Skip Nav

50 creative writing prompts to enrich your craft

Use a Word Prompt

❶Design for another writer.

A Writing Habit Is Better Than Discipline

Writer's Digest Magazine
That wasn't so scary, was it?
Character Worksheets

Now, write the same scene, but this time the couple is in their thirties. How would the questions differ? Write the same scene again, but this time the couple has been married for fifteen years.

How would their questions be different than the other two tests? Character development makes your characters feel real. A detective is called to a small hotel to investigate the disappearance of a guest.

Use first person POV. Two characters who are romantically involved are having an argument at a bar. Write their exchange in words or less. Conflict in dialogue makes it lively and the raised stakes draw readers in. Dialogue tags can be distracting and repetitive. Body language can show how your characters are speaking and feeling without telling the reader outright, and this brings characters to life. A public figure a celebrity or politician is giving a long speech when they are interrupted by a member of the audience and heckled.

The speaker loses their calm and responds to the heckler in far more informal speech. We use different ways of talking depending on whom we address. Two characters have been stuck in a lift for an hour.

They were strangers but they begin opening up, telling each other about their lives while they wait for assistance. Use words or less. Creating a sense of progression in dialogue shows change and this change and sense of development is a large part of what makes a story interesting.

Four college students have been put in a group to compile a report. Each has a very different work approach. One student loves to research first, another likes to organize people and delegate tasks, one is a lazy slacker and one just agrees with everyone else to avoid conflict.

Write their argument about how to complete the project. This exercise will help you create multi-character scenes that are complex and rich with dramatic potential. Imagine your character has gone hiking in a forest on a mountainside. There is nobody else around. Describe what they hear as they pass through different parts — a densely wooded area, a stream, and a high ravine. Often when we write setting we rely on visual description almost exclusively. Describe the general goings-on in a city over the past years.

Writing setting well, especially in historical fiction, requires showing place as dynamic rather than static. Describe a seaside city from the viewpoint of a traveler who is visiting for the first time. Describe the same place again from the viewpoint of a local.

Think about the different places in the city each would find interesting, and have each character list three things they love and three things they hate about the city. A visiting character might end up eating at awful tourist-bait diners, for example, while a local is more likely to avoid these. Describe a big, rambling house in the daytime and make it seem comfortable and homely. Rewrite the piece, keeping everything except the adjectives the same. Change the describing words you use so the house feels sinister, eerie or outright terrifying.

In setting, time of day and place work together to establish mood and atmosphere. This exercise will help you show how places take on different characters according to the conditions under which we experience them. Imagine your character has a favourite place they escape to whenever they feel stressed or need quality alone time.

Describe this setting in words including at least three of senses: We form memories of places not just through vision but the other senses too.

Do this exercise regularly to create memorable locations for your story. Describe the character and what is so lovely about her in words or less, but end with a secret or flaw that not everyone sees. Story characters who are perfect are boring. Great characters are light and shade. The villain Lord Voldemort in J. Imagine a character who witnessed a crime has to identify the perpetrator in a police line-up. Each of the suspects is quite similar looking but there is one vivid aspect of the guilty party that stands out.

When we describe characters, we often reach for the most obvious physical features such as hairstyle and eye colour. See more here ].

Click on a random video and quickly minimize the window before you see anything. Describe the voice of the first person you hear speaking, in detail. Is there any defining characteristic? Is it low, high, raspy, clear? Do they have a stutter or an odd way of starting, pausing, or ending sentences? Thinking about the differences in how people sound and express themselves will help you write characters whose voices are unique and interesting. Now answer these questions:. Begin an opening sentence with a character having died.

Dramatic story openings that leave things unanswered pull the reader in. Why was Miss Emily a monument? Why is she so intriguing to the town and why had nobody seen the inside of her house? How did she die? Faulkner leaves many questions to answer in the course of the story.

Conditionals if, would, could, etc. Great characters have history and can remember and are driven to some extent by important life events. But write a list for each character in your novel about important events in their life, even if we only meet them when they are in their thirties.

Begin a story with a surprising or unusual action. The mundane and everyday can happen in the course of your novel. But keep the most mundane parts of your book for any part but the beginning. An unusual or inexplicable action as an opening creates curiosity. Write a first line that encompasses the whole of a story idea. Being able to condense your story into a single line is a good skill to have. Imagine a character describing her wedding day. Writing the above scenario this way can be very effective if you will later show how the event did not go to plan at all.

It will let you create a contrast between expectation and reality and this element of surprise is a satisfying component of storytelling. Your character is a high school student who has just sat his exams. Describe the exams he has completed in the recent past tense e. Past perfect tense is useful for creating anticipation, because it shows something happened before something else. Describe a character waiting nervously outside a venue for a job interview.

Describe what they are worried they will be asked and in what ways they feel prepared. It is important to be consistent with tense in a single section of your book or scene, unless transitions between tenses are logical and easy to follow for example, a character shifting from sharing a memory to describing a present action.

Rewrite it and turn it into lyrics for a song. Write the log line for a mockumentary. Think of your greatest fear. If it's an object, person, or place, make it sound loveable. If it's some kind of experience, make it sound fun. Which prompts from the Day Writing Challenge were your favorites?

Did anything surprise you about your writing? We hope that you've come out of this month no worse for wear than when you started. After all, writing is work, but it's also supposed to be good for the soul. Even if you didn't do all of the challenges, you've written more than you would have if you hadn't taken part in these writing exercises at all. Like I said, it's all about taking baby steps.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have some email accounts to close once and for all. November is just around the corner and that can mean only one thing—authors worldwide are sharpening their pencils in preparation for NaNoWriMo. Not in the know about NaNoWriMo? This funny little acronym stands for National Novel Writing Month, which is the ambitious—albeit fun—goal of writing an entire novel in one month.

While it may be true that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, it is also true that the most difficult step of the journey is the final one.

Participating in NaNoWriMo is a marathon of writing, and finishing depends solely on you. That being said, Scribendi. Back to Advice and Articles. We respect your email privacy. English is not my first language. I need English editing and proofreading so that I sound like a native speaker.

I need to have my journal article, dissertation, or term paper edited and proofread, or I need help with an admissions essay or proposal. I have a novel, manuscript, play, or ebook. I need editing, copy editing, proofreading, a critique of my work, or a query package.

I need editing and proofreading for my white papers, reports, manuals, press releases, marketing materials, and other business documents. I want to sound professional and to get hired. I have a resume, letter, email, or personal document that I need to have edited and proofread.

The Day Writing Challenge: I don't know about you, but I'm afraid of commitment. The Day Writing Challenge Day 1 Take us through a written walk down your street and to your favorite place through the eyes of somebody else. Day 2 Think of three people in your life. Day 3 Now send your character to his or her grumpy grandmother's house for a visit.

Day 4 Imagine that your protagonist has just turned into a statue. Describe his or her thoughts. Day 5 The last liquid you drank has turned your protagonist into a superhero. Day 6 Think of your favorite food. Try to make it sound as disgusting as possible. Day 7 Spoil the ending of your favorite movie without any context.

Day 8 Take a nondescript sentence such as, "How are you? Day 9 Turn a Tweet into a haiku. Day 10 Try to convince your reader that the mythological creature of your choosing exists. Day 11 You are now a dragon. Day 12 Take the first line of your favorite novel. Day 13 Think of the worst pain you've ever felt. Day 14 Your character meets somebody new on the bus. Day 15 Characterize the second-last app on your phone or the last website you've visited before this one.

Day 16 The last thing you touched other than the keyboard, mouse, screen, etc. Day 17 A magic trick involving cards has gone horribly wrong.

What are the consequences? Day 18 Free write about your first protagonist from Day 1 meeting the new character from Day Day 19 Cross an item off your bucket list by doing it in your writing.

Day 20 Ask somebody you know how his or her day was. Make any kind of poem out of their answer. Day 21 Your character's skeleton is trying to escape his or her body. Rewrite it while keeping the intended meaning intact. Day 23 Make an existing protagonist into an antagonist by changing one small thing about him or her. Day 24 Put your favorite poem through a translator into a different language and then back again.

Day 25 One of your characters has been mistaken for somebody else. Write what happens next. Day 26 Write the log line for a mockumentary. Day 27 Tell the story of a man who lives in a motel.

Our Most Popular Creative Writing Prompts

Main Topics

Privacy Policy

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 creative writing prompts to .

Privacy FAQs

A PowerPoint designed to challenge pupils and get them thinking creatively! Based on another ppt from TES that I have used and my classes love/5(64).

About Our Ads

creative energy. You’re going to need to be able to draw from a well of inspiration and it’s more than OK to look outside yourself for that inspiration. But in the midst of a creative challenge, you’re going to be pressed for time. You need to take a quick hit, get to your word count and get on with your life. This section is your creative well. Personally, I really dislike writing in first person perspective, so I challenged myself to write a book that way. While it turned out to actually be a fun learning experience I .

Cookie Info

Extreme challenge: combine three of the elements with one of the other short story ideas on this page. A stolen ring, fear of spiders, and a sinister stranger. A taxi, an old enemy, and Valentine's Day. Challenges for Writing Groups: Make a collection. Some of the most popular challenge-based shows emphasize teamwork: Chefs are tossed together to create different components of a meal, while multiple designers are tasked with producing a unified line of clothes.