Are you stuck for something to write about?
Or are you looking for prompts to use in the classroom?
These prompts are aimed at middle school students (roughly age 11 – 14) – but younger or older writers might enjoy trying them as well.
I’ve split them into different types of prompts – imaginative prompts, non-fiction/essay prompts, short story prompts and journaling prompts – but feel free to use them in any way you like. For instance, you might choose one of the imaginative prompts and use it as the basis for a story.
A few of these prompts are taken from other people’s lists of writing ideas; for each of those, I’ve given you a link to the original source so you can check out the whole list if you want even more prompts.
Twelve Imaginative Prompts
- If you found a treasure chest buried in your garden, what would you most like to discover inside?
- Invent an imaginary sport. What are the rules? How does the scoring work? Who typically plays it?
- If you had three wishes, what would you use them for … and what might go wrong?
- Imagine that you woke up tomorrow as a member of the opposite sex. What would be different about your life?
- Where would you go, if you could go anywhere in the world? Who would you want to go there with?
- Imagine inventing a new holiday or celebration. What would you call it? When would it be celebrated? (Would it be the same date every year, like Christmas and Valentines’ Day, or would it move, like Thanksgiving and Easter?) What would people do during that holiday?
- If you were invisible for a day, where would you go and what would you do?
- Think of someone you dislike, or someone whose views and values are very different from your own. Now write a diary entry from their perspective, exploring why they see things this way.
- “ Imagine a future in which we each have a personalized robot servant. What would yours be like? What would it do? What features would it have?”(from smallworldathome.blogspot.com)
- “If you could live inside any video game, which would you choose? Why?” (from journalbuddies.com)
- “If a wizard could tell you anything about your future, what would you most like to know?” (from edutopia.org)
- If you could meet any character from any book (or TV show or film), who would it be? What would you say to them, and what would they say to you? (based on a prompt from daringtolivefully.com)
Twelve Non-Fiction or Essay Prompts
- What do you see as the biggest problem facing people your age today?
- Write about the most recent book you read. What was good about it (and what wasn’t)? Who would you recommend it to?
- Who do you admire most in history … and why?
- What’s more important: being healthy or having lots of money? Explain why you think so.
- How should cyber-bullying be tackled?
- If you ran your school, how would you change things?
- Does being fair mean treating everyone exactly the same? (Explain why / why not.)
- What do you think the world will be like in 50 years time? What will have changed for the better? What will be worse?
- Do you think humans will ever live on other planets? If yes, how would our society change? If no, how will we deal with problems like over-population and climate change on our own planet?
- Which scientific discovery or invention has changed the world the most, in your opinion? Explain why.
- “Many parents give children a weekly or monthly allowance regardless of their behavior because they believe an allowance teaches children to be financially responsible. Other parents only give children an allowance as a reward for completing chores or when they have behaved properly. Explain what you think parents should do and why.” (from education.depaul.edu)
- Should school children wear uniforms? Why – or why not? (based on a prompt from dailyteachingtools.com)
Twelve Short Story Prompts
- A child from the year 2300 travels back to our time. How and why? What do they find surprising (or even horrifying) about our daily lives?
- Start a story with this line of dialog: “I won’t do it, and you can’t make me!”
- Two friends send secret messages to one another through a hiding place that only they know about. One day, a message in someone else’s handwriting appears in the hideout. What does it say? How do the friends react?
- An argument breaks out at a restaurant, where one person is clearly in the wrong. Do they back down or do they keep arguing? What happens next?
- A small child loses their favorite toy while on a trip to a park a long way from their home. What is the toy? Do they get it back again – if so, how?
- Scientists invent a medicine that makes the people who take it immune to colds and the flu — but it has a side effect that no-one knows about for twenty years. What is the side effect? What happens as a result?
- Four young teenagers go wild camping without any adults. Their cell phones can’t get a signal. Then one of them gets sick. What do they do?
- Someone has to face their worst fear in order to prevent something terrible from happening. What are they so afraid of? Why do they have to face it?
- Two enemies meet in an isolated place, by chance. One of them – who normally comes out best in any conflict – is badly hurt. How does the other person respond?
- “What happens when a normal girl discovers a teleportation device in the park across from her house that only she knows how to use?” (from thejohnfox.com)
- “A poor young boy or girl comes into an unexpected fortune. Not all fortunes are good. Sometimes discovering a fortune will destroy your life. “ (from thewritepractice.com)
- “It’s your character’s first day at a new school. He or she wants to get a fresh start, develop a new identity. But in his or her homeroom, your character encounters a kid he or she knows from summer camp…” (from creative-writing-now.com)
Twelve Journaling Prompts
- What is the best thing you’ve done this year? Why?
- Write about a typical (even boring!) weekday. It might seem dull now – but in 20 or 30 years, you might be fascinated to read about the little details of your life.
- What job or career do you want when you grow up? Why?
- How does your family celebrate Christmas (or any other holiday of your choice)? Write down the details and your family traditions.
- What one thing would make your life easier? Is it something you can go about achieving, or do you need to accept you can’t have or do it right now?
- How could you help someone else this week? Write a list of all your ideas.
- What would you do if you had a whole weekend free of any other responsibilities (chores, homework, etc)? Write a list – and if you can, choose one or two of these things to do this
- Write about the people in your family. What are their hopes and ambitions? What are their hobbies and interests?
- What’s your bedroom like? Big, small, tidy, messy…? Describe it in detail.
- Which season of the year do you like best? Why?
- “Write about your favorite childhood toy.” (from dailyteachingtools.com)
- “Write about something that you wish you could say to someone else. What is it, and whom would you like to say it to? Is there anything stopping you from saying it?” (from journalbuddies.com)
I hope these prompts have given you lots of ideas to write about! You might want to pick a regular time each week to tackle a writing prompt (e.g. Sunday afternoons). If you’ve got any prompts of your own to share, why not add them in the comments below?