Month: March 2018

Character Prompts

Character Prompts

Characters make a story more interesting. The more real they seem, the easier it is for readers to care about them. Caring about a character, and what will happen to them next is often the reason we keep turning pages or can’t put a book 

Setting Prompts

Setting Prompts

Setting is the time and place where your story takes place. The setting can create a mood, or add interesting facts to your story. These prompts give you a place with a map of the area. (hit refresh to get a new setting) Take a 

Title Prompts

Title Prompts

These title prompts are randomly generated – hit refresh to get a new prompt.

The Sacrifice, the Company, and the Hour

How to work with title prompts:

Think of this title suggestion as a working title for your story. You can always choose a better title once the story is completed. The main point of a title prompt is to eliminate the blank page.

Imagine that you see this title on a book cover, what kind of book do you think it would be? What is the story about?

Can you think of any true stories from your life that might fit this title?

There are several ways you can start a story. You may have a scene in mind. It does not have to be the first scene. It could be the end of the story, or something from the middle. That’s fine. Write the scene and fill in the rest of the story later.

You may prefer to work from an outline. If you have a big picture idea of what this story is going to be write an outline or a timeline of events.

If you don’t have any ideas yet, try doing a “free write” for 30 minutes using this title as your prompt. See what comes up.

Theme Prompts

Theme Prompts

The theme is the deeper meaning of your story. You might think of it as the “big idea” or the “moral” of the story. Keep in ming that no one likes stories that preach. In order to avoid that trap, try to pick a theme 

Relationship Prompts

Relationship Prompts

One of the things that can really fuel your story is the relationship between characters. This may be the protagonist and antagonist, but it can also be a relationship between one of your main characters and a minor character, or an subplot between two minor 

Plot Prompts

Plot Prompts

Plot is the series of events that happen in your story. These events should have a driving purpose. Your character wants something, and this is the story of how your character tries to get it.

These plot prompts the kind of “big ideas” that recur in story after story… to work with this prompt you want to add the details of how your story will explore this big idea.

a daughter who hates her mother

(Refresh the page for another plot…)

As an example, let’s say your prompt was “a kidnapping”… start out by thinking about the topic, answer some of these questions to develop a story.

First of all, think about stories you already know. Have you ever read a book that involved a kidnapping? Watched a movie? Read a story in the newspaper? Which of these stories stand out as the most interesting to you, and why? Make a list of the things that you have found interesting about a kidnapping in the past. Highlight the ones you think might have a place in your story.

Next, think about your characters. You need at least three, one to do the kidnapping, one to get kidnapped, and one to notice that a kidnapping took place. Try to think about your story from each of these viewpoints. Which viewpoint can tell the most interesting version of the story?

If you haven’t gotten any ideas at this point, you might want to try another prompt. Otherwise, let’s flesh out the story by answering some of these questions:

  • Who in your life you miss the most if they were kidnapped? Who would you kidnap if you did that kind of thing?
  • Why would the kidnapper do it? Money? Love? What is their motivation?
  • What does the person getting kidnapped to to try to escape? Or do they want to be kidnapped? Do they help the kidnapper?
  • What do the people who are left behind do to try to get the person back? Do they miss them? Do they secretly feel guilty for enjoying them being gone? Or because they are getting attention for their problem?
  • How did the kidnapping happen? Was it on the street in broad daylight? From their bed at home while they were sleeping?

Finally, map out a series of cause and effect actions.

Your character goes to the police to report a missing person… but something goes wrong (maybe they won’t let them file because the person is an adult, or has not been missing long enough)?  What do they do then? Do they get mad and make a scene? Do they get themselves arrested for it? Do they slink home to wait? Hire a private investigator to find evidence of foul play?

How will your story end? Will the kidnapper get caught or get away? Does the victim come home safely or stay missing? Do those left behind learn to live without their loved one? Is there life changed even after their loved one returns?

Take at least 30 minutes to write out some ideas for an outline.

More about Plot:

Story Writing Prompts

Story Writing Prompts

One of the best creative exercises I have encountered is trying to figure out how things work together. These story writing prompts are based on that idea. Here are several random puzzle pieces: title, plot, theme, setting, and characters. Can you put them all together