#creative writing prompts
Write a description of an ordinary thing that treats it as if it is strange. An example would be an alien viewing someone making coffee on earth.
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Write a paragraph using a food as the central metaphor. It could be stale bread for getting older, or peach ice cream for summer, etc. The possibilities are endless. But do not mention what the metaphor stands for. For example, if you use the stale bread metaphor, you should not mention “getting older” or “feeling old,” etc. Make the metaphor do that work for you!
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What’s your character most afraid of? Write a paragraph that puts him or her in close proximity to it. Bonus points if you use a proxy. For example, if the fear is the ocean, you could have your character come into contact with a swimming pool. Using something indirect like a proxy adds complexity to the situation.
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Your character sees today’s rain as washing away something from his or her past. What is it and how does it feel when it’s gone?
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… fiction writers assume that readers will feel what their characters do. They don’t. Readers instead react: weighing, judging, comparing and creating, moment by moment, their own emotional journey.
–Donald Maass, The Emotional Craft of Fiction
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Take a piece of your writing and check the sentence structure. Do you start all your sentences the same way–either with a dependent clause (Looking over her shoulder, she …) or with a straight subject-verb (John walked. John saw. etc)? Try alternating the two structures, along with varying the length of the sentences. How does that change affect your writing?
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Your character receives a phone call from a telemarketer. But unlike most, this person seems to know many details about your character’s life. Write that conversation.
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It’s snowing outside and you are at a friend’s house. You decide that you can make it home before it gets bad. Unfortunately, you are wrong. Describe the drive, including the point at which you realize you are in trouble. What happens? Do you make it?
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Choose a book from your shelf and read the first page. Does it make you want to read further? All of the items on this list should be present, even in the first 17 lines of a book:
Tension (in the reader, not just the characters)
Rewrite the page to contain all of them. The questions are from the Flogging the Quill web site.
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Who wants to become a writer? And why? Because it’s the answer to everything. … It’s the streaming reason for living. To note, to pin down, to build up, to create, to be astonished at nothing, to cherish the oddities, to let nothing go down the drain, to make something, to make a great flower out of life, even if it’s a cactus.
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Take your favorite nickname and make it into a character. Sketch out the character–appearance, likes, dislikes, personality. Write the story of how they got their name.
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“We are safe here! For the statues of our Queens keep their eyes trained to the east, and Kings guard our gates!”
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Write a piece that uses this structure from Stephen King’s 1922 as its start:
To Whom It May Concern:
My name is Wilfred Leland James and this is my confession.
Make up a character and go with it!
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Crying and laughing, the old priest fell into the deep crevice of the volcano.
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A story must have the ability to engender a sense of urgency from the first sentence. Everything else–fabulous characters, great dialogue, vivid imagery, luscious language–is gravy.
–Lisa Cron, Wired for Story
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Write down three things that your character would rather be doing than the thing you are making them do. How does the list contribute to your character development? Write that down too.
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Charity Rewards 2 (Part 1)
$12 donated to Survival International!
Person A has always been a parental figure to their younger sibling, due to a bad home life and their parent(s) being neglectful/abusive. But when their younger sibling came out to Person A as trans, Person A is extremely worried how their parent(s) will react (since Person A is gay and faced horrible treatment from their parents when it became known) and decides to run away with their younger sibling before any serious harm comes to them and so their sibling can start transitioning socially somewhere safe. But while traveling and camping in the woods temporarily, their younger sibling finds a large but injured predator and tries to help it, but when the animal gets up and starts walking/limping, the sibling follows. The animal, actually a shapeshifter Person B, reverts to their human form once they reach their home, a cottage in the woods, and when they realize the child has still followed them, is about to shoo the kid away, when they realize how dirty and hungry the child looks and decides to at least give them a meal. Person A, panicking when they find their younger sibling gone, immediately goes searching for them and runs into Person B, who was on their way back with the kid to drop them back off at the tent, since the kid told Person B the whole story (from their child perspective). But when Person B realizes how bad off the two siblings look, begrudgingly invites them over for a meal, bath, and one night of rest. Person B also had a bad home life that they fled from, and decides to offer to drive Person A and their sibling as far as they can in the direction of their goal location. But while talking about Person A’s plans for survival, Person B sees a lot of problems, and points them out, but when Person A gets defensive, Person B offers to let them stay until they can figure out a more solid and reliable plan. Person A agrees, realizing they’d be risking their sibling’s safety if they go ahead with their initial idea. In exchange for letting them stay, Person A helps out around the house and works a job in a nearby town. Person A and Person B start to grow close, and Person A realizes this is the most stable home life they can probably manage to give their younger sibling and Person B starts to grow used to their presences and care about them.
In a world of soulmates where the first touch between the soulmates triggers the indicator (a permanent mark appears on the skin or the skin glows or they feel a strong physical reaction, etc.), Person A has run away from home to escape a bad home life, but ran out of gas in a small town that’s far enough away for them to feel secure, so gets a job at a store in town (ex: cafe, hardware store, general store, etc.) to make ends meet while living out of their car. But one day, Person B, someone who everyone in the town is wary of and who lives on the outskirts outside of town, comes by the shop they work at and catches Person A’s interest, due to being so mysterious and seemingly scares the locals. Person B continues to come by more often, and the other employees start to try to shield and protect Person A from Person B’s curiosity, thinking Person B is up to no good. But Person A doesn’t mind the attention and doesn’t fear Person B like everyone else. But one day, when getting out of work late, someone tries to mug/attack Person A, and Person B rescues them, but while doing so, touches Person A, and both their soul mate indicators activate and Person B doesn’t want to talk about it, but does walk Person A home to make sure they’re safe. Upon seeing that Person A lives out of their car, Person B offers them a place to stay, and being shaken, Person A agrees. Person B turns out to be more normal than Person A expected from how wary all the locals were. But as Person A spends time with Person B, both start to develop feelings, but Person B is hiding that they’re a shapeshifter from Person A — the reason the locals are so wary of them.
Person A is trans and in a world where soulmates exist with a touch based indicator where their skin glows when they touch, and recently moved to the big city and started to socially transition, but keeps getting helped out in random situations — from collecting things they were holding that fell out of their hands to saving them from a mugging — by a random stranger, Person B, who always tries to conceal as much of their skin as possible. So when Person B shows up again, after so many times helping Person A, Person A insists they stay and let Person A buy them something as a thanks. But while handing Person B their drink, notices scars all over Person B’s hands, and is mesmerized when the scars light up especially brightly when they’re hands touch. Person A wants to learn more about Person B, but Person B is wary about the idea. But when someone breaks into Person A’s apartment and tampers with their hormone treatment without Person A being aware, Person A winds up very sick and strange things start happening to their body, giving them strange abilities. And Person B shows up and helps them deal with the changes. Which allows the two to spend a lot of time together, like Person A wanted.
Person A is a mage, but will only be considered a fully fledged one if they can get a fantastical creature to submit to them through their own magic. Person B is a shapeshifter who comes up with the idea of shifting into their beast form and appearing to submit to Person A. The only problem is the council who grants the title of mage as a gift forges a bond between the creature and the mage, so the creature becomes the mage’s familiar. Which Person A and Person B didn’t plan for, assuming that such magic was cast by the mage themself and not the council doing it for them. Now they’re bonded and are starting to realize there are a lot of strange perks and downsides to the bond (ex: telepathic connection, sharing powers, etc.). But as the two navigate the sudden boost in closeness in their relationship, they start to realize their feelings for one another — but are unsure if it’s merely a side effect of the bond.
Person A lives in a world of soulmates and where people are divided into alpha, beta, or omegas. Most soulmates tend to have the same dynamic, which works well due to the hierarchies between the groups (though each has their area of expertise in the public sphere and can be respected in those areas). Person A is a beta, expecting to have their soulmate be another beta, as per usual. So when their soulmate sense tells them their soulmate is Person B, an alpha or omega, they’re uncertain how to navigate a relationship. But Person A, after the death of a relative, gets saddled with their relative’s kid, and feels too young to be a parental figure to the child. So Person A is pleasantly surprised when Person B offers to help them care for their unexpected ward.
Person A is a trans omega (born alpha) who is struggling heavily with their family’s expectations for them. But when the pressure of trying to meet their expectations becomes too much, Person A runs off for awhile. At the place they go to to escape the familial pressure, they meet Person B, an older alpha who keeps flirting with them, despite being aware of Person A’s gender identity. Person A always assumed it was just to validate them and help put them at ease after they’d been under so much stress, but Person B is actually serious, and one day bluntly asks Person A on a date.
Person A lives in a world where soulmates, when they first realize they love their soulmate, will be sent back in time in their soulmate’s timeline to be there for them in a moment in their life when they were alone and/or needed someone who loved and cared about them more than ever. Person A met Person B, an older person, who they met when they needed Person B most, so they didn’t know Person B was their soulmate. But when when Person A realizes they’re in love with Person B, they get transported back to Person B’s childhood, when child!Person B needed someone the most. And Person A gets to witness and be present for Person B’s rough childhood and help them through it. Since Person B had a rough childhood due to being trans (or a different LGBT+ identity).
Person A is a superhero and trans, which makes keeping their civilian identity (where they’re closeted) a secret fairly easy. But Person B, a villain who works with a group of other villains, gets close enough to touch Person A during a battle/manages to grab Person A, but after a brief struggle feigns like they’ve been hit and purposefully lets Person A escape. Person A is confused but tries not to dwell on it, until Person B approaches them somewhere private, while Person A is in their hero costume, and tells Person A they have some tips for helping Person A keep their
Person A grew up in a supernatural hunter family, but as a child gets saved from some dangerous supernaturals by a young adult shapeshifter, Person B. Years later, Person A is hunting with their family, and runs into Person B, who’s injured. Instead of hurting Person B, Person A decides to repay Person B, the one who saved them so many years ago, by helping them out, and bringing Person B back to Person B’s home with Person B giving them directions. But while getting Person B safely home, another shapeshifter recognizes Person A as a hunter and thinks they’re trying to hurt Person B and attacks Person A, biting them before Person B can explain. Now Person A is also a shapeshifter, and a very young one, and Person B once more helps them out by letting Person A live with them and hide from their family who would surely kill them. But apparently among shapeshifters, soulmates are common, and now that Person A has been turned, Person B realizes Person A is their soulmate.
Person A was raised in a family of hunters, but was actually adopted and is secretly a shapeshifter, but only learns after going through puberty and their shapeshifter dynamic surfaces. Person A is an omega, and apparently they’re adopted hunter family wanted them to be an alpha, someone they hoped they could use to hunt other supernaturals with due to superior strength and endurance. But they decide instead of use Person A as bait, but Person A gets rescued from being hurt by an alpha, Person B, who saves them from the alpha they were used to bait. Person B takes Person A back to their home. Apparently Person B’s entire family was killed by hunters, and they had originally been planning to merely kill the family of hunters who moved in, but something seemed off about Person A, so they waited and when Person A displayed as a shapeshifter and an omega, Person B made it their mission to rescue them.
Person A is an omega known for having an extremely subtle scent that most people don’t pick up, so they’ve always been written off as a beta, and been told by those that know they’re an omega that they’ll never drive an alpha into any kind of sexual frenzy/rut nor will their soulmate be able to find them via their scent. Person B is a blind alpha and has a very sharp nose because of it, and when they first pick up Person A’s scent, realizes Person A is their soulmate, but has worries that their soulmate might not want them due to their lack of vision.
Person A recently left home to live on their own, but then the death of their abusive single parent lands their younger sibling in their care. Person A has no idea how to deal with their younger sibling, who resents them for leaving them alone with an abuser when Person A left home. But one day, while trying to take their younger sibling shopping their sibling runs off and ends up running into Person B, someone who works there, and Person A approaches and overhears their younger sibling opening up to Person B. Person A is embarrassed by how their younger sibling is describing them to Person B, and Person B clearly thinks they’re a bad guardian. But when their sibling starts coming to the mall to hang out with Person B and avoid Person A whenever the two fight, and Person A is at least calm to know their sibling isn’t wandering around the streets alone and eventually, Person B starts bringing the sibling home to Person A after they’ve calmed down, and even giving Person A casual pointers on how to help and care for their younger sibling. The two wind up growing close over Person B helping Person A out with their sibling.
Person A is in a fight with their younger sibling when their younger sibling accidentally curses them with a spell. Apparently their estranged parent was a witch/magic user and now Person A is stuck as a younger version of themself/child version of themself. Person A and their younger sibling head to the library, looking for books on witches and magic, but come up with nothing — until Person B, a library employee who’s the same age as Person A’s normal self, offers to help the two kids. But when the sibling ends up admitting what happened, despite Person A trying to stop them, Person B says they might know someone, and brings the two to a real and fully trained witch, who happens to be Person B’s own teacher in the magical arts.
Person A and Person B dragged together on a group project with a third person who’s blatantly crushing on one or both of them. But Person A and Person B are too blinded by their dislike (and attraction to one another). But when the third member of their group project gets sick and the two have to finish it together, they let down the pretense of hating one another as strongly as they act like they do, and get to having a bit of a shared moment. But after the group project is over, the two aren’t able to get the memory out of their head, and start to try to find excuses to be around each other more and more, while trying to keep up the pretense they don’t get along.
Person A and Person B are both alphas, and Person A makes it a competition to try to win over/seduce anyone Person B dates or even seems to like. Person B is always getting annoyed with Person A being such a heartbreaker out of seemingly spite. Person A secretly just is trying to get Person B’s attention, but isn’t sure how to get Person B to notice them. When the two get in a fight over a partner who got hurt because of Person A’s interference, Person B gets in a fight with Person A, and Person A admits they want Person B to look at them.
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What’s the lasting change that will occur in your character as a result of going through the compelling situation you’ve set up? This is the real core of your story.
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Write a scene about a person who copes with negative experiences through humor. In the scene, this person has just been pulled over for speeding.
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Charity Reward Prompts 1
$10 donated to Rainforest Action Network!
Person A is a farmer in a futuristic setting, living in a very large underground bunker that functions as a farm, with special lights to help their plants grow and produce food for their animals and lots of heavy duty machinery to help Person A run it by themself. But one day, Person B, a stranger claiming to be from the surface, gets brought down in their empty trash elevator (an elevator that brings their trash to the surface).
Person A is an orphan teen living on the ground level of a major city where the buildings are so tall and so clustered, that no sunlight gets down to the bottom, leaving those too poor to live on the upper levels stuck in a world devoid of natural light. Person B is a thief who steals from the rich, from their penthouse homes, but ends up getting hurt from a bad fall and found by Person A.
Person A is someone living in a collective of underground farming bunkers. But Person A is starting to show signs of having strange abilities that they share with one of their parents who is now deceased. Person A’s family wants to send them to the surface to study, so hopefully their abilities can be put to a better use than their farming community. But then some underground pirates attack their farming bunker group with their underground digging ships/submarine like devices. Person A’s powers are noticed and Person A is stolen by the pirate crew and their family spared. Person B is one of the pirates and the mastermind behind their operations, and has ideas for how to put Person A’s abilities to use.
Person A is a detective/cop, working with their robot work companion, in a major city, but keeps getting strange reports of people’s robots and machinery acting weird and malfunctioning whenever a certain criminal attacks their businesses/homes, but there’s never any sign of tampering. Person A finally runs into Person B, the criminal, who can manipulate technology with their mind. Person A tries to get Person B to work with them to solve crimes instead.
Person A works as an engineer, and their child is often with them in their laboratory, until they notice their child can manipulate technology with their mind, and they start to fear what could happen if anyone else found out what their child can do.
Person A works at an animal shelter, where unadoptable pets have chips implanted in their heads to fix their behaviors and make them easier to handle and care for. Person B is a visitor and is fascinated by how the chips work and gets Person A to teach them how to wire them in, and then coerces Person A to join them in kidnapping people, chipping them, with specific commands to make them able to be turned into mind-controlled puppets for Person B and Person A.
Person A is a doctor who works with cybernetic enhancements, but recently they were recruited to enhance injured soldiers so they can fight again and better than before. Person B is one such soldier, but Person A realizes Person B is merely faking their injury in order to get the enhancements, which apparently the military is encouraging some soldiers do, in order to save the trouble of dealing with their injuries if they are improved with cybernetics before even getting an injury.
Person A is an engineer who create military grade cybernetic enhancements, and after their child, Person B, is horribly attacked, decides to enhance Person B so they can protect themself better. But then Person B decides to become a vigilante and keeps coming back to Person A to fix them up and keep improving their enhancements.
Person A is a new recruit in the military, and has just realized the drafted soldiers had chips placed in their heads to make them willing to kill and follow the orders of the military without hesitation. Person A is against the process, and when they meet a hacker, Person B, who is trying to take control of the chips and turn the drafted soldiers into mindless puppets to destroy the military from the inside out, and make the military stop chipping humans to force them into submission. So Person A decides to help them.
Person A is a hacker who has gotten access to the codes for military’s chips and cybernetics, and has been working towards their goal of completely dismantling the military by making the cybernetics go haywire and the chipped soldiers revolt. But then a friend, Person B, comes up with another idea: make the military work for them only, by taking control of the chips and cybernetics.
Person A is a politician who has been hiring hackers to mess with the military so they can turn the people against the military and get people to vote for them, so they can rise in power and take control and create a dictatorship. But their political partner, after a recent assassination attempt, has become enhanced with cybernetics, and now Person A sees an opportunity to work with some of their partners to control their partner as well, and be the solo one pulling the strings. But their personal and most trusted hacker, Person B, has other plans.
Person A is getting into fights with their romantic partner more and more and decides to secretly have their partner chipped to repair their relationship and fix their partner’s behavior. But Person B, the person who placed the chip for them and set it up, starts to fall for Person A, and their chipped romantic partner is in the way.
Person A is living in a castle town when they realize they have the ability to control lightning. Afraid of being found out and burned as a witch, Person A tries to hide their power, but then ends up using it to save a noble Person B’s life.
Person A is a Robin Hood-like person who believes they are reigning religious judgment down on the greedy wealthy by frying them with lightning, a trick they’ve learned to control flawlessly. But then they run into a noble, Person B, and their child, on the run from their own family because the child has the same strange ability.
Person A is teenager in the early days of computers who realizes they can hear voices coming from the computers, in strange languages they don’t understand. Later they realize they’re hearing coding, as if it was a spoken language, and they have an ability that allows them to ‘speak’ to technology, and as they try to learn the language, they start to uncover some alarming secrets.
Person A has joined/been drafted into the military, after having been able to speak to and manipulate technology around them all their life, and is renowned due to this secret as the best in their field of technology. But Person A is trying to blend in and hide their power, fearing the worst if anyone discovers what they can do.
Person A has learned the language of computers, and is always trying to find others like them, but after years and years of subtly searching, has assumed their the only one. Until they meet Person B, a therapist they’ve been sent to because of their strange reactions around electronics. But Person B is someone who Person A is noticing the subtle signs of being someone who can understand tech.
Person A is a soldier in a medieval military who has only survived so long because they can seemingly control lightning, and does so to save themself from dying through “lucky lightning strikes” on their opponents or conjuring up storms before battles, etc. Because of this they’ve risen in the ranks due to just surviving. But after a battle where Person A and Person B, one of their fellow soldiers, are the last two surviving after a battle and far from base, they begin to travel back together, and Person B witnesses them use their powers to save both their lives during a storm.
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