In the wide world of writing prompts, the options are slim for creative nonfiction writers. Even the relevant prompts are often jumbled together with essay and fictional prompts, making it hard for writers to find what they really want.
But not to worry. I present one whole hefty list of prompts just for creative nonfiction writers.
One small note before you dive in: don’t be afraid to mix and match the prompts. Each suggestion was meant to highlight a specific line of inspiration. There is absolutely no reason that two or three of these can’t be explored within one piece.
In fact, just use my tiny suggestions as springboards. Good luck!
How are creative writing exercises different than writing prompts or story generators?
Creative writing exercises are designed to teach a technique. They are highly specific, more specific than creative writing prompts, and much more specific than story generators.
Creative writing exercises for adults are not designed to lead the writer into crafting a full story, but are only designed to help them improve as a writer in a narrow, specific category of writing skills.
I’ve broken the exercises below into categories so you can choose what category of skill you’d like to practice. Can you guess which category in this list has the most prompts?
The instructions for these 52 picture writing prompts are simple: write a story combining some element of all three pictures. It can be crazy or funny or wild, but you have to incorporate some element of all three images.
There’s a scientific reason for why three pictures work better than a single image: because creativity comes from firing up neurons that don’t normally crash into each other. For many of these images, the three pictures don’t seem to combine or complement each other in familiar ways.
That’s the point.
If you stare hard enough, your creativity will find a way to connect these dissimilar dots, and the resulting story will be unlike anything you’ve ever written before. You will have found your way into new material.
Of course, if you want to make it easier, you can simply choose two out of the three images and try to make a story out of those elements.
I hope these 37 creative writing prompt pictures of emojis either make you laugh or write.
They’re meant to be suggestive, not to sketch out the entire story. Some of them just have a premise, while others suggest a possible ending. Feel free to change whatever you need to in your story to make them work. After all, they’re meant as inspiration, not as a blueprint.
I would suggest trying to start in the middle, en media res, as they say, and write as quickly as you can. I meant these writing prompt pictures mostly as inspiration for short stories, but if you feel these emojis could inspire a novel, go for it. I just expect to be mentioned in the Acknowledgements. Oh, and receive a 15% cut. 😀
There are lot of creative writing prompts out there, and even some image-based writing prompts, but I think this is new: Musical Creative Writing Prompts.
In the righthand sidebar there’s a link to a new page I’ve recently created with 30 song-based writing prompts. Each prompt has a song paired with a specific writing exercise based on that song.
When composing writing prompts, there’s always a tension between giving enough specific information to inspire the writer, and giving so much information that the writer feels like the imaginative work has already been done for them. I tried to find a nice compromise between those extremes.
If you’re looking for easier prompts, keep to the ones at the beginning. Advanced writers: you should be challenged by the later prompts.
If you like any of them, please tell me! List your favorites in the comments section of that page.