Top 100 Short Story Ideas
by Joe Bunting | 128 comments
Do you want to write but just need a great story idea? Or perhaps you have too many ideas and can’t choose the best one? Well, good news. We’ve got you covered.
Below are one hundred short story ideas for all your favorite genres. You can use them as a book idea, as writing prompts for writing contests , for stories to publish in literary magazines , or just for fun!
Use these 100 story ideas to get your creative writing started now.
Editor’s note: This is a recurring guide, regularly updated with ideas and information.
If you're in a hurry, here's my 10 best story ideas in brief, or scroll down for the full version.
Top 10 Story Ideas
- Tell the story of a scar.
- A group of children discover a dead body.
- A young prodigy becomes orphaned.
- A middle-aged woman discovers a ghost.
- A woman who is deeply in love is crushed when her fiancé breaks up with her.
- A talented young man's deepest fear is holding his life back.
- A poor young boy or girl comes into an unexpected fortune.
- A shy, young woman unexpectedly bumps into her soulmate.
- A long journey is interrupted by a disaster.
- A young couple run into the path of a psychopath.
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Why Creative Writing Prompts Are Helpful
Below, you'll find our best creative writing prompts and plot ideas for every genre, but first, why do we use prompts? Is it just a waste of time, or can they actually help you? Here are three reasons we love writing prompts at The Write Practice:
1. Practice the Language!
Even for those of us who are native English speakers, we're all on a language journey to go from beginners to skilled writers. To make progress on this language journey, you have to practice, and at The Write Practice, believe it or not, we're really into practice! Creative writing prompts are easy, fun ways to practice.
Use the prompts below to practice your storytelling and use of language. The more you practice, the better of a writer you'll become.
2. When you have no ideas and are stuck.
Sometimes, you want to write, but you can't think up any ideas. You could either just sit there, staring at a blank page, or you could find a few ideas to help you get started. Even better if the list of ideas is curated from our best plot ideas over the last decade that we've been publishing lessons, writing exercises, and prompts.
Use the story ideas below to get your writing started. Then when your creativity is warmed up, you'll start to come up with your own ideas!
3. To develop your own ideas.
Maybe you do have an idea already, but you're not sure it's good. Or maybe you feel like it's just missing some small piece to make it better. By reading other ideas, and incorporating your favorites into your story, you can fill your plot holes and generate creative ideas of your own.
Use the story ideas below to develop your own ideas.
4. They're fun!
Thousands of writers use the prompts below every month, some at home, some in classrooms, and even a few pros at their writing “office.” Why? Because writing prompts can be fun. They get your creativity started, help you come up with new ideas of your own, and often take your writing in new, unexpected directions.
Use the plot ideas to have more fun with writing!
How to Write a Story
One last thing before we get to the 100 story ideas, let’s talk about how to write a great short story . (Already know how to write a great story? No problem. Just skip down to the ideas below.)
- First, read stories. If you’ve never read a story, you’re going to have a hard time writing one. Where do you find great stories? There are a lot of places, but check out our list of 46 Literary Magazines we’ve curated over here .
- Write your story in a single sitting. Write the first draft of your story in as short a time as possible, and if you’re writing a short story , try to write it in one sitting. Trust me, this works. Everyone hates being interrupted when they’re telling compelling stories. Use that to your advantage and don’t stop writing until you’ve finished telling yours.
- Read your draft. Read your story through once, without changing anything. This will give you a sense of what work it needs going forward.
- Write a premise. After reading your first draft, get your head around the main idea behind your story by summarizing your story in a one sentence premise. Your premise should contain four things: a character, a goal, a situation, and a special sauce. Not sure what that means or how to actually do that? Here’s a full premise writing guide .
- Write, edit, write, and edit. Good writing is rewriting. Use your second draft to fill in the plot holes and cut out the extraneous scenes and characters you discovered when you read the first draft in step #2. Then, polish up your final draft on the next round of edits.
- Submit! Real writers don’t keep their writing all to themselves. They share it. Submit your story to a literary magazine , an anthology series , enter it into a writing contest , or even share it with a small group of friends. And if it gets rejected, don’t feel bad. You’ll be in good company.
Want to know more? Learn more about how to write a great short story here .
Our 100 Best Short Story Ideas, Plot Ideas, and Creative Writing Prompts
Ready to get writing? Here are our 100 best short story ideas to kickstart your writing. Enjoy!
10 Best General Short Story Ideas
Our first batch of plot ideas are for any kind of story, whether a spy thriller or a memoir of your personal life story. Here are the best story ideas:
- Tell the story of a scar, whether a physical scar or emotional one. To be a writer, said Stephen King, “The only requirement is the ability to remember every scar .”
- A group of children discover a dead body. Good writers don’t turn away from death, which is, after all, the universal human experience. Instead, they look it directly into its dark face and describe what they see on the page.
- A young prodigy becomes orphaned. Orphans are uniquely vulnerable, and as such, they have the most potential for growth.
- A middle-aged woman discovers a ghost. What do Edgar Allen Poe, Ron Weasley, King Saul from the Bible, Odysseus, and Ebenezer Scrooge have in common? They all encountered ghosts!
- A woman who is deeply in love is crushed when her fiancé breaks up with her. “In life every ending is just a new beginning,” says Dakota Fanning’s character in Uptown Girls.
- A talented young man’s deepest fear is holding his life back. Your character’s biggest fear is your story’s secret weapon. Don’t run from it, write about it.
- A poor young boy or girl comes into an unexpected fortune. Not all fortunes are good. Sometimes discovering a fortune will destroy your life.
- A shy, young woman unexpectedly bumps into her soulmate (literally bumps into him). In film, this is called the “meet cute,” when the hero bumps into the heroine in the coffee shop or the department store or the hallway, knocking her books to the floor, and forcing them into conversation.
- A long journey is interrupted by a disaster. Who hasn’t been longing to get to a destination only to be delayed by something unexpected? This is the plot of Gravity , The Odyssey , and even Lord of the Rings .
- A young couple run into the path of a psychopath. Monsters, whether people who do monstrous things or scaly beasts or a monster of a natural disaster, reveal what’s really inside a person. Let your character fall into the path of a monster and see how they handle themselves.
Now that you have an idea, learn exactly what to do with it. Check out my new book The Write Structure which helps writers take their ideas and write books readers love. Click to check out The Write Structure here.
More Short Story Ideas Based on Genre
Need more ideas? Here are ideas based on whichever literary genre you write. Use them as character inspiration, to start your own story, or borrow pieces to generate your own ideas. The only rule is, have fun writing!
By the way, for more story writing tips for each these plot types, check out our full guide to the 10 types of stories here .
10 Thriller Story Ideas
A thriller is any story that “thrills” the reader—i.e., gets adrenaline pumping, the heart racing, and the emotions piqued.
Thrillers come in all shapes and forms, dipping freely into other genres. In other words, expect the unexpected!
Here are a few of my favorite thriller story ideas :
Rosa Rivera-Ortiz is an up-and-coming lawyer in a San Diego firm. Held back by her ethnicity and her gender, she works twice as hard as her colleagues, and she’s as surprised as anyone when she’s requested specifically for a high-profile case. Bron Welty, an A-list actor and action star, has been arrested for the murder of his live-in housekeeper. The cop heading the case is older, ex-military, a veteran of more than one war, and an occasional sufferer of PTSD. Rosa’s hired to defend the movie star; and it seems like an easy win until she uncovers some secrets that not only make her believe her client is guilty, but may be one of the worst serial killers in the past two decades… and he knows she found out .
It’s the Cold War. Sergei, a double-agent for the CIA working in Berlin, is about to retire when he’s given one final mission: he’s been asked to “defect” to the USSR to help find and assassinate a suspected double-agent for the Kremlin. Sergei is highly trusted, and he’s given to understand that this mission is need-to-know only between him and very few superior officers. But as he falls deeper into the folds of the Iron Curtain, he begins to suspect that his superior officer might just be the mole, and the mark Sergei’s been sent to kill is on the cusp of exposing the leak.
It is 1800. A lighthouse on a barren cliff in Canada. Two lighthouse keepers, German immigrants, are alone for the winter and effectively cut off from the rest of the world until the ice thaws. Both Wilhelm and Matthias are settled in for the long haul with warm clothes, canned goods, and matches a-plenty. Then Wilhelm starts hearing voices. His personal belongings disappear from where he’d placed them, only to reappear in strange spots—like the catwalk, or dangling beneath the spiral stair knotted in brown twine. Matthias begs innocence. Little by little, Wilhelm grows convinced that Matthias is trying to convince him (Wilhelm) to kill himself. Is the insanity real, or is this really Matthias’ doing? And if it is real, what will he do to defend himself? There are so many months until the thaw.
20 Mystery Story Ideas
Enjoy a good whodunit? Then you’ll love these mystery story ideas .
Here are a few of my favorites:
Ever hear the phrase, “It is not who fired the shot but who paid for the bullet?” This is a philosophy Tomoe Gozen lives by. Brave and clever, Tomoe follows clues until she learns who ordered the murder: Emperor Antoku himself. But why would the emperor of Japan want to kill a lowly soldier?
Mystery writer Dan Rodriguez takes the subway every day. Every day, nothing happens. He wears earbuds and a hoodie; he’s ignored, and he ignores. Then one evening, on his way home from a stressful meeting with his publisher, Dan is startled out of his funk when a frantic Middle-Eastern man knocks him over at a dead run, then races up the stairs—pursued by several other thugs. The Middle-Eastern man is shot; and Dan discovers a mysterious package in the front pocket of his hoodie. What’s inside, and what does he need to do to survive the answer?
A headless corpse is found in a freshly-dug grave in Arkansas. The local police chief, Arley Socket, has never had to deal with more than missing gas cans and treed cats. His exploration of this weird murder digs up a mystery older than the 100-year-old town of Jericho that harkens all the way back to a European blood-feud.
20 Romance Story Ideas
Ready to write a love story? Or perhaps you want to create a subplot with a secondary character? We've got ideas for you!
Hint: When it comes to romance, a sense of humor is always a good idea. Have fun! Here are a few of my favorite love story ideas :
She’s a cop. He’s the owner of a jewelry store. A sudden rash of break-ins brings her to his store over and over and over again, until it becomes obvious that he might be tripping the alarm on purpose—just to see her. That’s illegal—but she’s kind of falling for him, too. Write the moment she realizes she has to do something about this crazy illicit courtship.
Colorado Animal Rescue has never been more challenging than after that zoo caught on fire. Sally Cougar (no jokes on the name, or she’ll kill you) tracks down three missing tiger cubs, only to find they’ve been adopted by millionaire Bryce Champion. Thanks to an antiquated law on the books, he legally has the right to keep them. It’s going to take everything Sally has to get those tiger cubs back.
He’s a museum curator with a fetish for perfection. No one’s ever gotten close to him; how could they? They’re never as perfect as the portraits, the sculptures, the art that never changes. Then one day, an intern is hired on—a young, messy, disorganized intern, whose hair and desk are in a constant state of disarray. The curator is going half-mad with this walking embodiment of chaos; so why can’t the he stand the thought of the intern leaving at the end of their assistantship?
20 Sci-Fi Story Ideas
From the minimum-wage-earning, ancient-artifact-hunting time traveller to the space-exploring, sentient dinosaurs, these sci-fi writing prompts will get you set loose your inner nerd.
Here are a few of my favorite sci-fi ideas :
In a future society, neural implants translate music into physical pleasure, and earphones (“jacking in”) are now the drug of choice. Write either from the perspective of a music addict, OR the Sonforce agent (sonance + enforcer) who has the job of cracking down.
It’s the year 5000. Our planet was wrecked in the great Crisis of 3500, and remaining human civilization survives only in a half dozen giant domed cities. There are two unbreakable rules: strict adherence to Life Quality (recycling doesn’t even begin to cover these laws), and a complete ban on reproduction (only the “worthy” are permitted to create new humans). Write from the perspective of a young woman who just discovered she’s been chosen to reproduce—but she has no interest in being a mother.
So yeah, ancient Egypt really was “all that” after all, and the pyramids turn out to be fully functional spaceships (the limestone was to preserve the electronics hidden inside). Write from the perspective of the tourist exploring the ancient society who accidentally turns one on.
20 Fantasy Story Ideas
Need a dose of sword-in-the-stone, hero and/or heroine packed coming-of-age glory? We love fantasy stories!
Here are a few of my favorite fantasy story ideas:
Bored teenaged wizards throwing a graduation celebration.
Uncomfortable wedding preparation between a magic wielding family tree and those more on the Muggle side of things.
A fairy prince who decides to abandon his responsibilities to become a street musician.
Just try to not have fun writing (or even just reading!) these fantasy writing prompts.
The Secret to Choosing the Best Story Idea
Stories, more than any other artistic expression, have the power to make people care. Stories have the ability to change people’s lives.
But to write a great story, a life-changing story, don’t just write about what your characters did, said, and saw. Ask yourself, “Where do I fit in to this story? What is my personal connection to this story?”
Robert Frost said this:
If you can connect your personal story to the story you’re writing, you will not only be more motivated to finish your story, you might just be able to change the lives of your readers.
Next Step: Write Your Best Story
No matter how good your idea, writing a story or a book can be a long difficult process. How do you create an outline, come up with a great plot, and then actually finish it?
My new book The Write Structure will help. You'll learn how to take your idea and structure a strong plot around it. Then you'll be guided through the exact process I've used to write dozens of short stories and over fifteen books.
You can learn more about The Write Structure and get your copy here.
Have a great short story idea? We'd love to hear it. Share it in the comments !
Choose one of these ideas and write a short story in one sitting (aim for 1,000 words or less!). When you're finished, share your story in the practice box below (or our latest writing contest ) for feedback from the community. And if you share, please be sure to comment on a few stories by other writers.
Joe Bunting is an author and the leader of The Write Practice community. He is also the author of the new book Crowdsourcing Paris , a real life adventure story set in France. It was a #1 New Release on Amazon. Follow him on Instagram (@jhbunting).
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The fall of summer, it’s the last evening of your vacation and you’re watching the sunset with your friends/partner/family, wishing summer would never end. but just as the sun dips below the horizon, you notice it returning in reverse..
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Now, as an adult, your character looks back on this summer as the summer when they grew up.
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What was meant to be a great bonding vacation turns sour when an uninvited guest tags along.
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Set your story on the eve of the first day back at school.
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Creative Writing Prompts
When the idea to start a weekly newsletter with writing inspiration first came to us, we decided that we wanted to do more than provide people with topics to write about. We wanted to try and help authors form a regular writing habit and also give them a place to proudly display their work. So we started the weekly Creative Writing Prompts newsletter. Since then, Prompts has grown to a community of more than 450,000 authors, complete with its own literary magazine, Prompted .
Here's how our contest works: every Friday, we send out a newsletter containing five creative writing prompts. Each week, the story ideas center around a different theme. Authors then have one week — until the following Friday — to submit a short story based on one of our prompts. A winner is picked each week to win $250 and is highlighted on our Reedsy Prompts page.
Why we love creative writing prompts
If you've ever sat in front of a computer or notebook and felt the urge to start creating worlds, characters, and storylines — all the while finding yourself unable to do so — then you've met the author's age-old foe: writer's block. There's nothing more frustrating than finding the time but not the words to be creative. Enter our directory! If you're ready to kick writer's block to the curb and finally get started on your short story or novel, these unique story ideas might just be your ticket.
This list of 1800+ creative writing prompts has been created by the Reedsy team to help you develop a rock-solid writing routine. As all aspiring authors know, this is the #1 challenge — and solution! — for reaching your literary goals. Feel free to filter through different genres, which include...
Dramatic — If you want to make people laugh and cry within the same story, this might be your genre.
Funny — Whether satire or slapstick, this is an opportunity to write with your funny bone.
Romance — One of the most popular commercial genres out there. Check out these story ideas out if you love writing about love.
Fantasy — The beauty of this genre is that the possibilities are as endless as your imagination.
Dystopian – Explore the shadowy side of human nature and contemporary technology in dark speculative fiction.
Mystery — From whodunnits to cozy mysteries, it's time to bring out your inner detective.
Thriller and Suspense — There's nothing like a page-turner that elicits a gasp of surprise at the end.
High School — Encourage teens to let their imaginations run free.
Want to submit your own story ideas to help inspire fellow writers? Send them to us here.
After you find the perfect story idea
Finding inspiration is just one piece of the puzzle. Next, you need to refine your craft skills — and then display them to the world. We've worked hard to create resources that help you do just that! Check them out:
- How to Write a Short Story That Gets Published — a free, ten-day course by Laura Mae Isaacman, a full-time editor who runs a book editing company in Brooklyn.
- Best Literary Magazines of 2023 — a directory of 100+ reputable magazines that accept unsolicited submissions.
- Writing Contests in 2023 — the finest contests of 2021 for fiction and non-fiction authors of short stories, poetry, essays, and more.
Beyond creative writing prompts: how to build a writing routine
While writing prompts are a great tactic to spark your creative sessions, a writer generally needs a couple more tools in their toolbelt when it comes to developing a rock-solid writing routine . To that end, here are a few more additional tips for incorporating your craft into your everyday life.
- NNWT. Or, as book coach Kevin Johns calls it , “Non-Negotiable Writing Time.” This time should be scheduled into your routine, whether that’s once a day or once a week. Treat it as a serious commitment, and don’t schedule anything else during your NNWT unless it’s absolutely necessary.
- Set word count goals. And make them realistic! Don’t start out with lofty goals you’re unlikely to achieve. Give some thought to how many words you think you can write a week, and start there. If you find you’re hitting your weekly or daily goals easily, keep upping the stakes as your craft time becomes more ingrained in your routine.
- Talk to friends and family about the project you’re working on. Doing so means that those close to you are likely to check in about the status of your piece — which in turn keeps you more accountable.
Arm yourself against writer’s block. Writer’s block will inevitably come, no matter how much story ideas initially inspire you. So it’s best to be prepared with tips and tricks you can use to keep yourself on track before the block hits. You can find 20 solid tips here — including how to establish a relationship with your inner critic and apps that can help you defeat procrastination or lack of motivation.
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44 Short Story Ideas
Story ideas - 3 elements.
- A stolen ring, fear of spiders, and a sinister stranger.
- A taxi, an old enemy, and Valentine's Day.
- Identical twins, a party invitation, and a locked closet.
- A broken wristwatch, peppermints, and a hug that goes too far.
- Aerobics, a secret diary, and something unpleasant under the bed.
- An ex-boyfriend, a pair of binoculars, and a good-luck charm.
- An annoying boss, a bikini, and a fake illness.
- The first day of school, a love note, and a recipe with a significant mistake.
- A horoscope, makeup, and a missing tooth.
- A campfire, a scream, and a small lie that gets bigger and bigger.
More short story ideas
- A babysitter is snooping around her employer's house and finds a disturbing photograph...
- At a Chinese restaurant, your character opens his fortune cookie and reads the following message: "Your life is in danger. Say nothing to anyone. You must leave the city immediately and never return. Repeat: say nothing."...
- Your character's boss invites her and her husband to dinner. Your character wants to make a good impression, but her husband has a tendency to drink too much and say exactly what's on his mind...
- It's your character's first day at a new school. He or she wants to get a fresh start, develop a new identity. But in his or her homeroom, your character encounters a kid he or she knows from summer camp...
- Your character has to tell his parents that he's getting a divorce. He knows his parents will take his wife's side, and he is right...
- At the airport, a stranger offers your character money to carry a mysterious package onto the plane. The stranger assures your character that it's nothing illegal and points out that it has already been through the security check. Your character has serious doubts, but needs the money, and therefore agrees...
- Your character suspects her husband is having an affair and decides to spy on him. What she discovers is not what she was expecting...
- A man elbows your character in a crowd. After he is gone, she discovers her cell phone is too. She calls her own number, and the man answers. She explains that the cell phone has personal information on it and asks the man to send it back to her. He hangs up. Instead of going to the police, your character decides to take matters into her own hands...
- After your character loses his job, he is home during the day. That's how he discovers that his teenage son has a small marijuana plantation behind the garage. Your character confronts his son, who, instead of acting repentant, explains to your character exactly how much money he is making from the marijuana and tries to persuade your character to join in the business...
- At a garage sale, your character buys an antique urn which she thinks will look nice decorating her bookcase. But when she gets home, she realizes there are someone's ashes in it....
Even more short story ideas
- Your character starts receiving flowers and anonymous gifts. She doesn't know who is sending them. Her husband is suspicious, and the gifts begin to get stranger....
- A missionary visits your character's house and attempts to convert her to his religion. Your character is trying to get rid of him just as storm warning sirens go off. Your character feels she can't send the missionary out into the storm, so she lets him come down into her basement with her. This is going to be a long storm....
- Your character is caught shoplifting. The shop owner says that she won't call the police in exchange for a personal favor....
- Your character is visiting his parents over a holiday. He is returning some books to the library for his mother and is startled to notice that the librarian looks exactly like him, only about thirty years older. He immediately begins to suspect that his mother had an affair at one time and the librarian is his real father...
- Your character picks up a hitch-hiker on her way home from work. The hitch-hiker tries to persuade your character to leave everything and drive her across the country...
- Your character has to sell the house where she grew up. A potential buyer comes to look at it and begins to talk about all of the changes she would make to the place. This upsets your character, who decides she wants to find a buyer who will leave everything the way it has always been....
- A bat gets in the house. Your character's husband becomes hysterical, frightened that it might be rabid. In his panic, he ends up shutting the bat in a room with your character while he calls an exterminator from a safe place in the house. His behavior makes your character see her husband in a new way....
- Your character changes jobs in order to have more time with his family. But his family doesn't seem interested in having him around...
- Your character develops the idea that she can hear the voices of the dead on a certain radio channel. She decides to take advantage of this channel to find answers to some questions that are bothering her about her dead parents....
- Your character's dream is to be a professional dancer. At a party, she mentions this dream to a stranger, who says that he has contacts in the dance world and gets her an audition for a prestigious dance troupe. One problem: your character doesn't know how to dance. Your character decides to accept the audition anyway and look for a solution....
And still more short story ideas
- Your character thinks her boss is looking for an excuse to fire her. She decides to fight back....
- Your character goes out for dinner on a date and becomes attracted to the waiter or waitress....
- Your character notices that a stranger is following her. She pretends not to notice. The stranger follows her home and watches her go inside. Then when he leaves, your character turns the tables and starts to follow him....
- A child moves into a new house and finds out that the other kids in town think it's haunted. She begins to invent ghost stories to tell at school in order to get attention. But the more stories she tells, the more frightened she becomes of the house...
- Your elderly character escapes from the retirement home where his or her children have placed him or her....
- Your character gets cosmetic surgery in an attempt to make her boyfriend love her more. But then she worries he only loves her for her looks....
- Your character is a writer. But his new neighbors are so noisy that he can neither work nor sleep. He decides to take action....
- Your character's mother-in-law comes to visit for a week, and your character suspects she is trying to poison him. He shares his suspicion with his wife, who says he's always hated her mother but this accusation is going too far. Meanwhile, your character has stomach cramps, and his mother-in-law is downstairs making breakfast again....
- It's a freezing cold night. Your character finds a homeless family on his doorstep and invites them into his home to sleep. But in the morning, the family doesn't leave....
- Your character has recently married a man with two teenage children. The children resent her, and she tries to avoid them altogether. Then her new husband (their father) disappears suddenly, leaving only a short good-bye note....
Story ideas: personal creative writing challenges
- Make a list of five things you're afraid of happening to you. Then write a story in which one of them happens to your character..
- Think of a big problem that one of your friends had to face. Then write a story in which your character battles with that problem..
- What is one of your bad habits? Invent a character who has the bad habit, but a much worse case of it than you have. Write a story where this habit gets your character into trouble.
- What is one of your greatest strengths? Invent a character who doesn't have this strength. Create a situation in which having this strength is very important for your character. What does your character do? Write the story.
Photo credit: Pascal van de Vendel
Keep the short story ideas flowing
- Looking for more detailed short story ideas? Find them here .
- Use our free worksheet to develop your story plot.
- Our online writing course Irresistible Fiction will show you how to write stories people can't put down.
- Click here for a list of CWN pages with creative writing prompts and short story ideas.
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Writing Prompts: 60 Ideas You Can Use Today
August 23, 2018 4 min read
When I was in elementary school, I had a teacher who would have us freewrite to writing prompts he would write on the whiteboard. Every Monday morning, we would spend the first 10 minutes of class writing about dragons, time travel, or our weekends.
I had stopped using writing prompts after that 4th grade English class. This changed once I began writing thousands of words per day. Some days, I just didn’t know what to write about. Other days, I already had a topic in hand, but I couldn’t find the words. Writing prompts have been a great tool to help me defeat writer’s block and swiftly put pen to paper.
A writing prompt is a topic around which you start writing ideas. You’re free to stick to the subject or let your mind wander.
Benefits of writing prompts
1. Put pen to paper. Instead of thinking about what to write about, writing prompts give you a topic to start writing about immediately.
2. Practice makes perfect. Writing prompts help you build your writing “muscles”. This habit will help make it easier for you to start writing and will teach you to write longer.
3. Increase your creativity. Writing prompts can make you see the world in a new light, or a way you’ve never imagined.
Maybe you want to buckle down and finish that novel. Or perhaps you needed to complete that blog post yesterday. Regardless of your circumstance, prompts can be your ticket out of uncreative purgatory and back to the writing promised land.
Sometimes, it can be hard to think of what to write, so we put together a list of 60 writing prompts to give you some fresh ideas.
60 Writing Prompts To Spark Your Imagination
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.
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50 Fiction Writing Prompts and Ideas to Inspire You to Write
Table of Contents
How fiction writing prompts can help writers, top 50 fiction writing prompts, how prowritingaid can help with fiction writing, conclusion on fiction writing prompts and ideas.
Have you ever wanted to write a story but had no idea what to write about?
If you’re familiar with that feeling, you’re not alone. At some point in their lives, every writer has sat down in front of a blank page with no idea what to write next.
When you’re in that situation, it might be helpful to look at a list of potential story ideas. A great prompt can help kick-start your creativity and get you in the mood for writing again.
In this article, we’ll give you all our favorite fiction writing prompts to inspire you to write.
There are countless ways fiction writing prompts can benefit you. Here are a few reasons you might want to use a writing prompt:
To start a new short story or novel
To practice writing in a new genre or writing style so you can expand your skill set and try something new
To warm up at the beginning of each writing session
To make sure you’re in a creative state of mind when you tackle your existing writing projects
So, pick up a pen and a notebook, and let’s get started!
Here are 50 fantastic fiction writing prompts that will help you start your next story. To help you choose a prompt that excites you, we’ve split them into several categories: fantasy, sci-fi, mystery, romance, and contemporary.
You’ve inherited your grandfather’s antique shop, and you’re surprised to find strange objects with magical powers inside.
You set out to break the curse that’s followed your family for generations.
You can see visions of the future, but you learned long ago to keep them to yourself. Now, you have to speak up or risk losing everything you love.
You work for a zoo filled with magical creatures.
You’re a lawyer in a fantasy world, and your job is to negotiate contracts between the humans and the gods.
A company harvests dragon scales, unicorn hair, and other magical items to sell for profit.
You find a portal to a fantasy world in your backyard.
You find a magical item that will make all your wishes come true—but it’s extremely literal in its interpretations.
A supernatural monster kidnaps your best friend. You set out to rescue her.
Your parents gave different aspects of their magical powers to each of their children. Compared to your siblings, you definitely got the short end of the stick.
Write an adaptation of your favorite classic tale—in space.
Aliens come to Earth, but they’re here for reasons no one expected.
Scientists have found ways to transfer memories between different people. You're the first person to sell all of yours.
Write about an entire world where people can buy and sell years of their lives.
What would happen if you woke up in someone else’s body and they woke up in yours?
You live in a moon colony surrounded by high walls. One day, someone breaches the walls.
Your parents send you to a summer camp filled with time travelers.
You accidentally stumble through a portal to a parallel universe where everything is the same as our universe, except for one key difference.
In a world where everyone’s DNA is genetically engineered to best suit their roles in the community, you have to hide that your DNA doesn’t match your chosen career.
You land on a new planet and realize the plants there are more intelligent than humans.
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You wake up with no memory of who you are, except for a single name.
Every day, a strange drawing appears in your mailbox, and they get more and more disturbing.
You receive a letter inviting you to a free weekend getaway, and you have no idea who the host is.
Your father is keeping something strange in the attic.
A man throws an elaborate party in an attempt to conceal a crime.
You realize you’ve been sleepwalking every night, and you have no idea what your sleeping self has been up to.
You thought your husband was dead. So why is he still writing you letters?
Your brother was murdered years ago. The police have stopped investigating, but you’re still looking for the killer.
Two friends discover a serial killer's secret hideout.
A young woman discovers a frightening secret while she's on her first hunting trip with her husband's family.
Two soldiers on different sides of a war develop feelings for each other.
A member of the royal family falls in love with her bodyguard.
You’ve resigned yourself to a loveless arranged marriage, but fate has other plans.
You’ve had a crush on your best friend your entire life. Now, he’s about to get married to someone else.
You go on a first date and find yourself stuck in a time loop, so you have to keep going on that date over and over.
Two rivals have to pretend to be in a relationship—and end up accidentally falling for each other.
After a bad breakup, you move to a new town—and find yourself attracted to your next-door neighbor.
When two exes are forced to work together, they rekindle old feelings.
You fall in love with someone from a different dimension, so you can only see each other once a year when the portal opens.
After your plane crash-lands on a deserted island, you develop a bond with one of the other survivors.
Write an adaptation of your favorite classic tale set in the town you grew up in.
Two best friends go on a road trip and encounter a problem they never expected.
An adopted orphan goes on a journey to reconnect with her birth family.
You’re told a family secret that changes everything you think you know about your life.
A group of friends takes a practical joke too far, leading to disaster.
A college student creates an invention for a technology class and accidentally goes viral.
A painter in her early eighties struggles with her slow descent into blindness.
A couple breaks up, but the ramifications of their breakup follow them for decades.
A carefree playboy is forced to adopt a child, which changes his whole life.
You’re framed for a crime you didn’t commit, and nobody believes you’re innocent—except for your estranged sister.
No matter what type of story you’re writing, ProWritingAid is a great tool to help you make your writing shine.
ProWritingAid will suggest ways to improve various weaknesses in your writing, such as grammar mistakes, repetitive words, passive voice, unnecessary dialogue tags, and more.
You can even tell ProWritingAid what type of fiction you’re writing, such as fantasy or historical fiction, to get customized suggestions that match your genre.
There you have it—our complete list of the best fiction writing prompts to inspire you to write.
Try out your favorite one, and see if you can turn it into a unique story.
Good luck, and happy writing!
Hannah is a speculative fiction writer who loves all things strange and surreal. She holds a BA from Yale University and lives in Colorado. When she’s not busy writing, you can find her painting watercolors, playing her ukulele, or hiking in the Rockies. Follow her work on hannahyang.com or on Twitter at @hannahxyang.
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