Story Prompts and Creative Writing Ideas

Here are some story prompts you can use to give you ideas for creative writing. If you're taking the CWN free creative writing courses, these story starters are especially recommended for the sections on "showing" versus "telling" and specific detail. At the bottom of the page, you'll find more information about the free courses as well as links to lots of other story starter pages.

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Fiction writing ideas with a focus on: showing versus telling, and specific detail.

1) Creative writing ideas - the new house

Your character and his wife visit a new house that they're thinking of buying. Your character's wife is enthusiastic about the house, but it's really a terrible place. The character hates it but is afraid to say what he really thinks. Show the scene. But.. do NOT tell the reader that the house is terrible. Do NOT tell the reader that your character hates it. Do NOT have the character tell his true feelings about the wife. Instead, make the reader see and feel it all. And eventually, make the wife see it too.

2) Creative writing ideas - secret love

Two old friends get together for dinner after a long time apart. One of them is secretly in love with the other one. Show this, don't tell it.

3) Creative writing ideas - the grouch

In an emergency, a small boy is left to stay with his grandfather for several days. The grandfather pretends to be annoyed at the inconvenience, but, secretly, he is delighted. He adores the boy. He is embarrassed about displaying emotion, so he acts gruff with the child, who is therefore frightened of him at the beginning of the visit. Show the old man's act, but also let his real feelings show through.

4) Creative writing ideas - the lemon

Your character thinks she's gotten a great deal on something (car, house, vacation package, money-making scheme, new job offer -- you decide). She brags to everyone who will listen about how fabulous this deal is. Meanwhile, little by little, you let the reader see what she's really gotten herself into.

5) Creative writing ideas - the evil roommate

Your character meets her new roommate. She thinks the roommate is nice. The roommate is NOT nice. The roommate is obsessed with power. The roommate wants to control every little detail of the apartment and also wants to control your character's life. Don't tell us any of this. Show it.

6) More story prompts

Write a story that shows any of the following ideas:

  • Jack is afraid of commitment.
  • Meredith desperately wants a baby.
  • Eleanor is afraid of growing old.
  • Steven is so fed up in his job that he's about to do something desperate.
  • Natalia isn't in love with her boyfriend any more.
  • Rashid is terrified of heights.

Even more story prompts and ideas

Where would you like to go next? Choose one of the links below.

Click here for more short story topics.

Click here to find out about Free Online Writing Courses.

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

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