Writing Prompts: All You Need To Know


Ever wanted to write a story but weren’t sure where to start and you knew you’d do OK if you just got some writing prompts?

Or you don’t know what writing prompts are, but you just know you need help to get that story started?

Maybe you’re finding it difficult to write a story cos you’re not even sure what you need, and that’s just frustrating…

Cos others seem to create stories with so much ease, that you’re jealous.

Introducing… writing prompts.

Put simply, writing prompts are triggers that give you ideas for your story.

So, when it comes to writing a short story, writing prompts are not actually short story ideas; they’re what give birth to the ideas for the short story.

Don’t be.

By the end of this post, you’ll

  • know what writing prompts are
  • see how to use them to start writing short stories, easier and quicker
  • have a few writing prompts you can start with, right away.

So, before I started to write this collection of short stories, I’d a fairly good idea of what a few of the stories would be about.

But there’s a particular short story in the collection that I started with a prompt.

The One.
Now, the phrase the one can be referring to just about anything.

When some people hear the one, they think about a soulmate in a romantic sense. That’s one idea.

Someone else can write the one and come up with or settle on other ideas that have absolutely nothing to do with romance, as – spoiler alert – I did.

Writing prompts can be

  • words
  • phrases
  • complete sentences
  • paragraphs
  • questions
  • pictures

Whatever form they come in, the purpose of writing prompts are the same – to spark your imagination and trigger ideas for you to focus on, to write about.

And it’s the same whether you’re trying to write fiction or nonfiction. They also work for any genre, if you’re writing fiction.

Bottom line is writing prompts make it easier and faster for you to write stories.

So, it’s time for you to get the creative writing prompts and a few story ideas from them, as I promised earlier.

The writing prompts will be in bold and the ideas they give birth to, from which you can create stories, will be indicated by the bullet points right below each prompt.

You’ll see just how easy it is to work with writing prompts…

The One
  • a 30yo woman who doesn’t believe when her friends talk about soulmates, meets a man who she believes is the one for her
  • a man misses out on his dream job when he forgets to include the one document he was asked for, in his application
  • a recording artiste meets with the head of a charity organisation who wants to use the artiste’s song about the one for the charity’s latest project

Secret Agent
  • a 25yo woman touches down at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, 10 years after she left Kenya for the United States. Her family and friends don’t know she now works for the CIA
  • three months after her 35th birthday, a movie producer helps her husband fake his own death. To the outside world, he’s just the CEO of a thriving medical practice. In reality, he’s a whistleblower
  • a man picks up a beautiful lady at a night club. Unknown to him, she’s not human, she’s from another dimension and she was sent to destroy his daughter

Shopping Trip
  • a 23yo goes on her first shopping trip to Bicester Village
  • a man pays for a personal shopper to undertake a shopping trip, the day after he batters his wife
  • a woman makes her date take her on a shopping trip he didn’t bargain or budget for, an hour after their first meeting

World Event
  • the night before the Brexit election results are due, a rookie journalist overhears a conversation between the Prime Ministers of two different countries
  • a group of women use social media to spark a revolution in their country
  • a woman tells her granddaughter about the Biafran War

Fish and Chips
  • a child tells his substitute teacher who doesn’t know he’s allergic to potatoes, that his favourite food is fish and chips
  • a woman remembers how she sold fish and chips, to pay her way through school
  • a food blogger takes to social media to berate a popular cooking brand for stealing her grandmother’s fish and chips recipe that’s been in her family for generations, and passing it off as theirs

Baking Competition
  • a female contestant sabotages the chocolate gateau of another contestant, in order to win an amateur baking competition
  • an unemployed chef tries to prevent his disabled son from entering a televised baking competition
  • a Culinary Arts teacher who doesn’t believe her favourite student is ready to enter the local baking competition, is left fighting for her life on the morning that the competition starts

For Love or Money
  • a woman goes on a reality TV show where the prize is $5m and a fiancé. What she doesn’t know (but all the male contestants know) is that she’ll actually be asked to pick either love or money
  • a young man down on his luck is taken by his best friend to a networking meeting. Just as he learns that it’s actually a cult meeting, he’s asked what he wants the cult to give him – love or money
  • a woman advises her friend to “marry for either love or money, it doesn’t matter as long as you marry”

Hidden in Plain Sight
  • a man searches for his reading glasses that are perched on top of his head
  • a woman looks forward to marrying her fiance, not realising that he is a married father of three who lives on her street with his family
  • a frustrated Mathematician suddenly sees the answer to her problems on the board right in front of her

  • an MBA holder becomes the newest owner of a failing restaurant that used to be the most popular in town
  • the owner of a small beachside restaurant wonders how to get more customers
  • after their father dies, a woman discovers that her brother has been using the family restaurant as a front for a money laundering operation

Hell hath no fury…
  • she snapped out of her reverie when she heard the pastor say, as if from a distance, “Even the Bible says hell hath no fury than a woman scorned…”
  • “That’s why we say hell hath no fury than a woman scorned,” the old man concluded
  • when she saw what had happened, rage welled up in her

Now that you’ve got some writing prompts, do you see how easy it is to come up with ideas?

The thing to remember is that even when it’s not outrightly mentioned in the ideas, they flow from the writing prompts.

And to go from idea to full story, you’ll need to ask and answer some questions.

So, for instance, the idea of the MBA holder who becomes the newest owner of a failing restaurant that used to be popular,

  • where did they get the MBA?
  • how long ago did they get the MBA?
  • how did they come to be in a position to acquire the restaurant?
  • was the acquisition easy? Why/why not?
  • do they have experience either in the food industry or running an actual business?

With the idea of the woman who discovers that her family restaurant is being used as a front to launder money,

  • how does she discover this?
  • did her father have any idea? If yes, is that why he left the restaurant to her brother instead of to her?
  • how does this discovery affect her?
  • where does she go from here?

With the one about the woman advising her friend to marry for love or money,

  • what’s the adviser’s love life like?
  • how did she come by that mindset?
  • is she considered an authority on the issue by the person she’s advising?
  • how is the advice received?

And that’s how you create stories from ideas triggered by writing prompts.

Easy, right?

For more guidance to make things even easier, pop your details in below to register for the free training where you’ll learn how to go from idea to short story QUICKLY!

Now that you’ve read the post and registered for the training, let us know in the comments section, the most surprising thing you’ve learned about writing prompts

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