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Creative Writing Prompts for Poetry

Here, you'll find HUNDREDS of creative writing prompts for your poetry.
The prompts and ideas on this website intentionally open-ended. Each prompt can be approached in
many different ways. Whether you are a traditional poet or an experimental one; whether your poetry is
lyrical, humorous, or dark; you can make these prompts work for you.
The open-ended design of these prompts also means that you can return to the same prompt again and
again, producing a different poem each time.
Ready to write some poems?

Free Fiction Writing Course: ENDLESS STORY IDEAS


This free 3-day online writing course will show you techniques to find new creative writing ideas whenever you
need them.

Creative Writing Prompts


1) Write a poem about one or all of the four seasons. (Some ideas for brainstorming: What does the
season look, feel, smell like? What memories do you associate with that season?).
2) Write a poem using three of the following words: expensive, lampshade, bruise, convincing.
3) Write a poem about something that happened to someone you know. Write about it as if it had
happened to you.
4) Write a poem about your shadow. (Some ideas for brainstorming: How does it change when
you move? What does it look like in different kinds of light, in different situations? What would
happen if you lost it? Does it have a secret life?)
5) Write a poem using all of the following words: smooth, soothe, work, dark.
6) Write a poem based on a dream you had. Try to reproduce the sensations of the dream.
7) Write a poem based on your belief about life after death... or about what you WISH you
believed.
8) Write a poem using all of the following words: snake, honey, thaw.
9) Write a poem from the perspective of a character in a fairy tale.
10) Write a poem using all of the following words: moth, angle, cloth, tangle.
11) Write a poem that tells the story of a specific love affair or marriage.

12) Write a poem in the form of a message or letter to your future self.
13) Write a poem about the color red or another color. (Some ideas for brainstorming: How does
the color make you feel? What things do you associate with that color?)
14) Write a poem about a place that frightens you or a place where you feel happy. Try to
recreate the feeling of the place.
15) Write a poem using all of the following words: exquisite, visit, glisten.
16) Write a poem about something or someone you lost.
17) Write a poem using all of the following words: dim, hinge, dingy.
19) Write a poem in the form of a lullaby.
20) Write a poem about yourself in which nothing is true.

Poem Starters and Creative Writing


Ideas
Here are lots of poem starters that you can use for your own poetry writing. (If you're looking
for story starters instead, click here). At the bottom of the page, you'll find links to more
pages with creative writing ideas.
Do you like this page? Please click the +1 button to recommend it.

Poetry ideas - Write a poem about:


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Night-time
A particular color
Being underwater
A person whose life you're curious about
Your mother's perfume
Falling asleep or waking up
Growing older
The feeling of getting lost in a book
How to know if you're in love
A bad dream
A ghost
Your city, town, or neighborhood

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An important life choice you've made


Spring, summer, fall, or winter
Something most people see as ugly but which you see as beautiful
Jealousy
Becoming a parent
An event that changed you
A place you visited -- how you imagined it beforehand, and what it was actually like
The ocean
Forgetting
The speed of light
A voodoo doll
Reflections on a window
A newspaper headline
Your greatest fear
Your grandmother's hands
A particular toy you had as a child
Being invisible
A time you felt homesick
Having an affair, or discovering your partner is having one
Birthdays
A favorite food and a specific memory of eating it
An imaginary city
Driving with the radio on
Life in an aquarium
Dancing
Walking with your eyes closed
What a computer might daydream about
Time travel
Brothers or sisters
Your job, or a job you've had
Weddings
Leaving home
Camping
A zoo
A historical event from the perspective of someone who saw it firsthand (You will have to do some
research for this).
Holding your breath
Intimacy and privacy
A time you were tempted to do something you feel is wrong
Physical attraction to someone
A superstition you have
Someone you admire

Learn techniques for writing successful poems in our online course.

Poem starters- the five senses


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Write about the taste of: an egg, an orange, medicine, cinnamon


Write about the smell of: burning food, melting snow, the ocean, your grandparents' home, the
inside of a bus, pavement after the rain
56. Write about the sound of: a radio changing channels, a dog howling, a football or baseball game,
your parents talking in another room
57. Write about the sight of: lit windows in a house when you're standing outside at night, someone
you love when he or she doesn't know you're watching, a dying plant, shadows on snow
58. Write about the feeling of: grass under bare feet, a really bad kiss, the headrush when you stand
up too fast, sore muscles, falling asleep in the back seat of a moving car.

Poem starters- three elements


Write a poem that contains all three of the elements in any of the lists below:

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a dessert, a memory, and someone in your family


dancing, a pitch-black room, and the smell of lilacs
a balloon, smoke, and a keyhole
a secret box, an ice cube tray, and a velvet ribbon
a betrayal, soap, and a plane ticket

Poetry Ideas and Creative Writing Prompts


Here you'll find lots of poetry ideas you can use for your creative writing. (Were you looking instead
for short story ideas?)At the bottom of this page, you'll find links to even more poem starters and to
creative writing lessons on how to write poems.
Poetry prompts - Write a poem about:

Rain, snow, or a storm

An animal you think is beautiful or strange

Your parents or children

How a kiss feels

The house where you were born

A smell that brings back memories

Being a teenager, becoming an adult, middle age, old age

Feeling lonely

The moon

Getting lost

Marriage or divorce

An imaginary friend

Life in the future

The hottest, coldest, or most exhausted you have ever felt

Having a fever

A new version of a fairy-tale

The shapes you see in clouds

Write a poem in the form of any of the following:

A letter

A recipe

A horoscope

A fragment from an unusual dictionary

A prayer

A shopping list

A magic spell.

Write a poem from the point of view of:

One of your parents

Your child (real or imagined)

A historical figure (You will have to do research for this one.)

A very old person

An athlete who has just lost the big game

The most popular/unpopular kid from your school

An inanimate object in your home.

Where to get more ideas for poems:

Listen to a piece of music and write about the images that it brings into your mind.

People-watch, eavesdrop, and write about your observations and imaginings.

Sit in a park and close your eyes. Notice all of the sounds and smells. Write about them
afterward.

Keep a notebook next to your bed and write down your dreams at night to turn them into poems
later.

Make a list of words you think are unusual, then try to use them in poems.

Watch an animal and write a poem about what it looks like and what it does.

Smell different spices in your kitchen and write about the memories that they inspire.

Look through old family photographs and choose some to write poems about.

Go on a "field trip" -- a museum, the zoo, a greenhouse -- to hunt for poetry ideas.

Get inspiration from books on an area of science or history that interests you.

Poetry Prompts and Poem Starters


Here you'll find lots of poetry prompts you can use for your poems. (If you're looking instead for short
story topics, click here). At the bottom of the page, you'll find links to even more poetry ideas and
advice on how to write poetry.
Poem starters - Write a poem about:

Three wishes

Traveling to an unknown place

Getting a haircut

A scientific fact (real or invented)

An insect that got into your home

The sound of a specific language

Death

The number 3

The ocean

Missing someone

Something that makes you angry

The feeling of writing, why you want to be a writer

The ups and downs of love

The view out your window

City lights at night

A particular work of art

Having a superpower

Being in an airplane

Playing a sport

A shadow

A person transformed into an animal

Write instructions for how to:

Daydream

Cry

Kiss well

Find happiness

Peel a peach

Write a poem that contains all three words from one of these lists:
1.

"Silky," "gigantic," and "puzzle."

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"Leaf," "accelerating," and "sticky."

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"Skin," "drastic," and "dusty."


br>
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"Interrupt," "nutmeg," and "crystalline."
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"Exacting," "oxygen," and "delicate."

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"Reptilian," "arched," and "honey."

Poem Prompts to Give You Ideas


Here, youll find poem prompts that you can turn into poetry. At the bottom of the page are links to
hundreds of other poem starters.

10 Phrases
Use one of these phrases in a poem (or a story)

"something with claws"

"oddly inflated"

"inside my eyelids"

"grind it to dust"

"a familiar dream"

"a friend of a friend of a friend"

"in my peripheral vision"

"like an unsent letter"

"monumental and very far away"

"flooded the basement"

"more bitter than sweet"

"floating like pollen"

5 Topics
1) A close friendship
Questions to give you ideas:

What brought you and your friend together?

Close friends often develop a kind of special language, with certain words or catch-phrases that
they use with each other (nicknames for things, quotes from movies, inside jokes, etc.). Does the
friendship you're writing about have any special words or phrases? What memories do you
associate with them? What do they mean?

What place do you associate with this friend (a particular caf, a park, the friends home)?

What memories express specific aspects of this friendship? What memory expresses something
that you admire about this friend?

What's something you and your friend prefer to leave unspoken?

Have you ever dreamed about this friend? What did you dream? What did it mean?

2) A particular cabinet or drawer


Questions to give you ideas:

What's in it? How do the items relate to each other? What memories are attached to them?

How have its contents changed over time? What story does that tell?

What's missing from it?

What does it mean to you or to someone else? How would its meaning change depending on
who opened it?

3) An imaginary animal (invent one!)


Questions to give you ideas:

What does the animal look like?

How does it move?

Where does it live?

What does it eat?

What does it think about? What is it like to be that animal?

What is it afraid of?

What can you compare it to?

What does it mean to you?

4) A memory of a family meal


Questions to give you ideas:

What did you eat? What were the sights, sounds, smells, flavors, textures? Who prepared it, and
what was involved in the preparation?

Where did the meal take place? What did the place look like?

Who was there? How did they behave? What did they say? How did their feelings come through
in their words or their silences?

What do you see now, looking back at the scene, that you weren't aware of at the time?

5) Writing

Questions to give you ideas:

What other experience or activity does writing remind you of? What does it feel like when the
writing's going well, or when it's going badly?

What interesting answer could you invent to the question, "Where do you get your ideas?"

What is a phrase or sentence you had trouble writing? Show the struggle.

If you had a muse, what kind of person would he or she be? What would he or she say to you?

What is mysterious about writing to you?

What happens in the secret lives of words?

Forty-Four Short Story Ideas


Here are lots of short story ideas that you can use as writing prompts. Use these story starters
on their own or to get ideas for the CWN online writing courses. You'll also find links to more
creative writing prompts at the bottom of the page.
Any of these ideas can be used either humorously or dramatically... or you can try both. Have
fun!
Do you like this page? Please click the +1 button to recommend it.

Story ideas - three elements


Choose a set of three elements and write a story that contains all three of them!
Extreme challenge: combine three of the elements with one of the other short story ideas on this page.

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A stolen ring, fear of spiders, and a sinister stranger.


A taxi, an old enemy, and Valentine's Day.
Identical twins, a party invitation, and a locked closet.
A broken wristwatch, peppermints, and a hug that goes too far.

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Aerobics, a secret diary, and something unpleasant under the bed.


An ex-boyfriend, a pair of binoculars, and a good-luck charm.
An annoying boss, a bikini, and a fake illness.
The first day of school, a love note, and a recipe with a significant mistake.
A horoscope, makeup, and a missing tooth.
A campfire, a scream, and a small lie that gets bigger and bigger.

More short story ideas


Challenge: 4 stories in 4 weeks using these short story ideas. Are you up to it?
Extreme challenge: Why not write a book of short stories? Choose seven or eight short story ideas to get
started.

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A babysitter is snooping around her employer's house and finds a disturbing photograph...
At a Chinese restaurant, your character opens his fortune cookie and reads the following
message: "Your life is in danger. Say nothing to anyone. You must leave the city immediately and
never return. Repeat: say nothing."...
Your character's boss invites her and her husband to dinner. Your character wants to make a
good impression, but her husband has a tendency to drink too much and say exactly what's on his
mind...
It's your character's first day at a new school. He or she wants to get a fresh start, develop a new
identity. But in his or her homeroom, your character encounters a kid he or she knows from summer
camp...
Your character has to tell his parents that he's getting a divorce. He knows his parents will take
his wife's side, and he is right...
At the airport, a stranger offers your character money to carry a mysterious package onto the
plane. The stranger assures your character that it's nothing illegal and points out that it has already
been through the security check. Your character has serious doubts, but needs the money, and
therefore agrees...
Your character suspects her husband is having an affair and decides to spy on him. What she
discovers is not what she was expecting...
A man elbows your character in a crowd. After he is gone, she discovers her cell phone is too.
She calls her own number, and the man answers. She explains that the cell phone has personal
information on it and asks the man to send it back to her. He hangs up. Instead of going to the
police, your character decides to take matters into her own hands...
After your character loses his job, he is home during the day. That's how he discovers that his
teenage son has a small marijuana plantation behind the garage. Your character confronts his son,

who, instead of acting repentant, explains to your character exactly how much money he is making
from the marijuana and tries to persuade your character to join in the business...
20. At a garage sale, your character buys an antique urn which she thinks will look nice decorating
her bookcase. But when she gets home, she realizes there are someone's ashes in it....
Learn to make your story a page-turner with our online course Irresistible Fiction.

Even more short story ideas


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Your character starts receiving flowers and anonymous gifts. She doesn't know who is sending
them. Her husband is suspicious, and the gifts begin to get stranger....
A missionary visits your character's house and attempts to convert her to his religion. Your
character is trying to get rid of him just as storm warning sirens go off. Your character feels she can't
send the missionary out into the storm, so she lets him come down into her basement with her. This
is going to be a long storm....
Your character is caught shoplifting. The shop owner says that she won't call the police in
exchange for a personal favor....
Your character is visiting his parents over a holiday. He is returning some books to the library for
his mother and is startled to notice that the librarian looks exactly like him, only about thirty years
older. He immediately begins to suspect that his mother had an affair at one time and the librarian is
his real father...
Your character picks up a hitch-hiker on her way home from work. The hitch-hiker tries to
persuade your character to leave everything and drive her across the country...
Your character has to sell the house where she grew up. A potential buyer comes to look at it and
begins to talk about all of the changes she would make to the place. This upsets your character,
who decides she wants to find a buyer who will leave everything the way it has always been....
A bat gets in the house. Your character's husband becomes hysterical, frightened that it might be
rabid. In his panic, he ends up shutting the bat in a room with your character while he calls an
exterminator from a safe place in the house. His behavior makes your character see her husband in
a new way....
Your character changes jobs in order to have more time with his family. But his family doesn't
seem interested in having him around...
Your character develops the idea that she can hear the voices of the dead on a certain radio
channel. She decides to take advantage of this channel to find answers to some questions that are
bothering her about her dead parents....
Your character's dream is to be a professional dancer. At a party, she mentions this dream to a
stranger, who says that he has contacts in the dance world and gets her an audition for a
prestigious dance troupe. One problem: your character doesn't know how to dance. Your character
decides to accept the audition anyway and look for a solution....

And still more short story ideas


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Your character thinks her boss is looking for an excuse to fire her. She decides to fight back....
Your character goes out for dinner on a date and becomes attracted to the waiter or waitress....
Your character notices that a stranger is following her. She pretends not to notice. The stranger
follows her home and watches her go inside. Then when he leaves, your character turns the tables
and starts to follow him....
A child moves into a new house and finds out that the other kids in town think it's haunted. She
begins to invent ghost stories to tell at school in order to get attention. But the more stories she tells,
the more frightened she becomes of the house...
Your elderly character escapes from the retirement home where his or her children have placed
him or her....
Your character gets cosmetic surgery in an attempt to make her boyfriend love her more. But then
she worries he only loves her for her looks....
Your character is a writer. But his new neighbors are so noisy that he can neither work nor sleep.
He decides to take action....
Your character's mother-in-law comes to visit for a week, and your character suspects she is
trying to poison him. He shares his suspicion with his wife, who says he's always hated her mother
but this accusation is going too far. Meanwhile, your character has stomach cramps, and his
mother-in-law is downstairs making breakfast again....
It's a freezing cold night. Your character finds a homeless family on his doorstep and invites them
into his home to sleep. But in the morning, the family doesn't leave....
Your character has recently married a man with two teenage children. The children resent her,
and she tries to avoid them altogether. Then her new husband (their father) disappears suddenly,
leaving only a short good-bye note....

Short story ideas - personal creative writing


challenges
41.

Make a list of five things you're afraid of happening to you. Then write a story in which one of
them happens to your character..
42. Think of a big problem that one of your friends had to face. Then write a story in which your
character battles with that problem..
43. What is one of your bad habits? Invent a character who has the bad habit, but a much worse
case of it than you have. Write a story where this habit gets your character into trouble.
44. What is one of your greatest strengths? Invent a character who doesn't have this strength. Create
a situation in which having this strength is very important for your character. What does your
character do? Write the story.

Short Story Topics and Creative Writing Ideas


Here are some short story topics to give you ideas for creative writing. These story starters are especially
designed for practicing narrative point of view. But feel free to use them however you like! At the bottom
of the page are links to more short story ideas.

Free Fiction Writing Course: ENDLESS STORY IDEAS


This free 3-day online writing course will show you techniques to find new creative writing ideas whenever you
need them.

Short story ideas - writing prompts with a focus on: narrative point of
view
1) Short story topics - chemical imbalance
Imagine a blind date. The guy thinks it goes wonderfully -- amazing chemistry; they have
so much in common. The girl thinks it's a disaster, that he's a real creep.
Write about the date in the first person, from the girl's point of view. E.g., "I met him at the
restaurant at seven. He looked..." (For tips on writing in the first person, click here).
Then, write about the same date in the first person, from the guy's point of view.
If you want, you could also rewrite the same scene in the third person, switching back
and forth between points of view. Use some kind of indicator so that readers know where
the point of view is at all time. Maybe give the man a few paragraphs, then the woman,
and use a line break each time you change to separate the story into sections. Don't
switch back and forth too fast, or you might leave your reader dizzy and disoriented.
2) Short story topics - wife's denial
Your character's husband is an alcoholic, but your character refuses to realize it. She
idealizes him. The couple had a dinner party the night before, and your character's
husband got drunk and violent. Your character tells the story of the party in the first
person and tries to convince the reader that what happened was no big deal.
3) Short story topics - the blind woman
Your character is blind. The man she has started dating is not. He invites her to his
apartment for the first time. While she is there, she notices various clues that tell her he is
probably married. Write this story from the blind woman's point of view. Remember that

she cannot see, so you must not use any visual details. Focus on sounds, smells, touch,
even taste. This is her first time in her new boyfriend's apartment, so she is probably
paying a lot of attention to what's around her. Describe the apartment as vividly as
possible without involving the sense of sight.
Rewrite the story where the blind woman goes to her new boyfriend's apartment, but this
time write it from the boyfriend's point of view. The boyfriend is not blind, so you can use
visual details. But don't forget about the other senses. The apartment belongs to him, so
although he can see it, he is not paying attention to the details in the same way that the
woman is. It is all familiar to him. On the other hand, he is paying attention to her. He is
attracted to her physically and notices details about how she looks. Make the reader see
these details. Also: as the blind woman begins to suspect that he's married, he notices a
change in her behavior. He is watching her reactions closely, so show the reader what he
sees.
4) Short story topics - the thief's defense
Tell the story of a robbery in the first person, from the point of view of the criminal. Have
the criminal tell the story as if he were attempting to convince the reader that his actions
were justified.
You might then write about the same robbery from the point of view of the victim.
Our online writing course Through Your Character's Eyes will show you narrative
viewpoint techniques to pull readers deep inside your stories.

Fiction Prompts - Ideas for Stories


Here are some ideas for stories you can write. At the bottom of the page, you'll find links to more fiction
prompts and story ideas.

Three Elements
Choose a set of three elements, and imagine a story that includes all three of them.
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a hitchhiker, an allergy, and a mistake in a map.


a cemetery, a missing dog, and a joke that goes too far.
a Halloween costume, a stapler, and a complaint between neighbors.
a stolen phone, a love song, and a bet.
a dance competition, an engagement ring, and a worried parent.
insomnia, a birthday card, and an encounter with someone famous.
an eavesdropper, a secret kiss, and a fire in the kitchen.
a stuck elevator, a pickpocket, and a promise.
a babysitter, a pet snake, and a tow truck.
a lit window, a stamp collection, and someone pretending to be angry.
a dream come true, inappropriate laughter, and something buried.
an abandoned house, false eyelashes, and a lump in the bed.

Character Ideas
Here are 3 ideas you can use to create fictional characters and stories:
1.
Write about a character who pretends to be cool and tough, but is actually shy and sensitive.
2.
Write about a character who is obsessed with certain colors.
3.
Write about a character who secretly plans to leave home and start a new life.
Now, YOU complete the sentences to get even more character ideas:
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Write about a character who pretends to be ________, but is actually ________.


Write about a character who is obsessed with ________.
Write about a character who secretly ________.

First Lines
Here are some beginnings for stories or poems. Start with one of these and see where your imagination
takes you.
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He wasn't at all what I was expecting...


How would we ever get rid of...
She was a wonderful liar...
He hurled the phone against the wall...
The fortuneteller was mistaken...
I crouched behind the sofa...
It was wrapped like a present, but...
I should never have come here...

Free Writing Prompts - Story Ideas


Here are some free writing prompts you can use to get story ideas. At the bottom of the page, you'll find
links to more story starters.
1) Your character is chatting with a stranger on a website. Both your character and the other person are
using nicknames -- they don't know each other's real names. The stranger starts to flirt with your
character, even though she tells him she is married. The more they talk, the more strongly she suspects
that the stranger is actually her husband, but that he has no idea who she is...
2) While your character and his wife are on a safari, the car breaks down. Their guide says he'll go for
help, leaving your character and wife alone by the car. After a few minutes, they decide to get into the car,
but the doors are locked. There's no sign of the guide, and it's starting to get dark...
3) A child develops a wild plan to keep his parents from getting divorced...
4) Tracey's husband is about to publish a novel about a character named "Stacey", who is obviously
based on Tracey. The novel is about how much "Stacey" secretly hates her in-laws, whose house she

currently lives in. Tracey too lives with her in-laws, but has always worked hard to get along with them.
She begs her husband not to publish the book or at least to disguise the character more, but her husband
refuses...
5) One evening, as your character's getting ready for bed, s/he notices a Webcam attached to his/her
home computer, filming him/her. Your character does not own a Webcam...
6) After a neighbor is murdered, the police talk to your character and his wife, asking if they heard
anything suspicious. Your character's wife answers the police's questions as if she had been home the
evening the crime occurred, when your character knows she was out until very late that night...
7) A teenager hears that the movie star she's in love with will be in town. She develops a plan to meet him
and make him fall in love with her...
8) Your character and his/her husband/wife are both unemployed and sending out CVs. When they both
get interviews at the same time, they discover that they are competing for the same job. Both of them
want the job, and each thinks that he/she is better suited for it than the other...
9) Your character's teenage child makes a rule that no one's allowed in his/her bedroom. Your character
respects this rule until one morning when s/he wants a book that s/he thinks that the teenager has
borrowed. S/he goes to look in the teenager's room and can't believe what s/he finds there...
10) Your character gets a new roommate. This roommate is always complimenting your character and
seems to admire her a lot. But your character starts to get the creeps when the roommate begins to dress
exactly like her, gets her hair cut like your character's, starts reading your character's books and quoting
things that your character has said. Your character has the strange feeling that the roommate wants to BE
her. And then the roommate starts making excuses to spend time with your character's boyfriend....

Story Ideas - Story Starters


Here are some story ideas to inspire you. At the bottom of the page, youll find links to more story starters
and ideas.

Story Beginnings
Start with one of these and see where your imagination takes you.

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He should have never let her into the apartment...


It sounded like violin music, and it was coming from the basement...
"It's not what you think," he said.
I crouched behind the car, trying not to make a sound...
There's only one thing in the world I'm afraid of...

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They sat next to each other on the train, still pretending to be strangers...
I knew he'd been there because he'd stubbed out his cigarette in the sink...
"Don't you dare come any closer..."
She'd imagined this moment so many times, but she never expected...
At first, I thought it was the cat, but it was...
Inside the envelope was a four-leaf clover...
There was only one way to keep her quiet, and it was going to cost us...

"What If..."
In our audio class on writing young adult fiction, author Emma Carlson Berne explains how she uses
"what-if" questions to come up with ideas for novels. Below are some "what-if" questions that you can use
for your own fiction writing.

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What if you discovered that your friend's husband was cheating... but you also knew that if you
told her it would be the end of your friendship?
What if you opened a fortune cookie and found a tiny map inside?
What if the cab driver suddenly turned in the wrong direction and told you he had his own plans
for you?
What if your boss ordered you to do something illegal at work, and you knew if you didn't do it
you'd be fired?
What if someone who looked almost exactly like you suddenly became very famous?
What if you and your brother or sister fell in love with the same person?
What if, in the basement of your house, you discovered a secret passageway?
What if a stranger on a bus told you he or she was dying and needed your kidney?
What if you bought a new house or apartment and when you went to move in, you found
someone already living there?
What if you picked up the wrong suitcase at the airport, and inside it was the evidence from a
crime?

Ideas for Novels and Stories


Here are some ideas for novels and stories to spark your imagination and help your fiction stand out. At
the bottom of the page, you'll find links to hundreds of other story starters and prompts.

Your character's desire...


Stories are more interesting when the main character wants something intensely. Readers will keep
reading to find out if the character achieves his or her goal. Below are some ideas for novels or stories
based on characters who have powerful desires.
Write about...

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a reader of romance novels who wants to live a love story of her own.
an amateur naturalist whose dream is to discover a new type of animal.
a character who wants to achieve a world record -- he doesn't care for what.
a character who dreams of starting a new life in a foreign country.
a character who wants to rob a jewelry shop and has a foolproof (s/he hopes) plan to get away
with it.
6.
a character with no living grandparents, who wants to adopt a grandmother.

20 professions for your main character


Here is a list of interesting professions for your main character. See what story ideas they bring to mind.
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Inventor
Taxi driver
Magician
Scuba instructor
Marriage counselor
Prison guard
Beauty pageant contestant
Cookbook author
Computer hacker
Archaeologist
Lead singer of an unsuccessful rock band
Astronaut
Gossip magazine journalist
Divorce lawyer
Animal trainer
Video game designer
High school football coach
Exorcist
Flight attendant
Stunt actor

Think about:

What kind of person would you expect to find in this profession? See if you can play against

stereotypes and surprise the reader.


What kind of interesting situation might someone in this profession encounter? What kind of
trouble might he/she run into? How might s/he react?

10 great story settings

Here are some setting ideas that you can use as story starters.
Write a story that takes place...
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in a tattoo parlor
at the zoo at night
in an abandoned mental hospital
in a submarine
in a magnet factory
in the vault of a bank
in a bridal shop
in the kitchen of Buckingham Palace
on the edge of a cliff
entirely in the dark

Story Ideas About Siblings and More...


On this page, you'll find story ideas that you can turn into short fiction or novels. At the bottom of the page
are links to hundreds of other creative writing prompts.

Story Starters about the Five Senses


SIGHT: Your character has a new girlfriend, who is blind -- at least, that's what she's led your character to
believe believe. Recently, your character is noticing signs that she might actually be able to see. What's
going on? Why would someone pretend to be blind?
HEARING: Recently, your character has been hearing strange noises in the house. Sometimes it sounds
like someone sobbing; other times, she thinks she can make out words, or names. "Mary," she heard
once. "Mary, please, no." She can't figure out where the sounds are coming from. She doesn't know
anyone named Mary. And her husband claims not to hear anything at all...
SMELL: A week ago, your character's sister disappeared while hiking in the woods. The police searched
the woods and didn't find her. But your character isn't satisfied. He goes to his sister's house and gets her
dog Buster, then drives to the woods in the hope that Buster might pick up her scent...
TOUCH: Your character goes on a camping trip with her friend and the friend's boyfriend. In the middle of
the night, she wakes up in the dark tent and feels a hand on her arm. She touches the hand -- it's her
friend's. Then the friend's finger starts moving over her arm, and your character realizes that she's
drawing the shape of letters, that she's trying to tell her something...
TASTE: Your character's new stepmother brings him a glass of orange juice with a funny taste. About an
hour later, he starts to feel dizzy, and he spends the whole weekend sick in bed. The next week, she has
to go on a business trip for several days, and he starts to feel better while she's away. Then she comes

back and makes dinner for him and his father, and when he takes a sip of his milk, he notices that funny
taste again. Your character is beginning to have suspicions, but what can he do? His father would never
believe him...

Story Starters About Animals


Your character desperately wants to get back together with his ex-girlfriend. When he hears that her dog
has gone missing, he sees an opportunity. He decides to find the dog and win her back.
Your character has a phobia about spiders. After an argument with his roommate, he keeps finding
spiders around their apartment. He doesn't believe it's a coincidence...
Your character's a child whose mother is about to get married. Unfortunately, the husband-to-be is allergic
to dogs. Your character has a dog which she loves and doesn't want to give up. She decides her only
option is to break up the relationship...
Someone, or something, has been killing pets in the neighborhood. Your character, a pet owner, decides
to get to the bottom of it...
Your character and her daughter are camping. They take a walk in the woods, and when they get back to
the tent, there's a bear standing outside it. Your character and her daughter get in their car, lock the
doors, and wait for the bear to go away. But the bear shows no signs of going away. Your character's
daughter's on medication, which she needs to take at regular times, and they left the medicine in the
tent...
Your character has fallen in love with an apartment and decides to rent it. Unfortunately for your
character, a pet owner, there's a no pets allowed rule. Your character decides to keep his pet hidden, but
the pet doesn't want to cooperate...

Story Starters About Siblings


Your character is under suspicion for a crime she didn't commit. Her husband and parents all think she's
guilty, and her whole life seems to be falling apart. She knows who did commit the crime -- her brother,
whom she adores. If she tells the truth, he'll go to jail. Will she take the blame for him?
Your character and her husband are desperate to adopt a baby. After many months, they finally get the
news they've been hoping for: a pregnant woman has chosen them to adopt her baby when it's born. But
they're not expecting her to have twins. Your character thinks it's wrong to separate them and wants to
adopt them both, but her husband only wants one child. What will they do?
Your character's best friend married your character's brother. Now, they're in the process of a messy
divorce, and they want your character to take sides...

Your character's brother has always been their parents' favorite. Your character decides it's time to
change that. He comes up with a devious plan...

Love Story Ideas and More...


Looking for love story ideas or thriller ideas? Here are some prompts that you can turn into
romance, suspense fiction, or romantic suspense. At the bottom of the page are links to
hundreds of other creative writing prompts.
1) Your character is a suspect in a crime. She is interviewed by the detective in charge of the case and
immediately feels deeply attracted to him. After an hour in the interview room, the detective releases her
with an apology. On an impulse, she invites him out to dinner that night, and he accepts. But, leaving the
police station, she begins to feel nervous about their dinner date. Is it a mistake to go out with the
detective, when she's in fact guilty of the crime he's investigating?
2) Your character lies about himself in order to impress an attractive woman, pretending to have a
prestigious job and a glamorous life. They go out on some dates, and he finds himself falling in love with
her. But the more the relationship progresses, the harder it is to keep up his lies. And what will happen if
she finds out the truth?
3) Your character is at the same party as her friend Maria's ex-boyfriend Ethan. Your character and Ethan
get into a conversation, and she finds that she has a lot in common with him. She also finds him intensely
attractive. Maria always talks about him as if he were some kind of monster, although she's never told
your character the details of exactly what he did to make her hate him so much. But he seems like such a
great guy that your character decides to give him a chance...
4) Your character meets Laura through an online dating site. She seems nice enough, but he doesn't feel
a spark. On their second date, she introduces him to her sister, to whom she is very close. As soon as
your character meets the sister, he knows that she is the woman of his dreams, the woman he was meant
to be with. How can he stop dating Laura and ask out her sister -- without making enemies of them both?
5) Your character's husband has disappeared without warning. His car is gone, and no one has seen him
for days. Your character's friends assume that he has left her and their children to start a new life, but
your character can't believe that. Their marriage was a happy one, and her husband isn't the type of man
to abandon his family. No, something must have happened to him -- your character's sure of it. And she'll
do whatever it takes to find him and bring him home.

Story Ideas for Mysteries and Romance Fiction


On this page, you'll find story ideas that you can turn into mystery, suspense, and romance fiction. At the
bottom of the page, you'll find links to hundreds of other story starters.

Mystery and Suspense Writing Prompts


1) Your character is on vacation in _______ (choose a place where you'd like to take a vacation in your
imagination). One evening, when she returns to her hotel room, she finds a dead body on the floor. She
flees the room and runs down to the lobby, where the hotel receptionist calls the police. But when the
police go up to her room, there is no body there, and no sign that any crime was committed. No one
believes your character, so she decides to investigate on her own. Her first step will be to follow that man
who keeps turning up at the hotel bar and the swimming pool and whose odd behavior has aroused her
suspicions. If only she could find a way to get into his room and take a look around...
2) Twice in the last week, your character has found snakes in his/her house. On both occasions, your
character fled and called the local animal control service, which was able to capture the snakes and
remove them. According to Animal Control, the snakes were of a highly poisonous variety that is not
native to the area. When the third snake appears, your character becomes convinced that someone is
planting them there intentionally. And your character is determined to learn who, and why.
3) When your character's wife disappears, the police assume that she has simply abandoned the
marriage, but your character can't believe that. Searching for clues, your character finds his wife's diary
and discovers that she had a secret life that may have put her in danger. Your character is determined to
find out if she's still alive and save her if he can...
Learn how to write a great mystery story or novel in our 8-week course.

Romance Writing Prompts


1) Your character has fallen in love with someone significantly older or younger than
him/her. Because of his/her age, your character knows that this person doesn't see your
character as a potential romantic partner. Your character believes that the age difference
doesn't matter. How can s/he convince the other person of this? And what if your
character is wrong?
2) When your character's romantic partner Chris disappeared suddenly three years ago,
your character believed Chris had tired of the relationship. Heartbroken, your character
gradually rebuilt his/her life and now is in a healthy relationship with a new partner, whom
your character loves. But then the police call your character with surprising news. They
have just rescued Chris from the kidnapper who abducted him/her three years ago. Chris
is in the hospital, in stable condition, and is asking for your character. Your character
loved Chris, but also loves his/her new partner. What will your character do?
3) Your character has fallen in love with the hero/ine of a romantic novel s/he is reading.
But your character begins to notice hints in the book that it is not a novel at all, but a
window into another world where this hero/ine is actually living. And the book hints at a
way for your character to pass through the pages into the parallel world. Your character is
determined to try...

Short Story Prompts


Here are some short story prompts that you can use for ideas. At the bottom of the page, you'll find links
to hundreds of other story starters.
The prompts on this page were inspired by the idea of New Year's resolutions... but you can use them to
write stories at any time of the year!

Eight New Year's Resolutions for Your Characters


1) This year, your character resolves to get rid of his/her difficult roommate. But the
roommate has no intention of going. And the situation escalates...
2) This year, your character resolves to get in shape, and s/he joins a gym. While s/he's
lifting weights, s/he's approached by a muscular stranger, who says he trains and
represents professional wrestlers. "I can tell you have potential, and I want to show you
how to use it," the stranger says. Your character thinks he must be joking, but the
stranger seems deadly serious and oddly determined...
3) This year, your character resolves to give up smoking and throws out all the cigarettes
in the house. The craving is tremendous. Your character tries nicotine patches, chewing
gum, and exercise, but nothing works. After a week of this, s/he can't stand it any longer
and drives to the local convenience store for some cigarettes. S/he looks at the cigarette
packs but resists the urge to buy one. Instead, s/he slips a candy bar into his/her pocket
and walks out without paying. His/her heart is pumping fast; adrenaline is racing through
his/her veins, and for the first time in a week, s/he isn't thinking about smoking. Thus
begins your character's new addiction, to shoplifting... an addiction that will prove more
dangerous than the one s/he gave up...
4) This year, your character resolves to publish her novel. She sends it to an agent, who
almost immediately finds a potential publisher. The problem? The novel's protagonist is
recognizably based your character's best friend, and the novel is based on the friend's
secret love affair. When the book comes out, everyone in their small town will know the
friend's secret. Is there a way for your character to publish the novel without ruining their
friendship and her friend's life?
5) This year, your character resolves to get his driver's license. A week after he does, he
is driving on a lonely road when a pedestrian suddenly walks in front of the car. Your
character hits the person, then panics and drives off. Now, he's tormented by guilt. Has
he killed someone? He can't find any information about the accident in the newspapers.
He needs to discover the truth and, if possible, make amends. But he doesn't want to be
arrested...
6) This year, your character resolves to save money. So, he is intrigued when he sees an
ad online, offering a free bedroom in a shared apartment. The apartment's owner
explains that s/he is lonely and just wants company. It sounds quite strange, but it could

save your character a fortune in rent...


7) This year, your character resolves to get organized. While she is sorting through
papers in her house, she discovers an expensive insurance policy that her husband has
taken out on her life. Why has he done that? And why didn't he tell her about it? And why
does he have a second cell phone hidden in the back of his desk drawer?
8) This year, your character resolves to learn a foreign language. S/he's heard that the
neighbor in the adjoining apartment is a language teacher and signs up for private
lessons, which are held in the neighbor's home. But soon, s/he begins to suspect that this
neighbor is more than just a language teacher. S/he notices several unusual details in the
neighbor's home, and the neighbor is highly secretive about his/her life. Now, if only your
character could learn the language fast enough to understand those mysterious late night
meetings s/he overhears through the apartments' shared wall...

Story Ideas - Creative Writing


Prompts
Looking for story ideas? The suggestions on this page will help you come up with great stories.
At the bottom of the page, you'll find links to hundreds of other creative writing prompts.

1) False Appearances
Here's an easy way to get fiction writing ideas. Just complete this magic phrase: "... was/were not what
it/he/she seemed."
Examples:

The new secretary was not what she seemed.

Their marriage was not what it seemed.

The job offer was not what it seemed.

The adoption agency was not what it seemed.

The gray house on the corner was not what it seemed.

Those lights in the sky were not what they seemed.

The hotel was not what it seemed.


Readers love mysteries, surprises, and intrigue. By letting them know that something or someone is not
what he/she/it seems, you magically create the potential for all three.
Have lots of fun deciding how to use that potential.

2) Regrets
Another phrase that will help you produce stories is: "If only I/he/she/they had/hadn't..."
Examples:

If only I hadn't left her alone that night ...

If only she had taken the rumors seriously...

If only he hadn't dropped that lottery ticket...

If only she hadn't stepped into that elevator with him...

If only I had listened to my instincts...

If only she hadn't picked up that locket...

If only he had brought a weapon...

If only she hadn't tried to kiss him...


These "If only... had/hadn't" sentences suggest that something has gone seriously wrong. And trouble is
what makes stories interesting.
You can make the reader turn pages to find out how the character got into trouble in the first place. And
readers will turn pages to see if the character gets out of trouble again.

Story Writing Ideas About Obsessions


Here are some story writing ideas involving obsessed characters. At the bottom of the page, you'll find
links to hundreds of other story starters on our website.

1) Your character passes a stranger on the street and has a powerful sensation that goes beyond mere
physical attraction. It is a sense that this is the person he/she is destined to spend his/her life with. But
before your character has the chance to react, the stranger gets onto a bus and is gone. How will your
character ever find him/her again? And what about your character's current relationship?
2) Your character is a passionate collector (you can decide what s/he collects -- art, stamps, antiques,
coins, etc.). One day, s/he hears a rumor that someone else in his/her town has an item that your
character has been wanting for years to complete his/her collection. Your character has to have it! S/he
goes to visit the person who has it and asks for a price. It's not for sale, your character is told. But your
character is not prepared to take no for an answer. If s/he can't buy it, then s/he'll have to steal it...
3) Your character's best friend has a new boyfriend or girlfriend. This person, on the surface, seems
wonderful, and your character's best friend is ecstatic about the new relationship. But your character can't
shake a sense that there's something false about this person, as if he/she's playing a role. Your character
doesn't believe a word out of this person's mouth. And your character is determined to find out the truth...
before his/her best friend gets hurt.
4) Your character loves the apartment s/he's renting. It's the first place in his/her life where s/he's ever felt

happy, at home. But the building is about to go for sale, and all the tenants will be forced to leave. Unable
to face the prospect of moving out, your character makes up his/her mind to buy the building. S/he has no
idea how s/he's going to come up with that kind of money, but there has to be a way...

Story Ideas - Story Starters


On this page, you'll find story ideas based on major life changes, such as a new
career, a new baby, a retirement, or a divorce. You can find more story ideas at the
bottom of the page.

When people's lives dramatically change, for better or for worse, there are always
surprises and challenges. This makes for interesting story material.

The way people react to changes can be very revealing. By forcing your character to
confront unfamiliar circumstances, you give him or her the opportunity to evolve.

Your character might evolve in positive ways -- gaining maturity and strength. Or,
like Walter White in the TV series Breaking Bad (a chemistry teacher turned drug
kingpin), your character might evolve in negative ways, becoming morally corrupted
by his/her new experiences.

Here are some ideas you can turn into stories:

1) After an argument with his/her boss, your character decides to leave a highly
paid job in order to become a full-time artist.

2) Your character was widowed many years ago. Now, s/he decides s/he's finally
ready to start dating again. But s/he hasn't been on a date for over forty years!

3) Your character is in his/her late teens and living in his/her parents' home. One
day, his/her parents sit him/her down and say that they've decided it's time for
him/her to become independent. They inform him/her that s/he has to move out by
the end of the month and that they're also cutting him/her off financially.

4) Your character is unmarried and lives alone... until his/her brother and sister-inlaw are suddenly killed in a car accident... and your character is given custody of
their four children.

5) Your character moves to a different country (you could use a country you're
interested in researching as either your character's starting point or his/her
destination).

6) Your character wins the lottery.

Advertisement:

Think about what kind of character it would be interesting to put in the situation
you've chosen. Try to choose a character who will find the situation especially
challenging.

Other questions to think about:

How does your character imagine his/her new life ahead of time? How might the
reality be completely different from what your character was expecting? What
mistakes might your character make based on wrong assumptions?

What challenges are inherent in the change? What aspects of the new situation will
your character have the hardest time adapting to? What are some elements that
you could add to the story to make the change more difficult for your character (and
therefore make your story more interesting)?

What strengths and weaknesses of your character might the change bring out?

How might your character evolve as a person?

How might the people around your main character react to the changes? Who might
be personally affected by what your character does? Who might judge your
character for his/her actions/reactions? Who might feel jealous? Who might feel
concerned? Who might give your character terrible advice?

Happy writing!

Story Ideas About Talent and More...


On this page, youll find story ideas you can turn into fiction. Scroll down to the bottom for links to
hundreds of other story starters and prompts.

Creative Writing Prompts Talents


Here are some story starters about talents. Problems normally make stories more interesting, so in these
prompts, the main character's talent gets him or her into trouble.
1. Your character's an excellent conversationalist who easily makes friends. He goes to party, where he
notices an awkward-looking girl sitting alone in the corner, ignored by everyone. Feeling sorry for the girl,
he decides to go talk to her. He succeeds in engaging her in conversation. Unfortunately for him, he is too
successful. The girl attaches herself to him, and he can't get rid of her. She seems absolutely determined
to follow him home...
2. Your character's a very talented defense lawyer. Her client is accused of being a serial killer. Your
character's absolutely sure of two things: he's guilty, and if he has the chance, he'll kill again. And she's
pretty sure that she can get him acquitted, in which case he'll walk free...
3. Your character has excellent hearing. One night, your character goes with his wife to his in-laws' house.
When he's in the bathroom, he overhears a conversation between his wife and her parents. "Don't worry,"
his wife says. "As soon as I get rid of him, everything will be fine." Could she be talking about your
character? What's going on?
4. Your character's an extremely talented pickpocket. He learned the skill when he was young and poor.
Now he has a good job, a healthy bank account, and a respectable lifestyle, but he thinks it's a shame to
let such remarkable talent go to waste...

5. Your character's an amazing ballroom dancer. Unfortunately, his wife can't dance at all. She's also
extremely jealous and gets very upset if he dances with another woman. Your character misses dancing.
He decides that what his wife doesn't know won't hurt her. But things don't go as planned...

Creative Writing Prompts 3 Elements


Challenge: write a story that contains all three elements in one of these lists.
- an older brother, an unfair contest, and the skeleton of a bird.
- flirtation, whiskey, and a mistake at the zoo.
- a children's book, a box of matches, and a frightened security guard.
- a bathing suit a hair salon, and an amazing rumor that turns out to be true.
- a sports car, a rope, and an obnoxious ex-girlfriend.
- skydiving, an extreme diet, and unrequited love.
- a murder plot, a bowl of lentils, and a gold tooth.
- a mistake at work, a bank account number, and an empty house with an open window.
- an antique, a torn letter, and a familiar-looking stranger.
- an ice storm, a bicycle, and a treasure map.
- a magic trick, a shadow, and a missing friend.
- a traffic accident, a famous actor, and a business opportunity.
- a family secret, a string of pearls, and the desire for revenge.
- a motorcycle race, an injury, and a former enemy who turns out to be an ally.

Story Ideas About Travel and More...


Here are some story ideas that you can turn into great fiction. You'll find links to hundreds of other writing
prompts at the bottom of the page.
1) Your character wakes up alone in an unfamiliar bedroom with no memory of the night before or how he
got there. Something glitters on the floor next to the bed. Your character reaches down to pick up what
appears to be a diamond bracelet...

2) Your character is a travel agent. A man walks into her agency whom she recognizes as a former
classmate who was very cruel to her many years ago. The man doesn't seem to recognize your character
and simply asks for help planning a trip. So your character sets about preparing the vacation of his
dreams -- that is, the kind of dreams that make you wake up screaming...
3) Your character, Mr. Smith, flies to another city for a business meeting. When he comes out of baggage
claim at the airport, he sees a man waiting with a sign that says "Mr. Smith." Your character follows the
man to a car, which he assumes has been sent by the hotel. As he talks with the man, he gradually
realizes that there has been a mix-up and the man was actually waiting for a different Mr. Smith. But the
other Mr. Smiths plans sound so much more interesting than your characters business meeting that he
decides not to reveal the mistake.
4) As your character is pulling out of the parking garage, she looks in the rearview mirror and lets out a
shriek. There is a woman she doesn't know sitting in the backseat of her car. "Don't be scared," the
woman says...
5) Your character doesn't get along with her family (you can decide why), and hasn't been in contact with
them for years. Now, she's writing a memoir about her terrible childhood, and she wants to reread her old
diaries, which she left in the family's summer home. She drives to the house expecting it to be empty.
Instead, she finds her whole family there. And the snow is coming down so hard it's not safe to drive back
that night...
6) Your character's best friend asks him to lie and say that they spent the weekend camping together.
Your character assumes that your friend has been unfaithful to his wife and agrees to lie for him. But it
turns out that he's not covering up an extramarital affair -- he is providing an alibi for a murder. And some
holes in the camping trip story throw suspicion on HIM...
7) After his grandfather dies, your character goes to clean out his house and discovers a machine that
prints very realistic one hundred dollar bills. Your character's sister says they should throw it away or
maybe hand it over to the police, but your character has other ideas...

Story Ideas About Relationships and More...


Below are some story ideas about friendships and romantic relationships. At the bottom of the page, you'll
find links to more fiction writing prompts.

Fiction Prompts about Relationships


1) Your character is a successful businessperson but so far has been unsuccessful in
attracting potential romantic partners. S/he hires a consultant who promises to make
him/her irresistible to men/women...
2) Your character is a nurse, who falls in love with his/her wealthy, terminally ill patient.
Your character's afraid that if s/he acts on his/her love, the patient -- and everyone else --

will assume that your character is only after the patient's money...
3) Your character sees an interview with a celebrity and feels a powerful connection. Your
character is sure that this celebrity is his/her soul-mate. But the celebrity doesn't even
know that your character exists -- yet. Your character finds the celebrity's address online,
and goes there one night, determined to get past security and meet the celebrity in
person...
4) Your character borrows a large amount of money from his/her new boyfriend/girlfriend
to invest in a business opportunity. But to your character's amazement, the business
opportunity fails, and now s/he is unable to pay the money back. Unfortunately, the
boyfriend/girlfriend is much less understanding than your character expected, and keeps
asking about the money. Your character is afraid that if s/he doesn't find a way to return
the loan, it may be the end of the relationship...
5) Your character decides to rent an apartment together with a good friend. As soon as
they move in together, your character realizes s/he has made a big mistake. The friend is
a terrible, terrible roommate (you decide why). What can your character do?
6) Your character suspects that his/her best friend is secretly trying to sabotage your
character's marriage.
7) Your character's best friend confides in your character about his/her marital problems.
Your character secretly thinks that his/her friend's wrong and the friend's husband/wife is
right. But, wanting to be supportive of his/her friend, your character pretends to agree
with him/her. Meanwhile, the marital problems are getting worse, the friend's behavior
toward his/her husband/wife is becoming and more appalling, and your character is
becoming more and more uncomfortable with his/her role in the situation...
8) Your character's best friend asks your character if he/she will take care of the friend's
three children in the case of the friend's death. Your character dislikes children in general,
and particularly dislikes the best friend's children, who are spoiled and badly behaved.
Your character also has a lifestyle which is completely incompatible with raising children.
However, the chances that the friend will suddenly die seem very remote, so your
character says yes, believing that s/he will never have to follow through on his/her
promise. Just six months later, the friend is killed in a car crash. The friend's lawyer calls
your character to tell him/her that she/he has been made guardian of the children.

Story Ideas About Surprising Discoveries


If you're looking for inspiration, here are some story ideas that you can turn into stories or novels. At the
bottom of the page, you'll find links to hundreds of other great fiction writing prompts.
1) It's your character's birthday, and his/her friends throw him/her a party. One of the gifts has no card
attached, and your character doesn't know who it's from. Opening the box, your character find (choose
one):

a snake.

a passport with your character's picture and a false name.

an engagement ring.

a photograph of your character's brother who disappeared when they were children.

a hand-drawn map with an X marking a location not far from your character's house.

a photograph that appears to be your character kissing someone that s/he has no memory of
ever having met.

a plane ticket to Tahiti.

What else might be in the box?


2) Your character decides to pay an unexpected visit on his/her sister, Betty. Arriving late at night, s/he
decides to let himself/herself into the house with the spare key that Betty keeps under the doormat. Your
character finds (choose one):

Betty with a gun in her hand and her clothes covered with blood.

his/her own husband/wife having a very private conversation with Betty.

someone else also trying to sneak into the house.

a stranger, who says he can tell your character where Betty is... but for a price.

a portal to the past. Instead of Betty's house, your character is in the house where they grew up,
the way it was when they were both children.

What else might your character find in Betty's house?


3) Your character goes for a walk in the woods and loses his/her way. After many hours of wandering
through the trees, s/he comes upon...

an old cabin that an escaped criminal has made his home.

an attractive stranger, who appears injured and disoriented.

a magnificent house, with the door unlocked and all of the lamps lit, but apparently empty.

what appears to be some kind of spacecraft.

a pack of wolves, or of werewolves.

a military project so secret that the government can't risk your character leaving alive.

a summer camp full of children who are terrified because the adults supervising them have all
mysteriously disappeared.

What else might your character find in the woods?

Story Ideas About Mistakes and More...


Below are some story ideas about mistakes. At the bottom of the page, you'll find links to writing prompts
on a variety of topics.
1) Your character accidentally takes her husband's/wife's phone to work instead of his/her own. A text
message comes through on the phone which appears to be a message from a lover. Is your character's
husband/wife having an affair? Your character decides to find out. Pretending to be his/her husband/wife,
your character sends a message back, proposing a meeting...
2) Your character is excited to be invited to a costume party where Chris will be too. For years, your
character has loved Chris from afar, but she hopes that this party will provide an opportunity for them to
get closer. When she arrives at the party, her eyes instantly go to a tall man dressed as a medieval knight
whom she recognizes as Chris. The fact that they're both wearing masks makes her feel less shy, and
she approaches him and starts a conversation. They spend the whole evening talking and dancing, and
finally make a date for the following weekend. As she's leaving the party, she's shocked to find Chris
sitting on the front porch, dressed as Elvis Presley. Who is the man she spent the evening with?
3) Your character lends his car to a friend, who then crashes it and dies. The police find that the brakes
have been cut. Did someone attempt to murder your character and end up killing the wrong person?
While the police suspect your character of murdering his friend, your character fears that someone else is
trying to murder HIM. But who, and why?
4) One evening, your character's doorbell rings. A woman is standing at the door who looks very familiar,
although at first your character can't recall who she is. Then your character realizes that she met this
woman in the maternity ward seven years ago when they were both giving birth. The woman says that
she's discovered a mistake was made in the hospital, and she was given the wrong baby. She saw a
picture of your character's son on Facebook and noticed that he looks exactly like her own husband. She
thinks her baby was switched with your character's and wants to have genetic tests done to find out for
sure. She talks as if they could just fix the mistake by switching the children back. But your character's
son is seven years old now, and your character loves him...

Story Ideas about Communication and More...


On this page, you'll find story ideas related to the theme of communication. Scrolling down, you'll find
links to hundreds of other creative writing prompts.
1) On a foreign holiday, your character meets an extremely attractive man or woman. They don't speak
the same language, but they somehow find a way to understand each other, and your character feels a
powerful connection that s/he has never felt with anyone before. Impulsively, your character marries this

person after they've only known each other a very short time. Your character's new husband/wife moves
to your character's country and begins to take language classes there. The better the spouse is able to
communicate, the more your character realizes that s/he isn't the person your character had believed...
2) On a first date, your character makes a joke about wanting to kill his/her boss. But when the boss ends
up in the hospital following a brutal attack, your character begins to worry that his/her new
boyfriend/girlfriend may have taken the joke too literally...
3) Your character runs a small charity. The charity's most important donor has just died, and the donors
widow shows no interest in continuing to contribute to the charity. Your character fears that the charity will
not survive the loss of funding. Then your character learns that the widow regularly visits a psychic -which gives your character an idea. Your character will convince the widow that s/he has the ability to
speak with the dead, and will pretend to pass on messages from the dead husband urging her to continue
with the charitable donations. But something strange and unexpected begins to happen. When your
character pretends to summon the dead, s/he has a distinct feeling that someone, or something, is
actually trying to communicate with him or her...
4) Every evening, when she goes to the parking garage of her office building, your character finds a new
love note tucked under the windshield wipers of her car. These love notes are very beautiful and fill your
character with powerful emotions. But they are all addressed to "Caroline". Your character's name is
Melissa...
5) Your character has been kidnapped and locked in an attic. The attic has a small window overlooking
the garden of a neighbor's house, where your character sometimes sees children playing. Your character
doesn't dare shout out the window because the kidnapper might hear. S/he needs to find a way to signal
for help without the kidnapper discovering what s/he's doing, and without endangering the children...

Story Ideas - Story Starters


On this page, you'll find story ideas based on major life changes, such as a new career, a new baby, a
retirement, or a divorce. You can find more story ideas at the bottom of the page.
When people's lives dramatically change, for better or for worse, there are always surprises and
challenges. This makes for interesting story material.
The way people react to changes can be very revealing. By forcing your character to confront unfamiliar
circumstances, you give him or her the opportunity to evolve.
Your character might evolve in positive ways -- gaining maturity and strength. Or, like Walter White in the
TV series Breaking Bad (a chemistry teacher turned drug kingpin), your character might evolve in
negative ways, becoming morally corrupted by his/her new experiences.
Here are some ideas you can turn into stories:
1) After an argument with his/her boss, your character decides to leave a highly paid job in order to
become a full-time artist.
2) Your character was widowed many years ago. Now, s/he decides s/he's finally ready to start dating

again. But s/he hasn't been on a date for over forty years!
3) Your character is in his/her late teens and living in his/her parents' home. One day, his/her parents sit
him/her down and say that they've decided it's time for him/her to become independent. They inform
him/her that s/he has to move out by the end of the month and that they're also cutting him/her off
financially.
4) Your character is unmarried and lives alone... until his/her brother and sister-in-law are suddenly killed
in a car accident... and your character is given custody of their four children.
5) Your character moves to a different country (you could use a country you're interested in researching
as either your character's starting point or his/her destination).
6) Your character wins the lottery.

Story Ideas about Houses and More...


On this page, you'll find story ideas about houses and transportation, along with links to hundreds of other
writing prompts on many different topics.

Story Prompts About Houses


1) Your character is in the middle of a messy divorce. His/her divorce lawyer has advised him/her not to
move out of the house because doing so could negatively affect his/her divorce settlement. His/her
spouse likewise refuses to move out, so the two are still living together. When your character starts a new
romantic relationship, this complicated arrangement becomes even more complicated...
2) Your character was the victim of a crime committed by a man named Barry. Barry has been sentenced
to house arrest. He has to wear an electronic monitor and is not allowed to leave his house. Your
character feels strongly that this sentence is not severe enough. S/he comes up with a plan that will tempt
or force Barry out of the house so that he will be sent to prison.
3) Your character's inlaws disapprove of him/her (you decide why). Up until now, your character has dealt
with the situation by having limited contact with the inlaws. However, now that your character's mother-inlaw has become very ill and cannot care for herself, the inlaws are coming to live with your character and
his/her spouse...
4) Your character lives alone. Lately, when s/he goes home from work in the evenings, s/he has the
sensation that someone else has been in his/her house during the day. Things have been subtlely moved,
and the air smells faintly of an unfamiliar perfume...
5) One day, your character arrives home and finds a baby, bundled in blankets, on the doorstep...
6) Your teenaged character decides to run away from home (you decide why)...

7) Your character's mother wants to sell the family house. Your character has a strong sentimental
attachment to the house, which is the only place where your character has ever felt happy. Your character
had always intended to move back there himself/herself one day. S/he can't let it be sold to a stranger, but
s/he doesn't have any money to buy it herself/himself...

Story Prompts About Transportation


1) Your character never used to believe in love at first sight, but the stranger in his/her train
car inspires a powerful emotion that your character is convinced must be love. Your
character doesn't know what to do or what to say, but when the stranger gets off at an
unfamiliar stop, your character is compelled to follow....
2) Your character is on an airplane, where the man across the aisle is exhibiting
suspicious behavior. When your character reports his/her concerns to the flight attendant,
she doesn't take him/her seriously. But, watching the man across the aisle, your
character is increasingly convinced that they are all in danger...
3) Your character opens the trunk of his/her car and discovers someone hidden inside...
4) Your character is on a first date with someone who offers to take your character for a
ride in a private plane. They're flying over the wilderness that lies beyond the city limits
(this might be forest, desert, etc. -- you decide), when something apparently goes wrong,
and they have to make an emergency landing...
5) During a security check at the airport, something illegal (you decide what) is found in
your character's suitcase, although your character has no idea how it got there...
6) Someone is following your character's car. Trying to get away, your character leaves
the main road and follows little side streets until s/he finds himself/herself on an isolated
road, far away everyone except for his/her pursuer, who is still right on his/her tail...

Story Ideas About Habits


Looking for short story ideas? Below are some story starters about habits. We also have hundreds of
other creative writing prompts on our website about every imaginable topic. You'll find links lower down on
the page.
1) Your character has decided to murder his/her stepmother. You decide why -- your character feels that
s/he has a good reason. The stepmother happens to be a compulsive nail-biter. Your character obtains
some arsenic and buys a bottle of red nail polish...
2) Your character plays a sport professionally (you decide which sport). Your character has a lucky charm,
an old coin that was a gift from his/her father, which s/he always touches before a game. Your character
believes that this ritual is the secret of his/her athletic success. Your character has a big game coming up.
An opponent that your character will be playing against hears about the lucky charm and steals it. Your

character is sure that if s/he can't touch the charm before the game, s/he will lose badly. S/he needs to
get it back. But how?
3) Your character's new boyfriend has a habit which drives her crazy. They'll be out to dinner or at a movie
or alone in your character's apartment, and the boyfriend keeps texting on his phone. When your
character complains about this behavior, the boyfriend says that an emergency has come up at work;
however, your character's beginning to suspect he's seeing another woman. One night when the
boyfriend falls asleep, your character slips the phone out of his jeans pocket to investigate. Most of the
messages are to someone named P.T., and when your character opens one of them, she's surprised by
what she finds. It's a photograph of her, your character, at a restaurant where she went with her boyfriend!
The other messages contain more photographs of your character and reports on her actions and
behavior. What is going on?
4) Your character is songwriter... or used to be. After some brief success, your character has had a long
dry spell without inspiration when s/he just can't come up with a good melody. One day, a new neighbor
moves into the apartment next door to your character's. This neighbor spends the whole day humming -the wall between the apartments are paper-thin, and your character can hear her perfectly. The neighbor
hums melodies that your character doesn't recognize, but they're catchy and appealing and they stick in
your character's head. After a week of listening to the neighbor, your character meets her face-to-face for
the first time. They take the elevator together; the neighbor, as usual, is humming. "What is that song?"
your character asks. "Oh, it's not a real song," the neighbor responds. "It's just something that came to
me." It suddenly occurs to your character that s/he's sitting on a gold-mine. If your character wrote down
the neighbor's melodies, s/he's sure they would sell, and your character's song-writing career would be
back on track. But that would be stealing, wouldn't it? The temptation is powerful...

Story Ideas Kit + Tips on How to Write a Story


Lower on this page, you'll find step-by-step advice on how to write a story. You can use our fun
Story Ideas Kit to come up with great ideas.

Story Ideas Kit


Choose one element from each column to come up with a story idea. Mix and match!

Setting

Trait

Character

Situation

On a ski trip,

a shy

librarian

accidentally reveals a secret.

In a stuck elevator,

a deceitful

babysitter

falls in love with the wrong


person.

At a costume party,

an incredibly

novelist

discovers evidence of a crime.

attractive
In a moonlit graveyard,

a sarcastic

ballet
dancer

is visited by a ghost.

In a natural history
museum,

a jealous

psychiatrist

seeks revenge.

Backstage at the
theater,

a gullible

tattoo artist

succumbs to temptation.

On a rooftop,

a misunderstood

burglar

receives shocking news.

In an orphanage,

a famous

taxi driver

loses something or someone.

In a hair salon,

a paranoid

police
officer

tells a dangerous lie.

On a private jet,

an obsessivecompulsive

bodyguard

is kidnapped.

In a maze,

a spoiled

animal
trainer

makes a sacrifice.

At a police station,

a clever

actor

realizes that things are not as


they seem.

(add your own)

(add your own)

(add your
own)

(add your own)

(add your own)

(add your own)

(add your
own)

(add your own)

Advertisement:

Once you have your idea, how can you go about turning it into a story? Some suggestions:
- Use our character profile questionnaire to develop your main character into a 3-dimensional person.
- Identify what the main problem facing your character in the story is. What steps will the character take to
overcome the problem? What complications might arise when your character takes them? Make a list of
ideas. If you like, write them on notecards and start playing with the order.
- Imagine one of the scenes in your head and start writing it. It doesn't have to be the first scene in the

story. You can go back and write the story beginning later. Start with whatever scene is clearest in your
imagination. Then move on to the next scene.

Story Prompts and Creative Writing Ideas


Here are some story prompts you can use to give you ideas for creative writing. If you're taking the CWN
free creative writing courses, these story starters are especially recommended for the sections
on "showing" versus "telling" and specific detail. At the bottom of the page, you'll find more
information about the free courses as well as links to lots of other story starter pages.

Fiction writing ideas with a focus on: showing versus telling, and
specific detail.
1) Creative writing ideas - the new house
Your character and his wife visit a new house that they're thinking of buying. Your character's wife is
enthusiastic about the house, but it's really a terrible place. The character hates it but is afraid to say what
he really thinks. Show the scene. But.. do NOT tell the reader that the house is terrible. Do NOT tell the
reader that your character hates it. Do NOT have the character tell his true feelings about the wife.
Instead, make the reader see and feel it all. And eventually, make the wife see it too.
2) Creative writing ideas - secret love
Two old friends get together for dinner after a long time apart. One of them is secretly in love with the
other one. Show this, don't tell it.
3) Creative writing ideas - the grouch
In an emergency, a small boy is left to stay with his grandfather for several days. The grandfather
pretends to be annoyed at the inconvenience, but, secretly, he is delighted. He adores the boy. He is
embarrassed about displaying emotion, so he acts gruff with the child, who is therefore frightened of him
at the beginning of the visit. Show the old man's act, but also let his real feelings show through.
4) Creative writing ideas - the lemon
Your character thinks she's gotten a great deal on something (car, house, vacation package, moneymaking scheme, new job offer -- you decide). She brags to everyone who will listen about how fabulous
this deal is. Meanwhile, little by little, you let the reader see what she's really gotten herself into.

5) Creative writing ideas - the evil roommate


Your character meets her new roommate. She thinks the roommate is nice. The roommate is NOT nice.
The roommate is obsessed with power. The roommate wants to control every little detail of the apartment
and also wants to control your character's life. Don't tell us any of this. Show it.
6) More story prompts
Write a story that shows any of the following ideas:

Jack is afraid of commitment.

Meredith desperately wants a baby.

Eleanor is afraid of growing old.

Steven is so fed up in his job that he's about to do something desperate.

Natalia isn't in love with her boyfriend any more.

Rashid is terrified of heights.

Fiction Writing Prompts


Here are some fiction writing prompts that you can turn into stories. You can treat them simply as
inspiration for your fiction, or use them in combination with the CWN creative writing lessons on
character development.

Fiction writing prompts - creative writing ideas with a focus on:


character development.
1) Short story ideas - dating deception
Your character meets someone on an online dating site. Your character writes an e-mail to the person,
describing him/herself. Write the e-mail. This e-mail contains two lies. What are they? Why did the
character tell them? Also: your character has a very mistaken idea of the impression he/she makes on
other people. What impression does your character think he/she makes? What impression does he/she
really make? Figure all this stuff out. If you want,fill out a character profile. The character arranges an
in-person meeting with the person he/she has met online. What happens at the meeting? Write the story.
2) Short story ideas - character contradictions
Invent a character who has two personality traits that are completely incompatible, that don't fit together at
all. For example: this character is incredibly messy and is also a total perfectionist. Or: this character is a
pacifist and also has a really explosive temper. Or: this character believes in strict, traditional family

values but is promiscuous by nature. You decide. Then think of a situation in which these two sides of
your character would be in direct conflict with each other. Write the story.
3) Short story ideas - self-realization
Your character things he/she is good at something, but he/she isn't. Something happens that makes your
character realize this. What? What does your character do about it? Write the story.
4) Short story ideas - blast from the past
Years later, the character's first love shows up on his or her doorstep again. Both your character and
his/her first love are surprised at how the other person has changed (How?) This encounter causes a
disruption in your character's life (How? What does your character do about it?) Write the story.
5) Short story ideas - crisis of faith
Your character has a certain deep-held belief about life. This belief may be based on religion, on
something he learned from his parents, or on his own experience. Decide what this belief is and where it
came from. In your story, something happens to the character that seems incompatible with this belief.
How does your character react? Write the story.
6) Short story ideas - reluctant confrontation
Invent a teenage character who is very shy and hates confrontations of any kind. Her friend Stacy gets
into serious trouble at school, and your character knows that the situation is a teacher's fault, not Stacy's.
Your character wants to help Stacy, but all of her options seem terrifying: confront the teacher directly, talk
to the principal, or tell a parent who might not believe her. What does she do? Write the story.
7) Short story ideas - old dreams
Your character has a family and a stable job. Then something happens that reminds him of the plans he
had when he was younger, to become an actor and live a creative life without ties of any kind. What
happens to make him remember this? He starts to wonder if he's made the right choices. What does he
do?

8) More fiction writing prompts:


Write about any of the following characters:

A woman who is constantly calling the police on her noisy neighbors, not because the noise

bothers her but because she enjoys the fight.


A woman who wants to be a singer but has no talent.
A boy who teases girls because he likes them and doesn't want them to guess.
An aerobics instructor who develops an addiction to junk food that is making her fat and

threatening her job.


A very handsome guy who is sick of being admired only for his looks.

Creative Writing Topics and Short Story Ideas


Here are lots of creative writing topics to give you ideas for your own stories and novels. If you are taking
one of our free online writing courses, these fiction writing prompts are especially recommended for the
sections on plot structure and story climax.
At the bottom of the page, you'll find a links to browse more story prompts, plus the chance to take a free
writing course.

Creative writing topics - story starters with a focus on: plot


structure and story climax.
1) Creative writing topics - the puppy
Write a chilling, edge-of-the-seat, stay-up-late-reading suspenseful story about whether your character
will get the new puppy he wants.
Hints:

Make sure your character feels real to us. You can read more about character development .
Make us care about your character.
Make the puppy extremely important to your character, and make sure we know why. Make us

ache with your character's need for the puppy.


Set up a obstacles to the character's getting the puppy. Create a situation in which it's not clear

how things will turn out puppywise.


What does your character do to try to push things in his favor? Show us his efforts.
What is the crucial event that will decide if your character gets the puppy? Plan this event from
the beginning for maximum excitement. And when you get there, remember to show us the scene
so vividly that we can see, hear, smell, and hear what's going on as if we were in a dream.

2) Creative writing topics - envious friend


Your character desperately wants something that belongs to his best friend. He feels that if he had this
one thing, his life would be better. Without it, his life is miserable. What is the thing? Why does he want it

so much? You decide. Your character develops a plan to get this thing for himself. What's the plan? But
several obstacles block him. What are they? The situation is looking pretty bad for your character, but he
decides to make one final last-ditch effort to get what he wants. This is the story climax. What is your
character's final plan? What happens? Write the story.
3) Creative writing topics - important party
Your character is a teenager, who wants to go to a particular party. Going to this party is incredibly
important to your character, who practically feels that his or her life depends on it. (Why? Come up with a
reason). Unfortunately for your character, Dad has absolutely forbidden this party. (Why? If you're a
parent, you can probably come up with about twenty possible reasons. Choose one). Write a story from
the teenager's perspective. The climax of the story is Party Night. The teenager tries with all his or her
might to get to the party, and Dad tries with all his might to prevent this. What happens?
4) Creative writing topics - the competition
Your character decides he must become the best in the world at a particular sport. Choose your favorite
sport. If you hate all sports, you can choose a board game. Why is it so important to your character to
become the best at this? Show why it matters. Your character develops an unusual training program.
What is it? He organizes a match to prove his skill. What's the big match? Create obstacles and
difficulties in his training and in his preparation for the match. Show how he tries to get past these
roadblocks. Then show the big match. This is the story climax. What happens?
5) Creative writing topics - creepy hotel
Your character's car breaks when he is driving home from a business trip late at night. Fortunately, there
is a hotel nearby, so the character decides to stay there and deal with the car in the morning. This hotel is
the creepiest place he's ever seen. Why is it so creepy? Create the atmosphere. According to the hotel's
policy, the character pays in advance for the night. Then he goes up to his room, and things get even
creepier. How? Show us. Your character wants to leave the place but tells himself he's being irrational.
He's already paid for the room, and he tells himself everything will be fine. But it just gets worse.
Depending on how you write this, it could be a ghost story, a crime story, a realistic psychological drama,
or a comedy. You could even try your hand at all of them and write four stories.

6) More creative writing topics


Write about any of the following conflicts:

Rigid teacher versus creative student

Woman's need to get a job versus her fear of rejection

Character's conscience versus her temptation to get rich illegally when a unique opportunity

arises
Man's actual money problems versus his desire to look successful when his parents come to visit
Two men competing for the same woman
Traditional wife versus feminist husband

Story Starters and Ideas for Creative Writing


Here, you'll find ideas for creative writing that you can use for your own short stories, novels, or dramatic
scripts. If you are taking the CWN free online writing courses, these story starters are especially
recommended for the section on writing dialogue.

Ideas for creative writing - story starters with a focus on: writing
dialogue.
1) Creative writing ideas - the wrong lie
A husband catches his wife in a lie and suspects she is cheating on him. She isn't cheating, but she has a
new job that she doesn't want him to know about. (Suggestion: As preparation, write character
profiles for both the husband and the wife so that you have a clear idea of who they both are.) The
husband confronts the wife about her lie. Write the conversation.
2) Creative writing ideas - explain that baby
Your character kidnaps a baby. (What is the motive?) Your character's husband/wife, discovers your
character changing diapers in the living room, and wants to know what's going on. Write the conversation.
What happens next?
3) Creative writing ideas - testing the waters
Two people are on a date. Each thinks he or she might be in love with the other one. But each is afraid of
getting hurt, so he or she wants to find out the other one's feelings before revealing his or her own. Write

a conversation in which both are trying to get the other person to say how he/she sees the relationship
going. By the end of the conversation, have at least one of them decide that he or she is no longer
interested.
4) Creative writing ideas - taking sides
This story takes place at a restaurant. Three acquaintances have gone out to dinner together. Person A
has just left his/her wife and family. Person B supports this decision. Person C thinks this was criminally
irresponsible. write the conversation. (Suggestion: try giving each character the voice of a different person
that you actually know. For example, Person A might talk like one of your coworkers, and Person B might
talk like your brother or sister. Choose people who are very different from each other. Then try to express
each one's unique voice so clearly that you don't need to tell the reader which character said which
sentence, that the reader can "hear" the difference between who says what.)
5) Creative writing ideas - bus ride
The story takes place on a long bus ride between two cities. Two strangers are sharing a seat. Each one
secretly hopes to get something from the other. For example: one of them wants a job or money or a
place to stay in the city where they're headed. The other one wants love or a one-night stand. Neither of
them mentions directly what he or she wants. They pretend to make casual small-talk, but each one is
actually trying to manipulate the conversation in order to reach his or her secret goal. Write the
conversation.
6) Creative writing ideas - young decorator
Parents comes home from a trip and discover that their teenager has redecorated the house while they
were gone. The teenager tries to convince the parents that this was a good idea. One of the parents is
partially convinced; the other one isn't. Write the conversation.
7) Creative writing ideas - dangerous suggestion
A man suggests to his girlfriend that she get cosmetic surgery. Write the conversation.
8) Creative writing ideas - reluctant roommate

Friend A thinks it would be great to share an apartment with Friend B. Friend B would rather die but wants
to get out of this without hurting Friend A's feelings.

Short Story Topics and Creative Writing Ideas


Here are some short story topics to give you ideas for creative writing. These story starters are especially
designed for practicing narrative point of view. But feel free to use them however you like! At the bottom
of the page are links to more short story ideas.

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Short story ideas - writing prompts with a focus on: narrative point of
view
1) Short story topics - chemical imbalance
Imagine a blind date. The guy thinks it goes wonderfully -- amazing chemistry; they have so much in
common. The girl thinks it's a disaster, that he's a real creep.
Write about the date in the first person, from the girl's point of view. E.g., "I met him at the restaurant at
seven. He looked..." (For tips on writing in the first person, click here).
Then, write about the same date in the first person, from the guy's point of view.
If you want, you could also rewrite the same scene in the third person, switching back and forth between
points of view. Use some kind of indicator so that readers know where the point of view is at all time.
Maybe give the man a few paragraphs, then the woman, and use a line break each time you change to
separate the story into sections. Don't switch back and forth too fast, or you might leave your reader dizzy
and disoriented.
2) Short story topics - wife's denial
Your character's husband is an alcoholic, but your character refuses to realize it. She idealizes him. The
couple had a dinner party the night before, and your character's husband got drunk and violent. Your
character tells the story of the party in the first person and tries to convince the reader that what
happened was no big deal.
3) Short story topics - the blind woman

Your character is blind. The man she has started dating is not. He invites her to his apartment for the first
time. While she is there, she notices various clues that tell her he is probably married. Write this story
from the blind woman's point of view. Remember that she cannot see, so you must not use any visual
details. Focus on sounds, smells, touch, even taste. This is her first time in her new boyfriend's
apartment, so she is probably paying a lot of attention to what's around her. Describe the apartment as
vividly as possible without involving the sense of sight.
Rewrite the story where the blind woman goes to her new boyfriend's apartment, but this time write it from
the boyfriend's point of view. The boyfriend is not blind, so you can use visual details. But don't forget
about the other senses. The apartment belongs to him, so although he can see it, he is not paying
attention to the details in the same way that the woman is. It is all familiar to him. On the other hand, he is
paying attention to her. He is attracted to her physically and notices details about how she looks. Make
the reader see these details. Also: as the blind woman begins to suspect that he's married, he notices a
change in her behavior. He is watching her reactions closely, so show the reader what he sees.
4) Short story topics - the thief's defense
Tell the story of a robbery in the first person, from the point of view of the criminal. Have the criminal tell
the story as if he were attempting to convince the reader that his actions were justified.
You might then write about the same robbery from the point of view of the victim.

Other Creative Writing Ideas


Still feeling blocked? Here are some other ways to keep the words flowing.

Re-imagine a real event


Think of something that happened to you, or someone you know, or someone in a news story, and ask
yourself, "What if?"
What if you had picked up that hitch-hiker, and she turned out to be a psychopath? What if you decided to
get revenge on your evil coworker? What if your neighbor is really living a double life?
Come up with an interesting situation and try to imagine as realistically as possible how it would play out.

Break it down
Here's an exercise that will help you generate your own story starters.
1.
2.

Think of a strong emotion (for example: rage).


Quickly write a list of ten situations which would inspire that emotion (for example: when someone
harms a family member).
3.
Choose some of those situations and make them more specific. Come up with several scenarios
for each one. (Using the example of someone harming a family member, one version might be that

someone mugs the character's grandmother. Another version might be that the character's mother
is unfairly fired from her job).
4.
Now, take some of these scenarios, and make them even more specific. (Using the example of
the character's mother getting fired: Maybe it is a case of sexual harassment. Or maybe an envious
coworker is telling lies about her...)
5.
Keep going, getting more and more specific, until you find a story you want to write.

Tell it out loud


Having trouble writing? Fine. Don't. (For a while).
Instead, try this. Go get a voice recording device (your cell phone might have this function) and just talk to
it. Describe the scene you wanted to write. Pretend you're talking to a friend, and record what you say.
Next, transcribe the recording. Just play the recording and write or type your words.
Now you no longer have to face a blank page. You have a written text that you can use as a starting point.
Read what you have and decide what to add, to cut, to rearrange. Start building it into a draft of a story.

Build on a name
Go to a phone book, and pick a name at random. If you don't have a phone book handy, you can make up
a name, or feel free use one of these: Hank Jenkins, Trevor Smythe-Hewitt, Tatiana Zeleny, Margaret
Wintergreen, Mimi Howard, Jasper Krupp.
Try to picture how someone with this name might look. I imagine Tatiana Zeleny as in her early twenties
with long dyed black hair, a round pasty face, ice blue eyes, crooked teeth, and elaborate silver jewelry.
There is no right or wrong to this -- just try to form a mental image of a person.
Ask yourself more questions about this person. Does he/she have a job? A family or relationship? What
are his/her dreams and fears? You can use our character questionnaire to develop a fictional character.
Present this character with a terrible problem. How will the character react? Start turning this into a story.

People-watch
Go to a public place like a coffeehouse or a mall, and watch the people around you. Imagine what their
lives might be like. Everyone has secrets -- guess at the secrets of the stranger you see. You can turn
some of these people into characters for a story.
An added bonus: this exercise gets you away from your desk for a while. A change of scene may be just
what you need to inject new energy into your writing.

Keep a journal
Keep a journal, where you describe the people, places, and events from your day. Describe the details of
how things look, sound, smell, and feel. Try to capture the details that you couldn't have imagined if you
hadn't observed them for yourself. If you use them in your fiction later, they will give it a texture of reality.

Whenever you're stuck for creative writing ideas, you'll be able to mine your journal for material.

Take a creative writing class


Writing is a solitary activity. Consider taking a course or joining a group to meet other writers and expose
yourself to different creative approaches.
Short on money and time for a creative writing classes? No problem. Creative Writing Now offers free
online writing courses.

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Story Starters E-Book


Bryan Cohen has put together one of the largest collections of creative writing prompts around. His new
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Check it out!