They’re the writer’s stock-in-trade.
We take the seed of an idea and transform it with our words into a world full of characters and events and other ideas. If we’ve done our job right, readers are left wanting more and full of their own ideas about what might come next.
But the muse is a cruel mistress because, while she’s sweet and beautiful and powerful when we hold her, all too often she refuses to take our call.
And so, left to our own devices, we hit the literary streets in search of our next story idea, our next fiction fix.
Modern writers have it easy in this respect because we live in the age of this humongous electronic idea generator we call the Internet. All across the web, people from all walks of life spew forth their thoughts on a daily basis, and we just need to swoop in and gather up the information.
If there is any one corner of the Internet that serves as a collective stream of consciousness, and therefore an endless supply of potential story ideas, it’s Twitter. According to David Sayce, we (humans) Tweeted about 200 billion times in 2016 alone!
There are even hashtags specifically designed to inspire our creativity: #WritingPrompt and #WritingPrompts, for example.
Those are the origins of this post, which is a compilation of 50 of the best #WritingPrompts from Twitter during the early parts of 2017. I’ve categorized them in a sort of genre-like structure so you can zero in on the type of inspiration you need.
If you like this type of collection, let me know and I’ll consider doing more in the future.
For now, though, let’s dig in, get inspired, and then go write!
This first set of prompts don’t really fall neatly into any one category, but they open up the possibility of all sorts of different stories. Take them in and let your mind wander. Then go write.
— Toasted Cheese (@toasted_cheese) February 7, 2017
— Nathan Bay 🏳️🌈 (@NathanBayAuthor) February 6, 2017
— WriMuse (@WriMuse) February 6, 2017
— True Gold Magazine (@truegoldmag) February 6, 2017
Sometimes, nothing will slake your urge to … um … write a good horror story. And when you can’t think of one on your own, a few dark words from others can help. Twisted Tweets, anyone?
— Scary Cabin (@scarycabin) January 3, 2017
Before it began to rain blood, before the thunderous gunshot, before it all, lightning struck. #writingprompt
— Samuel McGrath (@SamuelMcGrath5) January 30, 2017
— Kendall Purser (@kendallwrites) January 12, 2017
— CoffeeQuills (@coffeequills) February 7, 2017
— ProWebWriter (@pr0webwriter) February 7, 2017
— Michelkin Publishing (@michelkinpub) February 6, 2017
— Writing In Florida (@WritingInFla) January 31, 2017
— ❝Elizabeth Hope❞ (@elizhopewrites) January 14, 2017
For old-timers like me, Twitter seems to have flashed straight off the page of a science fiction novel and onto our computer screens. How else can you explain the fact that a middle-aged scribe in Indiana can type “at” George Takei (@GeorgeTakei)?
These Tweets, then, pay homage to these roots, prompting you toward your own SciFi masterpiece.
— L. Meadow (@Meadow337) January 29, 2017
— Knatia Parson (@knatiaparson) January 12, 2017
— howtowriteblank (@howtowriteblank) February 7, 2017
#writingprompt #1 A strange glowing circle has appeared in the field near your house, describe in second person how it was discovered
— Tobias Gray (@writertobias) February 6, 2017
— Fake Redhead Prompts (@The_FakeRedhead) January 31, 2017
— Stephanie W McKnight (@steffimcknight) January 25, 2017
— Stephanie W McKnight (@steffimcknight) January 22, 2017
— Lori King (@LoriKingBooks) January 18, 2017
Life is hard and dark, at least sometimes. When your feeling down and the world looks bleak, maybe you just need a laugh. These prompts will help you come up with your own.
— Blocked (@InkCraft1) January 30, 2017
— TheWritingReader (@WritingReader) January 8, 2017
— Lexi Lefevre (@LexiIsAWriter) January 8, 2017
— Eileen Beha (@EileenBeha) February 7, 2017
A picture is worth … well, it’s worth however many words the story you write about it yields. Many of these images defy categorization, but they all inspire a story as soon as you see them. Go write your.
— J. Aurel Guay (@Losthawken) February 6, 2017
— iAuthor 📚 (@i_Author) February 6, 2017
— iAuthor 📚 (@i_Author) January 31, 2017
— Colin McMahon (@ColinPMcMahon) January 31, 2017
— TheWritingReader (@WritingReader) January 30, 2017
— Belinda Burke (@BBurkeAuthor) January 30, 2017
Ahhhh, love! They say it makes the world go round, and romance stories definitely make millions of hearts go pitter-patter across the globe. If you’re ready to write your own heartfelt tale but don’t quite have a handle on your angle, you just might love these prompts.
— Shonda Brock (@shondabrock) February 6, 2017
— Jeannie- BitbyBit (@adajeancastle2) January 31, 2017
— Annie Arcane (@AnnieTheAuthor) January 31, 2017
— Melissa Bobe (@abookbumble) January 2, 2017
— Rebecca Boom (@Bombclancy) January 31, 2017
History & Nostalgia
Modern life is hectic and complicated, and lots of folks long for simpler days. That helps explain the popularity of both historical fiction and nostalgia-based websites & throwback trends. Use these prompts to help you step back into the past and write about the “good ol’ days.”
— Retrospect (@MyRetrospect) January 31, 2017
— Melissa Bobe (@abookbumble) January 30, 2017
— Normie Salvador (@Normie_Salvador) January 19, 2017
— Laura (@Mum_Reader) January 19, 2017
— Kelsey Stone (@scifistone) January 9, 2017
Sometimes, ordinary everyday life can be just as interesting as any fantastical movie or book you can imagine. These prompts will help you open your eyes to the intricacies of the world around you and start on your own fascinating story.
Authors, what would you characters do when they hear the neighbors having a loud fight? #WritingPrompt
— Bradley Cannon (@BradleyJCannon) January 31, 2017
— South Gate Society (@SouthGateWriter) January 30, 2017
— Rob Bignell (@InventingRealit) January 31, 2017
— Writing Tree (@writing_tree) January 31, 2017
— Martha Conway (@marthamconway) January 30, 2017
In a dream, you find yourself back in school. Write a story inspired by this dream. #WritingPrompt
— Ann Harrison (@annwrites75) January 30, 2017
Animals & Nature
A dog may be man’s best friend, but he can also be an author’s best ally when it comes to chasing down story ideas. These prompts call on our canine buds — as well as other parts of the natural world — to help you heed the call of the write.
— Dean Hardage (@DHardage_58) January 31, 2017
The car was almost 20 pounds heavier coming home. Jake looked under the passenger seat. Iggy the iguana had snuck aboard.
— Lee Gabel ✏️ (@LeeFGabel) January 30, 2017
— Lisa M. Hase-Jackson (@ZingaraPoet) January 31, 2017
— Writing In Florida (@WritingInFla) January 24, 2017
— MPC Creative Writing (@MPCWriting) January 12, 2017
— K. M. Watt (@kimmwatt) January 27, 2017
— Bridget Kirkwood (@kirkwoodbridget) January 22, 2017
— TheWritingReader (@WritingReader) January 9, 2017
Also published on Medium.