View Full Version : Writing Prompts - A long list of them.

03-06-2006, 05:39 AM
I came across this when on the Writers Digest website and I thought it would be a good thing to have on this site - that way we can also easily add our own to the list.

This is a list of 'Writing Prompts' and so if you need something to get ideas or just want to do a bit of writing but dont know how to start this might be a good list to read.

I was also thinking that we could all add our own to the list if we have some good ones. Oh and this is all from this site: http://www.writersdigest.com/writingprompts.asp (just in case you want to check it out).

Today's Writing Prompt: Due to the raven that follows him wherever he goes, a young man is convinced that something terrible is about to happen.—From The Writer's Book of Matches: 1,001 Prompts to Ignite Your Fiction (Writer's Digest Books).
2/14/2006: Conversation hearts have the right idea: keep your message short and simple. Describe your main character in two or three words. Repeat with the antagonist and any secondary characters.
2/7/2006: Create a national observation day (e.g. Talk Like a Pirate Day). Include the origins and any special rituals of your day.
1/31/2006: Two characters meet in a bar. Write about their meeting without using any dialogue. Now write the same scene using dialogue only.
1/24/2006: Write a paragraph in which every word starts with a vowel. Start all the words in the next paragraph with a consonant. Have a friend read it and see if they notice.
1/17/2006: Write about a vivid dream youve had recently: Describe it, including your personal interpretation and what it has to do with your current life events.Contributed by Mitch via e-mail.
1/10/2006: Finish the following sentence as someone 10 years younger/older than you: The only thing I ever wanted was … .—From The Pocket Muse.
1/3/2006: You've heard the old adage, "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all." Write a sincere thank-you card for the worst gift youve ever received.
12/27/2005: Write a list of New Year’s resolutions for your novel’s hero or heroine.

12/20/2005: Merriam-Webster OnLine just released its list of top searched words of 2005: integrity, refugee, contempt, filibuster, insipid, tsunami, pandemic, conclave, levee and inept. Use all 10 in a short story or poem.
12/13/2005: While unpacking at your new apartment, you find a box left behind in the corner of the closet. Whats in it? What do the items tell you about the previous resident?
12/6/2005: Write an intriguing first line for a romance novel. Repeat the exercise, writing first lines for a mystery, horror, Western and a suspense story.
11/29/2005: Write a story using as many of these Henny Youngman one-liners as you can:

Answers are what we have for other peoples problems.
To a bald man, dandruff is a thrill.
A little gossip goes a long way.
He who laughs, lasts.
Take my wife, please.
From The Write Brain Workbook: 366 Exercises to Liberate Your Writing

11/22/2005: November is National Adoption Month. Write a short story, essay or article using adoption as a theme.
11/15/2005: An inscription in your mothers yearbook changes your perception of her. From The Writer's Book of Matches: 1,001 Prompts to Ignite Your Fiction (Writer's Digest Books).
11/8/2005: You've finally snapped. Stress has gotten the better of you, and you can no longer think in long descriptive sentences. Write about the day you lost your mind, using sentences comprised of six words or fewer.
11/1/2005: Write about a noiseor a silence that won't go away.—From The Pocket Muse (Writer's Digest Books)
10/25/2005: Describe a pottery class from the POV of the student, instructor and the clay.
10/18/2005: A man takes lunch to his wife's office, where he's told that she hasn't worked there in weeks.—From The Writer's Book of Matches (Writer's Digest Books).
10/11/2005: As you enter a café, the wind blows a piece of paper off a patron's table and carries it out the door. (S)He pushes past you but is unable to grab it before it goes down a storm drain. When he returns, he looks at you and says, "You've just killed me."? What was so important about the paper? What happens next?
10/4/2005: Your postman is at the door with an unexpected package. Whats in it? Who sent it? Is it important?—Contributed by Francine Palumbo Stankiewicz, via e-mail
9/27/2005: Recently divorcedand still stinging from the experienceyour character composes his or her personal profile for a singles Web site.—From The Writer's Book of Matches: 1,001 Prompts to Ignite Your Fiction (Writer's Digest Books).
9/20/2005: Your pet goat is missing. There are eight likely, yet extremely different, suspects. Describe each suspect in detail, his motive and how the "goatnapping"? occurred.
9/13/2005: Two cross-country skiers come across an isolated cabin. The front door is open, a hot meal is on the table and a car is in the driveway, but no one appears to be home.—From "The Writer's Book of Matches: 1,001 Prompts to Ignite Your Fiction" (Writer's Digest Books).
9/6/2005: You've discovered an underground shelter on the farm you just bought. Describe it. When was it built? What was it used for?
8/30/2005: Make a list of your elementary school teachers. Now write each teacher's worst trait. Create a character from these traits. Write a short story featuring this mean, rotten teacher.
8/23/2005: Why would your character suddenly dye his hair? Is she hiding from someone? Is he trying to inspire change from the outside in? Or is she trying to complete a metamorphosis that has already taken place by some physical alteration? Maybe he's trying to hide his roots?—Contributed by Monica Coffman, via e-mail.
8/16/2005: Your main character decides to spruce up his or her house by painting each room a different color. Which colors are selected and why?
8/9/2005: Something's rotten in your refrigerator. Write a scene in which the condiments residing in the door shelves plot to take over the prime real estate on the top shelf, front and center. Will milk be spilled? (And who'll be crying?)
8/2/2005: Remember the Vogon poetry reading scene from Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy? Have a go at writing the worst poem in the universe.—Contributed by Carol Hogan, via e-mail.
7/26/2005: Ask a parent or relative about his or her single greatest regret. Then write a story that turns it into his greatest triumph.
7/19/2005: One of your fictional characters was in an accident and won't survive the night. Write the character's obituary for tomorrow's paperinclude relatives, accomplishments, work history, etc.
7/12/2005: You've been given a one-year deadline and a $1 million signing bonus to write a 300-page novel. It's the day before the deadline and you've written one page. What are you going to tell your editor? Write an elaborate excuse that's so clever and believable that it becomes the plot of your novel.
7/5/2005: While waiting for your baggage at an airport, you notice a young woman at the baggage carrousel. Although it's daytime, she's wearing a black strapless evening gown, high-heeled shoes and coordinated jewelry. She collects a box wrapped in brown paper. What's in the box? Who's she meeting? Why is she dressed to the nines at the airport?—Contributed by Jeanne Greene via e-mail
6/28/2005: You can't wait for your class reunion so you can tell all of your old school chums about what?
6/21/2005: Recall your most embarrassing moment. Describe how your worst enemy would feel if he, or she, witnessed the moment.—Contributed by Charles Geer, Granite City, Ill.
6/14/2005: Write about the most interesting person you've talked with today.—Contributed by Ronda Del Boccio, Lampe, Mo.
6/7/2005: Read through old diaries and journals to relive your memories. Nostalgia can get your pen moving.
5/31/2005: Take a dictionary dip: Open the dictionary at random and point to a word. Compose a short personal essay using this word at least once.
5/24/2005: She hugged the tree as she looked down at the ground far below. How did she get in the tree? Why is she there? What happens next?—Contributed by Lucinda Harp, Modesto, Calif.
5/17/2005: Think about something you once wanted so badly but never acquired. Write about how you think your life would've been different if you had received what your heart desired.
5/10/2005: What makes you want to scream? Make a laundry list of all the stuff that irritates you. Now, make a list of all the things you enjoy or are grateful for. Aaaahhh! Doesn't that feel better?—Contributed by Debbie Edwards, via e-mail
5/3/2005: Rewrite a common phrase, such as "It's raining cats and dogs," in the style of three famous authors (e.g., Stephen King, Nora Roberts and John Irving).
4/26/2005: Who would you like to have been in a past life? Who would you have hated to be? Write a scene of dialogue between those two.
4/19/2005: Write an apology letter without using these phrases: "I'm sorry," "It's my fault," "I apologize," etc.—Contributed by Charlene Bunas, Santa Rosa, Calif.
4/12/2005: Play descriptive Taboo: Pick an object in your living room, then list the five most obvious words you'd need to describe it. Then write a vivd description of the object without using those words. Repeat with an object from each room of your house.
4/5/2005: You may still be paying off your credit cards from the 2004 holiday season, but now's the time to query magazines with 2005 holiday-themed articles. Write your three-sentence pitch.
3/29/2005: Print a copy of a well-known poem. Separate each word by cutting or printing on individual pieces of paper. Form a new poem with the words. Then rewrite your new poem substituting any words you want.
3/22/2005: You've won a pair of round-trip airline tickets to anywhere in the world. Where would you go, with whom and why?—Contributed by Everett Gavel, Barberton, Ohio.
3/15/2005: Think about the first gift you remember receiving. Describe it. Who gave it to you? How did it make you feel?—Contributed by Deanna Hines, Levelland, Tex.
3/8/2005: You're stranded in a library or bookstore for 24 hours. In what section do you spend the most time? Why?—Contributed by Laura M. Singer, Woodburn, Ore.
3/1/2005: Describe getting ready for a first date as someone of the opposite gender.
2/22/2005: Finish this sentence: The difference between laziness and writer's block is ... —Contributed by Janis Silverman, N.C.
2/15/2005: Write a description of yourself from your pet's point of view. Consider your appearance, actions, values, etc.—Contributed by Rose Kent, Cincinnati, OH
2/8/2005: You're unhappy with the politics in D.C. and decide to secede from the union and form your own country. Your country can only be as large as the land you own, whether it's a studio apartment or a cattle ranch. Describe your country. Do you plan to expand? Write your country's constitution and a bill of rights.
2/1/2005: Summarize your current work-in-progress in back-cover blurb style in 100 words or fewer.Contributed by Julie Rowe, Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada.
1/25/2005: Open a baby name book and randomly pick a name. Write a brief history about a character with that name. What's in his pockets (or handbag)? What are her hopes, dreams, desires, fears? Outline a story using that character.—Contributed by Donna Childs, Mass.
1/18/2005: Take song lyrics and write the background story to tell the song's inspiration.—Contributed by Amy Shock, Avoca, Ind.
1/11/2005: Read a horoscope for today. (It doesn't have to be yours.) Write about a character who's experiencing what's described in the horoscope.
1/4/2005: You're going to be on a new reality TV show. Describe the new show and your role on it.

[Those were all from the Writers Digest site]

Also feel free to post your responses!

03-07-2006, 03:02 AM
well i'm glad. Just in case you wanted to know the writers digest is a really good site for prompts - new ones come all the time.