Unique Picture Prompts for Creative Writing Examples

Visual prompts can be a great way to stimulate creative writing. Pictures allow writers to interpret an image in their own unique way, sparking ideas and inspiration. Here are some tips for using picture prompts to improve creative writing:

Select Evocative Images

Choose images that are imaginative, unusual, metaphorical, or ambiguous. These types of pictures provide more possibilities for interpretation and tend to elicit more creative responses. Some good sources for visual prompts include:

  • Nature and landscape photos
  • Surreal or abstract art
  • Historical photographs
  • Images with people in interesting situations or relationships

Key tip: Avoid clichéd or overly literal images as these tend to limit creative interpretation.

Use Prompting Questions

Ask questions about the image to get writers thinking about different aspects and details. For example:

  • What do you think is happening in this picture?
  • What might have happened right before or after this scene?
  • How might the people/objects in the image be feeling?
  • If there was a story behind this picture, what might it be?

Encourage Diverse Perspectives

Remind writers that there are no right or wrong interpretations and to embrace imaginative freedom. For instance, if showing an image of a train station, some writers might imagine bystanders waiting to embark on an adventure, while others might envision the hubbub of daily commuters.

Combine Visual and Verbal Prompts

Further spark creativity by pairing a visual prompt with an additional verbal prompt. For example, show an image of a lone house on a hill and ask writers to incorporate three random words like “flower,” “mirror,” and “storm” into their response.

Use Prompts for Various Applications

Picture prompts can stimulate all kinds of creative writing, including:

  • Short stories
  • Personal narratives
  • Poems
  • Scene and character descriptions
  • Opening lines for longer pieces
  • Dialogues

Experiment with integrating visual prompts into writing warm-ups, literacy centers, creative journals, group collaborations, and more!

Key tip: The same image can result in completely different creative pieces depending on the instructions, questions, and context provided to writers.

Here are some example visual writing prompts to try out:

Hot air balloons

Prompt: Use this image as the opening scene for a short story titled “The Getaway.” What might have led up to this moment? Where might the characters be headed? Why the need to escape quickly? Let your imagination run wild!

Stack of books

Prompt: Compose a poem from the perspective of a character who lives inside this stack of books. What might a day in their life be like? Do they have a community of fellow book residents? What adventures might they experience wandering in and out of stories?

I hope these tips and examples give you some ideas for using visual prompts to boost creative writing! Let the images unleash your imagination.

Useful Websites for Creative Writing Prompts: