Writing Prompts Archive

Got writer’s block?

Stuck for inspiration?

Feel the urge to write and don’t know where to start?

Find below a collection of writing prompts to help you kickstart your creative thinking. Whether they spark an idea for a full-length novel or you just want a quick exercise, you’re bound to find something that will set your pen a-scribbling.

  • The doorbell rang for the third time that day.
  • For sale: one unused suitcase.
  • Write a story based on the contents of your coat pocket.
  • The waitress came to clear away the contents of the table: two coffee cups. One full. One empty.
  • He had exactly seven minutes and forty-nine seconds left.
  • “You did what to Mr Tiddles?”
  • The call came in at 8.03 that morning.
  • It’s a children’s birthday party. What could possibly go wrong?
  • “Oh, umm … that wasn’t quite what I had in mind …”
  • There is nothing in the world more embarrassing than …
  • Write a scene inspired by any of the lyrics of ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ by Queen
  • A new neighbour has moved into the flat above. Write about your first encounter.
  • You can see two figures standing on top of a hill. What’s their story?
  • There was only one left.
  • In the darkness, the only light came from the glowing phone screen.
  • The street was aglow, each orange square a literal window of golden-hued opportunity.
  • She watched the jury as they filed back into the courtroom. In a moment, all that waiting would be over. She hardly dare breathe.
  • Write a scene from the point of view of two different characters, except one of the characters can’t see the other.
  • The blade glinted under the harsh kitchen lighting, and she cut downwards, a smile bloomed across her lips as the dark liquid oozed from the incision.
  • She shielded her eyes from the flashing bulbs as she rushed from the building. She had to get out of there. She couldn’t spend more second more in that place.
  • He looked through the glass panels into the office. If he was quick, would anyone notice? He just needed to make sure…
  • He tapped his pockets. Phone. Wallet. Keys? The door slammed shut. Oh crap…
  • All was dark apart from the light from the television screen. Only one voice spoke into the gloom. “Good evening…”
  • A wave of pain rolled up through his back as the pressure grew. He felt like Atlas, with the literal weight of the world upon his shoulders, but he needed to hold out, just a little longer…
  • It had been a glorious morning until she looked up from her phone as she walked to the station. The blood drained from her face and her lungs couldn’t take in any air. Oh God, no…
  • When she opened her eyes, she was surrounded by such utter darkness that she thought she might have been sucked into a black hole. The very absence of light, colour… hope. Perhaps her eyes would soon adjust and reveal more. Was that a chair? A table? A glass of water— The darkness vanished, replaced by the most blinding spot of pure light, like staring at the sun without sunglasses. But the sun brings with it joy, happiness. This light-bringer only signalled pain. 
  • Despite the lifetime that has passed since that day in the woods, I still can’t pass a crop of trees without hearing it, that rhyme, ringing over and over.
  • The wind roared around his ears and buffeted at his body, but all he could hear was the scream in his head.
  • Annabelle had a purr-fect pink cushion that she liked to rest her weary bones on every afternoon after a long day of exploring the cul-de-sac around her home. So, when she returned home that fateful day, expecting her usual fuss from Mrs B, a light tuna snack and a quick nap in front of the fire, she was most perturbed to find something was very, very wrong.
  • She scratched her head perplexed. When she left the kitchen, that plate had definitely not been empty.
  • The bag was quite an ordinary bag. Navy blue and slightly tattered, with a faded logo on its front.
  • It was cold that morning. ‘Dragon-breath weather,’ she would say.
  • ‘Is there such a thing as accidental murder?’ he asked.
  • She clasped her hands around the mug and stared over its lip at me. That look through the steam of her coffee. I was done for.
  • On the Tube every morning, I watch the  people listening to their music on their headphones. Rap, pop, classical, R’n’B. Me? Oh, no; I embrace the silence.
  • Silence fell across the crowded school hall. This was not the nativity play they’d signed up for.
  • She placed each mince pie on a plate with a good dollop of her own brandy cream for good measure. ‘Wouldn’t want them tasting the bitter flavour, now, would we?’
  • After a hectic morning of torn wrapping paper, Buck’s Fizz and merriment, there was only one gift left at the bottom of the tree. But this was a present that no one would want to receive.
  • Write an account of Christmas from an unexpected point of view.
  • When they said Santa was coming to town, the little village in the middle of nowhere was not expecting this. 
  • Tell the story of one of the minor characters from Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.
  • She could never get behind this New Year, New You business. It was all just a bunch of marketing mumbo-jumbo. But little did she know what a difference 365 days can make.
  • The clock struck midnight. There were fireworks and cheers, and the noise was so loud that no one heard the gun shot. 
  • It’s the first day back at the office. But when you arrive, there is a mysterious package waiting on your desk.
  • It had been a long week – Parents’ evening, Gran’s big op, that meeting – so she was delighted when Friday night and she could finally sit down. Glass of wine in hand, Love Island on the telly, she had been looking forward to a quiet night in all week. Then the doorbell rang.
  • ‘Bonjour, Monsieur. This is reception. I have a phone call for you.’ ‘But no one knows I’m here.’ ‘Umm, he asked to speak to you very urgently, Monsieur.’ He hesitated. Was this a bad idea? ‘Okay, put him through.’
  • She had never been good with maths, but you didn’t need a calculator to work out that the cash piled on the table was a helluva lot of money.
  • He’d bought the shoes the previous day. Shiny and still squeaky from lack of wear, they almost smiled back at him in the mirror. Today was going to be a good day.
  • One day, you’re walking along, minding your own business, when – Bam! – a man runs around the corner and shoves a parcel in your hand. No one pursues him, nor does he call instructions to you. You hold the parcel, weigh it up. What do you do?
  • She picked up the remote and switched on the news. The tension was almost impossible to stomach. 
  • He eyed the Christmas port with a sceptical eye. He saved this typical for the Queen’s speech every year, and he savoured a sip. Hmmm, delicious. But strangely bitter.
  • The tree was in the far corner of the room. Its fairy lights cast out a warm glow, but it didn’t quite reach the doorway, where a dark and menacing shadow loomed.
  • The bar was alive with the sound of cheers. Bodies dancing, the whole room moving on the waves of euphoria and alcohol. No, literally. The room was moving. Could this really be happening again? he thought. 
  • Oh God, her head hurt. She blinked her eyes slowly, but they didn’t seem to be making a difference. Everywhere around her was pitch black.

Love these writing prompts? Sign up below to receive a new writing prompt each week – completely free! – straight to your inbox in my weekly newsletter.