What separates the casual fiction writer from the professional one is the commitment to daily writing. But sometimes it’s more of a challenge to get the words flowing.
If nothing triggered you today, and if your mind is playing hopscotch with ideas, fiction writing prompts can get you past the brain block into full writing mode.
The following lists are fiction writing prompts for adults and realistic fiction writing prompts, and while there’s nothing NSFW ahead, the fiction writing ideas are best suited to books written for mature readers.
Here’s how to use these writing prompts:
- Choose a prompt that inspires you to write.
- Feel free to alter the writing idea to suit your creative writing needs.
- View the prompt as an idea to kickstart your writing.
- Begin writing and allow your ideas to flow and lead your writing wherever it might go.
- Write as little or as much as you wish to prime your imaginative juices.
- Don’t judge or critique what you’ve written — just enjoy the process.
- Once you’ve completed the novel prompt writing, move on to your book writing, or use the prompt writing as part of a book you might decide to write.
75 Fiction Writing Prompts and Realistic Fiction Writing Prompts
Choose the prompt that most inspires you, and start writing!
1. This superhero lives on the streets. While the people she saves are safe and warm, she wanders alone, exposed to the elements. She’s asexual, so she’s not looking for a mate, but she wouldn’t mind having someone to watch her back.
2. An unknown spacecraft has sent a rain of unknown elements into the atmosphere, and soon every flower that blooms releases a new, sentient being into the air. And they’re all connected — except for one, whose connection to the hive mind is severed somehow before the opening of his flower. All his fellow, winged warriors have a plan for the people of Earth; he’s the only one looking for a way to save them.
3. He promised me becoming a zombie wouldn’t change him. He had a solution that would preserve his personality and make it possible for him to protect those he loved..
4. A new modern apartment complex is now open, and you’re one of the first to apply for one of its one-bedroom luxury apartments. Less than a week after you move in, tenants start disappearing. Then someone leaves a gift basket at your door….
5. Someone leaves a package with a new, loaded smartphone and a cryptic note in your mailbox. That night, you get a call on that phone, and you answer it. A voice on the other end asks, “Ready to change your life?”
6. You get a chill from something while standing in a grocery store checkout line, and someone cries out and points a finger at you, backing away. “Did anyone else see that?” she asks in a panicky voice, grabbing her baby and heading out the door without her groceries.
7. You left the windows open last night to cool the house after a 90 degree summer day. You wake up to an icy chill and snow blowing in. You soon learn that a catastrophic event has brought on a new ice age. It just so happens you know something that could reverse the freeze before humans become extinct from exposure and starvation.
8. You love how you get when a creative idea takes hold of you, but your loved ones do not. In fact, one by one, they write you off, though you can’t remember why. Then, one evening, the unthinkable happens, and your latest creative idea takes on a life of its own.
9. Your friend just committed suicide, and soon after the funeral, the letters start coming, sent by someone who knew your friend and who (apparently) knows where you live. This someone blames you for your friend’s death, and she won’t stop until you pay for it.
10. Your best friend is suffering from a life-threatening allergic reaction, and there’s no epi pen. As his airways swell shut and his heart stops, there’s no one around to help, and you scream in desperation. That’s when you hear a sound in your own voice that you’ve never heard before. Seconds later, your friend gasps and scrambles to his feet, all signs of swelling gone.
11. Your fiance’s family has staged an intervention to bully you into changing your beliefs and teaching your children to embrace their way of life — and your fiance says nothing in your defense.
12. Your supermodel-thin friend barely survives a terrible car accident, but it changes her. The happy-go-lucky girl with the racecar metabolism and the hot boyfriend has morphed into a moody but more empathetic girl who quickly grows out of her wardrobe and becomes the target of cruel jokes.
13. A predatory classmate ends up dead in your backyard just hours after making unwanted advances to you in the school library. Part of him is missing.
14. Write a story from the point of view of the villain, but don’t reveal the narrator as the villain until the end.
15. On Valentine’s Day (which you never celebrate), you receive a surprise anonymous package with a box of licorice all-sorts. The slogan on the side of the box reads, “Everyone is somebody’s favorite.” The last person who called you his favorite died a year ago.
16. You go to sleep one night in an immaculate, luxury apartment and wake up in a small, dingy loft apartment that is full of stacks of newspapers and magazines, elaborately arranged to form the walls of a labyrinth.
17. You’re given the chance to go back in time to save the life of your best friend, but the price is a mission only you can carry out as the doppelganger of a mass murderer’s close confidant. Your mission is to make sure he takes a trip that will lead him into a trap.
18. You write a novel with a main character who has telepathic abilities. You start having dreams about this character, who wants you all to himself. His first token of affection is to punish your neighbor, who has openly criticized your book.
19. Your quirky, potty-mouthed Aunt Em has come to live with you, and the first thing she does is rearrange the kitchen and claim the role of chef and home renovator. You’re fine with it until she hires an assistant, who just happens to be the apartment manager’s recently fired son.
20. You inherit a house from an uncle but decide to rent it out rather than living in it. After interviewing several applicants, you agree to rent it to two brothers…
21. For as long as you can remember, every time you feel panicked, you’ve found yourself quietly singing “Jingle Bells.” You’re about to find out why, and it will change everything.
22. A homeless man is attacked in your neighborhood and sustains a serious head injury. You get him to the hospital, and they save his life, but upon his discharge from the hospital, he starts making money more quickly than you thought was even possible.
23. A stray animal shows up at your door — no tags or anything — and after feeding it, you decide to adopt it. That night, when a stranger comes to your door, you find out the animal is not what it appears to be.
24. You start taking a new dietary supplement you learned about from a late-night commercial, and it does everything it promised — and more.
25. You’re on your way home after work, and you see a strange light up ahead. You get closer, and you see what looks like a black hole about to swallow up your apartment complex. You look up to see your roommate on the balcony taking pictures of it.
26. You go to sleep alone and wake up very pregnant. After checking the calendar and vomiting a few times, you call in sick and schedule an appointment for an ultrasound. Then your boyfriend shows up.
27. A strange plant appears in your window planter, and when its solitary bloom opens, impossible things start happening.
28. You wake up a different gender but with similar facial features.
29. You visit your estranged father and learn some things about him that change the way you see yourself — and everyone else. Turns out, he keeps a low profile for a reason.
30. Your kid starts manifesting a strange, new ability (or no longer hiding it from you), and you know it’s just a matter of time before he attracts unwanted attention. And you’re afraid of what he can do to protect you both — and how it could change him.
31. You’ve always had freakishly good night vision, but with that comes an extreme sensitivity to light. You live like a mole, working overnight shifts and keeping the windows of your apartment covered in blackout curtains. You’ve even disabled the light switches. So, when a thief breaks in, you make him regret it. And it starts something.
32. Your eyes are brown with flecks of green that intensify when you get a sudden chill or come close to remembering something that changed you as a child. Someone notices the intense green in your eyes one day and calls you a freak. He looks familiar.
33. You discover an ability that puts you (more) at odds with your in-laws, and you learn of their plan to get your husband to divorce you and get full custody of your two children.
34. You sign up for a wine delivery service, and while the cases are always left at your door, things start changing in your house. Though you never drink to excess, you start losing chunks of time. And the wine is better than anything you’ve ever tasted.
35. You come home one day and find someone else living there who swears she’s lived there for years. When you look for proof that she’s lying, you find proof to the contrary.
36. You’re making your usual breakfast when you suddenly find you can’t stomach the thought of eating it. When you put a name to your new craving, it scares you. But it won’t go away.
Related: How to Outline A Nonfiction Book
37. You find a ring while walking in the park. The stones aren’t diamonds, and you at first suspect it’s a piece of junk jewelry from the previous night’s Halloween revels. But you like it enough to keep it. No one is more surprised than you when it saves your life.
38. An unknown relative shows up and tells you something you didn’t know about your mother’s family history — and the power that went with it.
39. You’ve started your NaNoWriMo project, and it’s off to a decent start. But when you open the file the next day, you see much more written for it, and the writing is terrible. Then you see that the story is still developing, and while the writing makes your head hurt, the story is drawing you in. Literally.
40. You go to your closet to get a change of clothes for the day before taking a shower, and you find a huge selection of designer clothes (tags still attached) that weren’t there before.
41. You sign up for a class at a local gym, and when you meet the instructor, she seems familiar — and not in a good way.
42. Your kid takes home a Chromebook from school, and one evening you see him staring at the screen, looking entranced. He takes a sudden interest in keeping his room immaculate and volunteering as a member of a new political candidate’s campaign staff.
43. You’ve just given birth to a surprisingly healthy baby two months before the due date, but your husband has inexplicably abandoned you both, and a generous stranger has learned of your situation and offered to help you out and fill the void.
44. Your mother shows up at your door asking for help. Something has taken residence at her home, and she doesn’t feel safe there anymore. You visit the house on your own, and find someone living there who asks, “Where did Mom go?”
45. You finally find a responsible roommate to share the cost of a new luxury apartment. The problem? He knows everything about you — and there’s no reason why he should.
46. You don’t remember the last time you slept for longer than an hour at a time, and you see things others don’t. The things you see that others don’t are causing accidents, and when you try to prevent one, you end up getting blamed for it.
47. Your 12-year-old daughter goes to use the bathroom at the hospital while you’re both visiting her older sister. When she comes back, she seems visibly unsettled, but that gives way to an eery calm and unshakable confidence that her sister will make a full recovery.
48. After experiencing your first nighttime paralysis, you start to see changes in your body. Soon, those changes will be impossible to hide, and a new acquaintance surprises you by making accurate guesses about what you’ve been going through.
49. When you’re about to kill a spider, your kid stops you, catches it, and runs outside to free it. You think maybe killing the non-native spider would have been kinder than putting it outside in the frost-covered grass, but your kid knows something you don’t.
50. It’s Halloween, and your neighbor dresses up as the president and tries to repair his reputation by volunteering at a homeless shelter. Unfortunately, the costume takes over, and he starts firing the other volunteers, one of whom decides to give their homeless guests a Halloween spectacle they won’t forget.
51. Your routine doctor appointment takes a sinister turn when your doc tells you he could put you higher on the waiting list for a liver transplant if you’d pay his ex a visit and help him set a trap for her.
52. Your new smartphone is so much faster than your old one — much faster than you expected from a discounted return. Then you start getting messages made up of symbols you don’t recognize. They resemble hieroglyphs.
53. You’re a high schooler, and today’s lunch is unexpectedly delicious — so delicious that you go back for the seconds. Someone in the kitchen is watching and writing in a notebook.
54. You’re constantly attracting unwanted attention, and you meet someone who knows why. It’s not just your looks that make you unignorable. You’re actually sending out a signal that those around you can’t help responding to. Your new acquaintance offers to train you, so you’ll make better use of your power.
55. You’re sick to death of the clutter in your house, and through a magazine ad, you meet someone who says he can give you the power to instantly transform any room to match a picture you can see in front of you or in your mind’s eye. The only price is one minute of memory from each day.
56. You win a two-week vacation in a real castle (somewhere overseas) with airfare, transportation, and meals, included — along with other surprises. One of them wants to make sure you never leave.
57. You move into a house that has a treehouse out back in one of the tallest, oldest trees. You don’t know until you explore it that the treehouse changes to better suit its occupant. The tree and its house have accepted you. But what does it expect of you?
58. You find an abandoned cabin that is perfect for use as a writer’s getaway, and after some preparations, you settle in for a two-week’ reprieve from city life. The animals aren’t as shy as you expect them to be, though, and they seem to know something about the cabin that you don’t.
59. Your car goes over the edge and down a steep hill. All you remember is the flash of light and the sound of glass breaking before you open your eyes. You check your kids, but none of them answer, and your phone, which had half a charge just minutes ago, is completely dead and unresponsive.
60. You’re shopping for a new computer, and you find one on eBay that the owner says was a gift that he used only briefly before he upgraded to a MacBook. You buy it and revel in its blinding speed and special features. It wakes you that night with a loud beep and prompts you with a single sentence on the screen, “Will you play with me?”
61. Chocolate and wine have gotten you through many a break-up, but this one is harder than most. You wonder why, and a gift from this SO stares you in the face, reminding you of how different your relationship was from those you’ve had with others..
62. Your neighbor has ordered furniture for you from IKEA, and you’re not sure how to deal with it. You love the couch, but you don’t have the budget for it, and you barely know your new neighbor, who seems to have unlimited funds but spends it unpredictably.
63. One of your aunts has died leaving you her pet ______, who helps you cut the toxic people out of your life by scaring them away. One of the few visitors this pet will tolerate is someone you’ve barely noticed but who intuitively knows about and anonymously meets the needs of others in the apartment building.
64. You go fishing in the lake behind your house, and when your hook catches on something, you pull it up. It turns out to be the body of a murder victim, and when the lake is further searched, other bodies are found. Twelve other houses surround the lake, and the police suspect you as much as any of the other residents.
65. You’re renovating your basement and remove a wall that was put in place by one of the previous owners. Behind it is a garbage bag full of cash, and when you examine it, you find it to be genuine.
66. Your spouse tells other Catholics that he knew you were the one when he found out your confirmation saint was the same saint he prayed to for a good Catholic wife. Meanwhile, you’re questioning beliefs you used to take for granted.
67. You wake up to the burglar alarm, and before you can see who has broken in, someone puts a pillowcase over your head and forces you up and out the door.
68. You get a job at your favorite coffee shop, and you meet some local authors, one of whom learns of your book and invites you to their group. They meet in what used to be the living room of a house rumored to be haunted.
69. You can barely make out how many fingers you’re holding up until an elderly neighbor with perfect eyesight shares a secret with you. But there’s a price to pay.
70. You go to sleep listening to static on your radio, which can’t pick up any AM stations. You find out one night, when your bladder wakes you up, that it’s picking up something other than static.
71. You bid on and win an old record player and record collection at an auction. You don’t expect the music to affect you as profoundly as it does and your family thinks you’re just trying to make up for the amount you spent on it. You’re not.
72. You get new glasses at the new eye clinic in town, and they allow you to see better than ever. In fact, when you want to, you can see minute detail from a great distance and microscopic detail up close. This is how you find out your sister’s mole is a malignant melanoma. You also avoid being poisoned by a spiteful coworker. Your fascination with frogs and your large collection of them has made close relationships a challenge.
73. You listen to an audio file designed to make you more creative, and you go into a trance and write a book that people the world over can’t get enough of. Then a visitor asks you if you listened to the entire recording. When you admit to having stopped the recording before it was finished, the visitor smiles in relief and tells you not to listen to the end and to delete the file.
74. When a favorite aunt dies, you inherit a bookstore with an apartment on the upper floor. You look at the finances and realize you have to let go of one of your three employees.
75. You check out a house you like and find moths in every room. The realtor tells you it shouldn’t be a problem to get rid of them but that the house is completely free of other pests — including spiders (which are a huge problem in the area). You buy the house.
Did you enjoy these realistic fiction writing prompts?
Keep this list handy whenever you need a writing prompt to unlock your creativity and kickstart your daily writing.
In fact, you may find ideas for several novels or stories that you can write down the road. Take one of these ideas and begin to flesh out an outline and characters for your story. Let your imagination take you on a journey that may lead to your bestselling book!