So I am writing this post of 1000 writing prompts. It might be a little misleading because I have no where near 1000 prompts.
Writing Prompts are the anomaly of the writing world. When first faced with the idea of a writing prompt, many writers turn their noses up at them. The writer feels they can make it without the gimmick or doesn’t need help. Raymond Carver once wrote, “Writing is hard, and writers need help.” Prompts are kind of like that. Once the writer runs into their first snag, they look for a solution. Sometimes you need a little help, and writing prompts can help if you open yourself up to possibilities. There is also the situation where people don’t want to write or feel they can’t write, like high school students, and these writing prompts are also for them.
It’s hard to tell, though, which writing prompts will help and which prompts will fizzle. I give prompts to my writers every day. I have given and received writing prompts for 25 years in workshops, courses, and writer’s groups. I’ve found a few characteristics that a good writing prompt needs to reach down into the writer and get them writing. Here are ten things to look for when you are looking for a good prompt.
1. The prompt has the right tone and voice. You can’t have a horror prompt that sounds like a joke. You can’t have a romance prompt that lectures. The technique of the prompt is essential. You are probably on the right track if the prompt matches the tone.
2. The prompt is high interest. Boring prompts are the worst. You can tell when the instructor, prof. Or the workshop leader just didn’t put any time into the prompt—Frost’s “No tears in the writer…” quote. If a prompt doesn’t move you or get you excited to write, it will not inspire anyone else to write.
3. Cliché prompts, much like needing to be high interest, a prompt needs to be original. If you make a prompt the exact old same, I think it makes it harder to create. For instance, write a prompt about being a rebel. I was given this prompt in a workshop one time. I can’t take watching a tv show I don’t like; there is no way I will be able to hold my interest through writing a boring story cliché story. It’s just not going to happen.
4. Story starters can be inspiring. I’ve found that prompts that write the first paragraph or a couple of sections of a story seem to inspire me to write if they are done well. Suppose the first paragraph of writing is excellent if it has a good tone. If writing is exciting and pulls me in, I want to write like that. I think it’s like a writer. Generally, we want to be writers because of something we read. When I read something extraordinary, it makes me want to write.
5. Oddly, the more moving parts, the better. Prompts are the opposite of excellent writing in many cases. The more complicated they are, the more they get me thinking and writing. They need good descriptions to get me pointed in the right direction. It’s a little hard to explain, but examples might help:
Example 1: Write about two characters who meet and fall in love.
Example 2: Write about two characters in a hurricane who meet and fall in love as the eye of the storm passes above them.
The first one, I’ve got nothing. I’m moving on. The second example gives me enough to want to try it. It presents me with an exciting idea.
6. An element of writing involves the best prompts I have ever written. I have written several goods (later published) short stories based on prompts. Both of those prompts had story elements involved—the best way to write a story where there is a juxtaposition between 2 characters and their situations. I wrote a story about an agoraphobia falling in love with an exhibitionist at a meteor show. I love that story. A writing prompt with a literary element explicitly stated generally inspires the writer in me. It seems like a challenge.
We may add more pointers in the future. For now, these six will get you started. We also have a wide range of writing prompts here on the site. The writing prompts below are for many different kinds of writers in different situations. Writing prompts could be fun if you left them. We will post a new one every week! We want you to have fun with these! So enjoy and keep writing!
Writing Prompt: It’s late. You got off the highway, slept for a little while,
This is the oh my god don’t go in there, I’m so stupid for doing this writing prompt. Inspired by all those horror movies where you think the main character is stupid for doing what they are doing. Generally you disagree so much you are yelling at the screen
Let him go alone: You let your son go trick or treating by himself. He is 10 now, and you feel like he is responsible enough. You tell him to stay on your block or the next. It’s a safe neighborhood.
Making a list of writing prompts for high schools students is easy for me, I have taught high school students for around 15 years. These are writing prompts that I have found high school students love to write about.
Ok welcome to number 2 Creative Writing Prompt: Live Long and Prosper or Not for our March-April contest.
Ok, the biggest comment that I get about our other 10 Horrifying Horror Prompts is that they are not scary… I believe thinking story prompts are going to be scary is like thinking you