Whether you’re writing fiction or nonfiction, writing a book you decided on or an article you were assigned, sooner or later, you’re going to hit a wall. You’re going to need something to spark that creativity again, and writing prompts can help.
You can find ideas in many places, but what if you need something else? What if you just need a break from that for a little while, and you just need to get some creative juices flowing?
Here are some nudges, and they’re not your third-grade teacher’s idea of writing suggestions. No “What did you do last summer?” assignments here!
Write about a mythological creature, including its manner of creation, history, and current motives. If it’s a hero, what battles has it fought and won, who did it vanquish? If it’s evil, why is it evil, and what is its goal?
Do the same thing with a superhero.
Do the same thing with a villain.
With the three prompts above, do them again, but this time, show, don’t tell.
What is your hot button? How are people being stupid about it?
How should the world be?
Hybridize two animals.
Hybridize two plants.
What do you think a person needs to know, have, be, do, to be successful in life?
Throw people into an honesty chamber, where they might try to lie but the truth always comes out. Give us a front-row seat.
Write a mission statement for your book (or any book you choose). Why is it that way?
Describe your ultimate vacation.
Cupid’s arrow goes awry…
Tell this story: Sarah McCollough almost died lighting a candle in church.
Create a profile for a character. Figure out everything about that person that might affect how s/he would behave. If that person had a social media account, what kinds of statements would they make? What photos would they share?
Y’all ain’t never gonna believe this, but…
The clue that cracked the case was a peach pit.
Pick a figure from history, and involve them in a Q&A session. What questions do they receive, and how do they answer them?
Write about yourself from the perspective of someone who loves you.
Pick a character in your book and show us what she loves. What does she hate?
An explosion goes off near your character. How does s/he react?
Kids these days…
If there were no restrictions on you whatsoever, what would you do with your life?
Take an ordinary, mundane task, and turn it into an adventure.
You’ve come back from the future to prevent it all from falling apart.
It’s the year 3000, and…
Horror story in two sentences.
Write from the perspective of a 12-inch tall person. What kind of challenges are there? What opportunities? How does the world look? What could be invented or modified?
The has-been superhero
I was about to close up for the night when…
Rules for being a mom
The misery of “coulda, woulda, shoulda” in a particular situation
Create a world where everyone is sure of right and wrong, where it’s all black and white. How do they get along? What is it like to live there? What kinds of people succeed and enjoy that world, and what kinds of people hate it?
Complete this: As a scholar of hidden messages, it is my opinion that…
Rules for living with fatigue
Reality TV show with unwilling participants
Two minutes to jump time
What new flavors should soft drinks come in, and why?
Celeste should have pulled the shade that night. If she had, none of it would have happened.
I didn’t mean to…
I’m not sure what possessed me to lick the piano strings, but…
Life-size chess board, with real people on it.
If you had one day that was 100% pain-free, no matter what you did, what would you do?
Plan a performance you want everyone to see (you don’t have to be in it). What’s the lineup? Who’s in it? How does it go?
Write a letter to someone who is just starting to go through something challenging or painful that you went through.
Write a letter from your future self to your current self.
Write a letter from your current self to a younger version of you. What words would it have been helpful to hear back then?
The strangest weather in the history of the planet…
It all went terribly wrong.
A believable miracle
What data would you like to have about your life?
You slept for a year and had vivid dreams. Tell us about the experience.
If it hadn’t been for the potholder on the truck…
Write your deathbed confession.
Give a character from any book a remote control. What would they do to the story they appear in? Would they pause it at a certain point and prolong the moment? Would they speed through parts, and what would that avoidance do to their souls? Would they change the ending, and what would it be like then?
The fondue pot never should have been in the bank fault.
I have a perfectly good explanation for why the orca ended up in my swimming pool.
Mix 2 cups of sugar with gasoline and red dye…
Candy should be outlawed because…
Sunlight, pros and cons
Cover your sunboil-covered face with YounGOO, the silicone mask that takes your face back to pre-apocolypse days. Write an ad for a similar fictional product.
If your special-needs child could tell the world exactly what it’s like to be him/her…
Be the voice of those who can’t speak.
What is it like to be you, to live with all of the challenges and struggles you face?
What writing prompts would you like to share? Please leave them in the comments.