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.
"Do it now; we'll be very busy later." #amwriting #writingprompt #TCPrompts https://t.co/g8i7s7fwNe
— Toasted Cheese (@toasted_cheese) February 7, 2017
Take something simple that exists now, which nobody thinks twice about. Make it a conspiracy theory.https://t.co/5EP03iLL3S
— Nathan Bay 🏳️🌈 (@NathanBayAuthor) February 6, 2017
Write about an addict of some kind looking for something or someone on a farm. #writingprompt #amwriting
— WriMuse (@WriMuse) February 6, 2017
Grace Prompt #1: When you think of the word Grace, whose face pops in your mind first? #WritingPrompt #Grace #TrueGold pic.twitter.com/xXJJHUnO7N
— 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?
Those few lights on in a dark house tho…. #horror #horrorfan #creepy #inspiration #writingprompt #inspo https://t.co/l78i0Ux0yY
— 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
The cat's eye gleamed at me from the darkness. I didn't know where Marley was, but I hoped he was near by! #storyin140 #writingprompt
— Kendall Purser (@kendallwrites) January 12, 2017
#writingprompt – He looked around to see if anyone nearby had dropped it.
"Don't touch it boy. That's a #Tanuki #drinking #bottle." pic.twitter.com/CWs5u5VWUT
— CoffeeQuills (@coffeequills) February 7, 2017
[CP] A killer who has a fear of blood https://t.co/1zRpcc26bR #WritingPrompt #AmWriting
— ProWebWriter (@pr0webwriter) February 7, 2017
#writingprompt #amwriting https://t.co/Zpw02QI3BN
— Allison Lofton (@Allie38295) February 6, 2017
A fun #writingprompt for all the #writers out there. Looking for a #publisher? Check us out at https://t.co/mdALNnZBgB #mswl #getpublished pic.twitter.com/l1IgzSK1Zy
— Michelkin Publishing (@michelkinpub) February 6, 2017
The dog growled at something moving outside. Then I saw the shadow. #writingprompt #dailyprompt pic.twitter.com/lRCBddunsf
— Writing In Florida (@WritingInFla) January 31, 2017
Here's a little #weekend #writingprompt – please enjoy! 😍#amwriting #YA #WIP #dystopian #scifi #fantasy #romance #writingparty #joinme pic.twitter.com/ikcsOhE2ip
— ❝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.
#writingprompt #scifi Scientists discover a new state of matter 'time crystals'. @TheProseApp
— L. Meadow (@Meadow337) January 29, 2017
#scifi #horror #writingprompt pic.twitter.com/uG4p3QzxlA
— Knatia Parson (@knatiaparson) January 12, 2017
"All we have to do is create a temporary suspension of the laws of nature!?" he sputtered. #dialogueprompt #storyprompt #writingprompt
— 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
Number 1️⃣4️⃣ #WritingPrompt #Dialogue #Inspiration #Moon pic.twitter.com/9L8sHPJrgO
— Fake Redhead Prompts (@The_FakeRedhead) January 31, 2017
#FinalisFinibusTractus#writingprompt #scifi #scifiworld #amwriting#spacetalk#hubble #speculativefiction#NASA pic.twitter.com/tyoCWEkswo
— Stephanie W McKnight (@steffimcknight) January 25, 2017
#FinalisFinibusTractus #spacetalk #scifi #writingprompt #HumanRights https://t.co/NhIzQHEnoG pic.twitter.com/u9AaFJN36C
— Stephanie W McKnight (@steffimcknight) January 22, 2017
Love this #scifi idea#plotbunnies #amwriting #MyWANA #writingprompt pic.twitter.com/MntWWl1f7d
— 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.
#writingprompt Arnold the Bald tasted food for a living… pic.twitter.com/3sIq0FUpFx
— Blocked (@InkCraft1) January 30, 2017
#visualprompt Nose Burn https://t.co/Ykw4aHJKxD #keepwriting #writeeveryday #writingprompt pic.twitter.com/x4h5UPI2VN
— TheWritingReader (@WritingReader) January 8, 2017
Oh my, it's the second #POVprompt!! Is your squirrel sorrowful, optimistic, or out for revenge? Humans ruin everything! #writingprompt pic.twitter.com/8DtcGCVawG
— Lexi Lefevre (@LexiIsAWriter) January 8, 2017
A writing prompt for creating stories about your … family. https://t.co/SPspwaEpkq #writingprompt pic.twitter.com/s6rahbLzWq
— 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.
Here is today's #writingprompt! Reply with your link to a #flashfiction based on these 3 images: pic.twitter.com/1VzO53kgjn
— J. Aurel Guay (@Losthawken) February 6, 2017
Post the opening lines of a story based on this image (https://t.co/So3TYVa4tD) #writingprompt #wattpad #writingprompts #ian1 pic.twitter.com/8rmSVLvFLs
— iAuthor 📚 (@i_Author) February 6, 2017
Tweet the opening lines of a story based on this Rene Vasquez image #writersofinstagram #writingprompt #NationalStorytellingWeek #ian1 pic.twitter.com/e12bAVn1RK
— iAuthor 📚 (@i_Author) January 31, 2017
Need help with your setting? #writerslife #amwriting #amediting #writingprompt https://t.co/u8Z8JXUtdP
— Colin McMahon (@ColinPMcMahon) January 31, 2017
Night in the Forest https://t.co/eaE3SC48z0 #writingprompt pic.twitter.com/3TZihbZHrO
— TheWritingReader (@WritingReader) January 30, 2017
The words…continue! #DailyPrompt 389, glorious beings! #amwriting #writingprompt pic.twitter.com/m8902FyO4Y
— 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.
"She loved him and he loved her,
but it wasn’t that simple." https://t.co/dIcPd3P3PI #writingprompt #writingcontest #writing pic.twitter.com/NQJOqiBUGE
— Shonda Brock (@shondabrock) February 6, 2017
#photopoem #storypoem #prosepoetry #writingprompt "write about something sweet" pic.twitter.com/edE5R21c9V
— Jeannie- BitbyBit (@adajeancastle2) January 31, 2017
#ReadersUnite #AmReading #AmWriting #Romance #DarkRomance #FlashFiction Gimme a #WritingPrompt here: https://t.co/tWgA97DjGL Pretty plz? 😘
— Annie Arcane (@AnnieTheAuthor) January 31, 2017
#writingprompt:In a #romance scene in your #story, use a classic element (candles, roses, etc.) but remix it somehow to make it less cliché.
— Melissa Bobe (@abookbumble) January 2, 2017
"Flickering fireflies illuminated the grove from below. I was home."
Current #editing here: https://t.co/1kXO07c49z #writingprompt #love pic.twitter.com/uUPQAD5cdQ
— 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.”
Could a Senior rebellion be about fashion? What We Wore #writingprompt. #ThinkBackShareForward https://t.co/UbvuSmSZk9 pic.twitter.com/9tHLDSVsqn
— Retrospect (@MyRetrospect) January 31, 2017
#writingprompt: What era in fashion & style has shaped the way your main character accessorizes life? #writing #inspiration #writerslife
— Melissa Bobe (@abookbumble) January 30, 2017
#writingprompt #nostalgia #tbt Nostalgia Goggles: As you watch a beloved childhood TV show/movie, you realize it hasn't aged well at all.
— Normie Salvador (@Normie_Salvador) January 19, 2017
Wondering if there's a time portal in my parents' back garden …it definitely doesn't look like 2017! #writingprompt #cheshire #vintage pic.twitter.com/EG58pFXKxR
— Laura (@Mum_Reader) January 19, 2017
What would trigger a memory in your character, good or bad? Madeleines anyone?#amwriting #writingprompt pic.twitter.com/iFnDxiK39X
— 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
"God told us that we should love our neighbour. If he'd met mine, I'm sure he'd understand why that's impossible."#writingprompt #sgs
— South Gate Society (@SouthGateWriter) January 30, 2017
Writing Prompt: Go people watching https://t.co/PfRP7xC0ri #author #WritingPrompt #StoryStarter
— Rob Bignell (@InventingRealit) January 31, 2017
You meet a softly-spoken man with a Scottish accent on a train. What happens next?#writingprompt #amwriting
— Writing Tree (@writing_tree) January 31, 2017
Nothing prepared her for this. #writingprompt #10minwriting
— 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.
@i_Author Lupe wandered joyfully along the path accompanied by the rest of the pack. #writingprompt #writingprompts #epicfantasy
— 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
Write a haiku based on the scene outside your window right now. No window? Imagine.
— Lisa M. Hase-Jackson (@ZingaraPoet) January 31, 2017
“I was just thinking about my first dog. God, I hated that beast.” #writingprompt #dailyprompt pic.twitter.com/9hfFfYmP3f
— Writing In Florida (@WritingInFla) January 24, 2017
Salve your soul. Write a poem about a dog. #writingprompts #writingprompt #poetry #POEMS #poets @mpclibrary @salinaslibrary @CarmelLibrary https://t.co/b3xpee5uYg
— MPC Creative Writing (@MPCWriting) January 12, 2017
That face – he is not a cat to be trifled with. #cats #amwriting #writingprompt https://t.co/ypHAznMV0f
— K. M. Watt (@kimmwatt) January 27, 2017
He licked me. Whichever school of seduction he'd been to, it was the wrong one. #writingprompt #amwriting#dogs #cat pic.twitter.com/6wG5ngNyhb
— Bridget Kirkwood (@kirkwoodbridget) January 22, 2017
#visualprompt O Hai https://t.co/LP4d7t1X14 #keepwriting #writeeveryday #writingprompt pic.twitter.com/YXKG5cwkAj
— TheWritingReader (@WritingReader) January 9, 2017