252 Writing Prompts (Best Writing Prompts For All Writers)
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252 Of The Best Writing Prompts For All Writers

What separates the casual 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, writing prompts can get you past the brain block into full writing mode.

The following lists are creative writing prompts for adults, and while there’s nothing NSFW ahead, the writing ideas are best suited to books written for mature readers.

You’ll find prompts for nonfiction, fiction, and short story writing.

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 prompt writing, move on to your book writing, or use the prompt writing as part of a book you might decide to write.

Here are 252 Writing Prompts to Inspire Your Book Ideas

Nonfiction Writing Prompts

Try one of these 108 nonfiction writing prompts to add to your daily writing:

1. You’ve developed a new creative side-hustle, and you have enough business to bring in at least a few hundred (or even thousand) a month.

2. You know how to prepare for a specific kind of disaster, and you want to make others aware not only of the imminent danger of that disaster but how best to prepare for it.

3. The Missing Ingredient: What is one thing most people forget or overlook when making or doing something?

4. This is something most people don’t know about ______.

5. You could be more (or less) ______.

6. You need more _____ in your life.

7. Discontent is not (always) a lack of gratitude. Here’s why.

8. The right music can change everything for you. Here’s how.

9. Swap this for that and see how it changes your life!

10. Be your own devil’s advocate? Why would you want to do that?

11. What on earth does logic have to do with creative writing (or creative anything)?

12. Are your morning/nighttime habits keeping you poor? Or did they for a while?

13. How do you go on after your best friend dies (or leaves you)?

14. What one thing could you add to your workspace to make you happier and more productive?

woman typing outdoor patio writing prompts

15. What one thing in your life would you love to change? And what can you do to change it — and help others do the same?

16. Your doc says, “No more alcohol for you!” So, you look for ways to relax without it.

17. You used to take everything personally — thinking everyone was comparing you to someone else.

18. Why do bad things pile up the way they do? And what can you do about it?

Related: 10 Simple Steps To Writing A Book

19. Why would anyone want to live in <city/state/country>

20. Yeah, your desk is cluttered — and you’re okay with that.

21. Your oldest kid is driving you nuts, and you have to admit your role in that.

22. Your pets have all but destroyed an entire room in your home.

23. So, you want to do something dangerous (skydiving, parasailing, bungee jumping, learning parkour, etc.).

24. You’ve always wanted to travel to ______. How can you afford it, and what do you need to know?

25. Investing is a scary business. How do you even begin?

26. You’re moving, but you can’t find a buyer for your house. Why not rent it out instead — and how do you do that?

27. You have no Christmas budget, but you want to make this Christmas one your kids will remember fondly.

28. You learned something from writing your last book that has changed the way you write them.

29. Everything started to fall into place once you finally narrowed your focus to the kind of writing you really want to do.

30. When you changed this little thing in your diet, you started dropping weight faster than ever before.

31. Something you didn’t know about your body has been working behind the scenes, turning your own efforts against you.

32. Caffeine has always been one of your besties, but now your doc says you have to cut back — or even cut it completely from your diet!

33. Your path from the 9-to-5 job to full-time self-employment hasn’t been like the ones described by the experts whose books you’ve read, but you know you’re not alone.

34. Serendipity is nice and all, but something else is responsible for your success, and you want others to know what that is — and how they can make it work for them.

35. When was the last time you actually kept a New Year’s resolution? How did you keep it, and what difference did it make?

36. How big is your daily to-do list? And what kind of daily planning works for you?

37. What changes have you made to your monthly spending that have made a huge difference for you?

38. Desperation (i.e. lack of money and/or time) made you do it. You learned how to do something yourself, you did it well, and people are saying good things.

39. One of your kids has said, “I don’t read. I have ADHD.” You have ADHD, too, though, and you read plenty. You become determined to find out if something else is going on.

40. Adding this spice to every day’s menu has made a big difference in your health — as well as your enjoyment of cooking.

41. Only when you discovered and addressed a deficiency in a certain nutrient did you begin to feel more energetic, alive, and creative than you remember ever feeling before.

42. Your doctor suggests a new therapy for your condition but warns you that it could damage one of your other organs.

43. No one told you how hard it would be to withdraw from SSRIs (or how long it could take), but through trial and error, you found a way.

44. Everyone around you is telling you to quit taking your SSRI, but you know that — somehow — it has actually helped you.

man sitting on sofa with computer writing prompts

45. Your kids have special needs, and you’re fed up with people making assumptions about their intelligence or their parenting when they act up in public.

46. You find an approach to homeschooling (or partial homeschooling) that restores your kids’ curiosity and love of learning and creating.

47. Your oldest wants to drop out of school, because so-and-so did it, and “Look how successful he is!”

48. Your marriage was deteriorating until you made this one, small change.

49. For years, all you had to do was look at a donut, and you’d gain weight. Then you changed one thing

50. You made a goal: “In the next 100 days, I will ______.”A hundred days later, you’ve exceeded your goal.

51. The first day of that “staycation” you wanted has arrived.

52. You went on a mission to where?

53. You’ve increased your own self-confidence and helped others to boost theirs, too.

54. Ditching both Netflix and your gym membership has changed your life for the better….

55. Changing your beliefs about something has caused some tension at home but has also made it possible for you to earn and accomplish more than you used to think was possible.

56. Childhood memories and the emotions attached to them have held you back for years, but not anymore.

57. Your high school education led you to college, which led you to a job you hated but felt stuck with for years.

58. What app or online tool has changed the way you do business?

Related: 17 Things to Write About For Your Next Nonfiction Book

59. Families can take a heavy toll on a house. What repair work have you had done to restore your home and what have you learned to do yourself?

60. Your second grader hates school and thinks reading is boring.

61. One of your kids is a writer and wants to take a page out of her main character’s book and dye her hair purple.

62. One of your kids has come out to you as gay, bisexual, or asexual.

63. One of your teenage kids has chosen a different religion and no longer wants to go to church with his family.

64. A brush with death has changed your priorities, and you’ve made some drastic changes.

65. You’ve hit your forties and found a list you made 10 years ago of the things you wanted to accomplish during your 30’s.

66. You’ve had an epiphany in the shower, and after exploring it with a journal entry, you’re thinking, “This could be a book!”

67. You’re looking at a goal and thinking, “What kind of person do I have to be to accomplish this goal in the time I’ve set for it?”

68. What does it mean to be neurotypical as opposed to neurodiverse?

woman typing writing prompts

69. How has marriage changed your perception of married life?

70. You learn that one of your kids is autistic, and you and your spouse have very different reactions to the news.

71. You and your spouse have opposing beliefs with regard to gender differences and sexual orientation, and it’s becoming a problem.

72. You’ve just learned to fix something in your own house and have saved yourself thousands of dollars.

73. You can’t shake something from your past, but you’re not sure if you even remember it correctly anymore.

74. Your spouse doesn’t seem to really care about what you have to say, and it really bothers you.

75. Your significant other has started writing erotica and is making a nice, steady income with it, but you’re conflicted.

76. You’ve been writing books for years, and then your SO writes a book and sells more copies of his/her first novel than you’ve ever sold.

77. You’ve found the perfect quick remedy for canker sores, and it uses cheap and easy-to-find ingredients.

78. You’ve never really been a hat person until you saw a hat you liked on someone else.

79. You and your SO can’t agree on wall colors for your new home.

80. It all started when someone told you that you needed a professional photo taken.

81. Everyone should take a road trip, because…

82. Of all the superpowers, this would your #1.

83. You found the perfect secluded vacation spot/s with great food, and they’re not crazy expensive.

84. You’ve always had a knack for losing weight — right up until your mid-forties.

85. You have a gift for dismantling and countering other people’s arguments.

86. One of your kids has gotten her first job, and you want to help her budget her earnings without being too controlling.

87. One of your kids has just announced an engagement to a person you don’t particularly like or trust.

88. Your friend has challenged you to spend a week unplugged — no internet, no cable, and no phone.

89. Your in-laws have come over to help with house projects, and since your spouse didn’t tell you they were coming, the place is a disaster.

90. You really do want to lose that weight — really — but your daily wine habit is hard to kick.

91. Oh, the joys of pet ownership! Your new fur-baby has moved right in and claimed the house as his own — with multiple visual tokens of acceptance.

92. Your spouse wants to be intimate, but you’d rather avoid it.

93. Your friend wants to start a business with you. You spend hours talking about this and addressing the main obstacles, and finally, you go for it.

94. You’re so good at writing academic papers that your college classmates start offering to pay you to write their essays and reports for them.

95. Your in-laws vilify you as a traitor because of the way you voted, and their petty attacks even extend to your children.

96. Every time you go to a potluck, people come up to you and beg you for your recipe. You’ve decided to create your own potluck recipe book — with a unique twist.

97. You’ve attended a fascinating seminar about being “limitless,” and while you’re still a bit skeptical, you really want to believe in the speaker’s message. You go all in, and things start changing for you.

98. You’re fed up with your health-obsessed teenage son constantly telling you you’re out of the foods he likes, and when you ask him to try something else, he angrily reminds you that it’s not his fault he can’t tolerate those foods.

99. Your kid wants to eat nothing but croutons and potato chips, and you can’t get him to try anything else (ironically he’s the same child who later grows into the health-obsessed teenager in the previous prompt).

100. You’re out driving and your car has a flat. You call your spouse who basically throws up his hands, sighs dramatically, and tells you to call AAA. You get a tow, and your spouse (who is at home) suggests you learn how to change a tire.

101. After twenty-three years of adhering to your religious beliefs, you have more questions than ever, and no one can answer them in a satisfying way.

102. Your best friend, who never went to college, is earning much more than you are and is loving life more. You meet him for lunch and ask how he’s gotten to where is, and what do you have to do to get there.

103. The staff at your kid’s school have called to tell you they’re having trouble with your daughter again because she just doesn’t seem to respect the authority of her teachers or other school staff.

104. You and your spouse go to an IEP meeting for your son, who has been miserable at school and who is tired of being micromanaged by the staff.

105. You’re at a pre-wedding retreat at your church, and when the leaders announce a break, your fiance heads out the large glass front door and lets it close in your face.

106. Once again, you’ve played the peacemaker at home, and relative tranquility is restored, but your relationships with your spouse and with your kids has suffered, and you’re not sure which has done the most damage: the open arguments or the forced calm.

107. Throwing fancy brunches and dinner parties is one of your favorite things, and people come to you for ideas on how to make theirs better. You’ve decided to write a book on hosting unforgettable brunches and dinner parties.

108. You’ve never forgotten how you loved the food when you lived in;, and you’ve collected a variety of recipes, along with the history behind them.

Fiction Writing Prompts

Try one of these 76 fiction writing prompts to improve your creative writing:

109. 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.

110. 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.

111. 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..

112. 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….

113. 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?”

114. 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.

115. 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.

116. 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.

117. 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.

118. 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.

119. 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.

120. 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.

121. 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.

122. Write a story from the point of view of the villain, but don’t reveal the narrator as the villain until the end.

Related: 15 Tips To Help You Write Better And Attract More Readers

123. 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.

124. 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.

125. 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.

126. 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.

127. 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.

128. 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…

129. 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.

130. 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.

131. 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.

132. You start taking a new dietary supplement you learned about from a late-night commercial, and it does everything it promised — and more.

133. 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.

134. 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.

135. A strange plant appears in your window planter, and when its solitary bloom opens, impossible things start happening.

136. You wake up a different gender but with similar facial features.

138. 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.

139. 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.

140. 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.

141. 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.

142. 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.

143. 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.

144. 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.

145. 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

146. 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.

147. 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.

148. 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.

149. 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.

150. 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.

151. 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.

152. 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.

153. 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?”

154. 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.

155. 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.

156. 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 an unshakable confidence that her sister will make a full recovery.

157. 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.

158. 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.

159. 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.

160. 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.

161. 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.

162. 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.

163. 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.

164. 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.

165. 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.

166. 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?

167. 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.

168. 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.

169. 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?”

170. 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..

171. 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.

172. 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.

173. 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.

174. 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.

175. 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.

176. 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.

177. 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.

178. 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.

179. 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.

180. 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.

181. 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.

182. 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.

183. 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.

184. 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.

Short Story Writing Prompts

Try one of these 68 short story writing prompts to improve your creative writing:

185. You get a new job, and your new boss approaches you on the first day with an invitation to the “After Hours Club.” He tells you it’s no big deal if you decline, but you get a strong impression that it would be.

186. One day, on the way home from work, your new car takes over and drives you to a remote area, stopping beside other cars in a clearing underneath a new moon. You wake up underneath a full moon and drive yourself home. But much has changed in your absence — and so have you.

187. You bake pies for a local bakery, and when a celebrity comes to town and tastes your locally famous turtle pie, he invites you to go on tour with him — to a movie set somewhere in Europe — to be his personal pie maker. You say yes.

188. You buy a single rose from a street vendor, and it lasts a week, then two weeks, then three, and then a full month. Only then does someone point out to you that previously healthy people in the neighborhood have been falling ill and dying at an abnormal rate.

189. It’s time for your 10-year-old daughter to make her First Confession, but when her turn comes to go into the confessional, she panics and won’t be persuaded to go in.

190. You’re stranded in a small village down a winding road from Burgos (Spain) on a Sunday. A stranger comes by on a motorcycle and goes to fetch a taxi for you. You’re waiting at the bus station when he tells you he knows you’re meant to replace his recently deceased wife.

191. The bartender brings you your first Irish coffee in what looks like a candy dish. Halfway through, you notice the whole cafe seems to be floating, and since you can’t put the rest into a to-go cup (alas), you pay your tab and head out. You think you’re doing fine until your key doesn’t work in the front door of your apartment building. Someone else kindly lets you in, and you recognize him as the bartender from that cafe.

192. You’re exploring an old Spanish town, and you realize someone is following you. You turn and find an old woman who asks if you’ll help her find her hotel. You help her, and she invites you in, telling you she has a son who shares your interest in all things Tolkien. You’re not in a hurry to get back to your hotel room, so you go up with her.

193. Your fingers don’t respond to you the way they used to, and you’ve been having other difficulties. You go see your doctor, and they run some tests to check for neurological diseases but don’t find anything. They think it’s probably stress-related. Your life has been stressful lately, and it doesn’t help that your new roommate has been acting strangely toward you.

194. You wake up with your heart racing, but you don’t remember why. You almost never remember your dreams but often wake up covered in sweat with your heart pounding. You’re tired of having to shower every morning and feeling sick for the rest of the day, so you decide to undergo hypnosis, hoping to find out what’s going on.

195. Your neighbors have been up to some strange shenanigans lately, and their lights are on well into the wee hours of the morning. You’d like to know why, but every neighbor you’ve talked to who have gone over there to ask about it has, later on, told you that nothing suspicious is going on and that those neighbors are “very spiritual, and so, so nice!”

196. The street lamps that light up your cul de sac have gone dark, and you’re outside waiting for your spouse to get home when something large and dark brushes past you, almost knocking you off balance. Then a man appears and asks, “Have you seen my cat?”

197. Someone has broken into your house while you were away and has taken all the religious articles out of it — every statue, every picture, and every holy water bottle. The thief left everything else alone.

198. You move into an apartment that used to be a hoarder’s paradise, and your manager gives you permission to paint the walls a different color and add some new flooring. You get to work removing the kitchen’s linoleum floor and find something you never expected.

199. You joined a wine delivery service, and the delivery person is every bit as charming as the labels on the posh wine he brings to you each week. When you lose your job and cancel the service, the wine keeps coming.

200. You buy a pound of gourmet coffee beans at a local food festival, and as you’re sipping the first cup from the first pot you’ve brewed, you have a vision, which feels as real as though it were actually happening to you. When the vision ends, you’re still in your kitchen, holding your cup. You take another sip.

201. You’re about ready to gather up all the ceramic village pieces that have been cluttering up your living room and toss them in the trash bin, but your spouse, who knows you hate them, insists you should try selling them on eBay, instead. That’s when the fight starts.

202. You buy a new pair of Bluetooth earbuds that are supposed to enhance your listening experience. You plug them in and use them while watching a movie, and suddenly, you’re there on the scene, about to get flattened (or eaten) by a dinosaur.

203. You need a new toilet, and someone shows up at the door (as though sent by heaven) to sell you a toilet that will flush down ANYTHING. Oddly enough, it doesn’t even need to be hooked up to your septic system. “All you have to do is remove and empty the dust tray at the base every evening, reinsert it for the next day’s flushes, and voila!”

204. You buy a new keyboard, and after typing a few sentences of a new story, it starts typing on its own, and you watch in surprise as it types out a new short story. You submit it to a contest you’ve never won and win first prize. You start thinking you’ll never have trouble paying the rent again! Then you accidentally spill wine on the keyboard, and even stranger things start happening.

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205. Your famous stew recipe has won an award. You go to collect it (a cash prize), and meet the next runner-up, who believes she should have won the first prize instead with her three bean salad. She warns you not to spend the money, because she will prove you won unfairly. You go home and find a bowl of three bean salad and a note.

206. You suggest at the breakfast table one morning that you might actually have too many books, and your SO seizes upon this and offers to help you thin out your collection. After breaking up with him, you cull a few volumes for donation and run into the author of one of them.

207. Your first issue of Real Simple magazine has finally arrived, but something has come with it — something you can’t see but that makes your life anything but simpler.

208. A girl scout comes to the door selling cookies, and you tell her you already bought some from her at the table outside your grocery store, and you’ve spent enough for the year. Suddenly, all the food in your house (including the canned food) becomes moldy or rotten. And every bit of food that passes your threshold becomes inedible.

209. You buy a new whiteboard to help you keep track of your writing assignments, but you wake up one morning, and new items have somehow been added to your list. And the new titles have a sinister edge to them. You live alone.

210. You buy a new poster that looks exactly like the TARDIS door, and you put it up on your bedroom wall. One night, right at midnight (you’re up working at your computer), the door opens and you walk through it.

211. You buy a CD with music that’s supposed to help you write more creatively and also lose weight more easily. You start playing it during your writing time, and sure enough, the words flow without effort, and you love what you’ve written. You also start losing ten pounds a week, and soon you can’t afford to lose another ten, but you’ve come to depend on that music CD.

212. You’re a carpenter who has joined a construction team to build a new development of 3,000+ square foot houses. All is going well until someone on the team discovers something buried in the lot for the third house. The foreman removes it and tells everyone to get back to work, but you have a bad feeling. And you’re right to have it.

213. Your boss announces they’re having a potluck and you’re all expected to show up and bring something. He also tells you it has to be homemade. You tell him you can’t cook, but he tells you, “Well, learn, then!” Strangely enough, you do, and you create an entree that has everyone’s mouth watering when you open the lid at the potluck. But your boss is conspicuously absent.

214. You wake up in the middle of the night and rush to the bathroom, where you empty your stomach of everything you ate that day. Something else comes out, and it’s moving.

215. You stop at a coffee shop while making stops to apply for a new job, and the barista tells you the new bed and breakfast is looking for someone to handle their advertising. You apply, are accepted, and agree to start immediately. But the owner, who openly admires your bicycle, offers you a room at the B&B, so you’ll be more accessible.

216. You have way too much time on your hands since your latest project has earned you enough to more than double your previous year’s salary, and you’re taking a sabbatical. You see an ad for an opportunity to spend a month at a castle in Wales, with full room and board and a bicycle for exploring the countryside. You call the agent and book a flight.

217. One night, as you’re coming back from the bathroom, you see a bright light and follow it to see that your front window is wide open and bugs are swarming in and out. You rush to close it but then you see the view from it — which is not your usual view of the front yard. You see something you want to investigate.

218. Sometimes, people stare when you pull out an index card and start scribbling furiously onto it, but you don’t care. Then someone accuses you of writing something about him and, pulling out a gun, demands you hand the card over to him.

219. You’re starting a new job, and one of your co-workers tells you it’s up to the new guy to keep the coffee pot full for his first week. While you’re brewing the latest refill, muttering to yourself about how little you’re getting done that day, one of your co-workers starts choking and accuses you of trying to poison her.

220. Your home-brewed ale is the talk of the neighborhood, but your next-door neighbor frequently buys up your newest batch. You start imposing limits. He then starts telling other neighbors that your secret is adding pee from your pet guinea pigs, “But it’s cool, because urine is sterile. And that guinea pig pee really adds something!”

221. You inherit a lighthouse from your deceased uncle — along with the small living quarters attached to it. You move right in, looking forward to the solitude. But whenever you’re up at the top scanning the surface of the ocean, you see things that can’t possibly be there. And one of them sees you — and comes to visit.

222. You stop at the local nursery and pick up a new houseplant — a tiny, adorable succulent. The cashier looks nervous as she rings you up. “That plant isn’t normal. If you want to pick another one, I would totally understand.” She’s nodding with wide eyes as she says this, clearly hoping you’ll agree.

223. You live in a studio apartment. Your boss comes to bring you soup when you call in sick and sees the quilt on your bed, which you won at a raffle. “That’s the quilt my mom made!” she says. “She told me someone stole it.”

224. You take your kids trick-or-treating, and you go to your boss’s neighborhood (your boss suggested it). Most houses gave out full-sized candy bars, but one gave out treasure maps, and your kids want to find their treasures before you leave the neighborhood.

225. Someone offers you a chance to win a million dollars just by visiting his website and typing in your address. “I don’t need your checking account info. It’s not safe to give that to just anyone. I’ll just mail the check to you,”he writes.

226. You wonder what it would be like to be a famous actor, and someone, out of the blue, invites you to perform in his movie as an extra — “and, who knows, maybe something more… prominent.”

227. You get a call from the principal’s office that your daughter has been involved in a bullying incident. Someone was bullying her, and she punched him. There were witnesses, and the principal reminds you of their zero-tolerance policy for physical violence…

228. You get a call from the principal’s office that your son has been acting out toward his classmates (who, according to what he’s told you, have been behaving aggressively toward him) and had brought a weapon to school to protect himself. They’ve confiscated the weapon (a paring knife) and have called the police.

229. Your kid has an IEP, and the Special Ed staff at the school always sound so caring and professional at the meetings you attend with them. But your son tells you they behave very differently toward him. The principal assures you that she knows the staff would never do what your son has accused them of doing. She suggests your son may be lying.

230. Your young daughter notices that one of your trees is “sick,” and she goes to visit the tree, talks to it, leans against it, and tells it to please get better. It responds by growing stronger and larger, spreading its branches out and downward to create a sort of cave for your daughter to rest in when she wants to be alone. It becomes her haven.

231. You wake up one morning and start loading your excess possessions into boxes and bags and hauling it off to Goodwill to donate it. That’s when you find the tiny cameras hidden in the bathroom, and bugs hidden in every room.

232. Your favorite coffee mug has broken, and you’re in mourning. The mug you just bought as your “second” just doesn’t feel the same in your hand, but it surprises you by magically refilling your drink with every sip — and keeping it hot for you.

233. The moth on your ceiling doesn’t bother you — much. But every time you look, it’s there. And you wonder why it never leaves. When you finally get a step ladder to get a closer look at it, you can hardly believe what you’re seeing.

234. Your neighbors on the home office side of your house have never been friendly, but one day, the wife comes over with a pie and tells you she made it herself and that she’s tired of being cooped up in the house with no one but her husband to talk to. You look over and see the outline of her husband in an upstairs window.

235. Tired of getting hair in your face, you take an electric hair-trimmer and run it all over your head with the one-inch attachment. You look at the results with satisfaction.

236. Your spouse, who has never done or said a romantic thing since your honeymoon, suddenly comes home with an expensive bouquet and a travel brochure for a place you’ve always wanted to visit. Later on, someone delivers the car you’ve always wanted, and your husband unconvincingly feigns surprise. You ask him if he won the lottery, but he shakes his head and says, “This is way better. You’ll see.”

237. You’re out in your backyard and stumble over something, which turns out to be a small brick half-buried in the grass.You see initials etched into the brick, along with a crudely-shaped heart. You wonder what — or whom — might be buried beneath. Soon, you find other markers like it, and you wonder how you failed to notice them before.

238. Your neighbor invites you over to her house, and you see that every wall has a cross painted on it with crude, hurried strokes. You ask why, and she nervously clears her throat and says, “This place needs them.”

239. You watch an infomercial and order a new face cream, hoping it will restore a youthful look to your face. It does more than that.

240. Your teenage son gets a job and, on his first day, he encounters a rude customer. Unaccustomed to responding with calmness and diplomacy, he lashes out at the customer and gets himself fired. Instead of calling home for a ride, though, he takes a walk through town and runs into the same customer holding up a cardboard sign.

241. You put your headphones on when you start on your writing project, and, at some point, an unfamiliar voice interrupts your playlist to tell you he likes what you’ve written so far. And he thinks you’d get along great.

242. Your spouse starts trying different paint samples on walls all over the house, and you don’t like any of the colors; they’re either too bright or too dark. One day, you paint patches of a pale green-gray that you like next to his acid-bright or dark color patches, and he tells you it’s boring, and that he’s painting the house his way.

243. Someone keeps writing fortune-cookie phrases on your new whiteboard at work, and it’s irritating you. You ask around, and no one knows who keeps writing the messages. Then, one of the predictions comes true.

244. You look out the window while you’re working and you see one neighbor attacking his spouse, knocking her down and then kicking her. You call 9-1-1, but later on, the wife comes over and says, “I know it was you who called. And you’ve made everything worse!”

245. Every time you look outside and see the wind in the trees, you take a deep breath and feel calmer. When the air is still, you feel as though the whole world is holding its breath and that something bad is about to happen. So, when it’s calm outside, you picture wind in the trees and take a deep breath.

246. You see movement in the corner of your eye and whenever you look, you see a huge, black dog in the neighbor’s yard, running back and forth. This time, though, he runs into your yard and starts barking at your front door.

247. Your eight-year-old son gets up and immediately goes for his Kindle Fire to play Minecraft. You’ve found some educational apps you want him to try, so you’ve installed them on his Kindle. He comes to you a few minutes later and says, “This app is telling me to do things I’m not supposed to do.”

248. You try a new recipe for a potluck, hoping it will wow your boss and coworkers, but it turns out terrible, and you end up rushing to a restaurant for something to bring before arriving (late) to find out everyone has already eaten the entree you were most looking forward to trying. When the cops show up later to ask why everyone is violently ill except you, you tell them everything you know.

249. You take your teenage son to his orientation for a new job, and when you come back to pick him up an hour later, you find out no one has seen him — though you saw him walk in the door before you drove off.

250. You’re living in a world where everyone is born with a birthmark that matches that of their soulmate. But you are born without one.

251. You and your best friend are in a terrible car accident, and you both die. Your friend, however, has a very different account of what he saw on the other side.

252. You’re born with the ability to mentally manipulate DNA. You started with plants and moved on to your pets, who now have unique abilities. For the past few years, you’ve been hacking your own DNA.

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