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

Musical Creative Writing Prompts

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If you’re tired of writing about the same old topics, try these Musical Creative Writing Prompts.

These 30 prompts are guaranteed to dig you out of that rut and generate new material, and each one of them will offer a wonderful chance to exercise your writing muscles.

My advice is to start playing the music while you read the writing prompt, and let the music influence your prose as you start writing.

The early ones tend to be easier, so if you’re looking for more advanced prompts, check out the ones toward the end.

These prompts will work for flash fiction as well as serving up inspiration for longer pieces. And if you write flash fiction, make sure to check out this post on the Top 20 Flash Fiction Journals, where I rank flash fiction journals based on their website traffic. If you keep to short stories, you might want to look at these Rankings of Literary Magazines.

If any of these prompts are especially helpful, I would love to hear about it in the comments section. Tell me which ones are your favorites, or post a piece that you wrote because of one of these prompts.

1. Sufjan Stevens: “All of Me Wants All of You”

Write a scene at a water park where a love-stricken teenager tries to win the attention of an indifferent female.

Saw myself on Spencer’s Butte (All of me wants all of you)
Landscape changed my point of view (All of me wants all of you)
Revelation may come true (All of me wants all of you)
Now all of me thinks less of you (All of me wants all of you)


2. Alabama Shakes: “Don’t Wanna Fight No More”

Write about an uneasy truce between a couple on a long journey together, and how the air thickens with tension every time they come upon the one forbidden topic they know they can’t discuss.

What you like, what I like
Why can’t we both be right?
Attacking, defending
Until there’s nothing left worth winning
Your pride and my pride
Don’t waste my time

creative writing prompts

Want more great creative writing prompts? 

Check out Bookfox’s mammoth list of creative writing prompts.

It has short story ideas, story generators, YA prompts, historical prompts, and more.

3. Other Lives: “Black Tables”

Write about a person who recently tried to commit suicide coming back to school or work.

When the life in your eyes wants black
Things return. You’ve come back
With your body and your mind restored
It’s good to see
You once more


4. The Oh Hellos: “I Have Made Mistakes”

Write about a father who chooses the climb up at the beginning of a roller coaster ride to admit to his son the three biggest mistakes he’s made in his life.

I have made mistakes

I continue to make them
The promises I’ve made
I continue to break them


5. Asgeir: “Going Home”

Write about a prodigal son or daughter making their way home after a long absence, and the reactions of their family when they arrive unannounced.

Home, I’m making my way home
My mind’s already there
Yes, my mind is


6. Arcade Fire: “No Cars Go”

After your character quits his or her job, they arrive at a strange vacation choice (nudist colony? work commune? farm? Montana ranch?). Write about how their lofty expectations of their place differ from the reality.

We know a place where no planes go
We know a place where no cars go
We know a place where no spaceships go
We know a place where no subs go
Little babies, let’s go!
Women and children, let’s go!
Old folks, let’s go!


7. Big Bad Voodoo Daddy: “Jumpin’ Jack”

Show your character dancing and have their style of dance reveal their personality. How do they react when someone approaches them and tries to dance with them, especially someone they want to dance with or someone they don’t want to dance with? Don’t use any words to describe their reaction, only body language.

When you hit the dance floor you gotta be jumpin’ jack
Jump on in jump with your baby
Like a wild train rollin right down your track


8. Brazil 5000: Brazil 5000

Write a sex scene between two characters who know each other well and who keep getting annoyed at the small things the other one does. Have the sex serve as a metaphor for the problems in their relationship, and reveal what they think about the relationship from the way they act in bed.


9. Gregorian Chant: “Camelot Monastery”

Write about a character seeking a more profound spirituality who goes to a silent one-day retreat at a monastery. What problems do they experience, and what solutions do they discover for their life?


10. Elizabeth Mitchell: “Who’s My Pretty Baby”

Write from the POV of a child who discovers an exotic animal in her backyard and who adopts it as her baby, trying to dress it up with a bonnet and have a tea party with it. What happens when the animal turns mean or the parents discover it?

Who’ll be my little man
Who’ll be my nice lady
Who’ll be my funny little buddy
Hey hey pretty babe

11. Clint Mansell: “Welcome to Lunar Industries”

Describe a strange and foreign landscape as your character sees it for the first time after being stranded/abandoned there. Make your character into the kind of pioneer that must dominate this environment, but have them all too aware of the obstacles.


12. Johnny Cash: “I Walk the Line”

Put your married character into a situation where they’re tempted to flirt with someone else.

I keep a close watch on this heart of mine
I keep my eyes wide open all the time
I keep the ends out for the tie that binds
Because you’re mine, I walk the line


13. Miles Davis: “Summertime”

Two men meet on a park bench during a summer night. Using almost all dialogue, show how one of them wants something the other is not willing to give.


14. Moby: “Porcelain”

Write a goodbye letter from a fiance to her engaged, explaining why she has to leave him.

I never meant to hurt you
I never meant to lie
So this is goodbye
This is goodbye


15. Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds: “Red Right Hand”

A man has broken into the house of the man who slept with his wife, intending to kill him. As he stands over the sleeping cuckold’s bed, what does he notice about the man, and what does he decide to do?

You’ll see him in your nightmares,
you’ll see him in your dreams
He’ll appear out of nowhere but
he ain’t what he seems

See prompts 16 – 30


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