Creative Writing Prompts

August 31, 2011 | Lists

The Shark Guys have been putting words together ever since we first realized that alphabet blocks could be used to spell out obscenities. It is a skill that would prove useful later in life when the ability to compose dirty limericks became important and might one day prove life-saving if we’re ever in front of a band of bush assassins who only grant freedom to those capable of writing a structurally sound essay outlining why they should be let go.

Like all wordsmiths, and possibly blacksmiths as well, we do at times suffer from the inability to get the word down. Writer’s block can take many forms – hitting a creative wall, for example, or hearing a voice that says, “You worthless son of a bitch, stop at the next comma and get a real job. You’re no more a writer than Stephen Hawking is a rodeo cowboy.” (Note: If you hear that voice, please ask your wife to maintain a bit of decorum while you’re working and/or pay your mother the overdue rent.)


Regardless of the form writer’s block takes, when the muse leaves you, it’s awfully difficult to get her back. You can send the muse a carnation with a Hallmark greeting card affixed to it, remember to call the muse on her birthday and even inquire about the well-being of the muse’s mother who you privately consider an irksome, venal trout. You can buy the muse diamonds and take the muse on an all-expenses paid vacation to somewhere where sandals worn all day long outdoors wouldn’t lead to amputated toes in December. But no matter how good you are to the muse, if she doesn’t want to come out and shake a few words worth someone else’s time out of your keyboard, she won’t.

We’ve done our duty dance with the muse on many occasions and know how keen she is to stomp feet, but we’ve also learned some ways to give her the odd spin and dip when she’s least expecting it.

There are ways to prime the creative pump, and here we offer you the hose to stick in the gas pump of creativity, and all you have to do is inhale once, spit to get the terrible taste of your mouth once the creativity starts flowing, and let it flow into your… own creative gas tank… We have gone too far again.

But here to get your keyboards clacking and masterpieces moving are our creative writing prompts! Grab a pen and paper or if you’re from this century a keyboard, go through these one by one and then continue writing from there like one of those psychics who fakes taking dictation from the dead. Stop only in the event of crippling muscle pain or sirens – and in that case, only if they sound really close.

1. Describe a time when someone mistook your inability to move due to sheer panic for bravery.

2. You’re trapped on a space shuttle plagued with technical problems and instead of communicating with ground control, your call is diverted to the personal home number of your least favourite adult contemporary artist.

3. Ass chaps.

4. If you were a tree, what kind of tree would you be? Remember, you would be incapable of human thought and chances are someone would hack you apart with a power saw.

5. You’re one of the cardinals who is part of the papal conclave that has just picked a new pope, but the chimney is blocked, causing the entire place to smoke up… and all the doors are locked.

6. Describe your last meal in a kosher prison.

7. Describe the ways in which you are a much better person than whatever Johnny Come Lately prick is being labelled a hero in today’s newspaper.

8. You’re digging in your garden and find the skeletal remains of a pet belonging to the kid of the former homeowner. You report the find to the authorities and develop a bit of a reputation in the neighborhood.

9. What superpower would you like to have? You are limited only to those possessed by the characters in titles published by the now defunct Ace Comics (1940-1956).

10. You get to train in an MMA dojo under your favorite television chef.

11. Burl Ives.

12. Think back to the nicest backhanded compliment you ever received.

13. Rewrite your favorite novel as if you were performing it on America’s Got Talent in what will undoubtedly be a performance only included for broadcast because people like to laugh at failure.

14. You find a note tacked on your fridge that begins, “Dear John,” and goes on to remind you to pick up the dry-cleaning.

15. What was the first copyright you violated? How did it make you feel about the exorbitant prices big media companies charge for everything?

16. If you could have dinner with five famous people living or dead who would they be, and which of them do you think would be the likeliest to time a bathroom break around the time of the bill’s arrival?

17. Write a story titled, “The bird with excellent aim.”

18. Why are items commonly considered “good luck charms” so easy to choke on?

19. Which mythical creature would you most like to chase down and scorch the arse hairs off of while on the back of a fire-breathing dragon?

20. If you could speak to the dead, what would you instruct them to do to disrupt the life of Crossing Over host John Edward?

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