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The Great Unknown

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Contest #247 LIVE

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This week's theme: The Great Unknown


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The best narrative writing prompts

Writing about yourself can be tricky. Where do you start in your personal narrative? How do you express yourself? What should you write about when it's that personal? Enter narrative writing prompts. These prompts can give you some starting ideas for a story, fuel your memory, and bring your experience to life.

The best part is that you can start narrative writing from any angle: in the mood to write about food today? Go for it. What if you have a lot of thoughts about a particular movie or book you just experienced? Please write it down, starting now! Whether you're a teacher in school guiding students through the art of the personal narrative or a writer simply trying to piece together an essay, these narrative writing prompts are for you.

If you're looking to cut to the chase, here's a top ten list of our favorite narrative writing prompts:

  • "The apple doesn't fall far from the tree!" You've heard this all your life, and you're starting to hate it.
  • Write a story about a mistake that results in wonderful consequences.
  • Write a story about someone forced out of their home.
  • Write a story about someone returning to their craft after a long hiatus.
  • Write a story about someone who defies social conventions.
  • Write about somebody who knows they’re probably going to fail at something, but does it anyway.
  • Write about someone grappling with a specific insecurity.
  • Write about someone making a seemingly inconsequential decision that turns out to have enormous consequences.
  • Your house is on fire and you're able to save one photograph. What would it be?
  • Tell a story through a shopping list.

If you’re interested in becoming a personal narrative author, check out our free resources on the topic:

How to Write a Memoir (blog post) — Wondering how to turn your narrative short story into a full-blown memoir that you can publish? This comprehensive guide has you covered with a step-by-step article on how outline, research, market, and write a memoir. Take a deep dive into the booming market for memoirs and learn what goes into such a book proposal today!

The Non-Sexy Business of Writing Non-Fiction (free course) — Many people have an idea for a nonfiction book they want to write. But very few of them actually become published authors — simply because it’s much harder to write a book than it sounds. In this ten-day course, publishing coach Azul Terronez will help you become one of those select few writers who finish their nonfiction books by walking you through the common writing mistakes to avoid, what to ask yourself before getting started, and how to get through the writing process.

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.


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