Creative Writing Prompts: 10 to Get in the Flow

Sometimes the hardest part about writing is just getting started. Many people have the desire to create a groundbreaking work of fiction, but it is sadly only the few that actually get to the see the rewards of such a creation. If, like me, you desire to write fiction (and do it well!), putting pen to paper is the all-important first step. So, here are ten creative writing prompts to help you get in the flow.

Note: If you’re not one of those folks who aspire to write fiction, you may still be interested in some other Writing Tips I’ve offered on this site, including those about blogging, organization, and creating a website. If you’re on a completely different train and looking for a new book to inspire you, be sure to check out the many awesome selections I’ve included in my Book Reviews. If you’re interested in reading more of my personal work, check out My Books!

Prompt 1

Your character is moving to a foreign country and begins to search real estate listings online for a place to live. His/her original plan is to rent an apartment, but s/he notices an ad for an old villa that has gone up for sale. It’s huge and beautiful and, unbelievably, it’s in your character’s price range. It seems too good to be true. “I’m sure it IS too good to be true,” says your character’s sister, who warns your character of the foolishness of buying property, sight-unseen, over the Internet. But your character is already mentally decorating the villa…

Prompt 2

Your character sees an interview with a celebrity and feels a powerful connection. Your character is sure that this celebrity is his/her soul mate. But the celebrity doesn’t even know that your character exists — yet. Your character finds the celebrity’s address online and goes there one night, determined to get past security and meet the celebrity in person…

Prompt 3

Your character’s in-laws disapprove of him/her (you decide why). Up until now, your character has dealt with the situation by having limited contact with the in-laws. However, now that your character’s mother-in-law has become very ill and cannot care for herself, the in-laws are coming to live with your character and his/her spouse…

Prompt 4

Your character hates his job and especially his boss. He secretly goes to a job interview with another company and receives a surprising offer. The new company wants him to keep his current job but to act as their spy. In particular, they want him to copy files for them from his boss’s computer…

Prompt 5

It’s 20 years in the future, and space tourism has become a reality. Your character signs up for a trip to the moon. But two days into the journey, the captain of the spacecraft confides in your character that that’s not where they’re really headed…

Prompt 6

On a foreign holiday, your character meets an extremely attractive man or woman. They don’t speak the same language, but they somehow find a way to understand each other, and your character feels a powerful connection that s/he has never felt with anyone before. Impulsively, your character marries this person after they’ve only known each other a very short time. Your character’s new husband/wife moves to your character’s country and begins to take language classes there. The better the spouse is able to communicate, the more your character realizes that s/he isn’t the person your character had believed…

Prompt 7

Write a story or a poem that includes all three of these elements: a power outage, a fake illness, and an unexpected kiss.

Prompt 8

Your character is excited to be invited to a costume party where Chris will be too. For years, your character has loved Chris from afar, but she hopes that this party will provide an opportunity for them to get closer. When she arrives at the party, her eyes instantly go to a tall man dressed as a medieval knight whom she recognizes as Chris. The fact that they’re both wearing masks makes her feel less shy, and she approaches him and starts a conversation. They spend the whole evening talking and dancing and finally make a date for the following weekend. As she’s leaving the party, she’s shocked to find Chris sitting on the front porch, dressed as Elvis Presley. Who is the man she spent the evening with?

Prompt 9

A meal with your family when you were growing up. Try to bring the people to life on the page like characters in a story. What did the room look like? What did you eat? What were the sounds, tastes, and smells? Use descriptive details to transport the reader into the scene.

Prompt 10

Your character’s best friend asks your character if he/she will take care of the friend’s three children in the case of the friend’s death. These children are spoiled and badly behaved, and your character has a lifestyle which is completely incompatible with raising children. However, the chances that the friend will suddenly die seem very remote, so your character says yes, believing that s/he will never have to follow through on his/her promise. Just six months later, the friend is killed in a car crash. The friend’s lawyer calls your character to tell him/her that s/he has been made the guardian of the children…

Now Get to Writing!

I’d love to know which of these prompts speaks to you most and, when you start creating a new story based on one of them, I’d love to read it when you’re ready to share. It’s important to me to connect with new writers and share/edit each other’s work with the continued goal of improving!

Disclaimer: All prompts for this post were sourced from Creative Writing Now, an email list to which I am an ongoing subscriber. I highly recommend subscribing for more writing prompts, story ideas, and writing tips/advice. 

Please leave a comment below if you are inspired, perplexed, saddened, or angered by any of the prompts presented above. I welcome any and all comments and will do my best to respond as soon as possible.

I’d also encourage you to share this with others if you found it particularly insightful or helpful. Be sure to tag @ballisterwriting on Facebook or Instagram if you do! The point of social media, after all, is to be SOCIAL! I don’t need followers or likes, but I’d like to contribute to a real conversation about how we continue to improve as a society and as individuals.

Write On!

Tucker Ballister


14 thoughts on “Creative Writing Prompts: 10 to Get in the Flow”

  1. Not bad, not bad at all here. I find the prompts you have given as a very creative one. The truth is that I am one of the many few that have seriously found writing a hard thing to deal with and it is for this reason that I will work on a couple of them and when I am done with my first episode, I will be back with the information on it. Thank you!

  2. I am sure that if there are any aspiring writers out there who get a mental block they will find your prompts very helpful. For one thing, they cannot complain if they do not like any of them because they can’t think of a plot themselves. Hence having a choice at least to get started makes a lot of sense. 

    Once they pick the one that appeals to them the most, or they do not like the least, getting pen to paper as you stated could get their imagination active again. And if this leads them to a totally different plot that is OK. You will have done your job to jog their minds.

    Although I am not a writer of novels the prompt I like the most is #10. I like to inspire children to be positively imaginative. Hence I feel I will drop their guards and get them on my side. You didn’t list their ages so I would pick these myself. I think a boy of 6, a girl of 9, and another boy of 12. I would not accept if they were all teens, for example, as it would be a bigger challenge to get their attention. 

    I feel you have a wonderful imagination yourself to have developed these intriguing plots for someone to take and run with them.


    • Thanks Edwin! I’d love to hear your story if you ever sit down to write it! You don’t have to be a writer of novels in order to share your own insightful and impactful stories! 

  3. Hi Tucker Ballister, thank you very much for writing a great article with a nice title “Creative Writing Prompts: 10 to Get in the Flow”. I use some tools to generate writing prompts. Story Shack is my favourite of all the prompt generators; for me, it’s the perfect balance of structure and freedom. I hope to get more great article from you in the future.

    • Thanks Abul! I hadn’t heard of Story Shack, but I’ll definitely look into it after your recommendation. Thanks for offering up that new resource! 

  4. Tucker, I like the idea of identifying prompts to get going. I am a writer who wants to really get into the career and write several books. The problem is that I get an idea, write up little phrases on a page, and nothing happens. I am sure using prompts would help me but maybe I need to affix some dates and also get a partner to give me a kick now and then. Thanks for your article with helpful information.

    • Hey JJ! I also aspire to publish more books and struggle with the organization facet of this aspiration. I write when I find inspiration, but it can be hard to stay organized in the long run. I do agree that accountability partners would be helpful. If I offered a course on making money through freelance writing and included the opportunity to partner with another writer to hold each other accountable, would you be interested? 

  5. Hi, this is a great and well written article. Thanks for all of these awesome and useful methods of helping me with my writing. This is worth bookmarking for me, because I am fine once I get into the writing groove, but when I first start it can take some work.

    What works good for me is focusing on trying to help the person that is reading, and offer them value for their investment of time.

    I am always thinking of them with every paragraph I write. Are they getting bored? Do they care about what I am writing right now? (probably not)  lol. 

    • Thanks Jake! You bring up a really good point of putting yourself in your reader’s shoes. I probably don’t do this enough, but I also think it’s important to balance writing for your readers and writing “like nobody’s watching,” so to speak. At the end of the day, it’s important that we’re having fun with our writing process, over all else! 

  6. The prompt that I find most interesting and something that I can really get myself related to is that one that talks about being a spy in another company where one already works. In real life, that has never happened to me but I just started having all sorts of stories swirling up in my head. I am going to come back here with my story. Thanks for the prompts!

  7. Hello Tucker! These prompts are so wide and engaging with so much for any imaginative writer to build on and come out with a really wonderful story that would keep you engaged for long. For me, I am particular about prompt 5. So much can be built on that and adding a bit of romance to such would be a great idea. I have always been a fan of intrigue and romance. I would find time to build on that and share in later times.

    • Thanks Benson! I’m glad you found a prompt that caught your attention. We’d love to read your story when you do find time to share it with us later! 


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