Need a way to break out of writer’s block? Just want to further develop your characters? Search for something specific or browse your options!
If you’re looking for writing prompts, but don’t want to use the Writing Prompt Generator, then you’ve come to the right place!
This complete list of writing prompts includes everything from the Generator, but listed out and organized by prompt type.
Prompt List Navigation:
- Writing Craft Prompts
- Character & World Development Prompts
- Story Starter Prompts
- Dialogue Prompts
- Scenario Prompts
Writing Craft Prompt List
- Pick a scene in your novel. Write it from the point of view of a generic, unnamed background character.
- Pick a scene in your novel. Write it from a different character’s point of view.
- Find a dialogue-heavy scene of your story. Rewrite it as if it were an overly dramatic soap opera.
- Find a romantic scene of your story. Rewrite it as if it were a steamy, bodice-ripping romance.
- Think about your unfinished novel’s plot going forward. Fastwrite as many crazy “What if” statements as you can think of in a minute.
- Write a 1-page scene with BAD dialogue. Make it the WORST dialogue in the history of the world! When you’re done, rewrite the same scene with good dialogue instead.
- Pick a setting in your novel. Make a list of sensory details your character might experience at that setting. Write at least two for each of the 5 senses (sight, sound, taste, touch, smell).
- Think about a climactic moment in your story when your hero just barely wins. Write about what would happen if they lost instead.
- Rewrite a scene in 1st person instead of 3rd, or 3rd person instead of 1st.
- Write a short story that is EXACTLY 500 words. Only 200 of those words can be three letters or less. It’s hard, but this is an extremely powerful exercise in line editing and being very intentional in your writing!
- Everything in your story is the same, except swap the gender of each character.
- Write an interaction between two characters. Have the first sentence start with an A-word, the second sentence start with a B-word, and so on through the alphabet. Make it sound as natural as possible!
- Go to your bookshelf, close your eyes, and pick up the first book you touch. Open it to a random page and read the first full sentence. Write a scene that includes that sentence. (From Writer’s Digest)
Development Prompt List
- Your character just won the lottery. What do they do? What do they buy?
- It is the last page of your character’s story. What would they tell the first-page version of themselves if they had a chance?
- Write an apology letter to the character you hurt the most.
- Write a letter from your main character to an unbiased “pen pal.” Have them talk about what’s going on, justify what they’re doing, etc.
- Complete this sentence for your character: “The most terrifying thing in the world is…”
- Complete this sentence for your character: “The most important thing in the world is…”
- Complete this sentence for your character: “I was put here on earth to…”
- What are your character’s strongest talents? What unique skill sets do they possess?
- Why is your main character the main character? What do they add to the story that no one else can?
- If your character had a genie to grant them three wishes, what would they wish for?
- What does your character fear worse than death? What do they want so badly that they would die to achieve it?
- What is the WORST possible thing that could happen right now in your story?
- Law and justice work differently in different places. What does your society’s justice system look like? What are common punishments for criminals? Is the system reasonably fair, or thoroughly corrupt? (From Corvid Knowledge Hoard)
- Does your character have a trademark colour? Invert it. How does that effect your perception of the character? (From Corvid Knowledge Hoard)
- What does your character’s handwriting look like? Is there any significance to it? (From Writer’s Digest)
- Take your main character and place them into your current day job. How does the office respond? Does your character do a good job filling your place? (From Writer’s Digest)
Story Starter Prompt List
- She gives herself out to everyone, bits and pieces of her love and time and soul. She’s falling apart from self-made wounds, digging deep to give out more and more and more for people that don’t deserve it. (From Corvid Knowledge Hoard)
- For such a small town the crime rate was exceptionally high. (From Creative Writing Prompts)
- Destiny wasn’t going to run their lives. They would make their own decisions, no matter how stupid those would be. (From Creative Writing Prompts)
- Sometimes, being under a truth spell just means not being able to lie about being fine anymore. (From Creative Writing Prompts)
- For all the ugly things they had done, their entwined hands looked beautiful together. (From Creative Writing Prompts)
- It was strange to touch him without one of them dying. (From Creative Writing Prompts)
- She lived by 3 simple rules. 1. For the right money she’d kill almost anyone. 2. But never kids. 3. And definitely no dogs. (From Creative Writing Prompts)
- Some said the world would end in fire, some said in ice. Some people even said with zombies. But no one could have known that this was how it all ended. (From Creative Writing Prompts)
- The copy machine broke down in the middle of printing, which made this the third worst thing that happened this morning. (From Creative Writing Prompts)
- The night sky lit up for a second and what followed sounded a lot like the end of the world. (From Creative Writing Prompts)
- What had started as a friendly game of Simon Says quickly turned into a complete and utter disaster. (From Creative Writing Prompts)
Dialogue Prompt List
- “So that’s it? It’s over?”
- “In my defense, he was already dead when I got here.”
- “Can I just whoop your ass now?”
- “You have no idea who I am, do you?”
- “How was I supposed to know it was haunted?”
- “I’m still way too sober for this.”
- “The more I love you, the more I hate you.”
- “I can’t believe I’d ever fall in love with someone like you.”
- “It’s things like these that keep me up at night.”
- “You can’t get rid of me that easily.”
- “We are all queens of our own kingdoms.”
- “You’re the worst thing that’s ever happened to me, and yet I don’t regret a moment of it.”
- “But if they think we’re a couple, we’ll get the couples discount!”
- “Can you please stop leaving dead bodies on my doorstep? You’re worse than a cat.”
- “I know I signed up for this and all, but… if I die, it’s still your fault and I will not hold back on blaming you.”
- “I can be sweet. Sometimes. To certain people. It happens!” (From Witter Prompts)
- “Normally, I’d have pushed you out the door by now, but you’re making a compelling argument with the bribery.” (From Witter Prompts)
- “I have fifty other excuses I could use. Do you want me to start alphabetically?” (From Witter Prompts)
- “Wow, fantastic. Now we can add stranded on top of our other numerous problems.” (From Witter Prompts)
- “Are you always this prone to bad luck and violence? If so, that’s kind of sad.” (From Witter Prompts)
- “I’m not going anywhere until you tell me why I saw you float through a wall.” (From Witter Prompts)
- “I am not grossly romantic. I am the right amount of romantic I’m required to be.” (From Witter Prompts)
- “What I lack in height, I make up for with my attitude.” (From Witter Prompts)
- “Rules? Nope, not listening. I’m not following them. Never have, never will.” (From Witter Prompts)
- “Not much of this makes sense. The markings are faded and I think some are missing.” (From Witter Prompts)
- “This whole ‘magic’ thing is going too far. There’s no way I’m able to do any of the things you’ve talked about and I think I would have noticed by now if I could.” (From Witter Prompts)
- “No pressure, honest. It’s not like the world is depending on you or anything.” (From Witter Prompts)
- “Wow. Here I thought we had a moment. I spilled my story to you and all you have to say is ‘okay’? What does that even mean?!” (From Witter Prompts)
- “I don’t think this is the biggest mistake you’ve made. It’s probably like…the third worst.” (From Witter Prompts)
- “Our new neighbors are simultaneously the scariest and nicest people I’ve met.” (From Witter Prompts)
- “You’re so convinced that I’ll hurt them that you haven’t considered it’s the last thing I’d ever want to do.” (From Witter Prompts)
- “What I don’t want is any more experiments done in parts of my house. I found an ominous purple stain in my carpet yesterday and I know it was your fault.” (From Witter Prompts)
- “What have I told you about listening to your gut more? It’s smart. Do it.” (From Witter Prompts)
- “Aw, look at you, using fancy words at me. You’ve certainly grown up, haven’t you?” (From Witter Prompts)
- “Would you believe me if I said what you saw was a trick of the light?” (From Witter Prompts)
- “Shouting at each other across the room doesn’t count as having a proper conversation about your feelings. Wouldn’t you rather all of this be private, anyway?” (From Witter Prompts)
- “Didn’t we agree that you should keep your magic out of my house? Everything I own suffers when you try a new spell.” (From Witter Prompts)
- “I’m not letting karma deal with this. I can’t trust it’ll be enough of a punishment, nor can I say it’d be fast enough.” (From Witter Prompts)
- “You’d think I’d be embarrassed, but let’s be real with each other. I’ve done far worse things.” (From Witter Prompts)
- “If the duct tape doesn’t work, then I have no idea what else to do. You’re on your own after that.” (From Witter Prompts)
- “Don’t forget we’re enemies. I’m not letting anyone kill you but me, understand? Now sit still and let me bandage your side.” (From Witter Prompts)
- “Aren’t hunters supposed to kill monsters like us? Why are you helping me?” (From Witter Prompts)
- “Knowing what you know now, if you could go back. Would you do it? Kill xir before xe can ever do these things?” (From Corvid Knowledge Hoard)
- “There are fewer fortune-tellers than you may think,” says the witch. “I mean, tarot, sure. Predictions and unclear oracles of maybes. But actual knowing? Nah, man, you can only do that if the Fates have blinded themselves to you.” (From Corvid Knowledge Hoard)
- “I want you to know how much I enjoy this. The taste of your blood, the smell of your fear. I could’ve let you go. But I’m doing this because I want to. There is no mercy here.” (From Corvid Knowledge Hoard)
- “Are you angry? I did not intend to hurt you, this I swear. I did not know how to not. But ignorance of the good doesn’t excuse the bad. I’m sorry.” (From Corvid Knowledge Hoard)
- “Xe lives off life energy, dumbass. It’s not like food- I know we compare it to a hunger a lot, but xir body literally cannot make itself live. Every moment that xe is not feeding, xe is dying. Do you think you could maybe ease off a little bit? It’s tough. I know xe’s not what you wanted, not the person you remembered but we’re doing our best.” (From Corvid Knowledge Hoard)
- “Bruh, I don’t know where you got the idea that I’m a good person, but if you want to keep it. Leave now.” (From Corvid Knowledge Hoard)
- “You’ve dragged me into this hellhole, but you can’t make me leave!” (From Corvid Knowledge Hoard)
- “So I think we’ve all accepted that I’m going to die at this point, but since you’re a historian can you at least make my death really cool?” (From Corvid Knowledge Hoard)
- “There’s something really funny about watching [villain] eat peanut butter with a spoon. During a battle. Because I can’t touch xir. Did I say funny? I meant infuriating.” (From Corvid Knowledge Hoard)
- “That’s the thing about X. Xe will claw xir way out of hell out of spite, but xe’ll throw xirself back in to save someone xe cares about.” (From Corvid Knowledge Hoard)
- “We’ll become legends. One way or another.” (From Creative Writing Prompts)
- “Am I a hero or the devil’s son? Can’t figure out what side I’m on.” (From Creative Writing Prompts)
- “So from the bottom of my cold, dead heart, screw you.” (From Creative Writing Prompts)
- “I’ve been the family disappointment for years! You can’t just suddenly show up at dinner and steal my rightful title!” (From Creative Writing Prompts)
- “I’m not saying this is all my fault, but I would be open to take a tiny bit of responsibility for this.” (From Creative Writing Prompts)
- “Last night I tried to imagine myself without you. The thing is, I could and I felt so much better.” (From Creative Writing Prompts)
Scenario Prompt List
- Two of your characters sneak down to the kitchen for a midnight snack. They bump into each other. Write that interaction.
- After getting hit by a car, your main character wakes up in an alternate universe surrounded by strangers. The entire life they knew before the accident had all been a dream.
- Assassins: After stalking her prey and tracking his movements for so long, your character has begun to fall in love with him.
- Assassins: Your character and his love interest are hired to kill each other.
- Assassin/Fake Dating: After being undercover as the target’s ‘girlfriend’ for several months, your character is ordered to finish the job.
- Your main cast is a team of reality TV ghost hunters. This time, the house is actually haunted.
- Fake Dating: Your character convinces their best friend/crush to a family gathering with them as their ‘date.’
- Fake Dating: Your character couldn’t stand the family gathering ‘you’re still single?’ ridicule, so she threw out the name of her crush… who happens to be a family friend, and is present at the gathering.
- Masquerade Ball: Your main romantic couple meets at a masquerade ball, and can’t recognize each other.
- Pirate/Mermaid: Your character is a merciless pirate, and she just wrangled her best prey yet. A mermaid.
- Soulmate: A red thread of fate connects your character to his soulmate. The threat cannot be broken, but it can stretch and tangle.
- Soulmate: There’s a timer tattoo on your character’s wrist that counts down to the moment she’ll meet her soulmate.
- Soulmate: When your character goes to sleep, in his dreams he can see the world through his soulmate’s eyes.
- Soulmate: Your character can see her soulmate in her bedroom mirror every night. They’ve never met in real life.
- Superhero: Your character is an undercover superhero. Their love interest is an undercover supervillain. The two know each other in real life, but DON’T know about each other’s secret identities.
- Superhero: Your character just found out that their best friend is destined to be the next Villain.
- Superhero: Your character’s superpower never manifested.
- When your character wakes up, he realizes he doesn’t even know his own name.
- While on vacation, your character’s parents call. They say to not bother coming home; they’re kicking your character out.
- Your character finds a craigslist ad looking for company for a cross-country road trip.
- Your character finds a craigslist ad looking for teammates for the upcoming Ultimate Ping-Pong Tournament.
- Your character follows a strange man into a back alley, hoping to buy drugs. But instead, he simply hands your character a gilded four-leaf clover (or another strange trinket/random object).
- Your character gets a call from a friend they haven’t heard from in years. The friend says that she’s about to become the next victim of a rampant serial killer, and your character is the only one who can help.
- Your character gets a call from a friend they haven’t heard from in years. The friend tells your character that she is the Chosen One.
- Your character realizes that she’s a fictional character in a novel.
- Your character wakes up to find that the person in the mirror is definitely not them.
- Your character’s future child appears, fully grown. The child says he went back in time in order to change the future, with your character’s help.
- Your character’s long-dead grandma appears out of the blue. She says your character is from an alien race that’s about to invade Earth, and they must return to the home planet for safety.
- Your character’s long-lost grandma arrives out of the blue. She says your character is actually royalty, and must take the throne of a country your character has never even heard of.
- Your character’s long-time crush just knocked on her door. He’s dressed as a pizza guy stripper, and he doesn’t realize he has the wrong address until it’s too late.
- Your villain’s main henchman just quit. Write about the villain’s secretary trying to find a suitable replacement.
- They haven’t seen each other in a long time, but Person A realizes they are still Person B’s emergency contact, when they get a call from the hospital. (From Creative Writing Prompts)
- Both heirs of the feuding countries do not want the war to go on and declare themselves madly in love with each other to stop their fathers’ pointless fighting. (From Creative Writing Prompts)
- Imagine your OTP where Person A doesn’t have a birthday so Person B says they are allowed to choose the date. And they choose a day that they associate with Person B. (From Creative Writing Prompts)
- Write about the day your character met their best friend. (From Writer’s Digest)
- Your character is absent-mindedly singing to himself, when suddenly the topic of the song comes true. (From Writer’s Digest)
- Your character is driving by rental car when they hear the thump of a flat tire. After pulling over, they realize the thump wasn’t from a flat. It’s coming from the trunk. (From Writer’s Digest)
About This Writing Prompt List
This writing prompt list includes 136 unique prompts!
Sometimes the prompts reference certain pronouns for better clarity, but don’t let that stop you from applying it to whoever you want.
Last updated: Added 15 new prompts on April 25th, 2021.
Writing Prompt Credit & Sources:
Most of the listed writing prompts are my own, but some were inspired by various places around the web and others were taken with permission by dedicated writing prompt blogs.
Credit and thanks to:
If you like what you see from one of these blogs, please go visit their site for more!