I’ve edited this thread in order to make it easier to find the prompts without having to scroll through. I’ve left prompts #1 to #11 in the positions they were originally posted, but I’ve also copied them to this post. All prompts are now to be found in numerical order in these first posts. When I add new ones they will be added to this first page too. I haven’t edited anyone’s work in this thread of course.
As always please post writing inspired by these prompts in the usual way, noting which prompt you used. I hope this makes it all a bit easier, and you continue to find inspiration from the prompts in this thread, (and you continue to share your writing, as I like to read it. :P)
I thought it might be helpful to have a little inspiration for when ideas are running on empty, so I’ve created this thread to provide a prompt or two. It’d be great if you were to share the writing you’ve created from any of these prompts but of course you don’t have to.
I plan to add a new prompt every few days or so, or at least weekly so maybe have a go to see what’s swimming around that brain when prompted by a particular theme. Poetry, fiction, essays, scripts, it’s all welcome here. So, here’s the first prompt:
Do you remember the event and/or person that moulded you as a person the most?
I hope that gives a little scope to jump from…
(Of course it can be made-up, it doesn’t have to be true, or even about you at all.)
Thought I’d post a new prompt to help with the writer’s block. As before, all formats are welcome, from song lyrics to haiku and everything in between. One line it inspired you to write perhaps, or a whole novel!
It’d be great if you want to post here and share if you come up with something from these ideas, but of course, you don’t have to.
These don’t have to factual, about you or anyone else for that matter. They can be a character you’ve come up with or even a well-known character, such as Willie Wonka or the nightly news announcer. Anyone!
So without further ado:
You find your best friend’s journal. They’ve written about you on several pages. What does the journal say?
Here comes a new one.
What does the following quote conjure up?
“There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered.”
Nelson Mandela (1918 – ), ‘A Long Walk to Freedom’
Time for a new prompt methinks. Today it’s three images…
Here are three pictures.
- Think about what kind of a place, person and/or event each one might represent. Next, from these ideas, come up with four or five words for each image.
- Pick one, two or all three of the pictures along with the words you have chosen for them.
- Try to combine the words you’ve chosen with your ideas on place, person and event to create a story, a setting or character profile or a poem. Or anything else it inspires you to write!
Here is a new prompt. It’s another image based platform from which to jump. A picture paints a thousand words!
Who lives here?
Why? Where? How? Who? What?
A new prompt today.
This one is just a question but it’s about consideration, imagination and possibilities. The more you think about it, the more tangled the web of reasons and interactions becomes. You can answer the question from your own standpoint, that of someone you know or from the point of view of a character, or even by following an object.
OK, so here’s the question…
Everyday involves decisions both large and small. E.g., what to wear, the route to take to work/school, what to eat, the things to say and courses of action you take to problems.
So, think of a day in your past (or maybe even your future) and consider some of the decisions that were made that day. They might not all be decisions that you made yourself. Somebody else’s decision may have affected you. (Which may have then affected further decisions.)
Consider what would happen if one or more of those decisions had been different. What if you’d decided to do the opposite, or choose differently?
Here’s some examples to get your brain ticking…
What would happen if you decided…
- to make that decision earlier or later?
- to walk instead of driving/public transport?
- not to answer that text/phonecall?
- to pull a sicky/bunk off school that day?
- to buy a boat instead of a car that day?
- to tell someone something instead of keeping it to yourself?
Have a think and you’ll be surprised by how many decisions happen in a day and how things might change if they are different or aren’t made.
Right, five weeks into promptdom and time for number seven. Hooray!
This is about using sound and words to conjure up ideas of people and places.
Your goal for this prompt is to create a fictional place and one or more characters connected to it. The place may be an entire planet or universe. Or it may be a town, a building or just one room. Are the characters a family? Maybe they’re lovers, a lone drifter, a child, neighbours or enemies?
You can just write an outline or profile for the setting and characters or you can write a piece involving these elements. Of course doing both will help you to create a better picture in your mind. Perhaps listen to the music again as you write to help immerse yourself in the place you’re trying to create. Feel free to share!
Read the lyrics then watch the video below.
As you do so think about the sort of images they conjure up in your mind. What sort of people, places, time and events?
Turn around and smell what you don’t see
Close your eyes … it is so clear
Here’s the mirror, behind there is a screen
On both ways you can get in.
Don’t think twice before you listen to your heart,
Follow the trace for a new start.
What you need and everything you’ll feel
Is just a question of the deal.
In the eye of storm you’ll see a lonely dove
The experience of survival is the key
To the gravity of love.
You can watch the video here:
I was about to think what I could post as a new prompt, and I realised that what I’d just written for the word ‘claim’ had some potential to be continued.
So, the following passage needs continuing. Who is the narrator and what are they talking about? What’s happened, and what’s going to happen next?…
And it wasn’t really me. I mean it WAS me, but I wasn’t myself that day. Or the days before and after. Especially after. I didn’t claim to know what I was doing, or to have any kind of strategy or master plan. There definitely was no pattern of organised thought going on. I wasn’t planning anything, I just got up and did it. And I’ll always regret it. Always, always regret it.
I think this next prompt can fit pretty much any genre and it has loads of room for interesting plotting, drama, comedy etc. so I’m especially keen to read anything you come up with, thusly please share! I think I might have a go at this one too.
This one is pretty simple, because of this I’ve dangled in a few extra strings that might help you to grab onto a larger idea. Use as many or as few of these as you fancy.
A character wakes up. They open their eyes. The first thing they see is the ceiling, but they don’t recognise it. They sit up and look around. They don’t appear to be in the same place as they were when they went to sleep. What’s happened? Why?
-The plot involves an animal.
-There is something hidden inside the room.
-There is something very unusual about an item of furniture in a room.
-A famous person helps the character in some way.
-7:33pm is significant.
-An item of clothing is involved in the story.
-A liquid features somewhere in the story.
There we are. Go!
Well, a new prompt is more than due, I think. So, here it is:
This one is a little meta, in that it’s about writing about writing, or not being able to write.
The task is simply to write an account of a writer struggling with writer’s block. Write as much as you wish and include as much detail as seems right. The writer may even be you or a famous author, or it may be a character you’ve previously created. It may be someone you summon out of thin air solely for the purpose of this task.
Some things to think about:
-Who is the writer? What’s important to them?
-What are they trying to write?
-Why do they have writer’s block?
-How do they act/think/feel about not being able to write? How do they cope?
-Do they overcome their block? If so, how?
Okey dokey, it’s been more than a week since the last one, so time for a new prompt methinks. This one sounds about as simple as it gets but you might find it slightly more challenging than you expected. Especially if you haven’t tried this style of writing before. Ooo, sounds exciting?! O_o
This prompt uses ‘freewriting’ to get your words flowing and to create new ideas, or possibly, to develop old ones. If you don’t know about freewriting, the last paragraph of this prompt will tell you a bit about it, so skip down there then come back to the actual prompt when you’ve got the idea. For everyone else, the last paragraph might help you with a few tips.
Free writing can be a really useful way to tumble all your ideas out onto the page before you forget or start to intellectualise and talk yourself out of them. It can be a good ‘warm-up’ sort of exercise too; a sort of ‘limber up’ for your brain’s language centres. Also, you might be surprised with the new ideas you seemingly conjure from nowhere when freewriting.
It’s possible to freewrite without a prompt and just write down everything that comes to mind. I sometimes freewrite when I’m in the mood for writing but have no clue where to start. But to get you started I’ve suggested a starting point to help focus your thoughts.
Freewrite for 10 or 15 minutes on the question below.
YOU HAVE THE POWER TO CHANGE THE WORLD BY IMPOSING ONE LAW OF YOUR OWN DESIGN. THIS LAW WILL BE INTERNATIONAL AND THUS WILL APPLY TO EVERY SINGLE HUMAN BEING ON THE PLANET. WHAT IS THE LAW YOU CHOOSE AND WHY?
In way of a little help, as I seem to have gotten into the habit of doing, here’s a few things to think about if you get stuck:
- What do you hope your law will change about the world?
- Will there be any negative effects of your law?
- Is there to be a specific punishment for breaking your law?
- Do you think people will like your law? Or will different people react differently according to their culture and systems of belief?
This style of writing isn’t supposed to be a masterpiece. It will read differently to your usual style and is really only intended as a starting point for a piece of writing or a first draft. Maybe it’s helpful to see a piece of freewriting as a kind of ‘pre-draft’. Sometimes the actual process of getting the unedited words down is more valuable than the piece of writing you create.
Incase you haven’t tried freewriting before, here’s a quick explanation…
Freewriting is all about avoiding conscious planning and forethought and just getting something down on the page. There’s no need to worry about spelling, grammar and typos – just write! Usually the idea is to write down your thoughts in a ‘stream of consciousness’ style. This means silencing or switching off your inner editor and critic. You need to write EVERYTHING that comes to mind, try not to censor your words. You might find this difficult until you can get the hang of it. Try not to pause, even if you have to fill gaps with ‘I don’t know what to write next’ or repeatedly writing the last word over and over until something new comes.
PROMPT #12 – A Journey.
This prompt is simply to write about a journey. Try to show how a character is changed by this journey. They change in a way they wouldn’t have if they hadn’t taken their journey. Maybe they learn something. As usual, here’s some ideas to grease your wordy gears…
‘Journey’ can mean lots of things. It might be a trip to the shops, a long trek, a round the world race or just the commute to work or school in the morning. A trip through the desert, the jungle or through a town. A road trip, on foot, public transport, horse or maybe your character(s) exist in a fantasy realm where they can fly or use strange modes of transport. Perhaps a person is ‘beamed up’ a la star trek.
It might not be the kind of journey that involves physical travel. Maybe it’s a journey through time via the natural laws of ageing and the way we usually experience time. For example, a journey through life, a year, day or any other period of time. Or you could write about time travel into the past or future. A journey of career or education or through the gaining of knowledge in a personal or emotional way.
You might like to use the following as your opening: ‘It was a journey of discovery’. This might mean self-discovery or enlightenment or an explorer or Indiana Jones type character on a mission to find something.
Who is on the journey? A lone traveller perhaps, a family or group of friends or an entire class or train of passengers.
Why are they on the journey and is it important or just for fun?
Where are they headed and why that particular place? Are they meeting someone?
Where have they come from?
Will they reach their destination?
What will happen when they get there?
What happens on the way?
There we go, as usual there’s about a squidillion ideas to hopefully get you started. Feel free to share if you come up with something.
PROMPT #13 – Characters Pre-named.
Below are some names of would-be characters that I’ve just plucked from the air, so to speak. Choose at least one and either write their character bio or place them in a scene that says something about the kind of person they are.
What does their name suggest about their life? Think about where they live, what they do as an occupation and for fun, the friends they have, their personality and beliefs, the way they dress and so on.
You might like to create a scene with several of these characters interacting.
Lord Ambrose Earhole III
As always. feel free to share. It might be especially interesting to see if people have different interpretations of the same name.
PROMPT #14 – A video prompt – Riot police
Watch this short video – (it’s less than 2 minutes long)
What ideas does it inspire?
Whose side were you on?
Why do you think this happened?
You could write about the event as a whole or as someone in the crowd watching, one of the protestors or a police officer, maybe even a news reporter.
PROMPT #15 – Did I just read that?
Write an account of a person who discovers something on the internet. What they find is either directly related to a person they know well or is information about themselves that they object to being published on the internet.
What is it they read?
How do they come across this information?
How does it make them feel? Shocked, embarrassed, sad?
Does it change their opinion of the person in question and/or how they interact with people?
What are the consequences of this information being in the public domain?
Do they believe what they’ve read?
Do they support the person?
Do they do something about getting the information removed from the internet?
This can be written in any format; poetry, prose, fiction or based on a factual event.
Feel free to share your work!