A Comprehensive Writing Prompts List,
Compiled & selected by me from various sources
What is something you dislike about yourself?
What is something you do well?
What is your favourite room in your home and why?
What is a good neighbour?
What is the worst thing parents can do to their children?
What is your favourite time of day?
What is your idea of a dull evening?
What is the best way to treat meddlesome people?
What is something you are optimistic about?
What is something you are pessimistic about?
What is your most indispensable possession and why?
What is the meaning of “He laughs best who laughs last”?
What is your favourite song and why?
What is the best birthday present you ever received?
What is the best birthday present you could receive?
What is something that makes you feel sad?
What is your favourite book and why?
What is something that really bugs you?
What is something that really makes you angry?
What is the best advice you ever received?
What is your favourite holiday? What makes this holiday special?
What is your favourite day of the week?
What is your favourite month? Why?
What would happen if you could fly whenever you wanted? When would you use this ability?
What would happen if there were no television? Why would this be good? bad?
What would happen if everyone lived in space? What type of houses would they live in? What type of clothing would they wear? What type of food would they eat? How would they travel?
What if cows gave root beer instead of milk?
What if all the streets were rivers? What would be different?
What would happen if people never co-operated? Why do you think it is important to co-operate?
What would happen if it really did rain cats and dogs?
What would happen if animals could talk? What are some of the questions you would like to ask animals?
What would happen if you could become invisible whenever you wanted to? What are some of the things you could do that you cannot do now?
What would happen if everyone wore the same clothes?
What would happen if you threw a piece of trash on the ground? What if everyone did?
What if you could walk up walls and across ceilings?
What would happen if you loved your neighbour as yourself? What if everyone did?
What would happen if you grew taller than trees? How would this change your life?
What would happen if children ruled the world?
What would happen if there were no cars, buses, trains, boats, or planes? How would this change your life?
What if everyone lived under water? Where would people live? What games would children play? What would school be like?
What would happen if you found gold in your backyard?
What would you do if a bully bothered you on your way home?
What would you do if you did very poorly of a test?
What would you do if a friend borrows things from you but never returns them?
What would you do if You were the teacher and everyone forgot his homework?
What would you do if you were in the middle of the lake and your boat began to leak?
What would you do if Your friend had a broken leg? How would you cheer him up?
What would you do if you saw little bugs in your salad?
What would you do if you woke up in another country and no one could understand you?
What would you do if you ordered an ice cream cone and you forgot to bring money?
What would you do if someone got in front of you when you were in line at the movies?
What would you do if your jelly sandwich fell upside down on the floor?
What would you do if only one hot dog is left and neither you nor your friend have had one?
What would you do if two of your best friends went to the movies without inviting you?
What would you do if the surprise party was for you but you weren’t surprised?
What would you do if you got a present you didn’t like?
What would you do if you were at home and your homework was at school?
What would you do if you dropped the cookie jar and it broke?
What would you do if you were invited to two parties on the same day?
What would you do if you promised to feed your pet and you didn’t?
What would you do if someone said you did something wrong and you didn’t?
What would you do if your new shoes felt fine in the store but now they are hurting?
What would you do if someone told you a joke that you don’t think is funny?
What would you do if an hour before the party you remember you don’t have a gift?
What would you do if a friend comes to your house and his/her mom doesn’t know he’s/she’s there?
What would you do if you had four math problems marked wrong that were right?
What would you do if you found in the street?
What would you do if you found a magic wand?
What would you do if you wanted to be friends with someone who spoke no English?
What would you say if someone told you it was all right to steal from a large department store?
What would you do if you saw a friend cheating–report it, confront the friend, nothing–and why?
If you could have been someone in history, who would you have been?
If you could only take 3 people with you on a trip around the world, who would you take and why?
If you could give any gift in the world, what would you give and to whom?
If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
If you received any sum of money as a gift, what would you do with it?
If you could do whatever you wanted to right now, what would you do?
If you were principal of this school, what would you do?
If you were a mouse in your house in the evening, what would you see your family doing?
If you were five years older you would…
If you were lost in the woods and it got dark, what would you do?
If it were your job to decide what shows can be on t.v., how would you choose?
If there were no rules, what do you think would happen?
If you owned a store, what would you do to discourage people from stealing from you?
If you could participate in an Olympic event, which one would you choose and why? <P
If you could break the Guiness Book of Records it would be for?
If you had to describe yourself as a colour, which would you choose?
If your friend told you of a secret plan to run away from home, what would you do and why?
What do you think of 3D movies?
What do you think someone your age can do to help reduce the amount of pollution in our environment?
What do you think the world needs now?
What do you think your friends say to each other when you’re not around?
What do you think about the amount of violence on T.V.?
What do you think about people polluting the environment?
What do you think about having set rules for people to follow?
What do you think about people who are inconsiderate of others?
What do you think should be done to keep people who are under the influence of alcohol off the road?
What do you think the world will be like when you are a grown up?
What do you think about ghosts?
What do you think of someone who has bad manners?
What do you think about people who take advantage of others?
What do you think about when you can’t fall asleep?
What do you think courage means?
What do you think makes a good friend?
What do you think makes a happy family?
What pollutants do you think do the most damage and why?
What things do you think are beautiful?
What do you like most about yourself?
What do you like to do in your free time?
What kind of animal would you like to be and why?
What kind of trophy would you like to win?
What TV or movie star would you like to invite to your birthday party?
What does “Clothes make the person” mean to you?
What does “Have your cake and eat it too” mean to you?
What does “The early bird gets the worm” mean to you?
What do we mean when we say, “The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence”?
What does “You can’t take it with you” mean?
What do we mean when we say, “You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar”?
What do we mean when we say, “Hitch your wagon to a star”?
What does “still waters run deep” mean to you?
What does “There are two sides to every coin” mean to you?
What does Canada mean to you?
What are you afraid of? Why?
What are junk foods?
What are some nutritious foods that you like?
What are some rules you have to follow at home?
What are some examples of prejudice?
What is more important to you, appearance or personality?
What is most important to you in a friend–loyalty, generosity, honesty–why?
What is something that makes you melancholy?
What makes your best friend your best friend?
What makes you feel safe?
What makes you laugh?
What would you invent to make life better?
What would you do to entertain your family without spending any money?
What effects does watching violence have on people?
What effects do cigarette and alcohol advertising have on young people?
What kind of t.v. commercial would you like to make? Describe it.
What kind of pet would you most like to have–monkey, snake, goat–why?
What kind of program do you enjoy most on TV–detective shows, comedies, game shows–and why?
What advice would you give a new student?
What advice would you give to someone who stole something but now feels guilty?
What things are better than going to school? Why?
What talents do you have?
What three words would describe you right now?
What four things are most important in your life?
What colour makes you think of happiness?
What has been the most fun activity at school so far?
What quality do you like about yourself–creativity, personality, appearance–why?
What eccentric behaviour in a friend disturbs you the most?
What parts of nature do you like best?
What do you do for exercise?
How do you feel when it’s your birthday? Why?
How do you feel on the first day of winter? Why?
How would you feel if you were going to be on a show? Why?
How do you feel when you do something wrong?
How do you feel when you do something that is very good?
How do you feel when you play a trick on someone?
How would you feel if a new child moved into your neighbourhood?
How do you think the new child would feel?
How do you feel when you have had a fight with your best friend?
How do you think your friend felt?
How do you feel when you are in bed with the lights out?
How do you feel when you want something very badly and you cannot have it? Why is this so important to have?
How do you feel on a warm sunny day?
How do you feel when you stay with a babysitter?
How do you feel when you’re leaving home on vacation?
How do you feel when you sleep at someone’s house?
How do you feel during a thunderstorm?
How do you feel on the first day of school?
How do you feel when your parents are upset with you? Why do they become upset with you?
How do you feel on Thanksgiving? What are you thankful for?
How do feel on (any holiday)?
How do you feel when something scares you? What do you do when this happens?
How would you feel if someone told you that you were his or her best friend?
How do you feel about your appearance?
How would you change the world to make it better?
How do you think eating junk food affects you?
How do you have the most fun–alone, with a large group, with a few friends–and why?
Explain how to play your favorite game.
I wish I had a million… Then I would…
I wish I had one… because
I wish I could be like…. This person is special because….
I wish to be a ________ when I grow up. Then I will….
I wish there were a law that said….. This would be a good law because….
I wish I could forget the time I ….. because….
I wish trees could….. because….
I wish I could see…… because…..
I wish I could learn….. because…..
I wish I didn’t have to eat…… I don’t like this food because…..
I wish everyone would learn to ….. Then everyone would…..
I wish I never……
I wish I had one more chance to….. Then I would…..
I wish there was an electric……
I wish I had enough money to……
I wish everyone loved……
I wish all children would……
I wish everyone had…..
I wish I could touch……
I wish animals could…… If they could, then…..
I wish I looked like…. because……
I wish there were no more…..
I wish I didn’t have to…..
I wish I could go to…..
I wish there really was….. If there really was, then…..
I wish I could hear……
I wish I could give……
If all my wishes came true, I would……
Describe a time when you felt vengeful.
Describe your favourite toy. Why do you like it best?
Describe the most ludicrous outfit you can think of.
Describe the best teacher you ever had.
When you are angry, how do you look?
When are you happiest?
When have you felt lonely?
When do you feel proud?
When was the last time you cried and why?
When a friend was in an embarrassing situation, what did you do?
When it might hurt their feelings, how do you feel about telling your friends the truth?
When might it be bad to be honest?
When someone picks on someone else, how do you feel? What do you do?
Once, when you were very frightened, what happened?
Once, when you were embarrassed, what happened?
Once, when your feelings were hurt, what happened?
Which quality best describes your life–exciting, organised, dull–and why?
Which quality do you dislike most about yourself–laziness, selfishness, childishness–and why?
Which place would you most like to visit–Africa, China, Alaska–why?
Which holiday has the most meaning for you-Canada Day, Thanksgiving, Valentines Day–and why?
Which is least important to you–money, power, fame–and why?
Which is most important to you–being popular, accomplishing things, being organised–and why?
Who do you talk to when you have a problem?
Who is your favourite Star Wars character (or other movie/book/t.v. show, etc.)?
Who or what has had a strong influence in your life?
Where would you prefer to be right now–mountains, desert, beach–and why?
Why is it important to be honest?
Why is important to have good manners?
Why do you think adults smoke/drink?
Why is exercise important to someone your age?
Why do you think some people encourage others to smoke/drink?
Why do you think the rules you must follow are good or bad?
Why would it be good to be honest?
Why have men and women usually only done certain types of work?
Why should or shouldn’t a man stay home to care for the house and children while his wife goes to work?
Why do you think some people take advantage of others?
Why do you think prejudice exists in the world?
Why would we say that someone is “passing the buck”?
Why would a Prime Minister have a sign on his desk which read, “The buck stops here”?
Why do you think tact is an important quality?
Why is it not wise to squander your money?
Explain why we say, “dead as a door nail”.
Does it bother you to be around someone who has bad manners?
Should there be a dress code in places such as school, restaurants, and places of business? Why or why not?
Should animals be used for medical research?
Should the Canadian Government financially support Olympic teams?
Should people be prohibited from smoking in certain places?
Families are important because…
Would you like to be famous? Why or why not? What would you like to be famous for?
“If I could change one thing about our school I would…”
“I think the idea of year-round school is…”
“My dog is very unusual because…”
“I found the strangest thing in my pocket.”
“If I were an animal I would be a …”
If I had a million dollars to give to a friend I would…”
“My best friend is _____ because…”
“My favorite sport is …”
“If I were President of the USA I would…”
“It must be difficult to be a parent.”
“If I were on a deserted island I would…”
“My favorite place to go is…”
“My room reminds me of myself because…”
“When I watch television I like to watch…”
“You’re invited to a friend’s house for an important holiday dinner. You find a roach in your food. What do you say?”
“You have some advice to give to someone. Who gets it and what do you say?”
“You are the last surviving member of the human race. What do you do?”
“Would you eat a bowl of live crickets for $40,000? Explain why or why not?”
“The world will end in one week. What will you do until then?”
“I think a true friend is someone who…”
“When I study for a test I always try to …”
“If an alien visited my home…”
“I do/do not like to take a bath because…”
“If you could be someone else, who would you be? Why?”
“If you could take a bus trip anywhere, where would you go? Why?”
“You are a parent of a child who doesn’t want to go to school. How do you handle this situation?”
“I was so proud of myself when I…”
“Tell about a time that you did something that took a lot of nerve, a time when you didn’t follow the crowd.”
“Your teacher punishes the whole class because one student misbehaved when a substitute was in the room. Explain how you feel about this.”
“You are walking home and cut through a cemetary late at night. Describe your experience.”
“If Elvis replaced your school principal what would your school be like? Tell about it.”
“Everyone needs help sometimes. Write a story about what happened one time when someone helped you.”
“Imagine you are on a magic carpet that can take you anywhere you choose. Write a story about your adventure.”
“You have to babysit a pet chimpanzee. Write about your experience.
“Describe how your mother looks when she smiles at you.”
“Describe how your classroom will look after the last day of school.”
“Your little brother/sister is sick. Tell him/her a sotry that will help him/her go to sleep.”
“Someone’s pet snake is loose in the classroom! Describe what happens.”
“Your email friend from Alaska sent you a penguin. Tell about your first day with your new pet.”
“What would happen if one day animals really could talk?”
“What would happen if there were no television?”
“You awake from a nap only to discover you are 80 years old. Describe what happens next.”
“Write a story about your ride in a hot air balloon.”
“A famous person comes to visit your home. Tell what happens.”
“Many people have to wait a long time for something to happen. Write a story telling about something you had to wait a long time to get.”
“Think of a real experience you have had that would be hard to forget. Think about what makes it so hard to forget. Tell what happened.”
“Think about an event in your life that you will always remember. Write a story about what happened.”
“Imagine that you could be invisible for one day. Write a story about that day.”
“Think about a time you received a gift, something you wanted, or something unexpected that made you feel happy. Write a story about that time.”
“Pretend you were selected to receive a special award. Write the article that would be in the newspaper to announce your award.”
“Pretend your favorite book character or comic book character came to life for a day. Write a story about the character that came to life for a day.”
“Weather can affect your life. Think about a time in your life when you have been affected by some kind of weather. Write an article about it.”
“Write about a time when you did something that made you feel good.”
“Think about either your first or last day of school. Write a story to a friend telling about that day.”
“Tell about a time when you were embarrassed.”
“A home in the community has burned. Tell how you would help the family recover from the loss.”
“Think about a time you thought, It’s not fair. Write to tell the reader about something that happened to you that was not fair.”
“Think of a day in your life when everything seemed to be going wrong. Tell about it.”
“What is one of the funniest things that has ever happened to you? Retell the event as completely as you can.”
“Suppose that one day you woke up and were grown up. Write a story about the first day you were grown up.”
“Suppose you woke up one morning and had magical powers for a day. Write a story about the day you had magic powers.”
“If I could accomplish one more thing, I would…”
“The thing that scares me the most is…”
“Think about something that happened at school that you will remember for a long time. Tell what happened.”
“You have just been paroled from prison. Tell what happens next.”
“She seemed like such a sweet old lady. Who would ever believe that she was really . . .”
(Writer’s Digest Books).
10/11/2005: As you enter a café, the wind blows a piece of paper off a patron’s table and carries it out the door. (S)He pushes past you but is unable to grab it before it goes down a storm drain. When he returns, he looks at you and says, “You’ve just killed me.”? What was so important about the paper? What happens next?
10/4/2005: Your postman is at the door with an unexpected package. Whats in it? Who sent it? Is it important?—Contributed by Francine Palumbo Stankiewicz, via e-mail
9/27/2005: Recently divorcedand still stinging from the experienceyour character composes his or her personal profile for a singles Web site.
9/20/2005: Your pet goat is missing. There are eight likely, yet extremely different, suspects. Describe each suspect in detail, his motive and how the “goatnapping”? occurred.
9/13/2005: Two cross-country skiers come across an isolated cabin. The front door is open, a hot meal is on the table and a car is in the driveway, but no one appears to be home.—From “The Writer’s Book of Matches: 1,001 Prompts to Ignite Your Fiction” (Writer’s Digest Books).
9/6/2005: You’ve discovered an underground shelter on the farm you just bought. Describe it. When was it built? What was it used for?
8/30/2005: Make a list of your elementary school teachers. Now write each teacher’s worst trait. Create a character from these traits. Write a short story featuring this mean, rotten teacher.
8/23/2005: Why would your character suddenly dye his hair? Is she hiding from someone? Is he trying to inspire change from the outside in? Or is she trying to complete a metamorphosis that has already taken place by some physical alteration? Maybe he’s trying to hide his roots?—Contributed by Monica Coffman, via e-mail.
8/16/2005: Your main character decides to spruce up his or her house by painting each room a different color. Which colors are selected and why?
8/9/2005: Something’s rotten in your refrigerator. Write a scene in which the condiments residing in the door shelves plot to take over the prime real estate on the top shelf, front and center. Will milk be spilled? (And who’ll be crying?) 8/2/2005: Remember the Vogon poetry reading scene from Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy? Have a go at writing the worst poem in the universe.—Contributed by Carol Hogan, via e-mail.
7/19/2005: One of your fictional characters was in an accident and won’t survive the night. Write the character’s obituary for tomorrow’s paperinclude relatives, accomplishments, work history, etc.
7/12/2005: You’ve been given a one-year deadline and a $1 million signing bonus to write a 300-page novel. It’s the day before the deadline and you’ve written one page. What are you going to tell your editor? Write an elaborate excuse that’s so clever and believable that it becomes the plot of your novel.
7/5/2005: While waiting for your baggage at an airport, you notice a young woman at the baggage carrousel. Although it’s daytime, she’s wearing a black strapless evening gown, high-heeled shoes and coordinated jewelry. She collects a box wrapped in brown paper. What’s in the box? Who’s she meeting? Why is she dressed to the nines at the airport?—Contributed by Jeanne Greene via e-mail
6/28/2005: You can’t wait for your class reunion so you can tell all of your old school chums about what?
6/21/2005: Recall your most embarrassing moment. Describe how your worst enemy would feel if he, or she, witnessed the moment.—Contributed by Charles Geer, Granite City, Ill.
6/14/2005: Write about the most interesting person you’ve talked with today.—Contributed by Ronda Del Boccio, Lampe, Mo.
6/7/2005: Read through old diaries and journals to relive your memories. Nostalgia can get your pen moving.
5/31/2005: Take a dictionary dip: Open the dictionary at random and point to a word. Compose a short personal essay using this word at least once.
5/24/2005: She hugged the tree as she looked down at the ground far below. How did she get in the tree? Why is she there? What happens next?—Contributed by Lucinda Harp, Modesto, Calif.
5/17/2005: Think about something you once wanted so badly but never acquired. Write about how you think your life would’ve been different if you had received what your heart desired.
5/10/2005: What makes you want to scream? Make a laundry list of all the stuff that irritates you. Now, make a list of all the things you enjoy or are grateful for. Aaaahhh! Doesn’t that feel better?—Contributed by Debbie Edwards, via e-mail 5/3/2005: Rewrite a common phrase, such as “It’s raining cats and dogs,” in the style of three famous authors (e.g., Stephen King, Nora Roberts and John Irving).
4/26/2005: Who would you like to have been in a past life? Who would you have hated to be? Write a scene of dialogue between those two.
4/19/2005: Write an apology letter without using these phrases: “I’m sorry,” “It’s my fault,” “I apologize,” etc.—Contributed by Charlene Bunas, Santa Rosa, Calif. 4/12/2005: Play descriptive Taboo: Pick an object in your living room, then list the five most obvious words you’d need to describe it. Then write a vivd description of the object without using those words. Repeat with an object from each room of your house.
4/5/2005: You may still be paying off your credit cards from the 2004 holiday season, but now’s the time to query magazines with 2005 holiday-themed articles. Write your three-sentence pitch.
3/29/2005: Print a copy of a well-known poem. Separate each word by cutting or printing on individual pieces of paper. Form a new poem with the words. Then rewrite your new poem substituting any words you want.
3/22/2005: You’ve won a pair of round-trip airline tickets to anywhere in the world. Where would you go, with whom and why?—Contributed by Everett Gavel, Barberton, Ohio.
3/15/2005: Think about the first gift you remember receiving. Describe it. Who gave it to you? How did it make you feel?—Contributed by Deanna Hines, Levelland, Tex.
3/8/2005: You’re stranded in a library or bookstore for 24 hours. In what section do you spend the most time? Why?—Contributed by Laura M. Singer, Woodburn, Ore.
3/1/2005: Describe getting ready for a first date as someone of the opposite gender.
2/22/2005: Finish this sentence: The difference between laziness and writer’s block is … —Contributed by Janis Silverman, N.C.
2/15/2005: Write a description of yourself from your pet’s point of view. Consider your appearance, actions, values, etc.—Contributed by Rose Kent, Cincinnati, OH
2/8/2005: You’re unhappy with the politics in D.C. and decide to secede from the union and form your own country. Your country can only be as large as the land you own, whether it’s a studio apartment or a cattle ranch. Describe your country. Do you plan to expand? Write your country’s constitution and a bill of rights.
2/1/2005: Summarize your current work-in-progress in back-cover blurb style in 100 words or fewer.Contributed by Julie Rowe, Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada.
1/25/2005: Open a baby name book and randomly pick a name. Write a brief history about a character with that name. What’s in his pockets (or handbag)? What are her hopes, dreams, desires, fears? Outline a story using that character.—Contributed by Donna Childs, Mass.
1/18/2005: Take song lyrics and write the background story to tell the song’s inspiration.—Contributed by Amy Shock, Avoca, Ind.
1/11/2005: Read a horoscope for today. (It doesn’t have to be yours.) Write about a character who’s experiencing what’s described in the horoscope.
1/4/2005: You’re going to be on a new reality TV show. Describe the new show and your role on it.
12/31/2004: Pretend you’re a cartoon character. What special powers would you have and what would you do with them?
12/30/2004: Think about your dream job. Now think about three aspects of that same job that wouldn’t excite you. 12/29/2004: If you could go on only one more vacation in your lifetime, where would you go, and why?
12/28/2004: One day you awake to find you possess superhero powers. What kind do you have? Are you using them for good or evil?
12/27/2004: Write a letter to your future husband, wife, child, etc., and tell them about your life before they came into it. If that person is already in your life, write from your past perspective.
12/26/2004: At what moment in your life did you feel most proud? Write an essay about the experience.
12/25/2004: Describe your father: his hang-ups, strengths and mannerisms. What does he look like?What are your feelings toward him?
12/24/2004: Write a story about a character born on February 29. How does he feel when it’s not a leap year and his birthday doesn’t come?
12/23/2004: Drive exactly one hour in any direction. Stop, and write about the town in which you’ve arrived. 12/22/2004: Think about the qualities you seek in a mate. Write a character description of someone who looks and acts the complete opposite.
12/21/2004: Your mother-in-law (pretend, if you don’t have one) succeeded in lying to the rest of the family, but you know the truth. Would you snitch and expose her? Write the scenario.
12/20/2004: If you could talk to any literary character, who would it be, and what would you ask him?
12/19/2004: For one day, don’t look in the mirror. Throughout the day, write down your feelings on being denied access to your self-reflection. Also, describe how you envision yourself to look.