Reedsy's Short Story Contest
When the idea to start a weekly newsletter of creative writing prompts first came to us, we decided that we wanted to do more than provide people with topics to write about. We wanted to try and help authors form a regular writing habit and also give them a place to proudly display their work. So we started the weekly Reedsy Short Story Contest.
Here's how our contest works: every Friday, we send out a newsletter containing five story prompts. Each week, the writing ideas center around a different theme. Authors then have one week — until the following Friday — to submit a short story based on one of our prompts. A winner is picked each week to win $50 and appear on our dedicated short story Medium blog.
Why we love creative writing prompts
If you've ever sat in front of a computer or notebook and felt the urge to start creating worlds, characters, and storylines — all the while finding yourself unable to do so, then you've met the author's age-old foe: writer's block. There's nothing more frustrating than finding the time but not the words to be creative. Enter our new directory! If you're ready to kick writer's block to the curb and finally get started on your short story or novel, these unique story ideas might just be your ticket.
This list of 500+ creative ideas has been created by the Reedsy team to help you develop a rock-solid writing routine. Which, as all aspiring authors know, is the #1 challenge — and solution! — for reaching your literary goals. Feel free to filter through by the different genres, which includes...
Comedy — whether satire or slapstick, this is an opportunity to write with your funny bone.
Dramatic — if you want to make people laugh and cry within the same story, this might be your genre.
Romance — one of the most popular commercial genres out there. Check these prompts out if you love writing about love.
Fantasy — the beauty of this genre is that the possibilities are as endless as your imagination.
Mystery — from whodunnits to cozy mysteries, it's time to bring out your inner detective.
Thriller — there's nothing like a page-turner that elicits a gasp of surprise at the end.
Historical Fiction — your chance to transport readers to times gone by.
For Kids — encourage children to let their imagination run free.
Want to submit your own prompts to help inspire fellow writers? Send them to us here.
After you find the perfect creative writing prompt
Finding inspiration is just one piece of the puzzle. Next, you need to refine your craft skills — and then display them to the world. We've worked hard to create resources that help you do just that! Check them out:
How to Write a Short Story That Gets Published — a free, ten-day course by Laura Mae Isaacman, a full-time editor who runs a book editing company in Brooklyn.
Best Literary Magazines of 2019 — a directory of 100+ reputable magazines that accept unsolicited submissions.
Writing Contests in 2019 — the finest contests of 2019 for fiction and non-fiction authors of short stories, poetry, essays and more.
Beyond creative writing prompts: how to build a writing routine
While story prompts are a great tactic to spark your creative sessions, a writer generally needs a couple more tools in their toolbelt when it comes to developing a rock-solid writing routine. To that end, here are a few more additional tips for incorporating your craft into your everyday life.
NNWT. Or, as book coach Kevin Johns calls it, “Non-Negotiable Writing Time.” This time should be scheduled into your routine, whether that’s once a day or once a week. Treat it as a serious commitment, and don’t schedule anything else during your NNWT unless it’s absolutely necessary.
Set word count goals. And make them realistic! Don’t start out with lofty goals you’re unlikely to achieve. Give some thought to how many words you think you can write a week, and start there. If you find you’re hitting your weekly or daily goals easily, keep upping the stakes as your craft time becomes more ingrained in your routine.
Talk to friends and family about the project you’re working on. Doing so means that those close to you are likely to check in about the status of your piece — which in turn keeps you more accountable.
Arm yourself against writer’s block. Writer’s block will inevitably come, no matter how much story prompts initially inspire you. So it’s best to be prepared with tips and tricks you can use to keep yourself on track before the block hits. You can find 20 solid tips here — including how to establish a relationship with your inner critic and apps that can help you defeat procrastination or lack of motivation.