Hundreds of Writing Prompts for Creative Writers

I have a lot of writing prompts, a large number of them free. The rest are available monthly through a subscription called Prompted (but more on that below).

Here’s a list.

These are all under a Creative Commons license, which means they are free to use commercially (usually with attribution). Details are in each list.

Prompted

If you like those prompts, I send more to my subscribers every month. They’re similar and they tend to focus on genre fiction, science fiction, fantasy, some horror or paranormal or even historical — but I’m also branching out a bit into prompts that can be adapted for more literary endeavors. Most of my prompts can be adapted that way already.

They’re all great for short stories, short films or even screenplays and full-blown novels. I know a lot of writers that just use them for personal practice or teachers that use them in the class. They’re almost 100% suitable for younger audiences, but you’re the best judge of what your students should or should not be exposed to, so please review each list first.

Join Prompted

Some typical questions.

Do you have writing prompts about x, I only write x fiction.

I generally don’t focus on one kind of story or trend. It seems I get the most questions about vampires or zombies. You probably shouldn’t focus your writing or writing practice chasing one kind of story or trend, either.

I can really use these, even publish a story based on them?

I can’t give you legal advice, but you should be able to find help about what you can and can’t do with works made available under the Creative Commons license for each set of prompts (it’s almost always the Attribution 4.0 International license, which is approved for Free Cultural works).

How do you come up with these, do you make them all up?

Generally yes. Some of them are loosely inspired by other stories, particularly the prompts that are just a line of dialogue. That’s an important part is that they are “inspired” — they’re not wholesale copying and if you recognize the underlying work, you shouldn’t write a story that copies that work, either. Ideas are free range, you can’t protect ideas legally — but the expression is protectable. These prompts are meant to be springboards for your imagination. Take them, adapt them, make them their own. They’re a starting point, not the finish line.

Having said all that, I usually write three new prompts every weekday, which gives me about six new prompts a month. I’m not currently publishing new prompts on the website, but instead generally only releasing them via Prompted.