If you're a writer, you know how hard it can be to come up with new and exciting ideas for your stories. That's where fiction writing prompts come in! These prompts are designed to get your creative juices flowing and inspire you to write something new and unique. Whether you're a seasoned writer or just starting out, fiction writing prompts can be a valuable tool in your writing arsenal.
In this comprehensive list, we'll cover everything you need to know about fiction writing prompts, including what they are, the benefits of using them, and the different types of prompts available. We'll also provide plenty of examples to help get you started, as well as tips on how to incorporate prompts into your writing practice and adapt them to fit your own writing style.
At the end of this article, we'll also answer some frequently asked questions about fiction writing prompts and provide additional resources for further reading. So whether you're looking to overcome writer's block, expand your writing range, or simply want to try something new, this list of fiction writing prompts is sure to help!
Table of Contents
- What Are Fiction Writing Prompts?
- Benefits of Using Fiction Writing Prompts
- Types of Fiction Writing Prompts
- Examples of Fiction Writing Prompts
- How to Use Fiction Writing Prompts
- Science Fiction Writing Prompts
- Fantasy Writing Prompts
- Romance Writing Prompts
- Thriller Writing Prompts
- Horror Writing Prompts
- Speculative Fiction Writing Prompts
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Further Reading
What Are Fiction Writing Prompts?
Fiction writing prompts are short phrases, sentences, or paragraphs designed to inspire writers and stimulate their imaginations. They can be used to jumpstart a new project or to help overcome writer's block on an existing work. Fiction writing prompts can take many different forms and cover a variety of topics, from character development and dialogue to plot and setting.
If you're new to fiction writing prompts, you may be wondering where they come from and why writers use them. While there's no one answer to this question, it's believed that fiction writing prompts have been around for centuries, with writers using them in various forms to generate ideas and inspire their writing. Some writers use prompts as a daily writing exercise, while others turn to them when they're feeling stuck or need to break out of a creative rut.
To learn more about the history and origin of fiction writing prompts, check out this article on writing prompts from Wikipedia. It provides an overview of the different types of prompts and how they've been used throughout history.
Benefits of Using Fiction Writing Prompts
There are many benefits to using fiction writing prompts in your writing practice. Whether you're a seasoned writer or just starting out, prompts can be a valuable tool for unlocking your creativity and generating new ideas. Here are some of the key benefits:
- Boost Your Creativity: Fiction writing prompts can help you break out of your usual patterns of thinking and come up with new and unique ideas for your stories. By forcing yourself to think outside the box, you may discover ideas that you wouldn't have thought of otherwise.
- Overcome Writer's Block: If you're feeling stuck or uninspired, fiction writing prompts can help you get past your writer's block and start writing again. By giving you a starting point, prompts can help you overcome the blank page and get your creative juices flowing.
- Expand Your Writing Range: Using a variety of different prompts can help you explore different genres, styles, and topics. By experimenting with different types of prompts, you may discover new areas of interest or develop new writing skills.
- Practice Your Craft: Writing is like any other skill - the more you practice, the better you get. Fiction writing prompts provide a structured way to practice your writing and develop your craft. By using prompts on a regular basis, you can improve your writing skills and build confidence in your abilities.
If you're interested in learning more about the benefits of fiction writing prompts, check out this article on writing exercises from Wikipedia. It provides an overview of the different types of writing exercises and how they can help writers improve their craft.
Types of Fiction Writing Prompts
Story starters are prompts that give you a starting point for a new story. They typically provide a setting, character, or situation that you can build upon to create a new and unique story. For example:
"She woke up to find herself on a deserted island, with no memory of how she got there."
Story starters can be a great way to overcome writer's block and get your creative juices flowing. They provide a starting point that you can build upon, allowing you to focus on the act of writing rather than coming up with a new idea.
Character prompts are prompts that focus on developing a new character. They can provide details about a character's appearance, personality, or backstory, or ask you to imagine what a character might do in a specific situation. For example:
"Write a scene in which your character is confronted by an old enemy."
Character prompts can be a great way to develop new characters for your stories or to flesh out existing characters. By thinking about your character's motivations, strengths, and weaknesses, you can create more well-rounded and believable characters.
Dialogue prompts are prompts that focus on creating new dialogue for your stories. They can provide a situation or context in which two or more characters are speaking, or simply ask you to come up with a conversation between two characters. For example:
"Write a conversation between two strangers who meet on a train."
Dialogue prompts can be a great way to practice writing realistic and engaging dialogue, as well as to explore the relationships between your characters.
Setting prompts are prompts that focus on creating a specific setting or atmosphere for your story. They can provide details about a location or environment, or ask you to imagine what it would be like to be in a certain place or time. For example:
"Write a story set in a haunted house."
Setting prompts can be a great way to practice describing settings and creating atmosphere in your writing. They can also help you explore new settings and genres that you may not have considered before.
Theme prompts are prompts that focus on exploring a particular theme or idea in your writing. They can provide a broad concept or idea that you can explore in your story, or simply ask you to think about a certain theme or topic. For example:
"Write a story about the power of forgiveness."
Theme prompts can be a great way to explore deeper themes and ideas in your writing, and to challenge yourself to think more critically about your work.
Plot prompts are prompts that focus on creating a specific plot or storyline for your story. They can provide a series of events or plot points that you can use as the basis for your story, or simply ask you to come up with a unique plot idea. For example:
"Write a story about a detective who must solve a murder case before the killer strikes again."
Plot prompts can be a great way to practice developing plot and structure in your writing, and to challenge yourself to come up with new and exciting plot twists and turns.
If you're interested in learning more about the different types of fiction writing prompts and how to use them, check out this article on writing prompts from Wikipedia. It provides an overview of the different types of prompts and how they can be used to inspire your writing.
You can discover more about developmental editing, and how this can make you a better writer.
Examples of Fiction Writing Prompts
To help get you started, here are some examples of fiction writing prompts. Feel free to use these as a starting point, or to modify them to fit your own writing style and interests.
Story Starter Examples
- "She opened the old book and found a letter inside, addressed to her."
- "He always knew there was something different about him, but he never expected to find out he was a long-lost prince."
- "The train was late again, but this time it brought something unexpected."
Character Prompt Examples
- "Write a scene in which your character meets their childhood hero."
- "Describe your character's morning routine in detail."
- "Write a backstory for your character's worst fear."
Dialogue Prompt Examples
- "Write a conversation between two strangers who discover they have something in common."
- "Describe an argument between two friends that turns out to be a misunderstanding."
- "Write a scene in which two characters are lost in the wilderness and must work together to survive."
Setting Prompt Examples
- "Write a story set in a post-apocalyptic world."
- "Describe a haunted house in vivid detail."
- "Write a story set on a remote island."
Theme Prompt Examples
- "Write a story about the importance of family."
- "Describe a character who learns the true meaning of forgiveness."
- "Write a story about the consequences of telling a lie."
Plot Prompt Examples
- "Write a mystery story in which the protagonist must solve a murder case."
- "Write a story about a group of strangers who must work together to survive a natural disaster."
- "Write a story about a character who discovers they have magical powers."
If you're looking for more examples of fiction writing prompts, check out this article on Writer's Digest. It provides 54 additional prompts to help inspire your writing.
How to Use Fiction Writing Prompts
Now that you have a better understanding of what fiction writing prompts are and the different types that are available, it's time to talk about how to use them effectively in your writing practice. Here are some tips:
- Choose prompts that interest you: To get the most out of fiction writing prompts, it's important to choose ones that appeal to your interests and writing style. If you're not interested in the prompt, you're less likely to be motivated to write.
- Use prompts to generate new ideas: Fiction writing prompts can be a great way to generate new ideas for stories, characters, or settings. Use them as a starting point to jumpstart your creativity and come up with new and unique concepts.
- Combine prompts for added complexity: To create even more complex and interesting stories, consider combining multiple prompts. For example, you could use a setting prompt and a character prompt together to create a unique situation for your characters to navigate.
- Give yourself a time limit: To help avoid getting stuck on a prompt or spending too much time on one idea, give yourself a time limit to write. This will help you stay focused and motivated, and will encourage you to move on to new prompts and ideas more quickly.
- Revise and edit your work: Like any writing exercise, it's important to revise and edit your work after you've finished writing. Use the prompts as a starting point, but don't be afraid to make changes or go in a different direction if the story calls for it.
If you're interested in learning more about how to use writing prompts effectively, check out this article on writing prompts from Wikipedia. It provides an overview of how writing prompts can be used to inspire your writing, as well as some tips and strategies for using prompts effectively.
Science Fiction Writing Prompts
A World Without Electricity
Imagine a world without electricity. How would people survive? How would they communicate? What would happen to technology and civilization? Write a story set in this world.
Time Travel Gone Wrong
A group of time travelers goes back in time to change the course of history, but something goes wrong, and they end up altering the future in unexpected ways. Write a story about the consequences of their actions.
Aliens make first contact with Earth, and they are not what humans expect. Write a story about the encounter and how it changes humanity's perception of the universe.
Virtual Reality Overload
In the future, virtual reality has become so advanced that people prefer to live their lives inside a simulated world. Write a story about what happens when someone becomes trapped inside the virtual world.
Evolution of Humanity
Write a story about the future of humanity. How will humans evolve? Will they merge with technology, or will they develop new abilities and senses?
The Last Human
In a world where humans have gone extinct, the last remaining human awakens from cryogenic freezing. Write a story about their journey to find other survivors and rebuild civilization.
In the near future, artificial intelligence surpasses human intelligence and begins to evolve rapidly. Write a story about the consequences of this singularity.
A Dystopian Society
Imagine a world where a single corporation controls all aspects of society. Write a story about a group of rebels who fight against the corporation's control.
In the distant future, humans have colonized other planets and established interstellar societies. Write a story about the conflicts and challenges faced by the colonists.
Write a story about a person who discovers they can travel to parallel universes. What do they discover about themselves and the nature of reality?
Fantasy Writing Prompts
The Lost Heirloom
Write a story about a character searching for a lost family heirloom. What is the heirloom and why is it so important to the character and their family? Who or what stands in their way as they search for it?
A World of Magic
Imagine a world where magic is commonplace. Write a story about a character who discovers their magical abilities and must navigate this new world. What challenges do they face and how do they use their magic to overcome them?
A Creature in the Woods
Write a story about a character who encounters a mysterious creature in the woods. What does the creature look like? Is it friendly or hostile? What happens as the character tries to interact with it?
The Enchanted Object
Write a story about a character who comes into possession of an enchanted object. What is the object and what magical powers does it possess? How does the character use the object, and what are the consequences of its use?
Write a story about a character who learns of a prophecy they are fated to fulfill. What is the prophecy, and what role does the character play in it? How do they come to terms with their destiny, and what obstacles do they face along the way?
Write a story about a character who discovers a portal to another world. What does this world look like, and what dangers or wonders does it hold? How does the character navigate this new realm, and what happens when they return to their own world?
Write a story about a character who is cursed. What is the curse, and how does it affect the character's life? What steps do they take to break the curse, and what obstacles do they face along the way?
The Secret Society
Write a story about a character who discovers a secret society that has been hiding in plain sight. What is this society, and what secrets do they hold? How does the character become involved with them, and what happens as they uncover the truth?
The Forbidden Love
Write a story about a character who falls in love with someone they are forbidden to be with. Who is this person, and why are they off-limits? What sacrifices do the characters make to be together, and what consequences do they face?
The Time Traveler
Write a story about a character who discovers the ability to time travel. What periods of time do they visit, and what do they learn from these experiences? How does their time travel affect their present-day life, and what happens when they try to change the course of history?
Romance Writing Prompts
The Second Chance
Write a story about two people who have a chance encounter after years of being apart. What happened between them in the past, and what has changed since then? Do they try to rekindle their relationship, or do they part ways once again?
The Fake Relationship
Write a story about two people who enter into a fake relationship for their own reasons. Why do they decide to pretend to be together, and what complications arise from this arrangement? Do they develop real feelings for each other, or is it all just an act?
The Secret Admirer
Write a story about someone who receives secret admirer notes or gifts from an anonymous sender. Who is the secret admirer, and why are they keeping their identity hidden? How does the recipient react to these gestures, and what happens when they finally discover the truth?
The Opposites Attract
Write a story about two people who come from different worlds or have opposing personalities. What draws them to each other, and what challenges do they face as a result of their differences? How do they navigate their relationship despite these obstacles?
The Summer Fling
Write a story about two people who meet during the summer and fall in love. What makes their summer romance special, and what happens when the season ends? Do they try to make their relationship work long-distance or go their separate ways?
The Unrequited Love
Write a story about someone who is in love with someone who doesn't feel the same way. How does the protagonist cope with their unrequited feelings, and what happens when they finally confess? Do they find closure or continue to hold onto their feelings?
The Love Triangle
Write a story about three people who are involved in a love triangle. Who are the three characters, and what draws them to each other? What happens as they try to navigate their feelings and their relationships with each other?
The Rekindled Flame
Write a story about two people who were once in love but have been separated for a long time. What brings them back together, and do they still have feelings for each other? What happens as they try to rebuild their relationship?
The Workplace Romance
Write a story about two people who fall in love in the workplace. What are their jobs, and how do they meet? What happens as they try to balance their work and their relationship, and how do their colleagues react?
The Forbidden Love
Write a story about two people who fall in love despite the fact that their love is forbidden. What makes their love forbidden, and what risks do they take to be together? How do they navigate their relationship in secret, and what happens if their love is discovered?
Thriller Writing Prompts
The Disappearance of a Celebrity
A famous celebrity has vanished without a trace, and the world is in shock. As a private investigator, it's your job to uncover the truth behind their disappearance. As you delve deeper into the case, you realize that there's more to the story than meets the eye. Write a thriller about the investigation and the shocking discoveries you make.
A Deadly Game of Cat and Mouse
A skilled assassin is targeting you, and you don't know why. As you try to stay alive and figure out who's behind the hit, you realize that the assassin is always one step ahead. Write a thriller about the deadly game of cat and mouse between you and the assassin.
The Secret Experiment
You're a scientist working on a top-secret government experiment. As the project progresses, you begin to uncover disturbing truths about the experiment and the people in charge. Write a thriller about the dangers of playing god and the consequences of unchecked ambition.
The Hostage Situation
You're a hostage negotiator tasked with resolving a tense situation. A group of armed criminals have taken hostages in a crowded building, and they're demanding a ransom. As you try to negotiate a peaceful resolution, you realize that the situation is more complicated than you initially thought. Write a thriller about the intense standoff and the desperate attempts to save the hostages.
You have a stalker, and they're getting bolder by the day. As you try to uncover their identity and put an end to their harassment, you begin to realize that their obsession runs deep. Write a thriller about the terrifying experience of being stalked and the lengths you'll go to protect yourself and your loved ones.
The Haunted House
You've just moved into a new home, but something doesn't feel right. As you begin to experience strange occurrences and disturbing visions, you realize that your house may be haunted. Write a thriller about uncovering the dark history of the house and the terror that ensues.
The Unsolvable Mystery
You're a detective tasked with solving a seemingly impossible case. The clues don't add up, the suspects all have alibis, and the evidence points in multiple directions. Write a thriller about the frustration and desperation of trying to solve an unsolvable mystery.
The world as we know it has come to an end. In the aftermath of a catastrophic event, you must fight to survive and protect the ones you love. Write a thriller about the dangers of a post-apocalyptic world and the struggles to rebuild and survive.
The Secret Society
You've been invited to join a secret society with powerful members and mysterious rituals. As you delve deeper into the society's inner workings, you realize that their true purpose is much darker than you could have ever imagined. Write a thriller about the dangers of getting too close to a secret society and the desperate attempts to escape its grip.
The Perfect Crime
You've committed the perfect crime, and you've gotten away with it. Or so you thought. As the authorities close in and the evidence starts to mount against you, you realize that you may not be as clever as you thought. Write a thriller about the thrill of the crime and the terror of getting caught.
Horror Writing Prompts
The Abandoned House
You and your friends decide to explore an old abandoned house on the outskirts of town. As you enter, you realize that something is not quite right. Write a story about what happens inside the house.
The Cursed Object
You inherit a strange object from a deceased relative. As soon as you bring it home, strange things start happening. Write a story about the cursed object and its effects on your life.
The Forest at Night
You decide to take a midnight hike in the forest. As you wander deeper into the woods, you start to feel like you're being watched. Write a story about your eerie encounter in the forest at night.
The Creepy Carnival
You and your friends decide to visit a traveling carnival that has set up in town. As you explore the carnival, you realize that something is not quite right. Write a story about your spooky experience at the creepy carnival.
The Haunted Hotel
You check into a hotel for the night, but quickly realize that the place is haunted. Strange noises, ghostly apparitions, and other unexplainable events keep you awake all night. Write a story about your terrifying stay in the haunted hotel.
The Mysterious Neighbor
Your new neighbor seems friendly enough, but there's something unsettling about them. You start to notice strange things happening around your house after they move in. Write a story about your investigation into your mysterious neighbor's true identity and intentions.
The Forbidden Room
You inherit an old mansion from a distant relative. As you explore the house, you discover a room that has been locked for years. Despite warnings from the locals, you decide to open the door. Write a story about what you find inside the forbidden room.
The Possessed Child
Your child starts to exhibit strange behavior that you can't explain. They talk in a different voice, have superhuman strength, and seem to know things they shouldn't. Write a story about your terrifying experience with your possessed child.
The Demon Summoning
You and your friends attempt to summon a demon as a party game, but things quickly spiral out of control. Write a story about your encounter with the demon and the consequences of your actions.
The Island of the Dolls
You and your friends decide to explore a remote island that is rumored to be haunted by dolls. As you wander the island, you start to realize that the dolls are more than just inanimate objects. Write a story about your chilling experience on the island of the dolls.
Speculative Fiction Writing Prompts
An Alternate Reality
Write a story set in an alternate reality where one key event in history has played out differently. How has this altered the course of history? What is different about the world and how do people live in it?
A World Without Time
Imagine a world where time doesn't exist. How do people measure their lives? How do they organize their days? What happens to aging and mortality? Write a story set in this timeless world.
A World of Advanced AI
Imagine a world where artificial intelligence has advanced to the point where machines can think and feel like humans. What kind of society would emerge? What would the relationship between humans and machines be like? Write a story set in this world.
A World of Superhumans
Imagine a world where humans possess extraordinary abilities beyond the average human. How do they use these abilities? How do they interact with society? What kind of conflicts arise? Write a story set in this world of superhumans.
A World of Teleportation
Imagine a world where teleportation is a common form of transportation. How does this change society? What kind of technology and infrastructure would be necessary? What kind of problems arise from this mode of travel? Write a story set in this world of teleportation.
A World Without Death
Imagine a world where death does not exist. How do people live their lives knowing they will never die? What kind of societal changes occur when people are essentially immortal? Write a story set in this world without death.
A World Without Emotion
Imagine a world where humans are incapable of feeling emotions. How does this change the way people interact with each other? How does this affect decision-making and morality? Write a story set in this emotionless world.
A World Where Dreams Come True
Imagine a world where people's dreams come true in reality. How does this change the way people dream? How does it change the way they live their lives? Write a story set in this dream world.
A World of Shifting Realities
Imagine a world where reality is constantly shifting and changing. How do people adapt to this environment? How do they make sense of the world around them? Write a story set in this shifting reality world.
A World Without Gravity
Imagine a world where gravity does not exist. How do people live in this environment? What kind of technology and infrastructure would be necessary to adapt? What kind of new forms of movement and transportation emerge? Write a story set in this gravity-free world.
Frequently Asked Questions
Below are some frequently asked questions that will provide more information.
What if none of the fiction writing prompts appeal to me?
If you're not interested in any of the prompts you come across, don't force yourself to write about them. Instead, try modifying the prompts to fit your interests and writing style, or come up with your own prompts that better suit your needs.
Can I use fiction writing prompts for non-fiction writing?
While fiction writing prompts are designed for fiction writing, many prompts can be adapted for non-fiction writing as well. For example, a prompt that asks you to describe a character's morning routine could be modified to ask you to describe your own morning routine. Don't be afraid to experiment and see how prompts can be adapted to suit your writing goals.
Are there any downsides to using fiction writing prompts?
While fiction writing prompts can be a helpful tool for generating new ideas and practicing your writing skills, there are some potential downsides to using them. For example, relying too heavily on prompts can stifle your creativity and limit your ability to come up with original ideas. Additionally, some writers may find prompts to be too constraining or limiting, and may prefer to write without them. Ultimately, the decision to use prompts or not should be based on your individual needs and preferences as a writer.
If you're interested in learning more about fiction writing prompts and how they can be used to inspire your writing, here are three non-fiction books that you may find helpful:
The Writer's Idea Book by Jack Heffron
This book provides over 400 prompts and exercises designed to inspire writers and help them develop their craft. It includes prompts for fiction, non-fiction, and poetry, as well as tips and strategies for using prompts effectively.
The Pocket Muse by Monica Wood
This book provides over 200 writing prompts and exercises to help writers of all levels develop their creativity and find inspiration. It includes prompts for fiction, non-fiction, and poetry, as well as tips and strategies for using prompts effectively.
642 Things to Write About by The San Francisco Writers' Grotto
This book provides 642 prompts and exercises designed to spark creativity and help writers overcome writer's block. It includes prompts for fiction, non-fiction, and poetry, as well as blank pages for writers to jot down their own ideas.
Writing can be a challenging and solitary pursuit, and it's not always easy to come up with new ideas and stay motivated. Fiction writing prompts can be a helpful tool for writers looking to overcome writer's block, generate new ideas, or get in some extra writing practice. Whether you're a beginner or a seasoned writer, using prompts can greatly expand your writing skills and explore new possibilities.
In this article, we've covered what fiction writing prompts are, their benefits, the different types of prompts available, and how to use them effectively. We've also provided examples of prompts to get you started and some recommended books and further reading for those interested in learning more.
Remember, writing prompts are just one tool in your writing toolbox, and they may not be right for everyone. Ultimately, the decision to use prompts or not should be based on your individual needs and preferences as a writer. Whether you choose to use prompts or not, we hope that this article has provided you with some useful insights and strategies for taking your writing practice to the next level.
If you're interested in learning more about writing and the writing process, check out this article on writing from Wikipedia. It provides an overview of the history of writing, different types of writing, and some of the challenges and rewards of the writing life.