The best dramatic writing prompts
The term “dramatic” can feel fairly vague. In this case, we use the term to describe fiction that’s intense, powerful, and exciting. The protagonist can be a regular person, with a regular life — but drama somehow finds a way into their world. And while everyone has the capacity to be a little dramatic, sometimes as writers we’re still left with a blank page. If you’re suffering with writer’s block, we’re here to help. The Reedsy team has put together this list of creative writing prompts in the hopes of inspiring authors to write stories that leave readers wondering: what will happen next?
Don’t feel too tied to one genre — these prompts are to give you ideas for dramatic stories, but don’t be afraid to introduce elements of other genres. A dramatic story can be tinged with fantasy, science fiction, horror, the supernatural, and so on. All it requires to make it dramatic is a healthy dose of conflict, and enough tension to keep readers wanting more. Other than that, there are no rules!
Here are our top ten dramatic writing prompts:
- “Stop!” you cried. But it was too late — the plan was already in motion.
- You're pretty sure you've never been this scared before. Then again, anyone would be in your position.
- You know a friend is hiding something and you need to find out what it is before it puts you in danger. How do you find out what their secret is?
- Write about someone who decides it’s time to cut ties with a family member.
- Write about a character discovering something new about their past that changes how they remember an important moment.
- Write a story that spans a month during which everything changes.
- Write a story about a teenager visiting the place where they grew up.
- After a friend or family member's funeral, you come home to a stranger on your doorstep, who tells you that they're not really dead.
- Two old friends meet to reminisce about old times and find out they have very different perspectives on a shared memory.
- Write a story about a character who is certain the world is going to end today.
If you’re interested in writing dramatic fiction, check out these relevant resources for even more tips.
- Character profile template (free resource) — Drama stories are especially character driven. If you want to get into your protagonist's head and see through their eyes, you’re going to need to know them inside and out. That’s where character development tools like our character profile can help.
- How to Write Believable Dialogue that Develops Plot and Character (cree course) — Dramatic fiction can be pretty literary, and often relies on razor-sharp dialogue to convey the story’s plot. Luckily, anyone can write amazing dialogue — just sign up for our free, ten day course on the subject!
- Story Structure: 7 Narrative Structures All Writers Should Know (blog post) — Climax, denouement, resolution — if all these terms may as well be Greek to you, we’ve got you covered. Our story structure guide runs you through all the major story structures you could ever need, to provide a framework for your story to form around.
Want more help learning how to write a dramatic story? Check 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.
Ready to start writing? Check out Reedsy’s weekly short story contest, for the chance of winning $250, plus potential publication in our literary magazine, Prompted! You can also check out our list of writing contests or our directory of literary magazines for more opportunities to submit your story.