Join (probably?) the world's largest writing contest. Flex those creative muscles with weekly writing prompts.

Showing 51 prompts reset

This week's contest:
Win $250

The Great Unknown

120 contest entries /
70 stories









Closes at 23:59 - Apr 26 EST

Set your story in a haunted house.

Horror – 72 stories

Introducing Prompted, a new magazine written by you!

🏆 Featuring 12 prize-winning stories from our community. Download it now for FREE.

Subscribe to our prompts newsletter

Never miss a prompt! Get curated writing inspiration delivered to your inbox each week.

End your story with total oblivion.

Horror – 24 stories

Win $250 in our short story competition 🏆

We'll send you 5 prompts each week. Respond with your short story and you could win $250!

Contest #247 LIVE

Enter our weekly contest!

This week's theme: The Great Unknown


Prize money


Contest entries











Closes at 23:59 - Apr 26, 2024 EST
View details

Recent contests ✍️

#246 – All Fun and Games

#245 – Heavenly Bodies

#244 – Oh Snap!

#243 – Re-Imagining Our World Through Speculative Fiction with Alice McIlroy

Recent winners 🏆

Olivier Breuleuxread

Kerriann Murrayread

Thomas Iannucciread

Niamh O'Dearead

Leaderboard 🥇

#1 Zilla Babbitt

32364 points

#2 Deidra Whitt Lovegren

28703 points

#3 Abigail Airuedomwinya

22417 points

#4 Graham Kinross

14463 points

#5 Scout Tahoe

13196 points

#6 Chris Campbell

11158 points

#7 Thom With An H

10610 points

#8 Rayhan Hidayat

10212 points

#9 Michał Przywara

9885 points

#10 Deborah Mercer

9610 points

The best horror writing prompts

A locked door, a creaking house, a shadow under the bed — horror can come from anywhere. It’s all about being able to tap into your own fear. But you know what’s even more scary to writers than screams, blood and gore? The terror of a blank page. That’s where our horror writing prompts come in.

Our prompts are here to give you inspiration, whatever type of horror story you’re writing. Whether your looming threats are demons, ghosts, monsters, witches, zombies, or simply something unknown lurking in the darkness, we’ve got the right ideas to spark your imagination and fuel your nightmares.

With that in mind, here are our top ten horror writing prompts:

  • Start your story with a character looking out of a window in the middle of the night.
  • An apparent coincidence occurs. Write a story about a character who suspects paranormal, spiritual, or criminal causes.
  • Write a story set in a city where the power suddenly goes out, leaving everyone in darkness.
  • Write a story that involves a reflection in a mirror.
  • A mysterious benefactor will pay $100,000 to anyone willing to stay in a haunted house overnight.
  • Start your story with the arrival of a strange visitor in a small town.
  • Write about a character who doesn’t want to go to sleep.
  • The phone won't stop ringing, but it's not plugged into the wall.
  • You hear the crash of plates and a bloodcurdling scream coming from the kitchen.
  • It’s 3 am and you don’t know where your children are.

Looking for more help to get your horror writing started? We've got you covered. Check out some of our free resources, handpicked to help you write a story that goes bump in the night.

Want more help learning how to write a short horror story? Check out How to Write a Short Story That Gets Published — a free, ten day course guiding you through the process of short story writing 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! You can also check out our list of writing contests or our directory of literary magazines for more opportunities to submit your story.


How to Write a Novel

Join Tom Bromley for a writing master class and finish your first draft in 3 months. Learn more →