BEST MYSTERY WRITING PROMPTS

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

Showing 48 prompts reset

This week's contest:
Win $50

Second Chances

45 stories
Closes at 23:59 - Aug 14 EST

--

days

--

hours

--

mins

--

secs

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 #54 LIVE

Enter our weekly contest!

This week's theme: Second Chances


$50

Prize money

45

Submissions

--

days

--

hours

--

mins

--

secs

Closes at 23:59 - Aug 14, 2020 EST
View details

Recent contests ✍️

#53 – Dog Days of Summer

#52 – In Reverse

#51 – Two Hundred!

#50 – A Moment Like This

Recent winners 🏆

Natalie Strawbridgeread

S Wuread

Emily Hemmingsread

Courtney Stuartread

Leaderboard 🥇

#1 Zilla Babbitt

7468 points

#2 Batool Hussain

6670 points

#3 Abigail Airuedomwinya

5294 points

#4 Rhondalise Mitza

4924 points

#6 Deborah Mercer

3620 points

#7 Roshna Rusiniya

2868 points

#8 Corey Melin

2321 points

#9 Ollie Octopus

2278 points

#10 Kathleen March

2147 points

reedsybookeditor

Tired of MS Word?

Join the revolution and write your book in a tool designed for authors. 🙌

Includes FREE typesetting to print-ready PDF & EPUB files, track changes and collaborative editing.

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.