1. The Backward OX

    The Backward OX New Member

    Dec 29, 2007
    Likes Received:
    Outback Queensland, Australia, far from the maddin

    Prompts for Short Stories and Essays

    Discussion in 'Writing Prompts' started by The Backward OX, Oct 27, 2009.

    Let’s assume that many people respond better to a prompt for an essay or a short story than to generating the idea for themselves.

    So, with this in mind, it seems a list of prompts would be helpful to people wanting to write but not knowing what to write.

    Here’s a few to start the ball rolling.

    Maybe you can add to the list:

    The Candle Burned Out Way Too Soon
    A Fly In The Ointment
    I Stumble Out In The Early Morning
    A Cunning Plan
    Back To The Drawing Board
    Back-fence Gossip

    Now it's your turn.
  2. architectus

    architectus Banned

    Aug 19, 2008
    Likes Received:
    I recently wrote a short story for a contest at the forums for Orson Scott Card's website. I believe it is the best story I've written, and we had to write a story based on the rules.

    It had to be a SF set 200 years in the earth's future. There couldn't be things like time travel. It had to take place on earth. It had to either show the benefits of technology for humans, or the polar opposite. I chose the worse case scenario. The contest is going until Oct 31st and there is a $100 prize for both categories.

    So there is a good promt, IMO.

    Here are some others:
    Write about the effects that child bots would have in our future. Say 100 years from now. What if it were legal to build child bots for sexual use? What if it were illegal, would there be underground versions?

    A big corporation is about to burn down a forest to build skyrise apartments. They are not going to cut it down and use the wood because that would take too long. They are going to use a controlled fire to do so. Your MC happens to be stuck lost in these woods when the fires start. Do they make it out alive? Or think of another way this story could go. The MC is trying to save the woods before they are burnt down, perhaps.

    On a distant planet humans are mining for recorces when they uncover something that looks like a coffin. Whatever is inside seems to have been locked in, but why? What happens when they open it? It takes days to get this thing opened. Whatever is inside must have been locked up for a reason. Dangerous alien? Assassin? A plauge? Dangerous technology or knowledge? etc

    A small town full of witches that breed with family members. They are all related but keep it secret. MC is the new girl in town.

    Boy meets a girl who has a crazy father. He falls in love with her. Her crazy father catches them together and tells the boy if he ever sees him around his daughter again, he will kill him. The father means it.

    Caught cheating in a poker tournament. The problem? It was hosted by the Russian mafia.

    She is losing her memories and doesn't know why. She's in the jungle with her husband, but she can't remember why. She can't remember the way back, and her husband just went missing. She needs to find her husband before she forgets who he is.

    Arond the world, lizards have gone missing, and no one knows why.
  3. Cogito

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

    May 19, 2007
    Likes Received:
    Massachusetts, USA
    If anyone is looking for prompts, all they need do is scroll through the Theme Ideas thread for the site's Short Story Competition. Or better yet, force yourself to come up with a piece for the current competition. The best prompt for your writing muscle is to take the first one handed to you and see what you can do with it, whether itr excites you initially or not.
  4. Fox Favinger

    Fox Favinger New Member

    Aug 8, 2009
    Likes Received:
    I've come across small time online publishers that only take stuff that is of a very specific theme, and they usually have monthly prompts to work with too.

    The Future Fire is a good example. They only take stuff about social and political speculation in the future. I'd recommend writing for people like these and participating in contests. Not only could it help you ope your mind to new creative outlets, you could make a little money too :)

Share This Page