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Writing Prompts By Genre: 240+ Creative Writing Prompts For Book Ideas

Written by

Angelica Hartgers

https://selfpublishing.com/author/angelica-hartgers/

Published on

2019-10-24

Writing Prompts By Genre: 240+ Creative Writing Prompts For Book Ideas

Writing prompts are powerful vessels for jumpstarting your creativity, and planting the seed for your next book idea. 

Dealing with writer’s block or self-doubt as a writer? Experiencing a creative rut? Looking to improve your writing development? Experimenting with a new genre? Stuck on finding a book idea? Looking for your author voice?

No matter which of those situations you are struggling with as a writer, you might find your answer in some creative writing prompts.

These original writing prompts can be categorized in nonfiction and fiction groups, so you can find creative writing prompt topics from business and self-help, to mystery and romance.

writing prompts

Here are the best creative writing prompts for writers to use: 

  1. Business Writing Prompts
  2. Self-Help Writing Prompts
  3. Health & Fitness Writing Prompts
  4. Family & Relationships Writing Prompts
  5. Horror/Thriller Creative Writing Prompts
  6. Romance Creative Writing Prompts
  7. Mystery Creative Writing Prompts
  8. Sci-Fi Creative Writing Prompts
  9. Fantasy Creative Writing Prompts
  10. Historical Fiction Creative Writing Prompts
  11. Sentence Starters Creative Prompts

What are writing prompts? 

Writing prompts are story-starters that are used as a guided learning or creativity exercise to help writers get started with a new idea or story. 

Often used in an educational setting for students learning to practice writing specific genres, creative writing prompts are also used by advanced writers and authors who are experiencing writer’s block or are in need of inspiration. 

Writing prompts are designed to get people to think, by providing a starting place for a story premise or book idea, which can be further developed using the writer’s own imagination and creativity. 

There are many benefits to using creative writing prompts as a frequent writing exercise, both for seasoned writers and those just starting out. 

Here are some benefits to using writing prompts: 

  1. Fight writer’s block. Next time you don’t know what to write about, or aren’t able to produce any writing for your current work-in-progress, try your hand at a writing prompt. 
  2. Guide your inspiration. Writing prompts often help writers discover new topics by allowing them to start a story from the prompt, and finish it in their own way. Writing prompts can also inspire deviations from the story, or additional writing material, that the author can tap into. 
  3. Identify new genres. Sometimes it’s beneficial to try your hand at a genre you’re not used to writing in. It can help you discover a topic you never knew you might enjoy, or it can further solidify your strength in your current genre. Either way, it’s good to get out of your comfort zone. 
  4. Jumpstart a book idea. Writing prompts can incite a new story or book idea for you. If you’re having trouble figuring out what to write a book about, experiment with some writing prompts and see if anything sticks. 
  5. Improve writing development. Part of improving your writing craft has to do with experimenting – especially when you’re in a writing rut. Dabbling in new genres, practicing how to show and not tell, and using writing prompts you’d never think to write about, can also help you identify opportunities to strengthen your writing, and increase your versatility as a writer. 
  6. Sharpen creative skills. Creative writing prompts help you hone in on your creative skills. By starting with a story idea from a writing prompt, you’re forced to develop the story through your own imagination and creativity. 

How to use creative writing prompts

The process of using a writing prompt is loose, as they are designed to be used in a way that benefits you as the writer most. 

You can be as structured, or as flexible as you choose when using one of our writing prompts. That means you can start with a writing prompt, think of your own premise for the story, and get to writing your own detailed account. Or, you can use all of the details given in the writing prompt, and answer the prompt exactly as you see fit. It’s up to you!

However, if you’re not sure where to start, and need some beginner’s guidelines, there are a few tips we can provide. 

Here’s how to use creative writing prompts: 

  1. Use pen and paper. If you’re struggling with writing block, I encourage you to use pen and paper to really get your creative juices flowing.
  2. Choose a writing prompt. Read through some possible creative writing prompts, taking note of any that spark your imagination. Then, you can choose which one calls out to you most. Alternatively, if you’re having trouble deciding, you can choose a random writing prompt and challenge yourself to write about 
  3. Pick and choose your own details. Some writing prompts include specific details to incorporate in your story. Don’t feel boxed in by your writing prompt; if you want to omit certain details or events and replace them with your own creative idea, feel free to do so. 
  4. Time your writing. Once you have a prompt chosen, set a timer for 15-20 minutes and challenge yourself to not stop writing until the timer goes off. This will prevent you from overthinking the prompt, and will ensure you stay focused. 
  5. Expand your own ideas. Use the writing prompt as a seed for your story, but develop it in your own creative way. The key to successfully using a creative writing prompt is to help your own brainstorming process, so it’s okay if you veer off from the writing prompt and take a different direction with your story and characters. You can even use a character bio template to expand your own ideas.

Nonfiction Writing Prompts

If you’re on the hunt for the best nonfiction writing prompts to exercise your creativity and help you brainstorm some book ideas to write a nonfiction book, then start with this category.

Here, you’ll find a variety of nonfiction topics, from business and self-help, to relationships, wellness, and memoir topics.

Ready to learn how to fearlessly write an amazing novel?

Join Chandler Bolt from self-publishingschool.com at his FREE Webinar Training to learn how to live full time off of your fiction writing without compromising quality

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35 Business Prompts 

  1. Write about the biggest lesson you’ve learned in business. 
  2. Write about how you have failed in business, and how you overcame that failure. 
  3. Write about the biggest mistake you made in your industry, and what you learned about it. 
  4. Write about how your industry can impact lives across the world. 
  5. Write about the top authorities in your industry and what you can learn from them. 
  6. Write about how you got started in your industry, and how others can learn from your process.
  7. Write about industry secrets that can help other people grow their authority. 
  8. Write about how businesses in your industry can maximize their profits. 
  9. Write about what you’ve learned in your industry, and educate readers on how to 
  10. Write about opportunities for innovation in your industry. 
  11. Write about the top qualities an authority in your industry must have to succeed. 
  12. Write about the top issues in your industry, and how readers can avoid them. 
  13. Write about how to empower others in your industry, and why it’s important. 
  14. Write about the future of your industry, and how readers can adapt to the changes. 
  15. Write about the history of your industry, and how it has shaped the present and how it will shape the future. 
  16. Write about a major time period in your industry’s progression, and the lessons from that time that can be learned and applied today. 
  17. Write about common fears in your industry, and how others can overcome them. 
  18. Write about the common stressors in your industry, and how others can manage this. 
  19. Write about a time when you had to start over in your career, and the lessons you learned that can help readers.
  20. Write about how to generate ideas in your industry.
  21. Write about how to be a better leader in the workplace. 
  22. Write about the importance of company culture, especially in our digital age. 
  23. Write about the secrets to sustainability in your industry. 
  24. Write about decision making in your industry, and how others can make better decisions. 
  25. Write about the habits of authority figures in your industry, and what others can learn from them. 
  26. Write about the failures of authority figures in your industry, and what others can learn from them. 
  27. Write about the successes of authority figures in your industry, and what others can learn from them. 
  28. Write about the key to productivity in your industry. 
  29. Write about the key to creativity in your industry. 
  30. Write about the key to working smarter in your industry. 
  31. Write about how to think big, and when to think small, in your industry. 
  32. Write about what you wish you knew now when you first started in your career.
  33. Write about setting up a successful atmosphere to thrive in your industry. 
  34. Write about something big you accomplished in your career, and share your blueprint for success. 
  35. Write about developing a team, and how to successfully work with others. 

36 Self-Help Writing Prompts 

  1. Write about a time when you had to start over in your life, and what you learned from that. 
  2. Write about why it’s important to break the rules in life sometimes. 
  3. Write about how to generate creative ideas. 
  4. Write about the secrets to gaining unshakeable self-confidence. 
  5. Write about the secrets to gaining lasting happiness. 
  6. Write about the secrets to developing laser-focus in work and life. 
  7. Write about the secrets to living a regret-free life. 
  8. Write about the secrets to creating lasting love. 
  9. Write about the power of forgiveness, and how others can tap into this.  
  10. Write about the power of gratitude, and how to apply it to daily life. 
  11. Write about critical thinking, and strategies for improving critical thinking skills. 
  12. Write about how to reduce everyday stress and anxiety with practical tips. 
  13. Write about effective communication, and how others can communicate more clearly. 
  14. Write about your creativity process, and include strategies for how to be more creative. 
  15. Write about the secrets to a successful relationship, and how anyone can be a better partner.
  16. Write about how to stay disciplined, and why most people fail at self-discipline. 
  17. Write about society’s hustle culture, and why working hard is good or bad. 
  18. Write about your favorite country or travel destination, and what you’ve learned from the people and culture.
  19. Write about the key to being a more productive person, and how it can transform others’ lives. 
  20. Write about finding your passion, and how others can discover their purpose. 
  21. Write about the power of positive self talk, and how others can implement it in their daily life. 
  22. Write about dealing with anxiety. 
  23. Write about dealing with change. 
  24. Write about creating an atmosphere of peace. 
  25. Write about controlling the controllables for happiness. 
  26. Write about controlling the controllables for peace. 
  27. Write about something a big goal you’ve accomplished, and share your blueprint for success. 
  28. Write about finding inspiration, and teach others how they can find it, too. 
  29. Write about how to better understand the people in your life. 
  30. Write about the art of simplicity in life, and how others can benefit from it. 
  31. Write about decision-making and the best practices for making big and small decisions in life. 
  32. Write about the power of tapping into your imagination, and why it’s so important for people, including adults. 
  33. Write about the importance of truth, and how others can be more honest with themselves and the people in their life. 
  34. Write about dealing with life transitions, and strategies to improve adaptability when things change and its out of your control. 
  35. Write about how to regain control in your life, and what to do when you’ve hit rock bottom. 
  36. Write about finding your identity, and how people in your niche can discover themselves again. 

25 Memoir Prompts 

  1. Write about a big goal you’ve accomplished, and share your blueprint for success. 
  2. Write about a major time when you had to start over in your life, and what you learned from that. 
  3. Write about the greatest lesson  you’ve learned so far in life, and how others can learn from your life. 
  4. Write about one of your biggest regrets, and teach others going through the same thing how to deal with it. 
  5. Write about the most difficult decision you’ve ever had to make, and what you’ve learned from that process. 
  6. Write about a traumatic experience in your life, and how you have dealt with it. 
  7. Write about a time you failed, and how you were able to rise up. 
  8. Write about a major event in your childhood, and how that shaped you as an adult. 
  9. Write about the saddest time in your life, and encourage others who are going through similar situations. 
  10. Write about the happiest time in your life, and the greatest thing that moment has taught you. 
  11. Write about the most influential people in your life, and how they helped shape the person you have become. 
  12. Write about how you have developed self-love, and why it’s important to have a relationship with yourself first. 
  13. Write about your journey towards self-discovery, and share tips with others who are lost. 
  14. Write about a time you lost your way in life, and what helped you find your path again. 
  15. Write about your spirituality and beliefs, and how you can share your message with others. 
  16. Write about the biggest heartbreak you experienced, and what it’s taught you about love and life. 
  17. Write about the time you broke someone else’s heart, and what it’s taught you about loving others. 
  18. Write about a time you experienced compassion, and share how others can be more compassionate in their own life. 
  19. Write about the biggest self-defining moment in your life thus far, and how you’ve developed from the experience. 
  20. Write about your biggest accomplishment, and how its helped you banish self-defeating thoughts and behavior. 
  21. Write about a toxic relationship you had, and how you were able to overcome it. 
  22. Write about an influential travel experience in your life, and what it taught you about yourself and others. 
  23. Write about the town you grew up in, and how it’s shaped your perspective on life. 
  24. Write about how you were raised, and what you learned from the people that raised you. 
  25. Write about a significant historical event you lived through, and what others can learn from your experience.

25 Health & Fitness Prompts

  1. Write about emotional health: what it means, why it’s important, and how. 
  2. Write about a time you were very unhealthy, and how you were able to transform yourself.
  3. Write about the secrets to dieting. 
  4. Write about diet culture fads, and why they do or do not work. 
  5. Write about the idea of health, and how people can shift their priorities to be more healthy both mentally and physically.  
  6. Write about the taboo around mental health, and how we can change this mindset as a society. 
  7. Write about your struggles with mental health, and help others with what you’ve learned. 
  8. Write about your struggles with physical health, and help others struggling with the same thing. 
  9. Write about what health and wellness means to you, and share your perspectives with others. 
  10. Write about the power of superfoods, and how they can positively affect health. 
  11. Write about the health practices in a different country. 
  12. Write about an ancient health practice, and what we can learn from it today. 
  13. Write about the medicinal properties of certain foods and plants. 
  14. Write about how to break free from unhealthy habits. 
  15. Write about food production practices, and how they affect the quality of what we eat.
  16. Write about health in children, and how to raise health-conscious individuals. 
  17. Write about raising a healthy family while balancing a busy life
  18. Write about a time your health was impacted, and how the experience transformed your life
  19. Write about a time someone you love experienced health issues, and how the experience changed that person’s life, as well as your own
  20. Write about a time you felt unhappy with your health. What did you do to change your mindset? 
  21. Write about body acceptance, and how societal expectations affects our mindset.
  22. Write about the influence of culture on health, and how it affects a group of people differently.
  23. Write about a harmful everyday practice, how it affects our health, and what we can do to change it.
  24. Write about dealing with mental health on an everyday basis, and help others understand how to be more compassionate.
  25. Write about the idea of health, and what contributing factors affect our perspectives.

40 Family & Relationships 

  1. Write about how to build character in your children. 
  2. Write about teaching children how to practice self-love. 
  3. Write about strategies parents can use to instill healthy habits in their children.
  4. Write about the secrets to balancing discipline and friendship as a parent
  5. Write about the concept of soulmates, and why the idea is helpful or harmful in our society.
  6. Write about how to find friends as an adult.
  7. Write about the importance of having a support group.
  8. Write about the dangers of toxic parenthood.
  9. Write about the dangers of toxic relationships.
  10. Write about the dangers of toxic friendships.
  11. Write about the power of compassion in marriage.
  12. Write about the importance of compromise in relationships.
  13. Write about dealing with heartbreak and starting over.
  14. Write about the idea of dating in the digital age.
  15. Write about co-dependence and why its toxic.
  16. Write about breaking up with a friend, and why it’s necessary sometimes.
  17. Write about disciplining children in a positive way.
  18. Write about instilling a positive mindset in the youth.
  19. Write about developing your child’s uniqueness.
  20. Write about the struggles in parenthood and how to stay sane.
  21. Write about the beauty in parenthood and how to make it last, even when your children are being difficult. 
  22. Write about sibling rivalry and how to cultivate a healthier sibling relationship.
  23. Write about how to be a better parent.
  24. Write about how to be a better daughter/son to an aging parent.
  25. Write about how to be a better friend.
  26. Write about dealing with the loss of a loved one.
  27. Write about your journey to find love and what you’ve discovered along the way.
  28. Write about developing healthy and nurturing relationships.
  29. Write about the importance of self-confidence in finding love.
  30. Write about the importance of self-esteem in developing healthy relationships.
  31. Write about the importance of mindset on the search for love.
  32. Write about the role self-awareness plays in being a better parent.
  33. Write about the importance of communication in relationships.
  34. Write about the red flags in a failing relationship, and how to save it before it’s too late.
  35. Write about the idea of being single, and how to embrace it in a society that does not.
  36. Write about the idea of finding the perfect partner, and how this perspective can affect our ability to find someone.
  37. Write about falling in love, and how to keep the fire alive in a relationship.
  38. Write about the importance of expectations in relationships.
  39. Write about disagreements in friendships, and how to overcome and learn from them.
  40. Write about different styles of parenting, and how to identify which type you are.

Fiction Creative Writing Prompts

Now it’s time for the creative fun. Use these fiction creative writing prompts to explore new genres, practice your creative writing development through literary devices, and get inspired to venture off into a new fiction story.

These fiction writing prompts are categorized based on genre, so you’ll find topics for horror or thriller stories, romance writing prompts, historical fiction topics, Sci-Fi and fantasy prompts, and story starters.

While we provide the prompts, it’s up to you to expand on your own ideas, create exciting plot twists, and fully develop your story setting and characters.

Ready to learn how to fearlessly write an amazing novel?

Join Chandler Bolt from self-publishingschool.com at his FREE Webinar Training to learn how to live full time off of your fiction writing without compromising quality

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16 Horror/Thriller Prompts

  1. Write about your last nightmare.
  2. A couple is awoken at the witching hour (3 AM) by three forceful bangs at their front door. When they call aloud to see who’s there, no one answers, but a demonic snarl can be heard from outside. 
  3. Waking up from a slumber with eyes still closed, your character stretches their arms out, only to hit a cold body next to them. They live alone. 
  4. You made a late night trip to the gas station, and it’s pouring down rain as you stand outside in the empty parking lot, holding the nozzle to pump gas. Suddenly, a hearse pulls up slowly next to your car, and when you glance over, all you can see is bright red eyes glaring at you from the driver’s seat. 
  5. Your character just finished the night shift at work. As they walk through the empty parking lot towards their car, its eerily silent and they can’t help but feel like someone is watching them. The hairs on your character’s arms start to stand up, even though it’s a relatively warm night. Your character quickly jumps into their car, starts the engine, and begins to drive home. As they look up into the rearview mirror, a sinister, smiling face appears behind them.
  6. Two kids venture off into the woods behind their neighborhood, scouting for a place to build their tree house. Before long, they see the streetlights of their neighborhood come on in the distance, which is a sign that it’s time to head back home. As they gather their belongings to make the trek back home, they hear a twig snap behind them, and a guttural voice whisper, “You can’t leave yet – the fun’s only just begun.”  
  7. Ten thousand dollars to own a 3 bedroom cabin? It was a once-in-a-lifetime deal, that you, as a new real estate investor, just couldn’t pass up. But in order to secure your purchase quickly, you had to skip the house tour. Now that the home was purchased by you, it was time to start the renovations. But first, you had to do an in-depth survey of the house to see exactly what work needed to be done. As you enter the creaky, old home, a rancid smell fills your nostrils and in the dark, dusty corner of the entryway, you notice a large, fat rat chewing boldly on a piece of bloody flesh.  
  8. ‘Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the house. There was a creature stirring, but it wasn’t a mouse…Write about a holiday visitor who isn’t jolly or nice, and who brings gifts nobody would ever dare to ask for. 
  9. A young family on vacation joins an excursion to a beautiful, remote beach. As they run into the ocean to splash around, they notice something dark lurks in the water, and it doesn’t look like a creature that belongs on Earth. 
  10. Choose a scary story that you were told as a child, and add your own frightening twist. 
  11. After a lifetime of waiting, your character has finally found the love of their life. But things turn sinister when one night, your character discovers that their new-found love must eat raw human flesh in order to stay alive.
  12. Her mind was racing, but she knew she had to conceal her fear. As she turned to face him, she noticed his eyes. They were colorless, and taunted her without saying a word. 
  13. They weren’t raised to believe in ghosts, ghouls, or demons, but the darkness that began to possess their once-loving father couldn’t be explained any other way. It all happened after he brought home the newest novelty for his antique collection: an 18th century wooden cross, said to belong to a woman that was tortured and hung for committing witchcraft. 
  14. Vampires, werewolves, and witches. He knew they were the stuff of fiction, or at least, he thought he knew, until tonight.
  15. It’s time to put your nine-year-old to bed. As you tuck the child in, pulling the blankets over her shoulders, you can’t help but notice the fear in her eyes. Concerned, you ask her what’s going on.  “She visits me every time I fall asleep. Can’t you make her stop?” she whispered in fear. When you probe your child for more details on who this woman is, and what she looks like, your blood turns to ice. She sounds exactly like the woman from the nightmares that plagued your own childhood.
  16. It was love at first sight – for her, anyway. After years of being single, and sought after by all the eligible bachelors in town, everyone was surprised when Mr. Ezra came in, seemingly out of nowhere, to swoop her off her feet. He was tall, dark, and handsome, and everything she always dreamed of finding in a man. After a brief two weeks of dating, she announced that they had wed in secret. Not only that, but she would be leaving town with him, to start a new life. Little did they know that they would never see her again. Little did she know that the man of her dreams would soon become the man of her nightmares. And he was dead set on making her wish she’d never been born. 

15 Romance Creative Prompts

  1. An exchange student goes to a foreign country to live for a year abroad, with high goals to learn the language and culture. Little does she know, she’s actually there to learn a lesson on love, from none other than a foreign classmate who has a strong distaste for outsiders like her.
  2. Your character is widowed, left to raise two young children on his/her own. When it’s least expected, someone from the past comes back into their life. But things aren’t all that they seem, and falling in love again is the last thing on her to-do list.  
  3. A restless man going through a midlife crisis. A free-spirited woman ready to embrace graceful aging. They butt heads often, but can’t seem to leave each other alone for good. Can they survive through something that threatens to tear them apart forever? 
  4. They were childhood friends that hardly left their small hometown, and now they are distant strangers that live in two opposite parts of the world. When a tragedy calls them back home, they feel like they never left each other. How do they hold on to one another when they live two very separate lives?
  5. It’s the day before their second marriage anniversary. As he’s making plans to celebrate, he gets a call from his doctor with news that will change their lives forever. 
  6. Years of heartbreak and relationship failures have left her disillusioned with the idea of love. But one chance meeting with someone new makes her question her ideology forever. 
  7. He’s a serial dater that enjoys the chase. She’s a serious achiever with a distaste for men like him. What happens when their two worlds collide? 
  8. She’s carefully designed her life’s milestones, and is dead set on sticking to her plan. When she meets the man of her dreams and marries him after two years of maintaining a long distance relationship, she’s in for an earth-shattering awakening that not even she could prepare for. 
  9. She’s a successful powerhouse business owner. He’s a humble trades worker who’s never been to college (and has no desire to ever do so). What started out as a temporary fling for fun has turned into a passionate love affair. But what happens when things settle down, and their everyday lives go on? 
  10. As the caretaker of their ailing parent, who has no one else in the world to rely on, your character has put their life aspirations on hold to uphold their family duty. So what happens when love comes knocking on their door unexpectedly?
  11. They were childhood sweethearts that grew up together, and have been inseparable ever since. Now that they have entered the next chapter as adults, their family and friends have urged them to get married. But the night before the wedding, the couple suddenly realizes that they are no longer in love. Where do they go from here?
  12. Rich man, poor girl. It’s a story as old as time, but what happens when there’s a modern twist to it?
  13. A young couple is ready to welcome their first child into the world, when a violent war suddenly ravages their town. The young man is forced away to defend his country, and the pregnant young woman is left to face the harsh winter alone. How can they keep their love alive? 
  14. She’s never been in love, but she’s plagued by vivid memories and dreams of a man who seems so familiar, only she’s never met him. Could she have a lover from a past life that haunts her from another dimension?
  15. Think of a famous love story that’s always intrigued you. It could be from history, or from your own experience. Now imagine a new ending for it, and write your own version of the story with a twist. 

10 Mystery Prompts

  1. The crystal clear blue waters. The bright green foliage. The black sand beach. This would be the last thing she saw before she died, and no one would ever know. 
  2. He went missing twelve years ago. He was just a boy, then. After years of searching for him to no avail, his parents – now in their old age – have succumbed to hopelessness and heartbreak. That is, until a visitor arrives on their doorstep in the pouring rain one stormy night. The visitor looks like their son, but something is very, very different…
  3. Your character goes for an evening stroll every night after dinner. She passes by each of her neighbors homes down the quiet street, until she gets to a fork in the road and turns back around. Only tonight, she goes on her usual walk, and decides to take a left at the fork instead of turning around. What she discovers is sure to wake the sleepy small town from their slumber. 
  4. A high profile lawyer on the hunt for justice, he’s adamant about defending his client, accused of committing a crime no mother could ever commit. Or can she? 
  5. She’s an experienced detective with years under belt, solving the city’s most horrific crimes. As she digs deep on the trail of one of the most sinister serial killers she’s ever dealt with, she begins uncovering some details that brings the case too close to home. 
  6. Research your favorite unexplained mystery, then re-write the story with your own twist and turn of events. 
  7. Your character is on a mission to discover the truth about his/her birth parents, two people s/he has been shielded from ever knowing any details about. On a quest to self-discovery, your character learns the truth, and it can be summed up in three words: Murder, lust, and greed. Write about your character’s journey towards discovering where they came from, and the shocking truth they learn along the way. 
  8. Today is your birthday. You wake up, ready to celebrate with your family and friends, but things get weird when you discover that the year you thought it was, doesn’t seem to be right.
  9. You are house sitting for your best friend, who you’ve known your entire life. One quiet evening, you rummage through the library in search of a good book. Instead, you find a chest of photos that piques your interest. The chest is full of old photographs featuring your best friend, dressed in old attire and surrounded by people from long, long ago. 
  10. While driving home in the pouring rain one night, you spot a young girl, dressed in all white, on the side of the deserted highway. You pull over to give her a ride home, but she doesn’t know who she is, why she’s here, or where’s she going.

10 Sci-Fi Creative Writing Prompts

  1. Earth is dissolving, and it’s up to you to get all of the remaining human children to the new “home” for humans – a newly inhabited planet that mimics Earth’s environment. The issue? The planet is twice as small as Earth, which means there is only room for half of the children in the spacecraft you’ve been given. 
  2. Your character is a scientist for NASA, and is on the edge of developing a cutting-edge breakthrough technology that will allow humans to be transported to space in half the time. The only problem is, the process ages humans twice as fast…
  3. The sun burns too bright, causing people to go blind the moment they catch a glimpse of the sun’s rays. This means that humans have learned to avoid the sun, living out their days in protective pods to shield them from the sun. But now, there’s a plague that’s quickly spreading amongst the population, and there seems to be only one cure: a look at the sun. 
  4. You live in a futuristic world, almost 300 years from present day. Technology has taken its toll on evolution, and the only way to communicate with other humans is through a digital screen. 
  5. The world as we know it is over, and you’re the leader of this new era. Decide how you want to rule society, and what type of world you will create. 
  6. Your character starts the day off like any other day. She wakes up, brushes her teeth, then walks into her closet to get dressed for work. Only today, she opens her closet door to find a wide-eyed woman standing there, dripping wet as if she has been rained on. She says her planet is at war, and she has been sent to bring you back home with her, for you are the only one with the power to save her people. 
  7. Research one of Earth’s unknown mysteries or conspiracy theories. Now, re-write it through the lens of someone who knows all the answers, and has a powerful reason for keeping it all a secret…
  8. Virtual reality meets the real world. You live in a society where there’s a fine line between who is actually a real person, and who is not. 
  9. Your character is an expert researcher that’s been chosen to lead a submarine journey to the bottom of the Mariana Trench, the deepest part of the ocean. Uninhabitable by humans, the team witnesses sea life that’s never before been seen by man. But things take a turn for the worst when they realize a massive creature has claimed a deathgrip on their submarine vessel. 
  10. You’ve been given the task to create the perfect species, but in your effort to do so through multiple experiments, you’ve given life to an army of children who are far from perfect. 

10 Fantasy Writing Prompts

  1. An expert diver, your character takes a trip to a remote island to explore all the underwater sights he’s read all about in books and documentaries. When he takes a diving excursion to a cave known for its colorful color, exotic fish schools, and vivid sea foliage, he stumbles upon a secret cave door. What it leads to is a bustling seaworld that’s quite literally, straight out of a storybook.
  2. A device has been invented that can solve any of mankind’s problems – big or small. The catch is, that along with a solution, comes an even bigger problem…
  3. You wake up one day to discover that you have been transported to the world from your favorite book. But you quickly discover that things aren’t all that they seem…
  4. You come from a long line of witches, dating back to the 12th century. But a modern day witch hunt is now in full effect, and to save your life, you must find a way to give up all of your powers. 
  5. Your character suddenly finds themself in an alternate dimension, where everything is backwards. How can they make sense of this new world, to find their way back to the dimension they actually belong in? 
  6. Think of your favorite superhuman. Now, imagine that they use their powers for evil. Write a story featuring the dark side of your superhuman’s character.
  7. Every morning, your alarm sounds off at 6 a.m. Only this morning, instead of the usual beep beep beep to wake you, a voice comes over the alarm and announces, “Today is the day you will say goodbye to everyone.”
  8. Time no longer exists, and the worlds of the past, present, and future have collided, meshing them all into one. Write a fantasy story about this new world that exists – and the pitfalls that come with not having any boundaries within time. 
  9. Your character unexpectedly gives birth to a healthy baby boy. What’s strange is that your character was only pregnant for two weeks, and she didn’t even realize it. As the baby grows, she starts to notice that she has quite an extraordinary child on her hands, and she must protect him from those who know he exists.
  10. A dream-like world where everything seems to go your character’s way. He’s happy, peaceful, and surrounded by those he loves. But one day, he discovers that this isn’t in fact the world that he belongs in…and those that really love him desperately need him to return. 

10 Historical Fiction Writing Prompts

  1. Write about a specific folklore tale from your cultural background, but add a special twist. 
  2. Imagine your modern-day character suddenly finds themself in the past. Not only that, but they are the neighbor to a famous historical figure. Write about a significant event in the historical figures life with a modern day twist. 
  3. Your character is caught between love and war. A passionate crusader with a prominent position in a revolutionary war, they fall in love with someone across the enemy lines. Do they give up their fight in a cause they stand so strongly for, or say goodbye to the one person they would give up their life for?
  4. Research a significant event from your favorite time period. Then, create a character who was there to witness it all – the good, the bad, and the ugly. Write a story from this character’s point of view, sharing how the event changed their lives forever. 
  5. You’re given the opportunity to travel back and time to a significant moment in history. Write about where you go, what you see, and who you meet. 
  6. Your character is a factory worked living in Victorian London
  7. Think of a time period you would never wish to live in. Now, imagine you suddenly wake up living in that era. Write about your experience from the perspective of someone who is actually living the reality you have no wish to be part of. 
  8. Write about a character that was born a slave, and is the mastermind behind a dangerous mission to lead others to freedom. 
  9. Research a historical figure who is considered a real-life villain. Then, write a story from their lover, or spouse’s perspective. 
  10. Research the history of your favorite place (city, country, etc.), then write a story from the perspective of a character who witnessed how the place as you know it came to be. 

10 Sentence Starter Prompts

  1. The unrelenting sun beat down on his forearms, and all he could think about was how cold he felt inside.
  2. A sick feeling caused by strong alcohol on an empty stomach, mixed with unsettling anxiety, caused her to crouch over in discomfort. But she couldn’t stop now. 
  3. The clock struck three, and it was as if the entire world turned upside down. 
  4. Whoosh whoosh whoosh. The dryer violently spun the wet clothes around, and 
  5. He wasn’t sure what the crying creature was, but he knew it couldn’t be human.  
  6. He stared at her, staring at him. And in the blink of an eye, an insatiable fury seemed to paint the sky blood red. 
  7. The spacecraft zinged through the blackened bubble, and as she looked outside the window, she couldn’t help but feel the gravity of her eternal loneliness. 
  8. No one knew him more than she did, but there were things she simply could not look past. 
  9. This place was home – it always had been, so why did it feel so strange? 
  10. The tapping of the keyboard was all she could hear in the empty office, and the room seemed to start spinning around her. 
  11. A fast heartbeat, thumping uncontrollably inside his chest, was all he could to react; after all, this was the greatest moment of his life. 
  12. “This is your moment, and you can either rise to the occasion, or crumble to your shortcomings,” the speaker said over the intercom. 
  13. They were the only ones who knew the truth, and try as they might, they couldn’t forget that fateful day, even when they desperately wanted to. 
  14. Despite the enchantment, her intuition gnawed at her core, warning her that this was a very, very bad idea.
  15. Today is the day you realize your entire life is going to change forever because…
  16. As soon as the words came out of her mouth, her eyes widened in horror; how could she have let herself say such a thing? 
  17. The storm raged on outside the window, and the world in all its chaos was truly coming to an end, just like they had warned. 
  18. The sun looked blood orange as it lifted off the horizon, and she knew the time had come. 
  19. “Your heart belongs to me,” said the stranger in a hushed, yet familiar tone. 
  20. Ding dong. He ran to get the door, and when he looked through the eyehole, as was his habit before unlocking it, he couldn’t believe his eyes. 

What Next?

Once you’ve had your fun with these writing prompts, it’s time to get started with your new book idea and start writing your book, so that you can move on to self-publishing your book and sharing it with the world.

Related: How To Publish A Book

There is a world of readers waiting for your story. It’s time to start writing.

Whether you used these creative writing prompts to help brainstorm what to write about, or fight writer’s block, it’s time to actually sit down, grab your pen or keyboard, and get to writing a captivating story.

Ready to learn how to fearlessly write an amazing novel?

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Didn’t find what you were looking for with these prompts? Don’t worry – we are constantly updating this list with new writing prompts for our readers.

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Angelica Hartgers

Content Creation Specialist at Selfpublishing.com
Angelica Hartgers is the Content Creation Specialist here at Selfpublishing.com. When she’s not cooking up content for the self publishing community, she loves to read good books, travel the world, and spend time with her family.
Angelica Hartgers