Writing Prompts #1A Lesson by Jodi Eaton
This is a list of prompts you may use for you journal freewrites that we do in class.
What can happen in a second
The worst Thanksgiving dish you ever had
A houseplant is dying. Tell it why it needs to live.
Write Facebook status updates for the year 2017.
You are an astronaut. Describe your perfect day.
Tell a story that begins with a ransom note.
Something you had that was stolen.
The long-lost roommate.
What a character holding a blue object is thinking right now.
You have just swallowed your pride and done something you didn’t want to do. Your friend wants to know why. The two of you are driving around an almost-full parking garage looking for a space for the friend’s oversize pickup. Write the scene.
Pick a small object to be given one day to your great-grandchild. Write a letter to that child explaining why you have chosen this object.
Describe yourself in the third person—your physical appearance and personality—as though you were a character in a book.
Describe something you wanted badly and, once you got it, never used.
Describe an electronic device in the future that you won’t know how to operate.
A storm destroys your uncle’s shed and kills his six-year-old son. Describe the color of the sky right before the storm hit.
Name the trees that stood in the neighborhood where you grew up.
Put two people who hate each other in an elevator for 12 hours.
Write a short story that is set in Argentina in 1932, in which a teacup plays a crucial role. Describe the most recent moment when you couldn’t think of anything to say. Were you having a hard time making conversation, or were you simply dumbfounded?
You are looking down through the skylight as chefs prepare dinner for your ex-fiance’s wedding.
Something you lost.
Something you found.
The meanest thing anyone ever said to you
Describe five memories—events you remember really well. Then take one of them further.
A man jumps from the fortieth story of a building. As he’s passing the twenty-eight floor, he hears a phone ring and regrets that he jumped. Why?
Write a recipe for disaster.
Your friend calls to say she saw you in the back of a police car yesterday. What happened?
Tell the true story of a dramatic moment in your life, but weave in one secret and one lie.
How you feel about love these days
If you had just one week to live…
Describe each person in your family with just one word.
What you would run out of the house with if your house caught on fire. Why?
Something you’ve always regretted saying.
Write a scene that begins: “Joe was the last person on Earth I expected to do that.”
Your most transcendent ice cream experience.
The worst thing that could happen.
The best thing that could happen.
The moment you knew you were no longer a child.
The time you were the most terrified—your knees were knocking, your heart was racing, you could barely stand to be in your own skin.
The difference between the first death you remember and the most recent one
I didn’t know what was happening at the time
Your city one hundred years from now
Write a short story in which you are the villain
A bad situation that turned out for the best
Finding a bag of cash
Would you rather win the Nobel Prize or be a rock star?
Thoughts on your favorite pet’s personality
Write a short story that is set in Detroit in 1956, in which a car floor mat plays a crucial role.
A woman thinks she might be living next door to her grandson.
A man giving a speech to a crowd of thousands is suddenly caught in a bold-faced lie.
What a character wearing something red is thinking
Your favorite moment in film
The menu for your last meal
Choose how you will die
What would you be doing if you weren’t doing this?
Write, in ridiculous detail, directions to your house.
A useless love—a connection or affinity that doesn’t fit into the plans of anyone concerned
You are a midlevel Greek deity, hoping to move up the ranks of Olympus. What are your powers, and how will you use them to impress Zeus and the others?
List five cultural events that impacted you greatly. Then write about one of them without mentioning yourself.
Pick a person, then ask yourself: what is the hardest choice this person has ever had to make?
You’ve just realized that you’ve lost something valuable in a nightclub (a necklace, a wallet, a phone). What happens next?
The greatness of sandwiches
Write about a difficult conversation you’ve had recently. Then rewrite the conversation, saying what you couldn’t say at the time.
The cleaning lady
An estranged mother and son who haven’t seen or spoken to each other in more than twenty years meet in line at the post office in December, arms full of packages to be mailed. What do they say to each other?
Write a scene in which a person is leaving a restaurant with her husband and bumps into a former lover. What words are exchanged or not exchanged? What do her body positions say?
Added on February 10, 2014
Last Updated on February 10, 2014