Inspiration is an essential tool for any writer. However, there are times when you simply are not motivated, when that spark simply is missing. This is perfectly normal and even best-selling authors are not immune to this experience. This is where Fiction Writing Prompts can be helpful.
What Are Prompts and What Aren’t They:
A prompt is a method to jumpstart your creative juices. They are designed to get you thinking about the possibilities for a story, a character, a plot, a scene.
A prompt is not intended to relieve you of writer’s block, if you think that may be your problem. The primary purpose of a fiction writing prompt is to motivate you, give you the confidence that you can write.
“Prompts do not replace your vision. They are an aid to exploring and expressing that vision.”Susanne Jaffe
A writing prompt allows for the opportunity to exercise and challenge your writing skills. Striving to go beyond your personal boundaries as a writer or checking out new perspectives is quite helpful. It improves your work and gives you a better understanding of your strengths and limitations. A good writing challenge is great occasionally, and prompts are the perfect way to do that.
One single thought arising from a fiction writing prompt can drive you to never-ending possibilities. Suddenly, that simple prompt about a girl who wanted to try boxing just to please her father becomes a foundation for your new story. Perhaps you can explore the consequences of her decision on both her life and also her father using various points of view. The key here is that prompts offer a great inspiration to thoughts that you may have never considered.
Inspire and Motivate with Fiction Writing Prompts
All writers dread the feeling of being blank and and out of fresh ideas. If you are craving some new ideas or mental exercises as a writer, prompts are the perfect solution. They are usually short exercises, often not more than 500 words, and that helps you write tight–choosing your words carefully, communicating more effectively. They are easy to use and you will be surprised where they may take you. Just remember that fiction writing prompts are meant to inspire and motivate, and give you more confidence in your writing abilities. They are a tool.
1. Character Fiction Writing Prompts
Great fiction is driven by well-developed characters. A successful author is one who is able to create a character that takes over the narrative of the story and brings authenticity. Although writing engaging, believable, realistic characters can be challenging, it can be done. Here are a few tips to help you create those kinds of characters for your fiction.
Family and Background
- Figure out your character’s background, including their cultural or ancestral background. How does the ancestry shape the character and is it at odds with the family traditions?
- Create short biographies of the character’s close family members, including parents, siblings, spouse etc.
- Using the character’s own voice, write a brief life story or monologue.
Goals and Motivations
- Determine what drives your character, whether money, justice, power or love etc.
- What is your character searching for in the world?
- What obstacles are interfering with the ability to reach the said goals?
Fears and Flaws
- Describe your character’s flaws.
- What is his or her greatest fear and what caused that fear?
- What is the impact of these fears on achieving the goals?
- Richly describe various key aspects such as height, build, weight, eyes, hair etc.
- Chose one specific area of the appearance and describe how it impacts the character’s personality.
- Describe your character’s deepest feelings.
- How do other people perceive your character’s personality?
For guidance on creating character, go to: susannejaffe.com/blog.
2. Prompts for Character
- Create a dialogue scene in which your character’s internal and external personalities are revealed.
- Write a description of your character from his/her own point of view. Then from the point of view of another main character when first meeting your character.
- Your character has an opportunity to date one of the four Beatles. Which one would she choose and why?
- Your character is forced to spend a year in: a museum, a library, a zoo. Which would she/he choose and why?
- Your character is stranded on a desert island. What three items would she/he consider essential to have and why?
For more ideas about character prompts, go to: nownovel.com.
3. Story Opening Writing Prompts
A strong story opening will pull the audience in and ensure that they keep reading. Even if you already have a vision for your story, you can always make it more engaging through adding subplots that might be hinted at in the opening. The opening scene is the hook. The following starter prompts should inspire some ideas:
- “If she knew that virtual reality was this addictive, she would have…”
- Start a story with the phrase “I was born…” Great characters usually have a history that inspires their motivations and goals in life.
- World War III has started. In this day of technology and interconnectedness, introduce the reader to the main protagonists and what or who they have to fight.
- Everyone knows that a certain character committed a crime, but there is simply no evidence to prove it. Open your story with the victim deciding to seek revenge, and considering various methods.
- “I want it all.” This could be the opening to a coming-of-age story about a young woman and her dilemma where she wants both a successful career and marriage.
For more ideas, go to: dailywritingtips.com.
4. Secrets As Writing Prompts
When properly used in a work of fiction, secrets can add a great layer of suspense and fulfillment to the story. Actually, in some cases a secret can shape the personality of your main character. Take care to avoid the cliche secrets and instead use ones that are genuinely surprising. Try and build lots of tension and have a great secret in mind that will actually deliver the shock appeal.
- A character’s secret means that their whole life is a lie.
- A couple’s criminal secret lives are discovered by their kids. Do they report or join in?
- A top international political leader is actually the head of a subterranean assassination bureau. Develop.
- A secret cult is influencing world leaders at the UN conference.
- The Gods are living among us, but in disguise. Elaborate on how such information was discovered and the effects of that discovery.
5. Scene Fiction Writing Prompts
Combining character and action in a scene is what fiction writing is all about. The ability to craft vivid scenes will make you more confident in your writing abilities. Here, you should rely on fiction writing prompts that invoke other senses other than visual description. This will allow you to come up with a fuller, richer mental imagery that the reader can appreciate.
- Your character is at his/her high school reunion when she discovers that behind her in the line for drinks is a person who used to bully her. Consider three outcomes to the scene and create one.
- Write a scene prompted by one of these words: longing, sleepless, hungry, embarrassed.
- There’s a note on a table and a pool of blood. What happened?
- Create a scene of two people getting stuck during a ten-minute blackout in an elevator. Who are they? Do they know each other? What will happen when the blackout ends?
For more scene prompts, go to: gointothestory.blcklst.com.
6. Ending the Story Fiction Writing Prompts
If you write a dramatic story with a heavy emotional weight, then it should be resolved with equal emotional impact for the reader. Effective endings resolve the story’s conflict. The last thing you want to do is have your reader disappointed by a weak ending. There are several writing exercises that you can do to write better endings. Here are a few:
- Write the ending of a novel or short story after only reading the first page.
- Take your favorite movie or television series and write a better ending than what was offered.
- Write alternate endings to a story or book in different genres of fiction: horror, romance, mystery.
Fiction writing prompts just may be the spark your creativity needs to start, continue or finish your work. You can even try creating your own writing prompts since that is an excellent exercise in itself. Remember, prompts are only a writing tool. It’s up to you how you use them.