Writing prompts are a great way to stimulate creativity and get ideas flowing. They provide a spark to ignite your imagination and motivate you to start writing. Here are some captivating prompt examples you can use to write compelling stories, poems, journal entries, and more.
What Makes a Good Prompt?
An effective prompt has a few key qualities:
- Evokes emotion: The best prompts tap into universal human experiences that elicit emotional responses. Think love, loss, fear, belonging.
- Thought-provoking: A prompt should make you think and explore new ideas. It poses an interesting hypothetical or asks an open-ended question.
- Sparks the imagination: Vivid and sensory details in a prompt fire up your imagination. You envision scenes, characters, and story possibilities.
- Relatable: Even if fanciful, a relatable prompt connects to your life experiences and memories somehow. This helps ideas flow organically.
Types of Captivating Prompts
Here are some types of compelling prompts to write:
Story Starter Prompts
These prompts offer a springboard into a fictional tale:
- You wake up one morning with the ability to time travel. Where do you go first and why?
- A spaceship has landed in your backyard. An alien visitor emerges and says…
- Every night when you sleep, your dreams predict the next day’s events. One morning you wake up terrified because…
Use these prompts to craft poems:
- Write a poem about a memory that still haunts you. Try to capture the emotions you felt.
- Describe a beautiful landscape you’ve seen, using vivid imagery and sensory details. Convey why this place is special to you.
- Compose a poem using an aspect of nature as a metaphor for some human experience or emotion.
These prompts encourage self-reflection:
- What are you most grateful for today? Describe why.
- If you had one day left to live, what would you do? Who would you connect with and why?
- What personal struggles or hardships have shaped you into who you are now? How have they changed your outlook?
Flex your creativity with these open-ended prompts:
- Using the most vivid imagery you can, describe a fantastical creature you envision. Give it a name.
- If you could instantly become an expert in any skill, what would it be? How would you use this new talent?
- You find a remote that can rewind, fast forward, stop, and start time. What do you do with it?
There are endless places to find writing prompts online and offline. Here are some great sources:
- The New York Times – updated regularly with topical prompts
- Reddit Writing Prompts – imaginative prompts from Redditors
- Writing Exercises – prompts for all genres and forms
- Magazines – snippets of poetry or stories can spark ideas
- Overheard conversations – listen for an interesting phrase or scenario
- Dreams – record any vivid dreams to mine for inspiration
The key is finding prompts that resonate with your interests and get your creative juices flowing. Don’t be afraid to customize prompts to make them your own either.
Prompt Writing Tips
Follow these tips when writing from a prompt:
- Don’t overthink it – write whatever comes to mind first. You can edit later.
- Set a time limit – write for a set period, like 20 minutes, without stopping. The pressure of a time limit can help you tap into creative flow states.
- Write by hand – writing by hand engages different parts of the brain and enhances creativity compared to typing.
- Try a new genre – use a prompt to experiment with writing a new genre like sci-fi, poetry, flash fiction.
- Create a prompt stash – collect captivating prompts in a notebook or document to have on hand when you need a spark.
The beauty of writing prompts is that they can transport you to fantastical new worlds, connect you with poignant memories, or reveal hidden parts of yourself. Keep an arsenal of compelling prompts ready to inspire your next writing session. Record any prompt-fueled writings to look back on the creative journey later. Most importantly, enjoy the ride wherever your imagination takes you!
- Writing Prompts for Writers – 365 prompts for all types of writing
- The Writing Cooperative – writing tips and prompts
- 750 Words – online writing tool with prompts