Chill Clinton is a professional writer with an interest in a variety of forms.
Writing Is as Fun as It Is Challenging
Writing is a cathartic experience for many, offering individuals an opportunity to express their authentic selves through language and storytelling.
For writers hoping to refine their skills, one of the best things they can do is practice by writing every day. However, it can be challenging for many to synthesize new ideas each day, which is why writing prompts can be helpful tools to inspire creativity.
If you are a writer who needs help brainstorming new concepts for short stories or who needs a jumping-off point to explore fresh ideas, check out this list of eight original and detailed writing prompts!
1. The Unfamiliar House
A young woman wakes up on the couch in a home she isn't familiar with. She recalls falling asleep in her own bed, but has no idea where she now is or how she ended up there. After inspecting the house, she realizes she is all alone, but when she goes to open the front door to leave, it is locked. In fact, every door and window leading to the outside is locked.
You might explore the house and how the woman will find a way to escape. Or others might investigate how the woman ended up there, and why it is that she doesn't remember being there before. Was her being there a random occurrence, or does she have some connection to the house that would explain the predicament she finds herself in?
2. The Pinball Game
A teenager who spends way too much time playing arcade pinball hears about a competition for only the most talented players, but when he arrives at a mysterious warehouse with nothing but a single pinball machine, he realizes that this is no average competition. But little does he know that his troubles are just beginning, because things get far more complicated when he places a quarter in the machine, and is sucked into the world of "Medieval Pinball".
What will this world look like? Will our character find himself in an enormous game of pinball played by a maniacal villain, where he must dodge a boulder-sized ball? How will our character escape the world of "Medieval Pinball", and what will he learn about himself along the way? Perhaps he'll never escape and be doomed to play pinball for all of eternity?
3. The Unknown Son
An elderly woman mourns her late husband, who passed away a month before their 50th wedding anniversary. But on the morning of that anniversary, a young man knocks on the door, claiming to be the woman's son, who has arrived to cheer her up. The only problem is, the elderly woman doesn't recognize the man as her son.
How might this woman react? Does she hold firm in her belief that this man is not her son, or does she question her own perception of reality? What might this man want, and how does he respond to the woman he claims to be his mother not recognizing him? How will he prove that he is her son, or how will the woman prove that the man isn't her son? What will happen when the truth is realized?
4. The Travel Sweepstakes
A high school student enters a sweepstakes that offers them a chance to travel to any one destination in the world, never thinking that they would win. However, against the odds, they win the contest. The only problem is that neither of their parents are able to join them, but the prize requires them to travel with a parent or guardian.
Will the student accept that they simply can't go on the trip, or will they resent their parents for standing in the way of them exploring the world? If they could go, where would they want to go, and why? Is there an underlying reason why the student applied, and is that reason enough motivation to find a solution that doesn't include their parents accompanying them?
5. The Unexpected Delivery
A fast food worker is asked to stay late to deep clean the kitchen by themselves, but in the middle of the night, a truck pulls up to the back, and a delivery driver knocks on the door, saying that he has a delivery to make. The only problem is that the worker didn't hear about this delivery, and doesn't recognize the delivery truck as their supplier.
How does the fast food worker feel about having to stay late? Are they happy to work alone, or are they nervous to be all alone in the kitchen? How will the worker respond to this delivery, and more importantly, how will the driver respond to their initial response? Is this a legitimate delivery, or just a ploy for the driver to access the building? If the driver makes it inside, what might they do?
6. The Mysterious Fortune
While walking down the street one evening, a young woman notices a new storefront that has opened up, offering fortunetelling. On a whim, she goes inside and finds an older woman inside, who tells her that she will meet the love of her life in the next five days.
In these stories, we often see that fortunes are not always as forthcoming as they first seem. Will the young woman take her fortune seriously, or brush it off? Will hearing her fortune change the way she behaves over the next five days? Does this premonition come true, or might it come with more than the young woman bargained for? Is the idea of finding love appealing or revolting to this character?
7. The Summer Camp Portal
Two siblings are sent to Summer camp by their parents. On the first evening, the brothers wake up in their tent to see a faint light twinkling in the forest. Upon approaching the source of the light, a tree hollow, both of the boys are sucked into an alternate reality full of fantastical and dangerous creatures.
As a writer, you must decide how the boys feel about being sent to camp. Do they feel the same, or do they have different perspectives? When they enter the new world, what will this world look like? Will they be happy to be there, or will they want to escape back to reality as soon as possible? Is there a challenge that they discover in this new world that they must overcome or feel the need to defeat?
8. The Cold Journey
In the near future, the world is covered in ice and snow. A young mother lives in the wilderness, far from the threats of cities, with her child. But when her child comes down with an inexplicable illness, she must make the long trek from their remote cabin to the city in search of a doctor to help save them.
How will this world appear? What resources will the mother have available to her, and what accommodations will she have worked to provide her child? Will the challenges she faces bringing her child to a city come more from man or nature? Does she safely arrive, and if she does, will she choose to return to the wilderness?
The point of these prompts is not to help you create your magnum opus. If, however, one of these prompts inspires you to create a great work of fiction, I am honored to have helped inspire you!
But the main purpose of working with prompts is to take an external idea and use your own creativity and voice to steer that narrative, and hopefully explore untapped areas of your writing ability. Simply write without any limitations, without overthinking, and without constantly going back to review and edit!
So next time you sit down to write (hopefully every day), consider using one of these prompts to help guide you!