Monday, September 18, 2023

There's An Idea


Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Be like an athlete training for the Olympic Games. Fill a journal jar with the Writer's Digest daily prompts. Print out the pages of prompts, cut them into strips and store them inside the jar. Sit the jar on your desk and randomly select a prompt when you want to do some warm ups. I use a jar like this when I begin a session with a class that are trained to make writing a daily practice.

The British Museum has a stunning collection of elaborate Egyptian mummies and coffins. As I wandered around, mouth open in wonderment, I was remembered the time my Year 12 class made funky coffins in their visual diaries and then wrote pieces about death. The Emory Collection is one place to see some wonderful Egyptian artefacts. Design a coffin and see what rises from your word cauldron.

*Soul Food Cafe * Writing Prompt

Wednesday, September 13, 2023

Prompt Advice

 I ran across this advice on writing prompts on another site a few years ago. They're good tips on using writing promts:

#1: DON'T Limit Yourself to Prose

Unless you're writing for a particular assignment, there's no reason everything you write in response to a writing prompt has to be prose fiction. Instead of writing your response to a prompt as a story, try writing a poem, nonfiction essay, play, screenplay, or some other format entirely.

You never know what combination of prompt and medium will spark your next great poem/story/play/nonfiction essay! Plus, taking a break from writing in the same format all the time might make you think about story structure or language in a different way.


#2: DON'T Edit as You Write

The purposes of writing prompts is to get you writing, typos and weird grammar and all. Editing comes later, once you've finished writing and have some space from it to come back to what you wrote.

It's OK to fix things that will make it difficult to read what you've written (e.g., a weird autocorrect that changes the meaning of a sentence), but don't worry too much about typos or perfect grammar when you're writing; those are easy enough to fix in edits. You also can always insert asterisks or a short note as you're writing to remind yourself to go back to fix something (for instance, if as you're writing it seems like you want to move around the order of your paragraphs or insert something earlier).

#3: DO Interpret the Prompt Broadly

The point of using a writing prompt is not to write something that best exemplifies the prompt, but something that sparks your own creativity. Again, unless you're writing in response to an assignment with specific directions, feel free to interpret writing prompts as broadly or as narrowly as you want.

For instance, if your prompt is to write a story that begins with "The stage was set," you could write about anything from someone preparing to put a plan into motion to a literal theatre stage constructed out of pieces of old sets (or something else entirely).

If you're using a writing prompt, it doesn't have to be the first sentence of your story or poem, either; you can also use the prompt as a goal to work towards in your writing.

#4 DO Mix and Match Prompt Ideas

If you need more inspiration, feel free to combine multiple prompts (but don't overwhelm yourself with too much to write about).

You can also try switching genres from what might be suggested in the prompt. For instance, try writing a prompt that seems funny in a serious and sad way, or finding the humor in something that otherwise seems humorless. The categories we've organized the prompts into are by no means limiters on what you're allowed to write about.

#5 DO Try to Write Regularly

The more regularly you write, the easier it will be to write (with or without writing prompts).

For some people, this means writing daily; for others, it means setting aside time to write each weekend or each month. Set yourself an achievable goal (write 2x a week, write 1000 words a month) and stick to it. You can always start small and then ramp your wordcount or frequency up.

Odd Prompts


#1: Write a story which starts with someone eating a pickle and potato sandwich.

#2: Write a short script where the plot has to do with evil dolls trying to take over something.

#3: Write about writers' block.

#4: List five election issues that would be ridiculous to includes as part of your election platform (e.g. outlawing mechanical pencils and clicky pens, mandating every person over the age of 30 must own an emergency last rites kit). Choose one of the ridiculous issues and write a speech in favor of it.

#5: Write a children's story that is insanely inappropriate but can't use graphic language, curses, or violence.

#6: List five careers. Write about someone with one of those careers who wants to quit it.

#7: Write down a list of murder methods. Choose one at random from the list to use in a story.

#8: Write a romance story in which the hero must have a last name corresponding with a physical characteristic (e.g. Jacques Hairyback or Flora Dimple).

#9: Come up with 10 different ways to:

  • say hello
  • order a pizza
  • congratulate someone on a job well done
  • apologize
  • return to the store something that's broken
Write a story involving at least one of these methods.


#10: Search for "random Renaissance painting" (or any other inspirational image search text you can think of) on any online internet image search engine. Picking one image, write half a page each of:

  • Statements about this image (e.g. "I meant bring me the BREAD of John the Baptist").
  • Questions about this image (e.g. "How many of those cherubs look like their necks are broken?").
  • Explanations of this image (e.g. "The painter ran out of blue paint halfway through and had to improvise for the color of the sky").
  • Commands said by people in this image or about this image (e.g. "Stop telling me to smile!" or "Bring me some gasoline!").

#11: Write starting with a word that sounds like "chute" (e.g. "chute," "shoot," "shooed").

#12: Write about a character named X "The [article of clothing]" Y (e.g. Julie "The Yellow Darted Skirt" Whyte) or simply referred to by their clothing (e.g. "the man in the brown suit" or "the woman in black").

15 Writing Prompts

 #1: List five issues that you're passionate about. Write about them from the opposite point of view (or from the perspective of a character with the opposite point of view).

#2: Walk around and write down a phrase you hear (or read). Make a story out of it.

#3: Write using no adjectives or adverbs.

#4: Write a character's inner dialogue between different aspects of a character's self (rather than an inner monologue).

#5: Write a true story from your past that involves light or darkness in some way.

#6: "Saying goodbye awakens us to the true nature of things." Write something in which someone has to say goodbye and has a realization.

#7: Begin by writing the end of the story.

#8: Write a recipe for an intangible thing.

#9: Write a horror story about an ordinary situation (e.g., buying groceries, going to the bank, listening to music).

#10: Write a story from within a bubble.

#11: Write down 2-3 short character descriptions and then write the characters in conversation with one another.

#12: Write a story in second person.

#13: Write a story that keeps contradicting itself.

#14: Write about a character with at least three big problems.

#15: Write something that takes place on a Friday, the 13th (of any month).

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Found More Writing Prompts

1. Your favorite childhood vacation.

2. The last words of your novel are, “As night became day, he started to understand the truth.” Now, go write the rest.

3. Turn one of the last texts you sent into a story.

4. Add an original scene to the last movie you watched.

5. Two friends have a disagreement.

6. Write about your favorite teacher.

7. Outside the window, you see something you can’t believe.

8. Write about the first time you held someone's hand.

9. Write about the last thing/person that made you smile.

10. Write about a time you were lost.

11. Write about your first job.

12. Write a letter to your 14-year old self.

13. Write about why you write.

14. Five years from now, I will be.

15. Write about your dream vacation.

16. Do you like to be alone or with company?

17. You have $300 and a Prius, describe the 2,800 mile road trip from NYC to LA.

18. Write about your biggest goal.

19. Write about your biggest fear.

20. A conversation you and a stranger have on a plane.

21. A time you or someone you love was scammed.

22. Turn the last song you listened to into a story.

23. Describe the life of your favorite singer.

24. Write about a piece of furniture in the room you’re in.

25. If I knew then what I know now.

26. If you could travel back in time, where would you go?

27. You have a billion dollars in your bank account. How did you make it?

28. You’ve discovered a new planet. Describe what you see.

29. If you could do anything for work, what would you do?

30. You live on an abandoned island, describe your morning routine.

31. You’re in a foreign country and don’t speak the native language.

32. Describe how you think your grandparents met.

33. Write about a time you failed.

34. You wake up today with the superpower of your choosing.

35. You’re a dog, describe your interaction with a human.

36. Write about someone you admire.

37. Go to Twitter or Facebook and write about the first post you see.

38. Write about a time you were uncomfortable.

39. She tried to forget him, but never could.

40. Just as your flight takes off, you discover a shocking note under your seat.

41. None of your friends remember you, describe yourself to them.

42. An island rose from the sea.

43. Out of the ashes, arose a hero.

44. The whales grew feet.

45. I open the last book on earth.

46. You knock louder and louder on the door, but nobody answers.

47. The door you had locked, is wide open.

48. Just as you fall asleep, the phone rings.

49. She had the perfect party planned, only to have it ruined by her ex.

50. She said her final words and left, there’s no turning back now.

51. A blind man falls in love, describe his feelings.

52. You have the power to stop time, what do you do?

53. The sun rose for the final time.

54. You discover that your partner is a robot.

55. You have 10 days to live.

56. How will cars look in 50 years?

57. This needs to be cleaned, the police will be here any minute.

58. For years, he carefully planned out this day.

59. The birds didn’t go south for the winter.

60. It’s June 13th, the snow won’t stop falling.

Write about somebody who likes to work in silence.

Set your story in the lowest rated restaurant in town.

Write about a character with an unreliable memory.

Found Prompts


  1. A cat meowing from a tree branch.
  2. A sink full of dirty dishes.
  3. A splash in the pool behind your house.
  4. A suitcase parked by the door.
  5. The elderly women walking into a dive bar.

Friday, May 13, 2022

One Word Scary Story Prompts


  • Describe a horrifying monster in as much detail as possible.

  • Write a monologue for a character who is afraid of something. 

  • Write a scene in which several characters are accusing each other of something. Focus on the tension and the emotions.

  • Describe a creepy old house. What are the elements that make it creepy?

  • Write a scene in which a character is paranoid about being watched or followed. Maybe they’re walking home in the dark, afraid of an ex-partner, or just overthinking. 

  • Write a character’s reaction to finding a dead body. 

  • Write a scene in which a character receives terrible news.

  • Listen to a horror movie soundtrack or horror ambiance track and write whatever it makes you think of. 

  • Write a series of letters, composed by one of your characters to a member of their family (or a close friend). 

There's An Idea

  Tuesday, August 03, 2004 Be like an athlete training for the Olympic Games. Fill a journal jar with the Writer's Digest daily prompts....