Let’s Clarify: What’s the Writing Prompt Definition?
When you write an application essay for college or you get an essay question on tests, it’s based on writing prompts. You get one or few sentences that should trigger the creative thinking process and get you started. But if you don’t know what writing prompts are, you might get confused.
So let’s define the concept in the clearest way possible.
Creative writing prompts come in the form of a sentence starter, quote, description, or a picture. Their purpose is to get you thinking. The task basically says: here’s your topic; show us what you’ve got!
First and foremost, writing prompts are useful for assignments. When your professors want to get all students to write on the same topic, they use prompts, which are better than simple topics. The prompt is more descriptive, so it’s clearly more inspiring. However, it still allows for great flexibility, so they will still get versatile responses from the students.
But that’s not where the uses of creative writing prompts stop. Even professional writers rely on them. When they lack inspiration, for example, quotes can serve as great writing prompts. Amateur writers use prompts even more. They are great for practicing. Daily writing prompt ideas trigger their creative thinking process, so they can get inspired to write on a regular basis.
How to Write Creative Writing Prompts
Now that you know what a writing prompt is, you have two main question on your mind:
How do you write a creative prompt?
In the best-case scenario, you won’t have to write creative writing prompts. Someone will write it for you. If you’re a student, you’ll get this prompt on the test or with the assignment instructions. If you’re a writer who wants to practice, you’ll find a prompt in the form of a quote, which you’ll easily find on Goodreads or another website. You may even become part of an online challenge, which gives daily prompts for writers to write on.
But you may also design your own creative writing prompts. That’s a great idea if you want a unique starter that would lead to unique content. If you’re ready to craft your own prompt, you’ll need to brainstorm. Here are few tips to help with that:
Do you have a unique experience? Something that really surprised you when it happened? Turn it into a prompt!
Can you think of a funny anecdote that recently occurred?
What’s your favorite memory from childhood? Did you know that Marcel Proust wrote a novel of seven volumes triggered by the memory of his favorite sweets from childhood? It’s called In Search of Lost Time. Look it up!
What’s your favorite quote from your favorite author? You can use it as a prompt.
Have you had something close to a supernatural experience? Write about it!
A “what if” question is also a nice foundation for a prompt. What if global starvation occured? What if electricity was never invented? What if Hitler didn’t exist? What if Napoleon achieved his conquering goals? What if you don’t wake up tomorrow?
Use your senses. What do you see, smell, hear, taste, or feel to the touch when you’re in your favorite place?
After the brainstorming process, you’ll end up with few ideas. Choose the best one. You’ll use it as a foundation for your creative writing prompt. The prompt should be consisted of one or few sentences that you’ll use as a beginning of the writing process. Make it very specific, but not too detailed. You want some flexibility, so you can get really creative when you start writing.
How do you use it once you get it?
Now that you have your writing prompt, it’s time to start writing.
If you got the prompt along with an assignment, make sure you understand its purpose. Professors don’t assign writing prompts just because they want to help you get creative. They do it because they want to see how well you can write relevant content when you get a specific starting point.
What’s the question you need to answer? What’s the theme you need to stick to?
Search for words that explain the assignment. If you see clarify, then you’ll need to make something clearer. Maybe you should explain, describe, or summarize something. It’s important to stay on point.
If you thought of your own prompt, you already know what you want to achieve. But it’s still important to write something that continues the logical flow that the prompt sets out for you.
When writing according to creative writing prompts, you rarely need to do research. You just need to get creative. So start writing without thinking about anything else. Just write! Even if you don’t like what comes out of the process, you can always edit later on. You can even use the same prompt to write something entirely different. There’s no limit to the creativity that a prompt can trigger.
Cool Writing Prompt Ideas to Get You Started
You need a specific writing prompt idea that would get your creative juices flowing? No problem! We’ll list several writing prompts that you can feel free to use for your practice or assignments.
What is trust and how can you fully trust someone?
“Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” – Leo Tolstoy
If you had the opportunity to spend a day with any living person on Earth, who would it be?
You’re a powerful wizard and you decide to put the entire world under a spell. What’s the spell?
Some moments in life are not ordinary. They are turning points. Write about such a turning point in your life.
“Whoever controls the media, controls the mind.” – Jim Morrison
The police comes to your home with a search warrant. What could they be looking for? What will they find?
Write about your favorite piece of music.
Write about a random act of kindness someone did for you. How did it affect you?
What’s your greatest weakness?
Is there anything extraordinary about ordinary life?
I’m a very good person, but I’m also a very bad person…
You wake up and there’s a strange door in your bedroom that you’ve never seen before. You open it. What do you find?
Imagine you could head off to your dream destination right now. Where will you go?
Is there something illegal that you’d want to make legal?
“Things we lose have a way of coming back to us in the end, if not always in the way we expect.” – JK Rowling
Write about the biggest failure you’ve ever faced.
Choose Your Writing Prompts and Start Writing!
Hopefully, those writing prompt ideas will get you going. Are you inspired already?
It’s time to pick your favorite creative writing prompts and write something really good. The best thing about writing prompts is their versatility. There are so many of them that you’ll definitely find something inspiring.
Here’s a honest recommendation for anyone who wants to become a better writer: write frequently! In fact, you should write every single day! Instead of waiting for inspiration to hit you, you can simply search for it. You can use creative writing prompts to trigger your creativity and write every day.