Creative Writing Topics and Short Story Ideas

Here are lots of creative writing topics to give you ideas for your own stories and novels. If you are taking one of our free online writing courses, these fiction writing prompts are especially recommended for the sections on plot structure and story climax.

At the bottom of the page, you'll find a links to browse more story prompts, plus the chance to take a free writing course.

Creative writing topics - story starters with a focus on: plot structure and story climax.

1) Creative writing topics - the puppy

Write a chilling, edge-of-the-seat, stay-up-late-reading suspenseful story about whether your character will get the new puppy he wants.


  • Make sure your character feels real to us. You can read more about character development .
  • Make us care about your character.
  • Make the puppy extremely important to your character, and make sure we know why. Make us ache with your character's need for the puppy.
  • Set up a obstacles to the character's getting the puppy. Create a situation in which it's not clear how things will turn out puppywise.
  • What does your character do to try to push things in his favor? Show us his efforts.
  • What is the crucial event that will decide if your character gets the puppy? Plan this event from the beginning for maximum excitement. And when you get there, remember to show us the scene so vividly that we can see, hear, smell, and hear what's going on as if we were in a dream.

2) Creative writing topics - envious friend

Your character desperately wants something that belongs to his best friend. He feels that if he had this one thing, his life would be better. Without it, his life is miserable. What is the thing? Why does he want it so much? You decide. Your character develops a plan to get this thing for himself. What's the plan? But several obstacles block him. What are they? The situation is looking pretty bad for your character, but he decides to make one final last-ditch effort to get what he wants. This is the story climax. What is your character's final plan? What happens? Write the story.

3) Creative writing topics - important party

Your character is a teenager, who wants to go to a particular party. Going to this party is incredibly important to your character, who practically feels that his or her life depends on it. (Why? Come up with a reason). Unfortunately for your character, Dad has absolutely forbidden this party. (Why? If you're a parent, you can probably come up with about twenty possible reasons. Choose one). Write a story from the teenager's perspective. The climax of the story is Party Night. The teenager tries with all his or her might to get to the party, and Dad tries with all his might to prevent this. What happens?

4) Creative writing topics - the competition

Your character decides he must become the best in the world at a particular sport. Choose your favorite sport. If you hate all sports, you can choose a board game. Why is it so important to your character to become the best at this? Show why it matters. Your character develops an unusual training program. What is it? He organizes a match to prove his skill. What's the big match? Create obstacles and difficulties in his training and in his preparation for the match. Show how he tries to get past these roadblocks. Then show the big match. This is the story climax. What happens?

5) Creative writing topics - creepy hotel

Your character's car breaks when he is driving home from a business trip late at night. Fortunately, there is a hotel nearby, so the character decides to stay there and deal with the car in the morning. This hotel is the creepiest place he's ever seen. Why is it so creepy? Create the atmosphere. According to the hotel's policy, the character pays in advance for the night. Then he goes up to his room, and things get even creepier. How? Show us. Your character wants to leave the place but tells himself he's being irrational. He's already paid for the room, and he tells himself everything will be fine. But it just gets worse. Depending on how you write this, it could be a ghost story, a crime story, a realistic psychological drama, or a comedy. You could even try your hand at all of them and write four stories.

6) More creative writing topics

Write about any of the following conflicts:

  • Rigid teacher versus creative student
  • Woman's need to get a job versus her fear of rejection
  • Character's conscience versus her temptation to get rich illegally when a unique opportunity arises
  • Man's actual money problems versus his desire to look successful when his parents come to visit
  • Two men competing for the same woman
  • Traditional wife versus feminist husband

Even more creative writing ideas

Choose a link below to keep the inspiration coming:

Browse more creative writing prompts.

Go to the CWN free online writing courses.

See a list of CWN pages with fiction writing prompts

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