Story Prompts to Beat the Block

by Miranda Shepard 8 days ago in advice

Keep Writing With These Starters and Prompts

Story Prompts to Beat the Block

Writers block is one of the most frustrating feelings in the world, and while there's no single way to 'cure' it, there are those who say that pushing through it is all you need to do... as if it was that easy to 'just write'. These writing prompts won't help you finish your novel, win the Man Booker Prize, or clear out that cupboard that you've been avoiding for years now... but they might just spark inspiration and get you writing again.

And sometimes, that's all you need.

In these prompts (A) always refers to the main characer, while subsequent letters refer to side characters.

Horror Prompts

Whether its gore, cold terror, or psychological fear, creeping people out has been a staple of literature since the beginning. These creepy prompts are sure to get your mind moving and the hairs on the back of your neck rising!

  1. While walking home from a party late at night, (A) takes a wrong turn and ends up on a deserted road. Something follows in the bushes at the side of the road.
  2. (A) frequently has vivid dreams, but when they start exert control over them, they find that the consequences are very real.
  3. (A) and (B) investigate a sink hole in a nearby cornfield only to find that it has a horrifying secret at its centre.
  4. (A) knows that (B) is a serial killer, but their partner, (C), doesn't realise that they are the next victim.
  5. (A) moves into a new house. The basement is fine, but there's a skittering sound in the walls that makes their skin crawl at night.
  6. During a routine surgery (A) wakes up... outside of their body.
  7. The mirrors in (A)'s new house are all fixed to the walls. There's no getting them off, and (B) begins to feel watched.
  8. In the middle of the ocean, (A)'s ship engine fails without warning. They drift aimlessly, with no indication as to what happened. At night the radio begins to crackle.
  9. The shadow in the corner of (A)'s room at night is sinister, but they can't place why. Sometimes they could swear it moves.
  10. The sweet doll that Great Aunt (C) left to (A) is priceless, and not just because of its pedigree. It has (C)'s spirit in it, or so they think. (B) starts to think that there's something not right about the playful presence in the doll.

Comedy Prompts

We all love to laugh, and while it's easy to love comedy is not easy to write. It takes patience and flair to write a good comedy, but more than that it takes a good idea. These prompts should get you in funny state of mind!

  1. (A), (B), and (C) go on holiday, but their luggage goes to a different destination. With no clothes and no itinerary, how will control freak (A) cope?
  2. (A) is a teacher, their twin (B) is a rodeo clown. When (B) breaks their leg, (A) has to fill in for them.
  3. In a high stakes game of rock, paper, scissors (A) must defend the contents of their teenage diary from being read out at a party.
  4. (A) takes an unscheduled day off from work and life, but must dodge their family and colleagues in a series of madcap adventures as they try to make it to their spa appointment on time.
  5. A game of hide and seek gos badly wrong and (A) gets listed as a missing person.
  6. 5 friends reunite to take revenge on (A)s cheating partner.
  7. (A), (B), and (C) are ready for the gap year of the century, but their parents are determined to be with them every step of the way.
  8. (A) needs a library book, but (B) is refusing to part with it. They launch a war of attrition to get the book before sunset.
  9. (A) accidentlly incapacitates cupid and must fill-in for them on valentines day. Without getting caught.
  10. (A) has to write a review so scathing that it could ruin a business... they don't want to but their dignity relies on it. Pauls Toilet Supplies is going down, come hell or high water.

Romance Prompts

Love is big business for writers, and always has been. From Jane Austin to E. L. James (that counts as romance, right?) writers have been serviug up steaming hot romance to readers for hundreds of years. Get your (creative) juices flowing with these prompts.

  1. (A) is a small-town business owner who hates Christmas. They move to the city and meet a handsome Santa impersonator.
  2. (A) and (B) have been married for 10 years. When things get rocky, (A) is determined to find themselves, but (B) just wants to make an anniversary dinner to die for.
  3. (A) is a superstar, (B) is their bodyguard - you know how this goes. Bring on the cheese!
  4. Two childhood friends must drive across the country to attend a wedding, little does (A) know that (B) is still carrying that torch.
  5. (A) and (B) meet on Tinder, and they hate each other. Unfortunately, (B) saves (A)'s life later that week, and things get complcated.
  6. The spoiled heir to a family fortune, (A) finds themself suddenly disinherited. (B) is paid to maintain and clean the apartment complex they move into. Cue life lessons.
  7. Working as a Kissogram, (A) is sent to welcome a soldier home. (B) is too embarassed to look at the person delivering their welcome home message, but becomes determined to find them after hearing their voice.
  8. For the last five years, (A) has been getting flowers from a mystery admirer at work on valentines day. Newly single they set out to track down the secretive seducer.
  9. After years apart, (A) and (B) reunite. What (A) doesn't know is that (B) has a child. Their child.
  10. While walking their dog, (A) runs into a handsome jogger. Literally.

Fantasy Prompts

The fantasy genre is flooded with the same cookie-cutter elves, dwarves, and orcs combos. Skip the gratuitous misogyny, knights in shining armor, and grizzled veterans with these off-key prompts.

  1. (A) works for the bureau of human rights and responsibilities. They advocate for human equality, but find a strange case in (B) who looks human but... well, isn't.
  2. Six wars, two appocalypses, and a minor existential blip later, the world is tired of fighting. (A) is an old solider, but they've been chosen to find a way to bring peace.
  3. (A) works as a paranormal detective, with the help of their dead mother, when their estranged father turns up dead in suspicious circumstances they must turn to the last person they want to talk to; (B).
  4. The city of (X) lies on a vast sheet of ice, but it's starting to melt. (A) and (B) set off to find out why.
  5. Magic can do anything but bring back the dead, or so (A) thought. They hear of a necromancer and set off bargain for (B)s life.
  6. In the centre of an old forest a castle sits alone. At night it sings, but (A), who lives nearby, can't help but feel frightened of it. When (B) goes missing they know they have to enter.
  7. (A) is a fake fortune-teller. Not that they can't see the future, they just find people prefer the lies. When (B) pays for a reading they break their one rule and tell the truth.
  8. (A) finds a set of ancient runes buried in their garden. Once they use them, reports of magic and wonder begin to crop up around the world.
  9. (A) and (B) are monster hunters, but they find they can't kill the strange, doe-eyed creature they have been sent for and go on the run with it. It looks so harmless.
  10. (B) taught (A) everything they know, but when they disappear without warning one day, (A) has to leave their sheltered life and put that knowledge to use.

Miranda Shepard
Miranda Shepard
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Miranda Shepard

Writer, reader, life-long student. Socialism, witchcraft, and chill.

See all posts by Miranda Shepard