Fiction Prompts - Ideas for Stories

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Three Elements

Choose a set of three elements, and imagine a story that includes all three of them.

  1. a hitchhiker, an allergy, and a mistake in a map.
  2. a cemetery, a missing dog, and a joke that goes too far.
  3. a Halloween costume, a stapler, and a complaint between neighbors.
  4. a stolen phone, a love song, and a bet.
  5. a dance competition, an engagement ring, and a worried parent.
  6. insomnia, a birthday card, and an encounter with someone famous.
  7. an eavesdropper, a secret kiss, and a fire in the kitchen.
  8. a babysitter, a pet snake, and a tow truck.
  9. a lit window, a stamp collection, and someone pretending to be angry.
  10. a dream come true, inappropriate laughter, and something buried.
  11. an abandoned house, false eyelashes, and a lump in the bed.

Character Ideas

Here are 3 ideas you can use to create fictional characters and stories:

  1. Write about a character who pretends to be cool and tough, but is actually shy and sensitive.
  2. Write about a character who is obsessed with certain colors.
  3. Write about a character who secretly plans to leave home and start a new life.

Now, YOU complete the sentences to get even more character ideas:

  1. Write about a character who pretends to be ________, but is actually ________.
  2. Write about a character who is obsessed with ________.
  3. Write about a character who secretly ________.

woman's shadow on sidewalk

First Lines

Here are some beginnings for stories or poems. Start with one of these and see where your imagination takes you.

  1. It was an unusual book...
  2. How would we ever get rid of...
  3. She was a wonderful liar...
  4. He hurled the phone against the wall...
  5. The fortuneteller was mistaken...
  6. I crouched behind the sofa...
  7. It was wrapped like a present, but...
  8. I should never have come here...
  9. Behind her mask...
  10. In the neighbor's window, I saw...
  11. Don't tell anyone, but...
  12. Trust me...
  13. At the center of the maze...

Twist Endings

Here are some twist endings you can use in your own fiction. See what story ideas they give you...

  1. The detective turns out to be the killer.
  2. The vampire hunter turns out to be another vampire.
  3. It turns out that your character's lover has only pretending to be married as an excuse to avoid a commitment to your character.
  4. The jewel everyone has been fighting over turns out to be a fake.
  5. Your character's main enemy turns out to have been on your character's side the whole time. Your character has been misinterpreting his/her attempts to help him/her.
  6. The murder victim turns out to have faked her own death. She's still alive and playing games with the detective!
  7. Your narrator has been lying to the reader to make himself or herself look better.

Creative Writing Recipes

Just follow these recipes, and see what comes out of your imagination.


Beginning of the story: Your character's mother wants your character to do something, and your character doesn't want to do it. They argue about it.

Next part: The argument is interrupted by a surprising sight which startles both of them.

Next: The surprising sight brings back a memory from your character's childhood involving his/her mother. Flash back to this memory.

Next: Return to the present. Your character and his/her mother continue their conversation, but the tone of it is changed by the surprise and by your character's thoughts about the past.


Line 1: Give the reader an instruction.
Line 2: Refer to a smell.
Line 3: Use the word "ghostly".
Line 4: Mention a childhood toy.

Line 5: Quote a proverb or saying.
Line 6: Refer to an animal.
Line 7: Repeat a phrase from earlier in this poem.
Line 8: Ask the reader a question.

Ideas for Stories - Next Steps

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