200+ Writing Prompts to Power Up Your Muse

Be My Eyes
A faithful guide dog loses track of his owner in a crowded railway station. What happens next?
Shopping List Challenge
Write a story using the following expressions: overturned candlestick, bitten apple, his nemesis, eternal summer.
Candy Wrappers
“By the time she was fourteen, she had covered all the walls of her room with candy wrappers.” Continue this sentence however you’d like.
Collector's Item
A collector finds a rare item for his collection, but there’s a problem: the man or woman who owns the item won’t sell it. How far would the collector go?
Some people are like vanilla, some people are like chocolate. Write a story or a character study about a pistachio person.
Found In His Pocket
A university student offers laundry services to fellow students for money. One day the student finds a thousand dollars in the pocket of a pair of jeans. What does the student do?
The City
Continue this line: “At dawn she arrived at the gates of the city that would shape her entire life and then claim it.”
Unopened Box
“When I first discovered the box, it had been untouched for twenty years.” Continue the story!
The Inheritance
Two people are named jointly to receive an inheritance. One of them wants to keep it, the other doesn’t. What happens next?
Uncanny Cat
Continue this first line: “As I entered the house, a cat leaped up on the kitchen counter and looked at me as if it knew me well.”
A Growing Lump in the Yard
In the neighbors’ yard, a lump is slowly growing under a tarp. Write about it.
My Friend the Enemy
Two close friends or relatives find themselves on opposite sides of a war, a political dispute, or a family feud. Each remains loyal to his side but continues to love the other.
Missing Parts
You receive a mail-ordered time machine and assemble it, only to discover that a piece is missing. What happens next?
Moral Quandary
You witness someone breaking a law that you find unjust. A cop comes to investigate and asks if you’ve seen anything. What’s next?
At the Pegasus Races
Describe a day at the Pegasus races from the point of view of a Pegasus, a gambler, or a maintenance worker.
Meeting Again
They were bound to get married, but fate intervened. Both married other people and had children. Years later, they find their children in the same position. What do they do?
World Walker
A person travels the world and collects unique souvenirs from each country. Write the story of the person’s collection.
Something Has Changed
A character wakes up to discover that some small detail in their constant world has changed overnight. From then on, their life is not the same.
Just before that last second ticks away, what if someone was given the chance to go back in time to any single point in his/her life?
A Lawn Half-Mowed
Imagine a lawn half-mowed on a sunny afternoon. The resident(s) of the house and the lawnmower are not in sight. What happened?
The siblings have come together to clean out the home of their parents, who have either died or had to move away in haste. What they find shocks them to the core.
Living Objects
Choose an ordinary object from your surroundings. Now imagine it’s a conscious, living thing, and write a tale from its point of view
Waiting for the Last Shuttle
Someone is waiting for the last shuttle in a station at the edge of the galaxy. Tell their story.
True Colors
Imagine a world where emotions are expressed by changing skin color. What would a society like that look like?
The Fairy Ball
A fairy ball is being held on a moonlit summer’s night in the open grass not far from where you live. What happens there?
Don't Look Now
Describe a place as vividly as you can without using any visual cues: no light and shadow, no color, no view of how the different pieces fit together. Let your other senses sharpen!
Mystery Gift
You receive a potion in a jar as a birthday gift, but its tag is missing. What do you do?
Can't Sleep
Your character is lying in bed for hours but cannot fall asleep. The reason is none of the obvious explanations. What’s going on?
Stairway to the Sky
One night, a spiral stairway to the sky appears near a village. It ends abruptly midair. One person climbs the stairs, steps off the end, and vanishes. After that…
Flotsam and Jetsam
The beachcomber is moseying along, looking at the light on the water, looking idly for shells, when the waves drop something right at her feet—something she hadn’t expected.
Tiger and Suspects
A newspaper headline reads: “Tiger safe, suspects shaken.” What’s the story?
Imagine a room in a house you don’t know. Write about the person who lives or works there, and how their personality shapes the room.
Favorite Title
Choose your favorite book title. Now, pretend you’ve never read that book. What story would you write under that title?
For Granted
Imagine a character that can’t do something which most of us take for granted. Write their story.
A young man or woman is running in traffic, risking their lives with no apparent reason. What’s the rush? What’s their story?
Wedding Ring
Your character finds a wedding ring left beside the sink in a public restroom. It was not forgotten there. Write its story.
The Warrior
It’s the night before a battle that she’s doomed to lose, but her followers all believe in her. Write her story.
The Beggar
Your character is approached by a beggar, only to realize they recognize this beggar as someone they once knew well.
File Not Loading
It’s a critical moment in your life, and all hinges on a single computer file… which refuses to load when clicked on. What do you (or your character) do?
Coat of Arms
If you had a coat of arms, what would it be? How would it be shaped by you, and how would it shape you?
Secret Chamber
One day, your character discovers a secret room in his or her home. Write its story.
Saying Your Name for the First Time
A deaf man is learning to speak his name out loud for the first time, coached by his teacher. Write about that special moment.
Her Eyes
A story begins with the following sentence: “There was nothing striking in her appearance except for her eyes.”
Lab Rat
Write from the point of view of a rat in a maze.
Ambulances and an Ice-Cream Truck
Imagine two ambulances and an ice-cream truck pulled up to the neighbor’s house. What happened?
Think about someone (fictional or real) who frightened you when you were younger. Write about that person as a child.
Confusing Conversations
Two or more people are having a conversation. They hear each other clearly, and they appear to be responding, but each has a very different idea of what the conversation is about.
The Hidden Price
Write about something which is offered as a free gift with no strings attached but carries a hidden price with it.
Technophobe vs. Computer
Write a story about a character who’s never touched a computer before, and now absolutely must use one for the first time.
The Wrong Gift
Write a story in which one character strives mightily to find/win/choose a gift to please another character, but when that character receives the gift, she or he is not pleased at all.
Time Travel, with Limits
Imagine a world in which time travel is possible, within strict limits: You can only go back to earlier points in your own lifetime. When you get back you’ll be your earlier self, with none of the memories and understandings you’ve accumulated since. You can take one object with you, and a note with 100 written words.
Lucid Dreaming
You enter a state of Lucid Dreaming. What will you choose to dream? Of course, you can write this prompt about any of your characters.
Think of an adult whom you admired when you were a child. Write about that person’s childhood. This exercise forces you to look at a hero as an ordinary person, with faults and drives and needs like all other people. It helps you take the hero off his/her pedestal and make them real. This could be a character study or the story of a real or imagined incident from that person’s childhood.
The Last Warm Fall Day in the Park
It is the last warm day of fall in a city park. What’s happening?
Dream Player
What if dreams could be recorded and replayed? How would the world look like?
Off-Kilter Pictures
Imagine an old house for sale where all the pictures are hung precisely 12 degrees off plumb (straight).
We Just Don’t Do That
Think of something which you have seen other people doing, but which you would never do yourself. Write a story whose main character does that very thing. Try to convey why in that character’s eyes, his or her actions are justified or worthwhile. The behavior doesn’t have to criminal or morally reprehensible. It could also be an act that strikes you as tasteless, tactless, foolhardy, tedious, etc..
First Loaves of the Day
The first hot loaves are coming out of the oven in a new cafe. Describe the scene.
Picture Perfect
Imagine you could relive certain scenes from your life by touching a picture of them. What would you do?
Morning Coffee
A caffeine-addicted person wakes up in the morning and finds out–the horror!–that he or she is out of coffee. What happens next? Don’t try this at home!
What The Child Heard
The child wakes up in the night to the sound of quiet, urgent voices. Her parents are talking downstairs; they seem to think she’s asleep. And there is another voice downstairs, a voice she doesn’t recognize…
The Music Box
It looks like an ordinary old-fashioned music box. It sounds that way, too, to each listener; but when it plays each listener hears a tune that has some particular significance to him.
Wounded Healer
Write about a wounded healer.
Laundry and Palm Reading
Write about a two-in-one laundromat and palm reading service.
Moving the Endpoint
Take an existing story and rewrite it with a different endpoint. Either write additional material after the story’s ending or make the story end substantially the existing version. If you want the result of this exercise to be publishable, use one of your own stories or a story that’s in the public domain.
Imagine a world where winged dragons live side by side with humans. What would it be like? Try to clear your mind of all the dragon images you’ve absorbed over the years. Look for surprising answers to the guiding questions below.
The Unchosen One
A person once thought he would be chosen for something he and many others aspired to. Instead, the person’s friend was chosen. After that, the two drifted apart and lost touch, until one day they met unexpectedly . . . The rest is up to you. I suggest writing in a way that focuses as much on the unchosen friend as on the chosen one.
Kitten on a Foundering Ship
A kitten mewls on the stern of a foundering ship. What will happen to it?
It's Getting Closer
First there seemed to be an odd shimmer in the air over the lake, easier to see from the corners of your eyes than with a straight gaze. Then there was a definite shape resting on the water, but rowing out to it was no good–up close the colors faded and the lines blurred, and there was nothing to put your hands on. But every morning the shape grew a little clearer, a little larger, a little closer to shore.
A friend comes to you (or your main character) in obvious distress, saying she’s in trouble and needs your help or advice, but first, you must promise that you won’t tell anyone what she’s about to tell you. Do you promise? Do you keep that promise? This could be an exercise in memory and analysis or in fiction.
Children of the Visionaries
Their parents made a leap of faith–moved to the new country, founded the utopian community, overthrew the dictator, produced the life-changing new technology… What was new and strange to the parents is normal to the children.
Write about a person (or a group of people) who invests a lot of time and energy in the attempt to secure himself, his group, or some prized possession from harm or theft by unknown possible enemies. Explore the effect these precautions have on the protector, on the protected, and on the outsiders whom the protection is meant to ward off.
Write about a character who speaks often of what she would do if only she didn’t have to… Perhaps she would devote herself to her art if she wasn’t the family’s sole wage-earner, or he would go and see the world if he didn’t have to look after a sick relative, or she would live a simple life dedicated to service if it wouldn’t upset her parents so much. Write about what happens when the stated obstacle is removed.
A Fortunate Theft
Write a story about someone who steals a highly valuable or prized possession from somebody else. Have the life of the object’s original owner improve after the theft. (Instead of an object it may be a position or a relationship that is stolen. Play with different options.)
Dances with Cockroaches
Describe the following scene: an old woman finds a cockroach inside her rolled-up newspaper every morning, and dances on top of it before opening the newspaper.
No One at the Door
A 12-year-old boy is spending the evening home alone for the first time. Someone keeps knocking at the front door, but every time he looks outside there is no one there.
The Dream Peddler
She carries a bag of dreams for sale. There are people eager to buy, and some, too, who’d like to sell her the dreams they have already.
You (or your character) are traveling far from home when you lose your way. There are people around, but they don’t know you, you don’t look like them, and you don’t speak their language very well (or perhaps you don’t speak it at all). What do you do?
Think of a modern character dressed in old-fashioned clothes. Write about the character.
Wind Chimes at an Empty House
Imagine wind chimes left tinkling on the porch of an empty house. Write the story surrounding them.
Final Operation
A young child comes out of the hospital, not only illness-free but with a new ability as well. What’s her story?
A Cashier In Tears
You’re shopping at the local grocery store. When it’s your turn at the queue, you realize the cashier is trying to hold back tears. What do you do?
Unsung Hero
Write about a character who does something heroic on a day-to-day basis, without receiving any recognition.
Wishful Thinking
I wish I had…
The Language Barrier
Someone comes up to you and tries to communicate something. You can tell it’s very urgent, but you can’t understand a word. Can you break the language barrier?
A Safe Place
Write about the place where you felt safest when you were a child. This can be a straight-up description, or a story or poem about some time you spent in that place, or fiction about someone else finding or using it.
Kortchins For Sale
You are strolling through an open-air market and notice a cage with a sign that reads “Kortchins For Sale.” What are kortchins and why would you buy them?
Ballerina With One Shoe
A ballerina has lost a shoe. Write about this situation.
Write about a purple character. It can be their favorite color, their eye color, the color of their thoughts or their emotions . . .
The Postman
The postman is busy delivering the mail until at one address, he sees something incredible…
Grandma's Secrets
What we found in Grandma’s attic.
Politically Motivated
Imagine a young man in a wheelchair with aggressive political stickers plastered all over it. Who is he? You can write this as a character study or a scene featuring the young man.
A Lonely Shoe
A young man stumbles through a downtown alley and trips over a stray sneaker. As he dusts himself off, he notices a piece of paper rolled up in the shoe. There is a note written on it. What does it say?
The Chicken Man
When our uncle passed away, we went to his house to go through his belongings. Instead of the dusty old things we were expecting, we found chickens. Sleeping in the bathtub, roosting on the counters, flapping in and out through open windows and a hole in the door. Chickens everywhere.
Fictitious Biography
Invent a famous person — politician, author, warrior, etc. — and write some of their life story in the style of a biography.
Eagle’s Nest
A bald eagle lands on an urban balcony and refuses to leave.
A REAL Reality Show
A cast of young, attractive people is flown to a remote island for what they believe will be the filming of a fun, booze-fueled reality show. When they arrive, they are thrust into a dire situation that will be a struggle to survive.
The Hotel
A woman wakes up one morning to find herself in a hotel room. With her in the room are her own belongings, and it appears she has been staying there for a while. But she has no memory of ever being there. Write her story.
World’s Worst Job?
A middle-aged woman gets a job interview at a prestigious company in a highly competitive field. It seems like a great fit, but as she is leaving the office, one of the employees pulls her into the washroom and warns, “Whatever you do, do NOT take this job”, and then rushes away.
Synchronized Swimmers
A pair of twins have been training as competitive synchronized swimmers. One day, after a particularly long practice, they find that they are beginning to communicate telepathically.
Rewriting History
What if Hamlet lived in Nazi Germany? Imagine the life of a literary or historical character in a different time period.
Single Encounter
Two characters share a meal together, and through this single meeting, the entire history of their relationship is divulged.
A woman sits in a confession booth and hears crying from the other side. Before she can say a word, the priest begins his confession.
Family Recipe
Upon the death of their matriarch, a family battles each other over the rights to a secret recipe that they believe is the key to fame and fortune.
Sold Out Show
A pair of friends gain entrance to a sold-out show they are desperate to see. Once inside, things take a very strange turn.
Day at the Dump
On a trip to drop unwanted items at the dump, a man comes across a personal item from his childhood amidst the trash.
The Flood
Left home alone during a hurricane, a pair of siblings take refuge in the attic when their home begins to flood.
Wisdom Teeth
After having his wisdom teeth removed, a man finds he is no longer able to recall anything he learned in his lengthy post-secondary education.
Long Distance Relationships
Two friends from opposite sides of the country reconnect after both losing their spouses in sudden, tragic accidents.
A Day In The Life
Describe five different days from varying periods of a character’s life. How can a story be created or expanded upon from this kind of reflection?
The Newspaper
In a not so distant future, the energy crisis has brought about the fall of the Internet age. In a city with a corrupt government, one group of dissenters try to start a revolution through print media.
Healthy Obsession
Write about a character who has overcome an “unhealthy” addiction by replacing it with a “healthy” one.
The Assistant
Desperate for work, a young man takes a job as an elderly woman’s personal assistant. It ends up being the most difficult job he’s ever done.
New Point of View
Write a short story about a protagonist who is very different from you (e.g. gender, sexual orientation, age, occupation, economic status).
Purple Rain
Write a story inspired by your favorite song or musical artist.
Indirect Fight
Write about a fight between two people who can’t or won’t communicate directly with each other.
Death By Carrot
Write about a character who is deathly afraid of a type of food.
And The Winner Is…
Write a comic take on an obscure awards show/event, like the “Pumpkin Farmer Awards” or the “Bicycle Repair Shop Gala”.
Behind The Scenes
Write a behind the scenes story about the production of a TV show.
Whisked Away
Write about a couple on a vacation that only one person wanted to go on.
Secret Society
Write about a character who gains access to a secret society.
Money For Free
On a busy street, a woman is approached by a man who places an envelope in her hands and then quickly disappears into the crowd. The envelope has her name written on the front and thousands of dollars inside of it. What’s next?
Social Media Superstar
Write about a character who has attained superstar status on some social media platform — Twitter, Instagram, Vine, YouTube, etc.
Social Justice Warrior
Create a character who has written a book describing their activism in a controversial field, and tell the story of what happens when they go on a multi-city book tour.
Would You Like Fries With That?
After a scandal in which a formerly prominent surgeon is left penniless, he is forced to take a job at a fast-food restaurant.
Back In Time
Write a story about a character who has the opportunity to relive one day of his or her life.
Stuck On a Train
Traveling alone across Europe, a solo traveler is stuck in a broken down train compartment full of strangers.
The Observatory
Following a bitter divorce, an astronomer sets up residence in the observatory where he works. As he becomes more secluded — and possibly unhinged — his astronomical findings become more bizarre.
Childhood Hero
Create a character who has similar traits to your childhood hero, or traits that you wished you had when you were a child.
Sick Day
Write a story based on a child who has made something up in order to get what they want.
Ghost Friend
Write a story about a character whose close friend abruptly cut off all communication.
There Was An Old Woman
While on a camping trip, three friends meet an old woman living alone in the woods. She gives each of them a very unusual gift.
The Fix Ups
After a series of failed romances, a man in his thirties agrees to go on three blind dates arranged for him by the three most important women in his life: his mother, his boss, and his ex-girlfriend, who is also the mother of his child.
Pipeline Controversy
Protesters face off against workers constructing an oil pipeline through a national park. Write about an identical situation from the point of view of someone on either side.
Kiss of the Sun
She was never allowed to see the sun. Unbeknownst to her, if sunlight ever touched her skin, something beautiful and terrible would happen…
It’s 5 O’clock Someplace
On a rainy Tuesday afternoon, two women end up sitting next to each other at a small-town bar. One is running from the law, and the other is a teddy bear salesperson. Write their interaction.
The Scavenger
An old man moves at a snail’s pace through an urban alley, wearing a wool cap and pushing a small cart ahead of him. He stops at each dumpster and bin, not looking for bottles or cans, but fishing out various odd items. Who is he, and what is he doing?
The Endless Road
Driving down a long prairie highway, a young couple expects to come across a gas station soon. But as they continue driving, there are no road signs, no mile markers, and they haven’t passed another car in hours. What’s going on?
Singles Cruise
When sea levels rise suddenly and dramatically, cities are wiped out, leaving the passengers aboard a singles cruise with no port to return to. How do they cope?
The Real Story of History
Write about a character who is transported back in time to a major historical event, only to find it happened all differently than recorded history says.
The Worst Super Power
Imagine a character who wakes up to find they have the worst super power imaginable. What happens next?
Dream Job
A character starts a new job at a big company, only to find that characters they have dreamed about keep popping up at the new workplace.
Old-New Law
A very old, very bizarre law is reinstated in a small town, and it disrupts everyone’s life…
Death Row
After 20 years on death row, a prisoner is released when her sentence is overturned. The twist? She’s guilty of the crime she was convicted for.
Twins Astray
Twin siblings grow up to be complete opposites and come to despise each other instead of sharing the typical twin connection.
Don't Touch That Dial
A workplace battle over control of the thermostat sparks an all-out war in one town.
Double Booked
A character obsessively plans life, but on their biggest, busiest day they lose their datebook. Write their story for that day.
The Grinch
Write about a frustrated person who decides to boycott a holiday and finds masses of protesters at his side (or against him).
My Boring Addiction
Write about a character who is addicted to something most people find boring and commonplace.
Time Stopper
Write about a character who has the ability to make time move slowly or stand still via either magic or science.
Tie Votes
After a bitter election campaign, two opponents are forced to share their job when an old law regarding tie votes is discovered.
Dream Drug
A researcher synthesizes a drug that could change the world for the better… or have terrible, irreversible consequences.
Hey, Neighbor!
A girl devises ways to run into a neighbor she has a crush on, only to find that the neighbor’s been devising ways to avoid her.
Career Change
A character quits a good job in order to pursue their dream of becoming something completely different.
Going Up
Stuck in an elevator with her most boring co-worker, a woman discovers she has completely misjudged this person.
Wheel of Divorce
Write about a game show where divorcing people compete for the rights to their property.
Write about someone with an unusual career who is suddenly thrust into stardom.
The Moment of Truth
The capsule was small and round. It smelled to him of burning haystacks. What he chose to do next would decide the future of mankind.
The snow fell without mercy. Soon it had piled up to the windshield. They were lost and freezing and running out of time.
A child’s laughter is the best sound on Earth. Unless you’re home alone, after midnight, and you don’t have a child.
The Conference
Write about a workplace meeting where none of the employees know what their boss is talking about.
Your character is determined to get in the Guinness Book of Records no matter how silly or bizarre their record. Write their story.
Free Couch
Write about an online ad for a free item that features one very strange stipulation.
The Train Ride
A young businesswoman is traveling by train to a meeting when she falls asleep, missing her stop. When she awakens, the train has arrived at a very peculiar and unfamiliar destination.
Campaign for Love
During the tumultuous fight for presidency, the rivals’ teenagers fall in love. Write about their forbidden romance.
Rare Disease
Write about a rare disease that only one person in the world has. What does it do? What impact does it have on everyone’s life?
Strict Diet
A man obsessed with healthy eating is locked in a candy factory over a long weekend.
Seven. Four. Eight. The numbers repeating mercilessly in his mind have an ominous meaning. He’s dying to know what it is.
The liquid burned her lips and tongue. It tasted of death. She tipped the chalice into her mouth and drank it all.
He knew he loved her, and she loved him. So why was he driving out of town, never to return?
The sun burned bright that morning. The undead were all gone. Only the mutants remained.
Last But Not Least
She crossed the finish line long after every other contestant in the race. Even if the disease claimed her tomorrow, no one could ever take this moment of personal victory away from her.
The gun seemed to fire on its own. He wasn’t aware of having pulled the trigger. His best friend lay dying before him with betrayal in his eyes.
The pain was overwhelming. He began to lose consciousness. His last memory was a pair of orange tennis shoes running away.
What Dark Beast
It looked like an ordinary volcanic eruption, at the beginning. But when the rolling dark cloud took the shape of a horrible beast, they realized nothing natural was at play.
Summer Madness
It was the hottest day ever, the scientists say. Could that explain why every single member of humanity was going mad?
Day of the Dead
If your character could bring back from the dead a person for 24 hours, whom would that person be? What would happen in those 24 hours?
What is your character most happy about in their lives? What happens if you were to take that away?
The Scam
Your character receives a spam mail about a hot deal they just have to get in on. They know it’s a scam, but they decide to reply anyway. The most strange interaction grows over the next weeks…
The Walking Idea
While on a walk, your character is brainstorming new uses for a laser pen. They stumble onto a surprising discovery that might forever change our perception of laser pens.
He wanted to give his brother the best gift imaginable. Instead, it only brought their family grief. Write the story.
Golden Boy
An impatient, ambitious young businessman somehow ends up in the body of a Golden Retriever that belongs to an old man. What does he do, and what does he learn?
Love is for Children
If your character had a chance to re-experience something from their childhood, and to do it right this time around, what would it be? How would the new experience change them?
Live to Serve
For this policewoman, work is life. But when she has to do the unthinkable in order to save her sister, she is dismissed from the force. What will she do?
A meticulous CEO with a penchant for order runs into a brilliant new employee who can’t keep her desk straight, let alone rein in her tongue. So why can’t he get her out of his mind?
Coffee Break
Your character is absorbed in reading a book while waiting for a friend in a crowded cafe. When they look up, they suddenly realize someone has joined their table–none other than their most bitter rival. What happens next?
A young princess finds a secret room in her parents’ palace. Inside this room is a chained beast that only she can see. Who chained the beast there? What will the princess do about it? What will happen next?
Reaching Out
A single parent is teaching their only child compassion. The child bonds with a local homeless person and vows to get them off the street. Tell the story of all three characters!
Unlikely Hero
A peaceful kingdom must pay tribute to a clan of warriors who protect it from a mighty beast. When resources run low and unrest boils under the surface, the most unlikely person vows to slay the beast and rid the kingdom of its burden once and for all. Who is that person and what happens next?
Your character is prowling the local bar in hope for a date, but when they approach someone new that they like, they get a baffling reply: “We have always been together.”
Inbox Influx
Your character is excited to find 150 new emails in their inbox as a response to something public they have done. But one of those emails is more disturbing than exciting, and it comes from an old childhood rival. What happens next?
Your character decides to leave a relationship that doesn’t feel right, but the other character is determined to win them back. What happens next?
She never meant to take a right turn into a dangerous neighborhood. When the homeless person approached her car with a tin in his hands, she locked the doors. But when she glanced at him, her heart nearly stopped–it was her brother, long-thought dead. Write their story.
Another Side of the Story
Rewrite the climax of a popular fairy tale (Sleeping Beauty, Little Red Riding Hood, Goldilocks and the Three Bears, etc.) from the villain’s point of view. Don’t forget that first person POV gives you as a writer a unique advantage – use it!
Taking in the View
Quick – look around you and describe the space you’re in using no less than 200 words. What details did you find that you might normally ignore as you go about your day?
Following the Story
It’s the first snowfall of the year, and you decide to take a walk in the quiet wooded area behind your house. But you’re not the only one. There’s another set of footprints in the otherwise undisturbed winter wonderland. Where do they lead you?
Mash-ups and Crossovers
Imagine two of your favorite holidays as characters – or choose two figures that already represent a holiday, like Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny – and put them in the same room. What would they have to talk about in this festive crossover?
The Best Laid Plans
It all starts on Thanksgiving Day, when Aunt Gertrude spills wine on a family heirloom: a snow white tablecloth from your great-grandmother. What other holiday hijinks ensue?
Living in the Moment
It’s time to get physical – with your writing skills, that is. Describe your favorite meal using all of the senses: smell, sight, touch, sound and taste. Remember, the devil is in the details!
Be Careful What You Wish For
Imagine you’ve stumbled upon a lamp housing a magical genie. Fantastic, right? All is going well until your new pal takes your third and final wish a bit too literally. When he disappears, along with his mobile home, how do you cope with the consequences?
Word Travels Fast
There doesn’t ever seem to be any privacy in a small town. Write about how quickly a story can get blown out of proportion when it passes between too many narrators. What starts as a simple exchange at the farmer’s market might make the neighbors’ tongues start wagging!
It's All Fun and Games
It’s all fun and games until someone gets hurt. That’s what your mother said when you told her about your plans to go skiing with friends, even though you haven’t been on the slopes in years. Write about what happens on your weekend away – was it time spent in a winter wonderland, or one blunder after another?
New Assignment
Your boss calls you into her office and you cringe, assuming you’re about to get reamed out for being late – again. Instead, she’s got a new assignment for you, but it’s certainly not one you expected. Write about what happens when a typical day at the office gets turned on its head!
Bonding Activity
Take two characters from your WIP who aren’t particularly fond of each other, or who don’t interact much in your story, and throw them together for a little bonding activity. This can be on a weekend trip, an elevator stuck between destinations, on a walk in the park – whatever it takes to get them talking, even if it’s to argue.
Can't Beat the Classics
It’s true what they say – you can’t beat the classics. Imagine your favorite character from classic literature has shown up on your doorstep, confused and clearly out of their element. How do you go about showing them this modern world and what do they think of its interpretation of their story?
Merry Christmas, Scrooge
The ghost of Christmas past has decided to give you a rare opportunity. You get to travel back in time and relive your favorite yuletide memory! Describe the one you choose as you would see it from the outside looking in.
Trading Places
Choose your favorite book character and trade places with them for the day. Given their storylines, personality traits, relationships, and other challenges, write about how you spend the day in their shoes.
Unusual Cuisine
You’re ready to ring in the new year with a party at your place! You decide to host a pot luck dinner, and everyone arrives with the usual celebratory fare…until your odd neighbor shows up with a dish you never would have expected.
A New Leaf
Imagine someone from your main character’s past has reached out to them, hoping to turn over a new leaf. How do they go about sending that first message? What does it say? Will your main character respond?
Truth or Dare
The main character of your WIP challenges you to a game of Truth or Dare. When it comes time for them to choose one or the other, they opt for a dare. What embarrassing thing do you tell them to do?
Antics in the Attic
You hear a strange sound – a clang, a crack, maybe even a boom – coming from your attic. When you go up to investigate, what antics do you find ensuing?
RomCom or Bust
Set one of your WIP’s main characters up with the star of your favorite movie. Where do they go on their date, and is it an outing fit for a romantic comedy, or an epic disaster?
Surprise Vacay
Congratulations! You’ve won an all expenses paid vacation! The catch? Well, it’s not your typical locale…and you might not get too much rest and relaxation while you’re away. Write about your adventures on a trip to an off-the-wall choice in location.
Would You Rather
Consider the main character of your current WIP. Would they rather do something physically dangerous, or put their heart on the line for the sake of a potential romance?
Man or Monster?
Give one of the classic monsters a heart for a page or two. Does Dracula have a secret love of ballroom dancing? Maybe Frankenstein’s creation has a green thumb, or perhaps a banshee’s scream is just a music lover trying her hardest to improve her singing voice.
Your main character’s kid (or niece or nephew) comes home with a detention slip and a note from a livid principal. But, your main character isn’t upset. In fact, they may have given this kid a high-five before schooling their features and insisting they behave themselves. What could the kid have done at school to earn such a reaction?
It's All Relative
You’re given the chance to travel back in time to one momentous historical occasion. When you get there, one small step out of line changes the chain of events. Which event did you choose, and what do you accidentally change about history as we know it?