Creative Prompts for Short Stories, Scenes, & More!


Have you ever struggled to come up with inspiration for a short story, drabble, or character development scene, but, after searching on the internet or Pinterest for hours, wound up with nothing but poor dialogue excerpts and elementary school writing exercises? This is usually how the search for writing prompts goes for me. And while I can usually drum up enough inspiration on my own if I have enough time, it’s nice to have a list or stash of prompts to draw from when creative wells run dry. So, today’s post is going to be a couple of lists of creative writing prompts for short stories, character development scenes, poems, and/or whatever other project you may be making.


20 General Prompts:

  1. Go to Wikipedia’s home page and click on the “random article” option on the left-hand menu three times. Incorporate those three items/topics into your story/scene/poem/piece.
  2. Create a story/piece based upon your current favorite song.
  3. Put your largest playlist on shuffle and create a story/piece based upon the fourth song that plays.
  4. Ask a family member or friend for three random words. You have to use all three in your story/scene/poem/piece.
  5. Ask a family member or friend for two random words. The first word is the opening of your story/scene/poem/piece; the second word is the ending.
  6. Go to an online image search and search for your name or the name of your character. Base your story/scene/poem/piece off of the last picture in the second row.
  7. What’s the top headline for your local news (not national or global)? Create a story/scene/poem/piece based on the headline.
  8. Name your piece after the name that comes up when you use this random name generator.
  9. What’s today’s date? Your piece must have a) that many paragraphs OR b) that many lines.
  10. Look outside the nearest window. What’s the first thing you see? Use that as inspiration for your piece.
  11. What’s the last webpage you bookmarked? Use something on that page as your inspiration.
  12. Go to or and use their “word of the day” as the basis for your story/scene/poem/piece. Bonus: use both “words of the day.”
  13. Think of a place, aesthetic style, music style, story genre, season, or food that you don’t enjoy. Now, create a piece where that thing plays an important role.
  14. Find a list of clichés (like this one). Find the third cliché listed under the first letter of your name and incorporate that cliché into your piece.
  15. Pick a fairy tale/folk tale that you’ve never heard of before and adapt the story into a completely different genre/medium.
  16. Use the regional/state/national animal of where you live as a symbol in your story/scene/poem/piece.
  17. Turn on the radio. Incorporate the first full sentence you hear into your story/scene/poem/piece.
  18. Create a piece about your favorite color without every mentioning it explicitly.
  19. Ask the person nearest in proximity to you for a word. Type that word into an image search engine, and use the first picture in the third row as your prompt.
  20. Flip to page 145 of the first book you can find. What’s the last word on the page? Center your story/scene/poem/piece on that word.


100 Word Prompts:

Use a random number generator (like this one) to get a number between 1 and 100. Then find that number on the list and use it as your prompt!

  1. Squab
  2. Brackish
  3. Chartreuse
  4. Sinew
  5. Hypermnesia
  6. Asperity
  7. Gormless
  8. Specialized
  9. Juxtapose
  10. Tonic
  11. Starlet
  12. Bleak
  13. Mammoth
  14. Sublime
  15. Sepulchral
  16. Yogurt
  17. Crinkle
  18. Tartan
  19. Languished
  20. Parallel
  21. Jaunt
  22. Vegetation
  23. Sprig
  24. Epicenter
  25. Convex
  26. Crescendo
  27. Ignorance
  28. Gilded
  29. Wither
  30. Elegant
  31. Ribosome
  32. Tactical
  33. Yearn
  34. University
  35. Increment
  36. Orange
  37. Paradoxical
  38. Allspice
  39. Serendipity
  40. Dew
  41. Ferocious
  42. Garbage
  43. Hedonistic
  44. Jolly
  45. Kraken
  46. Loft
  47. Zeppelin
  48. Examine
  49. Vesper
  50. Bonbon
  51. Nuance
  52. Mediocre
  53. Quaint
  54. Walnut
  55. Boilerplate
  56. Oneiric
  57. Cavalier
  58. Icebox
  59. Opulent
  60. Decanter
  61. Revel
  62. Echelon
  63. Precipice
  64. Grove
  65. Curl
  66. Plum
  67. Intuitive
  68. March
  69. Quirk
  70. Tomfoolery
  71. Symposium
  72. Portend
  73. Senescence
  74. Foliage
  75. Recalcitrant
  76. Betwixt
  77. Chiliad
  78. Miff
  79. Miasmas
  80. Pocket
  81. Flax
  82. Enthusiasm
  83. Knot
  84. Archipelago
  85. Cacao
  86. Provision
  87. Accent
  88. Bitter
  89. Warble
  90. Cascade
  91. Vehicle
  92. Yonder
  93. Printmaker
  94. Gazette
  95. Pastry
  96. Adept
  97. Pitfall
  98. Qualm
  99. Rural
  100. Dandelion


If you use one of these prompts, I’d love to know which one you used and how the piece turned out. Happy creating!

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