A confession: I really like scrolling through writing prompts. I find it fascinating and entertaining to read these little one or two-sentence snippets of story starters, and I’m always hoping I’ll find one that sparks some brilliant, intoxicating surge of creativity, some whirlwind of production from which I’ll emerge with a fully written first draft of something all story-shaped and impressive.
A second confession: This never actually happens.
I like looking at writing prompts. But I’ll be the first to admit that, until recently, I had no real idea how to turn a writing prompt into an actual story.
How do you go from a prompt like Someone at a grocery store runs into a problem and actually make a story out of it? How do you take A ghost haunts a classroom or a dog that can talk joins local politics or a man wakes up to a tattoo he’s never had before — a set of numbers counting down and actually turn it into a full-blown story?
It’s actually really difficult to take someone else’s idea and make it your own! Most of my stories crop up entirely in my own head, so taking inspiration from an outside source can be befuddling and unfamiliar!
Maybe you’re like me. Maybe you’ve been intrigued by a writing prompt but had no idea what to do next with it. Or maybe you have an assignment for a creative writing class and have no idea how to start. Never fear! I’ve compiled some tips and tricks that should help you turn those prompts into full-blown projects.