Short Story Topics and Creative Writing Ideas

Here are some short story topics to give you ideas for creative writing. If you are taking CWN's free online writing courses, these story starters are especially designed for the lessons on narrative point of view. But feel free to use them however you like! At the bottom of the page are links to more short story ideas, as well as information about free writing courses.

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Short story ideas - writing prompts with a focus on: narrative point of view

1) Short story topics - chemical imbalance

Imagine a blind date. The guy thinks it goes wonderfully -- amazing chemistry; they have so much in common. The girl thinks it's a disaster, that he's a real creep.

Write about the date in the first person, from the girl's point of view. E.g., "I met him at the restaurant at seven. He looked..." (For tips on writing in the first person, click here).

Then, write about the same date in the first person, from the guy's point of view.

If you want, you could also rewrite the same scene in the third person, switching back and forth between points of view. Use some kind of indicator so that readers know where the point of view is at all time. Maybe give the man a few paragraphs, then the woman, and use a line break each time you change to separate the story into sections. Don't switch back and forth too fast, or you might leave your reader dizzy and disoriented.

2) Short story topics - wife's denial

Your character's husband is an alcoholic, but your character refuses to realize it. She idealizes him. The couple had a dinner party the night before, and your character's husband got drunk and violent. Your character tells the story of the party in the first person and tries to convince the reader that what happened was no big deal.

3) Short story topics - the blind woman

Your character is blind. The man she has started dating is not. He invites her to his apartment for the first time. While she is there, she notices various clues that tell her he is probably married. Write this story from the blind woman's point of view. Remember that she cannot see, so you must not use any visual details. Focus on sounds, smells, touch, even taste. This is her first time in her new boyfriend's apartment, so she is probably paying a lot of attention to what's around her. Describe the apartment as vividly as possible without involving the sense of sight.

Rewrite the story where the blind woman goes to her new boyfriend's apartment, but this time write it from the boyfriend's point of view. The boyfriend is not blind, so you can use visual details. But don't forget about the other senses. The apartment belongs to him, so although he can see it, he is not paying attention to the details in the same way that the woman is. It is all familiar to him. On the other hand, he is paying attention to her. He is attracted to her physically and notices details about how she looks. Make the reader see these details. Also: as the blind woman begins to suspect that he's married, he notices a change in her behavior. He is watching her reactions closely, so show the reader what he sees.

4) Short story topics - the thief's defense

Tell the story of a robbery in the first person, from the point of view of the criminal. Have the criminal tell the story as if he were attempting to convince the reader that his actions were justified.

You might then write about the same robbery from the point of view of the victim.

More short story topics

To keep the inspiration flowing, choose one of the following links:

Click here for additional creative writing ideas.

Click here to go to the free creative writing courses page.

Click here for a list of CWN pages with fiction writing prompts.

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