Feeling like you’re in a bit of a creativity slump? You’re certainly not alone. Luckily, we have some truly imaginative, quick, and easy story prompts to get your creative juices flowing. So read on, and see which ones strike your fancy! You never know—one of these might just inspire your next great young adult novel. . . .
1. Open to a random page of any magazine or illustrated book. Choose the most striking image you see, and use it to inspire five minutes of freewriting. Don’t think too much. Just look at the image and write whatever comes to mind!
2. The next time you wake up from a vivid dream, immediately jot it down. Try to recall the colors, textures, sounds, and characters, as well as the way the dream made you feel. Even if it’s abstract, like brushstrokes, or fleeting, see if you can compile a short story from the images your mind concocted.
3. Write a story that ends with a character asking a question. This can be open-ended or rhetorical Think about leading the story to that moment of asking and what it represents for your characters.
4. You’re given the chance to redo any five seconds of your life. Which moment would you choose?
5. Your character wakes up and notices the sun is rising in the west. Where are they, what’s happening, and why? What do they do? How does this make them feel?
6. Your characters all suddenly realize they are fictional. How do they respond? Would some be in denial? Would some have known all along?
7. Turn to a random page of one of your favorite books. Choose a passage, sentence, or paragraph that strikes you. Try to imitate the author’s style while writing your version of what comes next.
8. Write a story based on the lyrics of one of your favorite songs. Try to use words, names, and references that appear in the song, and reflect its mood and atmosphere.
9. Think of the ending of a movie or book that made you really angry or left you disappointed. How would you have written it differently? Write a story based on what you wanted to see happen.
10. If you have a print newspaper, flip to a random article. Write a story based on the people, places, and events described.
11. Write down five random words. Now write down each of their opposites. Write a story or poem that includes all ten words.
12. Your character goes to check the mail and discovers a mysterious portal to another world inside the mailbox. What happens next?
13. Your character “wakes up” inside a dream and realizes they are stuck there unless they can figure out how to truly wake up.
14. You go for a long walk in the nearby woods but soon realize you’re lost and can’t find your way home. The birds stop singing and the leaves stop rustling as all grows silent and still. Your spine prickles, and you start to sweat. Something strange is lurking . . . something sinister.