10 Surefire Successful Writing Prompts

Though at times I hate them, writing prompts can perform a useful function for writers who want to practice their craft, but are struggling to get started. A high quality prompt can offer a catalyst that may later become a published short story or a contest-winning poem.

The following prompts are guaranteed to offer that kind of success, but if they fail you, it’s probably because you just aren’t that good at writing. Remember, these are time-tested techniques to become one of the world’s top writers:

  1. Write a short story in which you catch a big fish, but cannot sail back to the port with the fish because it’s too big and you’re too old and drunk and jaded and whatnot.
  2. Pretend you are Russian, and write something unmitigatingly depressing.
  3. Write a play where two annoying teenagers profess love to each other and their families are total jerks, so the teens drink some poison to show their parents whatfor.
  4. Write a novel where the main character has like a flaw or something.
  5. Write a story, but make all the characters inanimate objects who can neither move nor emote.
  6. Write a poem.
  7. Imagine you are a toad. What kinds of crazy things would a toad write?
  8. Write a screenplay in which there is a military mining operation impeded by a tribe of natives who happen to be deeply in tune with nature and so the miners send one of their own to become like the natives, but then he leads the natives in a revolt against his own kind — twist!
  9. Write another poem.
  10. Write the Twilight series, but like with more glitter and angst and dating and vampires.

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