BEST MYSTERY WRITING PROMPTS

Whether you’re a debut author, a seasoned novelist, or simply looking to flex your creative muscles, writing prompts are an great way to maintain a writing routine.

Showing 34 prompts reset

Subscribe to our prompts newsletter

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

Win $50 in our short story competition 🏆

We'll send you 5 prompts each week. Respond with your short story and you could win $50!

Contest #3 LIVE

Enter our weekly contest!

This week's theme: Calling All Bookworms


$50

Prize money

46

Submissions

--

days

--

hours

--

mins

--

secs

Closes at 23:59 - Aug 23, 2019 EST
View details

Recent contests ✍️

#3 – Calling All Bookworms

#2 – Toni Morrison

#1 – Birthdays

Recent winners 🏆

Joseph Mclaughlinread story

If you love suspense and finding clues is your idea of a good time, you’re probably a fan of mysteries. Now, pick up a pen and — presto! — you’re ready to also become a mystery author, right? Well, not so fast. Because we all know, the key to a gripping whodunnit are the unique mysterious story ideas behind them. If you’re currently waiting for a lightbulb to go off in your head before you embrace your inner Agatha Christie, you’ll enjoy these mystery writing prompts!

Here are three broad categories of mystery stories you might want to consider writing:

  • Cozies. These usually take place in — as the name would suggest — cozy settings, such as small towns. They are meant to be a “light read” meaning they don’t involve graphic violence. The detective is typically an “average joe” with a knack for sleuthing.
  • Hard-boiled. Typically feature a professional detective. As the story unfolds, not only is the mystery untangled, but so is the protagonist’s character development as they face their own internal struggles. These are typically more “gritty” than cozies.
  • Procedurals. Distinguished by their very in-depth explanation of how a mystery was solved — whether a police procedural or an explanation from a medical examiner. 


Want more help learning how to write a short mystery? 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.


Have a story you’re ready to start submitting? Check out our list of writing contests or our directory of literary magazines.

×
Looking for a supply of writing prompts?