Writing Prompts

Mystery and Thriller Prompts

  1. You find strange, muddy footprints leading up to your front door.
  2. A stranger sits down next to you on a train and gets up, leaving a package behind. Do you investigate the package?
  3. You hear news of your next-door neighbour vanishing without a trace.
  4. One day the national news channel shuts off. And the next day after that, too.
  5. One day at work, you look across the street to see a hooded figure in a black coat pointing directly at you. What do they want?
  6. You stumble upon a strange house you’ve never seen before on your morning run.
  7. You get a text message from an unknown number saying, “Meet me outside. Now.”
  8. Your parents tell you that they actually don’t know whose child you are.
  9. Someone puts a large black box on your doorstep. A note on the front reads, “Caution: may bite.”
  10. You wake up to discover a completely different, unknown face staring back at you from the mirror.
  11. The protagonist of your story discovers that there is a person who looks exactly like him.
  12. An international spy group recruits you to be their latest member.
  13. You begin to realize that your reflection is no longer appearing in mirrors.
  14. You aunt passes away, leaving you $500,000 in her will under the condition that you resume care for your hundred-year-old home.
  15. Your best friend tells you that she feels like someone’s been watching her. The next day she goes missing.
  16. Three words: Long lost brother.
  17. The day of your wedding, you wake up to find every person in your wedding party has been brutally murdered.
  18. The FBI begs you to come back to work on a special case. Your former partner has turned and is now wanted for the murders of three co-workers.
  19. Local gravestones begin disappearing.
  20. You can solve murders simply by stepping foot at the crime scene. Problem is, no one believes you.
  21.  Write a short story where the protagonist has a doppelganger. (Reedsy)
  22. Your fingers tensed around the object in your pocket, ready to pull it out at a moment’s notice. (Reedsy)
  23. You’re sitting by a window watching the flakes slowly and silently fall. Suddenly, you see something outside that snaps you out of your reverie. (Reedsy)
  24. You’re at a huge store scouting out Black Friday deals. You start to notice that all the security cameras in the store seem to be following your each and every move. (Reedsy)
  25. You work for the CIA who send you undercover in the FBI, who send you undercover in M16, who send you undercover in the CIA, who are very confused that you are back after only two weeks. (Reedsy)
  26. A terrorist group has been infiltrated by so many agencies that it is now run by spies, unbeknownst to the spies themselves. This fact becomes apparent to an actual extremist who joins their ranks. (Reedsy)
  27. Ever since childhood, a dark figure no one else can see has been following you around, whispering in your ear. Today you see it lying a few feet away, screaming and asking you to run. (Reedsy)
  28. You’ve lived an average life up until today, your 20th birthday. You just found out that your dad is the runaway son of a doting criminal warlord, and your mom is the daughter of an equally doting secret agent. Both family businesses are looking to make you the next heir. (Reedsy)
  29. She has been walking for hours. Her feet are starting to bleed. But she can’t stop moving… she can’t let him find her again. (Reedsy)
  30. The morning after a blizzard you make your way outside and slowly start to realize everyone has disappeared. (Reedsy)

Romance Prompts

  1. Left at the altar, you decide to seek revenge on your ex.
  2. You got ditched at the last minute before prom – who will your date be?
  3. A stranger texts the wrong number, and accidentally sends you a declaration of love. The message is so sweet and heartfelt that you know you can’t let it go.
  4. A divorced former couple find each other on the same flight to Paris… Sitting next to each other.
  5. After joining an adult swim league, you realize that your coach is irresistibly cute.
  6. Your husband accidentally sends you a text meant for his mistress.
  7. You and a hot stranger get trapped in an elevator.
  8. Write a love story set at the zoo.
  9. A college professor and their teaching assistant hit it off a little too well.
  10. You get to make one wish to create your dream romantic partner. What is it?
  11. Two strangers on an online chat room hit it off. Turns out they’re childhood sweethearts.
  12. A parole officer falls in love with his parolee.
  13. After their catamaran crashes, a husband and wife on their anniversary trip are left marooned on an island in the tropics.
  14. She’s a burgeoning lingerie model who needs her cute neighbor to take portfolio shots of her.
  15. An alien falls in love with a forbidden human.
  16. Desperate for cash, a med student signs up to be a nude model for a retired women’s art club.
  17. A cutthroat business woman swore she’d never find love until her best friend sets her up on a blind date.
  18. Two widowed people meet at a community garden.
  19. A chef decides to embark on an international culinary tour for inspiration and falls in love with their tour guide.
  20. A daughter tries to set her widowed father up on an online dating app – without him knowing.
  21. A Republican presidential candidate and Democratic presidential candidate fall in love.
  22. You are a popular book heroine’s love interest. You now have 60 seconds to convince them that saving the city is more important than saving you. (@writing.prompt.s)
  23. The love of your life is your brother’s nemesis.
  24. You fall in love with every person you make eye contact with.
  25. You’re a mail order bride arriving at her new home for the first time.
  26. After you move to a new city, you fall in love with your realtor while buying a new house.
  27. You realize that you’ve fallen out of love with your new wife while you’re on your honeymoon.
  28. You and your best friends decide to try a new dating app for the first time.
  29. At your friend’s urging, you begrudgingly attend a Valentine’s Day speed dating event. (Reedsy)
  30. Every day, you return to your apartment and say, “Honey, I’m home. Oh wait, that’s right… I live alone.” But then one day, a voice replies, “I picked up some pizza.” (Reedsy)

Sci-Fi Prompts

  1. You wake up one morning to find out that you get to move to any planet of your choosing.
  2. Your wife is a droid.
  3. Every day, you get one hour to revisit any moment from your life. What do you pick?
  4. Gravity no longer exists.
  5. You are chosen to go on the first ever recreational space journey.
  6. After people die, their spirits can be brought back from death but at the cost of one random human life. Is it worth it?
  7. Everyone in the world has the ability to read thoughts. Except for one person.
  8. You have to power to build one separate planet. How do you build it? Who gets to live there?
  9. What team do you gather to fight the largest alien and terrorist threat on Earth?
  10. The world is dying. In order to save it, you’ve been commanded to sacrifice yourself to an invading alien group.
  11. You are the first person able to breathe in outer space.
  12. A rare form of cancer is the newest superbug. With a team of scientists, you all must find a cure before the population is wiped out.
  13. Human beings begin to find themselves growing extra limbs as global warming amps up.
  14. It turns out humans have been the aliens all along.
  15. You are in charge of a secretive government agency that aligns people’s fates. Their livelihood is entirely up to you and what you want to do with it.
  16. Technology becomes illegal.
  17. All plant life on the planet is wiped out, except for in Florida.
  18. You are one of the mechanics on the first ever self-flying airplane.
  19. Walking through the woods one day, you come across a small animal that has the ability to instantaneously clone itself.
  20. Your whole family has fought in the space military, but you’ve decided to no longer take part in it.
  21. In an alternate universe where global warming has ruined the planet, you’ve spent your entire life living in an airplane on autopilot.
  22. You’re a 15-year-old in the middle of a zombie apocalypse. However, a cure has been found that not only rids the infected person of the virus before they turn but prevents it altogether. Only one problem… Your parents are anti-vaxxers. (@writing.prompt.s)
  23. Nasa engineers monitor the curiosity rover’s actions. All seems normal until the robot suddenly changes its course. The scientists attempt to correct it over and over until they suddenly receive a transmission from the rover: “Will Save Oppy” (@writing.prompt.s)
  24. What if a nuclear submarine was ordered to launch their nuclear arsenal onto the world? (Screencraft)
  25. What if the world we live in is actually a computer simulation? (Screencraft)
  26. What if the past and present timelines began to merge? (Screencraft)
  27. What if your stepfather or stepmother is actually your future self? (Screencraft)
  28. What if the sun began to die? (Screencraft)
  29. What if the universe as we know it is actually someone’s imagination? (Screencraft)
  30. Everyone on earth begins to experience universal amnesia.

Fantasy Prompts

  1. A mysterious creature speaks to you in your dreams and tells you that when you awake, you will have the ability to see into another realm.
  2. Your pet dragon transforms into a person.
  3. You are gifted with the strongest, most elusive sword in the kingdom, but if you use it you will never be able to speak again.
  4. A magical world exists underground. To get there, you’ll need to start digging.
  5. You wake up and find out that you’re the only living person left on the planet.
  6. On her deathbed, your grandmother tells you that there’s a hidden treasure buried in her backyard. The family has been trying to locate it for decades. It’s up to you to finally find it.
  7. The ocean becomes the sky.
  8. You must save your kingdom from ruin by learning how to breathe fire.
  9. You have the power to read the lost language, making you the only person to decipher the scroll.
  10. Fairies are tired of being used for free labor.
  11. Your favorite fairy tale is now set in 2019.
  12. You are kidnapped by a knight who demands your assistance in sleighing the city’s most dangerous dragon.
  13. A man and his wife own the largest potion store in town. Little do the townspeople know, but they’re all being slowly poisoned by the potions.
  14. A magical toad begins talking to you, but you’re the only person who can hear him.
  15. You come into possession of a ring that can change the weather to whatever you decide.
  16. You’re selected to take part in a secretive, underground magic university… but you have to kill someone to go.
  17. You wake up to find yourself a member of King Arthur’s Round Table.
  18. An underwater society decides to overtake the world.
  19. Regular person by day, a shape shifter by night.
  20. Satan puts you in charge of Hell.
  21. You are the king. After your daughter was kidnapped by a dragon, you offered the standard reward to whoever rescued her. You weren’t expecting a different dragon to rescue her. (@writing.prompt.s)
  22. A woman has been dating guy after guy, but it never seems to work out. She’s unaware that she’s actually been dating the same guy over and over; a shapeshifter who’s fallen for her and is certain he’s going to get it right this time.  (@writing.prompt.s)
  23. The cocky main character of a popular book is sent to the real world. He is shocked to find that the fans of his book not only like the villain more but favor his side kick over him. (@writing.prompt.s)
  24. You’re an immortal who lives at a beach resort. You have many summer flings with mortals on getaways. One day you see someone you had a hot romantic night with 50 years ago. They look exactly the same. (@writing.prompt.s)
  25. The stars have been watching you your whole life, as you laughed and cried, loved and suffered. Today, you’re finally going to do something that none of them can bear to watch. They blink out, the whole night sky turning dark, just as you’re about to do it. (@writing.prompt.s)
  26. A lord takes a fancy to a peasant girl and kidnaps her for his own. Little does he know that she’s a trained assassin who has been preparing to take his life for years. (@writing.prompt.s)
  27. You are the last person on Earth, and you are able to make one wish. What do you wish for?
  28. You and your family are on a hike when you stumble upon a group of witches in the forest, in the midst of casting spells.
  29. You have the power to transform into whatever mystical creature you choose.
  30. You find a polaroid camera that seems to predict the future: its pictures show what will happen exactly 5 minutes from the moment you take them. (Reedsy)

General Fiction Prompts

  1. You’re chasing your dream of being the first person to fly.
  2. Coffee is illegal and you have to single handedly smuggle it into the country.
  3. You have to get to the bottom of your family’s deepest secret.
  4. What was the strangest thing you’ve ever seen in public?
  5. Detail the life of the person who inspires you the most.
  6. Imagine what would happen if you woke up one morning unable to see, speak, or hear.
  7. Think about what you are most proud of. Follow the story of how you got to that point.
  8. By way of a lottery system, the king chooses you to be his queen.
  9. Use five points of view to describe one situation.
  10. Describe the life of a struggling author attempting to make it “big.”
  11. Tell the story of one woman on the mission to find her lost biological daughter.
  12. Your dream is to open a restaurant and be a top chef, but how can you do that when you were born without taste buds?
  13. You’ve just returned home from war only to find your family missing without a trace.
  14. A famous shoe designer asks you to quit your job and be his latest model.
  15. You have the power to create, and star in, your own reality show. What does it look like?
  16. The dark family secret that’s always been hidden comes to light.
  17. As an 80-year-old, you decide to finally learn how to swim so you can participate in a triathlon.
  18. Write a scene detailing your greatest fear. Now imagine that has come true for your character.
  19. What’s the greatest advice you’ve ever been given? What if you lived solely according to it?
  20. You live in a world with no stress and fear.
  21. Death has been flirting with you for a long time, but they’ve become a bit annoying. After another attempting to hang out with you again, you jokingly tell them, “If I was the last person on Earth, I’d maybe give you a chance.” Death believes you and will double their efforts.
  22. When people are born, they are assigned a soulmate. They have a song in their head that only them and their soulmate know. How do you find your soulmate? (@writing.prompt.s)
  23. Write a story about a character waking up to something absurd. (Reedsy)
  24. Write a story about a character waking up to the best news of their life. (Reedsy)
  25. Write a short story with an unreliable narrator that readers can never quite trust. (Reedsy)
  26. Write a short story in which the main “character” is the setting: for example, a house. (Reedsy)
  27. Write a story about someone who would be described, above all else, as honest. Or kind. Or intelligent. (Reedsy)
  28. Using only dialogue, write a short story about a first date, a reunion between old friends, an argument that gets heated, an adult explaining something to a child, or the reveal of a long-hidden secret. (Reedsy)
  29. Imagine telling the story of a professional hypnotizer. (Reedsy)
  30. Tell a story through text messages.

Travel/Adventure Prompts

  1. Write about your favorite vacation.
  2. What culture interests you the most?
  3. You get lost in a foreign city with no cell phone and no money. What do you do?
  4. Your favorite chef asks you to join them on a culinary tour of the world.
  5. What country have you always dreamt of traveling to?
  6. What’s your dream vacation?
  7. Tell the story of the worst traveling experience of your life.
  8. A country of your choosing fuses with North America.
  9. You and your best friends go on a road trip across America, with no budget and for however long you want.
  10. You are asked to review a luxury hotel on the beach.
  11. You are forced to leave your home and move to a remote foreign country. What do you pack with you?
  12. What about traveling excites you?
  13. Go back in time to the era of your choosing and describe how you live.
  14. Rate your top five favorite places in the world. What do you like about each place? What do you dislike?
  15. If you could have any travel-related job in the world, what would it be?
  16. You and your partner are kidnapped on your honeymoon.
  17. Describe a 100-day walking journey around your state.
  18. Imagine if you had never left your home in your entire life and then were forced to go outside and never come back to your house.
  19. What do you say to your family in a postcard from a new location?
  20. Describe what it’s like to sit in rush hour traffic in one of the busiest cities in the world.
  21. A journey to a new location is disrupted by natural disaster.
  22. Describe what it’s like to travel with a crippling fear of airplanes.
  23. What is it that you love about traveling? Explore that feeling.
  24. What is frightening about traveling? Explore that feeling.
  25. What stories would you most like to share about the town that you’re from?
  26. You have the opportunity to move anywhere in the world. Where do you choose?
  27. Explore what your travels in Asia have been like.
  28. Explore what your travels in Europe have been like.
  29. Explore what your travels in South America have been like.
  30. Explore what your travels in North America have been like.

Horror Prompts

  1. You wake up to a world in which all prisons are shut down, releasing dangerous prisoners into your neighborhood.
  2. A masked stranger appears at your front door with a knife.
  3. A random number texts you saying, “Don’t forget, you’re next.”
  4. Someone knocks at your door. You open it to find your deceased grandfather who has come back from the dead to pay you a visit. What does he want?
  5. Animals take over the world.
  6. Strange murmuring sounds being to come from the door that leads to your basement.
  7. While watching the evening news, the anchor looks directly at the camera and begins screaming before the camera cuts to black.
  8. A polar vortex freezes the entire planet.
  9. Whatever building you enter, you can see all of the people who died there.
  10. You wake up in a strange room, tied to a chair, with a single knife on the floor pointed at you.
  11. A chilling voice appears in your head. It won’t go away. One day, it tells you that you have to run.
  12. The old cuckoo clock at your grandmother’s home is haunted.
  13. You’re driving at night when you can’t help but shake the feeling that there’s a person in your back seat.
  14. One day, while you’re in the shower, you hear your front door open and close. “Hey, roomie, I’m home!” Someone shouts. You don’t have a roommate.
  15. A strange man living down the street begins leaving presents at your doorstep.
  16. The cruise ship is haunted.
  17. While working at a clothing store, you’re closing up the shop for the night when you see five men walk in through the front door and lock it behind them.
  18. You’re in the middle of a bank robbery – hiding in the bathroom.
  19. Your dog won’t stop barking at a sunken spot in your living room floor.
  20. For the last few days, you’ve been getting ominous messages written in blood on your bathroom mirror. Turns out, they’re from an awkward ghost with a serious crush on you. (@writing.prompt.s)
  21. The reason no one has ever seen the real Santa Claus is because everyone who sees him dies. You just saw him and now you need to survive. (@writing.prompt.s)
  22. You wake up bound to an electric chair, moments before your imminent death.
  23. A woman afraid of clowns is forced to work in a travelling circus. (Screencraft)
  24. A treasure hunter finds a tomb buried beneath the dirt. (Screencraft)
  25. A bartender serves last call to the only remaining patron who is the Devil himself. (Screencraft)
  26. A boy’s stepfather is actually a murderous werewolf. (Screencraft)
  27. A man wakes up with no mouth. (Screencraft)
  28. Deceased soldiers return to their Civil War-era homes. (Screencraft)
  29. Suburbia is actually purgatory. (Screencraft)
  30. A man suffers from sleep paralysis at the worst possible time. (Screencraft)

Children’s Prompts

  1. Your dog begins speaking in a human voice one morning.
  2. The sky turns purple.
  3. Your best friend’s head turns into a mushroom.
  4. Dinosaurs come back to earth.
  5. You and your family rescue a turtle who was hit by a car and nurse him back to health.
  6. You turn into a goldfish.
  7. What would happen if you could turn any food into cotton candy?
  8. Rain turns into soda.
  9. Your family adopts a pet monkey.
  10. The new kid at school wants to be your friend, but you’re very shy.
  11. You and your boy scout troop get lost in the middle of the forest.
  12. Your parents tell you they’ll give you $20 if you eat your vegetables with every dinner. Do you do it?
  13. Write about a special memory from your childhood.
  14. What parent were you closest do? What are some of your favorite memories of spending time with them?
  15. Write about yourself at age five.
  16. Write about yourself at age ten.
  17. What was your greatest dream when you were a child?
  18. Write about your favorite childhood pet.
  19. Get inspiration for your writing by thinking about a vacation you took as a child.
  20. What would happen if you woke up one day and kids ruled the world?
  21. Tell the story of a child who has just transferred to a new school.
  22. Tell the story of a platypus.
  23. Imagine running away with a group of your childhood best friends – where would you go?
  24. Dream up your own imaginary world.
  25. Children’s books are known for their fun and creativity. What’s the craziest, kookiest new breed of animal you can imagine?
  26. Give advice to new parents.
  27. Give advice to your younger self.
  28. Imagine what it would be like to live in a world where instead of taking the school bus, you ride a dragon to classes!
  29. Write about your favorite childhood game.
  30. Tell the story of a family who decides to hire a new babysitter or nanny.

YA Prompts

  1. It’s your first day of middle school. But when you’re half human, half dragon, that makes things a little tough.
  2. What happens when you begin working at the same yogurt shop as your crush?
  3. Both of your parents die in a car accident, leaving you an orphan who gets shipped off to your mysterious aunt’s house in Europe.
  4. One day you find out that you never have to return to high school. What do you decide to do instead?
  5. You’re chosen to go on a school trip to Africa where you’ll be helping to build wells. You’ve never been out of the country, though, and are worried.
  6. Your mom disappears one day, and you never see her again.
  7. Tell the story of the best high school summer of your life.
  8. Your boyfriend gets in a horrible car accident and ends up in the ICU. Another girl is found in the car with him, too – but she died. Who is she?
  9. You find out that your brother is adopted.
  10. During her freshman year of college, she found out that people in her dorm started to disappear. Almost from thin air.
  11. A group of high school freshmen learn that the teachers and administrators at their boarding school are actually human like AI working towards the Singularity and human enslavement. If they don’t act fast, the robots win.
  12. A group of at-risk teenagers are on an overnight camping trip with a wilderness counseling group in Badlands National Park when an arctic blast forces them out of a blizzard and into a cave. On day three, their counselors go out in search for help – and never return.
  13. Your high school sweetheart dumps you suddenly because of something you posted on social media. But you didn’t post it, and you have to figure out just how different – and difficult – your life is now that you’ve been hacked.
  14. Imagine that the world is run amok with vampires. Or zombies. Or authoritarian dictatorships in a dystopian future.
  15. In the near future, climate change has led to the extinction of butterfly and bee pollinators. A small group of teen geniuses band together to develop autonomous, robotic insects to replicate the functions of insect pollination before the global food shortage turns from disastrous to extinction-level.
  16. You find out that your best friend’s dad is responsible for the growing number of missing people in your hometown. How do you get everyone to believe you?
  17. You did it – after years of hard work and try outs, you finally won the coveted spot on the football team. But here’s the thing – you’re the first girl to ever play.
  18. One night you wake up to find yourself levitating over your bed. The next morning, strange wings start to grow from your shoulders. Are you turning into some sort of mystical bird?
  19. It was pretty freaky to wake up for school one morning, only to see that my parents were literally frozen into blocks of ice in the kitchen. Even freakier? Every adult in town is frozen solid, too.
  20. A boy pursues his list of wildly ambitious New Year’s resolutions, with hilarious and touching results. (Bryn Donovan)
  21. A girl on the swim team transforms into a part-time mermaid. (Bryn Donovan)
  22. A group of “outsiders” become a clique that eventually excludes others. (Bryn Donovan)
  23. A girl’s favorite author plagiarizes her fanfiction. (Bryn Donovan)
  24. A boy learns who believed his sister died finds out she’s very much alive. (Bryn Donovan)
  25. A teenager’s best friend goes missing—and is widely believed to be the murderer of a family member. (Bryn Donovan)
  26. Two teens begin to write a fantasy novel together and then cross over into the world they’ve created. (Bryn Donovan)
  27. In a dystopian future, college admissions boards have access to video footage of students’ entire lives. (Bryn Donovan)
  28. A girl always hangs out at a particular little nook at the library. Then the same boy starts taking the space every day. (Bryn Donovan)
  29. A boy learns something terrible about his parents.(Bryn Donovan)
  30. In a modern-day Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, three girls ditch class for a day filled with adventures. (Bryn Donovan)