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Need ideas for your next short story? Sometimes, clever ideas and inspiration for short stories flow abundantly—other times, not so much. If you’re ready to write but find yourself staring at a blank page or empty computer screen, Writer’s Relief can help you give your muse a quick kick in the seat of the pants. Here are free short story writing prompts and exercises that will get you back to writing—fast!
And if you want to boost your odds of getting your short stories published in reputable literary journals, the submission experts at Writer’s Relief are ready to help!
Quick, Creative Writing Prompts For Short Stories
- The dual perspectives of royalty and servants from any period of history in any part of the world.
- A mash-up of steampunk and psychedelia—groovy flower power and giant iron warships, perhaps?
- The simple life of a person living in the mountains made chaotic by the arrival of family from the city.
- Use these three words in your first paragraph: melancholia, iceberg, and junkyard.
- You’ve found a hidden record of every conversation you’ve had in your life. How? Why?
- Your most embarrassing moment—written in the third person.
- A night that features a 150-year-old comet, blueberry tea, and a tidbit of local history.
- A conversation between two ghosts as they observe the living.
- A deep-sea diving experience in which the main character has an existential crisis.
- Two city dwellers spot each other while looking out the windows in the high-rise buildings they work in. One day, one of them holds up a sign in the window for the other to read.
- An unexpected showdown in an unassuming place.
- Every morning another abandoned car is found outside your front door. The police are baffled.
Bonus Writing Prompts
Here are a few writing prompts created using WriterIgniter.com. Click “shuffle” and get a three-word writing prompt! Here are a few examples:
A taxi driver with a lucky penny gets a cryptic letter.
A dog walker loses everything in an underground passageway.
Someone unlucky in love loses a bet.
A lab assistant with a dark secret accidentally steals something priceless.
The best man has a novelty alarm clock—and a secret crush.
Other Ways To Jump-Start Your Creativity
In addition to writing prompts, you can try freewriting. You might also set a timer, since sometimes a self-imposed deadline helps shake loose your writer’s block logjam of ideas. The important thing is to write something—anything! Don’t worry about punctuation or grammar right now: You can edit later. Before you know it, you’ll have 3,500 or so words in place, and your short story will be written!
Question: What’s your most effective way to beat writer’s block and start writing?