He got up and sat on the edge of the bedstead with his back to the window. “It’s better not to sleep at all,” he decided. There was a cold damp draught from the window, however; without getting up he drew the blanket over him and wrapped himself in it. He was not thinking of anything and did not want to think. But one image rose after another, incoherent scraps of thought without beginning or end passed through his mind. He sank into drowsiness. Perhaps the cold, or the dampness, or the dark, or the wind that howled under the window and tossed the trees roused a sort of persistent craving for the fantastic. He kept dwelling on images of flowers, he fancied a charming flower garden, a bright, warm, almost hot day, a holiday—Trinity day. A fine, sumptuous country cottage in the English taste overgrown with fragrant flowers, with flower beds going round the house; the porch, wreathed in climbers, was surrounded with beds of roses. A light, cool staircase, carpeted with rich rugs, was decorated with rare plants in china pots. He noticed particularly in the windows nosegays of tender, white, heavily fragrant narcissus bending over their bright, green, thick long stalks. He was reluctant to move away from them, but he went up the stairs and came into a large, high drawing-room and again everywhere—at the windows, the doors on to the balcony, and on the balcony itself—were flowers. The floors were strewn with freshly-cut fragrant hay, the windows were open, a fresh, cool, light air came into the room. The birds were chirruping under the window, and in the middle of the room, on a table covered with a white satin shroud, stood a coffin. The coffin was covered with white silk and edged with a thick white frill; wreaths of flowers surrounded it on all sides. Among the flowers lay a girl in a white muslin dress, with her arms crossed and pressed on her bosom, as though carved out of marble. But her loose fair hair was wet; there was a wreath of roses on her head. The stern and already rigid profile of her face looked as though chiselled of marble too, and the smile on her pale lips was full of an immense unchildish misery and sorrowful appeal. Svidrigaïlov knew that girl; there was no holy image, no burning candle beside the coffin; no sound of prayers: the girl had drowned herself. She was only fourteen, but her heart was broken. And she had destroyed herself, crushed by an insult that had appalled and amazed that childish soul, had smirched that angel purity with unmerited disgrace and torn from her a last scream of despair, unheeded and brutally disregarded, on a dark night in the cold and wet while the wind howled

Creative Writing Prompts for Young Adult (YA) Fiction

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Young Adult (YA) literature has become increasingly popular over the last few years. It’s probably because “Twilight,” “Hunger Games,” “Divergent,” “The Fault in Our Stars” and a handful of other YA books have been turned into movies. I like to think that’s the case because the books were great stories.

Say what you want about YA novels, but they have an ability to capture the formative nature of teenage years that I’ve yet to see elsewhere.

Take Stephen Chbosky’s “Perks of Being a Wallflower” for example. It’s the quintessential story of the high school misfit finding his place. But by adding a history of sexual abuse and mental illness, Chbosky writes a story that shows the impact our teenage years have on our lives.

John Green does this in “Looking for Alaska” and “Fault in Our Stars.” One chronicles the average life of a guy in boarding school who’s in love with the girl he can’t have. The other is simply a love story of teenagers who understand the importance of living your life. Yet somehow, Green takes seemingly straightforward plot lines and puts into words the unexplainable feeling of being an invincible teenager.

Of course, YA is done poorly as well. Just look at “Twilight” or “Divergent.” “Twilight” is about an unhealthy dependent relationship and “Divergent” is remarkably similar to other YA dystopian novels.

untitled-design-2As much as I might enjoy the books for ease of reading after a semester’s worth of course required books, they really don’t do the YA genre any good. Both series use simplistic sentence structure that require no effort to read. Which I believe does a disservice to the young adult reading it.

YA lit should be both a comfort and a challenge.

There’s nothing like a finishing a book like “My Heart and Other Black Holes” or “Made You Up” to find you’re not alone in your mental illness.

It’s great to read something like “None of the Above” and “Ready Player One” that force you to consider you beliefs.

But how can you make sure you fall in the category of successful and not reductive?

By writing a story that is relatable, not sentimental. By giving careful thought to the development of your characters and plot.

This is easy to read, but putting it into practice can be difficult. Sometimes, you just need that push to get you going.

Here are 50 creative writing prompts for YA that are sure to help you on your endeavor to write a meaningful story. Mix them up if you think that works best for you, but make sure that in the end, you have created something that has helped you and your writing.

Two helpful links for YA writers:

50 Creative Writing Prompts for YA Writers

  1. A brother and sister discover their dad has been having an affair with their favorite counselor at school.
  2. A girl is looking through old family albums with her mom and finds a picture of her as a child, sitting on the lap of man she doesn’t remember. She decides to find out who the man is.
  3. In the span of one week, a high school senior in the heart of Los Angeles is dumped by his girlfriend and told by his parents that they’re separating. He decides to live with his dad and they move to the place he grew up, a very small farming town in central California.
  4. A group of friends go to a party one night but wake up the next morning in a white tiled room with a one way mirror on one of the walls. They’re dressed in hospital gowns and each of them has a red scar on their right forearm.
  5. After her mom has died from cancer, Rylie finds a bundle of envelopes addressed to her in her mom’s handwriting. She opens the one on top and finds a slip of paper that reads: Summer of ’77, 142 Brooks Ct, WA.
  6. Josh is the only one who doesn’t pass the aptitude test, so when everyone else his age is moved to their new home, he is forced to stay with the Forsaken.
  7. It’s been 7 months since the accident and 3 months of physical therapy. On his last day of therapy, Chris is told that the person who was the prime suspect in his case has been cleared of all charges.
  8. The girl that Jordan’s been in love with for the past year gets into a major car accident, putting her in the hospital’s ICU.
  9. After a memorial service ends, a daughter lingers at her dad’s spot and leaves flowers for him. When she comes back the next day, more flowers have been added by someone else.
  10. When Kristin arrives for the first day of her new job, the store has been boarded up. She notices a note tucked under the doormat instructing her to go out back. When she does, she finds a door emitting a glowing green light.
  11. Alyssa is diagnosed with Asperger’s the same month she starts high school.
  12. Charlie heads back to his locker after class is let out but stops when he sees Marley, the girl he’s had a crush on throughout high school, standing beside his locker.
  13. A group of kids who have been friends since first grade leave their senior prom and decide to go on a road trip before going their separate ways for college.
  14. Ever since he was a little boy, Luke would spend every night in his backyard, lying on his back with Ashley and trying to name the constellations. But he can’t do that anymore.
  15. Zac lined up with everyone else in their black gowns and mortar hats. Just as the procession was about to begin, he remembered his first day of junior year English, when she walked into class after it had already begun.

creative writing prompts

If you like these YA prompts, check out all the other creative writing prompts here at Bookfox.

There are:

  • photo writing prompts
  • musical prompts
  • creative nonfiction prompts
  • first line generators
  • and more
  1. While her roommate is out of town, Hannah is woken up by the sound of someone in her room.
  2. The Collective only sought after teenagers between the ages of 15 and 17, and tomorrow was David’s 15th birthday.
  3. September came and that meant it was time for the annual trip to the family cabin.
  4. He woke up to excruciating pain and a blinding white light.
  5. A month before graduating, a senior gets shunned by all five of her closest friends, and she can’t figure out why.
  6. A guy live broadcasts a Ouija board session on Periscope, and though the people present don’t see anything special, his lone friend who was watching goes insane.
  7. In his junior year, the high school quarterback is told by his doctor that because of several concussions he’s received, there is a risk of permanent brain damage if he plays football his senior year. Does he decide to play or not?
  8. A male teenager who loves video games and organizes the chess club struggles with how to tell their parents that he wants to become a female.
  9. After being together for 5 months, a high school couple decides to have sex for the first time.
  10. A teenager with a 4.0 GPA is rejected by all twelve of the colleges she applied to, and decides to go to each college and confront each counselor who rejected her, demanding to know why they ruined her future.
  11. The “it” couple on campus is forced to break up when one of them moves across country for college.
  12. A teenager who has spent their entire life on a boat learns that there are other people in the world and they live on land.
  13. A 14-year-old teenager who is a musical protege is diagnosed with stage 4 brain cancer.
  14. A teenager makes candles and delivers them to the senior center where unbeknownst to her, her estranged grandfather lives.
  15. A teenager in the foster care system who is relocated seven times in seven years finally finds a family which is loving and functional, until he discovers the father’s dark secret.
  16. After being kicked out of their high school, a teenager is enrolled in the same boarding school his older sibling attended, and discovers there is a mysterious club there that he wants to join.
  17. A high school basketball star is the prime suspect in a murder trial of his ex-girlfriend.
  18. While all their friends are away for the summer, a soon-to-be senior spends his summer vacation working at the community pool, and falls in love with a girl in eighth grade.
  19. A teenager thinks she has it made when she lands the hottest college guy, until he dies in a fiery car accident and she learns about all his other girlfriends.
  20. After attending their first high school party, a freshman goes to school next week to learn that a video of her drunk and saying racist things is circulating around school.
  21. Two days after finishing up his first year at college, a teenager realizes he’s in love with a girl who just graduated and moved back home to a different state.
  22. While on a family vacation in Hawaii, Andrew tries surfing for the first time and receives help from one of the other surfers. It’s not until he gets back on shore that his brother tells him he just surfed with Kelly Slater.
  23. On Natalie’s first day on the job as a white water rafting coach, she loses one of her rafters in the waves.
  24. Instead of getting off on his exit, Charlie kept driving up the west coast until he hit the Canadian border.
  25. After being teased throughout middle school, a teenager decides to lose weight. But he’s really doing it because he’s ashamed of his overweight parents.
  26. After three failed suicide attempts, Liz’s doctor recommends she transfers to a new school.
  27. A teenager keeps a book full of intimate conversations she has overheard at her school. One day it goes missing and little by little, the conversations are leaked to the entire school.
  28. A teen’s mom abandons their family one night and leaves no trace of where she’s gone. But her children are determined to find her and learn why she left.
  29. In the middle of the night, Nate receives a call from his best friend’s mom informing him that her son had committed suicide.
  30. Lucy didn’t want middle of the night visits from her dad anymore, and the only way she knew how to end them was to run away.
  31. While house sitting for his neighbors, Stephen invites some friends over to hang out and watch a movie, but when they see the Porsche in the garage they decide to take it for a drive, even though none of them has their license.
  32. Emily has been trying for years to get recognized by a recording label and decides she’ll play one last show before calling it quits. When she takes the stage, she sees an executive from a Nashville label in the audience.
  33. Jake has messed up one too many times and his parents have sent him to a behavioral correction school. If he messes up again, he goes straight to juvenile detention.
  34. Jess spent every day after school writing in her journal about a world she had created and could escape to. One night after writing, she dreams of her world; but if she doesn’t wake up before sunrise, the dream will become reality and she won’t be able to get back.
  35. A teenage werewolf grew up in a world filled with witches, vampires, werewolves, and mermaids. But then she comes across a book that tells of a world full of only humans, and it changes her forever.

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58 comments

  1. I don’t like the wording of number 11. Asperger’s is not a disease. It is a neurological disorder on the autism spectrum.

    1. I love the ideas(so much creative energy). However, as a person with Aspergers, I also didn’t like the wording of number 11. Aspergers is a pain sometimes, but it’s actually a blessing in disguise.

      1. D is correct. Asperger’s is no longer in the DSM, the diagnostic manual for developmental disorders and mental health conditions. In its place there is a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder, in which the individual is further classified as high or low functioning- the former being previously labelled as Asperger’s

      2. I love the ideas. But I agree with you guys. I don’t like the wording for no.11. My brother has Aspergers and ASD – Autism. And he is especially amazing. What P said is true.

    2. Same Candie. My brother has autism and people treat it as a disease. He is normal just like everyone else and deserves to be called a kid.

    1. I know I’m three years after all of these comments, but these prompts really inspired me to keep writing again. Thank you!

  2. Hi – this website is quite good.
    I love number 34 and within a minute or two after seeing it I’ve got a story in my mind based on that!
    Thanks 🙂

  3. The 2nd number 18 should probably be edited. An age gap in minors of 5+ years is way too many, and it could definitely be taken as glorifying pedophilia. A high school senior would be 17/18, maybe even 19, whereas an 8th grader is around 13, barely entering puberty. That also comes with an unhealthy power dynamic in relationships that can easily become abusive. I don’t want this to be misconstrued.

    1. Well if each of them were say…10 years older then would it be okay then? Because now they are 23 and 29. That’s only a six year difference. At least he isn’t like, a 40 year old man or something…just saying

      1. Are you serious? Yes, a six year age difference probably won’t mean much where two sexually mature 20-somethings are involved, but does that then, make it ok for a 9 year-old and a 15 year-old to hook up? I’d hope you’d say not. And it’s not much better with a 13 year-old since like ASPEN said, they have barely entered puberty, and cannot even consent to 16+s in many places. I had to do a double-take on that passage myself, because we’re approaching almost American Beauty/Lolita territory here. Inappropriate.

      2. @ASPEN –
        It does not need to be edited. How someone interprets the prompt is their decision. Saying that this needs to be edited because it could be seen as glorifying pedophilia is basically saying, “This prompt is potentially controversial and therefore should not exist.” Also, do you know how many people find themselves in a situation similar to this, but never actually act on it due to the outlook individuals like you have? Of course, I do understand what you’re saying and I respect your opinion, but it’s definitely a rather one-sided opinion.

        @JFON – Are YOU serious? You can’t compare a nine-year-old and a fifteen-year-old to a thirteen-year-old and a seventeen or eighteen-year-old. You also cannot assume that a senior in high school is sexually mature while an eighth grader is not. Puberty can happen extremely early for some and extremely late for others. This could be taken into consideration if using this prompt. Also, please note that the plot does not say ANYTHING about them hooking up. It merely states that the senior falls in love with the girl. The plot could go multiple ways depending on the writer. Unfortunately, the first thing everyone probably assumes when reading that prompt is, “Oh my god! They had sex?!” *rolls eyes* Okay.
        Again, you also can’t compare this prompt to “American Beauty” or “Lolita” because (although you ironically tried to invalidate what Genevieve said), both plots involve MIDDLE-AGED men being sexually attracted to minors. The prompt above is no where close to approaching such territory. Also, keep in mind that the prompt states that the senior FELL IN LOVE with the eighth grader. The men in the two tales you mention NEVER loved the young women they preyed on; they simply lusted after them.

        ** TLDR: Whether the prompt is approached in an innocent or controversial manner is ultimately up to the writer. If it doesn’t float your fancy, simply do not add it to your repertoire.

    2. @Genevieve and Mickie:
      As an 18-year-old senior, there is absolutely no reason why someone my age should be “falling in love” with an eighth grader. It’s honestly disgusting how a bunch of grown adults can argue over this. I don’t care about puberty, this is a CHILD. Her brain is not fully developed, regardless of physical maturity. Imagine how ignorant you were at thirteen. Imagine if an 17 or 18-year-old “fell in love” with your childish, eighth grader self.
      Not to mention the fact that if they had sex, it would be considered rape under the law.
      You’re a worthless pedophile apologist and you need therapy.

      1. You’re being rediculous stop exaggerating. It’s just a story idea, you have no reason to call someone that.

      2. the age gap is what makes the story idea controversial and also, sort of interesting. No one here said they were going to hook up. It could just be him meeting a really funny girl and kind girl and later learning she is only 13. He knows he can’t have her because, um, pedophilia much? But maybe he becomes really good friends with her. Btw, kids are evolving. I have a younger sister who could be mistaken as the same age as me because of her personality and looks, but she is actually three and a half years younger

      3. I agree with Amber. A seventeen/eighteen year old falling in love with a thirteen year old child? disgusting. if that prompt is used I hope it’s not romanticized and the high school senior is exposed and condemned for being a predator

      4. As an 18 year old senior, your brain is not fully developed. So, as a person whose brain is still developing, you are bound to make mistakes or bad calls. Same with a fourteen year old. “Relationships” like that one happen all the time, and those sort of struggles are a good thing to write about. See, writing is a way to explore the ways of the world. We don’t live in a perfect world. We have growing teens. We fall in love in impossible situations with bad timing. Maybe you have to be mature to be able to write about those things, but writing is how we can express our thoughts and opinions.
        Also, please be respectful. It’s no fun to have somebody calling people nasty things on the internet, especially if those people are innocent.

      5. @AMBER no one ever said they had sex. If they did that’s a whole different story and is extremely disgusting and creepy. BTW i’m 10 so saying an eighth grader is childish makes me feel like a one year old baby.

    3. I completely understand what you’re saying and it all is true, but I think the reason it would be a good story is because of the age gap they would have difficulties which is what would make it a story. otherwise, it would be like every other love story. I hope this isn’t coming off as rude these are just my thoughts.

      1. I agree with Grace and Santana L – look at it in a different way and it is not so bad – and if you don’t want to look at it or don’t agree with it, then just ignore it for goodness sake.

    4. This is a quite dumb argument, but I’d still like to weigh in my opinion. The prompt does not state anything about the two being in a relationship. The 17 year old may fall in love with someone, but also be completely ashamed of it because of how the 8th grader is well, 13-14. But the writer could choose to have them not act on anything, just have the controversial showings of how someone could love someone but do nothing about it because of the age gap. I’m 13, going into 8th grade, and judging from a lot of people in my grade I’ve talked to, they say the most age gap they’d date is a year (13 year olds would date 14 year olds, etc). Most 8th graders are more level headed than some would think (sometimes .. definitely not always…) If the protagonist has no intention of doing anything about it, except potentially waiting without doing anything about it, than I don’t see anything wrong with it. If the 17 year old was trying to be in a relationship with the 13 year old, it wouldn’t technically be illegal and all but it would seem a little creepy (modern day wise), depending on motives. Like when they turn 18-19, and they’re dating a 14-15 year old, that’s where it gets a little unlawful. But depending on the direction the writer takes, this prompt could be executed finely. I understand the concern and all, but it just depends on the write honestly. I don’t think Mickië was too far off, in a sense. Thanks, stay respectful of everyone’s opinions 😀

    5. I mean yeah its disgusting and could possibly be dangerous but it could also be okay. Besides its just a story. And by the way 13 isn’t always “barely entering puberty”. It can start as early as age 8 or 9. btw if you don’t like the idea then just don’t use it.

    6. Okay. I’m going to get all of this straight and try to be unbiased here. First of all, like @LINDSAY said, it never says they had sex. Yes it would indeed be illegal if the guy was 18 but it just says senior. I understand how you guys think that is weird for a senior to fall in love with an 8th grader. I mean, hell, I’m a junior and it’s fine to fall for someone a year younger or year older but an 8th grader just doesn’t pass for some people. Sometimes things like that happen but you can honestly make the story anyway you want. For all you know, the guy was so smart he jumped 2 grades. I don’t know because these were just ideas. The purpose of this was to give you an idea for a story and our job was to make endless combinations of it. It’s our imagination and it will take us where ever. As you can see, this argument spiraled when someone mentioned sex, even though it never said that on #18. I agree with everyone so I’m trying super hard to be unbiased right now. But anyways, my point is, some of ya’ll chose to make it to where they have sex, or some of ya’ll may choose to make the guy smart and jump grades, I don’t know. You choose. But, Bottom line, it never said they had sex, it may be weird for them to fall for each other depending on how you make the story. Remember these are just ideas and you can make them however you want.
      PERIODT.
      I feel like a broken record, I’m sorry for repeating myself so many times but yeah. That’s what I had to say. This argument has lasted since 2017. I hope this finally puts an end to it and I hope everyone is safe during Covid-19 and uh yeah.
      🙂 have a great day person, also if you are in H.S or Middle School, here’s a message for you.

      Middle Schoolers,
      I honestly hated Middle School. Some people liked it, which probably means I did something wrong. The way you can make Middle School the best years of your life is, choose your friends so wisely. I swear to freaking god that’s the only way school will be amazing. Choose real friends, and it’ll be so fun. Don’t focus on being popular or whatever because that crap will mess your H.S years up so bad. I mean if you’re popular, everyone who isn’t gossips about the popular kids. SO yeah. Be a kid while you can because it’s the best thing you can have.

      High Schoolers,
      I mean, I don’t even know where to start with us. Like honestly, all I have to say is don’t vape or smoke. That shit ain’t cool. It’s nasty. But whatever. No one will listen to me anyways but don’t come crying when you’re on your hospital bed trying to get new lungs. That shit messes you up so bad, so don’t even touch one. And one more thing. If someone offers you vape, and you don’t wanna seem like a loser and say no and you think you have to accept it.. DON”T! Just ask them what vape flavor it is and whatever they respond back tell them you don’t like it.
      ~fax.~
      So yeah.. I learned all of this from experience, (except I never vaped or smoked).
      I hope my lecture and words of wisdom get you somewhere in life.

      love,
      Sadie

  4. Thank you… These are great ideas. But the one about the Forsaken sounds similar to the Divergent trilogy that you criticized. I like the Divergent trilogy… I was surprised a prompt had a similar plot.

  5. Aspen, the idea of the senior and 8th grader sounds great – it could be written in a really interesting way and they probably wouldn’t end up together, since it is a big age gap. The fact that it’s a big age gap seems like a really interesting premise but I’d want to see regret and/or what the girl learns from this.

  6. I REALLY like these. I do not think the second number 18 needs to be edited because I think it could be a really interesting story without them getting together. Also, we cannot assume that the senior is a 17-18-year-old and the 8th grader is a 13-15-year-old. The 8th grader could have stayed back, or the senior moved ahead. Let’s not forget many, for example, freshmen girls would have crushes on senior boys. (I just got an idea for that story where it turns out the girl is his half-sister whom he never knew existed!) Feel free to use that! Anyways, I am a 6th grader looking for prompts for my school paper, this definitely helped spark my creativity. (I can think of prompts, just never ones that fit the assignment brief! Does anyone else have that problem?) Thank you so much for those great prompts!

  7. So West, I am VERY experienced in the world of mental disorders, and I believe that that is not accurate. While Asperger’s is not a disease you would still use the word diagnosed for any mental disorder.

  8. I Love these ideas! I’ve been writing since I was 9 and have never had so much trouble, thinking on what I should write. BUT now, I’m ready to get typing and writing. THANK YOU –

  9. I love # 26! It actually reminds me of my crush Liazabeth i call her liz and she suicidal i try helping her the best i can but she just recently moved to another school cause the people at school where such bitches toward her. I miss her a lot. We were gonna be the best lesbian couple ever… pls dont hate that where bisexual.

  10. I love the prompts, but I’m having the hardest time writing about any of them. I just can’t get the words to flow.

    1. just picture something like one of the stories happening in your head and just let your fingers do the typing. you just need to make the words make sense to you then reread every sentence, sentence by sentence and reword it.

  11. Some of these are great but in my opinion, the vast majority are a very slight variation on the same thing. Boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl back. Or – boy/girl x is in love with boy/girl y but they don’t know it. Or – my first love died in a horrific accident/became terminally ill….and finally – my highschool boyfriend/girlfriend split up with me and my life is inexorably changed forever.

    I would have liked to have seen more variety of genres represented here. Not all YA stories have to be about forbidden / unattainable love or breakups. Nor do they all have to be set in this timeline/century. Most genres can be adapted to fit a YA story. You really should add more variety here. Just an opinion.

  12. Adri of course you don’t recognize the problem of number 18 because you are only sixteen yourself. When you are older you’ll (hopefully) realize how immoral it would be

  13. I really like these. Whenever I start to write something I can never finish it, I just doubt myself. Good luck to everyone writing their stories.

  14. The second number 8 is worded innapropriately. If the MC wants to ‘become a woman’, we can assume that the MC is a trans woman. The correct wording would be “A teenager assigned male at birth who loves video games and organizes the chess club struggles with how to tell her parents that she is a transgender girl.”

    1. While I agree, I do not like the phrase “wants to be female” when describing trans folk, I understand the complications and easily confused language of a prompt such as “A teenager who loves video games and organizes the chess club struggles to come out to her parents as trans” because, in this version, one could interpret it to mean either an FTM teen or an MTF teen. Although, it does allow for more options.

  15. The ideas are great, but the only problem is, how do we know that the topics we chose is not yet chosen by anybody?

    1. I understand how you would see this as a problem, but it really isn’t. Multiple people can choose the same prompt, and every version would turn out different from the rest. So you really do not need to worry about if anyone has already chosen and started working on a prompt that you yourself want(ed) to choose.

  16. To those suggesting that things should be edited and changed, because you didn’t like this or that rubbed you the wrong way, please realize that this person was kind enough to offer brilliant prompts. If your talent truly lies in writing, they would’ve sparked something within your imagination instead of igniting criticism over your sensibilities, mental disorders, and proper vs. improper.
    I have to say that I was trying to find a spark, which is how I found your site. Thank you because what you’ve provided got me moving in the “write” direction. I won’t be copying any of the ideas, but they did get my wheels grinding. Thanks again.