The Write Practice

Top 100 Short Story Ideas

by Joe Bunting | 128 comments

Do you want to write but just need a great story idea? Or perhaps you have too many ideas and can’t choose the best one? Well, good news. We’ve got you covered.

Below are one hundred short story ideas for all your favorite genres. You can use them as a book idea, as writing prompts for writing contests , for stories to publish in literary magazines , or just for fun!

Use these 100 story ideas to get your creative writing started now.

Editor’s note: This is a recurring guide, regularly updated with ideas and information.

100 Top Short Story Ideas

If you're in a hurry, here's my 10 best story ideas in brief, or scroll down for the full version.

Top 10 Story Ideas

Why Creative Writing Prompts Are Helpful

Below, you'll find our best creative writing prompts and plot ideas for every genre, but first, why do we use prompts? Is it just a waste of time, or can they actually help you? Here are three reasons we  love writing prompts at The Write Practice:

1. Practice the Language!

Even for those of us who are native English speakers, we're all on a language journey to go from beginners to skilled writers. To make progress on this language journey, you have to practice, and at The Write Practice, believe it or not, we're really into practice! Creative writing prompts are easy, fun ways to practice.

Use the prompts below to practice your storytelling and use of language. The more you practice, the better of a writer you'll become.

2. When you have no ideas and are stuck.

Sometimes, you want to write, but you can't think up any ideas. You could either just sit there, staring at a blank page, or you could find a few ideas to help you get started. Even better if the list of ideas is curated from our best plot ideas over the last decade that we've been publishing lessons, writing exercises, and prompts.

Use the story ideas below to get your writing started. Then when your creativity is warmed up, you'll start to come up with your own ideas!

3. To develop your own ideas.

Maybe you do have an idea already, but you're not sure it's good. Or maybe you feel like it's just missing some small piece to make it better. By reading other ideas, and incorporating your favorites into your   story, you can fill your plot holes and generate creative ideas of your own.

Use the story ideas below to develop your own ideas.

4. They're fun!

Thousands of writers use the prompts below every month, some at home, some in classrooms, and even a few pros at their writing “office.” Why? Because writing prompts can be fun. They get your creativity started, help you come up with new ideas of your own, and often take your writing in new, unexpected directions.

Use the plot ideas to have more fun with writing!

How to Write a Story

One last thing before we get to the 100 story ideas, let’s talk about how to write a great short story . (Already know how to write a great story? No problem. Just skip down to the ideas below.)

Want to know more? Learn more about how to write a great short story here .

Our 100 Best Short Story Ideas, Plot Ideas, and Creative Writing Prompts

Ready to get writing? Here are our 100 best short story ideas to kickstart your writing. Enjoy!

10 Best General Short Story Ideas

Our first batch of plot ideas are for any kind of story, whether a spy thriller or a memoir of your personal life story. Here are the best story ideas:

Now that you have an idea, learn exactly what to do with it.  Check out my new book The Write Structure which helps writers take their ideas and write books readers love. Click to check out  The Write Structure  here.

More Short Story Ideas Based on Genre

Need more ideas? Here are ideas based on whichever literary genre you write. Use them as character inspiration, to start your own story, or borrow pieces to generate your own ideas. The only rule is, have fun writing!

By the way,  for more story writing tips for each these plot types, check out our full guide to the 10 types of stories here .

10 Thriller Story Ideas

A thriller is any story that “thrills” the reader—i.e., gets adrenaline pumping, the heart racing, and the emotions piqued.

Thrillers come in all shapes and forms, dipping freely into other genres. In other words, expect the unexpected!

Here are a few of my favorite thriller story ideas :

Rosa Rivera-Ortiz is an up-and-coming lawyer in a San Diego firm. Held back by her ethnicity and her gender, she works twice as hard as her colleagues, and she’s as surprised as anyone when she’s requested specifically for a high-profile case. Bron Welty, an A-list actor and action star, has been arrested for the murder of his live-in housekeeper. The cop heading the case is older, ex-military, a veteran of more than one war, and an occasional sufferer of PTSD. Rosa’s hired to defend the movie star; and it seems like an easy win until she uncovers some secrets that not only make her believe her client is guilty, but may be one of the worst serial killers in the past two decades… and he knows she found out .

It’s the Cold War. Sergei, a double-agent for the CIA working in Berlin, is about to retire when he’s given one final mission: he’s been asked to “defect” to the USSR to help find and assassinate a suspected double-agent for the Kremlin. Sergei is highly trusted, and he’s given to understand that this mission is need-to-know only between him and very few superior officers. But as he falls deeper into the folds of the Iron Curtain, he begins to suspect that his superior officer might just be the mole, and the mark Sergei’s been sent to kill is on the cusp of exposing the leak.

It is 1800. A lighthouse on a barren cliff in Canada. Two lighthouse keepers, German immigrants, are alone for the winter and effectively cut off from the rest of the world until the ice thaws. Both Wilhelm and Matthias are settled in for the long haul with warm clothes, canned goods, and matches a-plenty. Then Wilhelm starts hearing voices. His personal belongings disappear from where he’d placed them, only to reappear in strange spots—like the catwalk, or dangling beneath the spiral stair knotted in brown twine. Matthias begs innocence. Little by little, Wilhelm grows convinced that Matthias is trying to convince him (Wilhelm) to kill himself. Is the insanity real, or is this really Matthias’ doing? And if it is real, what will he do to defend himself? There are so many months until the thaw. 

thriller story ideas

20 Mystery Story Ideas

Enjoy a good whodunit? Then you’ll love these mystery story ideas .

Here are a few of my favorites:

Ever hear the phrase, “It is not who fired the shot but who paid for the bullet?” This is a philosophy Tomoe Gozen lives by. Brave and clever, Tomoe follows clues until she learns who ordered the murder: Emperor Antoku himself. But why would the emperor of Japan want to kill a lowly soldier?

Mystery writer Dan Rodriguez takes the subway every day. Every day, nothing happens. He wears earbuds and a hoodie; he’s ignored, and he ignores. Then one evening, on his way home from a stressful meeting with his publisher, Dan is startled out of his funk when a frantic Middle-Eastern man knocks him over at a dead run, then races up the stairs—pursued by several other thugs. The Middle-Eastern man is shot; and Dan discovers a mysterious package in the front pocket of his hoodie. What’s inside, and what does he need to do to survive the answer?

A headless corpse is found in a freshly-dug grave in Arkansas. The local police chief, Arley Socket, has never had to deal with more than missing gas cans and treed cats. His exploration of this weird murder digs up a mystery older than the 100-year-old town of Jericho that harkens all the way back to a European blood-feud.

story ideas

20 Romance Story Ideas

Ready to write a love story? Or perhaps you want to create a subplot with a secondary character? We've got ideas for you!

Hint: When it comes to romance, a sense of humor is always a good idea. Have fun! Here are a few of my favorite love story ideas :

She’s a cop. He’s the owner of a jewelry store. A sudden rash of break-ins brings her to his store over and over and over again, until it becomes obvious that he might be tripping the alarm on purpose—just to see her. That’s illegal—but she’s kind of falling for him, too. Write the moment she realizes she has to do something about this crazy illicit courtship.

Colorado Animal Rescue has never been more challenging than after that zoo caught on fire. Sally Cougar (no jokes on the name, or she’ll kill you) tracks down three missing tiger cubs, only to find they’ve been adopted by millionaire Bryce Champion. Thanks to an antiquated law on the books, he legally has the right to keep them. It’s going to take everything Sally has to get those tiger cubs back.

He’s a museum curator with a fetish for perfection. No one’s ever gotten close to him; how could they? They’re never as perfect as the portraits, the sculptures, the art that never changes. Then one day, an intern is hired on—a young, messy, disorganized intern, whose hair and desk are in a constant state of disarray. The curator is going half-mad with this walking embodiment of chaos; so why can’t the he stand the thought of the intern leaving at the end of their assistantship?

20 romance story ideas

20 Sci-Fi Story Ideas

From the minimum-wage-earning, ancient-artifact-hunting time traveller to the space-exploring, sentient dinosaurs, these sci-fi writing prompts will get you set loose your inner nerd.

Here are a few of my favorite sci-fi ideas :

In a future society, neural implants translate music into physical pleasure, and earphones (“jacking in”) are now the drug of choice. Write either from the perspective of a music addict, OR the Sonforce agent (sonance + enforcer) who has the job of cracking down.

It’s the year 5000. Our planet was wrecked in the great Crisis of 3500, and remaining human civilization survives only in a half dozen giant domed cities. There are two unbreakable rules: strict adherence to Life Quality (recycling doesn’t even begin to cover these laws), and a complete ban on reproduction (only the “worthy” are permitted to create new humans). Write from the perspective of a young woman who just discovered she’s been chosen to reproduce—but she has no interest in being a mother.

So yeah, ancient Egypt really was “all that” after all, and the pyramids turn out to be fully functional spaceships (the limestone was to preserve the electronics hidden inside). Write from the perspective of the tourist exploring the ancient society who accidentally turns one on.

sci-fi story ideas

20 Fantasy Story Ideas

Need a dose of sword-in-the-stone, hero and/or heroine packed coming-of-age glory?  We love fantasy stories!

Here are a few of my favorite fantasy story ideas:

Bored teenaged wizards throwing a graduation celebration.

Uncomfortable wedding preparation between a magic wielding family tree and those more on the Muggle side of things.

A fairy prince who decides to abandon his responsibilities to become a street musician.

Just try to not have fun writing (or even just reading!) these fantasy writing prompts.

fantasy story ideas

The Secret to Choosing the Best Story Idea

Stories, more than any other artistic expression, have the power to make people care. Stories have the ability to change people’s lives.

But to write a great story, a life-changing story, don’t just write about what your characters did, said, and saw. Ask yourself, “Where do I fit in to this story? What is my personal connection to this story?”

Robert Frost said this:

If you can connect your personal story to the story you’re writing, you will not only be more motivated to finish your story, you might just be able to change the lives of your readers.

Next Step: Write Your Best Story

No matter how good your idea, writing a story or a book can be a long difficult process. How do you create an outline, come up with a great plot, and then actually  finish  it?

My new book  The Write Structure  will help. You'll learn how to take your idea and structure a strong plot around it. Then you'll be guided through the exact process I've used to write dozens of short stories and over fifteen books.

You can learn more about   The Write Structure  and get your copy here.

The Write Structure

Get The Write Structure here »

Have a great short story idea?  We'd love to hear it. Share it in the comments !

Choose one of these ideas and write a short story in one sitting (aim for 1,000 words or less!). When you're finished, share your story in the practice box below (or our latest writing contest ) for feedback from the community. And if you share, please be sure to comment on a few stories by other writers.

Enter your practice here:

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Joe Bunting

Joe Bunting is an author and the leader of The Write Practice community. He is also the author of the new book Crowdsourcing Paris , a real life adventure story set in France. It was a #1 New Release on Amazon. Follow him on Instagram (@jhbunting).

Want best-seller coaching? Book Joe here.

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Join (probably?) the world's largest writing contest. Flex those creative muscles with weekly writing prompts.

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But there's a catch, write about a character who’s attending a dinner thrown in their honor, but deeply embarrasses themself during their speech..

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Write about someone who thinks they just got a great deal on something, only for them to realize…

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Write a story about someone who is determined to not have their day spoiled — but the universe is trying their patience.

Write about a character who would have complete happiness, if it weren’t for that one thing..

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Write a story that starts with the line “So, what’s the catch?”

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🏆 Featuring 12 prize-winning stories from our community. Download it now for FREE .

Write about a human and a cat that come to some kind of mutual understanding.

Set your story in a cat shelter., write about a cat living in an ancient temple, like the acropolis., write a story from the point of view of a big cat — whether that’s a lion, cheetah, etc., or just a chunky pet., start your story with a character being led somewhere by a stray cat., subscribe to our prompts newsletter.

Never miss a prompt! Get curated writing inspiration delivered to your inbox each week.

Write a story entirely of dialogue. Nothing but dialogue. No attributives (he said, she said, etc.). No descriptions of scenes or gestures or movements (unless these things are presented in the dialogue). Just words between quotation marks. Pure, beautiful, untainted dialogue.

Write a story that formally utilizes a mathematical sequence; e.g., the fibonacci sequence could determine the number of words in each paragraph, or start with a number and work backwards. make sure the formula is made clear, either within the story, or before or after it., write a story within a story within a story within a ..., write a story of fragments. many options here: no verbs, sentence fragments, short sections, nothing but objects, etc. the fragments should relate to one another obliquely, hesitantly, subtly, ambiguously, preposterously, marvelously., write a story in which each paragraph begins or ends (or both) with the same sentence., set all or part of your story in a jam-packed storage unit., write about a dragon who doesn’t know what to do with their hoard anymore., start a story with someone saying, “it’s mine, and you can’t have it”, someone’s beloved collection is destroyed. how do they react, write a story about someone who doesn’t know how to let go., win $250 in our short story competition 🏆.

We'll send you 5 prompts each week. Respond with your short story and you could win $250!

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Creative Writing Prompts

When the idea to start a weekly newsletter with writing inspiration first came to us, we decided that we wanted to do more than provide people with topics to write about. We wanted to try and help authors form a regular writing habit and also give them a place to proudly display their work. So we started the weekly Creative Writing Prompts newsletter. Since then, Prompts has grown to a community of more than 450,000 authors, complete with its own literary magazine, Prompted .  

Here's how our contest works: every Friday, we send out a newsletter containing five creative writing prompts. Each week, the story ideas center around a different theme. Authors then have one week — until the following Friday — to submit a short story based on one of our prompts. A winner is picked each week to win $250 and is highlighted on our Reedsy Prompts page.

Interested in participating in our short story contest? Sign up here for more information! Or you can check out our full Terms of Use and our FAQ page .

Why we love creative writing prompts

If you've ever sat in front of a computer or notebook and felt the urge to start creating worlds, characters, and storylines — all the while finding yourself unable to do so — then you've met the author's age-old foe: writer's block. There's nothing more frustrating than finding the time but not the words to be creative. Enter our directory! If you're ready to kick writer's block to the curb and finally get started on your short story or novel, these unique story ideas might just be your ticket.

This list of 1800+ creative writing prompts has been created by the Reedsy team to help you develop a rock-solid writing routine. As all aspiring authors know, this is the #1 challenge — and solution! — for reaching your literary goals. Feel free to filter through different genres, which include...

Dramatic — If you want to make people laugh and cry within the same story, this might be your genre.

Funny — Whether satire or slapstick, this is an opportunity to write with your funny bone.

Romance — One of the most popular commercial genres out there. Check out these story ideas out if you love writing about love.

Fantasy — The beauty of this genre is that the possibilities are as endless as your imagination.

Dystopian – Explore the shadowy side of human nature and contemporary technology in dark speculative fiction.

Mystery — From whodunnits to cozy mysteries, it's time to bring out your inner detective.

Thriller and Suspense — There's nothing like a page-turner that elicits a gasp of surprise at the end.

High School — Encourage teens to let their imaginations run free.

Want to submit your own story ideas to help inspire fellow writers? Send them to us here.

After you find the perfect story idea

Finding inspiration is just one piece of the puzzle. Next, you need to refine your craft skills — and then display them to the world. We've worked hard to create resources that help you do just that! Check them out:

Beyond creative writing prompts: how to build a writing routine

While writing prompts are a great tactic to spark your creative sessions, a writer generally needs a couple more tools in their toolbelt when it comes to developing a rock-solid writing routine . To that end, here are a few more additional tips for incorporating your craft into your everyday life.

Arm yourself against writer’s block. Writer’s block will inevitably come, no matter how much story ideas initially inspire you. So it’s best to be prepared with tips and tricks you can use to keep yourself on track before the block hits. You can find 20 solid tips here — including how to establish a relationship with your inner critic and apps that can help you defeat procrastination or lack of motivation.

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Explore more writing prompt ideas:

Adults Writing Prompts ⭢

Adventure Writing Prompts ⭢

Angst Writing Prompts ⭢

Character Writing Prompts ⭢

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Dark Writing Prompts ⭢

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Dystopian Writing Prompts ⭢

Fall Writing Prompts ⭢

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Nonfiction Writing Prompts ⭢

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Sad Writing Prompts ⭢

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Summer Writing Prompts ⭢

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44 Short Story Ideas

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E.M. Welsh

Writer + Storyteller

365 Story Ideas

Whether you're in a writing rut, need an idea for a new medium, or are tired of making excuses about finding the best story idea, this list of 365 story ideas makes it easy to find an idea that works for you and get inspired!


Almost all of these story ideas are interchangeable between different mediums. However, should you decide to take a novel idea and write it as a play, be sure to use my Storytelling System ebook and other resources to ensure you're making the appropriate changes for the new medium.

81 Novel Story Ideas

77 Short Story Ideas

63 Film Story Ideas

46 TV Story Ideas

73 Play Ideas

25 Video Game Ideas 

365 Story Ideas

Creative Writing Coach and Storyteller | Serving creative writers who want to write novels, movies, plays, and video games – and helping them learn how to write all four.


Hey there—I’m E.M. Welsh and I’m a writer and storyteller based in Texas. In my spare time, you can find me reading books, watching TV and movies, and playing video games. I also cook a lot of food and dabble in a plethora of other hobbies.

I’m currently working on my first book, which I hope to have published in 2024.

This blog is basically a diary of what I’m up to, random musings, and progress updates on my book.

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300+ Short Story Ideas & How to Start Your Story Off Right

Posted on Mar 6, 2023

by Bella Rose Pope

These short story ideas can mean the difference between sitting at home suffering from writer’s block and knocking out another story…that could potentially be published.

We know it can be hard to summon inspiration. It’s elusive and downright impossible to drum up if it doesn’t want to be.

We’ve all been there before…

That’s why we put together these completely original, brand new writing prompts for you to use to start your next story short.

Save This Resource NOW for Quick Reference Later…

200+ Fiction Writing Prompts In the Most Profitable Genres

Come up with your NEXT great book idea with over 200 unique writing prompts spanning 8 different genres. Use for a story, scene, character inspo, and more!

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Here are our short story ideas and how to utilize them effectively:

How to Start a Story

Starting your short story is the most important part.

Without being able to hook your readers with a strong introduction , they won’t get to enjoy the entirety of the journey through your story.

Whether you’re writing a short story or looking for your next big book idea, we’ve got tips to help you start it off right.

These are our tips for starting your short story:

If you want to skip down to your story ideas, click right here , otherwise, let’s dive into story structure and how to use these ideas effectively.

Story Structure

No matter how many short stories idea you have, without the right story structure, they’ll be nothing more than just…ideas.

Let’s go over proper story structure so you can do these story ideas justice.

There are 5 key milestones in every novel , and for short stories, there are typically 4 (due to word count and lack of longevity in general).

Story Structure Milestone 1 – The Setup

Every story needs a setup in which to move from. This is the very beginning of your story.

You may decide to use one of these short story ideas and in that case, you’ll have to construct a catchy and enticing first paragraph/s in order to pull readers in .

The difference between writing a novel and writing a short story is the fact that your short story introduction has to be short, snappy, and filled with intrigue.

Here are a few ways to write a good story beginning:

Story Structure Milestone 2 – The Inciting Incident

There’s always one thing that happens in any story or book or even movie that kicks off the chain of events.

Your story needs to have an inciting incident as part of its story structure too.

For example, the inciting incident in Game of Thrones that kicks off the entire Stark VS Lannister war that’s ultimately the reason behind all the heartache, death, and drama is when Jaime Lannister pushes Bran Stark out of the window. This puts a target on Bran’s back since he didn’t actually die and then he was nearly killed by a “hitman” with a Lannister blade.

That is the inciting incident for both the first book and the whole of the war for the iron throne.

Figure out what your (probably smaller) inciting incident is, whether that’s a stranger wandering in to your character’s classroom or some unknown object smacking your character in the back of the head while they jogged past their favorite, and oddly empty, coffee shop one morning.

Story Structure Milestone 3 – The Slap

When writing a novel , there are two of these “slaps,” the second worse than the first. No matter if you’re writing a short story or a full novel, your story will still get a slap.

These slaps are critical and harrowing events that halt the progression of your story and make it harder for your character to succeed in whatever it is they’re trying to do.

During this slap, your character’s world and hope and whatever they’re working toward comes to a standstill as they face this obstacle in their journey.

For a short story, this can range from your character losing all the money they had to get home to the death of their loved one. Choose something that’s shocking but will still leave your readers with some hope.

Story Structure Milestone 4 – The Climax

You know what the story climax is. It’s the point in your story where all the events come to a head with the biggest event in your story.

The climax is when your character either succeeds or loses what they’re after.

Oftentimes, authors choose this time to provide readers with an unexpected twist. No matter how you decide to write your story’s climax, make sure it’s the highlight of your story.

The falling action, otherwise known as the resolution, comes directly after and is how you end your story. (We suggest making sure it’s satisfying instead of just dropping off the end of the climax)

How to Think of Your Own Story Ideas

Coming up with story ideas can take some time and practice—especially when your imagination has been at a standstill for a long time.

Short Story Ideas

In order to come up with your own story ideas, use the “what if” method. Think of a situation and then ask yourself, “what if…” and fill in the end.

For example, your situation may be a character who wants to ditch school.

To create your own story idea, ask yourself, “What if…that character ditches school and then runs into their teacher.”

And then, “what if…that teacher is also playing hooky.”

This allows you to craft story ideas centering around one main idea with multiple possibilities.

Ultimately, coming up with your own story ideas from nothing can be much more difficult than expanding on story ideas someone else has come up with—like us.

Here are over 300 story ideas for you to use and write about.

300+ Short Story Ideas to Use Today

Take A Few For The Road…

Ever find yourself “stuck” but away from your writing device (computer, notebook, typewriter)? Save this list to your phone or PC! Want to go one step further? Save it to your cloud (Google Drive, etc.) and have story ideas whenever and wherever you are. 😉

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Bella Rose Pope

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Story Ideas

Here are 100 story ideas you can steal right now. And if that’s not enough, generate your own with the Idea Engine , or peruse these lists of scene ideas , flash fiction prompts , and writing prompts .

Write a story about…

How to Develop Your Story Ideas

This  free writing workshop  walks you through a STEP by STEP method to develop your story idea. Grab a sheet of paper and press play !

How to Plot a Novel on One Page for NaNoWriMo & Beyond

Where to Find More Story Ideas

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I write about literature, language, love, and living off your pen. Also, fortifying fiction, personal amelioration, and tea.

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104 Of The Best Short Story Ideas And Prompts To Grab Your Readers

So, you want to write a short story — and not just a mildly entertaining short story but one your readers can’t put down until they’ve finished it.

You want a story that gets reactions like “Wow!” and “How did you do that?” and “Do you have more like this?”

What writer doesn’t want that kind of reaction, right?

And since short stories are short, you have less time to wait for your readers’ reactions — but you also have less time to grab their attention.

That’s why a great topic is worth its weight in gold when it comes to writing these little gems.

Even with the challenges inherent to short story writing, you’ll most likely finish a short story in far less time than you would a novel.

So, you’ll get to explore more story topics in less time than if you were writing longer works.

But how do you generate short story ideas that are worth the time you’ll invest in crafting a short story your readers will love?

If you’ve been writing for long enough, you already know good story ideas are everywhere, and you might even have some in mind as you read this.

But which of those ideas should be on your shortlist for story writing projects?

And if you don’t have any great ideas at the moment, where do you get some?

Short Story Idea Generator (how to generate story ideas)

Short story writing exercises, generating story ideas with the short story formula, timeless themes and emotional impact, 35 short story ideas, 69 short story writing prompts.

When it comes to generating new story ideas, you can take more than one approach. You might try these three:

Think of your school days when your English teacher assigned an essay or invited you to write a paragraph in answer to a question.

man typing on laptop short story ideas

Maybe all you had to do was write one complete sentence. Or maybe your teacher wanted a haiku — or a rhyming couplet.

School isn’t the only place for writing exercises , though. If you’ve ever joined a creative writing group, your leader may have encouraged you to spend some time each day freewriting or writing a character sketch .

The purpose of writing exercises is to practice writing — or to practice a specific kind of writing (voice journaling, essays, persuasive ad copy, song lyrics, etc.).

So, whether it’s NaNoWriMo, Twitter’s #VSS (Very Short Story) challenge, or writing sprints, the more time you invest in these exercises, and the more you open yourself up to constructive criticism, the more quickly your writing will improve.

The most effective writing prompts and writing exercises make use of themes with a history of captivating and inspiring others. Because of this, either one might lead you to a story idea that you can hardly wait to explore.

Take one (or more) of those popular themes and combine them with a context that is both unique and relatable, and you have the formula for a compelling story idea.

Story writing ideas are generally more fully developed than writing prompts. It’s not unusual, for example, to begin with a writing prompt , develop it into a story idea, and then write the actual story.

And don’t beat yourself up if the first idea that comes to mind is a cliché. You’re human, and familiar ideas are the easiest to think of. Nothing wrong with that. The first idea is like a first draft , in that it gives you something to start with.

And don’t be afraid to mix it up — literally. Take one idea, mix it up with another, and play with it for a while. Who knows how you might juice up your story idea without even trying?

The best fiction story ideas make use of timeless themes. You’ll find one or more of the ten themes that follow in most stories that have been written, read, and shared over the centuries.

The story idea itself — in its simplest form — doesn’t have to be original, and in fact, it shouldn’t be. But the way you embody and develop that idea should surprise your readers and evoke an emotional response in them.

It’s that emotional impact that makes your story not only worth finishing but memorable.

Short story ideas will look different from novel ideas, though — mainly because short stories have to make a big impact with fewer words. And because of this, the most powerful short stories have what James Scott Bell describes as the “one shattering moment.”

In his book, How to Write Short Stories and Use Them to Further Your Writing Career, Bell describes that moment as “something that happens to a character, an emotional blast which they cannot ignore. It changes them, in a large or a subtle way — in a way that cannot be ignored.”

Any one of the popular themes listed above could you give your main character a shattering moment that would change that character’s life or perspective.

woman typing on laptop short story ideas

Take a look at the following creative story ideas, many of which combine two or more of the popular themes listed, and feel free to modify any of them to create your next unputdownable short story.

1. Your character’s loved one has died , and he learns while going through that loved one’s belongings that the latter had a terrible secret that unnervingly correlates to your character’s deepest fear.

The rest of the story explores your character’s reaction to this discovery and how it affects his/her relationships and decision-making.

2. Your character has married the man she saw as her “soulmate.” During their honeymoon, he shows her his list of goals for their first five years together, and they have their first real argument over one of those goals — which requires something of her that she never agreed to.

She has a sudden memory of their first date and of the moment when she first decided he was the one, but she sees it now from his perspective, and it changes everything.

3. Your orphaned character inherits a house and moves in to find that it’s already occupied — by the spirits of the character’s long-deceased parents, who aren’t at all like the people other relatives have described.

4. Your character is having trouble getting past his anger over the wounds inflicted by those who raised him and by those with whom he had one failed relationship after the next.

woman at laptop looking out window Short Story Ideas

After losing his job, he goes on a journey to change the direction of his life, but that journey is interrupted by the death of one of his parents — the one who hurt him the most.

5. Your character is widely regarded as a monster and doesn’t deny or hide from that designation.

When his closest confidante gets fed up with him, tells him off, and leaves the company they founded together, your character finds himself disoriented by grief and does something different.

6. Your character is content with her life but suddenly inherits a large sum of money and a palatial estate on the east coast.

She sees the inheritance as proof that the Law of Attraction works, and she invites family and a few close friends to move with her and share the wealth. On the first night of their stay, someone dies.

7. Your character’s snake-loving neighbor has just been found in the belly of her pet boa constrictor (who she swore was a better “snuggler” than her ex).

The ex shows up and is angry when he finds out that your neighbor left the house and everything in it to your character. He threatens to ruin her life if she doesn’t turn the house over to him.

8. Your character meets his/her soulmate on a flight that almost doesn’t make it to its destination; both of them respond to emergencies on the plane (one as a cop and the other as a doctor).

Once at the airport, your character learns that this soulmate is already in a relationship with a well-known philanthropist. But your character notices something odd and calls the philanthropist out.

9. Your character’s best friend just announced the end of a relationship, and your character is surprised to find this friend in a celebratory state of mind (rather than heartbroken).

Your character then finds out the disturbing reason for the friend’s manic behavior.

10. One of your character’s siblings is getting married, and during wedding preparations, your character learns something she was never meant to know. This discovery changes her relationships with everyone.

11. The happy couple living next door to your character has died in a horrific accident, and when the parents show up for the funeral, you find out why the couple always changed the subject whenever you asked them about their families.

12. Your character starts receiving messages from someone who knows his/her deepest fears and intends to exploit them. At the same time, your character is discovering a latent ability that relates to those fears but might also help him overcome them. Or they might change him into something the messenger never saw coming.

13. Your character meets a soulmate at a community grief counseling group meeting and learns that this soulmate also attends AA meetings (like your mc) — though with a different group and with a friend who doesn’t particularly like your main character.

The surprising reason comes out when your character goes on a first date with this soulmate. The soulmate’s friend swears he/she knows your mc from a different reality — which he/she visits in dreams.

14. Your character breaks free of a painful relationship and embarks on a journey to discover what she’s capable of. After volunteering at a nursing home — reading to vision-impaired residents and writing letters for them — she agrees to personally deliver one of those letters to the resident’s estranged son.

15. After avoiding close relationships because of deep scars from his childhood, your main character learns something about one of his parents that changes everything for him. He then has an opportunity to take a step off his accustomed path.

16. Your character has been married for 19 years before her spouse — after a weekend that reminds her of when they met and why she married him — hands her divorce papers.

17. Your character is making a list of reasons to break up with her boyfriend of two years when the latter comes home early and tells her he’s won the lottery jackpot.

18. Your character is a locally famous writer whose hero story ideas come from his freewheeling lifestyle and insatiable curiosity about others.

One day, out of boredom, he offers a homeless man $100 to propose to the first woman he takes a fancy to, while he watches from a safe distance. The proposal goes terrifyingly wrong.

19. Your character has just lost a child by miscarriage , and when she comes home, her married life has changed. Her husband, who was always the more talkative of the two, spends their time together quietly grieving in his own way.

Your character, on the other hand, becomes more outgoing and starts spending more time (and money) on her appearance.

20. Your young adult character finds himself suddenly orphaned when his parents die in a plane crash. The funeral is the beginning of a dramatic shift in his perspective and in the choices he makes.

He breaks off a relationship with a woman his parents adored, he quits the lucrative job that he hates, and he leaves the country.

21. Your character has just learned that his spouse has been cheating on him, and he confronts her when she gets home that night.

She reveals that what he saw as proof of her infidelity was something completely innocent — but that she’s already decided to make a permanent and dramatic end to their marriage.

22. The only child of your character is diagnosed with a fatal illness, and your character doesn’t know how to deal with the worry and dread that now consumes her.

Her doctor suggests one anti-anxiety med after another, and her husband and his family urge her to try one — for her husband’s and her son’s sakes. She goes into a fugue state with the experimental drug she tries, and she wakes up to the consequences.

23. Your character’s new glasses — created as a free gift from an old friend with unusual connections — reveal more than the physical objects in his field of vision.

After looking at a coworker and seeing the latter’s death just hours before it happens, he goes to replace the glasses with a plain pair from a local chain. Then he catches his full-length reflection in a window.

24. Your character wakes up alone in an unfamiliar place and is told by everyone he encounters that the life he thought he’d lived for the past six years — with a wife and three kids and with the job that barely paid the bills — must have been a dream.

He’s actually stunningly wealthy, treated with respect by everyone he meets, and desired by more than one woman. So, why is there a picture of him with his nonexistent family on his desk?

25. A year ago, your character met someone who offered her the power to transform the interior of her home to anything she wants — in exchange for a DNA sample from her only child, who is a gifted storyteller.

During the year after she accepted the offer, her home becomes everything she wants it to be, but her son stops telling stories, and one day she finds out why.

26. Your character makes drastic changes to his diet and adopts new habits that alienate him from his usual circle of friends but lead him to a new one.

He then wins a large sum of money from a scratch ticket that an estranged friend (a compulsive gambler) slipped under his door.

27. Your character has returned from a successful quest to find his home empty, with no sign of his loved ones other than a note left on the refrigerator.

Not only does he now have no one with whom to share his victory, but what he learns calls that very victory into question.

28. Your character has spent eleven years living with the consequences of a vow she has taken. When she forges a new friendship with a counselor, she learns something about herself that scares her and makes her avoid the counselor, for his own sake.

Keenly aware of her own vulnerability, she brands herself to ward off unwelcome attention.

29. Your character, after 15 years of living in a house chosen mainly to fit her spouse’s preferences, sees an ad for an apartment in town that represents the life she gave up to make her husband happy.

After hearing him complain about his life and their house for one too many times, she goes to look at this apartment and finds it has almost everything she wants. The apartment manager, a well-dressed woman close to her own age, hears your character’s last name and appears shaken by it.

30. Your character splurges on a new rug for her living room floor — the kind of rug she’s coveted for years — and her S.O. criticizes it and later “accidentally” spills his drink on it.

The final straw is his suggestion that she wait ‘til it dries and return it to the store for a refund or exchange it for something more practical.

31. Your character has recently broken free from a cult that had drawn him in when he was vulnerable from a family tragedy. His new support system — a group of other cult survivors — is having varying degrees of difficulty re-entering society and repairing damaged relationships.

Your character meets with them one evening at their accustomed café table and confronts a server whose off-handed comment provokes him. What begins as a calm request for respectful treatment escalates as other members of the group chime in and the server’s manager gets involved.

32. Your character has joined a church and finds herself under the tutelage of a church member who leans toward the traditionalist end of the spectrum and who regards her as the daughter he never had.

When he decides to renounce the church’s leadership and join an extreme traditionalist group, she backs away from him — after explaining to him why she won’t do the same. His behavior toward her changes and she makes a change of her own.

33. Your character is so desperate for money that he does something he never would have done otherwise. He doesn’t get caught, but he doesn’t get away with it, either. Consumed by guilt, he undergoes a penance of his choosing, which spirals out of control.

34. Your character walks into a tourist shop and buys a homemade “tonic” freshly mixed by the owner, after tasting and enjoying an innocuous sample in the same flavor. The tonic changes him in a way he can’t ignore or undo.

35. Your character inherits an old music shop with a secret back room where his uncle kept a few instruments that can make even someone like him — who has never played an instrument — a virtuoso in seconds. He takes the piano to his apartment and learns why his uncle (in a letter he’d written before his death) had warned him not to — and why his uncle kept the door to that secret room locked.

short story ideas

With writing prompts , you get a launching pad of sorts: a question, an idea, a provocative quote, or something that inspires a reaction — specifically a written one. Maybe that reaction is an argument, or maybe it’s an impassioned defense of an idea.

Whatever it is, the purpose here is to take that prompt and use it to generate a written response in one form or another. The aim of writing prompts for short stories is to get you started on a new short story .

The prompt could be as simple as a word or as detailed as a character sketch or an elevator pitch. It could even be a picture or a song. It could be an observation you make while (discreetly) people-watching.

We’ve create 69 short story writing prompts that flesh out an idea more thoroughly, giving you a good headstart for your story.

1. You get a new job, and your new boss approaches you on the first day with an invitation to the “After Hours Club.” He tells you it’s no big deal if you decline, but you get a strong impression that it would be.

2. One day, on the way home from work, your new car takes over and drives you to a remote area, stopping beside other cars in a clearing underneath a new moon. You wake up underneath a full moon and drive yourself home. But much has changed in your absence — and so have you.

3. You bake pies for a local bakery, and when a celebrity comes to town and tastes your locally famous turtle pie, he invites you to go on tour with him — to a movie set somewhere in Europe — to be his personal pie maker. You say yes.

4. You buy a single rose from a street vendor, and it lasts a week, then two weeks, then three, and then a full month. Only then does someone point out to you that previously healthy people in the neighborhood have been falling ill and dying at an abnormal rate.

5. It’s time for your 10-year-old daughter to make her First Confession, but when her turn comes to go into the confessional, she panics and won’t be persuaded to go in.

6. You’re stranded in a small village down a winding road from Burgos (Spain) on a Sunday. A stranger comes by on a motorcycle and goes to fetch a taxi for you. You’re waiting at the bus station when he tells you he knows you’re meant to replace his recently deceased wife.

7. The bartender brings you your first Irish coffee in what looks like a candy dish. Halfway through, you notice the whole cafe seems to be floating, and since you can’t put the rest into a to-go cup (alas), you pay your tab and head out. You think you’re doing fine until your key doesn’t work in the front door of your apartment building. Someone else kindly lets you in, and you recognize him as the bartender from that cafe.

8. You’re exploring an old Spanish town, and you realize someone is following you. You turn and find an old woman who asks if you’ll help her find her hotel. You help her, and she invites you in, telling you she has a son who shares your interest in all things Tolkien. You’re not in a hurry to get back to your hotel room, so you go up with her.

9. Your fingers don’t respond to you the way they used to, and you’ve been having other difficulties. You go see your doctor, and they run some tests to check for neurological diseases but don’t find anything. They think it’s probably stress-related. Your life has been stressful lately, and it doesn’t help that your new roommate has been acting strangely toward you.

10. You wake up with your heart racing, but you don’t remember why. You almost never remember your dreams but often wake up covered in sweat with your heart pounding. You’re tired of having to shower every morning and feeling sick for the rest of the day, so you decide to undergo hypnosis, hoping to find out what’s going on.

11. Your neighbors have been up to some strange shenanigans lately, and their lights are on well into the wee hours of the morning. You’d like to know why, but every neighbor you’ve talked to who have gone over there to ask about it has, later on, told you that nothing suspicious is going on and that those neighbors are “very spiritual, and so, so nice!”

12. The street lamps that light up your cul de sac have gone dark, and you’re outside waiting for your spouse to get home when something large and dark brushes past you, almost knocking you off balance. Then a man appears and asks, “Have you seen my cat?”

13. Someone has broken into your house while you were away and has taken all the religious articles out of it — every statue, every picture, and every holy water bottle. The thief left everything else alone.

14. You move into an apartment that used to be a hoarder’s paradise, and your manager gives you permission to paint the walls a different color and add some new flooring. You get to work removing the kitchen’s linoleum floor and find something you never expected.

15. You joined a wine delivery service, and the delivery person is every bit as charming as the labels on the posh wine he brings to you each week. When you lose your job and cancel the service, the wine keeps coming.

16. You buy a pound of gourmet coffee beans at a local food festival, and as you’re sipping the first cup from the first pot you’ve brewed, you have a vision, which feels as real as though it were actually happening to you. When the vision ends, you’re still in your kitchen, holding your cup. You take another sip.

17. You’re about ready to gather up all the ceramic village pieces that have been cluttering up your living room and toss them in the trash bin, but your spouse, who knows you hate them, insists you should try selling them on eBay, instead. That’s when the fight starts.

18. You buy a new pair of Bluetooth earbuds that are supposed to enhance your listening experience. You plug them in and use them while watching a movie, and suddenly, you’re there on the scene, about to get flattened (or eaten) by a dinosaur.

19. You need a new toilet, and someone shows up at the door (as though sent by heaven) to sell you a toilet that will flush down ANYTHING. Oddly enough, it doesn’t even need to be hooked up to your septic system. “All you have to do is remove and empty the dust tray at the base every evening, reinsert it for the next day’s flushes, and voila!”

20. You buy a new keyboard , and after typing a few sentences of a new story, it starts typing on its own, and you watch in surprise as it types out a new short story. You submit it to a contest you’ve never won and win first prize. You start thinking you’ll never have trouble paying the rent again! Then you accidentally spill wine on the keyboard, and even stranger things start happening.

Related:  55 Funny Writing Prompts To Inspire Your Inner Comedian

21. Your famous stew recipe has won an award. You go to collect it (a cash prize), and meet the next runner-up, who believes she should have won the first prize instead with her three-bean salad. She warns you not to spend the money, because she will prove you won unfairly. You go home and find a bowl of three-bean salad and a note.

22. You suggest at the breakfast table one morning that you might actually have too many books, and your SO seizes upon this and offers to help you thin out your collection. After breaking up with him, you cull a few volumes for donation and run into the author of one of them.

23. Your first issue of Real Simple magazine has finally arrived, but something has come with it — something you can’t see but that makes your life anything but simpler.

24. A girl scout comes to the door selling cookies, and you tell her you already bought some from her at the table outside your grocery store, and you’ve spent enough for the year. Suddenly, all the food in your house (including the canned food) becomes moldy or rotten. And every bit of food that passes your threshold becomes inedible.

25. You buy a new whiteboard to help you keep track of your writing assignments, but you wake up one morning, and new items have somehow been added to your list. And the new titles have a sinister edge to them. You live alone.

26. You buy a new poster that looks exactly like the TARDIS door, and you put it up on your bedroom wall. One night, right at midnight (you’re up working at your computer), the door opens and you walk through it.

27. You buy a CD with music that’s supposed to help you write more creatively and also lose weight more easily. You start playing it during your writing time, and sure enough, the words flow without effort, and you love what you’ve written. You also start losing ten pounds a week, and soon you can’t afford to lose another ten, but you’ve come to depend on that music CD.

28. You’re a carpenter who has joined a construction team to build a new development of 3,000+ square foot houses. All is going well until someone on the team discovers something buried in the lot for the third house. The foreman removes it and tells everyone to get back to work, but you have a bad feeling. And you’re right to have it.

29. Your boss announces they’re having a potluck and you’re all expected to show up and bring something. He also tells you it has to be homemade. You tell him you can’t cook, but he tells you, “Well, learn, then!” Strangely enough, you do, and you create an entree that has everyone’s mouth-watering when you open the lid at the potluck. But your boss is conspicuously absent.

30. You wake up in the middle of the night and rush to the bathroom, where you empty your stomach of everything you ate that day. Something else comes out, and it’s moving.

31. You stop at a coffee shop while making stops to apply for a new job, and the barista tells you the new bed and breakfast is looking for someone to handle their advertising. You apply, are accepted, and agree to start immediately. But the owner, who openly admires your bicycle, offers you a room at the B&B, so you’ll be more accessible.

32. You have way too much time on your hands since your latest project has earned you enough to more than double your previous year’s salary, and you’re taking a sabbatical. You see an ad for an opportunity to spend a month at a castle in Wales, with full room and board and a bicycle for exploring the countryside. You call the agent and book a flight.

33. One night, as you’re coming back from the bathroom, you see a bright light and follow it to see that your front window is wide open and bugs are swarming in and out. You rush to close it but then you see the view from it — which is not your usual view of the front yard. You see something you want to investigate.

34. Sometimes, people stare when you pull out an index card and start scribbling furiously onto it, but you don’t care. Then someone accuses you of writing something about him and, pulling out a gun, demands you hand the card over to him.

35. You’re starting a new job, and one of your co-workers tells you it’s up to the new guy to keep the coffee pot full for his first week. While you’re brewing the latest refill, muttering to yourself about how little you’re getting done that day, one of your co-workers starts choking and accuses you of trying to poison her.

36. Your home-brewed ale is the talk of the neighborhood, but your next-door neighbor frequently buys up your newest batch. You start imposing limits. He then starts telling other neighbors that your secret is adding pee from your pet guinea pigs, “But it’s cool, because urine is sterile. And that guinea pig pee really adds something!”

37. You inherit a lighthouse from your deceased uncle — along with the small living quarters attached to it. You move right in, looking forward to the solitude. But whenever you’re up at the top scanning the surface of the ocean, you see things that can’t possibly be there. And one of them sees you — and comes to visit.

38. You stop at the local nursery and pick up a new houseplant — a tiny, adorable succulent. The cashier looks nervous as she rings you up. “That plant isn’t normal. If you want to pick another one, I would totally understand.” She’s nodding with wide eyes as she says this, clearly hoping you’ll agree.

39. You live in a studio apartment. Your boss comes to bring you soup when you call in sick and sees the quilt on your bed, which you won at a raffle. “That’s the quilt my mom made!” she says. “She told me someone stole it.”

40. You take your kids trick-or-treating, and you go to your boss’s neighborhood (your boss suggested it). Most houses gave out full-sized candy bars, but one gave out treasure maps, and your kids want to find their treasures before you leave the neighborhood.

41. Someone offers you a chance to win a million dollars just by visiting his website and typing in your address. “I don’t need your checking account info. It’s not safe to give that to just anyone. I’ll just mail the check to you,”he writes.

42. You wonder what it would be like to be a famous actor, and someone, out of the blue, invites you to perform in his movie as an extra — “and, who knows, maybe something more… prominent.”

43. You get a call from the principal’s office that your daughter has been involved in a bullying incident. Someone was bullying her, and she punched him. There were witnesses, and the principal reminds you of their zero-tolerance policy for physical violence…

44. You get a call from the principal’s office that your son has been acting out toward his classmates (who, according to what he’s told you, have been behaving aggressively toward him) and had brought a weapon to school to protect himself. They’ve confiscated the weapon (a paring knife) and have called the police.

45. Your kid has an IEP, and the Special Ed staff at the school always sound so caring and professional at the meetings you attend with them. But your son tells you they behave very differently toward him. The principal assures you that she knows the staff would never do what your son has accused them of doing. She suggests your son may be lying.

46. Your young daughter notices that one of your trees is “sick,” and she goes to visit the tree, talks to it, leans against it, and tells it to please get better. It responds by growing stronger and larger, spreading its branches out and downward to create a sort of cave for your daughter to rest in when she wants to be alone. It becomes her haven.

47. You wake up one morning and start loading your excess possessions into boxes and bags and hauling it off to Goodwill to donate it. That’s when you find the tiny cameras hidden in the bathroom, and bugs hidden in every room.

48. Your favorite coffee mug has broken, and you’re in mourning. The mug you just bought as your “second” just doesn’t feel the same in your hand, but it surprises you by magically refilling your drink with every sip — and keeping it hot for you.

49. The moth on your ceiling doesn’t bother you — much. But every time you look, it’s there. And you wonder why it never leaves. When you finally get a step ladder to get a closer look at it, you can hardly believe what you’re seeing.

50. Your neighbors on the home office side of your house have never been friendly, but one day, the wife comes over with a pie and tells you she made it herself and that she’s tired of being cooped up in the house with no one but her husband to talk to. You look over and see the outline of her husband in an upstairs window.

51. Tired of getting hair in your face, you take an electric hair-trimmer and run it all over your head with the one-inch attachment. You look at the results with satisfaction.

52. Your spouse, who has never done or said a romantic thing since your honeymoon, suddenly comes home with an expensive bouquet and a travel brochure for a place you’ve always wanted to visit. Later on, someone delivers the car you’ve always wanted, and your husband unconvincingly feigns surprise. You ask him if he won the lottery, but he shakes his head and says, “This is way better. You’ll see.”

53. You’re out in your backyard and stumble over something, which turns out to be a small brick half-buried in the grass. You see initials etched into the brick, along with a crudely-shaped heart. You wonder what — or whom — might be buried beneath. Soon, you find other markers like it, and you wonder how you failed to notice them before.

54. Your neighbor invites you over to her house, and you see that every wall has a cross painted on it with crude, hurried strokes. You ask why, and she nervously clears her throat and says, “This place needs them.”

55. You watch an infomercial and order a new face cream, hoping it will restore a youthful look to your face. It does more than that.

56. Your teenage son gets a job and, on his first day, he encounters a rude customer. Unaccustomed to responding with calmness and diplomacy, he lashes out at the customer and gets himself fired. Instead of calling home for a ride, though, he takes a walk through town and runs into the same customer holding up a cardboard sign.

57. You put your headphones on when you start on your writing project, and, at some point, an unfamiliar voice interrupts your playlist to tell you he likes what you’ve written so far. And he thinks you’d get along great.

58. Your spouse starts trying different paint samples on walls all over the house, and you don’t like any of the colors; they’re either too bright or too dark. One day, you paint patches of a pale green-gray that you like next to his acid-bright or dark color patches, and he tells you it’s boring, and that he’s painting the house his way.

59. Someone keeps writing fortune-cookie phrases on your new whiteboard at work, and it’s irritating you. You ask around, and no one knows who keeps writing the messages. Then, one of the predictions comes true.

60. You look out the window while you’re working and you see one neighbor attacking his spouse, knocking her down and then kicking her. You call 9-1-1, but later on, the wife comes over and says, “I know it was you who called. And you’ve made everything worse!”

61. Every time you look outside and see the wind in the trees, you take a deep breath and feel calmer. When the air is still, you feel as though the whole world is holding its breath and that something bad is about to happen. So, when it’s calm outside, you picture wind in the trees and take a deep breath.

62. You see movement in the corner of your eye and whenever you look, you see a huge, black dog in the neighbor’s yard, running back and forth. This time, though, he runs into your yard and starts barking at your front door.

63. Your eight-year-old son gets up and immediately goes for his Kindle Fire to play Minecraft. You’ve found some educational apps you want him to try, so you’ve installed them on his Kindle. He comes to you a few minutes later and says, “This app is telling me to do things I’m not supposed to do.”

64. You try a new recipe for a potluck, hoping it will wow your boss and coworkers, but it turns out terrible, and you end up rushing to a restaurant for something to bring before arriving (late) to find out everyone has already eaten the entree you were most looking forward to trying. When the cops show up later to ask why everyone is violently ill except you, you tell them everything you know.

65. You take your teenage son to his orientation for a new job, and when you come back to pick him up an hour later, you find out no one has seen him — though you saw him walk in the door before you drove off.

66. You’re living in a world where everyone is born with a birthmark that matches that of their soulmate. But you are born without one.

67. You and your best friend are in a terrible car accident, and you both die. Your friend, however, has a very different account of what he saw on the other side.

68. You’re born with the ability to mentally manipulate DNA. You started with plants and moved on to your pets, who now have unique abilities. For the past few years, you’ve been hacking your own DNA.

69. You were raised in the deep South where manners and feigned politeness were a thin veneer covering your family’s questionable history and lingering dysfunction.

More Related Articles:

7 Of The Best Writing Prompts Apps You Need To Try

List of Tragic Hero Traits To Flesh Out Your Character

107 Character Mannerisms For Writers

Did you find these short story ideas and prompts useful?

I hope your mind is buzzing with an idea you can’t wait to start playing with. Keep this article handy, so you can return to it when you’re looking for a new short story idea. You don’t have to follow any of them verbatim; take one and change the details however you like to make the idea your own.

Just don’t forget the “one shattering moment” for your character — and the importance of making an emotional impact on your reader. You make this impact as much with dialogue as with description and the structure of your story. Make it all count.

And when it comes time to edit, cut everything that dampens the impact of your story. Your readers will love you for it!

If you found value from this list of short story prompts, please share it and encourage others to pass it on to support and inspire as many fellow writers out there as possible. Why not even invite them to share their new short stories with you after they’ve written them?

And may your creative energy and goodwill infuse everything else you do today.

Looking for a short story idea? Check out this list of 104 short story ideas and prompts to create your next story that's sure to grab your reader's attention.

101 "What If..." Story Prompts To Inspire Your Writing

writing stories ideas

Do you need some help conjuring compelling ideas? Sometimes reading simple story prompts is the easiest way to find them.

Why Use Story Prompts?

Building story prompts into your writing routine can make you a better writer. Not only will they get the creative juices flowing, but story prompts can also help warm-up your brain for a productive writing session and help you develop a wider writing skill-set.

If you want to explore new writing styles, storylines, and characters in a small, safe test environment, story prompts can definitely take you into unfamiliar territory. They can also push you to be more creative as you concentrate at a high level on a relatively short writing task.

Drawing Inspiration from Story Prompts 

Most writers are often asked, “Where do you get your ideas from?” Or “Do you have any favorite story prompts that inspire you?” A majority of the time, writers find it difficult to answer that question.

We get our ideas from a plethora of sources — news headlines, novels, television shows, movies, our lives, our fears, our phobias, etc. They can come from a scene or moment in a film that wasn’t fully explored. They can come from a single visual that entices the creative mind — a seed that continues to grow and grow until the writer is forced to finally put it to paper or screen.

One of the best ways to find compelling and engaging story concepts is to come up with intriguing "What if..." story prompts. Some of the greatest cinematic stories have come from the answers to some of those questions.

Story Prompts in Action

Story Prompt: What if a nuclear submarine was ordered to launch their nuclear arsenal onto the world? Movie: Crimson Tide

Story Prompt: What if a little boy could see dead people when nobody else could? Movie: The Sixth Sense

Story Prompt: What if the world we live in is actually a computer simulation? Movie: The Matrix

Story Prompt: What if the males in a family could travel back in time to right their own wrongs, have greater success, or visit with lost loved ones? Movie: About Time

The answers to story prompts that you conjure may inspire screenplays, novels, short stories, or even smaller moments that you can include in what stories you are already writing or what you will create in your upcoming projects.

We've previously offered terrifying horror story prompts that writers could use.

Read ScreenCraft's  101 Terrifying Horror Story Prompts !

Now we open the story prompts possibilities up to all genres. You can use these seeds and apply them to any genre of your choosing. Here we offer 101 "What if..." story prompts to get those creative juices flowing.

Note: Because we're all connected to the same pop culture, news headlines, and inspirations, any similarity to any past, present, or future screenplays, novels, short stories, television pilots, television series, plays, or any other creative works is purely coincidence. These story prompts were conceived on the fly without any research or Google search for inspiration.

1. What if the past and present timelines began to merge?

2. What if the Greek Gods truly did use to walk the earth? 

3. What if your stepfather or stepmother is actually your future self?

4. What if the sun began to die?

5. What if the universe as we know it is actually someone's imagination?

writing stories ideas

6. What if the Big Bang was actually nothing more than someone coming up with the idea of our solar system?

7. What if an alien invasion was actually meant to stop humans from destroying themselves?

8. What if a young boy or young girl could hear everyone's inner thoughts?

9. What if a newly elected President came to power because they could hear everyone's inner thoughts?

10. What if technology was a test given to us by aliens to see what we'd do with it?

11. What if a portal opened to another world during a child's sleepover?

12. What if the human mind suddenly went through an extreme form of evolution?

writing stories ideas

13. What if robots were actually here first?

14. What if we are actually the descendants of another planet, brought here long ago?

15. What if an executioner was suddenly granted the ability to bring people back from the dead?

16. What if the dream world is the actual world?

17. What if World War I never happened?

18. What if World War II never happened?

19. What if the space program never stopped going to the moon?

writing stories ideas

20. What if there are still people in bunkers from the buildup to the Y2K scare?

21. What if a worldwide EMP destroyed all electronics?

22. What if a woman was elected President?

23. What if the oceans began to dry up?

24. What if dinosaurs are still alive somewhere?

25. What if vampires are real?

26. What if ghosts were the ones that were alive... not us?

writing stories ideas

27. What if some scientist has been successfully cloning humans for years?

28. What if you had the powers of God for one day? 

29. What if you could relive your childhood in exchange for your life? 

30. What if the Creator has been in a coma? 

31. What if Christ has been among us for 32 years? 

32. What if someone could possess anyone's body for 24 hours?

33. What if God came down as a human to explore his or her creation?

writing stories ideas

34. What if Bruce Lee never died?

35. What if someone came out to the press claiming to be Andy Kaufman?

36. What if Hitler survived World War II? 

37. What if Hitler was discovered living in an American suburb in the 1950s?

38. What if someone unlocked the secret to immortality? 

39. What if Christ was an alien... and he returned?

40. What if the remaining superpowers decided to invade America?

41. What if a humanoid underwater civilization was discovered in the ocean depths?

writing stories ideas

42. What if magicians were actually part of a secret society that could use real magic?

43. What if every human being had the same dream at the same time?

44. What if the world suddenly became a musical and people could only communicate in song?

45. What if dogs and humans switched bodies?

46. What if cats and dogs ruled the earth?

47. What if there was a scientifical explanation to ghosts?

48. What if a wormhole opened up just outside of Earth's atmosphere?

writing stories ideas

49. What if the moon was once Earth's equivalent?

50. What if Mars is already populated by a species living underground?

51. What if you could stop time at will?

52. What if someone had the ability to morph into anyone, anytime?

53. What if a comatose patient could communicate with their loved ones through their dreams?

54. What if a comatose patient started to haunt the dreams of their nurse?

writing stories ideas

55. What if Mark Twain was brought into the present from the past to experience how life has changed?

56. What if time travel was real?

57. What if time travel was discovered long ago by the elite New Order?

58. What if all conspiracy theories are actually true?

59. What if President Kennedy had never died?

60. What if a small town in the middle of nowhere was actually a human zoo on an alien world?

writing stories ideas

61. What if someone from Oz was left in Kansas after a tornado?

62. What if the cure for cancer was found, but the government doesn't want us to know?

63. What if every male in the world dropped dead because of some chromosome-related disease?

64. What if Area 51 hides a wormhole to alien worlds?

65. What if Area 51 is a cover site?

66. What if a reporter discovered that an unknown astronaut went missing in space during the Gemini and Apollo missions?  

writing stories ideas

67. What if angels lived among us?

68. What if children were now angels born into man?

69. What if a police officer discovered that his whole precinct was actually aliens in disguise?

70. What if humans are all organic robots that killed off their makers long ago?

71. What if the memories of every living human on Earth were erased?

72. What if all of the adults disappeared, leaving only children to fend for themselves?

73. What if there are monsters living under our beds?

74. What if a poor man or woman discovered an actual money tree that only they could see?

writing stories ideas

75. What if someone woke up to discover that they were living in their parent's bodies during their own childhood?

76. What if video game consoles could control real soldiers?

77. What if a boy or girl realizes that their family has been replaced by aliens?

78. What if rooms in a huge mansion were portals to people's nightmares?

79. What if a serial killer found out that they had a long lost child? 

80. What if someone woke up in a remote forest with no recollection of how they got there?

writing stories ideas

81. What if a brother and sister, fighting over who gets to play Fortnite, were sucked into the game? 

82. What if someone discovered that they could email their past self?

83. What if hackers erased everyone's debt?

84. What if an earthquake unleashed a series of underground monsters?

85. What if a professional thief was blackmailed into stealing a haunted artifact from King Tut's tomb?

86. What if a newly elected President of the United States tried to find out the truth about the Kennedy Assassination?

87. What if a newly elected President of the United States tried to find out the truth about Roswell?

88. What if humans began to age backward? 

89. What if Star Wars was not a figment of George Lucas's imagination?

90. What if the Titanic suddenly appeared... with no people onboard?

91. What if the Titanic suddenly appeared... with all of the original passengers and crew members onboard?

92. What if someone woke up in a strange spaceship with no recollection of how they got there?

writing stories ideas

93. What if someone kept waking up from dream after dream with no end and no way to determine what was real and what was a dream?

94. What if the late night layover in a deserted airport was actually the gateway to heaven or hell?

95. What if an island suddenly appeared off of the coast of New York?

96. What if you suddenly woke up in the process of getting an MRI with no recollection of who you are and how you got there?

97. What if you started to take on the characteristics and personality of your organ donor?

98. What if the medical field performed the first brain transplant... with drastic results?

99. What if a writer's words came to life?

100. What if filmmakers could produce a film by merely imagining it in their heads? 

101. What if you are actually the character that someone conjured after reading these story writing prompts? 

writing stories ideas

Share this with your writing peers or anyone that loves a good story. Have some prompts of your own? Share them through comments on Facebook posts or Twitter retweets!

Keep writing.

For more writing resources, sign up for the ScreenCraft's Screenwriting Newsletter Here !

Ken Miyamoto has worked in the film industry for nearly two decades, most notably as a studio liaison for Sony Studios and then as a script reader and story analyst for Sony Pictures.

He has many studio meetings under his belt as a produced screenwriter, meeting with the likes of Sony, Dreamworks, Universal, Disney, Warner Brothers, as well as many production and management companies. He has had a previous development deal with Lionsgate, as well as multiple writing assignments, including the produced miniseries  Blackout , starring Anne Heche, Sean Patrick Flanery, Billy Zane, James Brolin, Haylie Duff, Brian Bloom, Eric La Salle, and Bruce Boxleitner. Follow Ken on Twitter  @KenMovies

For all the latest ScreenCraft news and updates, follow us on  Twitter,   Facebook , and  Instagram .

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72 Short Story Ideas To Supercharge Your Writing

writing stories ideas

Are you ready to write a short story , but not sure where to start? Get some new ideas today with these diverse and engaging short story ideas. 

Though I’ve broken them up into subcategories, don’t feel limited by the headings. Feel free to add some romance to a supernatural story, or frame a family tale in a historical or dystopian setting.

The key to using these short story ideas is an open, flexible mind. Use these prompts as springboards, and then follow your inspiration.

The first half of these short story ideas are general categories — Humor, Family, Power, Plot Twist — while the second half offers story ideas in specific genres — Fantasy, Horror, Dystopian, Crime, Sci-Fi, Romance .

And when you’re ready to write a novel, I have resources for you, too. This thorough guide to novel writing will give you all the tools and techniques you need to write an exquisite novel.


2 Characters or Less



And if you’re ready to move from short story writing to bigger writing (NOVELS!), I also have a wonderful resource for you.

Read this comprehensive post on how to write your novel , including ideas on outlining, writing a series, and using the snowflake method.











Crime (Mystery/Revenge)





If you’re writing a children’s book, then read my post, “ 12 Steps to Writing a Children’s Book .”


For advice on writing a historical novel, you should definitely check out 7 Steps to Writing Historical Fiction .

I hope these short story ideas have generated some good stories for you! Leave a note in the comments if a particular short story writing prompt worked well for you.

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Can I use one of these fantastic ideas in my book? Do I need to credit your or something?

No need for credit! Go for it.

Thank you! I love writing but always run out of ideas. This was really helpful, Bookfox!

Cam I use this for animation and post it on youtube

These are wondeful ideas but I still dont know what to write for the rest of it

so i dont have to give any credit to you if i use one of youre ideas

Thanks for the story ideas! I started an introduction to one of the ideas, and I think it’s great! Again, thanks for all the ideas! Even though it’s not required, I’m putting you in the credits.

BOOKFOX, I want to use these for a story of mine is it okay or?

Yes, it’s okay. Use away!

Hi Book fox, I’m writing a essay and I want to use the Friendship Feud one. May I use it and do I have to credit you? Thx!

Go for it. No credit necessary.

These are very interesting and nice ideas

heyy! thank you so damn much for these ideas, you have no idea how much helpful these are. thank you so much. stay blessed

Could you please assist me, I’m writing a story about twin high school girls, but I’m out of ideas

this ideas are terriable

You misspelled two words out of four.

The ideas are brilliant.

You misspelled these and terrible.

why would you use them anyway if you can’t write a four word sentence?

Do you have better ideas then?

This comment says a lot more about you than it does the ideas.

If you really can’t turn any of these ideas into a compelling story you may want to take a little time to look at your own shortcomings and how you might address them, instead of attacking the people around you.

Better than a lot I have seen.

i know i’m late but that was the best roast i’ve ever seen

Maybe try looking at your own grammar before criticizing a perfectly good list of ideas for stories. You can’t even write a simple sentence, who are you to call this “terriable?”

i know right i did not find this helpful at all. At least i found someone to agree with me. thank you AARON. I love you for that <3

JULIANA, just because you don’t like them doesn’t mean they’re bad.

Can you do better?

Learn how to write bro

woah this got a little verbally violent for a story writing ideas page

honestly, some of them are great, i could never have thought of these, thank you sm!

I love these! Thank you!

I have to write a children’s book about cells so I’m trying to get inspiration. This is helping so thanks!

dang bookfox savage 😀 I wish I found out about this earlier dang I’m late

These prompts are amazing, they really helped me a lot! I’m a writer, I write all sorts of different genres like Romance, Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Horror, Crime and Murder +more, and I really liked the Adventure, Twist, and Romance prompts, which I will likely write a story or a book off of. Again, thank you so much I love these! <3

These are great ideas and I thank you for sharing.

OMG this is the best thing i’ve ever seen. Thank you for this!!

thx for this. really helpful

omg i love the identical twin story, but do you think it will be appropriate for my school short story

Depends on what level of school you’re at! But as a former teacher, I always loved whatever stories my students came up with, as long as it was a good story.

What section is it in?

Crime, Mystery/Revenge

Wonderful stories…

Did you write the story of the identical twins. Wold you like to share your perspective.

omg i love that one as well

Can I use the one with Rosa Parks? I would love to give it a try for short story.

im triggered.


Omg thank you so much this is amazing!

— Janelle Lien


aka jelly_janelley_lien

I can’t stop writing the story with the 14 year old boy and how he is the adopted one out of eight family members it’s so awesome!!!

I want to write a novel and these are just so inspiring it might just happen!!!!

Bookfox can I change names/ideas a little to make it my own

Of course! Change it in whatever ways you want to.

Amazing Website. I love the ideas. I don’t know how on earth you managed to think of all these ideas because it takes me hours to think of just a simple plot. Thanks a lot. This really helped me. 🙂

I’m actually writing a book

Wow really? I am too, I will soon publish it!!!!

did you publish it yet?

Bookfox,I’m writing a short story for school – 500 words so do you think it’s OK to cut the description in the introduction because if I use description it goes past my limit. Any ideas for what to do?

Bookfox, this is pretty amazing. I’m writing a story right now, and I’m almost finished. I promise that I’m going to give you credit for these *amazing* story ideas. I wouldn’t have done it without you, or the Random Name Generator…

Hey, Bookfox. I positively love these story ideas. I’m going to write a story off of one of these ideas, but I’m going to put a small twist to it. Is that okay and do I have to give you credit?

No credit necessary! Have fun with the story!

I love how diverse this is, most of these types of prompt lists have no mention of LGBT+ people whatsoever, this is so great!

Don’t you have anything better to do then complain? If it bothers you so much then replace the sexuality of the characters with ones you want. It’s just prompts, you don’t have to stick to the script.

Huh? She didn’t complain, she was saying something complimentary….

Why, what’s wrong with LGBT?

she was complementing them for including lgbt?

Nothing. Read her comment and fully understand what she was saying before jumping to conclusions. She was happy the LGBT community was integrated into the post.

What about Black Civil Rights? Sometimes LGBT+ members think their situation is the most important. Don’t get me wrong I think we shouldn’t even be fighting for human rights but we have to. But if you want to stand up for what’s right, stand up for the Civil Rights too.

Wow, I love the way that you’ve presented ideas that spur creativity, and are open to any kind of ending and interpretation. I’m thinking about building off either the idea of Tammy in solitary confinement, or the idea of quarantined children that have a disease like chicken pox, that causes violent outbreaks. Thank you!!

I’m almost done with my story! I’m writing it on Google Docs, and the pages are much longer than real pages. It’s 50 pages, and if any of you have Google Docs or Google Drive in general, can you tell me how much that is? Thanks.

Regards, John

Do you think that I can do a story about a guy who can’t die and seen everyone he loved died? I wanted to see what somebody thinks about that.

Of course! That would be awesome!

Bro this comment is exactly one year old.

And that comment is almost one year old

And that comment is just over one year old

i love these story ideas THANK YOU SO MUCH YOU HAVE A GREAT MIND I LOVE THEM SO MUCH thank you for inspiring me

This was…… amazing!!!

I love this website! It’s so helpful and great. Just wondering can I please use the graduation, gunshots one? I really like that one. Thanks


How do you get such amazing ideas? I get ideas too but very VERY slowly. AND, I don’t know whether I should write the story as a novel or a short story. Also, Love you for such amazing ideas; Even more so for sharing them! Hats off

These stories ideas are great! I will definitely use them. Does any credit need to go to book fox?

No, no credit necessary. Enjoy!

So I can use one of these and not give you credit?!


I would love to hear it.

With the portal in the park,what should i call it?

Here’s a story idea… A girl gets raped at 16 and has a baby boy named Ryan. She gets married later to a man that she thinks works at an office building but he really works as a secret agent, saving people everyday. The woman then gets pregnant with twin girls. Later she gets kidnapped by someone trying to get revenge at her husband. Her husband then gets the message at the work place and is surprised that it’s his wife. He then goes on a mission to find his wife.

All that ‘she gets pregnant’ is just unneeded in the main story. She doesn’t even have to get raped, as it has no meaning to the story whatsoever. Make her husband a normal guy who then goes to save his wife after she gets kidnapped by the man she was raped by as he’s afraid of being convicted.

It is the best story idea thingamibob ever

Book Fox is best

So I was wondering if it was okay that I altered a few story ideas to make my own. If it isn’t I can always use the ones written down, which are amazing, by the way. Thank you for the help! I’ll be booked all Summer with writing now!

Completely fine! Alter away.

I would just like to say I used the Graduation/gunfire prompt in a school contest and the story I wrote was selected as the top story written throughout the school. This is my favorite list for writing and one I continually return to. Thanks for making it!

I use your ideas all of the time they are so inspiring. You should start up a youtube channel telling stories u have written. 🙂

I wrote a couple of private-eye e-book novels: “Midnight Whiskey” and “Angel Eyes” that nobody is reading, so I don’t know if they are any good or not. Anyway, no more private-eye novels from me. Now I want to try humor but need some ideas to get started. You provided me with nine suggestions to consider. Thanks much, J. G. Curtiss

Hi I’m doing a stop motion for my project at school and I was wondering if it would be ok if I used one of your ideas and if you wanted me to credit you or something?

No, you don’t have to credit. Good luck with the project!

Ok thank you

These are all fantastic story ideas, however the one about the dachshund seems to be very similar to the plot of Babe the Sheep Pig?

“A successful lawyer knows that his client is guilty of murder, but he can easily lie and win the case, which is getting significant media coverage and would surely guarantee that he would be made a partner at his firm”

Change murder to child molestation, and this is the basic plot of ‘The Devil’s Advocate’ (Keanu Reeves/Al Pacino film).

Hey, do you want to write a book together?

Thank you, but I’m not much of an author. I dabble, but a book? No, I’m not even close to being in that league.

These are some absolutely brilliant ideas! Thank you so much for sharing them, they definitely got the creative juices flowing!

Wow! These are brilliant ideas.

i love these so much!

Thanks so much! Love it!

Wow these ideas are fantastic but I am a teenager (13) and well can I write

Do you have any internships available? I am a Journalism major, but I enjoy writing short stories for fun. I haven’t written a short story in a while but I am trying to start back up again. I would love to be your intern if you would give me a chance. Thank you

Not any internships available right now, sorry. But keep writing!

Wow. The ideas are fantastic! Thank you so much! I love the one about identical twins. Most of my story ideas come from other books I’ve read, then I combine different books. Is that cheating?

Hi bookfox, what would the conflict and antagonist be for the one about the kid who has healing powers? Thanks!

Conflict could be that there’s an unpleasant side effect and he must decide whether or not to seek help and risk losing his powers. Alternate possiblility: someone finds out about his powers and he becomes a human science experiment. Hope this helps!

Thank you book fox love the ideas

These are really good and great for a short story

I REALLY like the idea about the substitute teachers. You are the MOST AWESOME person ever. Thanks BOOKFOX ! Does this count as plagiarism if I use the idea because it didn’t come from me?

No, it’s not plagiarism. Enjoy!

This is really creative and helpful!!! :)) I want to use the identical twin one. But I love sci-fi too and those prompts are really good ones. Thank you so much for all these ideas!

This is by far the best list of writing prompts I have found online; thank you so much!

Hey is it ok if i use one of ur really good syories in this creative story tests thing or is that plagerisim 9 (Like if its plagerisim ill change it a bit)

Sure, go right ahead.

Thank you so much!! You just helped me with ideas for the short story for homework!! (He said we could look up ideas and we don’t have to come up with it ourselves)


I love your story ideas. I want to give you story credentials. Do you want it?

If you’d like to, sure!

Can I use the one with the hearing dogs , and what should It be called?

Yes, you can! And name it whatever you want to.

Thank you so much bookfox your the best you should write a book, about book ideas Marry Christmas

You are amazingly talented at writing books thanks

you good at this thing

Desperately been looking for inspiration these days. Used to come so much quicker- story after story! But now that I’m determined to write a full length novel, my inspiration just goes away. I think I’m a bit intimidated by the sheer work a book is, so I just shut down, but I’m determined! Now I just have to pick the perfect idea.

So helpful! I was thinking how to spend my winter holidays, and as I enjoy writing, I thought I would write 1 short story every day. If I would have thought of a good idea on my own I would have been surprised. These are great ideas. I came across this website today and I’ve written a story using one of these guidelines. Thank you once again.

At 82 years young my own ideas are few and far between. I’ve just joined a small writing group in my small town in NZ and am inspired by your great ideas. My fingers are itching to get going, just have to get past Christmas with all the Grandies. Merry Christmas to you all.

these stories are great thanks so much

these are amazing i am definitely using one of these in my short story!!! do i need to credit you?

No need! Please enjoy.

i want to use so many, im a huge fan of writing, and i may enter one in my school short story contest. do i need to give you credit???

You offer such a variety of diverse prompts! It’s not often that someone gets to see such unflinching representation of LGBTQ and other marginalized people in literature. Thank you!

Hi! I am coming up with tis really cool story about a fairy, but now I’m stuck, any ideas?

Some ideas: 1.) Murder a character 2.) Have one go missing 3.) Injure your main charater (trip, fall, get stabbed, ect) 4.) Take a look at some dialog prompts and work them into the scene 5.) PLOT TWIST

Do you have any other suggestions for horror?

A scream echos across the street. One by one, the houses go dark. Mine is next.

Thanks 4 the feedback!

and I’m going to do a short story semester in ELA, mind if I use one of the short story ideas for my writing?

Omg, I love these! Thank you so much! How do you even come up with all of these ideas???

How awesome is this?! I love this idea page so much. I’m in elementary school, so do you think the one about Brenda and her dog would be good for my writing class? We are doing our own stories; every theme!

hi just wondering – like the idea of the identical twins murder story but can you explain how they use each other as an alibi? i dont really understand that part of the prompt. thanks

I’ve got to write a 5-600 worder for my beginners creative writing class by tomorrow afternoon. I was stuck so I started trawling sites for prompts. Your’s is the best I’ve found yet. I usually write dark and heavy stuff but I wanted to try humor for a change. I’m going to go with the Elvis one; I love it! Thought I might work as many Elvis song titles into the narrative that I can. Thankyou, you’ve turned a frustrating day into fun.

Here are ideas that i want to see in a novel: A young boy who becomes the leader of the residence, fighting zombies. The story tells how he grows up and how every event makes him stronger.

An event that makes almost every person gain a power to manipulate pacific things. The story is told by a school boy who can manipulate everything. He tackles through difficult problems as growing into a teenager. Many people relly on him for protection but he doesnt know how to use his ability.

A knew idea for mass production of electricity causes all the power in the world to run out. Nothing can turn it back on. The story tells of a war between the president and ordinary people. The story is post apocolyptic. The moon blows up, global warming occurs, cyclones occur almost everywhere. Everywhere is a dead zone. The story is of a normal person who falls inlove with the leader of the resistance. In the end, the leader betrays them. Many more events occur but it is up to you to find out.

A fantasy story where most mythical creatures become extinct. The story is of a basted whos father was the king. After the king dies, his half brother becomes king. He was raised as a slave. He tries to excape but is captured and tortured. He manages to excape under great sacrifice. He becomes friends with the rest of the mythical creatures. Creates an army and manages to become a king. After long effort he manages to overcome his brother.

A story where a boys spy father dies. After the boy grows into a man he becomes a spy too. He is tasked with a small enemy but he finds out that it can dedtroy the world. The villian kills almost everyone he knows. He finds another spy service and joins them. He manages to……………..(insert your thoughts)

cool ideas!

wow great ideas!

hey if i used these ideas would it be plagiarism???????

No. Use away.

These are so inspiring!!!! I am writing a book on Wattpad for a reward and I want to use the plot of the one with DID, can I borrow it??

I’m stuck on a story any tips?

I love the one with the overflow of alien cats, but is it ok if I change the part about commiting suicide?

Sure, change away!

what type of story is appropriate for 4th grade

Great idea’s thanks and can i use some of these idea’s for my story???

This is by far one of the best short stories website I have come across! I’m thinking about doing the Caffeine Speakeasy one, although can you give me some tips o how to build on the plot? 🙂 Thanks.

that was cool but its not helping

Can I use one of the topics for my short story? If I can do I have to use credits or something like that?

hi I like sci-fi stories and and thigs to do with superheros as I am a big marvel fan. However I am not sure which of your supernatural ideas I like best please could you give me a suggestion of which one to do. thank you

I think the one with Emerald would be a good pick

(If you don’t like her age, I’m sure you will be able to change it!)

I love this I really love writing but am not very good but these are amazing i’d love for my teacher and classmate to see them cause my teacher loves using story starters like this thank you so much for the inspiring ideas

This is such a great list of short story ideas! I love how this was put together, categorized and included the LGBT+ community. This personally helped me a lot with my writer’s block. Thank you!

WOW! Thank u so much BOOKFOX! Can I take one or two storylines and mix them together to make one story?? Do I have to give you some credits???

Thank you so much for these great ideas! I am currently trying to write a short story about a girl who’s 18th birthday is on the 31st December 1999. Your suggestions really helped me realise that it was getting boring and that I had not researched at all!!

So, do we have to give credit because i like these ideas. I’m already writing two books right now and im only 12.

Lol I write lots of books too!! 🙂

Any writing tips I’ve been stuck on a story and I don’t know if I should give up or keep going.

Try coming up with the backstory before you write your outline. Once you have the backstory down, the outline tends to just piece itself together. Also, focus on how the external events push the internal conflict of the character. External conflicts are boring and flat if you don’t connect them to the internal conflict.

This was cool, but didn’t really help.

Thank you so much for creating this site! I’m ALWAYS running out of good ideas for story writing! I love all of the different catagories that you sorted these story ideas into! It made it so much easier to find what I was looking for!

Hi. Can I use one of your ideas? They are all equally creative and non-cliché.

I am in middle school, and I needed ideas for a book. I love writing but I can never figure out what to write about. Thank you for all these ideas!

They are just mind blowing

they are great ideas, but alot of them seem better for a longer story. either way, i love writing, and these are great ideas. thank you!

the ideas are so great, i have no clue which ones to chose however i am still am learning about writing so if anyone ca give me advice on writing that would be great, thank you.

thank you so much this has helped me write a terrifying story and it was easy thanks to you

I need like a full story idea with chapters and the genre is adventure can someone help me

Thx for the ideas

I think these ideas are genius, I’m Competing in the young writers award writing competition and I’m afraid if I use these ideas, I’ll get caught and say I was “copying” a book that has already been made? Do you think I will??

These ideas are good! Can I use one for my short story!Please?

I want to use one of these prompts for a short story competition at school. Can I do this or is it considered ‘copying’?

Go for it! Your story will be very original.

I want to write a short story and the word limit is 1000 words can you please give me some more ideas

This is great!

List like this are good to get the mind flowing. The real value is reading an idea and thinking “Not bad… you know, a better idea is…”

My problem is everything I write winds up as porn. The guy hiking into the blizzard will meet an ice nymph on my head.

It’s good porn, but still…

I’m really interested in a story idea for a Wattpad story I would like to write. Can I use it? and If I can do I need to credit you or anything?

Please use it. No credit necessary.

These are all great ideas but I still don’t know what to write!

Sir, All are good concpet. I like to take one from the list. Can I use it…?

Can you post more historical fiction prompts?

Hi, have you checked out my historical fiction prompts?

I absolutely LOVE those ideas. They are sensational, epic, insane, perfect. But whenever I try to write something under a specific catergory, I can’t seem to stick to one idea and I think I trail off a lot.

Great Post.!!!! Thanks for sharing this post with us it was really very informative and quite helpful for my small research. Thanks again.

Great ideas thank you! Do you have any ideas on animals? I would like to do a short using horses or dogs and am looking for more ideas. All ideas welcome!

These ideas were wonderful, but I have a problem. I’m having writer’s block, and even looking at short story ideas isn’t helping. Do you have any tips?

Sign up for my email list and you’ll get a free copy of my PDF on how to defeat writer’s block.

I’m meant to write a 500-word story for school, which has to happen over the period of 1 day and can’t be fantasy or even a bit fictional. I have no idea what to do. Help!

hey thanks you help with a project i have at school and i think im gonna get an A+

I have a story idea of my own that any of you could try! When the main character, Emily, is diagnosed with schizophrenia at 15, her whole world changes. Not only does she hear and see people no one else can see, but she is suddenly caught up in a wild adventure that may end up with her dead.

These stories are amazing! Could I use one or two of them for a new story?

These are great thank you so much, helped with my block!

These are so great there’s so many ideas I have for some of them. Definitely great for inspiration!

Do You have an Post apocalyptic short story ideas, I am completely stuck.

TO ANY AUTHORS: Please write stories appropriate for young teens, no grisly murders or anything that my Mom would balk at.

I go to the library and can’t find any books that interest me and get past my parents’ once-over.

These ideas just saved me, I wanted to submit a short story, for a contest, and the deadline is in 9 days!

I love this website! This is so helpful. I have already figured out 100 stories in my head to write.

Im doing an Ext Eng 2 course in year 12 at the moment, and i need to find original content that would not bore the HSC markers. As much as these ideas intrigued me, would it intrigue the HSC markers, or are these stories on the touchline of being too cliche and predictable?

Hi thank you for sharing to write short story ideas You know I’m a beginner in writing a story as before I wrote many blog posts for clients now start for short story writing.

Thanks again Michel Joachim

Great collection of ideas! The horror and fantasy sections are my favorites.

I’ve also found that art is also a great source of story ideas. If I look at a piece of art and ask myself “What are these people talking about? How did they get here? What will they do next?”, my mind starts filling with ideas for possible stories.

As an actor who uses a similar acting technique to the one in the dissociative identity disorder idea, I’d be careful portraying that. It’s not as simple as it sounds, and of course, it’s always important to research disorders before writing them.

I’m currently trying to write a story and I’m stuck, any ideas?

These are amazing ideas, and I’ve been in love with writing since I was in 2nd grade. However, I’m having a hard time building off of them. Not that they’re bad ideas, I’m just having a hard time writing recently and I really want to write a story. The last time I wrote a story was at the beginning of 8th grade this year. Any tips for being able to kick off a good story when you have a lot on your mind?

maybe pick the best stories in mind idk i am not a writer

I love these ideas they really helpful, I always needed a kick start for writing and this really helped

Help! I have no clue on what to write about, I like to write about fun stuff like thriller and adventure but to push me even further I would like to do some romance novels. Any ideas?

The first short story in the ‘romance’ section could be appropriate to what you are looking for. You could add in some more thriller action as that story is really for romance. Hope that helped! HAPPY WRITING 🙂

I loved this so many cool ideas and there very mysterious so you can always think of things.

Wow!! Thank you SO SO SOOOOO much!! I loved the ones about twins, like many other people also said. Here’s a fun fact you’ll probably find really interesting about me that’ll make you say “No way. REALLY?” Well, I’m actually a twin who’s 12, so the idea about 12 year old twins switching classes for each other would be PERFECT. Thank you again, this page was lifesaving!!

Hey BookFox, I was wondering if I could use one of the mentioned ideas. If so would you like me to write a citation for you?

Just go ahead and use it.

I want a story and the romance section is a great idea thank you BookFox

I used the one about a girl finding a teleportation device outside. This page saved my life. Thank you so much.

Help can you please teach me how to write story about 15/9

I love to make stories, but I can’t stay in one story. I get bored easily and I have trouble staying on one topic. I am a HUGE fan of horror. Are there any prompts you can give me?

Those that say these are bad ideas have to think about their own imagination with it! I was able to come up with multiple spin offs from these, thanks to you of course! Absolutely love them. Were some of them not exactly in my interests? Yes, but no ones going to love everything 100%. And even with them not being in my interests, I can still see them being turned into great story ideas with the right person.

Hey, I know I might have come a little late but…. I absolutely love your ideas! If it is not asking a lot do can you guys upload a few more story ideas, just for the reason that I have used almost every one of them in my writing!! Thank you,

Hi I was wondering if this is a good start to a book or does it need a lot of work cause I need all the help I can get so … here is what I got so far

Hi my name is Kaylon Klinglesmith I am about to turn 18. I am working as a maid for this cute, rich, but shy college guy named Blake. So the way I met him is kind of funny. It started when I was walking to college. I am living by the collage I ran into while I was looking for an important green math book. I fell on the ground and by the time I was getting up a boy with blue hair and blue eyes was saying something but I could not understand It sounded like blue bla bla blue ha ah ht. See I don’t understand anything but then I finally came to my senses and he was talking Korean. I am so lucky I studied Korean. He was actually saying “ Hey what do you think you are doing… you got my shoe dirty.” I was so busy trying to understand what he was saying I did not look at him until he said meanly “hey you look at me!” so I looked at him. He said sarcastically “ Do you understand me or do I need someone to translate for me” I said sadly “ um I am so so sorry about your shoe” He smiled and said with joy “what is your name“ I was so nervous sooo I sounded like “Me my um Kaylon Klinglesmith what is your name?” He said he would not tell me until I do something for him so I asked what he wanted. He said “I need someone to be my maid” I said “me or do you want me to find someone for you?” He said, “I want you to do it for my friend. Oh and my name is Byeong-ho” Which means bright and great in Korean. “Well bye Ohh and my friend should be here any minute ” He said with a smile

So …. I finally found my book and I bet 100$ you don’t know where it is … you’re not getting 100$ but it was in another book. Anyways I was sitting on a bench thinking that we have no school today !!!!!!!!! That was me being mad at my self for going out of my house now I am a maid

These are SO the best ideas I have seen! All others pale beside them. They just get you thinking and that’s what I want. Thank you!

I love to write stories. Your ideas are amazing! I’m starting a new grade and want to write fresh stories. Could I use some ideas? I would definitely mention you in credits.

Btw you have really creative ideas! Have you written any books? I would totally read them.

THESE PROMPTS ARE AMAZING THANK YOU ✨ Also, are there any restrictions on changing them slightly?

If I use any of these, do I have to credit you ? really like the Oliver one, btw.

Nope, just go for it!

These are really good, but not the scary ones (I don’t like scary things). I might use one of these ideas in the play I’m writing, thank you BookFox!

This is my first adventure. After being retired for a few years, I was bored and decided to return to work on a seasonal position with a well-known company. Work was good until COVID-19 entered the world and everything changed. My job closed its doors forever; so now here I am unemployed at an age that employment is hard to find unless you are well experienced in what may be offered. This is when writing came to mind. I’m glad that Google helped me to find this online writing course. I think it’s great! Perhaps from the lessons explored and learned I will be able to actually have my first short story published. I look forward to this with great anticipation.

Salve! As one author to another, love this! Perfect ideas for my story. I am writing a mafia story and I think I shall use the mistake equals unhappiness. I appreciate the ideas! Vale!

Hey Bookfox, love all of these ideas! out of curiosity, could any of them be used for a book?

Sure, use away!

BOOKFOX i have to thank you for giving me such wonderful ideas #3 childrens was very helpful for my writing assignment.

this is my book that I made using #3 childrens

(made with modified writing prompt)

4 year old Bean the corgi is your average stray dog. He is known all around town as the dream dog. Every day Bean must put up with people trying to adopt him but bean turns them all down. Here is Beans story…

It was a bright and warm day in the park where we see BEan the dog strolling around sniffing things when Beans sees a shiny thing on the ground it looked like a round beetle made of clay and silicon. So he watched it for 7 minutes when he saw a girl walking towards the beetle bean thought that the girl was going to take it so bean and the girl simultaneously pounced onto the beetle. The beetle split in half right as they pounced but the beetle the girl landed on was smaller than the one Bean captured. Bean and the girl(Amanda) were stunned when right before their eyes the beetles started crawling into their stomach, Strangely enough, it didnt hurt. The reason for this was that bean and Amanda’s brain had never felt this feeling of crawling beetle made of silicon before so it put up a weak tingle instead of pain.

A week later Bean discovered that whenever he thought hard enough he could do any of the following things: cut off gravity for any one thing, Change the density of himself and anything metal and could use telepathy or swim through anything like it was water. But as we all know bean is a dog so he would not be using these powers for being a superhero or wooing a girl as he does not care because he is a dog. So Bean started using his telepathy to play fetch with himself and make the ball very light so it would go farther. Sometimes he would just make himself light so he could bound around happily.

Amanda was very confused when a week later she was able to teleport so the first thing she did was see how far she could go and she realized that as long as she could see where she would be able to go there so she decided to see if the corgi also got powers.

3 months later beans unique abilities were discovered by nasa and area 51 and they sent a soldier team after him armed with tranquilizers and dog treats that would sedate him if he ate them.

Bean was minding his own business when he felt a spark go through him suddenly he felt…sophisticated And so he went outside to play fetch and calm his mind when suddenly it felt unnecessary and tiring. A couple of minutes later he was craving earl gray tea 2 cream 1 sugar and half sweetener. When there was a creaking noise and Suddenly 5 humans flooded in at the door all wielding dog treats now even though bean was more sophisticated he still loved treats and so when the humans started waving the treats bean went up without hesitation and started inhaling as many as he could.

He woke up in a white room with many people in white coats staring at him. Bean was confused but he did not really care where he was because the coat – people smelled nice and friendly when to his surprise one of the people started talking and to beans surprise: he could actually understand them! So once the conversation was over bean said: “hello my good sirs wonderful day out isn’t it? But I am feeling like I could fancy some caviar and tea. Do any of you good chaps know where I could find some?“ All of the people were stunned when one said “did that dog just speak?” then another person said “and he spoke like a fancy person!”.

Eventually Bean introduced himself and the scientist also did and explained why they wanted him there they said “Bean we brought you here because of your ability to manipulate gravity so we thought well gravity prevents us from launching our massive ships off of earth so you could cut off gravity for our ship and we could launch it into space”. Bean suddenly spoke something that would change history forever. “Well my good chaps if you are scientists then you would know that gravity transcends space and time so i could theoretically send a message back in time and advance humanity massively if i sent a message back in time that would contain all of our research of this era and humanity would be ahead of its normal schedule”. “He’s a genius!” They all chorused. When one of the people said: “well couldn’t he use his telepathy to move our solar system to a different place? Or push a black hole away? Or defend earth from meteors?” The answer is yes, said bean. In addition to all my other unique abilities i have the ability to zoom in with my eyes so i can tell you that i have already tried those things with no advancements for anyone or anything.

Amanda had managed to track bean all the way to a mysterious shack she guessed that this was beans house but when she went in she saw walls that looked as if they were bleached when she looked harder she saw around 6 people that looked like scientists and a fancy voice from the middle of the group she decided to teleport into the middle of the circle so she did using her tele-balls which is a tiny camera she throws and if it land somewhere she cant see she lokes through the camera and can teleport there so thats what she did and once she was in the middle of the circle she saw a dog with an ornate collar eating caviar and drinking tea. The collar showed that the dogs name was bean and that this was the dog she was looking for. Suddenly the scientists realized that someone had just teleported into their circle and very very surprised so they sat amanda down and started asking questions but she answered nothing and suddenly: bean spoke, Chaps my far-sight detects an asteroid the size of the moon hurtling towards us we must do something!.

Now normally this would be no problem because bean could just slap it away with his telekinesis but this one was much too big for that so the scientists made a chamber that would supercharge bean with enough power to destroy the asteroid. So bean stepped into the chamber and started absorbing energy rapidly so rapid that the machine could not supply energy fast enough. So bean started absorbing energy from the scientists and from amanda and the earth and finally once bean had absorbed every trace of energy on earth he was finished so he flew into space using his telekinesis and started absorbing the asteroid and then the moon and finally… the sun and the galaxy when Bean finally had enough energy he transformed into a ball of light and sped off into the unknown.

Hi these are really good ideas thank you cuz I want to try and get better at writing stories and finishing them

writing stories ideas

Every writer NEEDS this book.

It’s a guide to writing the pivotal moments of your novel.

Whether writing your book or revising it, this will be the most helpful book you’ll ever buy.


  1. Short Story Ideas with a Twist

    writing stories ideas

  2. How to Write a Story (With images)

    writing stories ideas

  3. 10 Fantastic Ideas For A Short Story 2022

    writing stories ideas

  4. Creative Story Ideas for Middle Schoolers (With images)

    writing stories ideas

  5. Short Story Writing Prompts

    writing stories ideas

  6. Creative Writing Lesson Ideas / 6 Activities to Get Your Writers' Club Started

    writing stories ideas


  1. Write your story


  3. Write a story

  4. Write your story

  5. CHAT GPT Open A.I. Writing Stories. 1.23.2023



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  2. What Is the Definition of a “news Story”?

    A news story is a factual, prose story for print or broadcast media about a person, place or event answering these five questions: who, what, when, where, why and how. A news story is written in the inverted-pyramid style, giving the most i...

  3. What Is the Structure of a Story?

    The structure of a story depends on what kind of story it is as well as the audience and purpose, but all narratives fall into a broad three-part structure that includes exposition, rising action and resolution.

  4. Top 100 Short Story Ideas

    Write a premise. After reading your first draft, get your head around the main idea behind your story by summarizing your story in a one sentence premise. Your

  5. 200+ Short Story Ideas… And How to Brainstorm Your Own!

    Turn one of your grandparent's old stories into fiction. · A romance told through a series of texts. · Two people are playing chess. · Write a story that draws

  6. 1800+ Creative Writing Prompts To Inspire You Right Now

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  7. 44 Short Story Ideas

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  9. 400+ Writing Prompts: 16+ Genres to Start Your BEST Story

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  10. 300+ Short Story Ideas & How to Start Your Story Off Right

    Write a story about a new strain of flower and how its scent is intoxicating to humans, but also deadly. Write a story about the first stranger you see today.

  11. Story Ideas > 100 story prompts to SPARK your imagination

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  12. 104 Of The Best Short Story Ideas And Prompts To Grab Your Readers

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    Tell the tall tale of a high-fashion penguin who goes shopping for a tuxedo and gets into the modeling industry. Make as many crossovers between fashion and