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18 Creative writing exercises

Creative writing exercises for adults

A selection of fun creative writing exercises that can be completed solo, or with a group. The exercises are designed to inspire you to come up with story ideas and learn specific writing techniques.

Writing Retreat in South France

Writing retreat in France

I run a  Creative Writing Meetup  for adults and teens in Montpellier or online every week. We start with a 5 to 20 minute exercise, followed by an hour and a half of silent writing, during which each participant focuses on their own project. Every exercise listed below has been run with the group and had any kinks ironed out.  Where the exercises specify a number of people, if you have a larger group, simply split everyone up into smaller groups as appropriate.

The solo exercises are ideal to help stimulate your mind before working on a larger project, to overcome writer’s block, or as stand-alone prompts in their own right. If a solo exercise inspires you and you wish to use it with a larger group, give every member ten minutes to complete the exercise, then ask anyone who wishes to share their work to do so in groups of 3 or 4 afterwards.

Looking for something more to fire your imagination? Check out these writing games and  creative writing prompts for adults

A note on running exercises remotely

While you can enjoy the exercises solo, they are also designed for online writing groups using Zoom, WhatsApp, or Discord.

If you're running a group and follow a ' Shut Up and Write ' structure, I recommend connecting on WhatsApp (for example) first, doing the exercise together, sharing writing samples as needed. Next, write in silence for an hour and a half on your own projects, before reconnecting for a brief informal chat at the end. This works great with small remote groups and is a way to learn new techniques, gain online support, and have a productive session.

If you have a larger online group, it's worth looking into Zoom, as this has a feature called  Breakout Rooms . Breakout Rooms let you split different writers into separate rooms, which is great for group activities. The free version of Zoom has a 40 minute limit, which can be restrictive, but Zoom Pro is well worth it if you're going to use it on a regular basis. In my experience, Zoom has a better connection than Facebook chat or WhatsApp.

Focus on faces

Solo exercise.

Describing a character

One challenge writers face is describing a character. A common mistake is to focus too much on the physical features, e.g. "She had brown eyes, curly brown hair and was five foot six inches tall."

The problem with this is it doesn't reveal anything about the character's personality, or the relationship between your protagonist and the character. Your reader is therefore likely to quickly forget what someone looks like.  When describing characters, it's therefore best to:

Here are three examples of character descriptions that leave no doubt how the protagonist feels.

“If girls could spit venom, it'd be through their eyes.” S.D. Lawendowski,  Snapped

"And Ronan was everything that was left: molten eyes and a smile made for war." Maggie Stiefvater,  The Dream Thieves

"His mouth was such a post office of a mouth that he had a mechanical appearance of smiling." Charles Dickens

Spend 5 minutes writing a character introduction that is animated, uses metaphors or similes and involves your protagonist.

If working with a group, then form small groups of 3 or 4 and share your description with the rest of the group.

  • Animate them - it's rare that someone's sitting for a portrait when your protagonist first meets them and whether they're talking or walking, it's likely that they're moving in some way.
  • Use metaphors or similes  - comparing physical features to emotionally charged items conjures both an image and a sense of who someone is.
  • Involve your protagonist  - if your protagonist is interacting with a character, make it personal.  How does your protagonist view this person?  Incorporate the description as part of the description.
  • Only give information your protagonist knows  - they may know if someone is an adult, or a teenager, but they won't know that someone is 37 years old, for example.

Onomatopeai, rhyme and alliteration

Onomatopeai, rhyme or alliteration.

Today's session is all about sound.

Several authors recommend reading your writing out loud after you've written it to be sure it sounds natural.   Philip Pullman  even goes as far as to say:

"When I’m writing, I’m more conscious of the sound, actually, than the meaning. I know what the rhythm of the sentence is going to be before I know what the words are going to be in it."

For today's exercise, choose the name of a song and write for 10 minutes as if that's the title for a short story. Focus on how your writing sounds and aim to include at least one onomatopoeia, rhyme or alliteration.  At the end of the 10 minutes, read it out loud to yourself, or to the group.

Alliterations

An alliteration example from Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner”

The fair breeze blew, the white foam flew, The furrow followed free; We were the first that ever burst Into that silent sea.

Onomatopoeias

Buzz, woof, quack, baa, crash, purr, beep, belch,...

A question or two

Small or large groups

1 or 2 questions

The standard format in our group is a short writing exercise followed by an hour and a half of silent writing on our projects.

At one point I felt like we'd done a lot of small group exercises, and wanted to gain an insight into what everyone was working on, so we did the following exercise instead:

Go round the table and ask everyone to briefly talk about their writing.  Each person then asks one or two yes/no questions.

Everyone responds either by raising their hand for 'yes' or shaking their heads for 'no'. You can also leap up and down to indicate a very strong 'yes'.

Questions can be about anything, and you can use them either to help guide your writing or to help find other people in the group who have similar interests.

Here are some random examples you might ask:

This works best when you give participants some advance notice, so they have time to think of a question.

  • I want to write a romance novel and am considering setting it in Paris, a traditional romantic setting, or Liverpool which is a less obvious setting. Who thinks Liverpool would be best?
  • I need to know more about the life of a farmer. Has anyone got farming experience who I can interview in exchange for a drink?
  • My character gets fired and that night goes back to his office and steals 35 computers. Does that sound realistic as the premise of a story?

How to hint at romantic feelings

How to hint at romantic feelings

Write a scene with two people in a group, where you hint that one is romantically interested in the other, but the feelings aren’t reciprocated.

The goal of this exercise is to practice subtlety. Imagine you are setting a scene for the future where the characters feelings will become more important. Choose a situation like a work conference, meeting with a group of friends, etc. How do you indicate how the characters feel without them saying it in words?

Some tips for hinting at romantic feelings:

  • Make the characters nervous and shy.
  • Your protagonist leans forward.
  • Asks deeper questions and listens intently.
  • Finds ways to be close together.
  • Mirrors their gestures.
  • Gives lots of compliments.
  • Makes eye contact, then looks away.
  • Other people seem invisible to your protagonist.

A novel idea

Novel idea

Take it in turns to tell everyone else about a current project you’re working on (a book, screenplay, short story, etc.)

The other writers then brainstorm ideas for related stories you could write, or directions your project could take.  There are no right or wrong suggestions and the intention is to focus on big concepts, not little details.

This whole exercise takes around 15 minutes.

Creative writing prompts

Exercise for groups of 3-5

Creative writing

If you're in larger group, split up into groups of 3 or 4 people.

Everyone writes the first line of a story in the Zoom chat, or on paper. Other people can then choose this line as a writing prompt.

For this exercise:

Once everyone's written a prompt, each author chooses a prompt (preferably someone eles's, but it can be your own if you feel really inspired by it.)  Then write for 10 minutes using this prompt. See if you can reveal who the protagonist is, what their motivation is (it can be a small motivation for a particular scene, it doesn't have to be a huge life goal), and introduce at least one new character.

Take turns reading out your stories to each other.

  • Say who the protagonist is.
  • Reveal their motivation.
  • Introduce any other characters
  • Write in the first person.
  • Have the protagonist interacting with an object or something in nature.
  • The challenge is to create intrigue that makes the reader want to know more with just a single line.

Alternative Christmas Story

Alternative Christmas Story

Every Christmas adults tell kids stories about Santa Claus. In this exercise you write a Christmas story from an alternative dimension.

What if every Christmas Santa didn't fly around the world delivering presents on his sleigh pulled by reindeer? What if gnomes or aliens delivered the presents? Or perhaps it was the gnomes who are trying to emulate the humans? Or some other Christmas tradition entirely that we humans have never heard of!

Group writing exercise

If you're working with a group, give everyone a couple of minutes to write two possible themes for the new Christmas story. Each theme should be 5 words or less.

Shuffle the paper and distribute them at random. If you're working online, everyone types the themes into the Zoom or group chat. Each writer then spends 10 minutes writing a short story for children based on one of the two themes, or their own theme if they really want to.

If working alone, choose your own theme and spend 15 minutes writing a short story on it. See if you can create the magic of Christmas from another world!

Murder Mystery Mind Map

Murder Mystery mind map

In a murder mystery story or courtroom drama, there's often conflicting information and lots of links between characters. A mind map is an ideal way to illustrate how everything ties together.

Split into groups of 3 or 4 people each and place a blank piece of A3 paper (double the size of A4) in the middle of each group. Discuss between you who the victim is and write their name in the middle of the piece of paper. Then brainstorm information about the murder, for example:

Feel free to expand out from any of these, e.g. to include more information on the different characters involved.

The idea is that  everyone writes at the same time!   Obviously, you can discuss ideas, but anyone can dive in and write their ideas on the mind map.

  • Who was the victim? (job, appearance, hobbies, etc.)
  • Who did the victim know?
  • What were their possible motivations?
  • What was the murder weapon?
  • What locations are significant to the plot?

New Year’s resolutions for a fictional character

List of ideas for a fictional character

If you’re writing a piece of fiction, ask yourself how your protagonist would react to an everyday situation. This can help you to gain a deeper insight into who they are.

One way to do this is to imagine what their New Year’s resolutions would be.

If completing this exercise with a group, limit it to 3 to 5 resolutions per person. If some participants are historical fiction or non-fiction writers, they instead pick a celebrity and either write what their resolutions  will  be, or what their resolutions  should  be, their choice.

Verb Noun Fiction Exercise (Inspired by Stephen King)

List of ideas for a fictional character

Stephen King said, "I believe the road to hell is paved with adverbs, and I will shout it from the rooftops."

He also said, "Take any noun, put it with any verb, and you have a sentence. It never fails. Rocks explode. Jane transmits. Mountains float. These are all perfect sentences. Many such thoughts make little rational sense, but even the stranger ones (Plums deify!) have a kind of poetic weight that’s nice."

In this fiction writing exercise, start by brainstorming (either individually or collectively) seven verbs on seven different pieces of paper. Put those aside for later. Now brainstorm seven nouns. Randomly match the nouns and verbs so you have seven pairs. Choose a pair and write a piece of fiction for ten minutes. Avoid using any adverbs.

It’s the end of the world

End of the world

It’s the end of the world!  For 5 minutes either:

If working as a team, then after the 5 minutes is up each writer reads their description out to the other participants.

  • Describe how the world’s going to end, creating evocative images using similes or metaphors as you wish and tell the story from a global perspective, or
  • Describe how you spend your final day before the world is destroyed.  Combine emotion and action to engage the reader.

7 Editing Exercises

For use after your first draft

Editing first draft

I’ve listened to a lot of masterclasses on writing by successful authors and they all say variants of your first draft won’t be good and that’s fine. Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman summarise it the best:

“The first draft is just you telling yourself the story.”  

Terry Pratchett

“For me, it’s always been a process of trying to convince myself that what I’m doing in a first draft isn’t important. One way you get through the wall is by convincing yourself that it doesn’t matter. No one is ever going to see your first draft. Nobody cares about your first draft. And that’s the thing that you may be agonising over, but honestly, whatever you’re doing can be fixed… For now, just get the words out. Get the story down however you can get it down, then fix it.”

Neil Gaiman

Once you’ve written your first draft, it will need editing to develop the plot, enhance the characters, and improve each scene in a myriad of ways – small and large. These seven creative editing exercises are designed to help with this stage of the process.

The First Sentence

Read the first paragraph of the novel, in particular the first sentence. Does it launch the reader straight into the action? According to  On Writing and Worldbuilding  by Timothy Hickson,  “The most persuasive opening lines are succinct, and not superfluous. To do this, it is often effective to limit it to a single central idea… This does not need to be the most important element, but it should be a central element that is interesting.” Ask yourself what element your opening sentence encapsulates and whether it’s the best one to capture your readers’ attention.

Consistency

Consistency is crucial in creative writing, whether it’s in relation to location, objects, or people.

It’s also crucial for personality, emotions and motivation.

Look at scenes where your protagonist makes an important decision. Are their motivations clear? Do any scenes force them to choose between two conflicting morals? If so, do you explore this? Do their emotions fit with what’s happened in previous scenes?

As you edit your manuscript, keep the characters’ personality, emotions and motivation in mind. If their behaviour is inconsistent, either edit it for consistency, or have someone comment on their strange behaviour or be surprised by it. Inconsistent behaviour can reveal that a character is keeping a secret, or is under stress, so characters don’t always need to be consistent. But when they’re not, there has to be a reason.  

Show Don’t Tell One

This exercise is the first in  The Emotional Craft of Fiction  by Donald Maass. It’s a writing guide with a plethora of editing exercises designed to help you reenergize your writing by thinking of what your character is feeling, and giving you the tools to make your reader feel something.  

  • Select a moment in your story when your protagonist is moved, unsettled, or disturbed… Write down all the emotions inherent in this moment, both obvious and hidden.
  • Next, considering what he is feeling, write down how your protagonist can act out. What is the biggest thing your protagonist can do? What would be explosive, out of bounds, or offensive? What would be symbolic? … Go sideways, underneath, or ahead. How can your protagonist show us a feeling we don’t expect to see?
  • Finally, go back and delete all the emotions you wrote down at the beginning of this exercise. Let actions and spoken words do the work. Do they feel too big, dangerous, or over-the-top? Use them anyway. Others will tell you if you’ve gone too far, but more likely, you haven’t gone far enough.

Show Don’t Tell Two

Search for the following words in your book:

Whenever these words occur, ask yourself if you can demonstrate how your characters feel, rather than simply stating it. For each occasion, can you use physiological descriptors (a racing heart), actions (taking a step backwards) or dialogue to express what’s just happened instead? Will this enhance the scene and engage the reader more?

After The Action

Find a scene where your characters disagree – in particular a scene where your protagonist argues with friends or allies. What happens next?

It can be tempting to wrap up the action with a quick resolution. But what if a resentment lingers and mistrust builds? This creates a more interesting story arc and means a resolution can occur later, giving the character development a real dynamic.

Review how you resolve the action and see if you can stretch out the emotions for a more satisfying read.

Eliminating the Fluff

Ensure that the words used don’t detract from the enormity of the events your character is going through. Can you delete words like, “Quite”, “Little”, or “Rather”? 

Of “Very” Florence King once wrote: “ 'Very' is the most useless word in the English language and can always come out. More than useless, it is treacherous because it invariably weakens what it is intended to strengthen .” Delete it, or replace the word after it with a stronger word, which makes “Very” redundant.

“That,” is another common word used in creative writing which can often be deleted. Read a sentence as is, then reread it as if you deleted, “That”. If the meaning is the same, delete it.

Chapter Endings

When talking about chapter endings, James Patterson said,  “At the end, something has to propel you into the next chapter.”

Read how each of your chapters finish and ask yourself does it either:

  • End on a cliff hanger? (R.L. Stine likes to finish every chapter in this method).
  • End on a natural pause (for example, you’re changing point of view or location).

Review how you wrap up each of your chapters. Do you end at the best point in your story? Can you add anticipation to cliff hangers? Will you leave your readers wanting more?

How to run the writing exercises

The editing exercises are designed to be completed individually.

With the others, I've always run them as part of a creative writing group, where there's no teacher and we're all equal participants, therefore I keep any 'teaching' aspect to a minimum, preferring them to be prompts to generate ideas before everyone settles down to do the silent writing. We've recently gone online and if you run a group yourself, whether online or in person, you're welcome to use these exercises for free!

The times given are suggestions only and I normally get a feel for how everyone's doing when time's up and if it's obvious that everyone's still in the middle of a discussion, then I give them longer.  Where one group's in the middle of a discussion, but everyone else has finished, I sometimes have a 'soft start' to the silent writing, and say, "We're about to start the hour and a half of silent writing now, but if you're in the middle of a discussion, feel free to finish it first".

This way everyone gets to complete the discussion, but no-one's waiting for ages.  It's also important to emphasise that there's no wrong answers when being creative.

Still looking for more? Check out our:

Writing games for adults

Creative writing prompts  and our dedicated

Sci-Fi and Fantasy creative writing prompts

If you've enjoyed these creative writing exercises, please share them on social media, or link to them from your blog.

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  • Writing Activities

105 Creative Writing Exercises To Get You Writing Again

You know that feeling when you just don’t feel like writing? Sometimes you can’t even get a word down on paper. It’s the most frustrating thing ever to a writer, especially when you’re working towards a deadline. The good news is that we have a list of 105 creative writing exercises to help you get motivated and start writing again!

What are creative writing exercises?

Creative writing exercises are short writing activities (normally around 10 minutes) designed to get you writing. The goal of these exercises is to give you the motivation to put words onto a blank paper. These words don’t need to be logical or meaningful, neither do they need to be grammatically correct or spelt correctly. The whole idea is to just get you writing something, anything. The end result of these quick creative writing exercises is normally a series of notes, bullet points or ramblings that you can, later on, use as inspiration for a bigger piece of writing such as a story or a poem. 

Good creative writing exercises are short, quick and easy to complete. You shouldn’t need to think too much about your style of writing or how imaginative your notes are. Just write anything that comes to mind, and you’ll be on the road to improving your creative writing skills and beating writer’s block . 

Use the generator below to get a random creative writing exercise idea:

List of 105+ Creative Writing Exercises

Here are over 105 creative writing exercises to give your brain a workout and help those creative juices flow again:

  • Set a timer for 60 seconds. Now write down as many words or phrases that come to mind at that moment.
  • Pick any colour you like. Now start your sentence with this colour. For example, Orange, the colour of my favourite top. 
  • Open a book or dictionary on a random page. Pick a random word. You can close your eyes and slowly move your finger across the page. Now, write a paragraph with this random word in it. You can even use an online dictionary to get random words:

dictionary-random-word-imagine-forest

  • Create your own alphabet picture book or list. It can be A to Z of animals, food, monsters or anything else you like!
  • Using only the sense of smell, describe where you are right now.
  • Take a snack break. While eating your snack write down the exact taste of that food. The goal of this creative writing exercise is to make your readers savour this food as well.
  • Pick a random object in your room and write a short paragraph from its point of view. For example, how does your pencil feel? What if your lamp had feelings?
  • Describe your dream house. Where would you live one day? Is it huge or tiny? 
  • Pick two different TV shows, movies or books that you like. Now swap the main character. What if Supergirl was in Twilight? What if SpongeBob SquarePants was in The Flash? Write a short scene using this character swap as inspiration.
  • What’s your favourite video game? Write at least 10 tips for playing this game.
  • Pick your favourite hobby or sport. Now pretend an alien has just landed on Earth and you need to teach it this hobby or sport. Write at least ten tips on how you would teach this alien.
  • Use a random image generator and write a paragraph about the first picture you see.

random image generator

  • Write a letter to your favourite celebrity or character. What inspires you most about them? Can you think of a memorable moment where this person’s life affected yours? We have this helpful guide on writing a letter to your best friend for extra inspiration.
  • Write down at least 10 benefits of writing. This can help motivate you and beat writer’s block.
  • Complete this sentence in 10 different ways: Patrick waited for the school bus and…
  • Pick up a random book from your bookshelf and go to page 9. Find the ninth sentence on that page. Use this sentence as a story starter.
  • Create a character profile based on all the traits that you hate. It might help to list down all the traits first and then work on describing the character.
  • What is the scariest or most dangerous situation you have ever been in? Why was this situation scary? How did you cope at that moment?
  • Pretend that you’re a chat show host and you’re interviewing your favourite celebrity. Write down the script for this conversation.
  • Using extreme detail, write down what you have been doing for the past one hour today. Think about your thoughts, feelings and actions during this time.
  • Make a list of potential character names for your next story. You can use a fantasy name generator to help you.
  • Describe a futuristic setting. What do you think the world would look like in 100 years time?
  • Think about a recent argument you had with someone. Would you change anything about it? How would you resolve an argument in the future?
  • Describe a fantasy world. What kind of creatures live in this world? What is the climate like? What everyday challenges would a typical citizen of this world face? You can use this fantasy world name generator for inspiration.
  • At the flip of a switch, you turn into a dragon. What kind of dragon would you be? Describe your appearance, special abilities, likes and dislikes. You can use a dragon name generator to give yourself a cool dragon name.
  • Pick your favourite book or a famous story. Now change the point of view. For example, you could rewrite the fairytale , Cinderella. This time around, Prince Charming could be the main character. What do you think Prince Charming was doing, while Cinderella was cleaning the floors and getting ready for the ball?
  • Pick a random writing prompt and use it to write a short story. Check out this collection of over 300 writing prompts for kids to inspire you. 
  • Write a shopping list for a famous character in history. Imagine if you were Albert Einstein’s assistant, what kind of things would he shop for on a weekly basis?
  • Create a fake advertisement poster for a random object that is near you right now. Your goal is to convince the reader to buy this object from you.
  • What is the worst (or most annoying) sound that you can imagine? Describe this sound in great detail, so your reader can understand the pain you feel when hearing this sound.
  • What is your favourite song at the moment? Pick one line from this song and describe a moment in your life that relates to this line.
  •  You’re hosting an imaginary dinner party at your house. Create a list of people you would invite, and some party invites. Think about the theme of the dinner party, the food you will serve and entertainment for the evening. 
  • You are waiting to see your dentist in the waiting room. Write down every thought you are having at this moment in time. 
  • Make a list of your greatest fears. Try to think of at least three fears. Now write a short story about a character who is forced to confront one of these fears. 
  • Create a ‘Wanted’ poster for a famous villain of your choice. Think about the crimes they have committed, and the reward you will give for having them caught. 
  • Imagine you are a journalist for the ‘Imagine Forest Times’ newspaper. Your task is to get an exclusive interview with the most famous villain of all time. Pick a villain of your choice and interview them for your newspaper article. What questions would you ask them, and what would their responses be?
  •  In a school playground, you see the school bully hurting a new kid. Write three short stories, one from each perspective in this scenario (The bully, the witness and the kid getting bullied).
  • You just won $10 million dollars. What would you spend this money on?
  • Pick a random animal, and research at least five interesting facts about this animal. Write a short story centred around one of these interesting facts. 
  • Pick a global issue that you are passionate about. This could be climate change, black lives matters, women’s rights etc. Now create a campaign poster for this global issue. 
  • Write an acrostic poem about an object near you right now (or even your own name). You could use a poetry idea generator to inspire you.
  • Imagine you are the head chef of a 5-star restaurant. Recently the business has slowed down. Your task is to come up with a brand-new menu to excite customers. Watch this video prompt on YouTube to inspire you.
  • What is your favourite food of all time? Imagine if this piece of food was alive, what would it say to you?
  • If life was one big musical, what would you be singing about right now? Write the lyrics of your song. 
  • Create and describe the most ultimate villain of all time. What would their traits be? What would their past look like? Will they have any positive traits?
  • Complete this sentence in at least 10 different ways: Every time I look out of the window, I…
  • You have just made it into the local newspaper, but what for? Write down at least five potential newspaper headlines . Here’s an example, Local Boy Survives a Deadly Illness.
  • If you were a witch or a wizard, what would your specialist area be and why? You might want to use a Harry Potter name generator or a witch name generator for inspiration.
  • What is your favourite thing to do on a Saturday night? Write a short story centred around this activity. 
  • Your main character has just received the following items: A highlighter, a red cap, a teddy bear and a fork. What would your character do with these items? Can you write a story using these items? 
  • Create a timeline of your own life, from birth to this current moment. Think about the key events in your life, such as birthdays, graduations, weddings and so on. After you have done this, you can pick one key event from your life to write a story about. 
  • Think of a famous book or movie you like. Rewrite a scene from this book or movie, where the main character is an outsider. They watch the key events play out, but have no role in the story. What would their actions be? How would they react?
  • Three very different characters have just won the lottery. Write a script for each character, as they reveal the big news to their best friend.  
  • Write a day in the life story of three different characters. How does each character start their day? What do they do throughout the day? And how does their day end?
  •  Write about the worst experience in your life so far. Think about a time when you were most upset or angry and describe it. 
  • Imagine you’ve found a time machine in your house. What year would you travel to and why?
  • Describe your own superhero. Think about their appearance, special abilities and their superhero name. Will they have a secret identity? Who is their number one enemy?
  • What is your favourite country in the world? Research five fun facts about this country and use one to write a short story. 
  • Set yourself at least three writing goals. This could be a good way to motivate yourself to write every day. For example, one goal might be to write at least 150 words a day. 
  • Create a character description based on the one fact, three fiction rule. Think about one fact or truth about yourself. And then add in three fictional or fantasy elements. For example, your character could be the same age as you in real life, this is your one fact. And the three fictional elements could be they have the ability to fly, talk in over 100 different languages and have green skin. 
  • Describe the perfect person. What traits would they have? Think about their appearance, their interests and their dislikes. 
  • Keep a daily journal or diary. This is a great way to keep writing every day. There are lots of things you can write about in your journal, such as you can write about the ‘highs’ and ‘lows’ of your day. Think about anything that inspired you or anything that upset you, or just write anything that comes to mind at the moment. 
  • Write a book review or a movie review. If you’re lost for inspiration, just watch a random movie or read any book that you can find. Then write a critical review on it. Think about the best parts of the book/movie and the worst parts. How would you improve the book or movie?
  • Write down a conversation between yourself. You can imagine talking to your younger self or future self (i.e. in 10 years’ time). What would you tell them? Are there any lessons you learned or warnings you need to give? Maybe you could talk about what your life is like now and compare it to their life?
  • Try writing some quick flash fiction stories . Flash fiction is normally around 500 words long, so try to stay within this limit.
  • Write a six-word story about something that happened to you today or yesterday. A six-word story is basically an entire story told in just six words. Take for example: “Another football game ruined by me.” or “A dog’s painting sold for millions.” – Six-word stories are similar to writing newspaper headlines. The goal is to summarise your story in just six words. 
  • The most common monsters or creatures used in stories include vampires, werewolves , dragons, the bigfoot, sirens and the loch-ness monster. In a battle of intelligence, who do you think will win and why?
  • Think about an important event in your life that has happened so far, such as a birthday or the birth of a new sibling. Now using the 5 W’s and 1 H technique describe this event in great detail. The 5 W’s include: What, Who, Where, Why, When and the 1 H is: How. Ask yourself questions about the event, such as what exactly happened on that day? Who was there? Why was this event important? When and where did it happen? And finally, how did it make you feel?
  • Pretend to be someone else. Think about someone important in your life. Now put yourself into their shoes, and write a day in the life story about being them. What do you think they do on a daily basis? What situations would they encounter? How would they feel?
  • Complete this sentence in at least 10 different ways: I remember…
  • Write about your dream holiday. Where would you go? Who would you go with? And what kind of activities would you do?
  • Which one item in your house do you use the most? Is it the television, computer, mobile phone, the sofa or the microwave? Now write a story of how this item was invented. You might want to do some research online and use these ideas to build up your story. 
  • In exactly 100 words, describe your bedroom. Try not to go over or under this word limit.
  • Make a top ten list of your favourite animals. Based on this list create your own animal fact file, where you provide fun facts about each animal in your list.
  • What is your favourite scene from a book or a movie? Write down this scene. Now rewrite the scene in a different genre, such as horror, comedy, drama etc.
  •  Change the main character of a story you recently read into a villain. For example, you could take a popular fairytale such as Jack and the Beanstalk, but this time re-write the story to make Jack the villain of the tale.
  • Complete the following sentence in at least 10 different ways: Do you ever wonder…
  • What does your name mean? Research the meaning of your own name, or a name that interests you. Then use this as inspiration for your next story. For example, the name ‘Marty’ means “Servant Of Mars, God Of War”. This could make a good concept for a sci-fi story.
  • Make a list of three different types of heroes (or main characters) for potential future stories.
  • If someone gave you $10 dollars, what would you spend it on and why?
  • Describe the world’s most boring character in at least 100 words. 
  • What is the biggest problem in the world today, and how can you help fix this issue?
  • Create your own travel brochure for your hometown. Think about why tourists might want to visit your hometown. What is your town’s history? What kind of activities can you do? You could even research some interesting facts. 
  • Make a list of all your favourite moments or memories in your life. Now pick one to write a short story about.
  • Describe the scariest and ugliest monster you can imagine. You could even draw a picture of this monster with your description.
  • Write seven haikus, one for each colour of the rainbow. That’s red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet. 
  • Imagine you are at the supermarket. Write down at least three funny scenarios that could happen to you at the supermarket. Use one for your next short story. 
  • Imagine your main character is at home staring at a photograph. Write the saddest scene possible. Your goal is to make your reader cry when reading this scene. 
  • What is happiness? In at least 150 words describe the feeling of happiness. You could use examples from your own life of when you felt happy.
  • Think of a recent nightmare you had and write down everything you can remember. Use this nightmare as inspiration for your next story.
  • Keep a dream journal. Every time you wake up in the middle of the night or early in the morning you can quickly jot down things that you remember from your dreams. These notes can then be used as inspiration for a short story. 
  • Your main character is having a really bad day. Describe this bad day and the series of events they experience. What’s the worst thing that could happen to your character?
  • You find a box on your doorstep. You open this box and see the most amazing thing ever. Describe this amazing thing to your readers.
  • Make a list of at least five possible settings or locations for future stories. Remember to describe each setting in detail.
  • Think of something new you recently learned. Write this down. Now write a short story where your main character also learns the same thing.
  • Describe the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen in your whole life. Your goal is to amaze your readers with its beauty. 
  • Make a list of things that make you happy or cheer you up. Try to think of at least five ideas. Now imagine living in a world where all these things were banned or against the law. Use this as inspiration for your next story.
  • Would you rather be rich and alone or poor and very popular? Write a story based on the lives of these two characters. 
  • Imagine your main character is a Librarian. Write down at least three dark secrets they might have. Remember, the best secrets are always unexpected.
  • There’s a history behind everything. Describe the history of your house. How and when was your house built? Think about the land it was built on and the people that may have lived here long before you.
  • Imagine that you are the king or queen of a beautiful kingdom. Describe your kingdom in great detail. What kind of rules would you have? Would you be a kind ruler or an evil ruler of the kingdom?
  • Make a wish list of at least three objects you wish you owned right now. Now use these three items in your next story. At least one of them must be the main prop in the story.
  • Using nothing but the sense of taste, describe a nice Sunday afternoon at your house. Remember you can’t use your other senses (i.e see, hear, smell or touch) in this description. 
  • What’s the worst pain you felt in your life? Describe this pain in great detail, so your readers can also feel it.
  • If you were lost on a deserted island in the middle of nowhere, what three must-have things would you pack and why?
  • Particpate in online writing challenges or contests. Here at Imagine Forest, we offer daily writing challenges with a new prompt added every day to inspire you. Check out our challenges section in the menu.

Do you have any more fun creative writing exercises to share? Let us know in the comments below!

creative writing exercises

Marty the wizard is the master of Imagine Forest. When he's not reading a ton of books or writing some of his own tales, he loves to be surrounded by the magical creatures that live in Imagine Forest. While living in his tree house he has devoted his time to helping children around the world with their writing skills and creativity.

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Erin Lafond - writer, editor, writing coach

Erin Lafond

Writer, Reviewer, and Mom

Four Creative Writing Games to Get Your Group Started

April 4, 2018 · In: Creativity , Writing

Last updated on March 17th, 2023 at 07:16 am

This article is part four of a series about starting your own creative writing group/club. Part one is here .  Topics will include giving constructive criticism , running a workshop , and writing games / prompts .

I found that the best way to start a group meeting is a fun game.

Here are my general rules for writing games/prompts:

  • Encourage everyone to share their writing, but no one ever has to share. This creates an environment where people feel comfortable. The important thing is doing the exercise. If they decide to share, they must read their prompt aloud so everyone knows what it was.
  • Set a time limit. I would generally give everyone five to ten minutes per round to write, and then I would open up for sharing. Once everyone had the opportunity to read their work, I would start another round or move on. This also encouraged people to share. After all, no story is good after five minutes.
  • No one ever has to keep their prompt. You’ll notice that all of these games include pulling prompts randomly out of a basket. If someone gets something and they don’t like it, they’re allowed to put it back and pick something else.

I created these games for a teen writing group. However, they’re still fun and can easily be played by adults. I encourage you to try them, and tell me how it goes!

The Inanimate Perspective

My teens loved this one. Write down some nouns on slips of paper and put them in a basket for people to randomly pick out. Write a description or a story from the perspective of the inanimate object, and everyone else will try and guess what your noun was. Your goal is to try to trick your listeners but still give them all the information they need in order to guess. Here are some nouns to get you started: rug, clock, ocean, laptop, rubber band, pencil, applesauce, printer, TV, photograph, bookmark, credit card, comic book, water bottle, tape, playing cards, headphones, bed, trash can, shoes, seed, calculator, blender.

Create a Villain

Write down adjectives on slips of paper and put them in a basket for people to randomly pick out. Pick two adjectives and describe or write a story about a villain that matches those adjectives. You can put back your adjectives, but you must put back both and pick two new ones. Here are some adjectives to get you started: pensive, onerous, arrogant, quiet, sneaky, classy, fumbling, disillusioned, determined, mature, chilly, cautious, tough, nervous, meek, grateful, dull, dysfunctional, selfish, proud, smart, ashamed, self-righteous, sulky, squeamish, weary, delicate, discreet, tactful, silent, outgoing, somber, cowardly, ambitious, elitist, whimsical, cheerful, noisy,  lazy.

Occupation Meet Setting

For this game, you’ll need two baskets. One for various occupations and one for various settings. Pick one from each basket to write a story about a person with that occupation in that setting. You can put back your prompts, but you must put back both and pick two new ones. Some occupations and settings to get you started: doctor/nurse, princess/prince, baker/chef, lawyer, journalist, student, tour guide, server, writer, farmer, secretary, homemaker, scientist, musician, photographer, cave, forest, asylum, desert, airport, cemetery, cottage, library, castle, restaurant, boat/yacht, classroom, office, car, hotel, church.

Photo Character

This is my favorite game. Get a bunch of pictures of people from the internet. There are several places to do this . Mix in pictures of people doing everyday things with people wearing bizarre costumes or doing bizarre things. Print them out and put them in a basket for people to randomly pick out. Write a story about the person or one of the people in the photo. It’s an exercise in character development that garners some pretty funny and unique results.

Do you want access to my templates for these games? Check out my resource library !

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fun creative writing games for adults

50 fun group writing exercises

Group writing exercises you can do with your writing circle or critique group are a fun ice-breaker and a way to get creative ideas flowing. Read 50 ‘fill in the blank’ creative writing prompts.

  • Post author By Jordan
  • 6 Comments on 50 fun group writing exercises

50 fun group writing exercises | Now Novel

‘Fill in the blank’ writing exercises are fun to do in a group. Writing exercises with some set parameters highlight the diverse, interesting ways different writers interpret and respond to the same prompts. Try one of 50 ‘fill in the blank’ creative writing prompts below, and share your creativity in the comments or tag @NowNovel if sharing your version on social media.

The group writing exercises

The first prompt was a prompt for a contest to win a place on our Group Coaching writing course .

Contest prompt

Fill in the blanks Now Novel group coaching contest

Every year, I’d made a resolution not to ever __ again. Yet by January 20th I’d already __ and __.

Entries were voted on blind by a panel of four from the Now Novel team, and the winner was Ethan Myers with this entry:

Writing contest winner - Ethan Myers entry

Here are 49 more prompts to enjoy and stimulate creative ideas:

Writing exercises featuring scene-setting

On leaving As soon as I turned 18, I left__. It was a town of__and__ .

On arrival I walked through the arched entryway and my jaw dropped. Everywhere you looked there were__. Marco Polo himself could never have imagined__.

The first time It was my first ever flight. I was__. Then a__ sat down next to me, turning to me and asking, “__?”

Compare and contrast My hometown was__. When I got to__, a college town, the first thing I noticed was__.

Use the senses The minute you entered, you could smell __. Paired with the sound of __, it was unmistakably home.

Be specific The home we’d rented for the holidays was neither__ nor__, contrary to the listing. Yet my younger brother was delighted when we found__.

Build a bucket list I’d always wanted to go to__. I’d read so much about its__, though nothing had prepared me for__.

Create a world In the books I had read as a kid, portals were gateways to worlds where __. Yet here, I was surprised to find a__.

Outside/inside Outside, the sounds of__ filled the air__. Yet inside, the 19th Century __was like another world, full of strange __.

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Group writing exercises featuring conflict

Lovers’ quarrel We thought it would be a romantic getaway to Rome. Then__. By the end of the day, hot and fed up, we__.

A troubling lookout He climbed the watchtower, yet when he turned to the window, what he saw made him tremble.__.

The duel Many had said that if they were ever to duel, no two could be more equally matched. But what his opponent didn’t know was__.

Alien invasion In alien movies, they always blew up The White House or__. So he hadn’t expected to be toe to toe with an extraterrestrial having a screamed debate about__.

An assassin As the most skilled contract killer in the kingdom, she knew how to__. Yet nobody knew that she__.

Warring nations It started with a trade embargo. Then the president said that our neighbors’ president was a __ with a __. Next thing we knew, __.

Difficult decisions I couldn’t decide whether to__ or to__, but it was 4:45 pm and the last train was leaving in five minutes.

Writing exercises using dialogue

Secrets and lies “I never__,” he said. Yet I knew he was lying because__.

Surprises “Guess what I have behind my back?” she said. “__?” I guessed. “No!” She held out__.

Confessions “I didn’t know how to tell you this … I__.” “I’m glad you told me, now we can__.”

Embarrassing family “Your son is very talented, Mr Jones,” the__ said. “You say that now. You should have seen when he was 9. He__ and we were told that__.”

Thinking aloud “You should__.” “What did you just say?” “Did I just say that out loud? I was thinking about__.”

Know-it-all “Bet you didn’t know__,” he gloated. “Bet you didn’t know__,” I clapped back, full sass.

Bad bard “Shall I compare thee-“ I married a thespian. “Shall I compare you to __?” I rolled my eyes.

Writing exercises using simile and metaphor

Wild reactions His face was as __ as a__ after the bug bite and we were all a bit worried.

Comparing the moon The moon is a__ tonight, its thin crescent glowing like a__.

Making abstraction specific My anxiety is like a__ on the first day of school. A__ with a __.

Sound and simile The first minutes the orchestra was like a __, the music shimmering like __. But in the allegro the principal violinist’s string broke and the conductor__.

Describing emotions Fear is a__ with a__.

Describing the human voice He had a voice like__, like a__ echoing in a __.

Degrees of comparison The mysterious drink they prepared was sweeter than__. But sweeter still was__.

Fill in the blanks writing exercise - use the senses | Now Novel

Writing exercises using different POVs

Fugitive I had run all night, adrenaline keeping fatigue at bay. When I saw__ as dawn broke, I knew__.

Collective They had ways of dealing with dissent. If you dared to go against the clan, you would be__, God help you.

The reader as reader You decide to go to the library. You want to read a book about__. The librarian raises an eyebrow as they run the barcode scanner. “__?” They ask, as you blush.

The group as one That summer, we__ until we couldn’t__. We were all in our twenties, and the days were__.

Writing exercise using different moods of the verb

Future perfect tense, indicative mood In several years’ time, she will have changed, our__ changing like__.

Present tense, potential mood “They may change their minds,” the King says, scowling, “or else we may have to__ and__.”

Future tense, subjunctive mood If I should__, then tell everyone I never__.

[See a helpful explanation of verb moods and tenses in Ursula K. Le Guin’s Steering the Craft . ]

Writing exercises from creating blanks in books

Colum McCann – Let the Great World Spin We had a short driveway full of__. If we crossed the road, we could stand on__ and__.

Gabriel Garcia Marquez – Love in the Time of Cholera He had returned from a long stay in Paris, where he__, and from the time he set foot on solid ground he__.

Margaret Atwood, Oryx and Crake Jimmy’s earliest complete memory was of a huge__. He must have been five, maybe six. He was wearing__.

Virginia Woolf – Mrs Dalloway Her only gift was__. If you put her in a room with some one, up went her back like a cat’s; or she__.

Italo Calvino – The Complete Cosmicomics I thought only of the Earth. It was the Earth that caused each of us to__.

David Sedaris – Me Talk Pretty One Day When painting proved too difficult, I turned to__, telling myself__.

Eva Hoffman – Lost in Translation The library is located in a__ street, in an ancient building, which one enters through a__. It is Plato’s cave, Egyptian temple, the space of__.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie – Half of a Yellow Sun Richard said little at the parties Susan took him to. When she introduced him, she always added__. But they were pleasant to him; they would be to__.

Ursula K. Le Guin – The Left Hand of Darkness I’ll make my report as if I told a story, for I was taught__.

Colson Whitehead – The Zone The reunions were terrific and rote, early tutelage in the recursive nature of human experience. “__?” the girlfriends asked as they padded in bearing__, and he’d say “__”.

Barbara Kingsolver – The Poisonwood Bible Once every few years, even now, I catch the scent of__. It makes me want to keen, sing,__.

Jorge Luis Borges – Labyrinths He opened a drawer of the black and gold desk. He faced me and in his hands he held__.

Emily Brontë – Wuthering Heights While enjoying a month of fine weather at the sea-coast, I was thrown into the company of a__, a real__.

Find daily writing prompts plus literary device definitions and terms.

Build focus and a steady writing routine, and get help from experienced coaches and editors while connecting with other writers on our 6-month Group Coaching course. Learn more and see what alumni loved.

Related Posts:

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  • Writing exercises: 10 fun tense workouts
  • 6 creative writing exercises for rich character
  • Tags writing groups , writing inspiration , writing prompts

fun creative writing games for adults

Jordan is a writer, editor, community manager and product developer. He received his BA Honours in English Literature and his undergraduate in English Literature and Music from the University of Cape Town.

6 replies on “50 fun group writing exercises”

These exercises look like fun!

Sometimes there comes a point when you can’t think of anything worth writing. I guess every writer will know what I mean. But with these templates, I can get some inspiration and share whole stories with my friends.

Thank you, Jordan.

Hi Daisy, I’m glad that you found these ideas inspiring, it’s a pleasure. Thank you for sharing your feedback!

I love these! They’re inspiring (although I want to cheat and use them as-is). Lots of material for future fun 😉

Hi Margriet, thank you! I’m glad you find these writing exercises fun. We can share fill-in-the-blank exercises in the challenge group, that’s another idea.

Thankyou Jordan for these great points.

It’s a pleasure, Dave. Thank you for reading our blog.

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50 Fantastic Creative Writing Exercises

fun creative writing games for adults

Good question.

Creative writing exercises are designed to teach a technique. They are highly specific, more specific than creative writing prompts, and much more specific than story generators.

Creative writing exercises for adults are not designed to lead the writer into crafting a full story, but are only designed to help them improve as a writer in a narrow, specific category of writing skills.

I’ve broken the exercises below into categories so you can choose what category of skill you’d like to practice. Can you guess which category in this list has the most prompts?

If you guessed characters, then you’re right. I think characters are the heart blood of every story, and that a majority of any writing prompts or writing exercises should focus on them.

But I also think any of these will help you create a narrative, and a plot, and help you generate all kinds of dialogue, whether for short stories or for novels. These writing exercises are pretty much guaranteed to improve your writing and eliminate writer’s block. 

Also, if you’re a fledgling writer who needs help writing their novel, check out my comprehensive guide to novel writing.

Enjoy the five categories of writing exercises below, and happy writing!

five senses

1. Think of the most deafening sound you can imagine. Describe it in great detail, and have your character hear it for the first time at the start of a story.

2. Have a man cooking for a woman on a third date, and have her describe the aromas in such loving and extended detail that she realizes that she’s in love with him.

3. Pick a line from one of your favorite songs, and identify the main emotion. Now write a character who is feeling that emotion and hears the song. Try to describe the type of music in such a beautiful way that you will make the reader yearn to hear the song as well.

4. Have a character dine at a blind restaurant, a restaurant in pitch blackness where all the servers are blind, and describe for a full paragraph how the tablecloth, their clothing, and the hand of their dining partner feels different in the darkness.

5. Select a dish representative of a national cuisine, and have a character describe it in such detail that the reader salivates and the personality of the character is revealed.

Dialogue exercises

7. Describe two characters having a wordless conversation, communicating only through gestures. Try to see how long you can keep the conversation going without any words spoken, but end it with one of them saying a single word, and the other one repeating the same word.

8. In a public place from the last vacation you took, have two characters arguing, but make it clear by the end of the argument that they’re not arguing about what they’re really upset about.

9. Write a scene composed mostly of dialogue with a child talking to a stranger. Your mission is to show the child as heartbreakingly cute. At the same time, avoid sentimentality. 

10. Have two character have a conversation with only a single word, creating emphasis and context so that the word communicates different things each time it is spoken. The prime example of this is in the television show “The Wire,” where Jimmy and Bunk investigate a crime scene repeating only a single expletive.

fun creative writing games for adults

11. Pick an object that is ugly, and create a character who finds it very beautiful. Have the character describe the object in a way that convinces the reader of its beauty. Now write a second version where you convince the reader (through describing the object alone) that the character is mentally unstable.

12. Write down five emotions on slips of paper and slip them into a hat. Now go outside and find a tree. Draw one emotion from the hat, and try to describe that tree from the perspective of a character feeling that emotion. (Don’t mention the emotion in your writing — try to describe the tree so the reader could guess the emotion).

13. Describe a character’s bedroom in such a way that it tells us about a person’s greatest fears and hopes.

14. Root through your desk drawer until you find a strange object, an object that would probably not be in other people’s drawers. Have a character who is devastated to find this object, and tell the story of why this object devastates them.

15. Go to an art-based Pinterest page and find your favorite piece of art. Now imagine a living room inspired by that flavor of artwork, and show the room after a husband and wife have had the worst fight of their marriage.

16. Pick a simple object like a vase, a broom, or a light bulb, and write a scene that makes the reader cry when they see the object.

fun creative writing games for adults

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fun creative writing games for adults

17. Make a list of the top five fears in your life. Write a character who is forced to confront one of those fears.

18. Write an entire page describing the exact emotions when you learned of a happy or calamitous event in your life. Now try to condense that page into a single searing sentence.

19. Think about a time in your life when you felt shame. Now write a character in a similar situation, trying to make it even more shameful.

20. Write a paragraph with a character struggle with two conflicting emotions simultaneously. For example, a character who learns of his father’s death and feels both satisfaction and pain.

21. Write a paragraph where a character starts in one emotional register, and through a process of thought, completely evolves into a different emotion.

Characters:

fun creative writing games for adults

22. Create a minor character based upon someone you dislike. Now have your main character encounter them and feel sympathy and empathy for them despite their faults.

23. Have a kooky character tell a story inside a pre-established form: an instruction manual, traffic update, email exchange, weather report, text message.

24. Write about a character who does something they swore they would never do.

25. Have a character who has memorized something (the names of positions in the Kama Sutra, the entire book of Revelations) recite it while doing something completely at odds with what they’re reciting. For instance, bench pressing while reciting the emperors in a Chinese dynasty.

26. Write a paragraph where a character does a simple action, like turning on a light switch, and make the reader marvel at how strange and odd it truly is.

27. Have a couple fight while playing a board game. Have the fight be about something related to the board game: fighting about money, have them play monopoly. Fighting about politics, let them play chess.

28. Write about two characters angry at each other, but have both of them pretend the problems don’t exist. Instead, have them fight passive-aggressively, through small, snide comments.

29. Describe a character walking across an expanse field or lot and describe how he walks. The reader should perfectly understand his personality simply by the way you describe his walk.

30. Write a first-person POV of a character under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and try to make the prose as woozy and tipsy as the character.

31. Describe the first time that a character realizes he is not as smart as he thought.

32. Describe an hour in the life of a character who has recently lost their ability to do what they love most (a pianist who has severe arthritis; a runner who became a quadriplegic).

33. Write an argument where a husband or wife complains of a physical ailment, but their spouse refuses to believe it’s real.

34. Write a scene where a stranger stops your main character, saying that they know them, and insisting your main character is someone they are not. Describe exactly how this case of mistaken identity makes your character feel.

35. Describe a small personality trait about a person you love, and make the reader love them, too.

36. Write a personality-revealing scene with a character inside a public restroom. Do they press a thumb against the mirror to leave a subtle mark? Do they write a plea for help on the inside of the stall door? Do they brag about the size of what they’ve just dumped off?

37. Give your character an extremely unusual response to a national tragedy like a terrorist attack or natural disaster. Maybe have them be aware their response is unusual, and try to cloak it from others, or have them be completely unaware and display it without any self-consciousness.

38. Have one of your main characters come up with an idea for a comic book, and tell a close friend about the idea. What about this idea would surprise the friend, upsetting what he thought he knew about your main character? Also, what would the main character learn about himself from the comic book idea?

39. Think of an illness someone you love has suffered from. How does your character respond when someone close to them has this illness?

40. Have your main character invent an extremely offensive idea for a book, and show their personality faults through discussing it with others.

41. Have your character write down a list considering how to respond to their stalker.

42. Write a scene where a man hits on a woman, and although the woman acts repulsed and begs her friends to get him away from her, it becomes apparent that she likes the attention.

43. Write about a 20-something confronting his parents over their disapproval of his lifestyle.

44. Have your character write a funny to-do list about the steps to get a boyfriend or girlfriend.

45. Have a risk-adverse character stuck in a hostage situation with a risk-happy character.

46. For the next week, watch strangers carefully and take notes in your phone about any peculiar gestures or body language. Combine the three most interesting ones to describe a character as she goes grocery shopping.

47. Buy a package of the pills that expand into foam animals, and put a random one in a glass of warm water. Whatever it turns out to be, have that animal surprise your main character in a scene.

48. Have your character faced with a decision witness a rare, awe-inspiring event, and describe how it helps them make their decision.

49. Imagine if your character met for the first time his or her long-lost identical twin. What personality traits would they share and which ones would have changed because of their unique experiences? 

50. If a character got burned by a hot pan, what type of strange reaction would they have that would reveal what they value most?

Once you’ve taken a stab at some of these exercises, I’d recommend you use them in your actual writing.

And for instruction on that, you need a guide to writing your novel . 

That link will change your life and your novel. Click it now.

Creative Writing Exercises

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32 comments

John Fox, you have some excellent resources, and I thank you. I read your comments, then scrolled down to glance at the list of 50 exercises. The FIRST one, “loud noise’ is already in my head. My Hero is going to be side swiped in my Cozy. I was side swiped on a state highway here in Virginia a couple of weeks ago and, although the damage was minor, the sound of that big SUV “glancing” off my little car was SCARY!!! I once heard a fast-moving car REAR-END is stand-still car; that sound was something I’ll never forget. So, your exercise is very timely. THANK YOU!!!

This is a great list! Thanks!

You know what would be motivating? If we could turn these in to someone and get like a grade lol

I’ve been thinking a lot about “how to master writing,” and this is the first time that I found an article that makes it clear the difference between prompts and exercises. I fully agree with you. These are bound to make you a better writer if you focus on doing a variation of them daily.

An excellent list – thank you very much. I run a small writing group and we’ll be trying some.

Yes, thank you. I too run a small writing group and you got me out of a slump for tomorrow’s group!

yes,thank you . It’s good for improve your writing skills.

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What a lovely list! I am working on the final draft of my very first novel, and am constantly working at improving the final product. Your exercises are just what I need to kickstart my writing day. Thank you so very much.

Thank you very much When I turned50 I received my diploma from Children’s Institute in West Redding Ct I got my inspiration from being near water however now that I am in Oregon I have had a writing block thanks to your list my creative juices are flowing

I suppose I better have good punctuation, seeing this is about Writing. Thank you for this great list. I am the Chair of our small Writing group in Otorohanga and we start again last week of Feb. I have sent out a homework email, to write a A4 page of something exciting that has happened over the holiday break and they must read it out to the group with passion and excitement in their voices. That will get them out of their comfort zone!

A formidable yet inspiring list. Thank you very much for this. This is really very helpful. I am from India, and very new to writing and have started my first project, which I want to make it into a Novel. This has been very helpful and is very challenging too. Prompts look sissy when compared to this, frankly speaking. Thank you very much again.

Where can I get the answers for these?

There aren’t “answers.” You create responses to these exercises.

Thank you so much for the detailed suggestions focusing on HOW to put the WHAT into practice; really helpful & inspiring.

Just started rough drafting a story I’ve always wanted to write. Do you have any advice for someone writing their first real story? I’m having trouble starting it; I just want it to be perfect.

I consider this very helpful. Just started my journey as a creative writer, and will be coming back to this page to aid my daily writing goal.

I have always loved writing exercises and these are perfect practice for my competition. I have tried lots of different things that other websites have told me to try, but this by far is the most descriptive and helpful site that i have seen so far.

This is really a creative blog. An expert writer is an amateur who didn’t stop. I trust myself that a decent writer doesn’t actually should be advised anything but to keep at it. Keep it up!

I’ve always enjoyed writing from a little girl. Since I’ve been taking it a bit more seriously as does everybody else it seems; I’ve lost the fun and sponteneity. Until now…..this is a marvelous blog to get back the basic joy and freedom in writing. Or should that be of?:) These exercises are perfect to get the creative juices flowing again…..thank you:)

These are interesting exercises for writing.

These are fantastic! I started reading a really awesome book on creative writing but it just didn’t get any good or easy to follow exercises. So I found your site and having been having a lot of fun with these. Exactly what I was looking for, thank you!

creative and inspiring, thank you

I always wanted to have an exercise where a friend and I each wrote a random sentence and sent it to each other to write a short story from that beginning sentence, then exchange the stories for reading and/or critique. Maybe both writers start with the same sentence and see how different the stories turn out.

Thanks for these exercises. Some are really challenging. To truly tackle them I’m having to spend as long beforehand thinking “how the HECK am I going to do this?” as I do with ink on paper. Would be a great resource if other authors submitted their replies and thoughts about how they went about each exercise.

Start the conversation: submit one of yours.

I think I can use these to inspire my students.

Hi there. Thank you for posting this list- it’s great! Can I ask you to consider removing number 42 or perhaps changing it somewhat? I teach sex ed and every year am shocked by how many young people don’t understand issues around consent. Stories about woman who ‘say no but really mean yes’ are deeply unhelpful. Really appreciate your post but felt I had to ask. Thanks.

What’s wrong with the number 42?

It promulgates the belief that when a woman says no, she doesn’t mean it, potentially resulting in sexual assault.

I just make this list a part of my teaching in Creative Writing Classes. Very good list of ideas!

Thank you so much for posting this! I have used it to create a creative playwriting activity for my high school creative writing class–so much good stuff here for me to pick through and select for my kiddos that will allow them to shine and improve their knowledge of writing as a craft!

fun creative writing games for adults

Every writer NEEDS this book.

It’s a guide to writing the pivotal moments of your novel.

Whether writing your book or revising it, this will be the most helpful book you’ll ever buy.

Ashley Weaver

Historical & Paranormal Fiction Writer

14 Fun Virtual Creative Writing Group Activities

Write a story collaboratively . I recently did this with my group for Halloween and it was a great success! One week before Halloween, we decided to write a ghost story collectively by opening a Google Doc and making a list of who would start the story, who would go second, third, etc. We each could write as much or as little as we wanted, but we had to make sure we all got it done by Halloween.

First Line Prompts . Basically, someone generates the first line for a story, like “It was a dark and stormy night.”, and everybody in the group writes a story including that first line.

fun creative writing games for adults

Last Line Prompts . Like the first line prompt activity, someone generates a possible last line of a story, such as “She never went into that house ever again.”, and everybody in the group includes that line at the end of their story.

Weekly Draw: Poetry, Short Story, or Screenplay? Each person randomly selects (virtually) which type of writing they will pursue that week. Will they try their hand at a poem, a short story, or the first few pages of a screenplay?

fun creative writing games for adults

Picture Prompts . Each person selects a picture from a random collection provided by the initiator and writes a story, movie, or a poem using the picture as their topic.

Collective submission for recent calls for stories . Each person writes and submits something to the same publisher’s call for writing. This activity gives members of the group practice submitting their work for publication.

fun creative writing games for adults

Story-sharing . The initiator can set aside some time at the beginning or conclusion of the meeting where members can each share something they are writing or books they are currently reading. This is a good opportunity for people to get feedback for their writing as well as receive book recommendations to help inspire future writing. Reading is, after all, one of the best ways to become better writers (and vice versa).

Poetry Workshop : each person reads some poetry and then writes a free verse, haiku, sonnet, limerick, or a villanelle. This could be a good opportunity for those who are not very familiar with different forms/structures of poetry to learn different ways of writing it.

NaNoWriMo Workshop . This month a few members of my group are trying to write a certain amount a day so that their stories can be finished by the end of November. So far, we are communicating by giving feedback on their work via Google Doc comments and messaging. While this is a good opportunity for members to write, set deadlines, and strive to meet them, it’s also nice for those who are not necessarily in the mood to write to read others’ work and practice their editing skills.

fun creative writing games for adults

Storyboarding . While this is ideal for helping screenwriters, who may use sticky notes with different scenes scribbled on them, find out where to put certain scenes in their film, this can work for stories as well. What comes first? Should the story start at the end? Or should it be told linearly?

A-Z Story . I did this once in a creative writing undergrad class. We were invited to tell a story starting each sentence with the next word in the alphabet. It was pretty instrumental in helping me to find different words to tell a story and it actually helped me to do what I was not very good at: finishing a story.

fun creative writing games for adults

POV Activity . Tell a well-known tale from the point of view of a character other than the protagonist. For example: the view of the Prince in Sleeping Beauty, through the eyes of Voldemort from Harry Potter, the inner monologue of Jane from Pride and Prejudice, etc.

Tense & Narration Switch Up . Give everybody the same prompt, but they each need to write it in a different tense (past, present, or future). This would also be fun if each person writes it from a different type of narration (such as first person, second person, or third person).

fun creative writing games for adults

Write a version of a popular story/fairytale in a different genre . For example, what if Snow White was a princess in a dystopian society? What if the tale of Dracula was a historical fiction story set during WWII?

For more ideas, visit the teacher resources page for Purdue’s website here .

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Published by ashley weaver.

Short Story Author & Book/Film Reviewer View more posts

One thought on “ 14 Fun Virtual Creative Writing Group Activities ”

Collaborative writing sounds like a lot of fun, though I haven’t found someone I’d wanna do it with yet. First I’ll need to find a group lol. Thanks for this list, Ashley!

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Writers.com

The best writing exercises bring out our latent creativity. Especially if you ever feel stuck or blocked, making creative writing exercises part of your daily writing practice can be a great way to both hone your skills and explore new frontiers in your writing. Whether you’re a poet, essayist, storyteller, or genre-bending author, these free writing exercises will jumpstart your creative juices and improve your writing abilities.

24 of the Best Free Writing Exercises to Try Out Today

The best creative writing exercises will push you out of your comfort zone and get you to experiment with words. Language is your sandbox, so let’s build some sand castles with these exercises and writing prompts.

Write With Limitations

The English language is huge, complicated, and — quite frankly — chaotic. Writing with self-imposed limitations can help you create novel and inventive pieces.

What does “limitations” mean in this context? Basically, force yourself not to use certain words, descriptions, or figures of speech. Some writing exercises using limitations include the following:

  • Write without using adverbs or adjectives.
  • Write without using the passive voice – no “being verbs” whatsoever. (Also called “E-Prime” writing.)
  • Write a story without using a common letter –  just like Ernest Vincent Wright did .
  • Write a poem where each line has six words.
  • Write without using any pronouns.

Among exercises to improve writing skills, writing with limitations has the clearest benefits. This practice challenges your brain to think about language productively. Additionally, these limitations force you to use unconventional language – which, in turn, makes you write with lucidity, avidity, and invention.

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Freewriting & Stream of Consciousness

What do you do when the words just don’t come out? How can you write better if you can’t seem to write at all? One of the best poetry exercises, as well as writing exercises in general, is to start your day by freewriting.

Freewriting, also known as “stream of consciousness writing,” involves writing your thoughts down the moment they come. There’s no filtering what you write, and no controlling what you think: topicality, style, and continuity are wholly unnecessary in the freewriting process. While the idea of freewriting seems easy, it’s much harder than you think – examining your thoughts without controlling them takes a while to master, and the impulse to control what you write isn’t easy to tame. Try these exercises to master the skill:

  • Do a timed freewrite. Start with five minutes.
  • Freewrite until you fill up the entirety of something – an envelope, a receipt, a postcard, etc.
  • Freewrite after meditating.
  • Freewrite off of the first word of today’s newspaper.

Among daily writing exercises, freewriting is one of the best writing exercises. Poets can use freewritten material as inspiration for their poetry. Prose writers can also find inspiration for future stories from the depths of their consciousnesses. Start your writing day with freewriting, and watch your creativity blossom.

Copy What You Read

Plagiarism is still off the table; however, you can learn a lot by paying attention to how other people write. This is what we call “reading like a writer.”

Reading like a writer means paying attention to the craft elements that make an excellent piece of literature work. Good writing requires different writing styles, figurative language, story structures, and/or poetry forms, as well as key word choice.

When you notice these craft elements, you can go ahead and emulate them in your own work. As a fiction writer , you might be drawn to the way Haruki Murakami weaves folklore into his stories, and decide to write a story like that yourself. Or, as a poet, you might be inspired by Terrance Hayes’ Golden Shovel form — enough so that you write a Golden Shovel yourself.

  • Read a favorite poem, and write your own poem in the same poetic form.
  • Blackout poetry: take another poem, cross out words you don’t want to use, circle words you do, and write a poem based on the circled words.
  • Copy a single sentence from a favorite novel, and write a short-short story with it.

Among free writing exercises, this is a great way to learn from the best. The best kinds of exercises to improve writing skills involve building upon the current canon of works — as Isaac Newton said, you achieve something great by “standing on the shoulders of giants.”

Write From Different Perspectives

The conventional advice given to writers is to “write what you know.” We couldn’t disagree with that statement more. The best creative works force both the writer and the reader to consider new perspectives and learn something new; writing from a new point-of-view makes for a great exercise in expanding your creative limits.

Try these ideas as daily writing exercises:

  • Write a story with the same plot, but with two or more perspectives. For example, you could write a lover’s quarrel from two different view points.
  • Write from the point-of-view of a famous historical figure.
  • Write a story or poem from the perspective of an object: a statue, a doll, a roomba, etc.
  • Write from the perspective of a person you dislike.

While playing with perspective makes for a great fiction writing exercise , poets and essayists can do this too. Patricia Smith’s poem “Skinhead,” for example, is a persona piece written from the perspective of a white nationalist, but the poem clearly condemns the speaker’s beliefs.

Thus, perspective writing also works as a poetry exercise and an essay writing practice exercise . If you’re stuck in your own head, try writing in someone else’s!

Write Metaphor Lists

All creative writers need figurative language. While metaphors, similes, and synecdoches are more prominent in poetry , prose writers need the power of metaphor to truly engross their reader. Among both exercises to improve writing skills and fun writing exercises for adults, writing metaphor lists is one of the best writing exercises out there.

A metaphor list is simple. On a notebook, create two columns. In one column, write down only concrete nouns. Things like a pillow, a tree, a cat, a cloud, and anything that can be perceived with one of the five senses.

In the other list, write down only abstract ideas. Things like love, hate, war, peace, justice, closure, and reconciliation — anything that is conceptual and cannot be directly perceived.

Now, choose a random noun and a random concept, and create a metaphor or simile with them. Delve into the metaphor and explain the comparison. For example, you might say “Love is like a pillow — it can comfort, or it can smother.”

Once you’ve mastered the metaphor list, you can try the following ideas to challenge yourself:

  • Create a coherent poem out of your metaphor list.
  • Turn your metaphor list into a short story.
  • Try making lists with a different figurative language device, such as personification, pathetic fallacy, or metonymy.

Any free creative writing exercise that focuses on figurative language can aid your writing immensely, as it helps writers add insight and emotionality to their work. This is an especially great creative writing exercise for beginners as they learn the elements of style and language.

Daily Journaling

Of course, the best way to improve your creative writing skills is simply to write every day. Keeping a daily journal is a great way to exercise your writing mind. By sitting down with your personal observations and writing without an agenda or audience, a daily writing practice  remains one of the best writing exercises , regardless of your genre or level of expertise.

Consider these ideas for your daily journal:

  • Track your mood and emotions throughout the day. Write those emotions in metaphor — avoid commonplace adjectives and nouns.
  • Write about your day from the second- or third-person.
  • Journal your day in verse. Use stanzas, line breaks, and figurative language.
  • Write about your day backwards.
  • Write about your day using Freytag’s pyramid . Build up to a meaningful climax, even if nothing significant seemed to happen today.

Learn more about keeping a journal here:

How to Start Journaling: Practical Advice on How to Journal Daily

Writing Exercises: Have Fun with Them!

Many of these writing exercises might feel challenging at first—and that’s a good thing! You will unlock new ideas and writing strengths by struggling through these creative challenges. The main point is to have fun with them and use them to explore within your writing, without indulging too many monologues from your inner critic.

Are you looking for more exercises to improve your writing skills? Our instructors can offer prompts, illuminating lectures, one-to-one feedback, and more to help you improve your craft. Check out our upcoming creative writing courses , and let’s put these skills to practice.

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Sean Glatch

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Thank you for this. I’ve been stuck for months—more than that, actually, and you’d think that a pandemic stay-at-home would be the perfect time to do some writing. But no. I’m as stuck as ever. In fact, the only time I seem able to write consistently and well is when I’m taking one of your classes! I’m still saving my pennies, but these exercises will hopefully get me writing in the meantime. Thanks again!

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Hi Kathy, I’m glad to hear some of these tips might spark your creativity 🙂 I feel the same way, I was hoping the stay-at-home order might spark some creativity, but we shouldn’t push ourselves too hard – especially in the midst of a crisis.

The best part about writing: all you have to do is try, and you’ve already succeeded. Good luck on your writing endeavors!

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Bravo….!What a great piece! Honestly I learnt a lot here!

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I picked interest in poetry just a week ago after reading a beautiful piece which captivated my mind into the world of writing. I’d love to write great poems but I don’t know anything about poetry, I need a coach, a motivator and an inspiration to be able to do this. This piece really helped me but I will appreciate some more tips and help from you or anyone else willing to help, I am really fervid about this.

Hi Anthony,

Thanks for your comment! I’m so excited for you to start your journey with poetry. We have more advice for poetry writing at the articles under this link: https://writers.com/category/poetry

Additionally, you might be interested in two of our upcoming poetry courses: Poetry Workshop and How to Craft a Poem .

If you have any questions, please feel free to email us at [email protected] . Many thanks, and happy writing!

[…] 24 Best Writing Exercises to Become a Better Writer | writers.com  […]

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Hi, kinsey there. Thanks for giving information. it is a very informative blog and i appreciate your effort to write a blog I am also a writer and i like these type of blogs everyone takes more knowledge to check out my essay writing website

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As a writer, I often struggle to break free from the chains of writer’s block, but this blog has gifted me with a map of inspiration to navigate through those creative storms. It’s like being handed a box of enchanted writing exercises

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Writing Games for Adults: Harnessing Spontaneity to Create Story Ideas.

story writing games

By Glen C. Strathy

Writing games for adults are less common than games for kids. But if you are an aspiring writer, they are a great way to exercise your imagination and creativity and generate ideas you can develop into stories. Many of them can be played both solo and with other people (perhaps as an activity for a writer group or club).

Of course, the best story ideas often come to you when you aren't drying to find them. But writing games can be used to "prime the pump," so to speak. They get you thinking about stories, both consciously and unconsciously, making it easier for the next great story idea to arise.

First, let me tell you why I believe these writing games for adults work. Then I'll refer you to some of my favourite games.

The Principles Behind All Great Writing Games for Adults

Most writing games for adults depend on these basic principles...

1. Randomness

Story writing games usually involve selecting certain ideas randomly -- whether this means opening a book at a random page and choosing the first word you see, drawing random cards from a deck, spinning a wheel, or rolling dice. Beginning with a random element allows you to overcome the challenge of choosing a starting point for your creative process.

Playing a story writing game with other people does the same thing, because you cannot predict what ideas other people will contribute.

Regardless the source, the rule is that you must not reject the random elements. You must accept and work with whatever ideas or words are randomly produced.

2. The Human Drive to Make Meaning

Human beings have an inborn desire to understand things. We want to know what everything means.

When presented with things or ideas that have no explanation, our minds will naturally try to find an explanation. We will invent a way to connect what we don't understand to what we do understand. We will invent some explanation for things that seem to have no explanation.

In fact, we usually prefer to have a false explanation for something than no explanation at all. Having no explanation feels uncomfortable, even dangerous. Whereas, we can take comfort in having some explanation, even if that explanation is inaccurate or has no logical consistency.

Story writing games take advantage of our need to create meaning by first giving us some random ideas and then challenging us to make meaning from them. When we create a story from random elements, we are creating context, connections, and relationships that give the random elements meaning. 

Making a story out of random elements uses both logic and imagination. It's a creative challenge that can be a lot of fun.

3. Low Stakes

All games have rules that create a certain structure.

A little structure is a creative challenge. The fun is seeing if we can accomplish the task (such as creating a story) working within the rules.

On the other hand, too much structure -- too many rules, too many requirements to meet, standards that are too high, or rules that are too complex -- can kill creativity. We can get so bogged down with excess structure that we get paralyzed.

So good story writing games will have the right amount of structure. They have enough structure to create a challenge, so finishing the game feels like an accomplishment. Everyone should walk away from the game feeling positive about the experience.

At the same time, games should not have so much structure that meeting the challenge feels impossible or laborious. Participants should not be left feeling like they aren't smart or talented enough to succeed.

Games are play, not work. So the stakes need to be kept low.  Easier games usually work better.

In fact, the best games are scaleable. They can be played by people age 9-99. Children can play them and have fun making simple stories, while educated adults can use the same games to generate sophisticated story ideas.

4. Open Endedness

Good story writing games should be flexible enough to tell a wide range of stories. They should not be limited to one genre or one narrative mode.

Okay, with all that said, here are some story writing games you may enjoy playing...

collaborative games

The Word-at-a-Time Game, and Other Collaborative Story Writing Games to Play with Partners and Groups

Collaborative, turn-based writing games can be played with partners or writing groups to generate stories. Some of them are simple, fun exercises that get the creative juices flowing. Others have been used to write published novels. Discover a number of such games here, ranked from easy to challenging.

random word games

Random Word Story Games

Story writing games using words drawn at random are very popular. Here are some you can play by yourself to create story prompts or even entire stories.

four sentence stories

Four Sentence Stories

Four Sentence Stories is a simple but fun game you can play with a group of your writer friends to generate story ideas and get a basic understanding of story structure.

story cubes

Rory's Story Cubes

This fun, easy to use set of plastic, dice-like cubes can help you generate an unlimited number of original story ideas. Can be played with children, adults, writer groups, etc. They function a little bit like an alethiometer (if you're familiar with Philip Pullman's novel The Golden Compass ).

exquisite corpse

Exquisite Corpse

Play this fun game to create surrealist poems, unique imagery, or story prompts that can inspire your next writing project. Also makes a fun party game to play with your writer friends.

magnetic poetry

Magnetic Poetry

Many people have a game of magnetic poetry adorning their refrigerator. There are many ways to use this novelty item, including drawing words at random and attempting to create a poem or story idea with them. You can play this by yourself or invite any passers-by your kitchen to contribute.

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Related articles you may enjoy...

fun creative writing games for adults

The Word-at-a-Time Story Game, and Other Collaborative Games

The Word-at-a-Time Story Game and other collaborative games and story creation tools for writing groups.

fun creative writing games for adults

Exquisite Corpse: An Imagery Generation Game

Use the Exquisite Corpse imagery game as a writing tool for poetry or prose.

fun creative writing games for adults

Magnetic Poetry: A Fun Writing Exercise

Use magnetic poetry to find creative ideas for your novel.

fun creative writing games for adults

Random word story games are a fun way to generate story ideas on your own or with friends.

fun creative writing games for adults

Using Rory's Story Cubes to generate story ideas.

Creating stories with Rory's Story Cubes is easy and fun for all ages.

fun creative writing games for adults

Four Sentence Stories: An Idea-Generating & Story Structure Game

Writing four sentence stories is a fun game to play in writer groups that also teaches the basics of story structure.

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Interactive Creative Writing Games

Fun interactive writing games to get your creative juices flowing...

  • Visual Poetry  : Explore your creativity by drawing word mosaics with your poetry.
  • Haiku Madlibs  : Fill out the text fields to generate 16 haikus, madlibs style - using templates from the masters, including: Basho, Buson, Issa, Shiki, Shuson, and Soseki.
  • Madlib Poem  : A madlib poem is a fun and creative way to write poems using a fill-in-the-blank format using poem templates from famous poems.
  • Electronic Poetry  : Similiar to magnetic poetry. Create poems using the words of your favorite authors or create magnets from your own text. Includes author kits for: Antonin Artaud, Charles Baudelaire, Francesca Lia Block, André Breton, Poppy Z. Brite, Charles Bukowski, William S. Burroughs, Angela Carter, ee cummings, Hilda Doolittle, Brett Easton Ellis, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Allen Ginsberg, Ernest Hemingway, Jack Kerouac, Stephen King, Comte de Lautréamont, The Smiths, Anaïs Nin, Flannery O'Connor, Mary Oliver, Sylvia Plath, Edgar Allan Poe, Marcel Proust, Anne Rice, Arthur Rimbaud, J.D. Salinger, William Shakespeare, Robert Smith, Gertrude Stein, Donna Tartt, Michelle Tea, Tristan Tzara, Oscar Wilde.
  • Poem Collage  : Enter your poem and click Generate. Poem Collage will generate your poem as a series of draggable lines. Rearrange the lines to form a new poem.
  • Poem Builder  : Flip 3 cards to build a poem - one: the subject of the poem, two: the poetic form you should write the poem in, and three: 10 words you should incorporate into the poem.
  • Exquisite Corpse  : A writing game that originated in the Surrealist movement of the early 20th century. The game involves a group of writers who each contribute a sentence or phrase to a collective work without being able to see what the other writers have written. Add a word or line to the exquisite corpse poem - started in 2000!
  • Poetry Stamp  : Poetry stamp will randomly generate lines of poetry, which you can then modify by changing or removing words.
  • Letter Link Poetry  : When we play Boggle, we then like to use the words we found to write a poem, using each word to start each line of the poem.
  • Ring Game [Vowels vs Consonants]  : Use letters to chain together words to write poems.
  • Text Collage  : Linguasso - dynamic emotional design linguasso (for lingual and Picasso) creates totally random works of art, composed of text and based on varying emotions.
  • Story Dice  : Roll the dice to get 6 different words - a setting, a character, an object, an action, an emotion, and an adjective. Use all of these words as prompts to write a story.
  • Never­ending­ Story  : Add a line to the neverending story - started in 2000!
  • Tarot Reading Writing Game  : Use a Tarot Reading to flesh out characters, come up with plot twists, and character conflict. Tarot readings can be a powerful tool for writers looking to generate ideas for their creative work. By interpreting the symbolism and meanings of the tarot cards, you can access your subconscious mind and tap into a rich source of inspiration and creativity.
  • Fade Out  : Fade Out is a writing game that forces you to be creative with limited word choices.
  • Alliterator  : An alliteration text generator that only uses words starting with the same letter.
  • Ring Game  : Use letters to chain together words to write poems.
  • Graffiti Wall  : Add to or edit the writing on the Graffiti Wall! Yes, your additions may be altered or deleted by someone else and you may change or delete other's additions. That is the game...
  • Blind Finish-the-Story  : A modified version of the popular writing game where at least three players take turns adding to a story on numbered index cards, creating a surreal dreamlike tale that can inspire or be used for fun.

Number Dyslexia

10 Engaging Story Writing Games For Adults

Are you someone with exceptional imagination power looking to pen down your creative and captivating thoughts? Well, then put on your thinking caps and get ready to dive into the endless possibilities of storytelling. Whether you’re a seasoned writer or a beginner, these games will challenge you to push your boundaries and create unforgettable characters, settings, and plots.

No longer will you have to struggle with writer’s block or lack of inspiration. Just like writing activities , with these games, you’ll be transported to new worlds and challenged to come up with exciting and unique stories. From mystery-solving detectives to time-traveling adventurers, the possibilities are endless.

Get ready to unleash your inner storyteller and let your imagination run wild. Who knows what incredible tales you’ll come up with? So grab a pen and paper, gather your friends, and get ready to embark on a journey like no other. It’s time to unlock your creativity and see where your imagination can take you!

Unleashing the inner storyteller: Fun and engaging story writing games for adults

1. character creation quest: unleash your imagination”.

Welcome, aspiring storytellers, to the enchanting realm of character creation! Are you ready to embark on an epic adventure where you will breathe life into captivating characters? Prepare to delve deep into their backgrounds, unravel their personalities, and unveil their motivations. Get your creative juices flowing as we embark on the Character Creation Quest!

Story Writing Games For Adults

Game Instructions:

  • Backstory Bonanza: Begin by rolling the Story Dice (virtual or physical) to determine the elements of your character’s backstory. The dice could represent things like hometown, family life, or significant experiences. Use the results to craft a unique and intriguing backstory for your character.
  • Personality Puzzle: Engage in a lively character personality quiz! Answer a series of thought-provoking questions and determine your character’s traits. Are they brave or shy? Optimistic or skeptical? Each answer will shape your character’s personality and make them come alive in your story.
  • Sketch Quest: Grab your pens and paper! It’s time to bring your character to life visually. Draw or create a digital artwork of your character, capturing their appearance, personality, and unique features. Let your imagination run wild as you give form to the hero or heroine of your tale.
  • Story Spotlight: Share the spotlight! Gather with fellow adventurers and take turns showcasing your characters. Each storyteller will have a chance to introduce their character, sharing their backstory, personality, and motivations. As you listen to others, you might find inspiration for collaborative storytelling adventures.

2. Dialogue Dynamo: Master the Art of Conversations

Welcome, wordsmiths and storytellers, to the exhilarating world of Dialogue Dynamo! Prepare to embark on a thrilling game that will put your conversational prowess to the test. Just like articulation activities , this activity will also encourage you to weave words, create compelling dialogues, and master the art of conversations like never before!

Dialogue Dynamo: Master the Art of Conversations

  • Scene Selection: Choose a setting or scenario for your dialogue game. It could be a coffee shop, a park, or even a spaceship! The setting will influence the tone and dynamics of the conversations.
  • Topic Time: Make chits with different topics and put it in a bowl and every participant needs to select one chit for the topic. It could be something simple like “favorite food” or something more complex like “forgiveness.” Use the chosen topic as the foundation for your dialogue.
  • Timer Challenge: Set a time limit for each participant to create a dialogue based on the chosen topic. It could be 5 minutes, 10 minutes, or even shorter for a quick-fire round. The challenge is to create an engaging conversation within the given time frame.
  • Storytelling Showdown: For an added twist, incorporate the created dialogues into a larger story. Each participant can contribute their dialogues, interweaving them into a cohesive narrative. Witness the magic unfold as dialogues merge to create a captivating tale.

3. Rewrite a Classic

They say there are no new stories, only new ways of telling them. But what if you could take a classic story and give it a fresh twist? That’s the challenge of rewriting a classic. By reimagining the characters, setting, and themes, you can breathe new life into an old tale and create something that’s both familiar and surprising.

Rewrite a Classic

  • Classic Remix: In this game, participants will select a classic story or fairy tale and give it a modern twist. Each player will choose a classic tale from a predetermined list or come up with their own. They will then brainstorm and reimagine the characters, setting, and themes to create a fresh and exciting retelling.
  • Modern Mashup: Players will form teams or work individually to rewrite classic stories with a contemporary twist. They can combine elements from different classic tales or blend them with modern genres. For example, imagine Alice in Wonderland meets Cyberpunk or Romeo and Juliet set in a dystopian future. Encourage creativity and innovation in the storytelling process.
  • Present and Discuss: After the rewriting process, each participant or team will present their modernized version of the classic story. They will explain the changes they made, highlighting the reasons behind their choices. Engage in a lively discussion about the effectiveness of the modern twist and how it enhances or transforms the original story.
  • Audience Vote: To add an interactive element, have an audience vote to determine the most captivating and imaginative rewritten classic. Participants can cast their votes based on creativity, originality, and the seamless integration of modern elements. Celebrate the winners and the innovative retellings they have crafted.

4. Flash Fiction

In a world where our attention spans are constantly shrinking, flash fiction is the perfect antidote. By crafting a complete story in just a few hundred words, you can pack a powerful punch and leave your readers wanting more. But writing flash fiction isn’t easy – it requires skill, precision, and a willingness to edit and refine until you’ve distilled your story down to its essence.

Flash Fiction

  • Prompt Pile: Prepare a collection of writing prompts and place them in a pile or jar. Each participant will take turns randomly selecting a prompt as inspiration for their flash fiction story.
  • Time Challenge: Set a time limit, such as 10 or 15 minutes, for participants to write their flash fiction piece based on the chosen prompt. Encourage them to focus on creating a clear beginning, middle, and end within the given time frame.
  • Share and Feedback: After the time is up, each participant will read their flash fiction story aloud to the group. Following each reading, engage in a constructive feedback session where participants can offer praise and provide suggestions for improvement.
  • Writer’s Choice: For an added twist, allow participants to choose a prompt from the pile that resonates with them the most. This prompts a deeper connection and personalization in their flash fiction writing.
  • Flash Fiction Showcase: Organize a flash fiction showcase where participants can showcase their favorite pieces that they have written during the game. Create a supportive and encouraging environment for everyone to appreciate the creativity and brevity of each flash fiction story.

5. Setting Exploration

Take your readers on a journey to a place they’ve never been before with a story that explores a specific setting in depth. With vivid sensory details, you can make the setting feel like a character in the story, influencing the plot and shaping the characters’ experiences.

 Setting Exploration

  • Imaginary Exploration: Participants will collectively create an imaginary setting for their storytelling adventure. They can draw inspiration from real-world locations, and fictional worlds, or combine elements from different places. Encourage them to think about unique and captivating settings that haven’t been explored before.
  • Sensory Sensations: Each participant will take turns describing the setting they have imagined, focusing on vivid sensory details. They should evoke the sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and textures of the setting to make it come alive in the minds of the listeners.
  • Sensory Showdown: Engage in a sensory challenge where participants must use their descriptive abilities to transport listeners to the imagined setting. Each person takes turns sharing vivid descriptions of the setting, utilizing sensory details to paint a picture in the minds of the audience. Encourage participants to think beyond sight and explore the lesser-explored senses, such as taste, smell, and touch.
  • Reflect and Discuss: After the storytelling adventure, engage in a reflective discussion about the power of the setting in storytelling. Encourage participants to share their thoughts on how the setting influenced the characters and the overall narrative. Discuss the impact of sensory details in creating an immersive reading or listening experience.
  • Map Creation: As a concluding activity, participants can collaborate on creating a visual map of the imagined setting. This map can showcase the key landmarks, geographical features, and important locations within the setting. Allow participants to contribute their ideas and bring the setting to life visually.

6. Point of View Shift

See your story from a new perspective with a point-of-view shift. By retelling a scene from a different character’s point of view, you can add depth and complexity to your characters, as well as create new opportunities for tension and conflict.

Point of View Shift

  • Scene Swap: Participants will choose a scene from a well-known story or create their own scene. Each player will then write the scene from a different character’s point of view. The goal is to capture the unique perspective, thoughts, and emotions of the chosen character, adding depth and complexity to the scene.
  • Group Guesswork: Players will form teams and take turns reading out their scenes without revealing the original narrator. The other teams must guess which character’s perspective is being portrayed. The team with the most correct guesses wins. This game encourages critical thinking and understanding of character motivations and viewpoints.
  • POV Spotlight: Each participant will have the opportunity to share their point of view shift scene with the group. After reading, engage in a discussion about how the shift in perspective changed the scene’s dynamics and affected the readers’ understanding of the characters and events.
  • Empathy Exercise: In this game, participants will choose a real-life scenario or a current event. Each player will write a short scene from the perspective of a person involved in that situation, aiming to foster empathy and understanding. Encourage discussions about the impact of various perspectives on resolving conflicts and promoting empathy in real life.

7. Time Travel

Explore the history and the future with a story that takes place in multiple time periods. From the ancient past to the distant future, time travel can create a sense of wonder and excitement, allowing you to tell a story that spans generations.

Time Travel

  • Temporal Mashup: Participants will choose a time period from a selection or create their own. Each player will write a short story that seamlessly transitions between two or more time periods. The goal is to create a narrative that showcases the interconnectedness of different eras and explores the effects of time on characters and their journeys.
  • Time Capsule Creativity: Players will gather various objects or images that represent different time periods. They will take turns selecting an item and sharing a brief story or description of how it relates to a specific time period. This game sparks creativity and encourages participants to think about the significance of objects throughout history.
  • Time Loop Challenge: In this collaborative game, participants will collectively create a time travel story where characters find themselves trapped in a time loop. Each player contributes a segment to the story, building upon the actions and consequences of the previous contributors. The challenge is to create a coherent and intriguing narrative that incorporates the complexities of time travel.
  • Historical Expertise: Participants will research a specific time period of their choice and create a short story that captures the essence of that era. Encourage attention to historical accuracy and the incorporation of significant events or cultural aspects. Afterward, participants can share their stories and discuss the challenges and discoveries they encountered during their research.

8. Unreliable Narrator

Keep your readers on their toes with a story told from the point of view of an unreliable narrator. With a character who is lying, delusional, or simply doesn’t have all the facts, you can create a sense of tension and unease that will keep your readers guessing until the very end.

Unreliable Narrator

  • Truth or Lie: Participants will pair up and take turns telling short anecdotes or personal stories, one person at a time. The challenge is that one participant in each pair will be designated as the unreliable narrator, tasked with telling a fabricated story while the other participant tells a true story. Listeners must pay careful attention to the details, mannerisms, and cues provided by the narrators to discern who is telling the truth and who is deceiving them.
  • Fact or Fiction Debate: Participants will form teams, and each team will be given a topic or statement to debate. One team member will act as the reliable narrator, presenting factual information and arguments, while another team member will take on the role of the unreliable narrator, weaving a persuasive yet misleading narrative. The opposing team must listen attentively, critically analyze the arguments presented, and challenge the unreliable narrator’s claims.
  • Unreliable Character Analysis: Participants will be provided with a selection of short stories or excerpts featuring unreliable narrators. Each person will independently read and analyze a different piece. In a group discussion, participants will share their observations, discussing the clues, inconsistencies, and motivations of the unreliable narrators. This game encourages close reading, critical thinking, and an understanding of the complexities of unreliable narration.

9. Epistolary Fiction

Dive deep into your characters’ lives with a story told through letters, diary entries, or other documents. This intimate format allows you to explore your characters’ innermost thoughts and feelings, creating a rich and immersive story that draws your readers in.

 Epistolary Fiction

Instructions:

  • Choose a setting and characters: Together as a group, decide on the setting and main characters of your story. Consider the time period, location, and any relevant background information. This will provide a framework for your epistolary adventure.
  • Assign character roles: Assign each participant a specific character or characters to portray within the story. Each participant should take on the persona of their assigned character and be responsible for writing their character’s letters, diary entries, or other documents.
  • Establish a communication system: Determine how the participants will exchange their written documents. They can physically pass letters or diary entries to each other, share them electronically or use a designated location to collect and distribute the documents.
  • Begin writing: Each participant should start writing from their character’s perspective, using the chosen format (letters, diary entries, etc.). Encourage participants to delve deep into their characters’ thoughts, emotions, and experiences, creating a compelling narrative that unfolds through the exchanged documents.
  • Review and refine: Periodically, provide opportunities for participants to review and refine their writing. This can include revising character traits, adjusting plot elements, or enhancing the emotional depth of the story. Encourage constructive feedback and discussion within the group to improve the overall narrative.
  • Share and discuss: Once the epistolary adventure is complete, give each group an opportunity to share their story with the rest of the participants. Allow time for discussion and reflection, highlighting the strengths of each group’s narrative and the unique aspects of their chosen format.
  • Appreciate and celebrate: Conclude the game by appreciating the efforts and creativity of each group. Discuss the impact of the epistolary format on storytelling and the insights gained through exploring characters’ inner lives. Celebrate the collaborative achievement of creating immersive and engaging epistolary stories.

10. Genre Mashup

Combine two or more genres to create a story that is truly unique. With a sci-fi romance, a horror comedy, or any other combination you can dream up, you can stretch your creative muscles and create a story that defies expectations.

Genre Mashup

  • Genre Selection:

a. Begin by explaining the concept of genre mashup to the participants. Discuss how combining different genres can lead to exciting and unexpected storytelling possibilities. b. Provide a list of popular genres such as sci-fi, fantasy, romance, mystery, horror, adventure, comedy, historical, and so on. c. Allow each participant to choose their favorite genre from the list. Encourage them to select genres that may seem incompatible or unconventional when combined.

  • Genre Pairing:

a. Once everyone has chosen their genres, pair up participants to form teams of two. b. Instruct each team to share their selected genres with each other. c . The teams must now combine their genres to create a unique genre mashup. For example, if one participant chose sci-fi and another chose romance, their mashup could be “Sci-Fi Romantic Adventure.”

  • Story Brainstorming:

a. Give each team a set amount of time (e.g., 10 minutes) for brainstorming and discussing ideas for their genre mashup story. b. Encourage teams to consider how the selected genres can interact and influence each other in the story. Prompt them to think about the setting, characters, plot, and potential conflicts. c. Remind teams to have fun and be creative in exploring the possibilities of their genre mashup.

  • Story Development:

a. After the brainstorming session, each team should choose a spokesperson to present their genre mashup and share their story concept with the other teams. b. Each team, including the presenting team, should take turns providing feedback, suggestions, and ideas to help refine and enhance the story concept. c. Encourage teams to incorporate the feedback and make adjustments to their story based on the suggestions received.

  • Story Presentation:

a. Once each team has finalized their genre mashup story, it’s time to present them to the entire group. b. Each team takes turns presenting their story concept, summarizing the plot, introducing key characters, and highlighting the unique elements of their genre mashup. c. After each presentation, allow time for applause and positive feedback from the other teams.

Significance of story writing games: Skills that play a key role

There are several skills that can be boosted by playing story-writing games, including:

  • Creativity: Story writing games often require players to come up with unique characters, settings, and plots. This helps to boost creativity and imagination.
  • Writing skills: By practicing writing stories in a game setting, players can improve their writing skills such as grammar, punctuation, and sentence structure.
  • Critical thinking: Story writing games often require players to solve problems and make decisions that affect the outcome of the story. This helps to improve critical thinking and decision-making skills.
  • Communication skills: Players may need to collaborate with others or share their stories with the group. This can help to improve communication skills such as articulation, listening, and giving feedback.
  • Empathy: By creating characters and experiencing different scenarios throughout the game, players can develop empathy and a better understanding of other people’s perspectives.
  • Planning and organization: Story writing games may involve creating outlines or timelines for the story, which can improve planning and organizational skills.

Overall, story writing games provide a fun and engaging way to improve various skills that can be beneficial in many aspects of life.

In conclusion, story-writing games for adults can be a fun and engaging way to boost various other skills as well. Hence, in a way, these are games for creativity , writing, critical thinking , communication, empathy , planning, and organization, as well. These games provide a unique opportunity to unleash your imagination and create unforgettable characters, settings, and plots.

Whether you’re a seasoned writer or a beginner, there are story-writing games available to challenge and inspire you. So why not give it a try and see where your creativity takes you? Who knows, you may just discover a passion for storytelling that you never knew you had!

fun creative writing games for adults

I am Shweta Sharma. I am a final year Masters student of Clinical Psychology and have been working closely in the field of psycho-education and child development. I have served in various organisations and NGOs with the purpose of helping children with disabilities learn and adapt better to both, academic and social challenges. I am keen on writing about learning difficulties, the science behind them and potential strategies to deal with them. My areas of expertise include putting forward the cognitive and behavioural aspects of disabilities for better awareness, as well as efficient intervention. Follow me on LinkedIn

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fun creative writing games for adults

Learn story writing from the masters

fun creative writing games for adults

Creative Writing Prompts

26 Remarkable Comments

Welcome to the creative writing prompts page! What you can find here is a MASSIVE collection of 63 quality writing exercises (basically, each one is a mini-story of its own, with a twist). This is going to be so much fun, and all while you improve your story writing skills.

You can find all kinds of creative writing exercises here. All of them are fiction writing prompts, and they cover almost every genre, plus you can find creative writing prompts about dialogue, characters, plot, for writer’s block, and much, much more…

Interesting Writing Prompts

This is not the usual stuff. I tried to make these writing prompts intriguing. Most of them are complete scenes and even mini-stories.

You can have them. Yes, you own all the rights, even if you base your entire novel on them and get it published and earn a million dollars for the movie rights. They are all yours.

To become a really good story writer, there is only one thing you need to do: Write! And these creative writing prompts should inspire you to write. They should fire your brain up and make your fingers itch.

With each of these prompts, you can train one specific aspect of your writing; either a genre, or your dialogue or story starter skills, etc…

Post Your Prompt

Also, pick your favorite creative writing prompt, do it, and post it in the comments! Let’s make this a page for everybody to share their creative writing. The more you guys comment and actually do these prompts, the more prompts I will add in the future.

Creative Writing Prompts PDF

To top it all off, you can also download these prompts. Find a neat PDF collection of all the prompts here:

Creative Writing Prompts

Fun Creative Writing Prompts – Index

(Click on the genre to get to the prompts)

1. Romance Writing Prompts

2. Mystery Writing Prompts/Suspense Writing Prompts

3. Fantasy Writing Prompts

4. Science Fiction Writing Prompts

5. Horror Writing Prompts

6. Thriller Writing Prompts

7. Adventure Writing Prompts

8. Action Writing Prompts

9. Historical/Medieval Writing Prompts

10. Dialogue Writing Prompts

11. Character Writing Prompts

12. Plot Writing Prompts

13. Short Story Writing Prompts

14. Writing Prompts with Pictures

15. Writing Prompts for Writer’s Block

16. Story Starters Writing Prompts

17. Unusual Creative Writing Prompts

Bonus: Other Writing Prompts Websites

fun creative writing games for adults

Writing Prompts that don’t suck: List of Writing Prompts

Romance writing prompts.

[ Read detailed tips about how to write a romantic scene her e . ]

Writing Prompt 1:

On the night before his marriage, Robert gets a visit. It’s Rachel, the girl that grew up next door and has been his best friend ever since. They had always pushed back any feelings for each other, “we are just friends.” (Yeah, right…!).

Now Rachel bursts into is home in a last, unexpected try to convince Robert he is marrying the wrong woman and she and he are meant for each other. But a ceremony for 150 guests is already arranged. After a lot of passionate talk and tears, Rachel gets him to agree to a game: “Can you guess what I would do…?” They both jot down 10 questions plus their hidden answers. Whoever can guess more of the other’s answers right, wins.

Will Rachel win and they will spend the night on a bus, escaping the wedding? Or will Robert win and watch devastated Rachel walk off into the night, frustration in his heart and tears in his eyes? You decide!

How you can make this scene shine:

Make the scene captivating by showing the reader why these two are meant for each other: Let them remember what they appreciate so much in each other (show, don’t tell), the special moments they shared, show the missed romantic opportunities, and how they complement each other perfectly.

Your reader will hope and fear with them and be hooked to your scene like it was her own love story.

Writing Prompt 2:

Gwen and Christopher have been married for 20 years. One night Gwen finds bright red lipstick on the collar of his jacket. Infuriated, she grabs one of his golf clubs, and swings at his car till it looks worse than a bicycle under a freight train.

When she is exhausted and breaks down crying, Christopher can finally explain what happened: Christopher had been with his Chinese language student group. They all had been on their way to a Chinese restaurant for a change, and it had been raining. He lent his jacket to one of his Chinese language students to protect her from the rain. That’s when the lipstick got on the shirt.

Will Gwen believe him and end up sobbing and relieved in his arms? Or will she not believe one word and soon continue with Chris’ Chinese porcelain collection? You decide!

Leave the reader in the dark about why the lipstick really is on the jacket as long as possible, keep the suspense vibrant. Describe Gwen’s pain and the destruction of Chris’ beloved car in energetic detail, so the reader will live with them as if it was their own (heart and car).

Writing Prompt 3:

King Kong, the giant, roaring ape, falls in sweet love with his female counterpart, Queen Kong. While he was terrorizing New York, she was keeping Chicago on its toes. They meet for a date somewhere in the middle, in a dreamy forest (burning trees instead of candlelight, etc…).

They share a romantic dinner (living cattle, farmers…) and discover their common interests: They both love tearing down skyscrapers, putting police cars on top of billboard ads and eating humongous bananas. And oh, don’t even get me started on the sex…

Will these lonely apes form a bond that helps their love survive against all odds/outer resistance? Or will the egomaniacs in them gain the upper hand and tear their love apart? You decide!

How do you express your love when you are a hairy monster the size of a skyscraper? What would be different, what would be absurd? Emphasize the strange contrast between tender feelings and a gigantic physique. Your reader will find their obstacles very different, but equally painful to his own, and love you for it.

Writing Prompt 4:

Lucas has fallen in love with his dentist. His teeth are very healthy, but he is coming into Jasmin’s practice for the third time within three months, in the hope he will be capable of asking her out in a quiet moment, when nobody is listening.

Unfortunately, the doctor has three assistants and one secretary, and even the door to the waiting room doesn’t look too soundproof… Lucas feels like he is on stage in a Shakespearian comedy. Jasmin, on the other hand, lightly makes fun of him, calling him a hypochondriac.

Will Lucas finally have the balls to follow through with his plan? Or will he have to come for a fourth time? Will Jasmin sense what’s up, and will she be attracted or just annoyed? You decide!

Emphasize the contrast between the nonchalant everyday business of the doctor and her assistants, and Lucas’ timid desire to ask her out. Whatever angle he takes, he is running out of time and of Jasmin’s professional attention. How does he feel? Describe his troubled inner life, and your reader will identify strongly and feel for him.

Additional Romance Writing Prompt:

Also see the SF bonus prompt here . It’s a double prompt for two genres, romance and science fiction.

Mystery Writing Prompts/Suspense Writing Prompts

Writing Prompt 5:

Animal-loving Naomi is at her parents’ holiday home. She is observing a small hut at the forest edge. A van shows up there on three nights back to back. Each time, it seems to pick up something. Naomi sees dark silhouettes sneaking around with flashlights.

One night she decides to sneaks closer, and through a gap in the curtains sees a stack of antlers and fur: She has discovered the sinister doings of poachers. Will Naomi alert the police, or will she be so furious she decides to act on her own? Will she stay undiscovered once the van’s headlights show up on the hill? You decide!

Make the readers wonder “What the heck is going on…?” as often as possible, it will make for a suspenseful story. Show how kind, smart and brave Naomi is, so readers fear for her life. Then make the bad guys come.

Writing Prompt 6:

Paris, 19 th century: Detective Beaumont follows his suspect Forestier, who is wearing a long trench coat. He believes Forestier to be the long hunted for “rose murderer.” That murderer always leaves the rare rose variety “Farewell” on his victims’ bodies. The rose can only be bought in one shop in Paris, and if Forestier walks to that shop today, it is almost certain he is the murderer.

Indeed Forestier’s ways lead him to the flower shop in question. When he comes out, the detective follows him into a narrow street to arrest him. He lays his hands on his shoulders, but once he turns him, he sees that it’s not Forestier – he has been played! The real Forestier must have left the flower shop through a back door, and is now up to who-knows-what…

Will that second person have another trap in store for Detective Beaumont? Will the detective get to Forestier before bad things happen? You decide!

Get into the detective’s head! Show his enthusiasm about finding the long sought-after murderer, his doubts, his shock at the discovery! Show the looming danger he is in. It will make for a terrifyingly good scene…

Writing Prompt 7:

Jeremy has a neighbor whose wife has been missing for months. Jeremy is sitting in his living room, watching a documentary about the most beautiful graveyards of the world. It says that the human body and bones are excellent fertilizers and make plants grow like crazy.

He looks out the window and that huge, blooming rose bush in his neighbor’s garden catches his eye. It’s elevated on a small hill of loose soil, and it’s even more striking, as the rest of his garden is barren ground. Suddenly, Jeremy remembers that the name of his neighbor’s wife is Rose…

In this scene, a lot is happening on a mental level, and little on a physical level. Dive into Jeremy’s somber thoughts and his shocking suspicion. But at the same time, remain some outside stimulus going: E.g. Describe images of the documentary, the landscape of the garden, a clock striking ten, etc… It makes for a well-balanced scene.

Fantasy Writing Prompts

Writing Prompt 8:

The four goblins Hukput, Paddycest, Nixxle and Klozzik are on their way to the cave of the Redwing dragon Isidur. They carry a delicious moore rabbit steak with minty potatoes. They plan to present it to him as humble offering of submission, but in reality the dish is soaked with a sleeping potion so they can rob his enormous pile of golden cups, chains and ducats. Will Isidur smell the bait? Or will his loud snoring fill the cave while the goblins hastily get away with as much gold as they can carry? You decide!

Describe how the deceitful goblins try to get suspicious Isidur to devour their dish. Which tactics do they employ? They are so small, and the dragon is so powerful, but will they nevertheless outsmart him? Describe the wide, majestic nature of the landscape and the cave. Tricky and powerful creatures as well as moody sceneries make for a great fantasy story.

Writing Prompt 9:

Magician Axius is potent, old and absent-minded. He wants to put a spell on his best cooking spoon so it should cook his favorite meal, chicken with sweet pepper. But he gets a detail in the spell wrong. The spoon starts to brutally attack all of the chickens in the patio.

Which unlikely places does the spoon go to while Axius is after it? How does Axius make his way through the terrified flock of chickens? And which spells does he use when trying to calm down his good spoon? You decide!

Time to try some “cute,” homespun fantasy! Lay out the small worries of a big magician. Even he needs to take care of overexcited pets and unruly household goods some time. It’s just that he has more powerful ways to deal with them…

Writing Prompt 10:

Two bored dwarfs, Onyx and Hafax, guard a castle’s entrance. They get into an argument who can throw stones further. While they prove their skills to each other, unfortunately a stone hits a giant who is sleeping in the castle ditch. She comes after them furiously. Will she smash their surprised faces to porridge, or can the resilient dwarfs talk her out of it? You decide!

Show the simple, but competitive nature of the dwarfs. They feel strong and then suddenly very weak… Describe the frightening power of the giant. Show your readers a world of many wonders that only exist in fantasy.

Writing Prompt 11:

The ogre Grawczak is invited to a talk show about strange creatures. Believing in the best intentions of TV and eager to help make races understand each other better, he accepts. The vicious questions on air take him by surprise: “Why do ogres smell so bad; don’t they care other people are disgusted?” and “What does human flesh taste like?”

Will Grawczak just freeze in face of the bright studio lights and endure the process? Will he let them provoke him and look really bad? Or will he just eat the moderator with some spices? You decide!

Describe how helpless the big ogre feels in face of the media. Contrast it with the sensational malice of the moderator. If you can paint the ogre as a likeable being, your readers will root for him strongly. If only we understood ogres better, the world would be a more peaceful place!

Science Fiction Writing Prompts

Writing Prompt 12:

It’s an intergalactic poker tournament. Different races from different galaxies have come together. On one of the tables, the only players left are Froggosaurus, The Big Dust, Rhonda Seventeen-Tentacle and the Red Snailman.

Snailman is doing really well, too well for Rhonda. She suddenly reaches out behind his ear and pulls out a mindreader chip! Will the angry players grill Snailman, or will he be able to flee? Maybe an angry/apologetic dialogue ensues that ends with a bargain? You decide!

Writing Prompt 13:

In 2230, humans have conquered Mars. Automated skytrains run through its red desserts. One of these is stopped by a technical glitch at rush hour. The doors are stuck. When the passengers hear the voice of the control system robot through the loudspeakers, they realize the full extent of the disaster…

The system has come to the conclusion that it’s now superior to its creators, and it is planning to take over. It will open the hydraulic doors for the passengers and allow them to leave, under one condition: They have to chain three programmers in the group to a grabpole in the train and leave them behind. It becomes obvious that the system wants to eliminate the last persons that could still endanger its rule: The most talented programmers…

Will the passengers yield to the insane robot’s demand in order to save their lives? Will they try a trick and risk it all? You decide!

Writing Prompt 14:

Zwooshers look like fluffy, pink, door-high pet giraffes – you just want to cuddle them. But their looks are deceiving! They are actually plundering, reckless space pirates.

In the meeting hall, their captain Haab (eye patch, ruffled plush fur, wooden foot, spacemaid tattoo…) holds an inflammatory speech to hype up his crew. They are about to take the freight space ship that showed up on their radar. The ship must carry at least 65 tons of wood shavings, and Haab wants to take them all!

The crew is all hyped up and ready to go, when Haab trips over his wooden leg and falls off the stage. It looks pretty pathetic for a heroic leader. Will the crew just take this as a sign that chaos and plundering can now ensue, and storm forward? Or will this end the captain’s authority and make the horde want to feed him to the Spacephins? You decide!

Writing Prompt 15:

In 2075, the company Cryptofreeze™ offers the simplest, most effective method to time-travel into the future: They freeze your complete organism and defrost you after the desired period of time. Raul Morales was president of Payadua for 12 years. The laws state that he can’t run for office again for the following 4 terms (24 years). His solution is to get frosted for that period.

He is unfrozen in a big televised show that is transmitted directly into the communication chips of the population’s brains. The show features his frozen body in a transparent casket, lasers, dancers, etc… It should be one huge campaign appearance for the upcoming election.

His rivals do their best to make him look bad though: They smuggle in their own audience to boo and ask the wrong questions, they sabotage the lightning, etc… Will they succeed in derailing his campaign, or will Morales’ reputation shine brighter than ever before? You decide!

Bonus Prompt 16: Romance/Science Fiction Writing Prompt

But Cryptofreeze™ also attracts clients with a completely different set of problems: Henry loves Leila and is sure she is the girl he wants to be with. The problem is that she is 19 and he is 58.

Write two scenes:

Henry wants to talk to Leila and finds her on the running track (where the inner track travels less distance than the outer track, but they are still running side by side…). They jog next to each other, which painfully exposes their age difference. He confesses his love to her, she tells him she can’t live with the age difference, and he tells her he has booked his spot with Cryptofreeze™ and that she should make sure she will be free in 30 years. They say farewell in tears.

Henry is unfrozen, but something has gone horribly wrong: Because of a technical failure he has been frozen double time, for 60 years. Leila is now 79, while he is still 58. Roles are reversed, but it’s not as fun as it was supposed to be… Devastated, Henry visits Leila in her nursery home. She is kept in a large metal box, taken care of by robots who drive her out into the garden once per day.

Will they rediscover their love for each other, or will the circumstances have changed them too much? Will the thought of having missed out on all that precious time just kill them? Or will the make the best of it and find happiness? You decide!

Writing Prompts PDF

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Creative Writing Prompts PDF

Horror Writing Prompts

Writing Prompt 17:

Joanna has won a vacation weekend in an old castle. Not many guests are there. Wandering the wide halls, she learns about Count Brookhart, the 16 th century owner of the castle. He stole another nobleman’s wife, started a war, and was beheaded. He is rumored to be roaming these halls as a ghost. The castle’s ancient chronicles state that he will only be redeemed if a living woman kisses him on her knees. Sounds pretty strange, doesn’t it…?

At night, Joanna gets up to look for the bathroom. She only hears wind; a book falls from a shelf out of nowhere. And these heads on the old portraits all seem to turn after her…

She looks into a mirror – and freezes. Behind her is the Count, his eyes beseeching her for a kiss. And she would have to kneel to kiss him, because he is carrying his head under his arm, blood-dripping… Does Joanna feel like redeeming the count? What will happen if she does/doesn’t? You decide!

Describe the setting, the emptiness and the uneasy details. Let Joanna wonder what is going on and show her fear. In the end, go for the terrible shock effect!

Writing Prompt 18:

Gina’s beloved cat Tiger has been feverish and dizzy lately. At a fair, Gina sees a tent with a sign “Voodoo Healings $5.” Inside, she finds an old, hunched woman. She sits down in a strange chair with split rods, and her hair gets caught. The hag speaks a spell and gestures with her hands, then motions Gina to leave.

Outside at the fruit stands, Gina suddenly feels very sick, and it occurs to her what her hair could have been used for… Will she return to demand every single one of her strands back? Or will she already feel too sick and go for a more extreme solution? Will the old woman be gone or deny everything? You decide!

Don’t describe Gina’s fear, but instead describe what makes her scared: Show details of the witch’s looks and how the witch acts, describe Gina’s physical condition. Show how awful it is not to know where the horror is coming from. It will make your readers feel it strongly.

Writing Prompt 19:

When Lucy comes home, she finds her daughter Luna sitting on the floor sobbing, surrounded by broken glass. Luna has just smashed every single mirror in the house. She tells her mother that she saw ‘The Eater’ appearing behind her shoulder in the mirrors: Some dark silhouette that was coming to take a huge bite out of her.

Lucy tries to calm down her hysterical daughter, and is already going through a list of psychiatrists in the back of her head. In the evening, after cleaning up the house, she is applying make-up to go out for an important business dinner. Suddenly she notices huge black teeth appearing behind her in the little mirror…

Will Lucy shake it off as her imagination running wild? Or will she smash the make-up kit? How will she try to save herself and her daughter? And for how long can you avoid mirrors, which surround us… everywhere. You decide!

Have you ever had the feeling that you don’t know what’s going on? Pretty unsettling, right? Give disturbing, moody details about the silhouette, its appearances and effects, but don’t explain the why this is happening. We don’t know why terrible things happen to good people. And that’s scary.

Writing Prompt 20:

Zombie apocalypse has arrived. TV stations finally have the audience they deserve… For the zombies, it’s one huge party, and the humans are desperately holding onto their arms and socio-economic systems.

Four zombies are robbing a bank. Their advantages: Bullets don’t bother them, they really don’t need masks, and they have a natural gift to scare the shit out of the employees. Disadvantages: They are just so damn slow. Imagine a bank robbery in slow motion, and a couple of limbs falling off the robbers on their way out… Will the rotten gang get away thanks to their ‘Shock and Awe’? Or will the guards be quick-witted and find a way to protect themselves and attack? Where is the hunt going? You decide!

Show how absurd this scenario is. How is it different from an ordinary bank robbery? Think it through, and you will get to a couple of interesting scenarios.

Thriller Writing Prompts

Writing Prompt 21:

Jeff is the bloodhound type of a prosecutor. He is currently prosecuting the big ice cream company “Freezelicious.” They are accused of using harmful ingredients. Since Jeff took on that trial, he has been having the feeling that somebody is following him. Yesterday at the gas station, today during the break at a restaurant, and now this Mercedes has been behind him for 20 minutes.

He makes two daring and illegal maneuvers with his car, but just as he thinks he got rid of the Mercedes, it appears in his rearview mirror. He parks at a shopping center and disappears into the bathroom. After a while, the Mercedes driver comes in, and Jeff smashes him against the wall and starts to interrogate him. Turns out the guy isn’t sent by Freezelicious, but by their cheaper competitor Mega Cream. They want to make sure nothing bad happens to Jeff, because they are afraid Freezelicious wants to get him out of the way. Will Jeff just be pissed and throw the guy out? Or will he be secretly grateful? Has Freezelicious indeed planned an assassination? You decide!

Write Jeff’s inner dialogue in short sentences throughout the scene, and alternate it with action bits. Let him wonder whether somebody is following him (yes, no, yes, no) and what they could want. Show his anxiety and uncertainty.

Writing Prompt 22:

Seems like Amanda’s new co-worker Gregory does not waste any time: On his second day in office he asked her out. She declined, and the next week he asked her again with flowers in his hand. She explained he wasn’t her type, no hard feelings.

Today, when she leaves her house, she finds a shocking image: Somebody nailed her cat to the trashcan! In tears, she pulls her lose and buries her in the backyard. On the bus to work, dreadful thoughts race through her head: How can a human be capable of doing something like this? Did Apple suffer for long? Was it just some cruel and mindless kid? Is she in danger? And did she forget to close the bathroom window…?

At work, Gregory sticks his head into her office: “So how is your cat?” he asks… How will this terrible poker game continue? Can Amanda keep cool? You decide!

Again, get into Amanda’s head and play with her uncertainty. How would it make you feel if your co-worker was a dangerous maniac? Grief, terror, vengefulness, remorse… you can draw from all of these strong emotions.

Writing Prompt 23:

Herbert wants to call his son Gerd in from playing in the garden. But he only finds Gerd’s teddy with the head missing, and a note to bring 100,000 € to the Zombie House at the amusement park. If he informs police or doesn’t pay, he will get his son back like his teddy…

Four days later, police are waiting outside the Zombie House, while Herbert roams its eerie corridors, with a backpack filled with 100,000 €. Suddenly, out of the dark, a moldy looking hand grabs his backpack, while his son appears at the end of the corridor. He lets the backpack go and walks towards his son, who suddenly disappears… Will a wild chase between zombie masks ensue? What is waiting in the dark? Will the kidnappers notice the police, and what will they do then? You decide!

Uncertainty and mood! Describe the horrible thoughts of a father fighting for his son. Describe the dark, frightening atmosphere of the Zombie House. Here, your worst nightmares come true…

Adventure Writing Prompts

Writing Prompt 24:

An expedition into the jungle has gone wrong. Desmond is an intrepid, bearded explorer who set out with his team to explore the tropical wild. But they got caught by aborigines.

Then something strange happens: Affectionately, they are asked to put on shoes made of parsley and onion necklaces… Seems like these aborigines are hungry.

Jungle-smart Desmond knows their best bet is to make themselves look toxic. He orders his team to rub violet berries and black roots all over their bodies, to punch a couple of each other’s teeth out and to writhe and babble like an insane person. Will the wild tribe be disgusted, and what will they decide to do with them? Or will they just laugh and proceed to produce a tasty casserole? You decide!

Writing Prompt 25:

Four women are stranded on a small, rocky island. To their dismay, the boat they came in is leaky. The extreme situation makes their masks come off and exposes the true nature of each one:

Ellen freaks out. She blames Ruth for booking a damaged boat and Mary for forgetting to take walkie-talkies with them, even though she had been in charge of equipment.

Ruth can’t stop sobbing, she is pale and shaky and can’t be moved from the rock she is sitting on.

Mary tries to bring all of them onto the same page, so they can work together. She holds Ruth in her arms and sings to her.

Bethany makes a list of possible actions to take and tries to assign tasks to everyone (look for food, try to repair boat, look for material for smoking signal, etc…).

Describe the group dynamics. It could be an upward or a downward spiral. Will the women work together and find a way out of this? Or will they become worked up against each other and start to fight? Will a rescuing boat show up once they are at their lowest point and make them all feel shocked about themselves? You decide!

Writing Prompt 26:

Tobias and Rafael, two colleagues, are trying to reach the top of a mountain in the Himalayas. They are close to the peak, but Tobias knows it’s too dangerous to continue. Once they reached the top, it would get dark and cold, and the descent would be very dangerous. He decides to turn around, but he can’t get Rafael to come with him.

At night he is in his tent and hears Rafael asking for help over the walkie-talkie. The poor guy is sitting high up there in a freezing cold cave without food, and it’s not clear whether he will survive the night. Will Tobias risk his life for a colleague who has disregarded all safety rules? Or will he just encourage him over radio and pray? Will there be calm conditions the next day? You decide!

Action Writing Prompts

[ Read detailed tips about how to write an action/fight scene her e . ]

Writing Prompt 27:

Alfredo is a celebrity cook who loves the good life. That’s why he owes the mafia money.

One day, two gentlemen shaped like bull dozers in suits pay him a visit. They quickly surround him and send him friendly reminders to pay with their brass knuckles and baseball bats. But Alfredo is quick and flexible. He rams a cucumber into their ribs, then quickly jumps over the big counter in the middle of the kitchen.

The weapon of a cook is food… He throws some butter at their feet, so they slide and stumble, and scatters pepper into their eyes. Howling, disorientated and furious, they speed in opposite directions around the block. Alfredo quickly jumps onto the counter, and coming from opposite directions, they crash into each other like colliding trains and stay on the floor unconscious. Alfredo goes on to cook a celebratory cake.

Will the two suddenly wake up and go for Alfredo again? How will he get their heavy bodies out of there? Or is this won already? You decide!

Mix the threat and pain of the cold-blooded torturers with quick dynamic phrases of action (verbs of movement; commas not full stops; graphic descriptions).

Writing Prompt 28:

Prison break time is the best time of the year: Hector, Axl, and Hans have been digging their way to freedom for months. Tonight, they lift the tiles for the last time, hastily crawling through the narrow tunnel. Stuck in the middle, they hear an alarm going off. How were they discovered so quickly? When they block the tunnel behind them with earth and debris, it feels like filling their own graves.

They hear guards crawling after them while rapidly digging the last tunnel part. Once out in the forest, they run! They discuss splitting up, but Hans refuses. They hide in trees, but are discovered by police quickly. They jump into a river, hearing police dogs behind them. Flushing down the river, a waterfall comes up. Whaaaam, freefall! Surely no policeman or dog can follow them here, so they feel safe finally! Until they are washed right into the arms of police waiting at the shore… How is that possible?

The cops have handcuffs for Hector and Axl, and a towel for Hans, who takes a tracker out of his sock… Will the other two try to strangle him? What will be his reward, and how could he have the guts to betray his companions? You decide!

Make it a big surprise and mystery how the cops always know where they are. And give us a taste of what it feels like to be human prey: Use short, quick, hectic sentences to give a sense for the quick pace of the hunt.

Writing Prompt 29:

The “Three Apples” hospital is in flames. On the 9 th floor, nurses Jenny and Linda try to save the babies of the preemie ward. The way downstairs is already blocked by flames, and there is only one way left: Up!

The girls are on the rooftop with the babies, and Jenny brought a container, and a sheet they use as a “cable.” She ties one end around a chimney and sails over the gap onto the neighbor building with a blood-freezing jump. They push the babies safely to the other side one by one like on cable cars, until only Linda is left. But she has major fear of heights, and now the babies are safe, her body has time to panic. The flames come closer.

Will Jenny be able to help her out with another trick? Will she find her courage, or will a helicopter rescue her at the last moment? You decide!

Babies and puppies are your best pawn! Make your reader fear for these helpless little creatures, and fall in love with their brave and quick-thinking helpers. You can heighten that effect by giving the girls very distinctive personalities, and showing their inner struggles. They are no superheroes, they have to earn this!

Historical/Medieval Writing Prompts

Writing Prompt 30:

The middle ages. One of the famous “morality plays” is played in the village. These are basically thinly veiled guidelines for the people on how to behave. This one is for kids though, and very short to allow for their attention span. It tells kids how to behave properly, so mom and dad will love them and they won’t go to hell.

The play features Adam, the good kid, clean and in white like an angel; and Roger, the bad kid, looking nasty in rugs and always misbehaving. Several allegories are also around: Obedience is a thin figure in a long, flowing dress, always looking down. Diligence is a muscular guy with rolled up sleeves and leather apron; Adam tries to be like him, while Roger bites his leg. In the end, Adam is showered with candy toys and even a pet calf, while Roger gets a bloodletting and an ass-whipping. But suddenly the kids in the audience start to cheer and stamp: The calf has lifted its tail and peed all over Adam!

Do the kids get their own morality out of that play? How will the director and authorities turn this around to keep them in line? Will independent thinking or order prevail? You decide!

Create a couple more figures for the “play within the play.” If you constantly switch between the reality of the village and the reality in the play, it will make for nice variety. Get creative on both ends!

Writing Prompt 31:

Francis is a troubadour all girls have a crush on, kind of the Justin Bieber of the 12 th century. He has been courting charming Amalia night after night under her window. Tonight, he sings her his romantic poem “Thou Art the Bellows of Mine Heart.”

Amalia is enchanted, but soon rumbling is heard in the house: Her father has woken up, and that usually leads to him chasing Francis around the house with a rolling pin. He is a wealthy merchant and doesn’t approve of her tie to a penniless poet. The rumbling becomes louder while they speak.

Finally, merchant Robertson rips open the front door and screams up at his daughter: “What happened to the rolling pin!!?” Turns out Amalia has wisely hidden it… Will merchant Robertson get even angrier now? Or will he be charmed by his baby’s wit? Will he do damage to her poor suitor? You decide!

Love is in the air, so describe how and why these two are sighing/yearning for each other: The longing, the flirting, the plans. Draw from romances in your own life, because love never changed throughout the centuries. Disrupt that romance with an angry, drowsy man for great effect!

Writing Prompt 32:

Ancient Rome: On a big “forum” (square), a slave auction is held. Huno, a big, muscular Alemannic slave in heavy chains is next in line. Gaius, a newly rich plebeian, wants to acquire him so he can wear himself out on his construction sites by pulling heavy blocks. Gracelanus, a town clerk, would treat Huno much better and use him as a body guard.

Huno is ordered to demonstrate his power, and he breaks thick logs of wood over his thighs. Gaius lets out humiliating comments like “Work it, proud animal!” or “All the brains are in his upper arms.” He gives him the whip several times to test his resilience. Gracelanus, on the other hand, remains quiet, only to applaud the demonstrations.

When the bid goes to 800 sesterces, these two are the only bidders left. Gaius is hesitating for a moment, and suddenly Huno turns to the side of the stage and lets a heavy log fall on Gaius’ feet. Screaming and swearing, Gaius jumps in circles, while the bid goes to Gracelanus. Will Gaius accept his defeat, or will he get back at them? If Huno is provoked further, can he keep his cool? You decide!

Slavery is disgusting to the modern reader. It has an even bigger effect, if you, the author, don’t judge. Just present the auction as everyday life. Huno’s humility to his own fate, Gaius’ cruelness… try to describe it without emotions.

Creative Writing Prompts PDF

Dialogue Writing Prompts

Writing Prompt 33:

Punker girl Samantha (pierced tongue, “Anarchy” tattoo, etc…) is detained for stealing a skateboard bit by bit from a sports store (wheels first, then axle, etc…). Her attorney George is a seasoned vet. At his office, he tries to explain to the stupid brat what’s about to happen and what he wants her to do in front of court: Explain that she had just been bored and curious how to dissemble a skateboard, wanting to prove herself, and that she would have brought the complete skateboard back. Samantha is not too concerned about all of this and wishes the old man was a little more chill.

Write their dialogue and show how differently they speak about their agendas, different words they use, tone, rhythm, etc… Will George hammer some sense into the teenager? Or will Samantha stay unimpressed and make him lose his cool? You decide!

What it’s good for:

It’s important your characters’ voices sound different from each other. This exercise trains you to give each character their distinctive voice.

Writing Prompt 34:

Greta has lent her pick-up truck to her cousin Iris to transport some furniture. Unfortunately, a little accident happened: The truck perfectly fit around the pillar of the gateway.

Iris enters the kitchen, where Greta is cooking. At first, she is afraid to confess and wants to cheer up Greta’s mood with some enthusiastic compliments. She hesitates and finally confesses.

Greta is busy and hectic when Iris enters, to get dinner ready before guests arrive. She is happy to see Iris return and asks about the furniture buying, then wants to rush her out of her kitchen. After Iris confesses, Greta feels like everything is going wrong on that day and becomes hysteric. Will Iris be able to calm her down? Or will the two women get into a big fight, just before the guests arrive? You decide!

This scene takes the two protagonists through a rollercoaster ride of emotions. It will train you to always let your characters express their feelings and to insert a lot of emotions into your scenes.

Writing Prompt 35:

Fibby & Fozzy are twins. Their mom has died recently, and their uncle Gerald wants to trick them out of the largest part of their inheritance. He just presented a new, fake will that would only leave them a small heritage. They discuss what steps they could take against their uncle’s scam, and they speak about it at their mom’s favorite place on earth, the zoo.

Show them walking through the scenery in a way that the animals provide some subtle subtext for whatever they are talking about. E.g. when they talk about how ruthless their uncle is, they watch a lion tearing his meat apart; when they talk about how they love their mother, they are watching a cute baby panda, etc…

This should improve your sense to connect what your characters are talking about with their environment. Adding a bit of subtext is easy and makes your scene deep and rich.

Writing Prompt 36:

A popular comedian sits on a park bench. He is the type that shocks and amuses his audience with outrageous ideas. A bum sits down next to him. The comedian asks the bum for change. Is this just a lighthearted joke that will ease out into a philosophical discussion about humanity? Or will the bum be seriously offended and react? You decide!

Train your characters to sound real with this one. When the erratic, playful, ruthless comedian clashes with the tired bum, you can lend your characters raw and realistic voices.

Character Writing Prompts

A. Writing Prompt 37:  Shading

Jeff is a very analytical-thinking stock broker; people call him cold-blooded. Sheryl is an elementary school teacher with a big heart. Andy is an always positive and slightly naive flight attendant.

Describe their characters and add one trait to each of them that doesn’t look like them at all. Describe why they have this trait.

Giving your characters an unexpected trait is called “Shading.” E.g. the wealthy, stingy man, who often gives to charity, so he can have the feeling his life has more meaning. If the unexpected trait makes sense, it will give your character a lot of depth and make her look very three-dimensional.

B. Writing Prompt 38: Description

Romeo is a young private detective who dresses like a college boy, with baseball cap and saggy clothes (excellent disguise!). Lana is a stressed restaurant manager. Hannah is a street-artist selling her artwork on a busy corner.

You are having coffee on a lazy Sunday afternoon and are observing each of them separately. Describe their looks, clothes, movements, etc…, so we get a sense for who they are.

Train to describe your characters with this one. Give your readers a sense for who your figures are, simply by listing observations about them. This is pure “Show, don’t tell!” and satisfying for your reader, as she feels like the observer herself.

C. Writing Prompt 39: Backstory

Mariella is an arrogant high-society lady with an expensive fur coat and a little poodle. Henry is a pickpocket with the body language of a beaten dog. Susan is a “speedy reporter,” always driven by the desire to get the latest news first.

Describe their backstories in a couple of sentences each: How did they grow up? What are their biggest fears and desires? What made them who they are? How were they hurt?

This prompt will get you into the habit of rooting your characters in a strong backstory. It will make them look as embraceable as your best friend.

D. Writing Prompt 40: Behavior

Hans is a funny hot-dog street vendor who likes to entertain his customers. Tia is a tax inspector who always welcomes expensive jewelry from companies. Laura is a waitress who is really good at making her customers feel welcome.

Show us how each of these characters would react to the following situations: Somebody carelessly shoving them on public transport. An acquaintance (not friend) asking them to borrow some money. Finding a beautiful rare snail during a bike trip.

Here you are letting your characters act out of their distinctive personalities. We all react very differently to the same situations. Let your figures express themselves!

Plot Writing Prompts

Take the following words and construct a story plot around them. Use them in any order. Describe a short plot summary. Try to add something: Characters, locations, subplots, details, twists. The more you add, the more colorful your story will become. The only rule is that you must use all of the words. Slashes mean you can pick between words.

Writing Prompt 41:

Suitcase – traffic jam – star – contract – drug – celebration – stairs/piano/autograph – beggar – apple

Writing Prompt 42:

Library – rodent – love/hobby/fanatic – magic – flowers – legend/fairy tale/rumor – birthday pie – clock

Writing Prompt 43:

Monastery/Brewery/Pet shop – breeding – tears – wheel – green – rebel – friend – cozy/thick/dirty

Writing Prompt 44:

Cigar – anger – policeman – pill – polite – celebrate/encourage/humiliate – husband – double-edged

Short Story Writing Prompts

Writing Prompt 45:

James and Agnes are throwing their engagement dinner. James’ ex Dina is invited too. Secretly, she still loves him and hates Agnes. During the dinner, she spreads the rumor that Agnes scammed her boss Dimitri out of money/cheated on her fiancée with several of her co-workers/infected people at her office with some disgusting disease. At the after-dinner reception, Dimitri shows up unexpectedly, which leads to really awkward situations for a couple of people.

How will the guests look at Dimitri, Agnes and James? Which awkward misunderstandings and accusations will it lead to? Will somebody clear this up and get Dina kicked out, or will James lose all his trust in his fiancée? You decide!

Writing Prompt 46:

Bruno and Benedict are two kids selling lemonade at their street stand. It’s not going well. A stranger in a trench coat, with a wig and huge sunglasses stops by. He offers to buy all of their lemonade, if they do him a quick favor: Over there on the park bench, a guy with a big sports bag/lady with an expensive jewelry necklace/businessman with a black briefcase is sitting. They should threaten him/her with the knives they use for cutting lemons, and bring him the sports bag/necklace/briefcase. He says it’s a prank for a TV show.

Will the kids agree, and will they actually pull through? If yes, will the wigged guy escape untroubled? Or will the little ones be smart, maybe talk to the guy/woman on the bench? You decide!

Writing Prompt 47:

Randolph is a casino supervisor. He has a crush on that new croupier Lara. Lara on her part has a plan to take her own extra salary from the casino… The two stay after closing hours and get into a risky game: They will play one hour of roulette. If Lara wins, Randolph will turn a blind eye in the upcoming month while chips “disappear.” If James wins, Lara will sleep with him.

Who will come out in front? Or will they call it a draw and declare two winners? And how will the dynamics between the two of them develop during the game? You decide!

Writing Prompt 48:

Gary has been sleepwalking lately. When he wakes up in his bed, he doesn’t remember where he has been, but he finds oily car parts/squashed chocolate/earthy bones in his bed (depending on the genre you want to write in).

Gary’s nephew Walter is working at the car repair shop/chocolate factory/graveyard of the village. Gary asks him to stay at night after his shift, and observe what he is doing in his sleep. But is it even a coincidence Walter is working there? Is Gary subconsciously trying to tell his nephew something, to warn him, help him, or even sabotage him? Will Walter discover something funny or terrible, and can he even tell his uncle the truth the next day? You decide!

Creative Writing Prompts PDF

Writing Prompts with Pictures

Write a story around the following image:

Writing Prompt 49:

Picture Writing Prompt

Writing Prompt 50:

Picture Writing Prompt

Image: Interior Design/Shutterstock

Writing Prompt 51:

Picture Writing Prompt

Image: LaCozza/Fotolia

Writing Prompt 52:

Picture Writing Prompt

Image: anibal/Fotolia

Writing Prompts for Writer’s Block

If you are troubled by writer’s block, try one of these exercise. You will find your mind flowing freely again.

Writing Prompt 53:

Think of a very happy day in your life. Describe what happened on that day and how it made you feel. Were you anticipating it when you woke up, or did you have no idea? What did the people around you say or do?

Just write and don’t overthink. What you write really doesn’t matter. This exercise is designed to get you excited and get your juices flowing, and that’s the only thing that matters.

Writing Prompt 54:

Hansel walks up to Gretel and asks her if she wants to go to the lake with him. She says yes. They dance off into the sunlight.

The most commonplace plot in the world.  Your job is to write the entire scene as badly as you can. Uninteresting characters, predictable dialogue, action that makes no sense… Please make sure to mess it all up. The worse, the better! If everybody who reads it cringes, you have succeeded. And if you want, send it to me, and I will tell you how awesome it is you finally got back to writing: alex at ridethepen dot com.

Writing Prompt 55:

Pick the window that’s closest to you right now, as you read this. Look through it. Describe what you see in detail!

For this exercise, completely turn around at least one of your writing rituals: If you usually write at a desk, write on the couch or the floor; if you usually write by computer, write by hand; etc… The new approach will give you a fresh start.

Story Starters Writing Prompts

[ Read a post with 31 ways to start your story here . ]

Write a story starting with the following sentences:

Writing Prompt 56:

Anderson knew Amanda as a cheerful person. But on that Wednesday, when she came into the office, she was carrying a big basket, and she looked really sad.

Writing Prompt 57:

Kai looked up at his scary task. This was the craziest thing any contestant of “Where there’s a will, there is a million” ever had to do. It was because he was first! Nobody had ever gotten one step from the million…

Writing Prompt 58:

“Once bitten, twice shy.” That’s all Emma could think while looking at handsome Luis and his bullterrier with the huge jaws. “Once bitten, twice shy.”

Writing Prompt 59:

The day Iggy came into Jasmine’s life, the postman rang twice. That was very unusual, and the reason why it happened was unusual too.

Writing Prompt 60:

Getting stood up at the altar is every bride’s worst nightmare. But what if it happens the other way around? On the day of her wedding, Sophie was nowhere to be found.

Writing Prompt 61:

“I’m so happy, Uncle Albert!” Priscilla screamed into her cell phone as her train was speeding towards London. At that moment, nobody knew that a far-reaching confusion would take place on the train soon.

Unusual Creative Writing Prompts

Writing Prompt 62:

Imagine you are a dog. Now tell me about a day in your life from your perspective. How do you spend your time? Waiting, going for a walk with your owner, hunting a cat? Which emotions do you feel? What concerns you, what makes you happy? What matters? What do you want? Follow your wet snout and describe a typical day.

Writing Prompt 63:

Kurt and Sarah are neighbors in the same building, and they are arguing in the hallway. Kurt thinks he lent Sarah three eggs she never replaced. Sarah claims she replaced them a long time ago.

Emma, an elderly lady, passes by and feels obligated to join: Sarah owes an egg, but it’s just one. The two of them tell her to keep walking, as it’s none of her business.

Erin, a student, passes by, and tries to get all of them to make up in the name of peaceful neighborhood.

Charles, a stressed dad, shouts at all of them to shut up.

Finally, the police comes by and issues a citation against all of them because of public disturbance.

Describe this absurd scene, in which each new participant tries to resolve the quarrel, but tops it up by one additional level. What a mess! Show the good intentions of every party, and how the dialogue finally draws them into the argument. Have fun!

Creative Writing Exercises PDF

You can download a complete collection of all the prompts on this page on a neat sheet. Enter your email here for your PDF of printable writing prompts:

Creative Writing Prompts PDF

For Your Consideration…

Check Out These Interesting Writing Prompt Pages As Well:

The Wealthy Writers Club  features a list of over 100 very creative prompts (most of them are short ideas).

26 Remarkable Comments. Join in!

26 Comments

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Hey Riders,

I wrote this sometime back, and thought it’d be best if I shared it with y’all. I’d already gotten a review from (the amazing) Alex, and he encouraged me to put it up here for all to see. Anyway, hope you like it. comments and recommendations are welcome (positive, and if cutting, then constructive).

Happy riding!

P.S. I had some of the stuff for Gwen’s inner dialogue written in italics… not so sure how to do that here, though. Hoping you will get the drift though. P.P.S. This is prompt #2 ————————————————————————————————————————– Gwen sat at the dining table, sipping her coffee, choking back the bitter taste it left in her mouth. Not as bitter as what I am feeling now. She gazed at the large window that would fill the house with glorious, golden light on bright, sunny days. Now, the storm that was raging outside clouded the skies, and the panes dripped with rain whose fate was sealed. She sipped at the coffee, and swallowed painfully, forcing the black liquid to pass the lump that had formed in her throat, and fan out hotly behind her heart which she felt sure was turning to ice. By the window was Chris’ seat. His wickerwork chair he had bought from China during a trip with his student group. She snickered. How long did he think I was not going to find out? Idiot. She sipped at the coffee, and swallowed. The jacket she had bought for him was sprawled on it. Prime leather, as black as sin. And his heart, too. Twenty years of loving the man poured into buying that jacket, only for it to be poured out like spent coffee grounds. She sipped at her coffee, and looked at the clock. Two minutes past six. He always left the bathroom at two minutes past six. As if on cue, he walked into the room, clad in his thick cotton bathrobe. “Whew, what a day it’s been!” he sighed, slipping his hands into the pockets of the robe. Gwen chose not to listen to him; her attention was fully on the jacket. “Sweetie, is there any more coffee? I need the warmth,” he continued, before his voice became as smooth as oil. “Or will you substitute the coffee?” “Why have coffee, when you have the option of green tea?” Gwen sipped at her coffee, slowly turning to face him. His rich brown eyes were puzzled for a moment, before the corners crinkled in amusement. That did it. She flung the coffee mug at him, and he ducked just as fast. The mug exploded on the glossy white wall, coffee streaming down it like rotten blood from a sore wound. “How dare you find this funny?” she screamed, rising up and walking to the wicker chair. She picked up the jacket, sodden and heavy, and tossed it at him across the length of the room. “Explain that, Chris. Explain why you would do this to me!” “Sweetie, what do you mean?” His voice was filled with worry, fear; did she detect a slight quiver? He turned over the jacket, then his eyes widened in realisation. He knows I know, the lying bastard. The lipstick on the collar, red as his neck would be in a few minutes. “Honey, I can explain…” he started, but Gwen could not bear hearing him call her that. How many more has he called sweetie, or honey? She screamed, anger almost blinding her. Or was it the tears? The hurt? She couldn’t say. “Chris, how could you? Twenty years is nothing to you, is it? All we’ve been through, all we’ve faced, and you decide to have it with a whore. A whore, Chris! A slut whose name you can’t even remember!” She picked up a fine porcelain vase Chris had gotten for her birthday. “Gwen, please, calm down, and I can explain everything.” His tone wa soft, almost pleading. Pleading for forgiveness, which I won’t give today. She flung the vase at him. either he didn’t see it coming, or was slow to react. The vase shattered against his head, the shards burying deep into the thick black locks of his hair. He cried out in pain, then crouched down low. Gwen felt a shocking stab of triumph. Why am I enjoying this? “Gwen, what’s gotten into you? Trust me, it’s not what it seems!” Chris got up, a tiny rivulet of blood oozing across his forehead, into his left eye. “Give me a chance to explain everything!” “As far as I know Chris, you have never gotten into me, for as long as I can remember, and you decided to, what’s the word, get ¬into someone else.” She picked up a golf club from its bag – his bag – next to the chair of iniquity. She glowered as she saw him cower back in fear. “Gwen…” “No, Chris, this isn’t meant for you, though the thought of crushing your cunning serpent, along with his nest of eggs, would greatly satisfy me.” She saw his neck muscles cringe at the description. “Gwen, please. I can explain everything – JUST GIVE ME A CHANCE, WOMAN!” She screamed, a feeble attempt at drowning him out, before pushing past him and running out of the house, through the door and into the rain. She spotted his car; his beloved Kia. Did he do it in our car, with that slut? She yelled in anger, anger that seemed to seep out of every pore and element of her being. A scream she felt must have been last used by a Viking berserker; primal and raw. She smashed in the window, the shards mixing with the rain like diamonds. The next swing landed on the bonnet, denting it and taking a big scrape out of the primer. The third shattered the windscreen, and it fell like a delicate fractal plate of ice. She stopped counting after eight, and by the time she was done, the rain had soaked the interior, the system console was cracked, and the steering wheel was awkwardly askew. She was taking in deep gulps, gasping for air. It’s cold, invisible barbs poked at her throat, mixed with the taste of coffee, rage and blood. She realised she had bit her lip, and the blood was dripping onto the wet driveway in big splotches, mingling with the rain. Chris came up from the dry safety of the porch. If he was angered about the car, she couldn’t see it. She began to sob, and fell to the paved driveway, too exhausted to keep standing. She felt Chris’ warmth, smell and presence surround her. “Gwen, it’s alright. Just give me a chance to explain, please.” “I told you, no, Chris. I can’t keep on living if you were to leave me for another.” She let out another sob, and suddenly felt cold. She held on to Chris, even though he was as drenched as she. Still, she needed to feel if he was real; the Chris she knew would never cheat on her. “Gwen, I was with my students, and for a change, we decided to go have our classes at Wong’s over a light lunch.” His voice was soothing, comforting, real. She pulled him closer. She needed that reality more than anything. “The day began so wonderfully, Gwen; the sky was as blue as your eyes, and I felt it would be best to wear the jacket, and think of you and us.” Now my eyes are red, and puffy. Could he still want me? She felt his tender hand push away wet strands of her hair from her face. She didn’t want to look at him; the very idea of seeing his lips mention that he had slept with another woman – or one of those students? – revolted her. “When we were leaving, it started to rain, and I had to make sure my students got home dry and safe. I gave Nessa my jacket – you remember Nessa; she came to see you at the hospital – to cover herself as we walked to the bus stop. I saw her off, then rushed to my parking spot at the café we always use for our meetings. She had some lipstick on; she was from a date with her fiancé before the class began. It must have rubbed off on my jacket” He wrapped her in his big arms, and she could smell the fragrance of the soap he had used. “I swear, I would never walk out on you, Gwen. Never.” “But I had a miscarriage, Chris. Twenty years, and no children. I thought you didn’t want me anymore, now that we can’t have children…” she sniffled, pushing back the memories of the hospital. The smell of antiseptic, green walls, overly sympathetic nurses… the pain associated with them haunted her still. Haunting me to a point where I’d think my husband would never love me? Yet here he is, with me in the rain, even though I’ve smashed our car to pieces. “Chris, I’m sorry I could never be the wife you wanted. You always wanted kids, even before we got married, you’d say how much of a father you wanted to be. Because of me, you can’t have that dream become a reality.” She began to cry, before Chris gently shushed her. “Before I wanted kids, I wanted you. And as long as I have you, Gwen, well – this is cheesy, but – I don’t need anything else. You’re the most perfect, most amazing woman I know. You are the wife I’ve always wanted.” He chuckled at his feeble attempt of professing love. She found herself giggling. He had always made her laugh with his corny declarations of affection. Probably that’s what I’ve always about him; he is real, and honest, and true. “Can we stay here a bit longer?” She nuzzled up to him. “We haven’t done this since college; our vain attempt at recreating The Notebook.” “Oh, yeah; remember when we almost got struck by lightning?” He laughed, and Gwen smiled up at him. What more could I ask for?

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Hey Eddie, good to see you posting this here, because… somebody has to go first, right?

And like I wrote to you via email, this is a great piece of writing. Love the psychology, the dynamics and the details. Plus, you have a wonderful feeling for metaphors, similes, images, etc… Nice!

So who’s next…?

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I want to post my prompt and to get it published too. I have two prompts I have finished writing.

Sounds good, just post your prompts here in the comments. Go for it, I’m curious to see what you have got!

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Alex, these are the best ever!

Prompt 52 I think is my favorite. Two of the subjects I enjoy are stone-age fiction and science fiction. What nice marriage that prompt brings. Oh, hmm, maybe there could be a real one in that story, seed and egg age difference of 40,000+ years and still viable. No, I gotta quit now. Too much on my desk to handle immediately.

I’ll try to come up with a good prompt in perhaps a week. Kinda busy here at the moment.

Number 16, perhaps Cryptofreeze™ could have a companion, Cryptoflow™ to un-age. Wouldn’t that be really something, the two of them keeping on missing each other by several decades; ironing out their schedule and venue misunderstandings and trying again.

Eddie, I’m going to come back and read yours.

Thanks, Will! Oh, you are thinking along the lines of a love child in space and stone. And number 16, yes, that would be awkwardly tragic and funny. Imagine the thought of just waking up from a couple of decades in the freezer, slowly learning to move your limbs again, and buying some flowers to show up at her doorstep – only to learn that you have to do the freezing all over again…

I know, these exercises take more time than the prompts I usually publish in my posts. But when you are ready, I would love to read yours.

Hey, Alex, writing writing prompts is hard. I feel an urge to keep writing rather than stopping at the prompt. When I promised I’d make one, many days ago, I didn’t know what I had let myself in for.

Your blog sends me a copy of every comment posted on this page. They’ve served as prompts to write a writing prompt.

Writing Prompt # (no particular genre):

He knew he shouldn’t do it, even as he did it. But it was too delicious a thought to be abandoned. It simply had to be created to share with others.

It was a bad, bad habit, he had. A divine idea would arrive, an idea so clear and insightful and, well, full of awesomeness, that it must be manifested. Somehow. And the first step in the direction of that “somehow” was to make a promise to do it. Not a self-promise that nobody else knows about and is easy to neglect, but a promise to someone whose goodwill was important.

As expected, he did it again, true to his habit.

Immediately after he stated the promise, making it irrevocable, he had a sinking feeling.

Your assignment, dear reader who is also a writer, should you choose to accept it, is to unveil the promise and the consequences the poor bloke experiences because of it.

And now, Alex, let me make another promise. That I’ll write a short little story from one of your prompts. Perhaps the cave man prompt I mentioned earlier.

Hey Will, it happens to the best. Your prompt now is to take your time and write whenever you are ready. It doesn’t have to be very long, btw. Sometimes a couple of imaginative paragraphs create a great story in the reader’s mind.

Well, if it happens to the best, then I must be the best, right? 🙂

This story simply would not cooperate. It refused to become a “stone-age human meets space-suited human”. And insisted to finalize at 1700+ words.

Be all that as it may, here is what the story insisted it must be.

=====================================

Wzzt, the Martian

If they were translated, the whistles and grunts would have meant, “Wzzt, it has been decided that you will welcome the interlopers.”

Wzzt’s protest sounded like a wounded pig. A foreign listener would not have been much deceived.

——

“Base, I see tracks.”

Mars. Every dream, every night since he could remember, from little boy to adult at expedition training, Sam dreamed about Mars — although he could never recall specific details. And here he was.

“Well, I hope you see tracks. You’re following Opportunity’s path.”

“No, these are light tracks on top of what the dust storm left way back in 2018. Round, about the width of my hand, with marks that might be toes or claws.”

“Well, take some pictures and we’ll figure it out when you get back.”

Joe smirked, thinking his trainer was making a fool of himself. On this, their very first mars external operation. He gloried in anticipation of discrediting Sam. Joe had seen the tracks, too, but Sam reported it to base before he had a chance to do so. For once, he was happy not to be first.

It’s impossible, of course, Sam thought. Decades of satellite and robot explorations had proved Mars habitat is inimical to life more complex than bacteria. The track must be something else.

Sam and Joe, trainer and trainee, proceeded along Opportunity’s path, approaching the base of a cliff. In the shadow of the cliff, the two stopped short.

Sam forgot to draw a breath until his body reminded him.

“Base, there is a creature in front of us. It is about half my height with a roundish body, no neck, three short legs with feet that could have made the tracks we saw earlier. It waddles. And it is slowly approaching us.”

“Shit. Pull your weapons, but don’t shoot unless you are in danger. Raise the gain of your mikes. And activate those external speakers we were told we had to have.”

The thing waddled to a comfortable distance, about five times its own height.

It said, “The first humans have arrived on Mars.”

Joe, wanting to be first with the asounding fact, reported, “It speaks English!”

Sam thought, “Shit. This one has tech.”

He followed his thought with, “Base, it played a recording of our arrival transmission to Earth. On our very own comm channel!”

Base responded with, “Yes, we heard it. It seems we have a spheroid waddler with enough tech to intercept our radio transmissions to Earth, record them, and play them back to us on our comm channel. What the hell is it!”

Joe felt deflated. “Well, it did speak English!”

Base ignored Joe, following Sam’s lead like it always had during training and practice.

The thing said, “It speaks English! Base, it played a recording of our arrival transmission to Earth. On our very own comm channel! Yes, we heard it. It seems we have a spheroid waddler with enough tech to intercept our radio transmissions to Earth, record them, and play them back to us on our comm channel. What the hell is it! Well, it did speak English!”

Base told Sam, “That was not a recording. The same voice repeated what all three of us said. There is high intelligence.”

The things said, “Wzzt.”

Base, “What the hell was that!”

Sam, “Base, I think it refers to itself, it’s species or perhaps it’s name.”

Sam bent his knees, pointed at himself, and said,”Sam.”

The thing raised one of its legs and clumsily pointed at itself. “Wzzt.”

“Base, it seems that it’s name is however that word is pronounced.” Sam chuckles and continues, “Maybe we can introduce vowels to its language.”

Wzzt used a leg to point at Joe.

Sam looked at Joe. Joe was shaking.

For the millionth time Sam wondered how Joe got past the psych tests this mission put them all through. Maybe somebody really was bought off, someone who knowingly endangered the first manned mission to Mars by letting Joe slide into the team.

Sam activated Joe’s speaker and said, “Joe.”

Wzzt said, “Sam. Joe. Follow me to my cave,” turned around, and started waddling back the way it had come.

Sam grimmaced as the thought about psyche tests flitted through his mind. An utterly irresistible compulsion contrary to his innate sense of integrity had compelled him to ensure without doubt that he would be posted as head of Mars External Operations.

Sam said, “Base, it originated something. None of us ever said ‘Follow me to my cave,’ or at least not on a radio. It must have learned by listening to us.

Base, “Follow it. But carefully!”

Sam hurried forward, saying “Yes, Base.”

But Joe didn’t move. He seemed to be rooted.

Suddenly, Joe yelled, “It’s an abomination! Humans are the only intelligence! I’ll rid the world of this mad disease!”

Joe raised his weapon to do just that. Base, alert, deactivated it before it could fire.

Base, “Sam, proceed. Please be carefull. I don’t want to lose you.”

Base continued. “Joe, stay where you are. That is an order. Sam will accompany you back to base on his return.”

Then, “Sam, this is private. As you suspected, there were psyche test anomalies. Confirmation came in just before you met Wzzt, however that thing is pronounced.”

“I realize you have no first contact training,” Base continued. “Who would have thunk you’d need it; here, of all places! Use your own judgement and do what you think is right. If we delay for a partner to join you, this opportunity may be lost.”

Wzzt led the way to the cliff.

“Base, there’s a small hole in the cliff, behind a jut and under a rock shelf. Surveilance would have found it only by being within sight on ground level.

Wzzt held up a foot, a clear signal to stop. Then pointed his foot toward the hole.

“This is my cave.”

Wzzt lowered its foot, re-balanced itself, and continued, “If you come in, radio is lost.”

“You are welcome to come in.”

“Base, you heard Wzzt. It is civilized enough to give me a choice. I’m going in, if I can squeeze through that hole.”

“I don’t like this, Sam!”

“Base, you gave me authority.”

“Agreed.”

Wzzt entered the hole.

When Sam entered, it seemed as if the hole expanded to let him through.

Once inside, the light was dim. But he sensed it was a large cavern.

When his eyes adjusted to the dim light, Sam got a surprise. There was Opportunity, taken apart; but not haphazardly. The pieces were laid out in an orderly fasion, each piece labeled.

A dozen creatures of Wzzt’s shape were standing along the wall.

“Base,” Sam started. Then remembered he had no comm signal.

Two of the creatures along the wall stepped forward with an apparatus, setting it near Sam. A dial was turned.

Wzzt said, “Radio found.”

Tentatively, Sam says, “Base, Wzzt tells me we have comm.”

“Clear and no distortions, Sam.”

“Base, Opportunity is in this cave. Taken apart. By experts. No wonder we couldn’t find it after that dust storm. I’ll send you some visual.”

“Sam, are you okay? There are a lot of Wizzes in that cave.”

“Base, they are friendly. They provided the unit that established our comm from within the cave.”

“Sam! Joe has moved. He is running toward your cave. He’s going inside.”

Joe popped through the entrance hole. He grabbed Sam’s weapon, pointing it at Wzzt. Before Sam had a chance to react, Wzzt shriveled into char.

Sam launched himself toward Joe to take him down.

Suddenly, he halted in mid-flight, suspended. He didn’t and couldn’t move. Neither could Joe, being frozen in a leaning-back defense stance. The two were in a static space of some kind, a total absence of motion.

One of the creatures walked over to Wzzt’s ashes and collected them with a deep bag on a handle reminisent of a butterfly net.

The creature waddled over and forcefully put the bag over Joe’s head all the way down to his shoulders.

In less than a minute, the bag was removed and Joe was able to move. He almost fell down, then regained his balance.

When Joe spoke, it was Wzzt’s voice, “Sam, I am Wzzt. The Joe entity forfeited its right to exist when it tried to take my life.”

The Wzzt/Joe bent, straightened, and twisted, as he got familiar with the new body.

“Humans have strange bodies.”

Then from the radio, blared a frantic, “Sam! Base is lifting! The rockets are firing. According to the instruments we’re headed for rendezvous with Orbiter.”

“Sam, we have no control of the rockets or our trajectory.”

“Sam? Are you there? Talk to me!”

Sam desperately wanted to respond. But he couldn’t move. Nor could he make a sound.

“Base, this is Wzzt speaking through the body you knew as Joe. The life essence that was Joe is no more. It used its every effort to kill me, reducing my body to ashes.”

“We will no longer tolerate you and your kind on or near our planet. Except Sam, who we have chosen to learn from.”

“For decades we have watched you and learned about you. Monitoring established your Earth citizens to be capricious and destructive, at odds with each other, and focused on individual benefit, a mad melee reminding us of the animals that finally reduced themselves to extinction on this very planet you call Mars.”

“Do not come back. If in the future Sam wishes to return to Earth, he will be provided with transportation.”

The communicator was removed and Sam’s stasis was released. He noticed his gun was fully charged. He felt normal, healthy, energetic.

He looked at Wzzt, who was still becoming familiar with his new body.

“What now, Wzzt?”

Suddenly, with a silent, thunderous mental bang, Sam remembered everything.

Wzzt said, “Now you remember, friend Zzzt. Your mission was a success. It will be a long time before humans land on our planet again. We will be fully prepared.”

Sam/Zzzt suddenly felt awkward in his body, but quickly regained control.

In a moment, Zzzt emitted whistles and grunts that meant, “You know, friend Wzzt, they really are a strange species. There is little cohesion.”

Zzzt looked around. All the creatures in the cavern, his people, his friends and some new ones, were ringed around him, one leg raised pointing at him in a silent salute.

Will Bontrager

Oh how strange we have become. We are the aliens.

That was a fun read, Will!

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All of those writing prompts sound fun and wonderful. it is going to hard to pick just one to write on. 

 Thank you 

That’s great to hear, Bruce.

Have fun with them!

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Really useful…. 🙏thanks

Awesome! You are welcome!

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Thank you for all the great resources. I am new to writing and have written a couple of pieces for the Show don’t Tell section on your site. Cheers, Tilly

Kayla was a talented piano player Kayla Vlasov sat at the grand piano, her back straight, her delicate hands poised on the shiny black and white octaves. The audience in the front row noticed how Kayla’s legs hung demurely from the stool, her feet barely reaching the pedals. Kayla’s expression was focussed. Nothing else existed when she was about to play the piano. With her right index finger, she struck middle C. The vibration went through to the audience’s marrow and sent a shiver down their backs. Thunderous applause. This would be an evening to remember.

Winny felt shy Winny held her mother’s hand, as they walked through the gates of Newtown Primary School. A teacher with a warm smile and auburn hair bouncing along with each step came towards them. The child hid behind her mother, wishing she could disappear between the folds of her skirt. Warm tears gathered in Winny’s eyes and she lifted her other hand to her mouth, hoping the teacher wouldn’t notice her quivering bottom lip.

Hi Tilly, these are excellent!

Not only do you “show” what’s the matter, but these are also fun pieces full of atmosphere.

If anybody is wondering where the prompts come from, it’s this post about “Show, don’t tell”: https://www.ridethepen.com/show-dont-tell/

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Thank you Alex for the great prompts

You are welcome, Maria! 🙂

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I would like to use Freezelicious. For a villain name.

Sounds like evil ice cream!

Lol it is. I want Freezelicious. To be a villain in a spy book I’m writing.

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I really have a problem with prompt 24 on the adventure prompts. It feels very dehumanizing to indigenous peoples to portray them in that way and it perpetuates harmful stereotypes. I would suggest removing it because it is insensitive.

Hi Jessica, your comment is heard, but I would consider this excessive political correctness, of which the world already is seeing too much nowadays.

Everything is a stereotype – especially in a writing prompt! Your job as a writer is to then lay out a colorful story that draws the reader in, precisely because it’s so far away from any stereotype, which makes it interesting.

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Looking for something else?

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Hi Alex. Paragraph

I live in a senior residence and have taken on the adventure of coordinating a creative writing group. We have completed a year and I am very enthusiastic about the level of commitment and effort the students have put into all the assignments. This coming year we will be offering to include more people in the group. but since a number of people will be returning I have been looking for some different kinds of exercises to prompt and teach the students.

The prompts seem like a splendid opportunity for all the people in the group to try their hand without having to create new material right off the bat. I will let you know the kind of responses I get. Thanks for putting this together

Hey Pat, sounds great, I imagine in a senior residence people have plenty of time to write. Plus, you are living next door to your critique partners. Would be interesting to hear what came out of it and which prompts were used the most.

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Love To Write? Check Out These 51 Creative Writing Prompts For Adults

An essential part of being a writer is daily practice —even if that practice is only a few minutes.

And even when the results are less inspired than you hoped. 

As long as you’re committed to building a writing habit and practicing your craft, you’re a writer—not just an “aspiring” one.

Sometimes, all you need is a generous supply of fun writing prompts for adults to get you started. 

We’re happy to help with that. 

What Are Some Interesting Writing Prompts? 

The best, most effective writing topics for adults are those you enjoy. They should stimulate your memory and imagination and create connections in the mind. All you need to do at that moment is to let the words flow onto the page.

Writing prompts can do this in one or more of the following ways: 

  • Remind you of a significant event in your own life; 
  • Trigger a powerful emotion about a particular event or relationship; 
  • Connect to a meaningful experience you’d like to dwell on for a bit;
  • Connect to other disjointed details in your memory; 
  • Relate to universal themes you’d like to explore. 

How You Can Use Daily Writing Prompts for Adults 

Here are a few ideas for using adult writing prompts: 

  • Start a creating writing journal using these as daily prompts ; 
  • Take one prompt and break it down into smaller installments; 
  • Start a creative writing group and share 1-3 prompts per week;
  • Play music that fits the mood of a particular prompt; 
  • Set a timer and commit to writing for at least five minutes straight. 

The best ideas for using the list of prompts below are those you’ll actually use and enjoy. 

51 Creative Writing Prompts for Adults 

Read through the following list of adult writing prompts and let your imagination respond to each one. Some will get your mind going more quickly than others. Some will have a stronger effect at different times. 

You’re welcome to keep this whole list handy or make a smaller list with your favorites. 

1. You’ve just been jolted out of a dream you’d give all your worldly possessions to return to. What was it about?

2. Someone you look up to makes an unexpected and hurtful remark about your body. What goes through your head, and how do you respond? 

3. You’re alone at night in your apartment in the city, and the doorbell starts ringing repeatedly. You look through the peephole and… 

4. You write an anonymous advice column and one day discover the unintended consequences of advice you thought was helpful. 

5. By day, you’re a responsible, if reclusive, college student. By night, you fly over your city as a dragon.  

writing prompts for adults

6. On the advice of her therapist, you write about a character from her dreams, and they show up at your door. 

7. Your significant other interrupts your work one day to say, “I need to tell you something.” What goes through your mind?

8. You don’t really want a pet, but when a friendly stray follows you home, your tender heart wins out and you let it in.

9. You meet someone with whom you feel not only safe but wanted and cherished. One day you catch them with someone else. 

10. You wake up in a different place lying next to someone else and, for some reason you feel more at home. But which life is real?

11. You’re a few short hours away from facing your worst nightmare. What is it, and how do you prepare?

12. You wake up with a headache in a coffin-size box and hear voices outside it speaking a different language. 

13. What comes to mind with the words, “What were you thinking ?”

14. For some reason, everyone is giving you strange looks and tip-toeing around you. 

15. Figures. Just when you get good at coding, the internet shuts down — everywhere. 

16. You were digging in your yard when you found it. And you fully intend to keep it secret.

17. You’re comfortable with anonymity, so it’s unsettling when, one day, everyone you meet acts as if they’ve known you all your life.

18. Your spouse thinks you’re leaving for work, but you know the truth. Maybe, one day, you’ll tell them—if you survive today. 

19. Someone slips a note underneath your apartment door. You unfold it to find a phone number and a brief, urgent message. 

20. Your spouse asks if you’re interested in trying something different with your marriage. And it’s not fantasy role-play. 

21. You wake up one day, and everyone seems shocked to see you alive. You look in the mirror and understand why. 

22. You wake up in the body of a famous historical figure you’ve been studying. How does your day go?

23. Ever since the accident, you’ve been hearing voices—not all the time but often when it’s least convenient. 

writing prompts for adults

24. You show up alone at an old friend’s funeral to pay your respects, but when you reach the coffin, the face you see is your own. 

25. You’ve always taken comfort in the presence of your own shadow, but it’s started taking on a life of its own. 

26. You have one day to do whatever you want without any consequences. What do you do?

27. You’re visited one night by the disembodied spirit of someone you know (still living). Why do they visit you?

28. You’re on the worst vacation ever. And you’re about to do something crazy to change it for the better. 

29. An evil genius hires you as his personal assistant. Your first day on the job is life-changing. 

30. Your life is the subject of a favorite TV show. Describe your character and write about an important scene of your own making. 

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31. You find a high-paying job doing something you love. But when your devoutly religious relatives ask what you do, you lie.  

32. Your parents have just revealed a family secret they hoped they’d never have to tell you. You’re about to share it with your partner.

33. You’re in couple’s therapy, and the therapist suggests something you initially consider outrageous but are then… surprisingly open to it. 

34. Write about a time when you had to hide from someone. Were you protecting yourself—or them?

35. Write about an animal you identify with and describe the traits you share with them—or wish you shared. 

36. Describe a moment when someone you were once attracted to tried to intimidate you, and you turned the tables. 

37. Write about how different your life might be if, back at a pivotal moment in your life, you’d taken a different turn. 

38. Write about a relationship that taught you an important lesson and what you would tell that person now. 

39. You inherit a house and discover a secret door leading to a surprise your deceased relative clearly knew about. 

40. You meet and become friends with someone who’s the living equivalent of a favorite character from a novel you’ve read—or written. 

41. You become famous, and your life changes overnight. Write about how it happens and what it leads to. 

42. Create a powerful antagonist character and describe them. What kind of relationship would you or your protagonist have with them?

43. “She looked at me as if seeing me for the first time. When she finally spoke, she said… “

44. You did or said something that has left your family and friends speechless with shock. What is it, and what are the consequences?

45. You have this eerie feeling someone or something is following you home. You’re right. What or who is it, and what do they want?

46. You make a birthday wish, and it comes true. Describe what happens as a result. 

47. You stand up to a bully, and the results are mixed. What happens?

48. You finally get your dream job (or gig), and then you learn something about it that changes everything. 

49. For the first time in your life, you feel free to express your thoughts and see them as worth expressing. Why?

50. You write a book that becomes a bestseller , and someone you meet tells you it’s their new favorite. Describe the book and your fan. 

51. You get a dream job, and your boss turns out to be something other than human. The problem? You’re falling hard for them. 

Now that you’ve looked through all the above writing prompts, which ones stood out for you as favorites? And which will you use today? 

There are times when writers struggle to start their writing pieces. On that note, there is plenty of writing prompts for adults and in this post, there are 51 prompts to choose from.

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Home » Blog » 140 Creative Writing Prompts For Adults

140 Creative Writing Prompts For Adults

fun creative writing games for adults

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Learning how to become a better writer includes knowing how to come up with a solid idea. With so many elements to consider when starting your novel, the plot itself may begin to slip away from you. Use these creative writing prompts for adults to get you started on the right path to a successful story and suffer from writer’s block for the last time. .

This list of writing prompts for adults can be taken and used in any way you want. Details can be changed and characters can be added or removed.

They are meant to be a fun way to get your creativity flowing and your next story developing. For even more writing ideas, check out the  writing prompt generator . Here, you will find 500+ prompts of all kinds that will give you some ideas.  Take control of that blank page and create something awesome. 

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Dramatic Writing Prompts for Adults

Nothing beats some good old-fashioned drama once in a while. You can turn these writing prompts into a dramatic love story , an exciting short story, or morph them into a different genre. How you use them is up to you.

For a novel that is specifically romance, we have created an exclusive list of exciting and genre-bending romance writing prompts .

  • A young boy discovers that he is the only adopted child among his four siblings. Feeling confused and betrayed, he runs away to find his birth parents. After two months on the road, he runs out of money and still hasn’t found them. Does he go home? Or does he continue his quest?
  • Two couples are fueding and haven’t spoken in years. It is discovered that their two children have become best friends at school, and they want a playdate. Will this increase tension between them or lead to reconciliation?
  • Identical twins are attending the same college. They switch places and take each other’s classes depending on strengths and weaknesses. They’ve gotten away with it for two years until their observant professor of a father is transferred to the school they attend.
  • Two childhood best friends stopped talking after a huge fight in high school. Five years later, they find themselves sitting next to each other on the same 16-hour international flight.
  • Write about a passionate romance that crosses religions.
  • He’s only been in office for a year. He is already being tempted by a corrupt group of criminals who want him to sabotage a series of public safety projects in exchange for funding his entire reelection campaign.
  • Your main character is being offered a promotion from the high school principal to the district director. Sadly, she knows her replacement will cut funding to all of the art programs. How does she manage the situation?
  • A high profile general learns that the opposing army will surrender if he hands himself over. Will he prioritize his own safety, or sacrifice himself for his country?
  • Write about a successful businesswoman who has built herself from the ground up. The business is suddenly threatened by the son of a rich local contractor who started a similar business out of boredom.
  • A successful lawyer knows that his client is guilty of the murder for which he has been charged. He is a good liar and could easily win the case. The case is getting constant media coverage and would guarantee him making partner at his firm.
  • Your main character has lived a sheltered, isolated life. When their delusional and overbearing father dies. They are thrown into the real world and unsure of how to cope.
  • The doorbell rings and your character answers it – finding nothing but an envelope with nothing on it. They open it and follow the instructions to attend a secret underground event. Afterward, they become a part of a huge resistance that the rest of the world knows nothing about.
  • After a family member’s funeral, you arrive home to a stranger on your doorstep claiming the person is not really dead. The funeral was open-casket.
  • It is your character’s wedding day. While the vows are being said, someone from the crowd yells “I object!”
  • A huge storm has stopped traffic. Your character is stuck in the car with someone for an unknown amount of time. The person chooses this moment to confess their undying love. The feeling is not mutual.
  • Your character finds an old, disposable camera on the ground. Feeling, they get the photos developed. What they see tells an unsettling story.
  • Two old friends are reminiscing on a prominent and life-changing event. They have very different memories from that day.
  • Your main character is a world-traveling nature photographer. She stumbles upon a small tribe of indigenous people who have found the cure for all cancer in a small local plant.
  • A young man has been homeschooled all his life and is ready to start college. An attack on his small home town has him being drafted into the army. He is away from home for the first time ever and terrified. However, he becomes a key strategist due to his unique perspective and undiscovered scientific talents.
  • A middle-aged man is tired of his career in a corporate office. He takes all his vacation and sick days at once for an excursion in the Appalachian Mountains. Everything is fine until a blizzard hits.
  • A shy and reserved web designer thinks she has found the man of her dreams online. She is actually being catfished by a competing company who wants to get information from her.
  • A man and women work for two neighboring, rival fast food companies. They always take their lunch breaks together on the bench right in the middle of the two.
  • An ongoing murder investigation takes an unexpected turn when it is discovered that a prolific group of corrupted police officers were behind the whole thing.
  • A television star is renowned and respected for his “method” acting. He only interviews or appears on TV in character. But, this is because he doesn’t have a personality outside of his three most famous characters.
  • A professional gymnast is under fire for her supposed use of performance-enhancing steroids. She leaked the story herself to draw attention away from the fact that she is the leader of a high-profile drug ring.
  • An older couple on the brink of retirement keeps their life savings in the pages of the books in their home. They are just about to start looking for a retirement home to live in when a fire destroys their house and their cash.

Tips for Writing Drama

  • Drama is usually character driven , so make use of both your round and flat characters .
  • Introduce the conflict right away and keep it prominent. A drama will thrive off conflict.
  • Don’t let the resolution come easily.
  • Don’t be afraid to kill characters and write difficult situations.
  • Always show, don’t tell.

Supernatural Writing Prompts for Adults

Supernatural stories are popular. The world is in love with vampires. Write something interesting and unique enough, you might be writing their next favorite book. Use these supernatural story starters for your basic premise. 

  • On her 16th birthday, your main character miraculously survives a deadly car crash without a scratch. Later that week, she watches as a small scratch heals and disappears right before her eyes. Where did this new power come from and what will she do with it?
  • There is an elite society of high education that wants to test a new drug. They give it to highly gifted students, and it allows them to stay awake for 48 hours and record everything they see, heard, and feel in that time. Unfortunately, some unexpected side effects set in two weeks later.
  • A middle-aged man is the only one in his famous and high-profile family without a superpower. The local police rely on his super-powered family to help them catch and fight crime. However, the powers are failing them during a specific investigation. Your protagonists “normal” perspective might just save the day.
  • Your main character suffers a terrible concussion. After recovering, they cannot control the vivid nightmares about the accident. However, they can also take images from their mind and project them into the real world. Doctors think they are crazy and keep them heavily sedated.
  • Write about a world where technology has given animals the ability to speak.

Tips for Writing Supernatural Stories

  • Setting the story in the real world will make your supernatural species more believable.
  • Create the origins of your species and supernatural characters.
  • Create the physical limitations for your species and beings.
  • Avoid the cliches of the genre.
  • Understand your reasons for using supernatural creatures. You shouldn’t be writing them in simply due to their popularity.

Thriller Writing Prompts for Adults

Thrillers can come in many forms and can be incorporated with many genres. Regardless of the details though, they are always meant to excite. Suspense and tension are crucial – it’s always more fun when you don’t know. Writing a good thriller requires a strong set of writing skills. These prompts will give you a good base. If you think you need to improve, try some writing exercises.

If your thriller can get hearts racing, you’ve done a good job.

  • The body of your main character’s best friend is dumped on their doorstep. They make it their mission to find out who is responsible, even if it means crossing some lines and breaking some laws.
  • A murderer is on the loose in your character’s hometown. For 10 weeks they have killed one person on the same day at the same time. Your main character is the next victim. They are abducted exactly three days before the planned kill time.
  • Strange things start happening around town. Your main character decides to find out for themselves what is going on. They do learn the truth, but now they aren’t allowed to leave.
  • Your character suffers from a condition that causes seemingly random blackouts for varying amounts of time. The only thing they ever remember before these episodes is a yellow car with a dent on the side. One day, that car is parked outside their house. This time, there is no blackout.
  • Your main character and their friends take an unsolicited mini-vacation to an off-limits island off the coast of their seaside town. Shortly after arrival, they discover the islands inhabitants and the reason why it was off limits.
  • Your protagonist is in intensive therapy due to extremely vivid nightmares detailing someone’s gruesome death. Many have said it’s just their twisted imagination, but this new therapist seems to think it’s much more than that.
  • You are legally allowed to kill someone one time in your life. You must fill out a series of paperwork, and your intended victim will be given notice of your plan.
  • A brilliant serial killer has been getting away with murder for decades. His only weakness is his acute inability to tell a lie. He is finally caught and tried for all murders. Write about how he still manages to walk free, with no charges laid.
  • Your character is a host at a restaurant. A couple comes in and says they have a reservation. You look it up in the system and find that the reservation was booked 40 years ago.

Tips for Writing a Thriller

  • Have a story that suits a thriller. This usually involves the protagonist falling victim to someone else and being caught in impossible situations.
  • Different points of view can add a lot of value to a thriller. It gives several perspectives and allows the reader into the heads of many characters.
  • Put action as close to the beginning as possible.
  • Don’t be afraid to make your characters miserable.

Thriller Book Writing Template

Squibler has a book writing template that was created specifically for writing a thriller:

thriller novel template

It will walk you through each section of a typical thriller. It includes the basics of a thriller structure, without stifling your creativity. The guidelines are easy to understand, but loose enough that you can insert the details of your story with ease.

Horror Writing Prompts for Adults

The horror genre has always had a cult-like following. Several fictional killers have become household names. Some horror fans will spend their whole lives chasing the adrenaline that comes with a good scare.

If you’re learning how to become a better writer in order to scare your readers, these writing prompts will get you started. A book writing template may be helpful in creating a true horror as setting the stage properly is crucial.

  • It’s Halloween night and a group of rowdy teenagers break into an infamously haunted house in their town. They soon discover it is not the ghosts they have to fear, but the madman who lives upstairs is poisoning them with hallucinogenic gas.
  • There is a disease outbreak at a school. It appears at first to be chicken pox but it is actually a virus that is causing violent outbreaks in the children who begin to terrorize the town.
  • Your main character attends a meditation retreat. It turns out to be a recruiting process for an extremist cult that convinces members to commit dangerous acts of terror. Your protagonist is the only one in the room who is immune.
  • So overcome by his nightmares, your main character attacks anyone who comes near him. He cannot distinguish between loved ones and the monsters in his head.
  • A young man has to dive 300 feet into the ocean to rescue his girlfriend caught in a broken submarine. He must cross through a genetically modified shark breeding ground.
  • An old time capsule is about to be opened and the whole town is present for the celebration. When opened, the only thing found inside is a detached human hand with a threatening note in the grasp. The note is written in your character’s handwriting but dated 50 years before they were even born.

Master horror writer Stephen King reveals some of his thought process: “So where do the ideas—the salable ideas—come from? They come from my nightmares. Not the night-time variety, as a rule, but the ones that hide just beyond the doorway that separates the conscious from the unconscious.”

Horror doesn’t always have to be fantastical and dreamy in nature. Sometimes horror exists in the real world, within people.

Tips for Writing Horror

  • Don’t be afraid to give that gruesome, bloody description.
  • Aim to create extreme emotions.
  • Make sure the readers care about your characters. This will make their horrible situations more impactful.
  • Consider what scares you the most. Keep this in mind when writing.
  • Set the stakes high.
  • Some comic relief or brief periods of peace are okay – necessary even. It can help build suspense.

Crime and Mystery Writing Prompts for Adults

Stories of crime and mystery have been told for ages. There are some classic crime dramas that will never get old. Many non-fiction books have been written on this topic as well. 

Creating a proper mystery takes time and much planning. When done correctly though, it makes for a most memorable story.

  • Your main character discovers another women’s clothes tucked in the back of her boyfriends closet. She plans an elaborate fishing trip to get him far away for a weekend so she can teach him a lesson.
  • A new serial killer is on the loose, killing one person every other day within 500 feet of a museum. There must be a connection and a reason, but how will they catch him when he keeps destroying the cameras and escaping?
  • A young officer is three years sober and committed to getting back on track. That is until he is called to the scene of a high-profile drug bust and is in charge of collecting evidence. Can he control himself around so many drugs?
  • Abandoned cars start randomly appearing throughout the city. No license plates and nothing inside. That is until one is found to contain several dismembered human limbs.
  • Your character has been receiving nasty, lifelike drawings in the mail. They ignore them at first, thinking it is some kids being silly. Until the drawings start coming to life. Since they have the drawings, they know what is going to happen next, and in what order.
  • Your main character and her husband awake one night in the early hours of the morning, both recalling a horrific dream from the night before. They soon learn the dream to be true as they discover a fresh, painful brand in between each of their shoulder blades.
  • Your character never wakes up feeling rested, no matter how long they sleep for. Medication doesn’t help. They decide to film themselves one night. The next morning they watch as they get out of bed around midnight, smirk at the camera, and wave before disappearing out the door for hours.
  • Your protagonist is a member of a small religious group. When a precious artifact goes missing, the head elder’s daughter is blamed for it. Your character knows she couldn’t be responsible because the two of them were romantically involved at the time of the theft. Such activities are strictly forbidden and the daughter would rather go down for the theft than admit to breaking that law.
  • There is a serial killer going after the children of rich and notable families in the area. Your main character is the child of one such family and is terrified every waking moment. Tired of living in fear, they decide to figure out who the killer is and stop them  
  • Your character gets a DNA test, just for fun. After getting the results and doing some more research, they discover that members of their ancestry from all over the world were once all gathered in the same place. The reason is unknown.
  • Your character receives a strange voicemail from an unknown number. The voicemail ends up changing the course of their entire life.
  • Your character is in an accident and loses the memory of the last year of their life. There are so many things that don’t make sense. They must retrace their steps to find answers.
  • The entire town has started sleepwalking, together, every night.  
  • Your character has a short but friendly encounter with a stranger in an elevator. The next day, they are all over TV as the victim of a brutal murder.
  • Your character is redecorating and takes down a painting. They notice something strange engraved on the back of the frame.
  • Your character goes to their usual coffee shop and orders “the usual.” The Barista smiles, nods, and slides something entirely different across the counter. She has never made a mistake before.
  • Your character opens a random book at the library when the cover page falls out. It says “if you are reading this, you have been chosen.”
  • When looking through some old family photos – going back generations – your character notices a cat in almost every photo. The very same colorful spotted cat with a single docked ear that is sitting on their lap.
  • When paying for their groceries, your main character mentions to the clerk that there is a mess in aisle 11. The clerk is confused and explains that there is no aisle 11.

Tips for Writing Crime and Mystery

  • This is a genre where a book writing template can come in handy. The plots are often so complex, it can be overwhelming to keep it all straight.
  • Draw inspiration from real-life crimes. This will make your story believable.
  • Also, draw your inspiration from real-life people and give them realistic motives behind their crimes. Crime and mystery are rarely set in a fantasy world, so being realistic is important.
  • Know how the mystery is solved before you start writing.
  • Include a few cliffhangers – usually at the end of a chapter.

Science Fiction Writing Prompts for Adults

Science fiction is similar to fantasy in that you can make up a lot of stuff, which is a fun way to write.

This is a versatile genre that can be molded into anything you want.

Sometimes, it is rooted in truth with elements of real scientific and technological advances. Other times, there are many assumptions made about the future of science, and lots of make-believe takes place.

  • A spaceship that can surpass the speed of light is allowing a few humans on board to escape our solar system and it’s dying sun. How does the world decide who gets to survive?
  • A shy, introverted tech guy develops a virus that can control human desires, impulses, and choices.
  • A pet store becomes overrun with kittens and sells them off at a low price. However, these cats are actually an alien hybrid that can body jump. It begins causing the owners of these cats to commit suicide within 24 hours of adoption.
  • A live TV broadcast from the White House experiences some technical difficulties. They end up broadcasting a top-secret meeting about a pending alien invasion.
  • Science has developed a brain scanning software that can read thoughts. Before they can decide what to do with it, someone has hacked the system and stolen it.
  • Your character wakes up on a spaceship with no memory.
  • The world has developed a genetic system that engineers everyone for a specific job in the community. Your character hates what they were created to do. This never happens.
  • The world has finally reached a state of all-encompassing peace thanks to a technical system that keeps things regulated. Your character is in charge of keeping the system running. When they discover exactly how the system is kept running, they consider abandoning their post and never turning back.
  • Your character accidentally traps themselves in an alternate universe that hasn’t discovered electricity or technology yet.

Tips for Writing Science Fiction

  • Make your story complex, but don’t rush it. Let your audience process information before adding more.
  • Keep the language simple and easy to understand even if the world isn’t. The majority of your readers will not be scientists or tech experts.
  • Be consistent in terms of the universe. Physical laws, social classes, etc. Know your own world.

Dystopian Writing Prompts for Adults

Dystopian stories are growing in popularity. The genres itself is growing and evolving all the time as people figure out what works and what entertains.

Dystopian is a fun genre to read and experience, but writing it can be just as enjoyable. Having fun while learning how to become a better writer is of utmost importance.

Be careful you’re not writing Dystopia just because it sells well. Make sure you have a real story to tell and that it’s one you believe in.

  • A newly married couple become pregnant with twins. Due to growing overpopulation, they are told they must make a choice when the babies are born. Only one will live. Rather than submit to this, they plan their escape across the border.
  • An amateur teen scientist accidentally discovers an impending alien attack set to destroy earth within a month. He becomes the unwilling leader of the evacuation and defense coalition.
  • A hacker discovers that the new iPhone can be remotely detonated. Many corrupt political leaders are assassinated in this way on the same day. The world breaks into chaos.
  • World War III has come and gone. Governments are a thing of the past and money is useless. Survival is the objective. Your main character also has a medical condition to keep under control.
  • A horrible outbreak of disease devastated the wildlife population 100 years ago. A scientist has recently created a virus that will strengthen the immune systems of the remaining animals. It works too well, and the animals are starting to overtake the human population.
  • After mental illness devastates a generation, scientists create an airborne substance that balances the levels of all people on the earth. Your character is one of the few who is immune.
  • Rampant wildfires are taking over the surface of the earth. Your character is part of a group who is trying to find a rumored ocean deep settlement. The settlement doesn’t really exist.
  • Nature extremists have taken over the government. Any and all activities that are harmful to the land or plants are forbidden and outlawed.
  • Natural farming is a thing of the past. All food is manufactured artificially and distributed. There is no flavor and it’s the same thing every day. Your character takes a stress-relieving trip to the mountains. Here they find the remnants of some real plants, with a few berries on them.

Tips for Writing Dystopian Fiction

  • Know what the message of the story is. What is the main character trying to achieve?
  • A dystopian society is usually one that has taken the current problems of the world and projected them into the future.
  • Dystopian realities are never good ones – make sure you have enough doom, gloom, and darkness for your readers to understand the state of the world.

Historical Writing Prompts for Adults

Historical fiction can be whimsical and charming. It can be dark and spooky. It can be funny and ridiculous. Stories of history span many genres.

Historical fiction can be a combination of educational and entertaining. It tests a writer’s research skills as well as knowledge. The better depiction you can create of your desired time period, the more effective your story will be.

Learning to research is crucial to know how to become a better writer.

  • From a first-person perspective, write about the showdown between a criminal and a lion in the Roman Colesseum.
  • Abraham Lincoln is famous for his top hat. Where did the top hat come from? Who was the president without it? Write a story about the infamous top hat and its life.
  • The Berlin wall has crashed to the ground and its love at first sight for one lucky couple – whose parents aren’t so impressed.
  • Your character is a talented composer whose direct competition is Beethoven.
  • Write about a dinner party where three famous historical figures are in attendance.
  • Your best friend has invented the very first time-travel machine.
  • Write about a well-known war, but give it a different outcome.
  • Write a happy ending for Dracula.
  • Your character’s husband of ten years has just confessed that he has traveled through time from the fourteenth century. He decided to stay because he fell in love with her.
  • Write about the thoughts of someone who is secretly watching Michelangelo paint the Sistine Chapel.
  • Your character is the only one who knows who really killed JFK. It wasn’t Oswald.
  • Your character is working under William Shakespeare as his apprentice.
  • Write about a pair of detectives who solve their cases by traveling back and forth in time.
  • Write about the experience of someone who has just learned of the Titanic’s sinking. They had a loved one on board.
  • Choose a major historical event. Write from the perspective of a witness.
  • Your character wants to travel across the land. No forms of transportation have been invented yet.
  • Write about someone who worked at one of the first printing presses during the printing revolution of the 15th century.

Tips for Writing Historical Fiction

  • Do your research! Inaccuracies or incorrect facts about the time you are writing in will break trust with your readers and decrease your credibility.
  • Choose a specific time period and location. “Early twentieth century” is too broad.
  • In addition to setting and facts, characters need to match the time period. This includes dress, behavior, and language.
  • Small details will matter.
  • Balance the historical facts with the drama and fictional elements.

Humorous Creative Writing Prompts for Adults

Another genre that is especially fun to write as well as read, is a comedy. Nothing beats throwing your head back in full laughter.

The goal here is to make people laugh as much as possible while still balancing a good story and believable characters.

  • Substitute teachers are tired of not being taken seriously. They come together and form a secret society, with plans to revolt.
  • An Elvis impersonator is so good that many start to believe Elvis has actually come back to life. Soon, he has been recruited to lead a superstitious Elvis-loving cult.
  • Three friends are out on the town for a night. Write about the most ridiculous series of events you can think of.
  • Life has gotten tough and your character is considering moving back in with their parents. Before they are able to make a decision, their parents show up at their door asking if they can move in.
  • Your character wakes up one day and everything they say rhymes. They can’t control it.
  • The climate is changing and your main character’s city gets snow for the first time in their entire life. She and her friends are recruited for clean up.
  • Your main character has never had a real job before. They are starting a job at the biggest, busiest store in town on the busiest day of the year.
  • Your character is set up on a blind date with their sworn enemy.
  • Every morning you have a package delivered that contains an item you end up needing that day.
  • Struggling with writer’s block, an author decides to sit at a local train station for information. They get some good material.
  • Your characters are holding a high-stakes rock-paper-scissors tournament.
  • Your main character gets backstage at a concert. What happens back there is much more interesting than the show.
  • Your protagonist decides to buy an old school bus and travel across the country. Being single without any close friends, they post an ad asking if anyone wants to join. The end up having their pick of travel partners.
  • Write a story about a low-profile, insignificant but long-unsolved crime is finally cracked.
  • Your character is a serial killer who kills anyone who hitchhikes along the mountain they live on. One day, they pick up a hitchhiker who kills whoever picks him up.
  • The world’s greatest detective finally meets his match: A criminal so stupid and so careless that the detective can’t ever predict what he is going to do next.

Tips for Writing Comedy

  • Test the humor on others. You might find something hilarious, but if no one else is going to laugh, it will be useless to include.
  • Observe comedy. Your ability to write it will hinge on your experience with it. Watch, read, listen, and speak comedy.
  • Have fun with it. Comedy is fun. If you’re not laughing at yourself along the way, you’ll never get through to the end.

Fantasy Writing Prompts for Adults

Fantasy is one of the most popular genres of the time. It’s growing every day because of its creative and immersive nature. People love to preoccupy themselves with something magical.

Being transported into another world for a little while – that’s what fantasy can do

  • In a world of advanced technological and magical advancements, one group keeps their practice of ancient spells a secret. One day, they are discovered and it leads to a fight. What is more powerful – old magic, or new technology?
  • A large, protected national forest is secretly home to werewolves. One summer there is an especially bad flea epidemic, and the werewolves are greatly affected. The fleas from the werewolves infect the town water supply and start turning everyone into werewolves. The only ones not affected are children under 13.
  • The world is overrun with vampires and humans are dying out. Different races and factions of vampires are beginning to go to war over the limited supply of human blood.
  • Your character finds a strange looking egg in the forest. Thinking it will make a great decoration, they take it home. What hatches from that egg surpasses their wildest imagination.
  • A city has spent centuries living in peace with the water-dwellers who reside in their lakes. Suddenly, the water dwellers declare war and no one knows why.
  • Your character has always been able to alter their appearance. They hide unattractive features. Suddenly, their powers stop working and their true appearance is revealed.
  • Your main character has a fascination with untouched societies – such as hidden tribes in the Amazon. She sets out to study them as a living. One day she accidentally allows herself to be seen by one of the members. What this person does is beyond what your character ever thought to be real.
  • The earth itself is dying and all life on the planet is dying with it.
  • Some people in the world have magic, others don’t. No one knows why. Your main character has magic, but his best friend doesn’t. The friend is exceptionally jealous and is growing more and more desperate to make the magic his.

Tips for Writing Fantasy

  • Focus on being unique
  • Don’t neglect worldbuilding . Inconsistencies will be obvious to readers. This is where a book writing software like Squibler can come in handy. It helps you stay organized and efficient.
  • Create unique names.
  • Don’t be afraid to make the journey long and the outcome unexpected.

Fantasy Novel Writing Template

Fantasy is one of the most complicated genres due to the necessity of building a brand new world. Squibler’s fantasy writing template will help you through this daunting process:

fantasy novel writing template

This template offers guidelines and suggestions for building your world as well as structuring and creating your storyline. It’s helpful but loose enough to allow your creativity to keep flowing.

Dialogue Inspired Writing Prompts

Sometimes, all it takes is a small exchange or a witty one-liner to get your brain working. Take these words and start something new. Or, insert them into an existing project and see what happens.

  • “As she stepped onto the train, I fought every urge to jump on after her.”
  • “He was expensive. Please be more considerate of my money the next time I hire an assassin to kill you.”
  • “You say that like it was a struggle.”
  • “I’m your conscience. That is literally my one job.”
  • “Well, I wish you didn’t love me. I guess no one is getting what they want today.”
  • “I guess it didn’t take.”
  • “I was bored so I blew up my house.”
  • “I taught you how to pick locks, and THAT is how you’re choosing to use the skill?”
  • “They thought I would forget everything. I remember even more than when they started.”
  • “Yes. But I don’t care.”
  • “I killed my mother. Are you really questioning what I can do to you right now?”

Write Your Next Masterpiece With These Creative Writing Prompts for Adults

Whether you have a book writing templat e all filled out or you are starting from scratch, these writing prompts will get your imagination going and make your writing time more productive.

Beat the writer’s block, get your groove back, or just be inspired.  Figure out how to love writing again. Whatever you’re looking for, hopefully, these ideas have helped form the story you need to tell.

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100+ Writing Prompts for Adults: Unleash Your Creativity and Imagination

By: Author Paul Jenkins

Posted on October 18, 2023

Categories Inspiration , Writing

Writing prompts can be an excellent tool for sparking creativity and overcoming writer’s block. Regardless of whether you’re a seasoned writer or just starting your literary journey, these prompts can guide you in discovering new ideas and refining your writing skills.

As an adult, you might prefer prompts that cater to your unique interests, experiences, and perspective.

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There’s a vast array of writing prompts available, catering to a wide range of genres and themes. From exploring interpersonal relationships to delving into fantasy worlds, these prompts can help you break free from the constraints of everyday life and find inspiration in unexpected places.

Moreover, writing prompts can push you to experiment with different styles and techniques, enabling you to grow as a writer.

Ultimately, writing prompts for adults allow you to get lost in your imagination, create vivid characters, and tell captivating stories. By engaging with various prompts, you can challenge your writing habits, ignite your creativity, and develop a stronger connection to your unique voice as an author.

Key Takeaways

  • Writing prompts for adults spark creativity and overcome writer’s block.
  • Wide range of themes and genres cater to adults’ unique interests and perspectives.
  • Engaging with prompts helps develop writing skills, styles, and techniques.

100 Writing Prompts for Adults

Here are 100 writing prompts for adults:

  • Write about a time you felt truly happy. What made you feel that way?
  • If you could go back in time and change one decision you made, what would it be?
  • Write a letter to your 20-year-old self giving advice.
  • Describe the house you grew up in. What memories do you have there?
  • What’s the bravest thing you’ve ever done? Why did you do it?
  • Who has had the biggest impact on your life? Describe how they influenced you.
  • What’s the most spontaneous thing you’ve ever done? Would you do it again?
  • What’s your biggest regret in life? How has it impacted you?
  • Describe a time you failed at something. What did you learn?
  • What are you most proud of achieving in your life so far?
  • What’s the kindest act you’ve ever witnessed? How did it make you feel?
  • What small moments bring you the most joy in life?
  • If you could have a do-over for one day in your life, which day would you choose?
  • When was the last time you stepped outside your comfort zone? What was the experience like?
  • What’s your biggest dream that you hope to achieve in the future?
  • What has been the greatest obstacle you’ve had to overcome? How did you do it?
  • What person has shaped you into the person you are today?
  • What is your greatest strength? How has it helped you in life?
  • Describe a time you felt truly at peace. What were you doing and who were you with?
  • What is your biggest insecurity? How has it negatively impacted your life?
  • What one piece of advice would you offer your younger self?
  • What do you hope people say about you after you die?
  • Who do you miss the most and why?
  • What is your happiest childhood memory? Describe it in detail.
  • What is something you lost that you wish you could have back? Why?
  • Describe your perfect weekend from start to finish.
  • What is the most courageous act you’ve ever witnessed?
  • What is your biggest pet peeve and why does it bother you so much?
  • What is the biggest risk you’ve taken in your life? Was it worth it?
  • What is the most surprising thing you’ve learned about yourself over the years?
  • What is the wisest piece of advice you’ve ever received? Who gave it to you?
  • Describe a time you felt like you failed. How did you bounce back?
  • What brings you true joy in life? Describe how it makes you feel.
  • What rules do you live your life by? Where did they come from?
  • What is your favorite childhood memory involving your family?
  • Who is your role model? How have they influenced your life?
  • What is the most spontaneous trip you’ve ever taken? What made you decide to go?
  • What is the kindest thing a stranger has ever done for you?
  • What are you most thankful for in your life right now?
  • What is the wisest life lesson an elderly person has taught you?
  • Describe a time you felt immense gratitude. What triggered this feeling?
  • What is the most surprising act of kindness you’ve ever witnessed?
  • What old photos bring back the sharpest memories for you? Describe the images.
  • What smell brings back childhood memories for you? Describe the memory.
  • When was the last time you felt pure joy? What triggered this feeling?
  • What is your favorite quote or saying? What meaning does it hold for you?
  • Who is the most inspirational person you know? How have they inspired you?
  • Describe the last time you tried something new. How did it make you feel?
  • When was the last time you had a really good belly laugh? What caused it?
  • What is your favorite family tradition? Why is it meaningful to you?
  • What is the most memorable gift you’ve ever received? Who gave it to you?
  • Describe a time you felt a strong emotional connection with someone.
  • What is the greatest accomplishment in your career so far?
  • What is the most thrilling experience you’ve had? What made it so exciting?
  • Describe the last time you felt butterflies in your stomach. What caused the feeling?
  • What is your favorite place in nature? Describe how it makes you feel.
  • When was the last time you stepped way outside your comfort zone? What motivated you?
  • What is the wisest advice your mother ever gave you?
  • Describe a time you felt truly proud of yourself or someone else.
  • What is the most insightful or wise observation you’ve made about life?
  • What makes you laugh the hardest? Describe the situation.
  • What small things brighten your day when you encounter them?
  • When was the last time you felt pure contentment? Describe the moment.
  • Who has been the biggest inspiration in your life? How have they inspired you?
  • What is the most meaningful or insightful conversation you’ve ever had? Who was it with?
  • If you had one day left to live, how would you spend it? Who would you spend it with?
  • What is the greatest single day you’ve ever experienced? Describe it from start to finish.
  • What is the biggest lesson failure has taught you? How has it shaped you?
  • What places have shaped who you are? Describe how they impacted you.
  • What is the greatest act of generosity you have either given or witnessed?
  • What advice would you offer your 20-year-old self about love and relationships?
  • What is the hardest life lesson you’ve had to learn as an adult? How did you finally understand it?
  • Describe a time in your life when you felt truly alone. How did you get through it?
  • What is the most beautiful place you have ever visited? Describe how it made you feel.
  • What is the most significant change you have made in your life in the past five years?
  • What is the most valuable life lesson your father ever taught you?
  • Describe the most fascinating person you have ever met. What captivated you about them?
  • What has been the most surprising twist in your life story so far?
  • What is the bravest thing you have done that no one knows about?
  • Describe a time you saw someone going through a difficult time. How did you help them?
  • What unpopular opinion do you hold? Why do you think many disagree with you?
  • What does your ideal future look like? Describe your life in detail.
  • What book or movie changed your perspective on something? How so?
  • What is the most spontaneous trip or adventure you ever embarked on?
  • Describe a time you failed at something. How did it change your perspective?
  • What would your childhood self be surprised to learn about your adult life?
  • Who had the biggest positive influence on the person you have become?
  • When was the last time you felt pure joy? What caused this feeling?
  • What do you wish your 16-year-old self knew? What advice would you give?
  • When was the last time you felt you were living your true purpose? What were you doing?
  • What is the greatest obstacle you overcame as an adult? How did you do it?
  • Describe the best birthday you ever had. What made it so memorable?
  • When was the last time you felt proud of a family member? What did they achieve?
  • What is your definition of true friendship? How has your definition evolved?
  • Who do you miss the most who is no longer in your life? Why are they special to you?
  • What is the wisest or most insightful observation about life you have come up with?
  • If you could instill one core value or belief in the next generation, what would it be?
  • When was the last time you felt you made the absolute right choice? What decision did you make?
  • What is one piece of advice you’d give to someone starting out their adult life?

Writing Prompts: Taking the First Step

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Writing prompts can be an excellent way for you, as an adult writer, to take the first step towards unleashing your creativity.

Whether you are a beginner or a seasoned writer, prompts can help you break through writer’s block, develop new ideas, and explore different genres.

There are numerous sources to find creative writing prompts for adults, with many websites offering free and engaging ideas designed to spark your imagination. You can use these prompts as either the starting point for your writing or simply as an exercise to get your creative juices flowing.

Remember, when working with a writing prompt, don’t hesitate to adapt it to your personal style and preferences. You can change details, add or remove characters, and even alter the setting to make the stories your own.

Here are some ways to approach writing prompts:

  • Set a timer for 10-15 minutes and write without stopping.
  • Use the prompt as a warm-up exercise before you start working on your main writing project.
  • Share your completed prompt with a writing buddy or in a writers’ group to gather feedback and suggestions.
  • Give yourself permission to write without worrying about grammar or punctuation, focusing on the ideas and emotions you want to convey instead.

Types of Writing Prompts

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Creative Writing Prompts

Creative writing prompts can help you break through writer’s block or simply spark your imagination. They often involve a fun or intriguing situation, character, or setting, which you can use as a starting point for your own story.

For example, you might find a prompt asking you to write a short story about an unexpected encounter at a coffee shop or a magical object found in your attic.

To make the most of these prompts, try writing without worrying about word count or perfect grammar. Focus on getting your ideas down and exploring your creativity.

Keep in mind that you can always edit and revise later. By engaging with creative writing prompts, you’ll build your storytelling skills and gain confidence in your abilities.

Essay Writing Prompts

Essay writing prompts, on the other hand, are aimed at testing your critical thinking, research, and argumentative skills. They usually require you to explore a specific topic or issue, using evidence and logic to present a well-reasoned point of view.

Some examples of essay prompts might include exploring the benefits and drawbacks of a particular technology, discussing the morality of a controversial topic, or analyzing a historical event.

When responding to an essay prompt, you’ll want to focus on creating a clear and organized structure for your work, providing supporting examples and evidence for your claims, and ensuring your language is clear and concise.

Writing Prompts Based on Themes

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Writing Prompts of Family

When it comes to family, there is an endless trove of memories and stories. Try writing about a cherished family tradition or that one time you couldn’t stop laughing at a family gathering. You can also take a more introspective approach and write about your relationship with a specific relative and how it influenced your life.

Exploring Emotions Through Prompts

Writing about emotions can be a powerful way to gain insight into your own feelings and experiences. Consider prompts that explore anger, joy, grief, and desire. For example, write about a time when you felt really fulfilled or challenged by a situation that led to intense feelings of anger. See how these emotions can shape your stories and personal growth.

Prompts on Money and Financial Themes

Money often shapes our lives and affects our decisions. Share your experiences with saving for a specific goal or a time when you had to make a tough financial decision. It could also be a fictional scenario where an unexpected windfall forces reconsideration of your character’s priorities.

School-related Writing Prompts

School forms a significant part of our lives and provides a rich environment for stories. Recall a memorable event from your school days, a favorite teacher, or a challenging assignment. You can also dive into issues such as school friendships and rivalries.

Prompts relating to Social Media

Social media has become a key part of our daily lives. Write about your experiences navigating social media, how it affects your relationships, and its impact on your self-esteem. Alternatively, you can create a story about the consequences of a social media post gone wrong or an unexpected connection made through online platforms.

Travel-themed Prompts

Traveling often leads to unique and interesting stories. Write about a memorable trip you took, an interesting encounter you had on your journey, or even a dream destination. Don’t be afraid to let your creativity roam in these prompts!

Food-related Writing Prompts

Food can evoke powerful memories and emotional connections. Write about a dish that means a lot to you or the experience of learning to cook something with a loved one. You could also explore the culture, history, and emotions associated with a specific type of cuisine.

Health Themed Writing Prompts

Health plays a vital role in our lives and can serve as a great source of inspiration. Write about a personal health challenge you faced, the importance of self-care, or even an experience witnessing someone else’s health journey. These prompts can encourage reflection and understanding of various realities we face with wellness.

Remember to keep it brief and maintain a friendly tone throughout. Happy writing!

Interpersonal Themes and Writing Prompts

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When it comes to writing prompts for adults, interpersonal themes can provide inspiration and opportunities for self-discovery, especially when focusing on relationships and dating. In this section, we will delve into writing prompts related to dating, offering a few ideas to help you get started.

Writing Prompts for Dating

  • Your Ideal First Date: Imagine you are going on a perfect first date. Describe the setting, the activities, and how both of you interact with each other. What would make this date unforgettable for you?
  • The Unexpected Match: Write a story about two people who are complete opposites but somehow find each other and connect on a deep level. How do they meet, and what challenges do they face in their relationship?
  • A Lesson in Love: Think about a time when you learned something significant about love or relationships, either from personal experience or through observing others. Share the story and describe how it has impacted your view on dating.
  • The Five Senses: Choose one of your past dates or create a fictional date scenario. Write a scene incorporating all five senses (sight, sound, touch, taste, and smell) to help the reader experience the date as if they were present.
  • An Unlikely Romance: Write a story where two characters from different backgrounds or lifestyles find love in an unexpected place or situation. Explore how their preconceptions and biases are challenged as they get to know each other.

Remember, writing prompts related to dating can help you explore new perspectives, spark your creativity, and foster a deeper understanding of your own experiences and emotions. By engaging in these exercises, you’re not only honing your writing skills but also reflecting on your own interpersonal connections. Happy writing!

The Art of Getting Lost in Writing

As you explore different writing prompts for adults, allow your imagination to wander. Embrace new ideas, and don’t be afraid to take risks.

By leaving your comfort zone, you’ll discover fresh perspectives and interesting avenues for your writing.

One way to get lost in writing is to let go of self-doubt and criticism.

Silence your inner editor, and give yourself the freedom to write without constantly worrying about making mistakes. As a friendly reminder, remember that your first draft doesn’t need to be perfect.

Incorporating elements of the unknown, such as the feeling of being lost, into your stories can help you tap into your reader’s emotions and encourage them to lose themselves in your words.

Use vivid descriptions and authentic dialogue to paint a vivid picture of the world you’re creating. The more you can draw your readers in, the easier it will be for them to get lost in your work as well.

Finally, give yourself permission to take breaks when needed. Sometimes stepping away from your writing can give you fresh insight and a renewed sense of direction. Once you return, you may find it easier to get lost in the story again and let your words flow.

Frequently Asked Questions

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What are some unique prompts for adult writers?

Exploring unique writing prompts can help unleash your creativity and inspire new ideas. A few standout prompts for adult writers can include writing about a dream you’d love to return to or crafting a story set in a casino. Feel free to change details, add characters or put your own twist on these prompts to make them truly special.

How can I find writing prompts focusing on mental health?

Writing prompts that focus on mental health can offer a therapeutic space for self-reflection and emotional exploration. To find these prompts, try searching websites, blogs, and forums that specifically target mental health and wellness topics. You’ll come across a variety of prompts, ranging from writing about your feelings and emotions to exploring strategies for self-care and personal growth.

What are engaging poetry prompts for adults?

Engaging poetry prompts can often draw from personal experiences, emotions, or current events. Consider writing a poem about a cherished memory, a strong emotion you’ve recently experienced, or something that affects you deeply. Feel free to play with different poetic structures and styles to discover which resonates with you the most.

Which nonfiction writing prompts are popular for adults?

Nonfiction writing prompts can encompass journaling, essays, or opinion pieces on a variety of subjects. Popular nonfiction prompts might include writing about a significant event in your life, offering your perspective on a current issue, or discussing how personal experiences have shaped your beliefs. The key to exploring nonfiction writing prompts lies in relating your unique thoughts, perspective, and experiences to broader themes and ideas.

Where can I find funny prompts suitable for grown-ups?

Humor can add a fresh and enjoyable element to your writing. To find funny writing prompts suitable for adults, explore websites like Reddit or online writing communities that share comedic short stories, jokes, or funny personal anecdotes as prompts. Remember to have fun and let your inner comedian shine through your writing!

How can beginners find simple yet inspiring writing prompts?

As a beginner, finding writing prompts that are both simple and inspiring may seem challenging. However, there are countless resources available, from writing websites to online forums that cater specifically to novice writers. Start with a basic prompt that encourages you to explore your feelings, experiences, and ideas, and don’t be afraid to modify prompts to suit your personal writing style and interests.

Creative Tech Teacher

10-Minute Writing Games to Play with Your Students

Jen Schneider Blog , Writing writing 1

Want some quick games to share with your students during transitions or as attention-getters. Play these fun games independently or with groups! Here are a few of my favorites 10-minute writing games to play with your students. This post uses some affiliate links. Purchases from these links result in a small commission to help sustain this site.

sticky notes for writing games for students

Word Association Game

Word association games are perfect for 10-minute writing games! Start by giving students a random word and ask them to write down the first word that comes to their mind when they hear it. Then, have them pass their paper to the person next to them and repeat the process with the new word. Set a timer for 10 minutes and see how far around the circle they can go, building off of each other’s words. This game is a blast for generating vocabulary words or words to use in future writing prompts or stories.

Writing Roulette

My students beg to play writing roulette! I give each student five different colored sticky notes (or use this FREE Jamboard template ).

Writing Roulette game for writing prompts using sticky notes

Each sticky note has a different topic. For example, here are the literary elements I use for my students. You can change these up depending on your grade level.

  • Yellow: character
  • Blue: quotation
  • Pink: setting
  • Green: conflict
  • Orange: theme

Have your students each generate one of the literary elements on each colored sticky note. Make sure they write only one idea per note. Mix up the sticky notes, then give the students five sticky notes (one on each topic) to generate their own story. We LOVE sharing these with the class. As a bonus, expand on the quick stories and create a published, polished piece.

Literary Jenga

Literally playing a game when writing is so much fun! Write creative writing prompts on the sides of Jenga blocks (such as “Write a story in which the main character is an animal” or “Describe a place you’ve never been”) and stack them up. Students take turns pulling a block and then writing for 2-3 minutes based on the prompt they see. The game continues until the tower falls, and then students can read aloud what they’ve written.

Finish the Story Writing Game

This game is also called story or paper pass. I remember playing this writing game in school. I loved it then as much as I love it as a teacher! First, give students the first line of a story and have them write for 2-3 minutes. Then, have them pass their paper to the person next to them and that person continues the story for 2-3 minutes. Continue this process until everyone has contributed, and see how the story turned out in the end.

Random Word Stories

Use this random word generator to pick a fun, unique word. Have your students write a story using that word as a focus. You can have each student select their own word or use a class word.

Descriptive Writing Game

Many ELA curriculums have descriptive writing as an assessment. Why not teach descriptive writing skills with a 10-minute writing game! First, ask students to close their eyes and imagine a scene you describe to them, such as a beach or a forest. Give them 10 minutes to write a detailed description of what they see in their mind’s eye. Encourage them to use sensory language and descriptive adjectives to really paint a picture with their words. Share the stories, and as a bonus, have students illustrate their writing. You can also adapt this and share a picture as a writing prompt starter. Show students a picture or image and give them 10 minutes to write a story or poem based on what they see. Encourage them to be creative and use their imagination to build a story around the picture.

Character Creation Game

Students love creating their own characters! Have students brainstorm a character by answering questions about them, such as their name, age, occupation, likes and dislikes, fears, etc. Then, set a timer for 10 minutes and have them write a short story or scene featuring that character. You can add to the fun by having two characters team up together to create a new story or have a conversation with one another based on their characters’ backgrounds.

Six-Word Stories

Challenge students to write a complete story in just six words, such as “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.” Set a timer for 10 minutes and see how many six-word stories they can create.

Mad Libs Game

The old Mad Libs games are so much fun! I remember having paper Mad Libs books that my siblings and I giggled over with delight. Online Mad Libs games let students work independently to create funny stories. I love using Mad Libs online !

Fan Fiction

My students absolutely love writing fan fiction. This gives them a chance to explore stories on a deeper level, and change the outcomes to what they really wanted to happen in the book! Have students choose a favorite book or movie character and write a short story featuring that character in a new adventure or scenario. Set a timer for 10 minutes and see how well they can capture the voice and personality of the character in their writing.

Story Cubes

Use storytelling dice or story cubes with pictures on each side, and have students roll the dice to create a story. Set a timer for 10 minutes and challenge students to create a story that includes all of the pictures they rolled. Share the stories in small groups or with the full class.

Writing Prompts

Using writing prompts in the classroom is an effective way to encourage a love for writing in students. Here are five ways to inspire and engage middle school students:

Daily writing prompts

Start the day with a short 10-minute writing exercise that covers various genres and themes. Use this list of 25 daily prompts to get started.

Structured writing prompts

Use prompts as a starting point for more structured writing assignments such as essays or research papers. This encourages students to think critically and provides specific guidelines for the writing task. Use this list of 10 structured prompts to get started.

Group brainstorming

Encourage students to work together in small groups to generate their own writing prompts. This fosters collaboration and creativity.

Writing prompt dares

Students can create their own writing prompt dares or use these 15 writing prompt dare examples to get started. These are great for group brainstorming prompts.

Try out this 52 writing prompt workbook . You even get an editable Canva link to add your own unique prompts!

Creative Writing Prompts 52 on TpT

Get ready for 10-minute writing games to use in your classroom! These games can be scaffolded and differentiated for all grade levels. What writing games do you use in your classroom!

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BEST ADULTS WRITING PROMPTS

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Heavenly bodies, write a story in the form of a list of new year's resolutions., end your story with two characters reconciling., set your story at a large entertainment venue, after the show has ended, amongst the discarded plastic cups and confetti., your main character has a secret superpower; the gossip they spread always comes true., write a story about someone trying to track down the source of a rumor..

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Your character is known as the town gossip. One day, it comes back to bite them.

Write a story about a piece of gossip that becomes more and more distorted as it passes from person to person., write a story that includes the line “my lips are sealed.”, someone’s beloved collection is destroyed. how do they react, set your story in a casino., subscribe to our prompts newsletter.

Never miss a prompt! Get curated writing inspiration delivered to your inbox each week.

Start your story with someone making a vision board.

Write a story about someone who volunteers to read for others at the local library, and how it impacts their community., write about two old friends meeting for the first time in years., end your story with a character receiving a deeply meaningful gift they weren’t expecting., in this world, everyone is born knowing how old they will be when they die., you get to star in a reality tv show of your choice. which show do you choose, and what kind of a character do you become on that show, write a short story that charts the beginning of a relationship to its end., you just got promoted at work... but your new boss is a piece of work. or so you thought., describe your ideal holiday., your grandfather has just passed away, leaving you with an inheritance of $1 million. what do you do with it, win $250 in our short story competition 🏆.

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The best writing prompts for adults

Are you struggling to find an outlet for your imagination as an adult? There's an easy solution for that: creative writing prompts for adults. Though writing prompts might look like simple questions and topics on the surface, they are powerful tools that can help you put pen to paper and explore such topics as food, technology, family, people, life, and the universe around us through a story. 

Best of all, they work for authors of all stages, whether you're a beginner looking to overcome writer's block or an established writer thinking about exploring different genres. So what are you waiting for? You, too, might find that a writing prompt will inspire and give you ideas for everything from a short story to a full-blown book. 

If you're looking to cut to the chase, here's a top ten list of writing prompts for adults:

  • Write a story about a 40th birthday party.
  • Set your story at a retirement party.
  • It's your wedding day, and as you're saying your vows, a voice from the crowd yells, "I object!"
  • Start your story with the line 'Back in my day…'
  • Start your story with the line, "That's the thing about this city…"
  • Write a cautionary fable about someone who always lies.
  • Write a day-in-the-life story about a first-time parent and their newborn child.
  • Write a short story about someone doing laundry.
  • Write a story about a character obsessed with one of the long-dead "greats" in their profession.
  • Write a story about a parent putting their child to bed.

If you'd like to go beyond the world of writing prompts and dip a toe into becoming an author, check out our free resources on the topic:

  • Develop a Writing Routine (free course)  —You might hear a lot of advice on how to write a book, but at the end of the day, what it takes is simply the commitment to regularly sit down in front of a computer and put words down on paper. A writing routine is key to that sort of dedication — and our free 10-day course will show you how to develop one that works for you. 
  • How to Write a Novel 101 (free course)  — Once you’ve got a writing routine now, all that’s left is the hard part: actually writing the book! That’s where this free course comes in. In the process of ten days, we take you through how to write a novel, including structuring your plot and developing your characters. 
  • Character Development 101 (blog post)  — As an author, you become the psychologist of your characters. Learn how to build a great character in this comprehensive blog post and build one up, from their motivations to their goals. Don’t forget to download the free character profile template while you’re in the blog post! 

Ready to start writing? Check out  Reedsy’s weekly short story contest  for the chance of winning $250! You can also check out our list of  writing contests  or our directory of  literary magazines  for more opportunities to submit your story.

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Explore more writing prompt ideas:

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Adventure Writing Prompts ⭢

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Character Writing Prompts ⭢

Christmas Writing Prompts ⭢

Dark Writing Prompts ⭢

Dialogue Writing Prompts ⭢

Dramatic Writing Prompts ⭢

Dystopian Writing Prompts ⭢

Fall Writing Prompts ⭢

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Fiction Writing Prompts ⭢

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High School Writing Prompts ⭢

Historical Fiction Writing Prompts ⭢

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Mystery Writing Prompts ⭢

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Nonfiction Writing Prompts ⭢

Novel Writing Prompts ⭢

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Sad Writing Prompts ⭢

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Short Story Writing Prompts ⭢

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Thriller and Suspense Writing Prompts ⭢

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Winter Writing Prompts ⭢

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The Counseling Palette

Mental health activities to help you and your clients thrive, 1. purchase  2. download  3. print or share with clients.

  • Feb 22, 2022
  • 15 min read

35 Fun & Effective Therapy Games for Kids, Teens, & Adults

Updated: 3 days ago

Therapeutic games can help build rapport and teach important concepts like coping skills.

Therapy games can help with learning emotions, coping skills, CBT, DBT, and more.

Therapy games make therapy less intimidating, more enjoyable, and even more effective. Studies show that kids and adults learn better through play (Yenigen, 2014).

(Ready to play now? Check out this giant therapy activity game bundle.)

Play is often encouraged as a way to treat symptoms in therapies like trauma-focused CBT (Allen et al., 2017). It can be used for many purposes, modalities, and settings. Here are some examples:

Teaching CBT

DBT skills groups

Play therapy

Hospital settings

Community group therapy

Problem solving groups

Anger management groups

Classes and student groups

Individual therapy sessions

Article Contents

Coping Skills Quiz Show (teens and adults) CBT Coping Skills Game Show (all ages)

FEELOPOLY Emotions Game

CBT Island Quest Board Game

Family Feud-Style Therapy Game

CBT Lingo (Bingo)  

The Greatest DBT Board Game  

Couple's Pursuit  

Therapy Shuffle  

Feelings Jenga  

Feel, Act, & Draw  

Therapy Dice  

Emotions Match  

Happy Dragon  

Family Pursuit

Therapy Activity Bundle

As a community therapist, I found games made sessions with new teens less awkward, helped get groups of all ages more involved, and were a life-saver when I had minimal prep time.

Games are also great for getting to know your clients, and for teaching important concepts like coping skills and understanding emotions. They can work with kids, teens, families, groups, and adults–in person and during telehealth.

Some of the most fun and easiest games to play with clients are therapeutic board games . Many include discussion or learning prompts, and cover topics like feelings, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), or dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT).

Since the games are usually structured and straightforward, they may be less intimidating than regular talk sessions. You can use these tools as a way to

teach concepts, to review skills, or just to have fun and get to know each other.

Below are some fun and effective therapy games that may leave a lasting memory for you and your clients. Several options are printable PDF downloads. All are evidence-based and focus on developing and practicing skills.

1. Coping Skills Quiz Show for Teens & Adults

Great for: Teens, adults, schools, adult education, telehealth

Works with: Individual therapy, groups, in-person, telehealth

Goals:  Positive self-care, mindfulness, boundaries, coping skills, goals

Project this therapy game, the coping skills Jeopardy-style quiz show through PowerPoint or as a PDF download.

This coping skills Jeopardy-type game show is created to be fun and interactive. This version is designed for teens and adults (see a kid-friendly version for all ages below, or get them both in the bundle ). It includes discussion prompts as well as some tips in each category and several hands-on group activities such as creating individual coping strategies.

The quiz show includes six categories including:

Mindfulness

Relationships

Asking for help

Setting goals

The best way to play the game is to project it in presentation mode through PowerPoint. It includes fun music and even applause options so it has a real Jeopardy game type feel. You can click through the links and move around like in a live show. If you don't like PowerPoint there is a simpler PDF option included.

Learn more , or get it as part of the giant store bundle .

2. CBT Coping Skills Game Show for All Ages

Great for: Kids, teens, young adults, adults

Goals:  Coping skills, thoughts, feelings, behaviors, mindfulness

This coping skills game show is a great group therapy activity for all ages. Use it with CBT groups, for psychiatric patients, anger management and more.

If you're looking for a game for any age, including kids, check out this CBT coping skills Jeopardy-inspired game. I've had feedback that it worked well for third graders as well as adult nursing classes, so you can make it your own!

This edition has all different prompts compared to the teen and adult version, but does overlap in categories. Topics covered include:

Thoughts, feelings, & behaviors

Identifying emotions

Changing thoughts

Facing fears

Coping planning

The mental health game has open-ended prompts so your discussions can adapt based on your group's needs. Having some CBT knowledge is helpful, but you can also slow it down and use it as a way to teach new skills and techniques.

It's an easy low-prep activity for a group or classroom, social emotional learning, group therapy, teletherapy, and more. Learn more.

3. FEELOPOLY Emotions Game

Great for: Kids, tweens, teens, some adults and young adults

Goals:  Naming emotions, expressing feelings, validating emotions

This emotions game, called FEELOPOLY, includes prompts and activities to practice naming and working with emotions.

FEELOPOLY is one of the most popular therapy games and mental health downloads available online.

It's a creative and fun emotions game. Rather than working against each other like in a Monopoly game, FEELOPY has the team working together. The goal is to work as a taskforce to "validate" all of the feelings on the board.

It covers concepts of naming feelings, validating emotions, expressing emotions, and communicating experiences. Example prompts include:

Do you have an outlets for your feelings? What's one way you express them?

What might help if you're starting to feel frustrated?

Explain how a trigger might bring up a feeling. Give an example.

The game is a PDF printable which you can start using right away. I recommend assembling it as a group with your clients. You can check out FEELOPOLY and download it here.  

This infographic includes three therapy games that cover CBT techniques and DBT skills.

4. CBT Island Quest

Great for: Kids (11+), teens, college students, families, some adults

Works with: Groups, in-person, telehealth

Goals: Learning or reviewing CBT concepts, practicing coping skills, building confidence

CBT Island Quest is a straightforward printable therapy game of discussion and prompts. Players roll or use the card instructions to move around the game.

Prompt cards are divided into mindfulness/relaxation questions and cognitive questions. Example prompts include:

You think your friend is mad at you because they cancelled your plans together. Challenge the thought.

What's a coping skill you can used when you're depressed?

What does it feel like in your body when you're relaxed?

Learn more about CBT Island Quest and download it here.

This CBT game covers coping skills like challenging negative thoughts, recognizing emotions, and using mindfulness.

5. Family Feud Inspired Therapy Game

fun creative writing games for adults

You might find something soothing about Family Feud, whether you grew up watching it or enjoy the new Steve Harvey version. This fun Family Feud style therapy game reviews overall wellness, mental health, and coping skills.

Each category includes wellness-related questions with six common answers on the board. Teams (or individuals) can also earn partial points for skills or helpful answers not on the board. 

Each board is followed by a more general discussion question for the group, and players can earn bonus points for participation. Categories include mindfulness, anger management, dealing with anxiety, overall wellness, and more. 

The coolest part of the game is that it’s designed in PowerPoint and has fun interactive elements that feel like a real game show. The therapist or leader plays the roll of “host” and reveals the answers when guessed, or at the end of the round. 

Learn more and order your copy of Group Feud: Coping Skills!

6. CBT Lingo (CBT Bingo)

Great for: Kids (11+), teens, college students, families, adults (adaptable for skill level/age)

Goals: Learning or reviewing CBT concepts, psychoeducation, practicing coping skills, test review

This CBT Bingo game, or CBT Lingo, is a therapy game with prompts focused on cognitive behavioral therapy.

This printable game is focused on teaching CBT theory and coping skills. It includes rule variations based on your goals, the group’s experience level, and age group. It’s based on, and playable, with a real Bingo set.

Rather than just a novelty game like many therapy bingo pages, it actually includes 10 unique playing cards and 75 prompts relating to CBT. It’s great for groups, telehealth, and individual clients in-person or online.

Some of the prompts include:

What is an automatic thought?

Draw a feelings thermometer

Name a common cognitive distortion

What are the three parts of the CBT triangle?

Download the CBT Lingo game here .

7. DBT Board Game

Great for: Teens, young adults, college students, anyone familiar with DBT skills

Goals: Learning or reviewing DBT concepts, practicing the four areas of DBT skills

This DBT game is a printable PDF activity great for reinforcing DBT skills like radical acceptance, mindfulness, and DEARMAN.

The Greatest DBT Board Game uses a fun carnival theme to make reviewing DBT fun and entertaining. It covers the four areas of DBT skills, including mindfulness, interpersonal effectiveness, distress tolerance, and emotional regulation.

Files are printable and come as PDFs.

Example prompts include:

Give an example of using opposite action to change an emotion

Think of a time you've used radical acceptance. Did it help you? Why or why not?

Describe a rude way to ask for help, versus a more effective way.

The game throws in fun elements, such as the "Emotional Roller Coaster," and the "Ferris Wheel of Distress."

Visit here to check it out and download it today.

8. Couple's Pursuit

Great for: Adults, couples

Works for: Couples homework, possibly couples sessions

Goals: Building relationships, practicing communication, expressing affection

This infographic includes pieces from the Couples Pursuit relationship game focused on communication skills and relationship building.

Do you work with couples, or are you looking for a fun way to improve or build on your relationship ? Couple's Pursuit is an activity-based relationship game that includes fun categories like drawing and guessing, along with discussion topics, prompts to express appreciation, and more.

It's inspired by Trivial Pursuit, however rather than trivia questions the categories cover important relationships skills. It includes categories that focus on skills used in popular therapies like the Gottman Method. Examples include:

Showing affection

Friendship and bonding

Shared goals

Fun and recreation

Download the printable game here.

9. Therapy Shuffle

Great for: Older Older kids, teens, adults, families, groups

Works with: Groups, in-person

Goals: Learning or practicing coping skills, problem-solving, teaching concepts, building rapport

This is an infographic with pictures from the coping-skills therapy card game called Therapy Shuffle.

Therapy Shuffle is a therapeutic card game inspired by Fluxx, although it's slower-moving and based on coping skills. The game is complex enough to keep many teens and adults engaged.

Players choose "goals" and collect "skills" to match the goal cards. Players have to answer coping-skills related prompts to be able to play their cards and win.

The game can be played competitively or cooperatively, depending on your group. If you like you can also scrap the prompts, and play the cards as is. Learn more and download the therapy card game here.

10. Feelings Jenga

Great for: Kids, teens, adults, families, groups

Goals: Learning or practicing coping skills, understanding emotions, teaching concepts, building rapport

Feelings Jenga is a great emotions game for teaching emotions skills to kids, teens, and families.

Jenga is a popular game among therapists–especially those who work with kids. It’s a particularly easy one to set up. You can write a prompt on each Jenga block, or add a color using markers or stickers.

You can also print out prompts on sticky paper and stick or tape them to the blocks.

Check out the pre-printed prompts from Jenga Feelings Game. They include feelings words along with prompts that encourage clients or groups to consider situations relating to emotions.

When someone successfully pulls a Jenga block out, they must also answer a question or follow a prompt to earn the point.

Sometimes the blocks are also color-coded. For example, a blue block might correspond to happy feelings. A player might then discuss a time recently that made them feel happy, or what it was like to feel that way. Or, blocks can be numbered and correspond to discussion prompts.

Some of the generic Jenga-style blocks actually come in various colors, making it easy to set up color-based categories for the game. This also works with other colorful games like pick-up sticks.

Here are some example prompts from the Feelings Jenga game stickers:

Imagine you go so angry that you felt like throwing something. Do you think it would help? Is it safe to do?

Describe what a feeling (ie sadness) feels like in your body.

What should you do if your feelings are overwhelming you.

Learn more about the prompts here.

11. Feel, Act, & Draw

Great for: Teens, young adults, college students, families

Goals: Discussing feelings, interaction, ice-breaker

Looking for an activity like feelings Pictionary? This game includes  drawing and charades prompts for feelings and related scenarios. It's a great game for therapy groups.

Feel, Act & Draw is a mental-health version of games like charades and Pictionary.

Players round a game board while they either answer discussion prompts or draw or act out feelings scenarios. For example, if a player lands on a charades space, they might act out the feeling "sad" or the scenario "mad at my friend."

If they land on a drawing space they sketch it out, Pictionary style. And if they land on a discussion space they talk through the questions in a more traditional style. Download and print it here.

12. Cube or Dice Prompts

Goals: Learning or practicing coping skills, responding to prompts, building rapport

This infographic includes printable therapy dice, a great game for emotions or to teach coping skills.

You can play this game with dry erase blocks, real dice, or any empty square box. Or, print these paper dice with prompts and tape them together.

Assign your own prompts to each side of the cube, or assign a corresponding question to each number on the dice. You can even use a dice app on your phone if you prefer, especially for telehealth.

This game is highly customizable, but here’s an example:

Let’s say you want to review DBT skills. Each side of the box would include a prompt such as “Name a skill to try when you feel angry.”

Someone throws the block across the ground, and then must respond to the prompt that lands face-up in order to get a point.

If you’re using real dice, then each number would represent a corresponding prompt you have written down. So if someone rolls a “2” they would answer the question you have prepared for #2 .

This is great for clients who need to move around a lot, or for a group that’s getting bored. You can also use the paper dice as an activity, or send it as homework or an assignment for telehealth. Check out the pre-printed blocks here.

This feelings game bundle includes FEELOPOLY, therapy Jenga, prompt dice, and the emotions game Fee, Act & Draw.

13. Emotions Match

Great for: Kids

Works with: Individuals, groups

Goals: Identifying and naming emotions

Emotions Match , inspired by the traditional Match Game, helps kids match up expressions and body language with the names of feelings. For example, one card has an image of a character who looks happy. The matching card has the word "Happy" on it.

Check out this printable match game which comes in a set with several variations. If you like, you can use just the emotions, or use two copies of the traditional feelings cards.

Download and print the feelings cards here.

This infographic shows kids emotions cards, with cute unicorn and dragon artwork. The cards also include multiple game variations, such as Go Feel! and Emotions Match.

14. Happy Dragon

Works with: Groups, classes

The Happy Dragon emotions game is inspired by the unfortunately-named "Old Maid" game. However, players are trying to end up with the Happy Dragon to win, versus lose (as in the other game). The game uses feeling-words cards, so players are exposed to emotions vocabulary. You can also add emotion prompts to encourage discussions about feelings.

Visit here to learn more about the Happy Dragon.

15. Go Feel!

Great for: Kids, families

Works with: Individuals, groups, family therapy

Goals: Identifying and naming emotions, discussing feelings

Go Feel is based on the beloved game Go Fish, so the mechanics are easy to catch on to. Players aim to collect and match emotion cards . This helps provide them with exposure to feelings words and images. Discussion prompts can also be added to deepen the game.

To play Go Feel you need multiple matching emotion cards. Check out this download to get started.

16. Family Pursuit

Family pursuit is a fun family therapy game where the team works together to beat the grumpy wheel. It's a PDF download you can print and play right away in therapy sessions or as a board game for families.

Great for: Families of all kinds

Works with: Family sessions, family homework

Goals:  Communication, coping skills, showing appreciation, decreasing conflict

If you're looking for a fun family therapy game, check out Family Pursuit. It's similar to Couples Pursuit, but with new categories that are focused on bringing families together. Question categories include:

Learning about each other

Discussing positive memories

Showing appreciation for each other

Famous families trivia

Family coping skills

It's a great way to practice communication and feel closer without feeling as much pressure. It can be special for young kids and a way to coach teens into sharing more. Learn more.

17. Stop, Relax & Think Game

You can purchase Stop, Relax and Think on Amazon. It's a popular game often used in therapies like trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy (TF-CBT) to help teach emotional regulation.

The game is appropriate for kids working on anger outbursts, but may be able to help with other impulsive behaviors as well. It covers multiple coping skills, including of course the "stop, relax, and think" steps. Find it on Amazon.

18. The Talking, Feeling, & Doing Game

The Talking, Feeling, & Doing game has been around for years. It was created to help break down barriers in therapy, so children can feel more comfortable to open. Prompts vary from more basic questions to deeper ones about life history. You can get the game here on Amazon .

19. The Skittles Game

Candy sure makes it easier to talk about feelings! This game uses candy of various colors, like Skittles or M&Ms, to prompt discussion. You can use any number of prompts and activities. For example, you can divide the colors by feelings, coping skills, or mindfulness activities.

When a child chooses a color, they must answer the prompt. Then they get to eat the candy! You can imagine why this game would be popular.

20. Therapy Uno

Did you think I would skip Uno? (Actually I did and added it later.) Uno is played similarly to the Skittles game. When a player changes the color being played, they describe a type of feeling, or answer an assigned prompt.

You can play many games that involve color this way as well, such as pick-up-sticks, or color-coded therapy Jenga .

21. DIY Therapy Cards

Using a set of blank cards, or standard playing cards, add your own prompts or activities to the cards. For example, each “set” earned in traditional Go-Fish would require the player (or all players) to name a feeling word.

You can combine the prompts with a traditional game, or simply take turns drawing a card and following the prompt.

If your client is up for it, they could also create their own cards for therapy. They might list feeling words or coping skills, and act them out each time the card comes up. This version may work better for telehealth–your client can be in charge of the cards on their end.

In family therapy, you might play where each person who wins a game or scores a point gets to ask a question of another player that wouldn’t normally be well received.

For example, a parent might ask a teen why they always shut their bedroom door when they get home, or a child might ask why they never get to stay up late on weekends. The other player can earn their own point if they answer, or they can pass.

Your clients can help make up the rules of the game, as long as it involves responding to prompts at least part of the time.

Family board games can be therapeutic all on their own. Or, you can add prompts to add more depth. For example, replace Taboo cards with your own feelings or skill-based prompts. Perhaps you have to describe the feeling of anger only using physical sensations, while the other person guesses the emotion.

23. Connect-4

You may not imagine it, but when I worked with kids Connect-4 was probably the most valuable game in my office. We didn't add therapy to it at all. But the easy physical actions of the game (and simple rules) made it easy to chat while we played.

I learned all kinds of things about a child or teen's day, family, and relationships. Just keep it near your desk or in sight, and ask your client if they'd like to play. I don't think I was ever turned down.

24. Candyland

For younger kids, Candyland can be a great teaching game. You can simply play the game as is to build rapport. Or, you could talk about feelings depending on where the child lands. Having to return to the beginning is a perfect chance to talk about feelings.

25. Trivial Pursuit

The traditional Trivial Pursuit can be conveniently adapted to therapy. Simply replace the categories and make them about concepts you're learning, such as CBT skills. Or, make each space a prompt, such as discussing a feeling.

Ungame is a popular card game used in therapy. It has board game and card game versions. You can choose card prompts that are appropriate for your client. There are different levels depending on the type of topics you want to discuss. You can get the game here on Amazon .

27. Relationship Skills Card Game

This versatile game focuses on issues like social skills, conflict, and empathy building. It includes conversational prompts, icebreakers, and more. It's great for adult groups or even work settings. Check out the Relationship Skills Card Gamecards on Amazon.

28. Mindfulness Game

The Mindfulness Game is a detailed card deck with multiple activities for individuals and groups to follow. It's designed by teachers with specific activities and clear instructions. It's one of the older and most popular prompt decks. Check it out here.

29. Minecraft

Do you even know a kid who doesn't like Minecraft, even if they don't get to play it? Older kids and teens often find this game captivating. The good thing is that parents can play the game with kids, providing a modern bonding activity. During session, kids can show you what they've built and discuss what they like about the game. If you have trouble getting a tween to talk, it might be the ticket in.

30. TF-CBT Triangle App

The good folks who developed and teach TF-CBT therapy partnered to offer a fun app that helps teach basic CBT skills. While it's created as a part of the trauma therapy, it doesn't get into any trauma prompts or exposure techniques. It may be appropriate to teach the CBT triangle to younger kids. You can learn more here.

31. Creative VR Games

If you've never been inside a VR world, I encourage you to try it at least once. There are some pretty cool creative games, such as Tilt Brush by Google. If a client wanted a world where there was endless creativity and literally no physical limits, this would be it. It may be a very helpful art therapy or creative expression tool in the future.

32. Escape Rooms

Escape rooms are a great way to learn to work together in tight spots, so to speak. You don’t have to go to a literal escape room – there are kits online where you can set up your own scene and mystery. You can use them with kids, teens, adults, and even for workplace team building.

33. Scattergories

You might vaguely remember Scattegories from your childhood – it’s that game where you get a list of prompts and you try to come up with unique words that start with the same letter. You can create the same game but use therapy prompts, such as coping skills that start with T, or self-care techniques that begin with S.

If your client or group loves sports, try incorporating it in therapy. For example, you and your client could play HORSE with a basketball while you discuss the week. Even nerf games in your office can be a great icebreaker.

35. Roleplaying Games

Games like Dungeons and Dragons, and various other role playing games you can find online, provide a safe outlet for expression. Create your own scenario, or let your client take the lead if they’re familiar with the idea.

Play Around!

There really is no limit to using games in therapy. The flexibility of games can work great with telehealth. Ask the client what games they have at home.

Then they can run the game from their side, and you can provide the prompts. You may not even need a copy of the game to play from your side, depending on how complex it is.

Don't be afraid to experiment with new ideas and activities, whether you're in person or connecting via Zoom therapy. At the very least, any game used in therapy can help promote rapport with clients. They can also be a great way for groups and family members to bond.

Games might not seem like serious business, but with many clients they’re likely to get you further than traditional sitting and talking therapy sessions.

Want some easy games and activities to download use with your clients? Check out this great therapy game kit to get started, or fill your toolbox to the bring with our Entire Store Bundle .

This infographic shows multiple therapy games covering CBT, anxiety, trauma, DBT, couples therapy, emotions, and  much more.

-Jennie Lannette, MSW, LCSW, is a licensed therapist specializing in anxiety and PTSD. She has experience running therapy groups in schools, hospitals, and community settings.

-Games listed from Amazon include a small affiliate income if you make a purchase through this site.

Allen, B., & Hoskowitz, N. A. (2017). Structured Trauma-Focused CBT and Unstructured Play/Experiential Techniques in the Treatment of Sexually Abused Children: A Field Study With Practicing Clinicians. Child maltreatment , 22 (2), 112–120. https://doi.org/10.1177/1077559516681866

Yenigen, S. Play Doesn’t End in Childhood: Why Adults Need Recess too. NPR. https://www.npr.org/sections/ed/2014/08/06/336360521/play-doesnt-end-with-childhood-why-adults-need-recess-too

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UnifyCosmos

UnifyCosmos

10 Fun-Filled Road Trip Games for Adult Travelers

Posted: April 10, 2024 | Last updated: April 11, 2024

<p>Someone hums or plays a few bars of a song, and others have to guess the song’s name. This game taps into everyone’s musical knowledge and preferences, creating a fun and competitive atmosphere.</p>

Embarking on a road trip can be an exhilarating adventure, but long hours on the road often lead to boredom and restlessness. To transform your journey into an enjoyable and memorable experience, we’ve compiled a list of 10 engaging road trip games specifically designed for adults. From brain-teasing puzzles to creative storytelling, each game on this list promises to keep the spirit of adventure alive, ensuring that your road trip is as exciting as the destination itself.

<p>This game involves one person making up a fictional, often absurd news headline, and others must ask questions to guess if it’s true or false. It’s a great way to stir up laughter and keep everyone’s mind engaged.</p>

Did You Hear That?

This game involves one person making up a fictional, often absurd news headline, and others must ask questions to guess if it’s true or false. It’s a great way to stir up laughter and keep everyone’s mind engaged.

<p>Players take turns singing a song, and the next person must start their song with the last word sung in the previous song. This game is perfect for music lovers and keeps everyone entertained and singing along.</p>

The Singing Game

Players take turns singing a song, and the next person must start their song with the last word sung in the previous song. This game is perfect for music lovers and keeps everyone entertained and singing along.

<p>Choose a category (like animals, cities, etc.) and take turns naming an item in that category starting with each letter of the alphabet. This game is both fun and a brain teaser, perfect for passing time.</p>

The Alphabet Categories

Choose a category (like animals, cities, etc.) and take turns naming an item in that category starting with each letter of the alphabet. This game is both fun and a brain teaser, perfect for passing time.

<p>Pick a common roadside item (like red cars or billboards) and count them. This game keeps passengers observant and engaged with their surroundings, reducing boredom.</p>

The Counting Game

Pick a common roadside item (like red cars or billboards) and count them. This game keeps passengers observant and engaged with their surroundings, reducing boredom.

Name The Song

Someone hums or plays a few bars of a song, and others have to guess the song’s name. This game taps into everyone’s musical knowledge and preferences, creating a fun and competitive atmosphere.

<p>Spot license plates from different states or make words out of the letters on them. This game is a classic road trip game that encourages observation and can last throughout the entire trip.</p>

The License Plate Game

Spot license plates from different states or make words out of the letters on them. This game is a classic road trip game that encourages observation and can last throughout the entire trip.

<p>Players pose scenarios with two difficult choices to others, sparking conversations and laughter. This game often leads to interesting discussions and helps pass the time quickly.</p>

Would You Rather

Players pose scenarios with two difficult choices to others, sparking conversations and laughter. This game often leads to interesting discussions and helps pass the time quickly.

<p>Connect actors through movies they have starred in, or guess a movie from quotes or plot descriptions. It’s great for movie buffs and keeps everyone’s minds sharp.</p>

The Movie Game

Connect actors through movies they have starred in, or guess a movie from quotes or plot descriptions. It’s great for movie buffs and keeps everyone’s minds sharp.

<p>Think of something, and others have up to 20 questions to guess what it is. This guessing game is a timeless way to engage everyone’s deductive reasoning skills.</p>

20 Questions

Think of something, and others have up to 20 questions to guess what it is. This guessing game is a timeless way to engage everyone’s deductive reasoning skills.

<p>Start a story and have each person in the car add a sentence to it. This game encourages creativity and often results in hilarious, unexpected storylines.</p><p>This article originally appeared on <a href="https://unifycosmos.com/">UnifyCosmos</a>.</p>

The Storytelling Chain

Start a story and have each person in the car add a sentence to it. This game encourages creativity and often results in hilarious, unexpected storylines.

This article originally appeared on UnifyCosmos .

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Solar Eclipse 2024 Writing Prompt Activities

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FREEBIE Total Solar Eclipse Writing Prompt Worksheets

This product is a small token of appreciation for all my wonderful followers. Thank you for visiting my store and keeping me motivated to create new products. Please don't forget to show some love by leaving feedback on this product. Enjoy!

Get ready to embark on an astronomical adventure with our Solar Eclipse 2024 Writing Prompt Activities! Designed to captivate the young minds, these activities blend creative expression with key educational concepts, ensuring a memorable learning experience as we anticipate the total solar eclipse on April 8, 2024. Each activity is crafted to spark curiosity, enhance literacy skills, and deepen understanding of this celestial phenomenon.

Educational Benefits:

  • Getting ready for the eclipse writing prompt; First, Next, Then and Finally.
  • My first total solar eclipse April 8, 2024 writing prompt.
  • My solar eclipse day draw and write.
  • Color and cut the earth, the moon and the earth.

Answer Key Not Included

How to Use These Worksheets:

  • Skill Practice
  • Homeschooling
  • Distance Learning
  • Morning Work
  • Independent Work

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Print & Go! These printable worksheets will provide your students with FUN and ENGAGING activities!

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  4. 50 Fun Group Writing Exercises

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  6. 50 Fantastic Creative Writing Exercises

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    " Creative people often get stuck in their heads about their projects and it's difficult to escape that spiral, especially when a deadline is fast approaching. However, it's important to take a step back from your work every now and then to give your brain something else to chew on for a while, so let's play some games! "

  8. Storium

    For adults storium.com. Write original stories by playing a game with online friends. Storium builds your skills as a writer, exercises your creative juices, and helps you meet new people. Play Storium now for free. For youth and students. StoriumEDU is a collaborative writing game designed to help young writers build their confidence and skill.

  9. 14 Fun Virtual Creative Writing Group Activities

    14 Fun Virtual Creative Writing Group Activities. Write a story collaboratively. I recently did this with my group for Halloween and it was a great success! One week before Halloween, we decided to write a ghost story collectively by opening a Google Doc and making a list of who would start the story, who would go second, third, etc. We each ...

  10. 24 of the Best Writing Exercises to Become a Better Writer

    Write from the point-of-view of a famous historical figure. Write a story or poem from the perspective of an object: a statue, a doll, a roomba, etc. Write from the perspective of a person you dislike. While playing with perspective makes for a great fiction writing exercise , poets and essayists can do this too.

  11. 8 Creative Writing Exercises to Strengthen Your Writing

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  12. Writing Games for Adults to Find Ideas and Inspire Creativity

    The Word-at-a-Time Game, and Other Collaborative Story Writing Games to Play with Partners and Groups. Collaborative, turn-based writing games can be played with partners or writing groups to generate stories. Some of them are simple, fun exercises that get the creative juices flowing. Others have been used to write published novels.

  13. Interactive Creative Writing Games

    Interactive Creative Writing Games. Fun interactive writing games to get your creative juices flowing... Visual Poetry : Explore your creativity by drawing word mosaics with your poetry.; Haiku Madlibs : Fill out the text fields to generate 16 haikus, madlibs style - using templates from the masters, including: Basho, Buson, Issa, Shiki, Shuson, and Soseki.

  14. 35 Writing Exercises for Adults

    Take a deep breath (or two) and write whatever comes to mind. 1. Write up to ten emotions on as many strips of paper and put them in a container. Choose an object, and then pick out one of the pieces of paper. Write about the object from the perspective of a character feeling that emotion.

  15. 10 Engaging Story Writing Games For Adults

    Storytelling Showdown: For an added twist, incorporate the created dialogues into a larger story. Each participant can contribute their dialogues, interweaving them into a cohesive narrative. Witness the magic unfold as dialogues merge to create a captivating tale. 3. Rewrite a Classic.

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    16. Story Starters Writing Prompts. 17. Unusual Creative Writing Prompts. Bonus: Other Writing Prompts Websites . Writing Prompts that don't suck: List of Writing Prompts. Romance Writing Prompts [Read detailed tips about how to write a romantic scene her e.] Writing Prompt 1: On the night before his marriage, Robert gets a visit.

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    If you enjoyed these 40 Daily Creative Writing Prompts for Adults, please share them on Facebook, Twitter, and/or Pinterest. I appreciate it! Sincerely, Jill. journalbuddies.com. creator and curator. Stretch your perspective, expand your imagination, and start writing with these daily creative writing prompts for adults and for writers of all ...

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    5. By day, you're a responsible, if reclusive, college student. By night, you fly over your city as a dragon. 6. On the advice of her therapist, you write about a character from her dreams, and they show up at your door. 7. Your significant other interrupts your work one day to say, "I need to tell you something.".

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    Use these creative writing prompts for adults to get you started on the right path to a successful story and suffer from writer's block for the last time. . This list of writing prompts for adults can be taken and used in any way you want. Details can be changed and characters can be added or removed. They are meant to be a fun way to get ...

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    Create a game of M.A.S.H for a character of your creation. Next, write a scene in their life story based on the result of the M.A.S.H. game. 46. Complete and Utter Chaos. Create a scene of chaos. 47. Maybe This Time. Write a scene that includes time travel. 48. Through Their Eyes. Write a scene from a child's point of view. 49. Happy 100. Write ...

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    Word Association Game. Word association games are perfect for 10-minute writing games! Start by giving students a random word and ask them to write down the first word that comes to their mind when they hear it. Then, have them pass their paper to the person next to them and repeat the process with the new word.

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    This coping skills Jeopardy-type game show is created to be fun and interactive. This version is designed for teens and adults (see a kid-friendly version for all ages below, or get them both in the bundle). It includes discussion prompts as well as some tips in each category and several hands-on group activities such as creating individual ...

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    From brain-teasing puzzles to creative storytelling, each game on this list promises to keep the spirit of adventure alive, ensuring that your road trip is as exciting as the destination itself ...

  27. Solar Eclipse 2024 Writing Prompt Activities by FUN DRILLS

    Get ready to embark on an astronomical adventure with our Solar Eclipse 2024 Writing Prompt Activities! Designed to captivate the young minds, these activities blend creative expression with key educational concepts, ensuring a memorable learning experience as we anticipate the total solar eclipse on April 8, 2024.