A writing prompt is a topic to give you something to focus on as you write, giving you ideas to start with. Stretch your imagination, kick-start a story of your own or express your feelings. You can stick very closely to the suggestion or let the idea take you off on your own path. The point is to make writing a habit to express yourself and BE CREATIVE! Write as little or as long as you like.
10-27-17: What is the best present you have ever received? Why do you consider it the best?
11/5/17: Write a story about Halloween from the perspective of your favorite kind of candy. Bonus if you use the vocab word of the week, macabre.
11/18/17: Invent and describe a new food to add to your Thanksgiving table.
11/22/17: Happy Thanksgiving! While your parents are preparing the feast, work on this: Write about your family from a stranger’s perspective. How do they interact with each other? What unusual habits do they have? Sit in a quiet corner and observe.
12/1/17: Look around your house for an inanimate object. Write a one-page description bringing this object to life. Use a character profile to help you really develop the character.
12/7/17: What famous person, living or dead, would you like to meet? What three questions would you ask them? Write an imaginary interview with that person.
12/15/17: Just finished reading “Alan Cole is Not a Coward” by Eric Bell. Taking this week’s writing prompt from the book: What’s your most prized possession? What would it take for you to give it up?
12/22: What is a family tradition you have? It could be related to a holiday, a weekly or yearly ritual, or a vacation spot. How is this meaningful to you?
12/29: Write a 1-2 page story using ONLY dialogue.
1/4: Write a story about what is going on in this picture. Be creative!
1/12: Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream was to have a fair, peaceful world where everyone is equal to one another. What would your dream world be like?
1/19: You are given $1,000 to spend on your birthday. It must be spent all that day. What would you do with that money?
1/26: It is sometime in the future & AI robots are commonly used in household and community. Describe one of these robots. What is it used for and what goes wrong when it malfunctions?
2/2: One day while playing in your backyard, you find a buried box with three items in it. What are the items? Why do you think they are buried there? Who do you think buried them?
2/9: You were just hired as the coach of a professional football team. What do you do to get them in shape? What values do you want the players to portray? How does the team perform over the season?
2/15: Pick a main character from one of your stories or a favorite story by another author. Describe what that character would do on their day off.
2/23: Pretend someone from 1886 time traveled into your room. What would be their reaction? What would they be surprised by or scared of?
3/2: Most people have heard of the “six degrees of separation” theory-the idea that everyone in the world is separated from everyone else by six links. Write a story about how six people are linked-the weirder the connections, the better! Read this week’s blog post on connections.
3/9: Make a story up from the images on these nine cubes about an exotic vacation you took.
3/16: You catch a leprechaun. By legend, he must grant you three wishes in exchange for his freedom. What are your three wishes and why do you choose them?
3/23: Write a story starting with this line: The box fell on the floor and blue powder dumped out.
3/30: What is a family tradition you have? It could be related to a holiday, a weekly or yearly ritual, or a vacation spot. How is this meaningful to you?
4/6: Take the next sentence someone says to you and write a short story from it.
4/13: Go to page twenty of one of your favorite fiction books. Read the first sentence of the second paragraph and start a new story from that sentence that is unrelated to the book.
4/20: Take a scene from a story you’ve written orwrite a 1-2 page story. Now re-write it from your mother’s point-of-view. Use her language, her mannerisms, and style. How does it change the scene?
4/27: Describe a book scene in which a favorite character of yours takes a different path. Perhaps Frodo keeps the ring or Julian stayed at Beecher Prep with Auggie.
5/4: You meet someone who is blind. Describe what spring looks like to them. Flowers, blooming trees, birds, and animals might be part of your description.
5/11: Describe something ordinary in a new style of writing to you. For example, describe your day at school as a western or what your mom made for dinner as a sci-fi fantasy.
5/18: Autocorrect comes up with some pretty funny alternatives to what you are trying to say in a text. Take this sentence and make up some different options that autocorrect might interpret. “It’s 5 o’clock. I am on Ridge Road. I wanted to catch you before you went to get your hair cut.” (keep it fairly clean please!)
6/1: Take a scene from something you wrote or a favorite book. Make a secondary character take charge instead of the main character. How does this influence the story? Would it affect the scene outcome? What about the ending or direction of the whole story?
6/8: Write a funny or wise message for a fortune cookie.
6/15: Happy Summer! If you had no restrictions on money or places to go, where would be your ideal summer vacation? Write about what unique adventures you could have on this trip.
6/22: Make up a memorable adventure from the images on these nine cubes. Start “On my way to (location), I encountered . . .”
6/29: Clichés are a big no-no in fiction writing. Instead of writing, “he turned as red as a lobster,” you might say, “He looked like my Irish cousin after five minutes in the sun.” Pick one of these clichés and write it in your own words in 3-5 different ways. “When it rains, it pours.” “Bored to tears.” “Hold your horses.”
7/6: If you could start a new holiday, what would it be? How would you celebrate?
7/13: Write a paragraph describing a room that makes the reader absolutely not want to go into that room. However, do not use ANY negative adjective.
7/20: Ask your parents for a piece of junk mail. Write a short story about a person that might buy that product. The person either has or will commit a crime in relation to that product.
8/3: Homonyms are words that have the same spelling but different meanings. Homophones are words that sound the same but are spelled differently. Write a short story that confuses these word meanings. Some examples are flour and flower, here and hear, son and sun, or bear (animal or tolerate) and bark (dog sound or tree).
8/10: You’re in a hallway with only three doors to get out. One leads to the jungle, one leads to the year 1900 in America and one leads to a foreign country where no one speaks English. Each door will require you to use survival skills in one form or another. Which door do you pick and why? Painting: Surprised, 1891 by Henri Rousseau
8/17: Write a short story starting with “I never stood a chance.”
8/24: Describe a night scene in two different ways using appropriate language, metaphors, imagery, etc.: make one description as scary and one as exciting.
8/30: Pretend you have a handicap. How would this affect the way you do things in your life? How do you think others would treat differently?
9/7: Describe your favorite food in every sensory detail-the smell of baked bread, the sound of popping corn, the look of a decorated birthday cake, etc. Then describe your least favorite food in every sensory detail. Make the descriptions so vivid it leaves your reader feeling what you feel.
9/14: What five things in life give you joy? Why- what feelings or emotions do they elicit?
9/21: I am going to make tomorrow different by…
9/28: Pick a scene from your day today and pretend you are the opposite sex. How would this have changed your day?
10/5: You can only keep five things you own. What will they be?
10/12: What would you do if you could stop time?
10/19: Pick a food and describe it to someone who doesn’t have the sense of taste.
10/26: Pretend you are interviewing a vampire, a werewolf, and a witch. What five questions would you ask? What controversy might arise between the interviewees?
11/2: What would you do if you found a pair of magical shoes? (You get to make up what they do).
11/9: James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl is a fantastic adventure story about a boy and seven magically-altered garden bugs on a journey in a giant peach. Since it is fall, make up an adventure story about a giant pumpkin. Some questions to consider are how does it grow so big? How big does it get? Personify it, make it evil, make it a pet- just make it fun and original!
11/16: Take a headline from the newspaper or Google and without reading the story, create a fictional story of what happened. Take another one or two headlines and interconnect these stories into one.
11/21: What three things are you most grateful for? Why are these the three most important to you?
12/7: Pick 3-5 books. Open to a random page in each of them and write down the most interesting sentence from each of those pages. Combine those 3-5 sentences to form a new story.
12/14: What one possession of yours do you treasure and why?
12/21: How would a holiday be different if it were at a different time of year? For instance, what if Christmas/Hannukah/Kwanza were in the summer or Easter in the winter?
12/28: Pick one to three resolutions for the new year. For each one, write down smaller steps to start working on achieving that goal, so it is more likely you will accomplish it. For example, if your resolution is to enter a poem in a writing contest, you might break it down to: I will get a book to research different kinds of poetry; I will get a friend to be a writing partner; I will ask a teacher for feedback; I will research contests. Each of these should have a due date. Good luck!
1/4: Write a story using these 5 words: cricket, hazy, pancake, fluorescent, scream
1/11: How would your life change if someone shrunk you down to be only 6″ tall?
1/18: “Suspense is ‘I’m afraid to look away,’ while horror is ‘I’m afraid to look.’” –Steven James (suspense writer). Take this writing prompt and write a few paragraphs as a suspense story and a few paragraphs as a horror story. What key elements or strategies would you use to differentiate between the two? PROMPT: Making people disappear is what he was best at.
2/1: What would it have been like to be present for the Emancipation Proclamation speech?
2/8: It’s important to encourage diversity around the world because…
2/14: Happy Valentine’s Day! There are many kinds of love. How is the kind of love you feel for your family or friends different from the love you feel for a favorite inanimate object such as a game, a toy from childhood, or a treasured gift from someone. Describe types of feelings, how they make you feel inside, descriptive words.
2/22: Write about 3 places you would like to travel someday. What do these three places have in common?
3/1: Pick one word from each of the three lists below. Create a short mystery story based on your chosen words.
List 1: Llama, Alien, Angel, Caveman, Giant, Cat
List 2: Snow, Beach, Mountain, Grocery Store, Basement, Ice cream shop
List 3: TV, Jeep, Piano, Canoe, Coffee mug, Soccer Ball
3/8: Ask a friend to tell you two truths and a lie about themselves, without revealing which is the lie. Write a short story in which all three items are true about your main character.
3/15: Write a limerick about the first day of Spring. (Basically, a Limerick comprises five lines with lines 1, 2 and 5 rhyming and lines 3 and 4 rhyme)
3/22: Imagine that dogs take over the world. What rules would they put in place? How would they treat humans?
3/29: What superpower would you want and why? How would you use this power-for good, for mischief?
4/5: Your favorite book character just made the front page of the newspaper! What does the headline read? Write an article about this event. It can be from the book or made up.
4/12: Grab an article from the police section of the newspaper and make up a humorous short story just from the headline.
5/3: Yes, there is actually a live parrot riding shotgun in this car, sitting on a perch attached to the window. Tell me it’s story-why is it riding in the car? Where is it going? Be silly, be mysterious-whatever strikes you.
5/10: In honor of Mother’s Day on Sunday, write a six-word memoir in tribute to your mother (or someone else you love). Always Choose Love; Happiness Will Follow. Need inspiration? https://www.sixwordmemoirs.com/gallery/
5/17: Pick a fear you have and a situation that it may present itself-maybe giving a presentation in front of a crowd, going up in a hot air balloon to fearful heights or climbing through a claustrophobic tunnel. Write a page about your fear stopping you and what it feels like; now write a page where you conquer that fear and how that might make you feel.
5/24: Yesterday was 143 Day in PA- a statewide campaign “to inspire kindness and neighborly deeds.” Think about small acts of kindness you do for people, and bigger deeds as well. How do those acts make you feel? How do you think the recipient of that act feels? Write about the greater effect your small act may have.
6/7: You enter a fairy mound and spend the night. When you emerge, seven years have passed. What would have changed in your life? What challenges would you face in fitting back in?
6/14: They spent the last hour perfecting their alibi. Now it was time to act.
6/21: Having characters that your readers can connect with is key to a good book. Some writers create a character sketch before even writing the book to “get to know” their character and how they will react in situations. PROMPT: Choose a character from a favorite book. Use the attached character profile worksheet to list what traits they have or speculate answers based on what you do know from the book. https://sharonwernerauthor.files.wordpress.com/2017/11/character-profile.pdf
6/28: What shapes do you see in the clouds in this picture? Write a short story about it. For inspiration, check out “Lola Shapes the Sky” by Wendy Greenley.
7/5: If you could pick any animal in the world to have as a pet, what would you pick and why? How would you train in? What would you do to take care of it?
7/12: You are an astronaut and discover a new planet. Write a story describing the planet’s atmosphere, any life on the planet and what they ate and do, etc.
7/19: Write a story using these 5 words: peanut, scissors, coconut, tiger, frisbee
7/26: Would you rather be able to fly like a bird or swim like a fish? Why?
8/16: What would be the first thing you would change if you could make the world a better place? Why did you choose it?