Creative Writing Prompts 

Welcome to the creative writing prompts page! These story starters will give you ideas for bits of dialogue, scenes, or entire stories. They will help you get writing when you sit staring at the empty screen with nothing to say. It happens.

Use these images and questions to stimulate ideas and spark creativity. Jot down any additional questions you have about the situation before you begin writing. See the additional prompts at the end of the page for more sample questions.

The writing prompts are easy to use. 

Just click on any prompt to see both the image and the text. They are numbered so you can return to them easily or direct others to ones you like.

Writing Prompt #1

Write about the woman who lives in apartment 567. What does she want more than anything? And what is she doing to make sure she gets it?

Writing Prompt #2

They planned to meet at the stone panel at the museum, but she never made it. Why?

Writing Prompt #3

Somewhere in your story describe this Asian bench and have it play an important role.

Writing Prompt #4

Why did she change her mind about having a baby the first time her niece gripped her finger?

Writing Prompt #5

She opened the door wearing nothing but a gold chain and an old blanket. What happened next?

Writing Prompt #6

Who is running this bath for whom? How long has it been since the person had a bath, and why?

Writing Prompt #7

Two people meet here every day. Who are they and why do they meet?

Writing Prompt #8

Where were these berries served and why were they $50 a bowl?

Writing Prompt #9

They found this old bicycle in the back shed. Why does it change everything?

Writing Prompt #10

Describe the shop where these jars exist. Why does your character enter the shop?

Writing Prompt #11

Describe what the mother sees and feels when she looks at her baby for the first time.

Writing Prompt #12

What's hiding beneath the green in this pretty pot?

Writing Prompt #13

Who did these books fall on and why did they fall? What happened to the person on whom they fell?

Writing Prompt #14

He wants to rip it all up and she wants to preserve it. Write about what they're arguing over.

Writing Prompt #15

She had to fix it for Bobby's sake. Use this as an opening line in a story.

Writing Prompt #16

Describe what happens after he puts the caterpillar down his sister's shirt.

Writing Prompt #17

He punctuated every remark with a quick image on the chalkboard and his students loved him for it. What else did he draw on the chalkboard that day and what was he teaching?

Writing Prompt #18

Everyone made it home for Christmas except Benjamin. Where was he?

Writing Prompt #19

Who saw this and why?

Writing Prompt #20

She had to get away. When she rounded the corner she saw that she had nowhere to go. Describe what happens next.

Writing Prompt #21

What is in the monk's bowl and who put it there? Describe how it got there.

Writing Prompt #22

2010 was the worst year of his life. Why?

Writing Prompt #23

Why is this doll hidden in your protagonist's luggage?

Writing Prompt #24

What is behind this wall and why does your character need to get over it? Describe what he does now.

Writing Prompt #25

He believes the crab cakes are poisoned. Why does he think that and who brought them to the table?

Writing Prompt #26

Describe this flower and the garden where it grows.

Writing Prompt #27

If the neighbours took care of their lawn, his wouldn't be filled with dandelions. Whose door does he knock on about it? Write the conversation they have.

Writing Prompt #28

They have traveled too far to go back now. They are riding on a motorcycle. How bad does the trip get? Describe what happens.

Writing Prompt #29

A headless duck appears in your main character's recurring dream. Describe the dream and the character's response to it.

Writing Prompt #30

Why did you only photograph its eye?" she asks. Write his explanation and the ensuing discussion.

Writing Prompt #31

Who planted the rosebush where this rose grows, and why does she dislike it so much?

Writing Prompt #32

She saw this wall in her dream. What did she dream happened after she saw the wall, and how does that change her behaviour now?

Writing Prompt #33

Describe what you see in this photo and what it means.

Writing Prompt #34

Who is coming for brunch and what will they argue about?

Writing Prompt #35

What did she do when he came to the door?

Writing Prompt #36

She stepped back and surveyed her work. Until now she'd always been disappointed, but today was different. Why?

Writing Prompt #37

Describe this photo without using the word green.

Writing Prompt #38

Who is watching this ferry leave, and what is he or she thinking?

Writing Prompt #39

Describe the advertisement this frog appears in and what it means to the person who’s ripping it up.

Writing Prompt #40

Why is the magnifying glass more important than the fingerprint in this photo?

Writing Prompt #41

Where is this and why are your characters there?

Writing Prompt #42

Why was this birthday card torn in half?

Writing Prompt #43

He only got this far, and then he stopped. Why?

Writing Prompt #44

Before she went on stage she did one more thing. Describe her actions.

Writing Prompt #45

List three possibilities for what this might be, and write about one of them.

Writing Prompt #46

What is this frog's name? Write about how it got its glasses.

Writing Prompt #47

What does his expression mean? Write about the event that caused him to look like this.

Writing Prompt #48

Now that the glass blocks are installed, she doesn't like them? Write a story about what she hoped would happen than didn’t.

Writing Prompt #49

Describe the meal that preceded this dessert.

Writing Prompt #50

He fell in love with her the moment she looked at him. Describe this first meeting, then end with what she said when she gave her pink scarf to him.

More ...

Creative Writing Prompt 1: Hal Returns

A man named Hal returns home, after a five year absence, to celebrate the birth of his baby sister Zoey. Use this writing prompt to write a scene from Hal’'s POV that shows his arrival and how he responds to the baby.

Questions to Consider:

  1. What does Hal want to accomplish in this scene? What is his scene goal?
  2. How old is Hal?
  3. Is he successful or not?
  4. Why has he not been home for five years?
  5. Who greets him when he first arrives?
  6. Is the reception friendly or not?
  7. What details will best characterize him for the reader?
  8. What is the setting? A squalid apartment? An estate? A New York penthouse?
  9. Is he fond of his parents?
  10. Why does he have a new baby sister?

Creative Writing Prompt 2: Ice Hotel

Describe the inside of an expensive ice hotel frequented by tourists.

Questions to Consider:

  1. Is the temperature in the hotel comfortable?
  2. What is the quality of the light?
  3. Are there bathroom facilities in the room?
  4. Is the ice bed comfortable?
  5. What makes it comfortable or uncomfortable?
  6. What other furnishings are in the room?
  7. How is the room decorated?
  8. What colours have been used?
  9. Are there floor coverings?
  10. Does the room have any odour?

Creative Writing Prompt 3: Rock Sculpture

Margaret hikes into the foothills, and comes across a life-sized sculpture carved into the rock along one side of the path. Describe her response to the sculpture.

Questions to Consider:

  1. Can she recognize the subject of the sculpture or is it an abstract image?
  2. What is her initial reaction when she first sees it?
  3. Is the sculpture freshly finished, or does it have a weathered look?
  4. What does the sculpture represent to Margaret?
  5. How does she feel upon viewing it from different angles?
  6. Will she tell others about it or keep its presence secret?
  7. Has she been on this path before?
  8. Does she touch it? Climb on it?
  9. Does she wonder about the sculptor, about his or her gender?
  10. What is her feeling on leaving it?

Creative Writing Prompt 4: Marriage Proposal

Courtney and Jim have lived together for six years. Courtney asks Jim if he wants to marry her, and reacts to his response. Write this scene from Jim's perspective, with no more than four sets of quotation marks.

Questions to Consider:

  1. What time of day is it when Courtney poses her question?
  2. Where are they when Courtney asks this question?
  3. Is Jim's response enthusiastic or half-hearted?
  4. What questions does Courtney ask after Jim responds?
  5. Does Jim ask any questions of Courtney?
  6. How do Courtney and Jim feel about marriage in general? Do they feel the same way?
  7. Why have they not married before now?
  8. Does Jim have an easy-going personality or is he grumpy or withdrawn?
  9. What about Courtney's disposition? How can you show the similarities or differences between them?
  10. How does the conversation end?

Creative Writing Prompt 5: The Stuffed Sock

Write a scene that shows Alexa find a sock stuffed from toe to top with currency.

Questions to Consider:

  1. Where does Alexa find the sock?
  2. To whom does the sock belong?
  3. Was Alexa looking for the money, or does she find it unexpectedly?
  4. What does the sock look like? How does it feel?
  5. Are Alexa's initial thoughts selfish or generous?
  6. How is the money secured inside the sock? Is the neck of the sock fastened or knotted?
  7. How much money does the sock contain?
  8. Does Alexa need money herself? If so, does she experience any conflicting desires or emotions?
  9. Does she have an impulse to tell anyone about her discovery?
  10. What does she do with the sock and the money after she finds it?

Creative Writing Prompt 6: Man in Red

Start a paragraph with the words "I saw a man in a red," and describe two characters who meet on the street.

Questions to Consider:

  1. What time of day is it?
  2. Is it warm or cold?
  3. From where is the narrator observing the characters?
  4. Can the narrator hear the other two characters or only see them?
  5. Are both characters standing?
  6. What can the narrator know by the characters' expressions?
  7. Of which gender are the two characters?
  8. Why are they meeting?
  9. Where are they meeting?
  10. How do the characters move?

Creative Writing Prompt 7: Worst Date

Imagine or remember the worst date of your life, and write a paragraph or two describing it.

Questions to Consider:

  1. Who was your date?
  2. Where did you go?
  3. What did you wear?
  4. How long was the date?
  5. What were you thinking about during the date?
  6. Why did you go on the date?
  7. When did you know it would not be good?
  8. Did anything surprise you?
  9. Did anyone say anything memorable?
  10. Were there any good moments during the date?

Creative Writing Prompt 8: Packing a Suitcase

Write a scene where a character packs a suitcase.

Questions to Consider:

  1. Where is the character going?
  2. Is the trip for work or pleasure?
  3. Is the packing precise and ordered or does she toss items in the suitcase?
  4. Does the character like traveling?
  5. Is she anticipating the trip with pleasure or dread?
  6. How long will she be gone?
  7. Is anyone traveling with her?
  8. Does she wish someone could accompany her? If so, who?
  9. What items does she pack?
  10. What is she thinking about as she packs?

Creative Writing Prompt 9: Being You

Describe what it is like to be you today.

Questions to Consider:

  1. What do you need?
  2. Are you doing what you would like to be doing right now?
  3. If not, where would you rather be?
  4. How will you spend your day?
  5. What makes you special and unique?
  6. What is your best quality?
  7. What would you change about yourself if you could?
  8. What are your immediate goals?
  9. Why do others appreciate you?
  10. What gives you joy?

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