Writing Prompts

A List of Writing Prompts

I frequently use the following writing prompts in my classes, and I’m always updating the list. If you’re feeling stuck, try starting with one of these prompts to get your creativity flowing!

Writing Prompt: Alphabet Story

Write a story with a beginning, middle and end and some sort of character development that meets ALL of the following criteria. You cannot skip any of these rules.

  1. The first letter of each sentence will start with letters of the alphabet in order, i.e. the first sentence must start with A, second sentence with B, third with C, etc. ALL letters must be used, in order.
  2. You can start a sentence with a proper noun (name, place, etc) no more than TWO times.
  3. You can use no more than ONE question mark.
  4. You can use NO exclamation marks.
  5. You can use no more than FOUR lines of dialogue.
  6. One sentence must be exactly 26 words long.
  7. One sentence must be exactly 6 words long.

Writing Prompt: Surprise Ending

This prompt works in two parts. Complete the first part without looking at the second!

First, choose a type of person closely related to you (mother, father, sister, brother, aunt, uncle, best friend, etc.).

Second, choose a common saying (a cat always lands on its feet, there’s no such thing as a free lunch, etc.).

Third, write the following sentence at the top of your page as your first sentence:

My (type of person) always says, (saying).


Finally, write the following sentence as the last sentence in your story:

And that, officer, is why I had to kill my (type of person).

Writing Prompt: Describing the Room

Describe a room from the point of view of a single, predefined character (see examples below). Then, put your description aside and choose a second, completely different character. Write a new paragraph describing the room from the point of view of your new character. Compare your two paragraphs and notice how emotion, personality, and state of mind affect setting.

  • You are an elderly man who can’t stop looking back at all the things he never did.
  • You are a pregnant woman and haven’t found the perfect moment to tell your boyfriend.
  • You are a mother of two young boys and you just learned your husband is having an affair.
  • You are a high school gym teacher and you truly love your job.
  • You are a teenage boy who is being pressured to do drugs.
  • You are a teenage girl and are upset that you didn’t get a car for your 16th birthday.
  • You are a Seeing Eye dog accompanying your teenage owner.
  • You are a teenager who is blind, but you feel safe because of your Seeing Eye dog.
  • You are an elderly woman who is still healthy but you constantly worry about memory loss.
  • You are a single father of two girls and you’re in love with a new woman.
  • You are a man who has just lost his only son.
  • You are a middle-aged man in the middle of a midlife crisis.
  • You are a middle-aged professional without a job for the first time since college.
  • You are a teenager who has just been hired for your first job.
  • You are a teenager who had your first kiss last night.
  • You are a high school senior who just got accepted to the college of your choice.
  • You are a teenager who just got your SAT scores back and did horribly.
  • You are a woman who has just been diagnosed with a fatal illness.

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