Story Writing Prompts

Anatomy of a Killer Story Writing Prompts

story.writing.ideasStory Writing Prompts is a momentous task. Words can change the world. They provide entertainment, inspiration, and happiness to anyone who reads them. It’s no wonder so many of us dream of having our own writing turned into something that can bring about such miracles.

Writing stories take dedication and practice. Sometimes jumping right into it isn’t the best solution. Asking how to write a story is what many people who want to build their skill before taking on a task such as a novel or book wonder.

The best way to build your skill is to take story writing prompts, and use those to practice. So, without further ado, here are five story writing prompts and tips that are sure to improve your writing technique, enrich your craft, and give inspiration.

First Writing Prompt: Creating Interesting Characters

Characters are the building blocks of your story. They cause the plot to leap forward, or add a problem. When writing a character, especially one we like, we tend to make them perfect. The problem with that is that most people don’t like that. Have you ever read a story where the main character is smart, pretty/handsome, nice, and never makes a mistake? No, because no one wants to read a story that ends after one chapter.

Writing character and giving them flaws, or in the case of villains, a tragic backstory or redeeming quality, will make them more real.


Outline a character. What color is their hair? How tall are they? What color are their eyes? What are their personality traits? What is a flaw of theirs? Use those details to write a five-hundred-word short story about your character that uses this information.

How is This a Story Writing Helper: This help to create a picture of your character in your mind. You know who they are, what they act like, and what their flaw is. You will have an idea of how they’ll react in situations, and be able to build them up later. It also helps you to make sure to give them flaws.

Second Writing Prompt: Writing Vivid Setting Description

The setting of your writing can completely change how anything happens, and how readers perceive your work. It can give people ideas about what’s going to happen next. It can help them to understand the story structure.

Story Example 1: The wind whipped her long hair around her head and into her eyes. She huffed and pushed it behind her ears before turning her eyes back to her book.

She flipped a page, and the sun came shining down. She turned her eyes away from her book and gave a contented smile. The park was a perfect place to read on days like today.


As you can see, the character is enjoying a book in a park. It makes it seem happy, and you can tell that our character likes being outside to read.

Story Example 2: He shivered before scooting his chair closer to the fireplace. For some reason the house was chilly, even though it was the middle of summer. To make matters worse the electricity was out, so he had to read by firelight. He flipped a page, but then his head shot up. He could have sworn he heard the creak of the floor.

This setting seems more foreboding, and a reader will be able to sense something is going to happen, something bad.


Describe someplace happy as your character walks through it in five hundred words or less; A forest filled with animals, an amazing castle. Now describe someplace scary or foreboding in five hundred words or less; A graveyard, an empty mansion. Compare them.

How is This a Story Writing Helper: Writing different scenes and describing them will help you to become more skilled with making them seem real. It makes your story pop, and makes people more likely to read it. You will become more skilled at describing places in stories and making them seem real.

Third Writing Prompt: Perfecting Compelling Dialogue

Dialog is something that can be hard to master, and if you don’t, your story will feel forced, and your characters bland. It doesn’t matter how amazing you are at settings, how perfect your internal dialog is, if your characters can’t talk without sounding like people reading a script for the first time, then no one will read your story.


Find about twenty lines of dialog, either your own, or someone else’s, where two characters are talking, and every line ends in ‘he said/she said’. Rewrite it using facial expression, pacing, and body language instead of he said/she said.

How is This a Story Writing Helper: Changing this can help you to learn to make your characters have more developed emotional responses to news and different situations. It makes them pop, and will catch readers attention. 

Fourth Writing Prompt: Mastering POV

It may seem like a simple thing to do, stay in one point of view, but it’s not as easy as it seems. Sometimes we may find ourselves slipping into the second POV when we are supposed to be in third person. Or third person when we were writing in first just a few sentences ago.


A character is saying goodbye to their family as they move away. He/She has a going away party. Describe the guests, party, and entertainment. Write this in 500 words in third person POV. Once that is finished, rewrite it in first person POV.

How is This a Story Writing Helper: Rewriting scenes that were in the third person to first person can help you to understand what your characters were feeling. If/When you rewrite it back to third person, it will make your character seem more real.

Fifth Writing Prompt: Making Strong Story Openings

The opening sentence makes or breaks your story. If it is intriguing it will keep people reading. If it is boring, people will set down your book. How many books have you read where the opening line was boring? Most likely you prefer to read one with an exciting opening line, and anyone who reads a story you write will feel the same.


Begin a short five-hundred-word story about anything you choose with the line ‘I used to never’. You may fill in the rest in any way you see fit. It can be a adventure, fantasy, anything. When you are finished, ask someone to read your first line, and tell you what they think.

How is This a Story Writing Helper: You will have practice in making the rest of a story all connect to the first sentence, which in turn makes readers even more invested in your story, and its topics.