.

Time travel tales

1. In a world of time-travel tourism, a tour guide accidentally strands his customers in Ancient Rome.

2. A time traveller becomes trapped in a time loop, reliving his 18 th year again and again.

3. A historian from the future travels back to 2023 to issue a historic warning, but most of society are unconvinced.

We hope this article has inspired you to dip your toes into the world of creative writing! 

From developing critical thinking skills to boosting your confidence, creative writing links self-expression to self-improvement in a way that’s worth exploring regardless of where your future ambitions lie. 

If you like the idea of creative writing but have been unsure where to begin, our creative writing prompts are a great starting point. Whether you use them directly, or just as a way of generating your own ideas, the writing you create will ultimately be entirely your own!


Sam is a recent English graduate from the University of Bristol whose interests include twentieth-century fiction, film, and cultural criticism.

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Language Arts Classroom

Creative Writing Unit for High School Students

creative writing unit

My creative writing unit for high school students allows for adaptations and for fun! With plenty of creative writing activities, you’ll have flexibility. 

If you are looking for a creative writing unit, I have ideas for you. When I taught middle school, I sprinkled such activities throughout the school year. As a high school teacher, though, I taught an entire creative writing course. With no textbook and very little established activities, I largely worked from a blank slate.

Which. . . turned out well. I love teaching creative writing!

ELA Specific Classes

Older students often can choose electives for their ELA classes, and Creative Writing is a popular class. I’ve condensed my ideas into one post, so I organized the ideas by creative nonfiction and fiction writing and added pictures to organize this information for you.

EDIT: This post about my creative writing unit for high school writers has exploded and is about three times as long as a normal blog post. If you’d like to skip around to get inspiration for teaching creative writing, you can use the pictures and headings as guidance.

ANOTHER NOTE: I attempted to outline the days I spend on each topic, but several factors went into my estimates. First, each class differs in what they enjoy and what they dislike. If a class dislikes a specific topic, we will wrap it up and move on. If a class has fun with an assignment or needs more time to work, the days might vary.

What are the key elements of a creative writing unit?

Key elements of a creative writing unit include introducing different writing genres, teaching basic writing techniques, encouraging imagination and creativity, providing writing prompts and exercises, offering constructive feedback and revision opportunities, and fostering a supportive writing community.

How can we organize such activities?

Starting with creative nonfiction has worked for my classes, small pieces like paragraphs. I believe the success is because young writers can write what they know about. Then we can switch to fiction for the second quarter. Again, the days spent on each assignment varies, and I honestly do not stress about creative nonfiction being nine weeks and fiction being nine weeks.

All of the material listed below is in my newly updated Creative Writing Bundle . The pieces are sold separately, but that creative writing unit includes bonus material and a discount.

Ok, settle in! Here are my ideas about teaching creative writing with high school students.

creative activities for writing students

First Week of School for a Creative Writing Unit

The first day of school , we complete activities that build awareness into the classroom environment about “creativity.” Do not shy away from setting a foundation of support and understanding as you engage with young writers. During my first creative writing classes, I neglected to spend time establishing expectations and community. The following semester, the time invested early paid off with engaged students later.

Those first days, we also discuss:

  • Published vs. private writing. I tell writers they may share whatever they like with me and the class. As a community of writers, we will share with each other. Most of our writing will be public, but some will be private.
  • A community of writers. Writing and sharing ideas requires maturity and acceptance. Not everyone will agree is largely my motto (about negotiables, not human rights), and I stress with students that they may read and provide feedback with topics in which they do not agree.
  • Routines. Writers write. That sentence might sound silly, but some people believe that humans are born with a skill to write or they are not. Writing well takes practice. The practice can be short and unconnected to a larger product. I typically begin each week with a quick writing prompt , and we share our responses, which of course, builds that community of writers.

Whatever you are teaching—a creative writing unit or a creative writing class—spend some time establishing your expectations and goals with your students. Laying a foundation is never a waste of time! In fact, I believe so much in the power of the first week of a creative writing class that I have a blog post devoted to the concept.

Time: 2-3 days

First weeks: creative nonfiction

Creative nonfiction seems to be the genre of our time. Memoirs, essays, and hermit-crab essays flood bookstores and journals.

When students read captions on social media, profiles of their favorite artists, or long Threads, they are reading creative nonfiction. Not only should students be able to dissect this form of writing, but they should also be able to write in our society’s preferred genre.

Below, I’ve outlined creative nonfiction activities that work with teenagers.

writing prompts for creative writing classes

Nonfiction Narrative Writing

Writing narratives (and meeting those standards) are trickier with older students. As a teacher, I struggle: Students will often tell me deep, meaningful, and personal parts of their lives, and I am supposed to grade those writings!

When students write a narrative , I address this situation immediately. Share with writers that their narrative ideas are strong (I believe that to be the truth!), and that in no way are we grading their ideas. Rather, we want their excellent narratives to be communicated in the best light; therefore, we will provide guidance about the structures of narrative writing.

The topic for a nonfiction narrative varies. Often, students write about themselves as learners or as community members. Framing students in a positive way allows them to explore their strengths in life and to build confidence as writers.

Time: 7-9 days

a creative writing unit for high school students should include plenty of fun activities

Object Essay

An object essay might sound like a “blah” type of assignment, but the simplicity allows students to push past their normal experiences. An object essay is simple, so they can experiment with their writing.

What object? I have assigned this essay several ways. For instance, I have brought in a very plain object (like a rock) and had students explain it. I like this approach because students can work together to discover the best descriptions.

Another way, my preferred way, is to allow students to choose the object. Students write about a coffee cup, water bottle, car keys, or bus pass. When students choose, the essays are richer with meaning.

Neither approach disappoints me, though! With a plain object, students must stretch themselves to be creative. Judge what your class needs and get students writing!

Time: 3-4 days

add a creative writing unit to your ELA classroom

How-to Paper

No, not a “how to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich” paper. A fun and meaningful how-to paper can encourage classes as they see themselves as experts.

What I like about a how-to paper is students get to be the expert in their paper. Finding a used vehicle to buy? Shopping for a formal event? Saving money? Cleaning a closet? Selling at consignment stores? Each writer has an area in which they shine, and a how-to paper allows them to share their knowledge with others. They write about “behind the scenes” or little known secrets.

Of all the creative writing activities, I assign the how-to paper early. It builds confidence in young writers.

Time: 5 days

writing prompts for creative writing classes

Sell this Apple

Why an apple? When I wanted students to creatively sell something, I searched for something they could all have in common but sell in different ways. I wanted classes to have one object but to witness the multiple approaches for advertising. Apples (which I could also afford to bring to class) fit nicely.

What do students sell when they “sell an apple”?

  • Dips for apples.
  • Apples for preschool snacks.
  • Charcuterie apple boards.
  • Apple crisp.
  • Red and green apple rainbows.

Basically, students can create a marketing plan for multiple age groups and other demographics. For instance, they can write a blog post about safety in cutting pieces for young children (and complete some research in the process). They can then “promote” a local apple orchard or fruit stand.

Another advertisement is an apple pie recipe for a Thanksgiving brochure for a supermarket.

When I gave students something simple, like an apple, they ran with the idea. Then, we can share our ideas for selling apples.

a profile essay is a fun creative nonfiction piece

A profile is difficult to write, so this assignment is normally my last assignment of the quarter. Before we switch to writing fiction, we apply all our concepts learned to writing a profile.

Profiles are more than summaries of the person. Writers must take an angle and articulate the person’s traits utilizing Showing vs. Telling. Of all creative writing assignments, the profile, might be the most difficult. I place it in the middle of the semester so that writers understand our goals in class but are not tired from the end of the semester.

Time: 10-12 days

Final weeks: fiction

Fantasy, historical fiction, mystery, romance: Students consume a variety of fiction via books, movies, and shows. Fictional creative writing activities invite young writers into worlds they already consume.

Below, I’ve outlined some that work with teenagers.

send students around the community or school for this creative writing project

Alternative Point-of-View

Grab some googly eyes or some construction paper and send students loose. (A few guidelines help. Should students remove the googly eyes from the principal’s office door?) Have them adhere the eyes to an inanimate object to make a “being” who learns a lesson. They should snap a picture and write a quick story about the learned lesson.

What type of lesson? Perhaps an apple with a bruise learns that it still has value and is loved with blemishes. Maybe a fire extinguisher realizes that its purpose is important even if it isn’t fancy.

Honestly, the creativity with the googly eyes adhered to inanimate objects is so simple, but it always is my favorite event of the semester. I officially call it the “ alternative point-of-view ” activity, but “googly eyes” is how my writers remember it.

Time: 2 days

creative writing activities for high school students

Create a Superhero with a Template

A superhero does not need to wear a cape or fancy shoes. Rather, in this creative writing activity, students build a superhero from a normal individual. When I created the activity, I envisioned students writing about a librarian or volunteer, but students often write about a grandparent (adorable).

Since students enjoy graphic novels, I wanted students to experience making a graphic novel. The colorful sheets allow students to add their ideas and words to pages that fit their messages.

After students create a comic book, they will also write a brief marketing campaign for a target audience. Learning about who would buy their graphic novel typically leads them to parents and librarians which should lead students to discover the importance of reading. The advertising campaign additionally serves as a reflective component for the initial activity.

imagination is a key part of creative writing lessons

Product Review

Product reviews and question/answer sections are a genre all their own. SO! Have students write reviews and questions/answers for goofy products . Students will find a product and write several reviews and questions/answers.

This quick activity lends itself to extension activities. Once, a teacher emailed me and said her school bought some of the goofy products for a sort of “sharing” day with the school. Since students have access to pictures of the item, you can make a “catalog” for the class out of a Canva presentation and share it with them and your colleagues.

Here are a few examples:

  • Banana slicer .
  • Horse head .
  • Wolf shirt.

Aside from the alternative point-of-view activity, the product reviews remain my personal favorite part of a creative writing unit. Writers find random products and write goofy workups that they share with the class.

Time: 3 days

character creation for creative writing

Character Creation

Creating a well-rounded and interesting character requires prep work. The brainstorming part of the writing process, the pre-writing? We spend lots of time in that area as we create fleshed out characters.

I like to start with a multiple-choice activity. We begin my imagining the main character. Next, students take a “quiz” as the character. How does the character eat? What sort of movies does the character enjoy? hate? After the multiple-choice activity, they can derive what those pieces explain about their characters. Finally, they can begin to brainstorm how those pieces will develop in their story.

flash fiction is a part of creative writing

Flash Fiction

Flash fiction is a simple, short story. Writers might cheer when they hear I expect a 300-word story, but often, they discover it is a challenging assignment from class. A large part of a creative writing unit is giving students a variety of lengths so they can practice their skills under different circumstances.

historical fiction is a great creative writing activity

Historical Fiction

Historical fiction is a popular genre, and classes are familiar with many popular historical fiction books. I find it helpful to have several books displayed to inspire students. Additionally, I read from the books to demonstrate dialogue, pacing, theme, and more.

Since my historical fiction activity takes at least two weeks to accomplish, we work on that tough standard for narrative writing. To that end, these activities target the hardest components:

  • Pacing within a narrative.
  • Developing a theme .
  • Building imagery .
  • Creating external conflicts in a story.
  • Establishing a setting .

First, I used pictures to inspire students, to get them brainstorming. Second, I created those activities to solve a problem that all writers (no matter the age!) have: Telling vs. Showing. I found that my writers would add dialogue that was heavy on explanation, too “world building” for their narrative. The story sounded forced, so I took a step back with them and introduced mini-activities for practicing those skills.

Third, the above creative writing activities can EASILY be assignments independently for short and fun assignments. I teach them with historical fiction because that activity is at the end of the semester when my expectations are higher, and because students enjoy writing historical fiction so they are invested.

But! You can easily add them to another narrative activity.

Time: 10-12 days 

writing prompts for creative writing classes

A clean tabloid! Tabloids are largely replaced by online social sharing creators, so they are fun to review with students. Students might not be familiar with tabloids at the grocery store checkout, but they are familiar with catchy headlines. They will be completely ready to write a tabloid !

To ensure a clean tabloid, I ask students to write about a children’s show, something scandalous happening from a cartoon. The results are hysterical.

Time: 4 days

writing prompts for creative writing classes

Children’s Book

I have two introductory activities for the children’s book. One, students answer questions about a mentor text (another children’s book). Two, students evaluate the language of a specific book to start them in their brainstorming.

My students write their children’s book as a final activity in class as it requires all the elements of creative writing. When a school requires me to give a final exam, students write a reflection piece on their children’s books. If you are looking for a finale for your creative writing unit, a children’s book is a satisfying ending as students have a memorable piece.

Time 10-12 weeks

Final note on creative writing activities and bundle

I intended for this post to inspire you and give you ideas for teaching either a creative writing unit or a creative writing class in ELA. My first time through teaching creative writing, I worried that my lessons would flop and that students would not find their groove with me. I found success, but with modifications, I formed a cohesive semester.

The first time through, I did not frontload information and expectations. (Spending time at the start of class is my biggest message! Please establish groundwork with students!) I also did not provide concrete enough guidelines so students understood the differences between the assignments. After a few semesters, I developed my creative writing unit . With a variety of activities and an appropriate amount of structure, I found success, and I hope you do too.

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creative writing creative writing activities

Craft the perfect creative writing prompt from Microsoft Designer's AI images

march 22, 2024

A headshot of Monica Jayasighe, who is wearing a black floral shirt and smiling in front of an off-white background.

by Monica Jayasinghe

Hello, fellow educators! I recently discovered an exciting way to create engaging writing prompts for my students using AI and Microsoft Designer . The results were amazing, and I can't wait to share this fun and innovative approach with you!

Describing the Vision:

To get started, head over to Microsoft Designer . We'll use the power of AI to generate an image that will serve as the foundation for our writing prompt.

We'll use Image Creator , where you can describe the image you want to create. The goal is to generate an image that will capture your students' imagination and inspire them to write.

For this example, I entered the prompt, A spacecraft landing near a house, futuristic, mysterious.

The results of the prompt "A spacecraft landing near a house, futuristic, mysterious."

Choose the image you want to work with

Once you select Generate , Microsoft Designer will provide you with a variety of AI-generated images. Since we're creating a writing prompt, look for an image that has space for adding instructions and is easy to read.

You'll be amazed by the number of options available! When you find an image you like, click on it and select Edit image .

Customize the image

After selecting your preferred image, it's time to customize it.

  • Click on Resize in the top panel and adjust the dimensions to match a PowerPoint slide. This will ensure that the image fits perfectly when you're ready to present it to your students. You can also align the image anywhere on the page to create the perfect composition.
  • In the box labeled AI tools , you'll see additional customization options. Consider playing with the filters to update the mood and color scheme of your image.

Add instructions and text

To make the writing prompt clear and easy to read, click on the existing text and customize it. To add a heading, click on Text in the left panel. The right panel will populate with even more ideas you can use.

Designer's text suggestions for the image

In this example, I changed the color to white and added a story starter.

The spaceship image with the words "A visitor arrives"

Engage your students

The possibilities for using AI-generated images as writing prompts are endless! Here are a few options:

Get inspired by the artwork

The most obvious way to use these images is as direct inspiration for student writing. Generate a bold, fantastical, emotional, or silly image and have students write a story about what's happening in the image.

Try this prompt: A whimsical classroom under the sea. The teacher is a wise old octopus. The classroom is decorated with shell desks and seaweed streamers .

The results of the prompt " Edit Edit   Remove Remove       A whimsical classroom under the sea. The teacher is a wise old octopus. The classroom is decorated with shell desks and seaweed streamers."

Bring stories to life

Another great idea is to take an excerpt from a story you're reading in class and use the AI to generate an image that matches that specific part of the story. This will spark engaging discussions among your students and bring the story to life in a whole new way.

Bring units to life

Why stop at a story? You can also generate images that fit the theme of a unit you're working on, whether you're exploring weather patterns or reliving life on the Oregon Trail.

Consider setting aside some time each day or week for students to free write or journal. Kick off the writing session with an AI-generated image, then throw on some light classical music and let them write. Mix up the kind of images you show them, from lush landscapes to abstract pop art, and see what it inspires.

Try this prompt: An abstract painting in vivid colors

The results of the prompt "An abstract painting in vivid colors"

You can even include animated options. After you generate your image in Microsoft Designer, select the image and Create Design . In the right-hand panel that appears, you'll see several design options. Usually, one or more of these options will be animated. Select the animated option and add it to your PowerPoint!

Accessing your AI-generated images

One of the best features of Microsoft Designer is that all the images you create using AI are saved in the My Media section. This means you'll never lose your creations and can easily access them whenever you need them.

This feature enables educators to curate a collection of visuals for various writing themes, be it aliens, dragons, or any other imaginative scenario.

Wrapping up

Microsoft Designer is a game-changer for educators looking to inspire their students' creativity. The AI-generated images, customization options, and easy access to your creations make this a powerful tool for any classroom.

Head over to today and start creating unforgettable writing prompts!

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writing prompts for creative writing classes

8 Ways to Create AI-Proof Writing Prompts

C reating 100 percent AI-proof writing prompts can often be impossible but that doesn’t mean there aren’t strategies that can limit the efficacy of AI work. These techniques can also help ensure more of the writing submitted in your classroom is human-generated. 

I started seeing a big uptick in AI-generated work submitted in my classes over the last year and that has continued. As a result, I’ve gotten much better at recognizing AI work , but I’ve also gotten better at creating writing prompts that are less AI-friendly. 

Essentially, I like to use the public health Swiss cheese analogy when thinking about AI prevention: All these strategies on their own have holes but when you layer the cheese together, you create a barrier that’s hard to get through. 

The eight strategies here may not prevent students from submitting AI work, but I find these can incentivize human writing and make sure that any work submitted via AI will not really meet the requirements of the assignment. 

1. Writing AI-Proof Prompts: Put Your Prompt Into Popular AI tools such as ChatGPT, Copilot, and Bard 

Putting your writing prompt into an AI tools will give you an immediate idea of how most AI tools will handle your prompt. If the various AI chatbots do a good, or at least adequate, job immediately, it might be wise to tweak the prompt. 

One of my classes asks students to write about a prized possession. When you put this prompt into an AI chatbot, it frequently returns an essay about a family member's finely crafted watch. Obviously, I now watch out for any essays about watches. 

2. Forbid Cliché Use

Probably the quickest and easiest way to cut back on some AI use is to come down hard on cliché use in writing assignments. AI tools are essentially cliché machines, so banning these can prevent a lot of AI use. 

Equally as important, this practice will help your students become better writers. As any good writer knows, clichés should be avoided like the plague. 

3. Incorporate Recent Events

The free version of ChatGPT only has access to events up to 2022. While there are plugins to allow it to search the internet and other internet-capable AI tools, some students won’t get further than ChatGPT. 

More importantly, in my experience, all AI tools struggle to incorporate recent events as effectively as historic ones. So connecting class material and assignments to events such as a recent State of Union speech or the Academy Awards will make any AI writing use less effective. 

4. Require Quotes

AI tools can incorporate direct quotations but most are not very good at doing so. The quotes used tend to be very short and not as well-placed within essays. 

Asking an AI tool for recent quotes also can be particularly problematic for today’s robot writers. For instance, I asked Microsoft's Copilot to summarize the recent Academy Awards using quotes, and specifically asked it to quote from Oppenheimer's director Christopher Nolan’s acceptance speech. It quoted something Nolan had previously said instead. Copilot also quoted from Wes Anderson’s acceptance speech, an obvious error since Anderson wasn’t at the awards .  

5. Make Assignments Personal

Having students reflect on material in their own lives can be a good way to prevent AI writing. In-person teachers can get to know their students well enough to know when these types of personal details are fabricated. 

I teach online but still find it easier to tell when a more personalized prompt was written by AI. For example, one student submitted a paper about how much she loved skateboarding that was so non-specific it screamed AI written. Another submitted a post about a pair of sneakers that was also clearly written by a "sole-less" AI (I could tell because of the clichés and other reasons). 

6. Make Primary or Scholarly Sources Mandatory

Requiring sources that are not easily accessible on the internet can stop AI writing in its tracks. I like to have students find historic newspapers for certain assignments. The AI tools I am familiar with can’t incorporate these. 

For instance, I asked Copilot to compare coverage of the first Academy Awards in the media to the most recent awards show and to include quotes from historic newspaper coverage. The comparison was not well done and there were no quotes from historical newspaper coverage. 

AI tools also struggle to incorporate journal articles. Encouraging your students to include these types of sources ensures the work they produce is deeper than something that can be revealed by a quick Google search, which not only makes it harder for AI to write but also can raise the overall quality.  

7. Require Interviews, Field Trips, Etc. 

Building on primary and scholarly sources, you can have your students conduct interviews or go on field trips to historic sites, museums, etc. 

AI is still, thankfully, incapable of engaging in these types of behavior. This requires too much work for every assignment but it is the most effective way to truly ensure your work is human- not computer-written. 

If you’re still worried about AI use, you can even go a step further by asking your students to include photos of them with their interview subjects or from the field trips. Yes, AI art generators are getting better as well, but remember the Swiss cheese analogy? Every layer of prevention can help. 

8. Have Students Write During Class

As I said to start, none of the methods discussed are foolproof. Many ways around these safeguards already exist and there will be more ways to bypass these in the future. So if you’re really, really worried about AI use you may want to choose what I call the “nuclear option.” If you teach in person you can require students to write essays in person. 

This approach definitely works for preventing AI and is okay for short pieces, but for longer pieces, it has a lot of downsides. I would have trouble writing a long piece in this setting and imagine many students will as well. Additionally, this requirement could create an accusatory class atmosphere that is more focused on preventing AI use than actually teaching. It’s also not practical for online teaching. 

That all being said, given how common AI writing has become in education, I understand why some teachers will turn to this method. Hopefully, suggestions 1-7 will work but if AI-generated papers are still out of hand in your classroom, this is a blunt-force method that can work temporarily. 

Good luck and may your assignments be free of AI writing! 

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AI-proof writing prompts

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How to Use Bard for Creative Writing

Bard is a powerful tool designed specifically for creative writing that gives writers access to a plethora of options to enhance their work. Bard provides a user-friendly interface and extensive features to make composing poetry, prose, and scripts easier. It is a constant partner, sparking creativity and refining concepts from conception to completion.

Bard supports a wide range of writing preferences and styles with tools for collaboration, organizing, and discovery. It is an adaptable platform that allows authors to reach their greatest potential by fluidly switching between brainstorming and refining final texts. Together, we will explore the various ways that Bard may be used to stimulate creativity.

Exploration and Idea Generation

Writing process, editing and revising, feedback and iteration, finalization and polishing, prompt 1: character development with song, prompt 2: high-quality poems, prompt 3: dialogue in verse, prompt 4: poetry in the style of shakespeare verse, prompt 5: usage of traditional ballads, prompt 6: prose with rhythm, prompt 7: experimentation, wrapping up, faqs – how to use bard for creative writing.

Your first step should be to begin by interacting with the UI. Become familiar with its interface, available menus, and features. 

1. Try Out Some Brainstorming Tools

Bard has features specifically designed for generating ideas and brainstorming sessions. Make use of these resources to record any ideas, themes, characters, or story elements that occur to you. 

2. Writing Activities & Prompts

Try out several writing activities to push your creativity or master particular techniques or discover new genres.

Prompt Writing

3. Configure Preferences

To make the platform your own, go through Bard’s settings and customization choices. Set up a writing environment that suits your tastes and workflow by adjusting the font styles, backdrop colors, or layout settings.

4. Use Assistance Resources

Consult the platform’s assistance resources in the event that you run into any issues or have inquiries regarding Bard’s functionalities.

1. Starting Your Draft

Immerse yourself in Bard’s writing space from the starting. With formatting settings and alerts out of the way, this area is meant to let you concentrate just on your work. To begin your draft, either open a new document or choose an already-existing project.

2. Making Use of capabilities for Efficiency

As you get writing, use Bard’s many capabilities to increase your productivity. To safeguard you against possible data loss, the auto-save option, for example, makes sure that your work is continuously stored. Bard’s version history also gives you a piece of mind while you experiment with different writing directions by enabling you to keep track of changes and go back to earlier drafts if necessary.

3. Accepting Originality

Don’t forget to embrace your originality on Bard’s platform, even though structure and order are crucial. To give your writing life, try experimenting with various voices, writing styles, and viewpoints. Bard gives you the freedom to let your imagination run wild and write about new topics, whether you’re composing complex prose, moving poetry, or captivating conversation.

4. Seeking Inspiration

Bard provides tools to ignite your creativity if you’re feeling stuck or in need of some motivation. To spark your creativity and get beyond any obstacles in the way, use the platform’s writing prompts, activities, and inspiring quotations. In order to network with other authors, exchange ideas, and get ideas from the community’s combined creativity, participate in Bard’s writing groups or community forums.

Writing Folder Structure

1. Examine the Draft

Go over your draft in Bard and mark up the places that need work.Emphasize portions that require clarification or that have an erratic pace.

2. Make Use of Editing Tools

To identify mistakes, make use of Bard’s integrated grammar and spell checks and to  guarantee style, font, and spacing uniformity across your work, use formatting tools.

3. Work Together with Others

Send your work straight to editors or dependable colleagues inside Bard. Enable the comments and annotation capabilities for collaborative editing to foster positive feedback.

4. Editing Procedure

  • Based on the comments you’ve received, make the suggested alterations and improvements.
  • To enhance readability, coherence, and flow, make structural changes.
  • Rewrite your text several times, paying attention to grammar, clarity, and maintaining the intended tone.

5. Taking Follow Up

  • Using task management options or Bard’s progress indicators, keep an eye on your editing progress.
  • To keep editing sessions moving forward and productive, set attainable goals for each one.

6. Final Analysis

  • Make sure all of the adjustments have been incorporated smoothly by doing a last check of your updated document.
  • To see how your work will look when it’s finished, use Bard’s preview mode before exporting.

1. Distribute Your Work

Select certain drafts or pieces from Bard to distribute to writing groups or reliable readers. Send links or invites to collaborators using Bard’s sharing features to make sure they can easily access your work.

2. Assess and Examine Input

Examine comments methodically, taking into account every recommendation or criticism. To find areas that need work, keep an eye out for trends or frequently asked questions.

3. Pose Explicit Questions

To gain more insight into the viewpoints of your feedback sources, interact with them. Ask targeted queries to explain ambiguous areas or to investigate possible fixes.

4. Put Edits Into Practice

Based on the comments you have received, carefully rewrite the document with an emphasis on improving coherence overall and fortifying any weak points. To keep track of revisions and contrast various versions of your work, use Bard’s version history tool.

1. Formatting

A document’s formatting should be constant throughout, with typefaces, spacing, and alignment changed as necessary. For organization and clarity, add styles like headers, subheadings, and emphasis using Bard’s formatting tools.

2. Proofreading

Make a careful run over the text to ensure that all spelling, grammar, and punctuation are correct. To help with the proofreading process, make use of Bard’s grammar and spell check recommendations. However, also take into account manual review for more subtle errors.

3. Readability

Evaluate your writing’s readability by taking phrase length, intricacy, and clarity into account. To find places that could need explanation or simplicity, use Bard’s readability analysis tools or third-party plugins.

4. Regularity

Make sure that the language, tone, and style are all the same across your text. To keep reoccurring words or phrases consistent, use Bard’s search and replace functionality.

5. In Preview Mode

Use Bard’s preview mode to see the formatting and layout of your content as well as how it will seem to readers. Optimize the way your work is presented by making any required changes in light of the preview.

6. Export Configurations

Select the suitable export format, such as Word, PDF, or HTML, for your finished work. Tailor the export options in Bard to the needs of your target readership or publishing outlet.

Compose ballads or songs from your characters’ points of view, illuminating their innermost feelings, desires, and difficulties.

Prompt: Write a song from the perspective of a villain who is misunderstood, explaining their reasons and motives for their deeds.

Character development with song

Write poems that describe the places, people, or historical events that take place in your imaginary universe. Use rhythm and different imagery to make the descriptions come to life.

Prompt: Write a poem capturing the enchantment and mystery of a forest full with mythical animals.

High quality poems

 Try your hand at creating character dialogue in verse form by including melody and cadence into their exchanges.

Prompt: Write a conversation in which two star-crossed lovers use lyrical exchanges to explain their conflicted feelings.

Dialogue in verse

Prompt: Write a monologue about a protagonist who has been deceived and is struggling with sentiments of loss, betrayal, and wrath.

Poetry in Shakespeare Verse

Traditional ballads may be used to tell stories by rhyming and combining rhythm and rhyme to tell tales of bravery or epic exploits.

Prompt: Write a fable about a lone warrior who sets out on a mission to defend their realm from darkness in response to the prompt.

Usage of Traditional Ballads

Try introducing cadences and rhythmic patterns to your prose to improve the storytelling’s flow and melody.

Prompt: Write a piece that describes a storm at sea in rhythmic writing, emphasizing the powerful gusts and chaotic waves.

Prose with Rhythm

To give your work a distinctive touch, consider incorporating bardic traditions into your experimental poetry or storytelling pieces, such as sonnets, haikus, etc.

Prompt: Compose a sequence of haikus that depict the ephemeral moments of beauty and reflection that a wandering traveler on a self-discovery trip experiences.


Bard is an all-inclusive tool in the creative writing domain, providing a list of features and tools suited for each step of the procedure. Bard facilitates creativity, organization, and teamwork in writers by streamlining the writing process from conception to publishing. Bard’s broad features and easy-to-use interface enable writers to express their ideas, hone their writing, and tell their tales to a global audience.

Writers can experience a rewarding path of self-expression, personal development, and creative accomplishment by utilizing Bard’s tools and participating in its lively community. Bard is a shining example of a creative writer who leads others toward happiness and success in the field of writing.

Is Bard appropriate for writers at all skill levels, including novices?

Absolutely, Bard supports writers at all skill levels with its user-friendly tools and materials that foster development.

Is it convenient to access Bard across numerous devices?

Yes, Bard is made to work on a variety of devices, giving writers who are always on the road flexibility and ease.

Does Bard provide assistance with peer feedback and collaboration?

Without a doubt, Bard promotes a dynamic atmosphere for writer collaboration and feedback by providing options like sharing, commenting, and annotation.

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