The following prompts come from the book Q&A A Day for Writers: 365 Questions for Creative Exploration. Enjoy!
Write a phrase over and over to fill a page, even if the phrase is not your own.
What might a “feat of strength” mean without muscle involved?
ABC! Write a sentence that begins and ends with the letter a. (“Animals came to an oasis in the Sahara.”) Continue as such through the alphabet — see how many letters you can fit into the space.
Place yourself or a character in utter whiteness. What can be heard, felt? What kind of whiteness is it?
The Mexican holiday of Cinco de Mayo celebrates the David and Goliath victory of the Mexican army against occupying French forces in 1862, a major morale booster for the Mexican people. Conjure up an image of Mexico in your mind and describe what you see here.
Take the following in a positive direction: “There’s just something about…”
Allow yourself a fan fiction moment, and begin an episode of a favorite TV series or a sequel to a beloved book.
In honor of May, the month we celebrate mothers, write a scene in which your mother is a child.
In reality: everybody eats. In fiction: it’s an option. But part of the power of food is that it is relatable and therefore a valuable way to draw in a reader. Practice for this writing exercise by first observing someone eating and then creating a short character study.
Rip a headline from the news and without reading the ensuing article, invent your own story to follow.
Create a rhyming couplet — two lines in the same meter/length that complete one thought or action. An example is Shakespeare’s “Double, double, toil and trouble;/Fire burn, and cauldron bubble.”
Exquisite Corpse #1: In an Exquisite Corpse, writers pass a story back and forth, writing one sentence at a time. Find a friend and write an Exquisite Corpse with them.
What’s your sign? Find today’s horoscope and write about how true or false it is.
If you were to completely change life direction, where would you go and what would you do?
When was the last time you witnessed behavior that made you uncomfortable? What was happening?
Your phone buzzes an alert: it’s a text message from an unknown number. What does the text say?
What is a creative block for you and how do you overcome it?
A story exercise: A woman in a coma keeps whispering, “Aster Chriseldis, Aster Chriseldis.” Who is Aster Chriseldis?
What was a favorite book from your childhood? What did you enjoy about it and what stayed with you?
Write about a possession that was prized by you and is now lost.
A moonglade is the bright reflection of moonlight found on the surface of water. Write a scene where something glides through a moonglade.
Think of a person, place, or thing. Now try to describe that noun without adjectives (metaphors are fair play).
What would you most like to dream about tonight? Foretell your dream here.
What did you dream about last night? If you can’t recall, you’ll just have to make up something.
Write what comes before this phrase: “…meanwhile an asteroid was headed straight for Earth.”
When was the last time you argued with someone? What do you wish you had said to them that you didn’t?
Consider your favorite outfit or article of clothing. Describe it in detail here.
Although you’re obscured from the sun, the air is thick and warm on your bare skin. You cannot hear each other over the deafening rush of water, so you make faces and gestures in the semidarkness, your backs pressed against the rock. What happens next?
Write about the last time you truly relaxed.
Think about a time when fear stopped you from doing something. What would have happened if you had done it?
What’s a book that you haven’t read but feel that you should?