The best fiction writing prompts
For many people, a blank page is a just a piece of paper. But for writers who dream about writing a short story or novel, it's something much worse: it's a chilling omen of writer's block.
That's how creative writing prompts can help—especially for a fiction writer. Writing prompts give you the story ideas so that you're left with the time and energy to bring those stories and characters from your own imagination to vivid life. Best of all, they come in all shapes, sizes, and genres, from mystery prompts about a death in a haunted house to romance prompts about a meet-cute in the city. Feel free to scour this directory for the fiction writing prompts you need to write your book!
If you're looking to cut to the chase, here's a top ten list of fiction writing prompts:
- At some point in the story, have a character casually say something that hints at the ending.
- Start your story with someone trying to read a map.
- Write a story about miscommunication.
- Write a story based on the song title: "My Generation"
- Write a story in which societal rituals and expectations play a key role.
- Write a story in which the same line recurs three times.
- Write a story about a character exploring their religious or spiritual identity.
- Write a story where your protagonist predicts danger.
- Write about a character who was considered a prodigy when they were young.
- Write the 'origin story' of a person who goes on to achieve great things.
If you're interested in learning how to write fiction, check out our free resources on the topic:
Develop a Writing Routine (free course) — Ask any published author, and they’ll tell you that only 20% of getting a book published is talent. The other 80% is commitment is simply sitting down every day and committing yourself to putting words on paper. This ten-day course will show you how to create a writing routine that helps you accomplish just that.
How to Write a Novel 101 (free course) — All novels, including the great ones, have the same basic components: plot, structure, and characters. Take this free course to learn more about these all-important elements of a story—and how you can subvert them to make your own book great.
How to Write a Short Story That Gets Published (free course) — Thinking about trying your hand at short stories? Laura Mae Isaacman, a full-time editor who’s worked with authors like Joyce Carol Oates, teaches this course that’s all about short stories. She’ll cover the entire process, from writing the story to actually getting it published.
Ready to start writing? Check out Reedsy’s weekly short story contest, for the chance of winning $250! You can also check out our list of writing contests or our directory of literary magazines for more opportunities to submit your story.