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Writing Prompts

Prompts for students

  1. You entered an art contest for your school last week and today you were announced as the grand prize winner. You won 2 tickets to an amusement park. Two of your friends helped you out with the art project you entered and you feel like they both deserve to go to the amusement park with you, but you can only choose one to go with you. How do you decide who gets to go with you?
  2. Your teacher has approached you about your grades. You have been falling behind and she warns you that you can still pass but you must get your grades up. How will you plan to study and pass this class?
  3. Imagine you can record your dream. Take your reader through one of your most exciting dreams.
  4. Make up your own holiday.
  5. You won an award at school and your principal lauded you over the loudspeaker. What award did you win? Write the speech your principal is honoring you for.
  6. Your parents always seem to embarrass you. Write about a time your parents really embarrassed you.
  7. Describe a trip to your favorite restaurant. Use vivid language to make your story colorful.
  8. Describe a day on your street on a nice summer day when every is out playing.
  9. You and a friend have entered an art competition. What do you submit into the competition? Describe the process of your creation.
  10. The president just left your house after visiting you to congratulate you on being a star student. The problem is that he left a gadget in your living room. Write a story about this scenario. What was this gadget the president left and how did you get this device to him?
  11. Your teacher puts you in a group with three other students to complete an assignment. You decide to take the leadership position because you want to get a good grade. Describe the assignment you are completing and the steps you take with your group to complete it.
  12. You are the mayor of your town for the day and you want to make your local park an attractive destination for locals to enjoy their days. Describe what changes you make to your park to make it more attractive.
  13. A friend is struggling with his/her grades and an assignment worth 30 percent of his/her grade is due tomorrow. You know your friend needs to submit this assignment to pass the year and you see that he/she decides to go to an arcade instead of doing his/her assignment. Write a letter convincing your friend to stay home and finish his work.
  14. Write an autobiography about your favorite celebrity or someone you really look up to.
  15. Everyone in school is talking about what someone did at the library before school started. What did he or she do? Describe this day.
  16. Write a thank you letter to one of your past teachers that you admired.
  17. What are the biggest challenges you face in school?
  18. Imagine you start a new year and none of your friends are in your class. Explain how you would feel, and how you would try to make new friends.
  19. Bullying is a major problem in today’s society because not everyone is the “same”. Write a true or made up story of how you stopped someone from being bullied.
  20. At times, students do not like to study because it may be “boring” to them. Give three examples of how students could make studying more fun for themselves.
  21. When traveling to another country it is common to go through a period of “culture shock”. Imagine you are visiting another country for a history class, no one speaks your language, and you find it difficult to get around. Write how you could find your way through this “culture shock” and learn from the differences of another culture.
  22. New students may start in the middle of the year at a new school. Give some examples of how you can make a new student more comfortable.
  23. Write about a time you felt particularly successful in school.
  24. What three things can you do as a student to help yourself be more successful?
  25. John is the quietest kid in a class. Meghan is the opposite and seems to never run out of energy. The teacher put these two together to work on an assignment. Tell a story about how these opposite personalities interact.
  26. Think of a talent you have that requires skill. Explain the process of this talent to someone who is just starting out.
  27. Obesity rates have more than doubled in adults and children since the 1970’s (National Center for Health Statistics, 2009). Write about how people can make a change in society to help these high rates lower.
  28. Explain how you manage your time to study and do your homework.
  29. Think of the items of food inside your fridge and pantries. Are there any items you believe to be unhealthy? Write an essay to your parents to convince them to buy healthier food.
  30. Do you believe college is for everybody? Write a persuasive essay for or against a college education.
  31. A good friend of yours has just lost his pet. He or she has not been doing well in school and seems down lately. Write a motivating letter to your friend to get him or her back on track with his life.
  32. Do you think athlete/celebrities deserve to be paid large sums of money?
  33. Do you think the media should play a better role in influencing body image?
  34. Write a persuasive essay convincing the students at your school to stop littering.
  35. Ellison has a very important writing assignment due for his class tomorrow. For some reason he can’t concentrate and decides to waste his time playing around. Write an essay explaining different techniques that could help Ellison concentrate and finish his assignment.
  36. Google may be releasing self-driving cars for consumers by 2018. These cars will be able to drive themselves using algorithms. There are many legal and ethical issues concerning these cars. Who would be responsible for an accident if there is no driver? How can a car decide who’s life is more important to save, or which way to steer as it detects a collision? Discuss some of the issues self-driving car may face and possible solutions for these issues.
  37. Gym class is a big part of school and staying healthy. Write about your favorite gym activity.
  38. Where do you want to go on your next vacation? Write a letter to your parents describing this place and make sure you explain to them why you deserve to take this vacation.
  39. Last week was Kim’s birthday and her mom made her an ice cream birthday cake. The day before Kim’s birthday, Kim’s sister Yvette took the cake out of the freezer to look at it, but she forgot to put it back in the freezer. A few hours later, Yvette steps in the kitchen and finds the cake completely melted and dripping onto the kitchen floor. Write a story about this day and tell how Yvette fixes the problem of having no birthday cake for Kim’s birthday.
  40. There is a patch of woods behind a local playground. One day Harry and his friends decide to explore the woods and find a safe with the keys next to it. Harry needed to leave, so he tells his friends that he will keep the keys so that they can open the safe the next day. The next day, Harry finds out that he has lost the keys. Write a story about Harry’s mission to find the missing keys and open the safe.
  41. Being open-minded means you are open and receptive to other people’s opinions and beliefs. Some people are a little less tolerant of other people’s ideas and this can cause problems. Write an essay discussing what being open-minded means to you and how you apply it in your life.
  42. Write a story about someone’s parents telling their child that they need to get rid of their dog. The kid impresses his parents and convinces them to keep the dog. What did the boy or girl say to his/her parents to convince them?
  43. Studies have shown that exercise before school can improve grades in school. Write a letter to your principal to convince him/her to require students to have an exercise class before beginning the rest of the classes.
  44. Create a product that can improve students’ grades. Explain how this product works and be sure to include at least one testimonial from someone that has proven that this product works.
  45. Your parents have recently punished you for watching T.V. without their permission instead of doing your homework. Write an apology letter to your parents and let them know it will not happen again.
  46. Your teacher has awarded you the Funniest Kid in Class Award. Write a thank you speech for your class. Be sure to include some funny jokes that will make the class laugh.
  47. Fish experiment. Elliot’s parents gave him a baby goldfish for his birthday. He decides to keep a weekly journal to log the growth of his goldfish. He also takes a picture of the goldfish every week. Write 5 short journal entries describing Elliot’s observations of his goldfish.
  48. Lily is a very confident student. She has to write and present a leadership speech at her school and she is sure she will nail this speech. The day of the speech comes and everything goes wrong. She starts getting nervous and starts sweating as soon as she walks up to the podium and stares blankly at the crowd of students in front of her. Write a story about Lily giving this speech. Describe what happens after she gets nervous.
  49. Write a story using  lost keys, a broken watch, and a bird that follows the main character everywhere he or she goes. After you finished writing your story, use a thesaurus to replace at least five verbs.
  50. Write a letter to Santa and try to convince him to send you a present every month.
  51. Sam’s mother passes her the telephone. Sam, who is in fifth grade, answers the phone and hears her school principal. What happens next?
  52. Sometimes we feel that our parents don’t understand us. Sometimes we don’t understand them. Write a story about a day in the life of one of your parents when they were your age.
  53. Steven found secret journal with a lock that was hidden in his grandfather’s attic. The title on the journals says, “Directions to Secret Tunnel”. Write a story about Steven finding this journal and what he does with it.
  54. Write a compelling email to your teacher explaining why you couldn’t finish your homework.
  55. Your class will be burying a time capsule at your local park. The time capsule will be opened in 10 years. Write a letter to your future self describing what your life is now and what you wish you would have accomplished.
  56. You are the richest person in the world and you want to make the world a better place. What is the first thing you do to improve people’s lives?

General writing prompts


  1. You have the power of reading people’s minds. Write a narrative about a day in your life when you can hear what people are thinking.
  2. Socks can sometimes lose its other half. Write a fiction story about the time these two talking socks got separated. Where did the other sock go?
  3. A crowd is forming around three people on the sidewalk, but you can’t see what’s going on because of the people in your way. You finally make it to the front of the crowd. Describe what you see.
  4. Write an autobiography about one of your relatives. If there’s something you don’t know about him or her, make it up.
  5. “How to be a Millionaire”. Write an article for this title.
  6. Pretend you are a news reporter on T.V. and you had to deliver some breaking news about someone you know. What is the breaking news and how did you deliver this story?
  7. You got blamed for something you didn’t do. What did you get blamed for? How did you handle this.
  8. Think about a title of your favorite movie or book. Write a story using this title without having anything to do with what the book or movie was about.
  9. You are swimming in a lake with your goggles and you see a magical creature swimming underwater. You see it go into an underwater tunnel and chase after it. What happens next?
  10. Write a story using a napkin found on the sidewalk that has a shocking message.
  11. Do you have a superstition? List as many superstitions you can think of. Then, write a story about a character who believes in all these superstitions and how he ended up believing none of them by the end of the story.
  12. Write a satire about a recent news story you read or heard about.
  13. Write a letter inviting your closest friends to your dream birthday party. Make sure you describe in detail what’s so amazing about this party.
  14. You may have heard about a “happy mistake” in which something good comes out of a mistake. What is one happy mistake you have made or seen someone else make? Write about this mistake and what good came out of it.
  15. End a story with “And ever since then, Paul always remembered to keep a spare key in his wallet.”
  16. List 10 ways you can relax. Pick one and write about a time you used this way to relax.
  17. “How to Survive a Thunderstorm with your Snoring Grandma”. Write a story for this title.
  18. Have you ever wondered what dogs dream about? Write a story about an exciting dream a dog had.
  19. Write a story using an astronaut suit, a swimming pool and a strange noise coming out the bushes.
  20. Something stinks. It’s in your town and nobody knows what it could be. Write a story using this problem
  21. Think about the last time you were upset. Write about what could’ve been done differently to prevent you from getting upset.
  22. Explain why people procrastinate and some ways to deal and overcome procrastination.
  23. Think about a fable you’re familiar with. Rewrite this fable from the point of view of a character other than the original main character.
  24. It is your 120th birthday. You’re healthy and full of life. Write about this special day with your family. How is the world different from the world today? What kind of presents did you receive that you wouldn’t receive today?
  25. You just got a promotion at your dream job. What is this promotion and what did you do to deserve this promotion? Explain.
  26. Come up with your own brand of cereal. Write a compelling advertisement for your product that explains your cereal and why people should buy your cereal.
  27. Make a list of 10 bad habits. Chose one of these bad habits and describe the steps you will take to kick this habit to the side.
  28. Lisa’s friend, standing 20 feet away from Robert, is hollering something at him. Robert misinterprets what Lisa said. What did Lisa say and what did Robert think she said? Write a story about this situation and describe how this caused trouble in the story.
  29. Describe a time when someone you had to rely on disappointed you.
  30. Write a story using a remote control with dead batteries, breaking news and a well kept secret.
  31. Write a story pretending you are a star and a little boy or girl has made a wish as they spotted you as the brightest star in the sky.
  32. You know your parents will be away for the whole evening and you want to surprise them with something special when they get back. What do you plan for them and how do your parents react when they get home?
  33. Some people believe certain superstitions can enhance their performance in specific activities. Someone may believe their lucky pencil is responsible for getting an A on a test. Do you believe in superstitions? If so, what are some superstitions that you believe? If not, why do you think people believe certain superstitions to be true?
  34. What is something that is a part of your culture, race, or background that you would like others to know?
  35. Every morning you wake up there is a bird on the branch of a tree outside your window. One morning you wake up and the bird isn’t there anymore. Write a story about what happened to this bird and why it wasn’t there the next morning.
  36. Sometimes people feel down, but then their day can turn around. Write about a time you felt down and then your day turned out for the better.
  37. Sometimes when people are around new people or environments they feel “out of place”. Write about a time where you felt out of place, and why you think you felt this way.
  38. Family is a huge part of everyone’s life. Write about one of your favorite extended family members and why they are your favorite.
  39. Going above and beyond for someone is always really appreciated by others. Write about a time someone went above and beyond for you.
  40. Over time we have evolved with technology. Write a story about communication without cell phones and computers.
  41. Everyone goes through embarrassing moments through out life. Recall a time you were embarrassed. Write about how you felt, and how you over came this embarrassment.
  42. If you could choose your own name. Would you change the name you were given, or keep the name that you have. If you would change it, why? If you would keep the name you have, why?
  43. Anyone with access to the internet can post whatever they want about themselves or any other information. Some people lack proper etiquette or discretion when posting things up and act as if the internet is a world in which anything goes. There is no internet police to stop you from posting up a hurtful comment on someone’s picture. Discuss the importance of having proper internet etiquette.
  44. What do you do to take your mind off of everyday stress?
  45. An extra day has been added to the week so that there are 8 days of the week. Give this day a name and explain what you would do on this day.
  46. With reality television on a rise, do you believe these shows can have a negative effect on society? Are there any positive effects that these shows may have?
  47. Imagine you are going on a road trip with one friend and family members. What family members are there, which friend did you choose to come along the trip? What activities will you do along the way? What states would you visit?
  48. When have you been the most proud of learning something?
  49. You are allowed to stay inside the mall with your best friends, and you have been given the keys to every store. You cannot take anything home with you, but you are allowed to use anything you want in the mall. Describe the night that you spend in this mall. Be sure to make an interesting account of this once in a life-time chance.
  50. Write a descriptive story about your last doctor visit.
  51. If you could change one thing about America to make it better, what would it be?
  52. Write a story where a character forgets to bring something important with him or her on a flight.
  53. You are sitting down on a bench of a park. A stranger sits next to you and you immediately start a conversation. You can’t believe how great you got along with this stranger. Describe this day and the conversation you had with this stranger.
  54. You fell asleep on the bus and woke up in an unfamiliar town. The bus driver is nowhere in sight. Tell the story of how you got back home using at least three different types of transportation.
  55. Your best friend loves to crack jokes. You notice that the people around him don’t really think she or he is funny, yet she or he keeps telling his bad jokes. Write a story about you telling your friend he needs to stop telling her or his bad jokes.
  56. A friend confronts you about an issue he/she has been dealing with the past couple of days. Write a story about you giving advice to your friend. What is he/she struggling with?
  57. Breaking News. Write a headline for your local newspaper about someone your age that has accomplished something spectacular. Then write a news story for this headline.
  58. Pick a sense (Touch, Taste, Hear, Sight, Smell). Write a story about a day on the beach and boardwalk describing everything with this one sense. Be as descriptive as possible.
  59. You overhear a statement about you from your friend and it really upset you. You want to talk to this friend to clear things up. What did your friend say and how do you confront him/her?
  60. Pretend you are the biggest and oldest tree at your park. Describe the good and the bad that you’ve witnessed at this park over the years and what you enjoy most about being the oldest tree at the park.
  61. Henry Brooks Adams, a U.S. historian, journalist, novelist and educator said, “A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops.” Write about a previous teacher that has greatly influenced you.
  62. There are times when you feel like you should’ve said something to someone but didn’t because you didn’t have the courage to speak up. Explain the last time this happened to you and how you would go back today to tell that person what you wanted to tell them.

Story Starters

  1. “You can’t be doing that!”
  2. “No one will ever know about the time I …”
  3. “Caitlin never understood my morning routine.”
  4. “Why is it so cold in here?”
  5. “Are we there yet?”
  6. “I have to tell you the truth.”
  7. “I only have one more hour left!”