Creative Writing Prompts

Spark off Brilliant Story Ideas!

No more writer's block! With the writing prompts, story starters and story writing ideas on this page, you're well on your way to creating terrific plots for romance books, fantasy books, mystery books, funny stories, short stories and more.

Writing Prompts & Story Ideas: Twists on Traditional Tales

Put a twist on traditional stories, legends and fairy tales. Here are some suggestions:

Spoof the Cinderella Story
A somewhat absent-minded/bumbling/crackbrained fairy godmother's (or godfather's?) spells go awry, causing Cinders quite a few hair-raising moments. And after all that trouble, what does the silly girl do? Spurn Prince Charming and run off with the palace cook. But can you really blame her, seeing she's been fed nothing but scraps all her life?

More Cinderella story ideas and writing prompts

Sleeping Beauty, 1000 years later
What happens when Sleeping Beauty wakes up -- not 100 but 1000 years later -- in the 21st Century? Who's the cool guy who gets to kiss her awake? How will she adjust to a world of computers, the internet, handphones, television, air travel and school life? Will she be a miserable misfit or will she live it up as a swinging teen-princess?

Beauty and the Beast: A Cultural Comedy
Beauty travels to a far country/is magically transported back in time. She meets Mr Beast who treats her (the same way he treats all women) with arrogant male chauvinism, following the cultural norms of his country/time. Sparks fly between the two strong-willed characters.

How she sets about educating, enlightening and outwitting him gives the writer much scope for creating comical situations spiced with dramatic dialogue...

More Beauty and the Beast story ideas and writing prompts

Writing Prompts & Story Ideas: the Villain's Viewpoint

Misunderstood, maligned and miffed about it...give the villain a chance to tell his tale. Here are some suggestions:

Woes of a Wolf
Little Red Riding Hood? You mean that crazy kid who kicked up a big fuss over nothing? It was all a misunderstanding, I can assure you! Of course I didn't mean to eat her up, or her grandmother either -- the stupid old crow. All I wanted was to take a nap on the bed but the silly girl started screaming like a banshee...

The Giant Cries Fowl
It's not fair! Jack's nothing but a thief, when all's said and done -- climbing up my beanstalk, sneaking into my house, stealing my hen and my money. And to add insult to injury, he's made out to be the hero...

Wails of a Wicked Witch
I've been sadly maligned, I'll have you know. Snow White was your typical giddy teenager, gadding about from one wild party to the next, and that's how she ended up with those seven shady characters...

A Wail of a Tale: more writing prompts and story ideas with Twisted Fairy Tales from the Wicked Witches Club

Writing Prompts & Story Ideas: Consuming Passions

Weave your story round a central character with an all-consuming passion -- someone who'll stop at nothing to get what he or she wants, be it money, power, revenge, fame or a lover. Some suggestions:

Long-Suffering Lover
Lew has an all-consuming passion for Liz, who is in love with someone else/doesn't even know he exists/is married/is set on becoming a nun/is more interested in exploring tropical rainforests or studying gibbons in the wild.

Lew goes to all lengths to win her: turn this into an adventure, mystery or fantasy story with plenty of hair-raising escapades, or develop it as a humorous story with lots of comedy.

How to end the story? Some suggestions: he gets his heart's desire and they live happily ever after; or he gets the girl but realizes she's not the one he really loves after all; or he gets her but later loses her because of some flaw in his/her character or a tragic event separates them; or he doesn't get her but learns some important truths along the way; or he doesn't get her and discovers it's really her sister/best friend he loves after all.

Driven by a Dream
Don has an all-consuming passion for fast cars. He pursues his dream of building and driving the fastest car ever, but in the process neglects his family/girlfriend/health. He achieves his dream but at great cost -- the loss of everything else. Will he be able to get back what he's lost -- or does he even want to?

An Avenging Angel
Angie is a woman consumed with hatred for her father/her former lover/the man who ruined her family. She hatches a plan to kill him/maim him/destroy him in some way -- but finds in the end that revenge isn't so sweet after all. Or, she uncovers secrets that reveal the truth about her father, lover or family - revelations that throw a totally new light on past events.



Writing Prompts & Story Starters: Skeletons in the Closet

Build your story around a terrible secret -- one so horrendous that the characters will go all out to protect it. Why? Revealing it will lead to terrible consequences: a loved one injured/killed/ruined financially/ostracised by society/sent to jail. Some examples:

Mystery of the Missing Mum
Mick is a single parent with three children. He moved into the neighborhood two years ago, and has built a cozy home for his family. One day, one of the kids stumbles onto a strange, heavy trunk in the basement...

Along Comes an Imposter
Pat is an orphan, a teenager living on the streets. He answers an ad by a wealthy couple looking for their long-lost son, and worms himself into the family's affections. Just as he is congratulating himself on finally living the life he's always wanted...

Home Alone
Ann must guard a terrible secret from her younger siblings -- their parents are serving time in prison. She tells them Daddy and Mommy are working abroad and sending money home. Meanwhile, she works two jobs to make ends meet. One day, her kid brother chances upon an old newspaper clipping...

Writing Prompts & Story Ideas: Travels in Time & Space

This is the stuff of fantasy and adventure. A character travels to another place -- glitzy city, tropical island, another world, another universe, back in time or into a future world -- which seems at first to be the perfect paradise.

Soon enough, however, he or she discovers that all is not what it seemed in this new place, and returns home a sadder and a wiser man, woman or teen, and begins to appreciate what he/she had in the first place.

Or, he or she accepts the shortcomings and begins a new life in this place.

Writing Prompts & Story Ideas: Competition is the Key

Two people compete for the same prize, which can be a lover (this is the basic plot for many romance novels); a trophy or championship (the plot for many sports stories) or control of a business empire/country/the world (the rivalry here can be between two groups of people).

You can have two evenly-matched persons or groups; this creates tension and suspense in the story as the parties fight it out to the bitter end.

Or, you can have unevenly-matched rivals, with the "good" guy(s) being the underdog(s). This arouses your readers' sympathy; you get them involved in your story, rooting for the weaker side.

Examples:

Jake and Jack are both in love with Lori. Jack is a respectable -- and respected -- doctor/lawyer/minister. Responsible, restrained and irreproachable in his conduct, he is a pillar of the community. Not so with Jake: a rascal and a scallawag, as every good fellow in town will attest; a man of uncontrollable passions who will stop at nothing to get what he wants -- and he wants Lori. Who will win, and at what cost?

Buzz has been running the family business for years, ever since his father became bedridden. All the while he's been secretly milking the business dry to feed his drug/gambling addiction. Bud, the younger brother, discovers the truth and confronts Buzz.

Buzz will stop at nothing to retain control of the business; faced with exposure, he decides to get rid of Bud. With his superior business acumen and cunning, he plots to discredit Bud. Will he succeed? Can Bud outwit him?




Writing Prompts & Story Ideas: Epistolary Novels

Write your story in the form of a series of letters/emails between two or more characters. This exchange of correspondence helps to advance the story, and also provides insight into the minds of different characters.

Epistolary stories can take many forms: for example, a romance novel comprising love letters between a couple; a mystery story where clues are hidden in the letters, thus inviting the reader to discover the murderer before the detective does; historical fiction, where a series of letters paints a dramatic picture of exciting events.

Or, write the story in the form of a diary: this is especially effective in novels where the principal character changes and develops as the story progresses. Character changes come about as a result of the hero/heroine facing obstacles and becoming stronger/wiser/more mature/more sympathetic to others' problems: the diary entries reflect this process of change in the protagonist, at the same time drawing readers into the story as they share intimately in your hero/heroine's struggles and triumphs.

Writing Prompts & Story Ideas: Race Against Time

Set a time limit for someone to complete an important task, one where failure will lead to dire consequences. Build suspense by putting obstacles and conflicts in the way. As the deadline looms, show how the chances of success become more and more remote. Add a surprise ending, with the mission accomplished against all odds. Some suggestions:

Kids exploring a cave are trapped by fast-rising waters. They have only minutes to find a tunnel that will lead them to safety. Then they drop their only torchlight down a deep hole, and it's pitch dark in the cave...

Terrorists have planted a time bomb in a high-rise building downtown -- but which one? Minutes tick by as the hero unscrambles clues that'll lead him to the bomb...

The heroine has been assigned to guard the crown jewels/deliver a top-secret document/go on a dangerous rescue mission. She must complete the whole task by midnight. Meanwhile, hired killers are hot on her heels, and the hero must get to her before they do...


We'll be adding more stuff to this page. Please visit often for new writing prompts and story ideas.

For tips on how and where to find great story ideas, go to Creative Writing Ideas

For tips on how to write a storybook, go to Steps to Write a Book

For ideas on how to write a story that appeals to kids, go to Creative Writing Ideas for Kids' Books

For ideas on how to write cool stories for teens, go to Creative Writing Ideas for Teen Books

For ideas on how to write inspirational books for children, go to How to Write a Book of Inspirational Stories for Kids

Story Writing Ideas for Young Writers
Are you a kid who loves to write? Here's a creative writing website for kids, by kids: www.gennasworld.com You can post stories, book reviews, and comments on other kids' writing - and get great writing prompts and ideas for your own stories!

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