100 Creative Writing Prompts for Middle & High School – 2024

April 15, 2024

creative writing prompts for high school and middle school teens

Some high school students dream of writing for a living, perhaps pursuing an English major in college, or even attending a creative writing MFA program later on. For other students, creative writing can be useful for school assignments, in English and other subjects, and also for preparing their Common App essays . In a less goal-oriented sense, daily freewriting in a journal can be a healthy life practice for many high schoolers. Not sure where to start? Continue reading for 100 creative writing prompts for middle school and high school students. These middle/high school writing prompts offer inspiration for getting started with writing in a number of genres and styles.

Click here to view the 35 Best Colleges for Creative Writing .

What are Creative Writing Prompts?

Similar to how an academic essay prompt provides a jumping-off point for forming and organizing an argument, creative writing prompts are points of initiation for writing a story, poem, or creative essay. Prompts can be useful for writers of all ages, helping many to get past writer’s block and just start (often one of the most difficult parts of a writing process).

Writing prompts come in a variety of forms. Sometimes they are phrases used to begin sentences. Other times they are questions, more like academic essay prompts Writing prompts can also involve objects such as photographs, or activities such as walking. Below, you will find high school writing prompts that use memories, objects, senses (smell/taste/touch), abstract ideas , and even songs as jumping-off points for creative writing. These prompts can be used to write in a variety of forms, from short stories to creative essays, to poems.

How to use Creative Writing Prompts

Before we get started with the list, are a few tips when using creative writing prompts:

Experiment with different formats : Prose is great, but there’s no need to limit yourself to full sentences, at least at first. A piece of creative writing can begin with a poem, or a dialogue, or even a list. You can always bring it back to prose later if needed.

Interpret the prompt broadly : The point of a creative writing prompt is not to answer it “correctly” or “precisely.” You might begin with the prompt, but then your ideas could take you in a completely different direction. The words in the prompt also don’t need to open your poem or essay, but could appear somewhere in the middle.

Switch up/pile up the prompts : Try using two or three prompts and combine them, or weave between them. Perhaps choose a main prompt, and a different “sub-prompt.” For example, your main prompt might be “write about being in transit from one place to another,” and within that prompt, you might use the prompt to “describe a physical sensation,” and/or one the dialogue prompts.  This could be a fun way to find complexity as you write.

Creative Writing Prompts for Middle School & High School Students (Continued)

Write first, edit later : While you’re first getting started with a prompt, leave the typos and bad grammar. Obsessing over details can take away from your flow of thoughts. You will inevitably make many fixes when you go back through to edit.

Write consistently : It often becomes easier to write when it’s a practice , rather than a once-in-a-while kind of activity. For some, it’s useful to write daily. Others find time to write every few days, or every weekend. Sometimes, a word-count goal can help (100 words a day, 2,000 words a month, etc.). If you set a goal, make sure it’s realistic. Start small and build from there, rather than starting with an unachievable goal and quickly giving up.

100 Creative Writing Prompts for Middle School & High School Teens

Here are some prompts for getting started with your creative writing. These are organized by method, rather than genre, so they can inspire writing in a variety of forms. Pick and choose the ones that work best for you, and enjoy!

Prompts using memories

  • Begin each sentence or group of sentences with the phrase, “I remember…”
  • Describe a family ritual.
  • Choose an event in your life, and write about it from the perspective of someone else who was there.
  • Pick a pathway you take on a regular basis (to school, or to a friend’s house). Describe five landmarks that you remember from this pathway.
  • Write about your house or apartment using a memory from each room.
  • Write an imaginary history of the previous people who lived in your house or apartment.
  • Write about an ancestor based on stories you’ve heard from relatives.
  • What’s your earliest memory?
  • Who was your first friend?
  • Write a letter to someone you haven’t seen since childhood.
  • Write about yourself now from the perspective of yourself twenty, or eighty, years from now.
  • Write about the best month of the year.
  • Write about the worst day of the year.
  • Rant about something that has always annoyed you.
  • Write about the hottest or coldest day you can remember.
  • Visualize a fleeting moment in your life and as though it’s a photograph, and time yourself 5 minutes to write every detail you can remember about the scene.
  • Draw out a timeline of your life so far. Then choose three years to write about, as though you were writing for a history book.
  • Write about a historical event in the first person, as though you remember it.
  • Write about a memory of being in transit from one place to another.

Objects and photographs as creative writing prompts

  • Describe the first object you see in the room. What importance does it have in your life? What memories do you have with this object? What might it symbolize?
  • Pick up an object, and spend some time holding it/examining it. Write about how it looks, feels, and smells. Write about the material that it’s made from.
  • Choose a favorite family photograph. What could someone know just by looking at the photograph? What’s secretly happening in the photograph?
  • Choose a photograph and tell the story of this photograph from the perspective of someone or something in it.
  • Write about a color by describing three objects that are that color.
  • Tell the story of a piece of trash.
  • Tell the story of a pair of shoes.
  • Tell the story of your oldest piece of clothing.

Senses and observations as creative writing prompts

  • Describe a sound you hear in the room or outside. Choose the first sound you notice. What are its qualities? It’s rhythms? What other sounds does it remind you of?
  • Describe a physical sensation you feel right now, in as much detail as possible.
  • Listen to a conversation and write down a phrase that you hear someone say. Start a free-write with this phrase.
  • Write about a food by describing its qualities, but don’t say what it is.
  • Describe a flavor (salty, sweet, bitter, etc.) to someone who has never tasted it before.
  • Narrate your day through tastes you tasted.
  • Narrate your day through sounds you heard.
  • Narrate your day through physical sensations you felt.
  • Describe in detail the physical process of doing an action you consider simple or mundane, like walking or lying down or chopping vegetables.
  • Write about the sensation of doing an action you consider physically demanding or tiring, like running or lifting heavy boxes.
  • Describe something that gives you goosebumps.
  • Write a story that involves drinking a cold glass of water on a hot day.
  • Write a story that involves entering a warm house from a cold snowy day.
  • Describe someone’s facial features in as much detail as possible.

Songs, books, and other art

  • Choose a song quote, write it down, and free-write from there.
  • Choose a song, and write a story in which that song is playing in the car.
  • Choose a song, and write to the rhythm of that song.
  • Choose a character from a book, and describe an event in your life from the perspective of that character.
  • Go to a library and write down 10 book titles that catch your eye. Free-write for 5 minutes beginning with each one.
  • Go to a library and open to random book pages, and write down 5 sentences that catch your attention. Use those sentences as prompts and free-write for 5-minutes with each.
  • Choose a piece of abstract artwork. Jot down 10 words that come to mind from the painting or drawing, and free-write for 2 minutes based on each word.
  • Find a picture of a dramatic Renaissance painting online. Tell a story about what’s going on in the painting that has nothing to do with what the artist intended.
  • Write about your day in five acts, like a Shakespearean play. If your day were a play, what would be the introduction, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution?
  • Narrate a complicated book or film plot using only short sentences.
  • Read a short poem. Then write a poem that could be a “sister” or “cousin” of that poem.

Abstract ideas as creative writing prompts

  • Write about an experience that demonstrates an abstract idea, such as “love” or “home” or “freedom” or “loss” without ever using the word itself.
  • Write a list of ways to say “hello” without actually saying “hello.”
  • Write a list of ways to say “I love you” without actually saying “I love you.”
  • Do you believe in ghosts? Describe a ghost.
  • Invent a mode of time travel.
  • Glass half-full/half-empty: Write about an event or situation with a positive outlook. Then write about it with a miserable outlook.
  • Free-write beginning with “my religion is…” (what comes next can have as much or as little to do with organized religion as you’d like).
  • Free-write beginning with “my gender is…” (what comes next can have as much or as little to do with common ideas of gender as you’d like).
  • Write about a person or character that is “good” and one that is “evil.” Then write about the “evil” in the good character and the “good” in the evil character.
  • Write like you’re telling a secret.
  • Describe a moment of beauty you witnessed. What makes something beautiful?

Prompts for playing with narrative and character

  • Begin writing with the phrase, “It all started when…”
  • Tell a story from the middle of the most dramatic part.
  • Write a story that begins with the ending.
  • Begin a story but give it 5 possible endings.
  • Write a list of ways to dramatically quit a terrible job.
  • Write about a character breaking a social rule or ritual (i.e., walking backwards, sitting on the floor of a restaurant, wearing a ballgown to the grocery store). What are the ramifications?
  • You are sent to the principal’s office. Justify your bad behavior.
  • Re-write a well-known fairytale but set it in your school.
  • Write your own version of the TV show trope where someone gets stuck in an elevator with a stranger, or a secret love interest, or a nemesis.
  • Imagine a day where you said everything you were thinking, and write about it.
  • Write about a scenario in which you have too much of a good thing.
  • Write about a scenario in which money can buy happiness.
  • Invent a bank or museum heist.
  • Invent a superhero, including an origin story.
  • Write using the form of the scientific method (question, hypothesis, test, analyze data conclusion).
  • Write using the form of a recipe.

Middle School & High School Creative writing prompts for playing with fact vs. fiction

  • Write something you know for sure is true, and then, “but maybe it isn’t.” Then explain why that thing may not be true.
  • Write a statement and contradict that statement. Then do it again.
  • Draft an email with an outlandish excuse as to why you didn’t do your homework or why you need an extension.
  • Write about your morning routine, and make it sound extravagant/luxurious (even if it isn’t).
  • You’ve just won an award for doing a very mundane and simple task. Write your acceptance speech.
  • Write about a non-athletic event as though it were a sports game.
  • Write about the most complicated way to complete a simple task.
  • Write a brief history of your life, and exaggerate everything.
  • Write about your day, but lie about some things.
  • Tell the story of your birth.
  • Choose a historical event and write an alternative outcome.
  • Write about a day in the life of a famous person in history.
  • Read an instructional manual, and change three instructions to include some kind of magical or otherwise impossible element.

Prompts for starting with dialogue

  • Write a texting conversation between two friends who haven’t spoken in years.
  • Write a texting conversation between two friends who speak every day and know each other better than anyone.
  • Watch two people on the street having a conversation, and imagine the conversation they’re having. Write it down.
  • Write an overheard conversation behind a closed door that you shouldn’t be listening to.
  • Write a conversation between two characters arguing about contradicting memories of what happened.
  • You have a difficult decision to make. Write a conversation about it with yourself.
  • Write a conversation with a total lack of communication.
  • Write a job interview gone badly.

Final Thoughts – Creative Writing Prompts for Middle School & High School 

Hopefully you have found several of these creative writing prompts helpful. Remember that when writing creatively, especially on your own, you can mix, match, and change prompts. For more on writing for high school students, check out the following articles:

  • College Application Essay Topics to Avoid
  • 160 Good Argumentative Essay Topics
  • 150 Good Persuasive Speech Topics
  • Good Transition Words for Essays
  • High School Success

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Sarah Mininsohn

With a BA from Wesleyan University and an MFA from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Sarah is a writer, educator, and artist. She served as a graduate instructor at the University of Illinois, a tutor at St Peter’s School in Philadelphia, and an academic writing tutor and thesis mentor at Wesleyan’s Writing Workshop.

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Lindsay Ann Learning English Teacher Blog

55 Journal Writing Prompts High School Students Love


September 28, 2020 //  by  Lindsay Ann //   10 Comments

Sharing is caring!

Do you use a writer’s notebook in your English classroom? Do you find yourself wishing that you had a list of journal writing prompts high school students will like? 

In this post, I will be sharing 55 different journal prompts. That’s enough for the whole year of fun writing prompts, used 1x per week, for the whole semester if used 2-3x per week, and enough for the whole quarter if used every day.

Digital vs. Paper Writer’s Notebooks

Two years ago, I was determined to have my students write. Every day. Inspired by 180 Days, I wanted to be the writer’s notebook queen of the world and change students’ lives through journal writing prompts. 


I went to the nearest Staples store and bought .20 cent composition notebooks. I gave them to students on the first day of school. We wrote in them, pasting in mentor texts for the first three weeks of school. Then, for various reasons, the writer’s notebooks stayed closed more often than not. It was not sustainable for me. 

Now, I’ve written in a previous post about choosing ONE thing to be your precious at the beginning of each school year. If paper writer’s notebooks are your jam, then rock on, friend! 

As for me, I now use and love digital writer’s notebooks. These fun writing journal prompts notebooks are created in Google Slides and shared with students via Classroom. These writing prompts for journals never get lost, are less time-consuming than regular writer’s notebooks, and can use all sorts of colors and design elements to capture students’ attention.

Journal Writing Prompts for High School Students

Below you’ll find 55 journal writing prompts. High school students will find plenty to say about these topics, but I suggest setting ground rules for writing and setting a time limit (with timer projected). 

First: Write for the whole time. 

Second: Don’t worry about making sense or making sure what you write is perfectly-edited. 

Third: Be honest and be specific. 

1st Set: Imaginative Journal Writing Prompts High School Students 💜

  • If you could invent anything, what would it be? Describe why you want to invent it, what it would look like, what it would do, etc. 
  • Choose the animals that best represent your family members and closest friends. Explain why you have chosen each animal. 
  • What if the world was made of Jello?
  • If your life was suddenly a hit reality television show, what would it be called and what would viewers say about it? 
  • Describe your survival plan in the event of a zombie apocalypse. 
  • Create the perfect alien. 
  • You have three doors in front of you: red, blue, and green. The red door says “wing.” The blue door says “want.” The green door says “woke.” Which door would you choose and why? Describe what you imagine to be behind each door.
  • Explain what a forest looks like to someone who cannot see. 
  • Write a recipe for happiness. What would the ingredients be? In what order and amounts would you add them? What instructions would you include for baking and serving? 
  • Create your own original, symbolic names for five locations you visit every day. 
  • Write a guidebook for the older generation to help them understand your generation.


2nd Set: Past, Present, Future Journal Prompts

  • If you woke up tomorrow with amnesia, what memories would you want to return? To forget forever? 
  • What would your five year old self have to say to your current self if you met for coffee? What would your current self say to your 10-years-from-now self? 
  • What are you most thankful for? 
  • Do you think the past is the best predictor of your future? Why or why not? 
  • How have you changed from when you were a child? Why?
  • What does the future hold for you? 
  • Do you think your generation will “change the world”? Why or why not? 
  • In what ways do you look to the adults in your life for guidance? In what ways can they learn from you? 
  • What present-day issues are you the most concerned about? Why?
  • What do you hope you will always remember about high school? 
  • What is trending right now on social media and what are your thoughts on it?


3rd Set: Personal Beliefs Writing Prompts

  • Do you believe in karma? Why or why not? 
  • Do you believe in love at first sight? Why or why not? 
  • Do you believe in the law of attraction? Why or why not? 
  • Do you believe animals fully understand human conversation? Why or why not? 
  • What are your “rules to live by”? Which one is the most important and why?
  • Do you believe in “carpe diem”? Why or why not? 
  • Do you believe in an “eye for an eye”? Why or why not? 
  • How have your family and friends influenced your beliefs? 
  • Do you believe that people are the product of their environment? Why or why not? 
  • Do you believe in second chances? Why or why not?
  • Do certain characteristics make people more likely to succeed? Explain.


4th Set: Top Ten Lists as Journal Prompts

  • 10 things I should have learned by now.
  • 10 words others would use to describe me. 
  • 10 of the weirdest things in my room. 
  • 10 things I want to do before I die. 
  • 10 of the best words in the English language.
  • 10 things that are highly underrated / overrated.
  • 10 reasons to wake up in the morning. 
  • 10 songs on my playlist right now. 
  • 10 of the weirdest dreams I’ve ever had. 
  • 10 things I know to be true.
  • 10 things I want to give a “makeover” to.


5th Set: Hard Questions for Journal Writing

  • What is the meaning of life? 
  • Which is better: too much of something or too little of something? 
  • Which is better: truth or beauty? 
  • Is social media a blessing or a curse? 
  • What two questions would you ask to find out someone’s true self? Now, answer these questions yourself. 
  • What does it mean to be human?
  • Define intelligence.
  • To what extent do gender, ethnicity, social background influence your life? 
  • Is society today better off than it was 100 years ago?
  • What labels could others give you? Are labels helpful or harmful? Explain.
  • Do you believe human nature is evil or good?


Wrapping Up Writing Prompts for Journals

Feel free to save the images for each set of fun writing prompts questions and use them in an agenda slideshow or to post on Google Classroom.

If you are interested in ready-made digital journals, please take a moment to check out these popular journal prompts resources! I appreciate your support!

Hey, if you loved this post, I want to be sure you’ve had the chance to grab a FREE copy of my guide to streamlined grading . I know how hard it is to do all the things as an English teacher, so I’m over the moon to be able to share with you some of my best strategies for reducing the grading overwhelm.  Click on the link above or the image below to get started!


About Lindsay Ann

Lindsay has been teaching high school English in the burbs of Chicago for 19 years. She is passionate about helping English teachers find balance in their lives and teaching practice through practical feedback strategies and student-led learning strategies. She also geeks out about literary analysis, inquiry-based learning, and classroom technology integration. When Lindsay is not teaching, she enjoys playing with her two kids, running, and getting lost in a good book.

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Reader Interactions

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March 3, 2022 at 3:46 am

Hi Lindsay, I think that these writing prompts you have come up with are just brilliant. I mean granted these are merely thoughts and questions we either ask ourselves, others or just think about and never bring out. I personally think it is important for people to actualize and put thoughts out verbally and visually. In this case, fellow writers and English students and anyone for that matter are able to see it and realize that these are actually not silly ideas that you might have thought of and overlooked at some point in your lives. But good reflective pannels for us to channel our inner writers and inquisitive thinking into and curiosity upon. I am still a beginner English teacher but have always been fascinated with power of what a few words put together becoming, a sentence, a sentence becomes a paragraph, a paragraph becomes an essay, an essay becomes a thesis, a thesis becomes a spark of curiosity and that curiosity becomes a revolution that bit by bit becomes the answer to a question being asked somewhere. Thank you for the ideas!

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March 20, 2022 at 1:10 pm

My pleasure, William! You’ve put into words the beauty of inquiry and writing, even if it is only for one’s own eyes. Thank you for reading!

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March 23, 2022 at 11:02 pm

i really hope these work i really think they will thanks so much

April 7, 2022 at 7:22 pm

You’re welcome! I hope that they work well for you. 🙂

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April 26, 2022 at 8:13 pm

I really just LOVE these writing prompts! They are very concise and spark my imagination. Been teaching since fall Y2K and visited many of these types of posts. Yours are a cut above the rest.

April 30, 2022 at 8:23 pm

Thank you, James! I hope that you and your students have fun with these. 🙂

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June 3, 2022 at 1:08 pm

Do you have a TpT store where we can buy your digital writer’s notebook?

June 4, 2022 at 5:56 pm

Yes, absolutely! Here are a couple of options:

1. https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Creative-Writing-Mentor-Sentences-Digital-Notebook-2885186 2. https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Digital-Creative-Writing-Journal-2729748 3. https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/300-Google-Drive-Journal-Writing-Prompts-2715746

Hope this helps! Lindsay

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July 23, 2023 at 9:00 am

These are so, so good! It’s hard to find writing prompts that don’t make my high school students roll their eyes, lol, but these are fantastic and sure to spark creativity. Thank you!

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50 Exclusive Writing Prompts For High School Students

Chukwudumebi Amadi

  • February 23, 2024

Table of Contents Hide

What is a writing prompt, types of writing prompts for high school students, 1. combating writer’s block, 2. skill development, 3. self-discovery and expression, frequently asked questions, we also recommend.

Writing is an essential skill for high school students, whether they are working on essays, creative writing pieces, or research papers. However, sometimes it can be difficult to come up with new and interesting topics to write about. This is where writing prompts come in handy. They can help you explore different themes, genres, and styles of writing, pushing you to think outside the box and expand your writing abilities.

In this article, we have compiled a list of 50 exclusive writing prompts specifically tailored for high school students. These prompts cover a wide range of subjects and genres, from personal narratives to persuasive essays to fictional stories.

Whether you’re looking to challenge yourself with a new writing style or simply want to explore different themes, these prompts are sure to inspire you and help you improve your writing skills.

A writing prompt serves as a cue to guide individuals toward a particular topic, task, or objective. It can take the form of text, a single word, or an image, prompting individuals to engage in writing about a specified topic in a specific manner. These prompts are often utilized in assessments or activities to encourage critical thinking and expression, providing students with a starting point for their writing endeavors.

There are various types of writing prompts suitable for high school students. Here are a few examples:

1. Narrative Prompts: This prompt encourages students to develop characters, setting, plot, and conflict within a story

  • Example : You discover a mysterious note tucked inside an old book. What does it say and where does it lead you?

2. Descriptive Prompts: This prompt focuses on using sensory details to create a vivid image

  • Example : Describe the feeling of sand slipping through your fingers as you watch the sunset on a beach.

SEE ALSO: 50 Creative Narrative Writing Prompts to Ignite Your Imagination

3. Expository Prompts:

  • Example: Explain the process of photosynthesis to a young child. (This prompt requires students to break down complex information into clear and understandable language)

4. Persuasive or Argumentative Prompts: This prompt encourages students to research, develop a stance, and provide evidence to support their argument

  • Example: Should social media platforms be held responsible for the spread of misinformation?

5. Reflective Prompts: This prompt encourages students to look inward, reflect on personal experiences, and articulate their growth

  • Example: Describe a time you faced a difficult decision and how you overcame it.

6. Creative Prompts: This prompt allows for imaginative expression and experimentation with different forms of writing

  • Example: Write a poem from the perspective of a tree witnessing the changing seasons.

7. Analytical Prompts: This prompt requires critical thinking and interpretation of literary elements

  • Example: Analyze the symbolism used in Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” and its significance to the play’s themes.

What Are The Benefits of Writing Prompts?

Writing prompts offer a lot of benefits for high school students, from conquering writer’s block to honing their storytelling skills . Here are some key advantages:

Stuck staring at a blank page? Prompts act like magic sparks, igniting your imagination and providing a launchpad for creative ideas.

With diverse prompts covering different genres, themes, and styles, you’re bound to find something that piques your interest and unlocks your storytelling potential.

You can practice specific skills like descriptive writing, dialogue, or world-building through targeted exercises woven into prompts. To make the best of it, use prompts as springboards to explore emotions, values, and perspectives, weaving them into captivating narratives that reflect your unique voice.

READ ALSO: 10 Effective Writing Strategies to Enhance Your Writing Skills

You can use prompts for introspection and reflection, writing about experiences, feelings, and lessons learned, fostering personal growth. It also helps in unleashing your personal voice and perspective through your writing, showcasing your creativity and individuality.

Descriptive :

  • Capture the chaotic energy of a school lunchroom at peak hour, using all five senses to immerse the reader in the experience.
  • Describe a character’s most prized possession, revealing their personality and aspirations through its details and history.
  • Paint a picture with words of a breathtaking natural landscape you’ve witnessed, conveying its raw beauty and emotional impact.
  • Transport the reader to a bustling marketplace in a foreign country, highlighting the sights, sounds, and smells that paint a vivid cultural portrait.
  • Imagine a world where emotions have colors and auras. Describe how a specific emotional state manifests visually and how it affects the surroundings.
  • You wake up in a completely white room with no furniture or windows. Describe the disorienting atmosphere and how your senses adapt to the sensory deprivation.
  • Detail the transformation of a familiar object as it ages, focusing on the subtle changes in its appearance and the emotions it evokes.
  • Capture the quiet intimacy of a rainy evening spent indoors, emphasizing the comforting sights, sounds, and smells that create a peaceful atmosphere.
  • Describe a character’s most treasured memory, using sensory details and evocative language to transport the reader back in time and experience it alongside them.
  • Imagine you can taste memories. Describe the flavor and texture of a particularly significant memory, explaining what it reveals about your past and yourself.

Related Post: 50 Exclusive 2nd Grade Writing Prompts That are Printable for Free


  • Explain the history and cultural significance of a traditional dish from your family heritage, detailing its ingredients, preparation process, and meaning within your community.
  • Create a step-by-step guide for a unique skill or hobby you possess, making it clear and accessible even for beginners.
  • Research and explain the science behind a natural phenomenon that fascinates you, using clear language and engaging examples to captivate your reader.
  • Write a detailed profile of a historical figure who inspires you, highlighting their achievements, struggles, and impact on the world.
  • Compare and contrast two opposing ideologies or social movements, clearly explaining their core principles, similarities, and key differences.
  • Explore the ethical implications of a recent technological advancement, presenting a balanced perspective on its potential benefits and drawbacks.
  • Research and explain the cultural traditions and customs of a specific community, emphasizing their unique practices and their significance to its members.
  • Create an informative guide to navigating a challenging experience, such as starting a new school, overcoming a fear, or making a major life decision.
  • Research and explain the different learning styles and how they can be applied to improve academic performance.
  • Investigate and describe the unique ecosystem of a local park or nature reserve, highlighting its biodiversity and the importance of conservation efforts.

Narrative :

  • You discover a dusty journal in your attic filled with cryptic entries. As you decipher them, they lead you on a thrilling adventure to uncover a family secret.
  • Imagine you can communicate with animals. Write a story about a unique friendship you develop with a local creature and the challenges and joys it brings.
  • You wake up on a deserted island with no memory of how you got there. Craft a story about your struggle for survival and the mysteries you unravel along the way.
  • Write a coming-of-age story about a character facing a pivotal decision that will shape their future. Explore their internal conflict, external pressures, and the ultimate choice they make.
  • Imagine a world where dreams become reality. Write a story about the exciting possibilities and unexpected dangers that arise in this unique setting.
  • You receive a mysterious letter inviting you to join a secret society. Describe your decision-making process and the thrilling adventures that await you if you accept.
  • Rewrite a classic fairytale from the perspective of the villain, revealing their motivations and shedding light on their side of the story.
  • Write a story about a time you faced a difficult situation and the unexpected heroes who emerged to help you overcome it.
  • Craft a narrative set in a dystopian future where a specific aspect of life is drastically different from our world. Explore the challenges and consequences faced by its inhabitants.
  • You find a magic lamp containing a mischievous genie who only grants ironic wishes. Write a humorous story about how you outsmart them and achieve your desired outcome.

READ ALSO: 50 Exclusive First Grade Writing Prompts that are Printable for Free

  • Should social media platforms be held responsible for the spread of misinformation? Present your stance with supporting arguments and evidence.
  • Is artificial intelligence a threat to humanity or a tool for progress? Analyze both sides of the debate and express your informed opinion.
  • Are standardized tests an effective measure of student learning? Explain your view and suggest alternative methods for assessing academic achievement.
  • Should school uniforms be mandatory in all public schools? Explore the potential benefits and drawbacks and justify your opinion.
  • Should schools prioritize mental health education and resources for students? Offer your opinion and suggest specific recommendations.
  • Is it ethical to use genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in agriculture? Analyze the arguments for and against and state your position.
  • Should space exploration be a priority when there are so many problems on Earth? Defend your stance with well-reasoned arguments.
  • Are video games a positive or negative influence on young people? Explain your viewpoint based on research and personal experience.
  • Is social media more harmful than helpful for society? Explore both sides of the debate and express your informed opinion.

Persuasive :

  • Write a persuasive essay convincing your school board to implement a new program or initiative you believe would benefit students.
  • Craft a letter to the editor urging your community to take action on an important environmental issue.
  • Develop a social media campaign aimed at raising awareness about a social injustice you care about.
  • Write a speech persuading your classmates to participate in a specific school event or fundraiser.
  • Create a blog post advocating for a cause you believe in, using compelling arguments and emotional appeals.
  • Research and write a report on the history and future of a specific technology that interests you.
  • Investigate and analyze the impact of a particular historical event on society and its lasting effects.
  • Explore the scientific evidence behind a controversial topic and present your findings in an objective and balanced manner.
  • Research and explain the cultural diversity of a specific region or country, highlighting its unique traditions and customs.
  • Investigate the different career paths available in a field you’re interested in and present your findings to help others explore their options.
  • Choose an ancient proverb or famous saying from another language and research its original meaning, historical context, and how it’s interpreted in today’s world.

These 50 writing prompts for high school students offer a diverse landscape of possibilities, inviting you to traverse genres, explore emotions, and delve into self-discovery. Remember, the journey is just as important as the destination. So, grab your pen, embrace the adventure, and see where your words take you. You might surprise yourself with the stories you tell and the worlds you create.

While answers can provide inspiration and ideas, it’s crucial to develop your own voice and perspective. Use them as starting points, not complete scripts.

You can find more writing prompts through online resources, books, writing workshops, teacher recommendations, and even everyday observations.

It depends! Some prompts might lead to short stories, while others inspire poems or journal entries. There’s no specific length requirement.

Absolutely! Prompts are meant to be springboards, not limitations. Adapt them to fit your style, interests, and desired outcome.

Share your work with trusted friends, teachers, or writing communities for feedback. Focus on improving your skills and expressing yourself authentically.

  • storywritingacademy.com –  60 Creative Journal Prompts for Teenagers
  • creativewritingedu.org –  What is a Prompt in Writing?
  • 50 Exclusive 3rd Grade Writing Prompts that are Printable for Free
  • 50 Exclusive 6th Grade Writing Prompts that are Printable for Free
  • What is a Prompt in Writing? Choosing the Right Writing Prompt for Your Genre and Style
  • 50 Exclusive 4th Grade Writing Prompts That Are Printable For Free

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30+ Creative Writing Prompts for High Schoolers

By: Asiyah Jilani

Here are some unique creative writing prompts high school students can use to think creatively, expand their writing skills, and find enjoyment in writing. The prompts are sorted by genre, including poetry, science fiction, flash fiction, narrative, and even some creative and open choice prompts.


Poetry Writing Prompts for High School Students

  • Beginnings - Write a poem where every line begins with the same letter.
  • Diminishing Verse - Write a poem in which the end word in a line is the same end word in the previous line, but with the first letter removed. A three line stanza, for example, could have the following end words: “smart”, “mart”, and “art” Or, rather than removing a letter and keeping the spelling of the remaining word the same, you have the option to remove sounds. “Stare” could turn into “tear”, for example, and “tear” into “air”.
  • Collective Nouns - Write a poem with a collective noun as its genesis and theme, highlighting the characteristics of a creature we share the planet with. Seek to emphasize the poetic nature of these terms; for example, alliteration in ‘a parcel of penguins’ or the imagery of ‘a bouquet of hummingbirds’. If you’re feeling extra creative, invent a collective noun of your own to include as the basis of your poem.
  • Life through a Window - Write a poem that captures the images of life and activity seen through a window over the course of one single morning, day, evening or night.
  • Fan Poetry - Write a poem imitating the style of a popular poet, whether it be a Shakespearean sonnet or a naturalistic poem like those of Mary Oliver’s. Be sure to include a footnote, crediting the poet or poem that inspired your piece.

Science Fiction Writing Prompts for High Schoolers

  • Solar Power - In 1960, physicist Freeman Dyson proposed a hypothetical megastructure that could encompass a star and suck energy from it to power the earth—an idea known today as a "Dyson sphere." What are the benefits of energy captured from a star? The consequences? Imagine what the world would be like with a Dyson sphere. In prose or poetry, take us into a scene or offer a description of this reimagined world.
  • False Familiarity - Medically, déjà vu is false familiarity. Your brain creates an illusion of a feeling that you have lived this moment before. But what if there was more to the story? Write a story explaining déjà vu through fantasy or the supernatural. Is there more to the illusion? Maybe it’s a wild mind control conspiracy in a distant future world, or maybe a disorganized higher power forgot to finish sculpting human minds properly. Be as creative as you like!

Personal Narrative Prompts for High School Students

  • Lost things - Anywhere from a paragraph to a page long, tell the story of an object that you’ve lost, detailing: 1. How it was lost. 2. How it changed you. 3. Where you imagine it is now.
  • Your world in three senses- Think of a place you love... transport your readers there with three detailed and telling descriptions, each using a different sense: SIGHT, SMELL, SOUND, TASTE, or TOUCH. Perhaps it's the feeling of the dry desert wind that defines this place for you. Perhaps it's the sound of the dogs howling. Perhaps the smell of smog or sea salt. Pick details that are particular and specific, and bring them to life with vivid sensory language.
  • Subtotals - In his story, “Subtotals,” Gregory Burnham shares details of his life in number form. For example, he tells us how many rotten eggs he's thrown (1), the number of postcards he's sent (831), the number of miracles he's witnessed (0). Write a story composed of subtotals from your life. Try to select and pair subtotals that speak to each other. For example, the following two numbers aren't very interesting on their own, but together they tell a story: "Number of compliments, given: 4,051; accepted: 2,249."


Flash Fiction Creative Writing Prompts for High School Students

  • 99 words - “There was more room to think,” wrote novelist David Gaffney on becoming a flash fiction convert, “more space for the original idea to resonate, fewer unnecessary words to wade through.” Stories of the sudden/skinny/mini/micro variety pack the best parts of fiction into brimming, half-pint packages. Celebrate the art of concision, and write a story in 99 words or less.
  • All in a minute - Write a story that takes place in one minute of your character's life. Avoid flashbacks (memories or information from the past) and flash forwards (projecting into the future). Instead, focus on the details of the moment.
  • Countdown - Write a story in which your first sentence should have ten words, your second nine words, your third eight, etc., until you’re down to one in your final line.

Check out more flash fiction and other writing resources .

Other Creative Writing Prompts for High Schoolers

  • Global Correspondence - Respond to a current event, whether it be local, regional, or global, in your choice of writing form.
  • Advertising - Write an advert for a product that doesn’t exist.
  • Feel the Music - Write a story about a pair of headphones that actually take you inside a song.
  • Personality traits - Write about an argument between two different traits of someone’s personality.
  • Other shoes - Put yourself in shoes that you wouldn’t normally imagine yourself in. Create a scenario for that fictional character. Embody a protagonist that showcases your wit, empathy, and imagination as a writer.
  • Selecting a Reader - In his poem, ‘ selecting a reader ’ Ted Krooser cleverly imagines whom he would want to be his reader, and how he would like them to treat his work. imagine your reader in vivid detail - their appearance, thoughts, actions, inner world… how might they have arrived at your writing? How do they interact with it? Describe their idiosyncrasies, intentions, and consider how your writing will affect them!
  • Musical - Write a piece inspired by your favorite song.
  • 200 years ago - Imagine traveling back 200 years, to the exact spot where you are right now. Who was here? How did the landscape look different? Write a passage of historical fiction that takes place in your current location!
  • The Pangram - A Pangram, or “holoalphabetic” sentence, contains every letter of the alphabet at least once. Take the following, rather infamous, pangram: The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog. Try your hand at crafting a perfect pangram, or instead use this restricted form to craft the basis of a longer sentence, or even story. You could even link a few pangrams of varying length together.
  • First meeting - Think of your favorite fictional character. What would you say to each other?
  • Lens change - Write about a particular memory of yours, but in third person instead of first person.
  • You - Write a passage of fiction, employing the second person—“you”—point of view.


Tips for Using Creative Writing Prompts in the Classroom

Writing prompts and other activities are low-stakes and can help to create a culture of writing in your classroom. Here are a few tips to getting started:

  • Mix up the types of prompts to connect to your curriculum or promote creative thinking.
  • Leave time to share some responses out loud and build a sense of community.
  • Write when students write to model continuous learning.
  • Keep it brief and open to interpretation.

Looking for more tips for using writing prompts as a daily classroom practice? Check out the full Tips for Using Daily Writing Prompts and other resources for teaching writing .

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Sat / act prep online guides and tips, 105 creative writing prompts to try out.

General Education


The most common advice out there for being a writer is, "if you want to write, write." While this is true (and good advice), it's not always that easy, particularly if you're not writing regularly.

Whether you're looking for help getting started on your next project, or just want to spend 20 minutes being creative, writing prompts are great ways to rev up your imagination. Read on for our list of over 100 creative writing prompts!

feature image credit: r. nial bradshaw /Flickr

10 Short Writing Prompts

If you're looking for a quick boost to get yourself going, these 10 short writing prompts will do the trick.

#1 : Write a scene starting with a regular family ritual that goes awry.

#2 : Describe exactly what you see/smell/hear/etc, right now. Include objects, people, and anything else in your immediate environment.

#3 : Suggest eight possible ways to get a ping pong ball out of a vertical pipe.

#4 : A shoe falls out of the sky. Justify why.

#5 : If your brain were a tangible, physical place, what would it be like?

#6 : Begin your writing with the phrase, "The stage was set."

#7 : You have been asked to write a history of "The Summer of [this past year]." Your publisher wants a table of contents. What events will you submit?

#8 : Write a sympathetic story from the point of view of the "bad guy." (Think fractured fairy tales like Wicked or The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs! , although the story doesn't have to be a fairy tale.)

#9 : Look at everyday objects in a new way and write about the stories one of these objects contains.

#10 : One person meets a stranger on a mode of transportation. Write the story that ensues.


11 Writing Prompts for Kids

Any of these prompts can be used by writers of any age, but we chose the following 11 prompts as ones that would be particularly fun for kids to write about. (Most of them I used myself as a young writer, so I can vouch for their working!)

#1 : Include something falling in your writing.

#2 : Write a short poem (or story) with the title, "We don't know when it will be fixed."

#3 : Write from the perspective of someone of a different gender than you.

#4 : Write a dumb internet quiz.

#5 : Finish this thought: "A perfect day in my imagination begins like this:"

#6 : Write a character's inner monologue (what they are thinking as they go about their day).

#7 : Think of a character. Write a paragraph each about:

  • An important childhood experience that character had.
  • The character's living situation.
  • Two hobbies or things the character likes to do.
  • The room where the character sleeps.
  • An ambition of the character.
  • Two physical characteristics of the character.
  • What happens when a second person and this character meet.
  • Two important defining personal traits of this character.

#8 : Start a story with a quote from a song.

#9 : Begin a story with, "It was the summer of ______ when ______"

#10 : Pretend everyday objects have no names. Think about what you would name them based on what they do, what you can use them for, and what they look like.

#11 : Start a story with the phrases "My grandparents are/were," "My parents are/were," or "My mother/father/parent is/was."


15 Cool Writing Prompts

#1 : List five issues that you're passionate about. Write about them from the opposite point of view (or from the perspective of a character with the opposite point of view).

#2 : Walk around and write down a phrase you hear (or read). Make a story out of it.

#3 : Write using no adjectives or adverbs.

#4 : Write a character's inner dialogue between different aspects of a character's self (rather than an inner monologue).

#5 : Write a true story from your past that involves light or darkness in some way.

#6 : "Saying goodbye awakens us to the true nature of things." Write something in which someone has to say goodbye and has a realization.

#7 : Begin by writing the end of the story.

#8 : Write a recipe for an intangible thing.

#9 : Write a horror story about an ordinary situation (e.g., buying groceries, going to the bank, listening to music).

#10 : Write a story from within a bubble.

#11 : Write down 2-3 short character descriptions and then write the characters in conversation with one another.

#12 : Write a story in second person.

#13 : Write a story that keeps contradicting itself.

#14 : Write about a character with at least three big problems.

#15 : Write something that takes place on a Friday, the 13th (of any month).


15 Funny Writing Prompts

#1 : Write a story which starts with someone eating a pickle and potato sandwich.

#2 : Write a short script where the plot has to do with evil dolls trying to take over something.

#3 : Write about writers' block.

#4 : List five election issues that would be ridiculous to includes as part of your election platform (e.g. outlawing mechanical pencils and clicky pens, mandating every person over the age of 30 must own an emergency last rites kit). Choose one of the ridiculous issues and write a speech in favor of it.

#5 : Write a children's story that is insanely inappropriate but can't use graphic language, curses, or violence.

#6 : List five careers. Write about someone with one of those careers who wants to quit it.

#7 : Write down a list of murder methods. Choose one at random from the list to use in a story.

#8 : Write a romance story in which the hero must have a last name corresponding with a physical characteristic (e.g. Jacques Hairyback or Flora Dimple).

#9 : Come up with 10 different ways to:

  • order a pizza
  • congratulate someone on a job well done
  • return to the store something that's broken

#10 : Search for "random Renaissance painting" (or any other inspirational image search text you can think of) on any online internet image search engine. Picking one image, write half a page each of:

  • Statements about this image (e.g. "I meant bring me the BREAD of John the Baptist").
  • Questions about this image (e.g. "How many of those cherubs look like their necks are broken?").
  • Explanations of this image (e.g. "The painter ran out of blue paint halfway through and had to improvise for the color of the sky").
  • Commands said by people in this image or about this image (e.g. "Stop telling me to smile!" or "Bring me some gasoline!").

#11 : Write starting with a word that sounds like "chute" (e.g. "chute," "shoot," "shooed").

#12 : Write about a character named X "The [article of clothing]" Y (e.g. Julie "The Yellow Darted Skirt" Whyte) or simply referred to by their clothing (e.g. "the man in the brown suit" or "the woman in black").

#13 : Write down a paragraph each describing two wildly different settings. Write a story involving both settings.

#14 : Think of a fictional holiday based around some natural event (e.g. the Earth being at its farthest point from the sun, in memory of a volcanic eruption, that time a cloud looked like a rabbit riding a bicycle). Write about how this holiday is celebrated.

#15 : Write a "Just-So" type story about a fictional creature (e.g. "how the dragon got its firebreath" or "how the mudkip got its cheek gills").


54 Other Writing Prompt Ideas

#1 : Borrow a character from some other form of media (or create your own). Write from that character's perspective.

#2 : Write for and against a non-consequential controversy (e.g., salt vs. pepper, Mac vs. PC, best kind of door).

#3 : Choose an ancestor or a person from the past to write about or to.

#4 : Write a pirate story with a twist.

#5 : Have a character talk about another character and their feelings about that other character.

#6 : Pick a season and think about an event in your life that occurred in that season. Write a creative nonfiction piece about that event and that season.

#7 : Think of something very complicated and long. Write a page about it using short sentences.

#8 : Write a story as a dream.

#9 : Describe around a food without ever directly naming it.

#10 : Write a monologue (one character, talking to the audience/reader) (*not* an inner monologue).

#11 : Begin a story with the phrase, "It only took five seconds to..."

#12 : List five strong emotions. Choosing one, write about a character experiencing that emotion, but only use the character's actions to convey how they are feeling (no outright statements).

#13 : Write a chapter of the memoir of your life.

#14 : Look through the (physical) things you're currently carrying with you or wearing. Write about the memories or emotions tied with each of them.

#15 : Go be in nature. Write drawing your story from your surroundings (both physical, social, and mental/emotional).


#16 : Write from the perspective of a bubble (or bubble-like creature).

#17 : A person is jogging along an asphalt road. Write a story.

#18 : Title your story (or poem, or play, etc) "Anti-_____". Fill in the blank and write the story.

#19 : Write something that must include an animal, a mineral, and a vegetable.

#20 : Begin your writing with the phrase, "6 weeks later..."

#21 : List 5-10 office jobs. Pick one of them and describe a person working in that job as if you were a commentator on an Olympic sporting event.

#22 : Practice your poetic imagery: overwrite a description of a character's breakfast routine.

#23 : Write about a character (or group of characters) trying to convince another character to try something they're scared of.

#24 : Keep an eye out in your environment for examples of greengrocer's apostrophes and rogue quotation marks. Pick an example and write about what the misplaced punctuation implies (e.g., we have the "best" meat or we have the best "meat" ).

#25 : Fill in the blank with the first word that comes to mind: "_______ Riot!" Write a newspaper-style article describing the events that that took place.

#26 : Write from the point of view of your most-loved possession. What does it think of you?

#27 : Think of five common sayings (e.g., "An apple a day keeps the doctor away"). Write a horror story whose plot is one of those common sayings.

#28 : Write a scene in which two characters are finally hashing out a long-standing misunderstanding or disagreement.

#29 : You start receiving text messages from an unknown number. Tell the story of what happens next.

#30 : Write one character bragging to another about the story behind their new tattoo.

#31 : Superheroes save the world...but they also leave a lot of destruction in their wake. Write about a normal person in a superhero's world.

#32 : Sometimes, family is who we are related to; sometimes, family is a group of people we gather around ourselves. Write a story about (some of) a character's found family and relatives meeting for the first time.

#33 : Write a story that begins in the middle of the plot's action ( en media res ).

#34 : Everyone says you can never have too much of a good thing. Write a story where that isn't true.

#35 : What do ghosts do when they're not creating mischief? Write about the secret lives of ghosts.


#36 : Every year, you dread the last week of April. Write a story about why.

#37 : Write a story about what it would be like to have an animal sidekick in real life.

#38 : Heists don't just have to be black-clad thieves stealing into vaults to steal rare art or money. Write about a group of people (adults or children) who commit a heist for something of seemingly little monetary value.

#39 : "Life is like a chooseable-path adventure, except you don't get to see what would have happened if you chose differently." Think of a choice you've made and write about a world where you made a different choice.

#40 : Write a story about a secret room.

#41 : You find a message in a bottle with very specific directions. Write a story about the adventure you embark upon.

#42 : "You'll always be okay as long as you know where your _______ is." Fill in the blank and write a story (either fictional or from your life) illustrating this statement.

#43 : Forcing people into prolonged proximity can change and deepen relationships. Write about characters on a road trip together.

#44 : In music, sonata form includes three main parts: exposition, development, and recapitulation. Write a short story that follows this format.

#45 : Begin writing with a character saying, "I'm afraid this simply can't wait."

#46 : Write a story with a happy ending (either happily-ever-after or happy-for-now).

#47 : Write about a character before and after a tragedy in that character's life.

#48 : Choose an object or concept you encounter in everyday life (e.g. tables, the feeling of hot or cold, oxygen) and write an infomercial about it.

#49 : "Life is a series of quests, whether important or mundane." Write about a quest you've gone on (or would like to go on, or will have to go on).

#50 : List 10 different ways to learn. Choose one (or more) and write a story where a character learns something using that one (or more) method.

#51 : You've been called to the principal's office for bad behavior. You know what you did. Explain and justify yourself.

#52 : A character discovers their sibling owns a cursed object. Write about what happens next.

#53 : Write a character description by writing a list of items that would be on a scavenger hunt about them.

#54 : The slogan for a product or service you're advertising is, "Kid-tested, _____." Fill in the blank and write the copy for a radio or podcast advertisement for your product.


How to Use Creative Writing Prompts

There's no wrong way to use a creative writing prompt (unless it's to harass and hurt someone)—the point of them is to get you writing and your imagination flowing.

To help you get the most out of these writing prompts, however, we've come up with the six tips below. Try them out!

#1: DON'T Limit Yourself to Prose

Unless you're writing for a particular assignment, there's no reason everything you write in response to a writing prompt has to be prose fiction . Instead of writing your response to a prompt as a story, try writing a poem, nonfiction essay, play, screenplay, or some other format entirely.

#2: DON'T Edit as You Write

The purposes of writing prompts is to get you writing, typos and weird grammar and all. Editing comes later, once you've finished writing and have some space from it to come back to what you wrote.

It's OK to fix things that will make it difficult to read what you've written (e.g., a weird autocorrect that changes the meaning of a sentence), but don't worry too much about typos or perfect grammar when you're writing; those are easy enough to fix in edits . You also can always insert asterisks or a short note as you're writing to remind yourself to go back to fix something (for instance, if as you're writing it seems like you want to move around the order of your paragraphs or insert something earlier).

#3: DO Interpret the Prompt Broadly

The point of using a writing prompt is not to write something that best exemplifies the prompt, but something that sparks your own creativity. Again, unless you're writing in response to an assignment with specific directions, feel free to interpret writing prompts as broadly or as narrowly as you want.

For instance, if your prompt is to write a story that begins with "The stage was set," you could write about anything from someone preparing to put a plan into motion to a literal theatre stage constructed out of pieces of old sets (or something else entirely).

If you're using a writing prompt, it doesn't have to be the first sentence of your story or poem, either; you can also use the prompt as a goal to work towards in your writing.

#4: DO Try Switching Up Your Writing Methods

If it's a possibility for you, see if you write differently in different media. Do you write the same kind of stories by hand as you would typing at a computer? What about if you dictate a story and then transcribe it? Or text it to a friend? Varying the method you use to write can affect the stories you're able to tell.

For example, you may find that it's easier for you to tell stories about your life to a voice recorder than to try to write out a personal essay. Or maybe you have trouble writing poetry, but can easily text yourself or a friend a poem. You might even find you like a writing method you've not tried before better than what you've been doing!


#5: DO Mix and Match Prompt Ideas

If you need more inspiration, feel free to combine multiple prompts (but don't overwhelm yourself with too much to write about).

You can also try switching genres from what might be suggested in the prompt. For instance, try writing a prompt that seems funny in a serious and sad way, or finding the humor in something that otherwise seems humorless. The categories we've organized the prompts into are by no means limiters on what you're allowed to write about.

#6: DO Try to Write Regularly

The more regularly you write, the easier it will be to write (with or without writing prompts).

For some people, this means writing daily; for others, it means setting aside time to write each weekend or each month. Set yourself an achievable goal (write 2x a week, write 1000 words a month) and stick to it. You can always start small and then ramp your wordcount or frequency up.

If you do better when you have something outside yourself prompting to write, you may also want to try something like morning pages , which encourages you to write at least 750 words every day, in any format (story, diary entry, social media postings, etc).


What's Next?

Thinking about attending college or grad school for creative writing? Our articles on whether or not you should major in creative writing and the best creative writing programs are there for you! Plus, if you're a high schooler, you should check out these top writing contests .

Creative writing doesn't necessarily have to be fiction. Check out these three examples of narrative writing and our tips for how to write your own narrative stories and essays .

Just as writing prompts can help give form to amorphous creative energy, using specific writing structures or devices can be great starting points for your next story. Read through our discussion of the top 20 poetic devices to know and see if you can work at least one new one into your next writing session.

Still looking for more writing ideas? Try repurposing our 100+ easy drawing ideas for characters, settings, or plot points in your writing.

Laura graduated magna cum laude from Wellesley College with a BA in Music and Psychology, and earned a Master's degree in Composition from the Longy School of Music of Bard College. She scored 99 percentile scores on the SAT and GRE and loves advising students on how to excel in high school.

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Home › Study Tips › Creative Writing Resources For Secondary School Students

Creative Writing Prompts For High School Students – 12 Categories

  • Published January 3, 2023

best creative writing prompts for high school

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Are you a high school student struggling to find inspiration for your creative writing assignments? Do you feel like you’re stuck in a rut and can’t seem to come up with new and exciting ideas? If so, you’re not alone. 

Many students struggle with coming up with ideas for creative writing, especially when they feel pressure to produce something original and engaging. 

But the good news is that there are ways to break through the block and find inspiration for your writing. 

For instance, by attending our award-winning creative writing summer programme , you’ll learn how to conquer the fear of the blank page. How? By learning proven formulas for creating brilliant stories. 

Another way to have that creative spark is to use creative writing prompts. 

This article will provide creative high school students like yourself with a list of creative writing prompts. So you’ll get the inspiration you need to get into the flow and start writing!

What are Writing Prompts?

Writing prompts are ideas that help writers overcome writer’s block and get started with their writing. They can come in various forms, including a

  • Or series of questions. 

Creative writing prompts get your creative juices flowing. When you encounter a writing prompt, it encourages you to start writing!

What types of writing, you ask? It can be anything from fiction writing to essay writing. Creative writing prompts are even used to get you started with freewriting in your daily journal.

So you see, many writers find writing prompts a quick and easy way to begin a new writing project. Or to overcome writer’s block when they are stuck.

How Do You Use Writing Prompts?

There are many different ways to use writing prompts. Here are a few ideas:

Use writing prompts to start a new writing project. 

Are you having trouble coming up with ideas for a new writing project? Try using a writing prompt to get started. You can use a writing prompt as the starting point for a 

  • Short story
  • Essay, or any other type of writing.

Use writing prompts to overcome writer’s block. 

Stuck on a particular piece of writing and can’t seem to move forward? Use writing prompts to brainstorm on how to proceed!

Use writing prompts to practice your writing skills. 

As the old adage says, practice makes perfect! You can use writing prompts to practice different writing techniques or styles. Or try out different writing genres!

Use writing prompts to challenge yourself. 

You can use writing prompts to push yourself out of your comfort zone and try writing about things you might not usually write about.

Say your comfort zone is writing fantasy stories. And you want to try something new. Why not use scary writing prompts as a starting point?

To use a writing prompt, choose a prompt that interests you and start writing. There are no hard and fast rules about how to use writing prompts – the important thing is to just start writing and see where the prompt takes you!

Creative Writing Prompts High School Students will Love

Write a story about a character who:

  • discovers a mysterious, abandoned house in the woods  
  • suddenly gains the power of time travel
  • has to confront their greatest fear
  • is given the opportunity to live in a different time period
  • discovers a secret underground society
  • is given a magical object that can grant wishes.

Or, check out the other prompts too:

  • Write a poem about a summer day you will never forget.
  • Imagine that you are stranded on a deserted island. Write a story about your experience.
  • Write a letter to your future self ten years from now.
  • Imagine that you are a detective trying to solve a mysterious crime. Write a story about your investigation.

Creative High School Poetry Writing Prompts

Write a poem about a/an:

  • summer romance you will never forget
  • memorable experience you had with a friend
  • place that holds special meaning for you
  • moment of clarity or realisation that you had
  • person who has had a significant impact on your life
  • object that holds special meaning for you
  • dream that you had and can’t seem to forget
  • time when you felt completely lost
  • time when you felt completely free
  • moment of beauty that you witnessed

Writing Prompts with an Element of Suspense

  • is being stalked by an unknown assailant
  • wakes up with no memory of the past 24 hours
  • receives a series of mysterious, threatening letters
  • discovers a hidden room in their house filled with grotesque objects
  • is trapped in a strange, unfamiliar place
  • is being pursued by a dangerous, unknown entity
  • is being watched by an unknown pair of eyes
  • is being followed by a shadowy figure
  • hears strange noises in the middle of the night
  • finds a mysterious, unmarked package on their doorstep

Writing Prompts for Stories That Start with Dialogue

Start your story with a conversation between two characters who are:

  • meeting for the first time
  • meeting each other for the first time in ten years after graduation
  • trying to solve a problem
  • discussing a secret
  • trying to keep a secret from someone else
  • discussing their future plans
  • trying to make amends after a misunderstanding
  • reminiscing about the past
  • trying to persuade each other of something

Writing Prompts That Ask “What if?”

What if you:

  • woke up one morning with the ability to fly? How would you use this ability?
  • could time travel? Where would you go and why?
  • woke up one day to find that everyone in the world had switched bodies? How would you cope with this?
  • could read minds? How would you use this ability?
  • suddenly had access to unlimited wealth? How would you use this wealth?
  • could talk to animals? How would this change your life?
  • were the only person on Earth who knew how to speak a certain language? How would you use this knowledge?
  • could turn invisible at will? How would you use this power?
  • developed the ability to communicate with the spirits of the dead? How would this change your life?
  • could teleport anywhere in the world instantly? How would you use this ability?

Funny Writing Prompts for High School

  • wakes up to find that they’ve turned into a giant chicken
  • has a magic lamp that grants them absurd wishes
  • becomes the world’s worst superhero
  • accidentally becomes the president of the United States
  • is chased by a giant hamster
  • discovers that their reflection is actually an alternate dimension
  • becomes a world-famous rapper after a misunderstanding at a karaoke bar
  • becomes the world’s worst detective
  • is constantly followed by a cloud of bees
  • becomes the world’s worst secret agent

Do you have a brother or sister in middle school? Our middle school writing prompts are a great way for them to get into the flow of creative writing effectively.

Journal Prompts for High School Creative Writing

  • Write about a time when:
  • you felt particularly proud of yourself
  • you had to confront your greatest fear
  • you had a moment of clarity or realisation
  • you felt that life was wonderful
  • Write about a place that holds special meaning for you.
  • Write about a person who has significantly impacted your life.
  • Write about a moment of beauty that you witnessed.
  • Write about a dream you had and can’t forget.
  • Write about a memorable experience you had with a friend.

Non-Fiction Writing Prompts

Write an essay about a/an:

  • significant event in your life and how it has impacted you
  • person who has inspired you and why
  • current issue that is important to you and why
  • time when you had to overcome a challenge and how you did it
  • place that you have visited and why it was meaningful to you
  • hobby or activity that you are passionate about and why
  • book, movie, or TV show that has had a significant impact on you and why
  • social issue that you feel strongly about and what you are doing to make a difference
  • goal that you have set for yourself and how you plan to achieve it
  • person who has made a positive impact on your community and how they did it

Adventurous Short Story Prompts

Write a story about a character who goes on a:

  • solo hike in the wilderness and becomes lost
  • treasure hunt and faces unexpected challenges along the way
  • safari and encounters a rare and dangerous animal
  • white water rafting trip and gets stranded in the wilderness
  • mountain climbing expedition and faces unexpected challenges
  • scuba diving trip and discovers a hidden underwater world
  • hot air balloon ride and gets carried away by the wind
  • skydiving trip and has to make an emergency landing
  • parasailing trip and gets caught in a storm
  • snowboarding trip and gets caught in an avalanche

Science Fiction Short Story Prompts

  • Write a story about a character who is:
  •  given a device that can predict the future
  •  the only survivor of an alien invasion
  • recruited by a secret organization to fight against an alien threat
  • the only one who can communicate with newly-discovered alien species
  • the only one who can stop a group of rebels from taking over the world
  • the only one who can save the world from an asteroid heading towards Earth
  • the only human on a distant planet
  • Write a story about a character who travels through time and encounters their future self.
  • Write a story about a character discovering a portal to an alternate dimension.
  • Write a story about a character who is given a device that allows them to control time.

Scary Short Story Prompts

  • Write a story about a character who is 
  • being stalked by a demon
  • trapped in a haunted house
  • haunted by the ghost of a loved one
  • terrorized by a clown
  • Write a story about a character who
  • discovers a cursed object and starts having strange, terrifying experiences
  • starts seeing strange, supernatural creatures in their dreams
  • hears a lady cry every night, but no one is there
  • notices a strange doll appear in their house, not knowing where it came from
  • listens to neighbours report they’ve been seeing a toddler running around the house, but your character lives alone

Fantasy Short Story Prompts

  • Write a story about a character who 
  • discovers that they are a witch or wizard with magical powers
  • finds out they are the chosen one, destined to save the world from an ancient evil
  • realises they are a fairy or other mythical creature
  • is given a magical object that can grant wishes
  • discovers a magic book with secrets to the universe
  • receives a magical potion that transforms them into a different creature
  • accidentally stumbles into a world where everything is the opposite of what they know
  • gains a legendary staff that gives them the power to control the elements
  • enters a magical, mythical land ruled by an evil king
  • discovers that they are the reincarnation of a mythical hero

Need more Creative Writing prompts? Check out this article entitled “ 308 Creative Writing Prompts To Unlock Your Writing Skills .”

How Else Can I Improve My Creative Writing Skills?

1. read widely.

Reading improves your writing skills by exposing you to different 

  • And Techniques you can incorporate into your own writing.

Did you know reading widens your vocabulary? It does! And vocabulary is an essential aspect of effective writing. The more words you know, the more effectively you can communicate your ideas.

Also, reading helps improve your comprehension and critical thinking skills. Both of these are valuable for analysing and synthesising information. So you’ll learn how to present ideas clearly in your writing.

2. Write Regularly…and Don’t Stop!

Think of writing as a muscle. The more you use it, the stronger it becomes! Writing regularly makes you feel more comfortable and confident. 

What’s more, it helps you develop your own voice and style. Once you hone the aspects that make you unique , you’ll stand out more! 

Writing regularly also gives you a better sense of what works and what doesn’t. And you’ll be able to refine your writing accordingly. 

The more you write, the better you will become at it. So maximise our creative writing prompts and make time to write every day. Even if it’s just for a few minutes!

3. Experiment with Different Writing Styles

Do you know that experimenting with different writing styles and techniques expands your writing skills? Why? Because doing so makes you a versatile writer. Able to adapt your style to different situations and audiences. 

For example, writing poems even when you’re not used to poetry-writing forces you to think . To imagine and create! As a result? You get out of your comfort zone and explore. And you’re better able to reimagine your craft. 

What are the common writing styles?

  • Descriptive – often uses similes and metaphors to help the reader experience the writing (e.g. songs, poems)
  • Narrative – flashbacks and foreshadowing are common elements of a narrative style with a clear, fleshed-out plot (e.g. novels)
  • Or Persuasive writing – convinces the reader to believe what the writer believes (e.g. essays, sales copy)

4. Join a Writing Community!

What better way to keep you motivated than by joining a writing community? A writing community provides support and encouragement. Being surrounded by like-minded folks passionate about writing can be a great source of inspiration!

Plus, you’ll be exposed to different writing styles and techniques. Which can help you expand your horizon and help you become a more versatile writer.

Joining a writing community can also be a great way to get feedback on your writing. Helping you identify areas for improvement. 

Finally, do you know a writing community can be a great source of information and resources? Members often share valuable writing tips and strategies.

5. Enrol In A Creative Writing Course

What is one of the most effective methods in fast-tracking you to massive improvement in your writing skills? Taking a creative writing course!

Why does taking a creative writing course help you improve your writing skills? Because you’ll learn from experienced writers. While having the opportunity to practice writing under the watchful eye of expert tutors. 

Creative writing prompts are useful for high school students looking for inspiration for new and original ideas. You can overcome writer’s block by tapping into your creativity in a new and exciting way.

These prompts will challenge and inspire you. So give them a try and see what amazing stories and ideas you can come up with!

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best creative writing prompts for high school

By the time students walk in the door of our secondary ELA classrooms, they’re not exactly new to writing assignments. They’ve done autobiographies. Short stories. Love stories. Scary stories. They’ve journaled and summarized and analyzed. So how do we bring the spark back into writing for them? What can we secondary teachers offer in terms of fresh and exciting writing prompts and assignments? Here are 10 writing prompts for high school students to get them excited about writing in the new year.

1. The TED Talk

There are a lot of amazing TED Talks out there that students love. Launch a TED Talk unit by showing this one, from Tim Urban, called “ Inside the Mind of a Master Procrastinator .” Talk about what makes it powerful. Have students create TED Talks of their own, sharing a startling story, a piece of wisdom, or an idea from their own lives. Wrap it all up with a mock TED conference at your school, inviting parents, other classes, and administrators, if you wish.

2. Video Writing Prompts

If you’re looking for some unusual, short and sweet writing options, check out John Spencer’s  Creative Writing Prompts for Students playlist.  It features short videos meant to inspire students to think in creative ways. With clips like “What Are Five Things You Want Your Teacher to Know About You?” and “Invent a New Class,” these short pieces can also help you learn more about your writers.

3. Love Poems

What teenager doesn’t harbor some (not so) secret crush? Creating a unit around great love poems, both canonical and modern (e.g. spoken word poetry like this ), will help students get excited about writing their own love poems. Explore various forms, from haiku to sonnet to totally free expression, then create a class anthology of love poems, including both the greats and selections from your own writers.

4. Graduation Speeches

We’ve all sat in the audience of a graduation and wondered what we would talk about if we were on stage speaking. Give students the chance to find out. As the year comes to a close, invite them to write their own charge to the graduating class. What would they say to inspire the seniors? Something to make them laugh? Something to make them cry? Consider having your class vote on the top three pieces and printing them to give to the graduates.

5. Choice Blogging

Students always perk up for an authentic audience and a connection to the real world. Introduce them to one of the many free blogging platforms and let them blog about a topic that truly interests them. Choice blogging makes a great genius-hour option. You can devote one day a week (or every other week) to letting students write about their passions on their own blogs, simply by assigning a different topic each week. Start with list posts, review posts, news posts, video posts, and top-ten posts. Eventually, you can let them choose their own format, as long as they produce a post each week. You can find a full walk-through for setting up this type of project in my own blog post, “ A Beginner’s Guide to Student Blogging .”

6. Fold and Pass

When you try the fold and pass, you’re guaranteed to end up with some very surprising stories. Ask each student to begin a story on a blank piece of paper, introducing a main character. After a while, have them stop and fold their paper then trade with another student. You want the next person to only be able to see the last couple of lines of the beginning. In this next round, everyone will write the middle of the story, taking the character into some kind of conflict before moving the story toward resolution. Finally, have those students fold their papers so only a few lines are visible and trade with another student. When the next writers begin, let them know that they should bring the stories to an end. Then they should return the story to the original writer. The results will no doubt make everyone laugh. This is a great activity for when students need a bit of a break but you still want to keep them writing and building community in your classroom.


This writing assignment is not for the faint of heart! The NANOWRIMO challenge invites anyone interested in writing a novel to do so in one month (November). If you’re interested in exploring this ambitious mission with your students, their  site  is full of helpful information. You could also do a spin-off, asking students to write a novella in a month or perhaps a short story a day for seven days. Take the idea of a big and exciting challenge and make it work for your classroom.

8. “This I Believe” Essays

If you’ve never heard NPR’s old radio series “This I Believe,” it’s a great listen. People from around the country sent in short essays expressing a core belief, which could be as funny and simple as: I believe in the pizza delivery guy. Along with sharing a belief, writers gave specific, vibrant examples of why they held that belief and how they came to have it. It’s an easy format that helps students develop their ability to support claims and write with specific and powerful descriptions. NPR has already created a complete curriculum that is ready and waiting for you to use.

9. Letters to Students Far, Far Away

Several years ago, I taught in Bulgaria, and I loved connecting my students there to students in the United States. We did several projects involving writing back and forth about our views and ourselves.

Finding a collaborative classroom partner gives your students a real reason to write, new friends, and the chance to break down some boundaries. Try connecting your classroom to one in another country or even just in another part of the US. Join a Facebook group for teachers (like one of these ) and make a post to find a partner.

Seriously. I’m not kidding. During their lives, your students will probably write a gazillion emails. Why not teach them how to write a good one? Take back electronic communication from the clutches of sentence fragments, emoticons, and confusing demands. I love  this post from teachwriting.org,  which features ideas for how to get started with an email etiquette unit.

What are your favorite writing prompts for high school? Share them in the comments below!

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The Best High School Creative Writing Prompts of 2023

Imaginary worlds.

1. A woman discovers a mystical island where her dreams are played out in physical form, including her nightmares.

2. A librarian discovers that some of the books in the library open portals to different times and places.

3. A group of adventurers discover a forest where trees possess ancient knowledge and they must decipher the messages written in the leaves to prevent impending catastrophe.

Mystery and suspense

1. A detective investigates the disappearance of a famous illusionist during a live performance.

2. An antique shop owner unravels the history of a cursed heirloom and must break an ancient curse.

3. A reclusive artist’s masterpiece holds a hidden message and an art expert must discover its meaning before it goes on display.

Magical adventures

1. In a world where music has magical properties, a musician with a mysterious instrument must stop a malevolent sorcerer.

2. An alchemist creates a potion which allows communication with mythical creatures and is able to learn their secrets.

3. A twenty-first century map-maker discovers a map that reveals a hidden continent which is home to dozens of mythical creatures.

Historical journeys

1. During the Renaissance, a young artist discovers a magical paintbrush that brings his creations to life.

2. A medieval farmer discovers an abandoned aircraft from the future and must unravel its mystery.

3. A group of friends discover a collection of letters written by a forgotten World War I soldier and set about tracking down ancestors.

Outer space and sci-fi

1. A team of interstellar archaeologists stumble across an ancient spaceship graveyard, each vessel holding clues to the mysteries of a forgotten civilisation.

2. A space mechanic encounters and fixes a malfunctioning robot that is more dangerous than it seems.

3. A group of friends acquire a device that enables them to swap places with their counterparts in parallel universes.

Family and relationships

1. Siblings discover letters left behind by their great-grandparents and realise how similar they are to their ancestors.

2. An estranged family reunite in their childhood home and learn to forgive each other and rediscover shared memories.

3. Sibling rivalry takes a sudden turn when a family crisis compels a brother and sister to set aside their differences.

Magical creatures

1. An ancient dragon, once feared by a village, seeks redemption by aiding a group of heroes on their quest.

2. A phoenix visits a young boy whenever he is in crisis and he wants to discover who is sending the phoenix to help him.

3. A young goblin rebels against tradition and explores forbidden realms beyond their home, discovering the diversity of the land.

Humorous adventures

1. During a summer job at an amusement park, a student discovers a hidden portal to a Victorian circus.

2. A group of students form a paranormal investigation club to unravel the mysteries of their strange, eccentric hometown.

3. A school science project goes haywire and creates a machine that swaps personalities among classmates.

Superhero scenarios

1. A retired superhero comes out of retirement to vanquish a villain who is able to manipulate people’s memories.

2. A superhero loses their powers after a strange cosmic event and must rely on their intellect to face a new wave of threats.

3. A superhero who can control time is suspended by the government due to ethical concerns about time-travel.

Dystopian worlds

1. In a world where emotions are outlawed, a resistance group tries to restore fundamental human experience.

2. In a future society where half the population lives underground after being convinced that radiation levels are too high, and the other half live above ground in the assumption that everything is in fact fine, one woman has to determine who is right.

3. An authoritarian regime uses AI to predict and punish crimes before they happen.

Time travel tales

1. In a world of time-travel tourism, a tour guide accidentally strands his customers in Ancient Rome.

2. A time traveller becomes trapped in a time loop, reliving his 18 th year again and again.

3. A historian from the future travels back to 2023 to issue a historic warning, but most of society are unconvinced.

We hope this article has inspired you to dip your toes into the world of creative writing! 

From developing critical thinking skills to boosting your confidence, creative writing links self-expression to self-improvement in a way that’s worth exploring regardless of where your future ambitions lie. 

If you like the idea of creative writing but have been unsure where to begin, our creative writing prompts are a great starting point. Whether you use them directly, or just as a way of generating your own ideas, the writing you create will ultimately be entirely your own!


Sam is a recent English graduate from the University of Bristol whose interests include twentieth-century fiction, film, and cultural criticism.

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50 Fun Prompt Writing Ideas for High School Students

May 16, 2023

Students either love or hate writing. Those who love it usually are the ones who enjoy reading as well. They might spend their time journaling, composing poetry, or writing short stories. These students not only enjoy the process; they embrace it with every part of their being and enjoy engaging in assigned prompt writing ideas!

For most students, however, writing is synonymous with drudgery. They hear that they are going to have to write something, and they automatically shut down. Because of this unfortunate mindset usually brought about by the feeling of overwhelm, we need to get our students to see the value of high school writing activities that include easy-to-teach Prompt Writing Ideas.

There are so many options beyond the traditional five-paragraph essay! Keep reading for 50 Prompt Writing Ideas for High School Students !

Need help with Test Prep? Check out this  FREE Pack of 3 Test Prep Activities to help students achieve success on standardized tests

Table of Contents

50 Prompt Writing Ideas for High School Students

Prompt Writing Ideas

10 Narrative Prompt Writing Ideas

Before starting my business, I didn’t really see the value of writing stories. I mean, I enjoy a good story. I love reading short stories by Edgar Allan Poe , some of William Shakespeare’s plays , and other random historical fiction. Beyond personal entertainment or academia, I could not really see why teaching narrative writing was so important.

Boy, was I wrong!

Narrative writing is so valuable. Think about it. When we buy something, we really want to hear the story behind it.

We listen to how something was created, how a person struggled with a problem, and how a product provided a solution!  We connect with each other through stories!

Here are some relatively simple ways to incorporate narrative writing in your high school classroom with 10 Prompt Writing Ideas:

  •   Write a Journal Entry- Students can respond to someone from a story as if they know the character personally.
  •   Create an Advertisement- Students can include a story from a “buyer” as an ad technique.
  •  Informational/Argument Essays- Students can use a short narrative as support.
  •   Post on Social Media- Students can create a post that tells a story about something…anything!
  •   Develop a Business Plan- Students can create a business plan and use narratives to relay the potential of a future business.
  •   Write a Poem/Song- Students can write a poem or song that actually tells a story.
  •   Create a Website- Students can create an About Me page for a fictitious online store that includes a story.
  •   Participate in a Job Interview- Students can conduct interviews with each other and include stories that demonstrate certain skills or knowledge.
  •   Give a Speech- Students can do research on an idea they are passionate about and include stories to support their ideas.
  •   Record a Video- Students can write and record stories about their lives and “post” them on various platforms.

10 Satirical Prompt Writing Ideas

When it comes to bridging the gap between reading satire and writing satire , students need guidance. I would start by reading both  “Sending Grandma to the Ovens” and “A Modest Proposal.”  These two texts are similar in structure, purpose, and topic. Your students can model their own essays after these texts. They can even propose something!

teaching satire

Here are some HOW TO satirical prompt writing ideas :

  • How to be a wonderful boyfriend or girlfriend
  • How to propose to someone
  • How to be a good student
  • How to be a productive employee
  • How to grow a business
  • How to be an amazing parent
  • How to be an effective writer
  • How to prepare for exams
  • How to get a job
  • How to create friendships

best creative writing prompts for high school

10 Expository Prompt Writing Ideas

Essentially, an exposition seeks to explain something. And things in our world ALWAYS need explaining!

We crave information, and one of my major goals as a teacher is to encourage students to seek out information instead of what just pops up on social media feeds. We have so much knowledge, it can be overwhelming, so giving students a focus would be super helpful.

When writing an exposition, students have several options:

They can write about what they already know, write about what they don’t know by doing research, or write about a combination of the two.

Need help with teaching research? Click below!

Research Paper Writing Tips

Here are some expository prompt writing ideas that might require a bit of research:

  • Interesting hobbies I never knew about
  • Skills I will need for life
  • Getting a job interview
  • Jobs that we take for granted
  • Things to do when we don’t have electricity
  • What I never knew about my family
  • Popular foods in…(a culture/country)
  • Why certain songs are popular
  • Uses for a cell phone
  • History of chocolate

10 Argument Prompt Writing Ideas

One of the toughest types of writing involving prompt writing ideas for students is the argument essay. Now, I am talking about the “you need to do research to make your case” kind of argument paper.

Let’s be real. Instead of doing the research ourselves, we rely on one or two news outlets to tell us information, or maybe, God forbid, we scroll through social media to get our information.

And I don’t know about you. I usually just get an interpretation or opinion on the facts. I don’t get the actual stories, statistics, and facts. I get, at most, a watered-down version of what I should actually know.

This reality is why we MUST teach our students how to support their ideas with cited evidence. We don’t need to teach students merely to argue. They do this beautifully with their friends on a daily basis. They need to know how to locate credible evidence, and I am not just talking .gov, .org, or .edu! This requirement of credibility applies to pretty much any prompt writing ideas!

Here are some argument prompt writing ideas that will REQUIRE research:

  • Should student loans be forgiven?
  • Should everyone go to college?
  • Should social media companies be allowed to censor content?
  • Should students have to take higher-level math?
  • Should high school or college students be required to take a financial literacy course?
  • Should students take a gap year before going to college?
  • Should there be a minimum wage?
  • Should students earn grades in their classes (A, B, C, D, F)?
  • Should classes be organized by age or ability in a specific subject area?
  • Should volunteer hours be required for graduation?

Notice: You don’t have to ask students to write a ten-page argument paper in order to feel like your students are learning what they need to know to be successful. You could start with a page, a paragraph, a discussion, or even a 1-minute presentation. Not everything has to be formal in the introductory stage. Sometimes, we want to get our students thinking about the topic and excited before they begin!

Prompt Writing Ideas

10 Rhetorical Analysis Prompts

I am a big fan of requiring students to practice  writing a rhetorical analysis essay . At first, it can be daunting. Even the word “rhetoric” can be difficult to explain at times.

Most of the Prompt Writing Ideas below can be used or revised to fit any piece of rhetoric:

  • How does the speaker use logos in achieving the purpose of the speech?
  • What techniques are used by the author to relay the message that_____?
  • How does the writer include emotional language in order to appeal to the audience?
  • Why is repetition used throughout the passage?
  • What forms of evidence support the rhetor’s argument?
  • How are the rhetorical appeals used in relation to the audience’s perspective?
  • Why might the tone of the speaker change throughout the text?
  • What kinds of strategies are used in online ads versus physical ads?
  • How might you use different techniques when talking with your parents/guardians versus your friends?
  • What types of diction and/or syntax might a creator use when discussing a topic in college?

If you go step by step through the analysis writing process, your students can master this skill. It might take more time than you think, but most students will achieve some level of success. Plus, they can apply these skills to any essay they will have to write in the future! You can teach How to Write a Rhetorical Analysis Essay Step By Step !

teach how to write a rhetorical analysis essay

By modeling what you want, you will more likely get what you want from your students. This process also applies to writing a rhetorical analysis essay. Going through every step above is key to success.

Here are some reading and writing packs that may make the rhetorical analysis essay process that much easier:

  • Sinners in the Hands of An Angry God Rhetorical Analysis Pack
  • A Modest Proposal Rhetorical Analysis Pack
  • The Declaration of Independence: Rhetorical Analysis Writing Pack
  • Gettysburg Address Activities: Rhetorical Analysis Short Response
  • Declaration of Sentiments Rhetorical Devices Analysis Activity Stanton
  • Sojourner Truth Speech Aint I a Woman: Summary, Rhetorical Analysis
  • Patrick Henry’s Give Me Liberty Give Me Death Speech Rhetorical Analysis Pack
  • Florence Kelley Speech About Child Labor Rhetorical Analysis Pack
  • Sending Grandma to the Ovens Rhetorical Analysis Pack

Prompt Writing Ideas For Satire

Need more Prompt Writing Ideas for your middle or high school classroom ? Check out my store  Kristin Menke-Integrated ELA Test Prep !

best creative writing prompts for high school


I primarily focus on  integrating multiple disciplines and subjects. The goal is to make teaching simplified and effective!

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144 Picture Prompts to Inspire Student Writing

A school year’s worth of short, accessible image-driven posts that invite a variety of kinds of writing.

best creative writing prompts for high school

By The Learning Network

We’ve been publishing our Picture Prompts series four days a week since 2016. These short, accessible, image-driven prompts invite students to create short stories, poems and memoirs; share experiences from their lives; analyze illustrations, graphs and charts; and weigh in on hot-button issues.

Here, we’ve rounded up all the Picture Prompts we published for the 2019-20 school year and organized them by the type of writing they ask students to do. You can find even more in our roundups for the 2016-17 , 2017-18 and 2018-19 school years. That’s over 600 prompts in all. And many are still open for comment by students 13 and up.

To learn how you can use Picture Prompts to build literacy skills, promote critical thinking, spark discussion and foster creativity in your classroom — physical or virtual — watch our on-demand webinar, “ A Picture Prompt Is Worth a Thousand Words .” For dozens more ideas, see our lesson plan, “ How to Teach With Our Picture Prompts (and Other Times Images) .”

If you use this feature with your students, or if you have other ideas for how to use photos, illustrations and graphics to encourage writing, let us know in the comments.

What story does this image inspire for you?

Trapped Inside Wilderness Wayfaring Magical Chores I’m Sorry Dollar Bills Dinosaurs Endless Conversation Looking Back Social Distancing Vibrant Youth Fake Ice United States of Love Over the Falls Marching Band Heavy Head Night Circus Submerged Subway Ride Subway Balloons Under the Ice Resourceful Raccoon Calendar Vivid Voices Writing a Novel Passport Scramble Racing Pug Castle on a Hill Clowns Travel In the Hallway Striking Out Meeting in the City

Share experiences from your own life.

Collect Them All The Stories Maps Can Tell Strange Times, Strange Dreams Songs of Hope Drawing Ramadan in Isolation Across Divides Instagram Challenges Book Updates Funny Flicks Stuck in Paradise Pandemic Projects Home Cooking Your Learning Space Empty Spaces Helpers Favorite Flops St. Patrick’s Day Birthdays The Agony of Defeat Alligators in the Sewers In Memoriam Sibling Dynamics Slumber Parties Food Favors Super Bowl LIV Morning Moods Lunar New Year Internet Affirmation Pet Keepsakes Stargazing New Year, New You? Last-Minute Shopping Car-Free Travel Feasting With Family Mister Rogers ‘No.’ Dream House Strange Cuisine Multitasking Headless Horseman Music Therapy The Heroic Ideal A Place of Solace Pet Pampering Notes of Lavender Neighborhood Celebrations Fashion Idols Tributes Family Cooks Favorite Season Back to School

What do you think this image, chart or cartoon is saying?

‘OK Boomer’ Shadows Open and Shut Baseball Eyeballs Protesting Carrying the Weight Music Notes Flickering Sign Helping Hands Brick Wall Inside a Book Talking and Listening Maze Credit and Blame Newspaper City Pack of People ‘A 📖 of Two 🏙’ Head Spinning You Love You, Bro The President’s Tweets Split Reflections Forest in a Stadium Chasing ‘They’ Missiles, Hummers and Tanks Looking Over the Edge

What’s your opinion on this issue?

Masks The Front Page Teenage Drivers Graduation in a Pandemic Most Challenged Books Brady’s Big Move Mascot Working From Home Mall Rats ‘Bracelet of Silence’ Optimism Government Buildings Valentine’s Day Prizewinning Poodle Library Books Oscar Nominations 2020 Hologram Musicians Baby Yoda Hit Holiday Songs 2019 in Pictures World’s Big Sleep Out Snow Days Tesla’s ‘Cybertruck’ Fortune Tellers Scooters Everywhere Popeyes Chicken Sandwich World Series Champions Small Talk Big City, Small Town Tipping Summer Hits

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Creative Writing Prompts

creative writing prompts

Writing and essay prompts are a great learning tool to help you focus on a particular subject or topic and practice writing on that topic using proper sentence structure and development. Writing prompts are meant to open up the imagination as well as the creativity within; to improve these skills you are learning and feel connected to your writing. When you succeed at writing prompts, you will take your writing to a whole new level.

Studying Writing Prompts

How well you write will depend on the skills you are taught and more importantly, the skills you practice in order to gain speed and knowledge. Understanding writing prompts is not all that simple. In fact, many students will not do very good at all because they misunderstood the concept of the writing prompt they were assigned to. Before you write, you need to learn how to better understand your writing prompt. Understanding the prompts will direct your writing in the direction it is supposed to go.

How Important is the Writing Form?

It's important to know what the correct writing form is before you begin. You need to determine if your writing prompt is narrative, persuasive, or expository. While some writing prompts will be specific, others will not, and you must form your own option of the writing style through the directions given. For example, if your instructions use the word "persuade" then you will most likely want to use a persuasive form of writing.

It's better to take the time to observe the details and instructions on writing your assignment correctly than to hurry through it and do it wrong. It just takes a short list like this one below to determine which direction your writing should go in. Look for the following keywords to determine the proper way to write:

  • If you see the words: how, define, compare and contrast, what, or analyze in your instructions, your essay should be expository
  • If you see the words: why, argue, opinion, convince or persuade in your instructions, your essay should be persuasive
  • If you see the words: tell, imagine, relate, story, or describe in your instructions, your essay should be narrative .

Once you learn the keywords, you will know what direction your writing will need to go in order to complete your assignment correctly.

Standardized Test Practice Should Include Writing Prompts

Writing prompts can also be used to help students get ready for the standardized tests. These tests include the ACT and the SAT. Writing prompts are given out according to the age group they are for and often focus on contemporary social problems. It's always a great idea to prepare yourself by keeping up with current events as well as participating in a group discussion. Join a reading group that encourages fiction and nonfiction books with the discussion. Learn to feel more comfortable with your writing prompts so that when you need to take these standardized tests, you will be comfortable with the extensive writing part of the test.

Creative Writing Prompts for Every Day of the Year

There is no better way to hone a skill than to practice, practice, practice. Unfortunately, it's not always easy to come up with a writing prompt every day. Below, you can find a list of creative writing prompts, one for every day of the year. Use these creative writing prompts to write poems, short stories, or even to keep a journal. The main focus here is to use your imagination and just keep writing.

360+ Creative Writing Prompts for you to Use as Inspiration

  • Looking out of the window, what do you see right now? What is the weather like or what do you wish were going on outside that window?
  • Loving someone who doesn't love you back. How does or would that make you feel.
  • You are on a ship or in your favorite vehicle, and you can go anywhere in the world. Where will it take you?
  • Dancing frees the soul. Who is dancing and why do they want to dance?
  • What will be on your menu today for breakfast, lunch, and dinner? Write a poem about meeting someone important in your life in a cafe.
  • Two people see each other for the very first time.
  • Today a rocket ship blasts off and its destination is set for the moon or another far away Galaxy.
  • Remember your most recent dream and write about it.
  • Decide on one animal and write about it
  • What is your friendship like with someone?
  • Picture a dragon. Do you fight your dragon or is the dragon your friend? Use a detailed descriptive language.
  • Poems that start with the word, "hello." You can write a short story that starts with this word instead.
  • Write a poem using a letter from your own collection or one that you are familiar with.
  • Read a book. Randomly select a page in the book and circle a few words. Now use those circled words to create a poem. You can cut words out of magazines too.
  • Did you overhear a conversation recently? If so, turn that conversation into a short story, journal entry, or even a poem.
  • What are you addicted to? Go into detail about your addiction.
  • Select a word randomly from the dictionary. What does that word mean to you?
  • Housework is for everyone, including writers and artists. Write about your everyday housework chores and activities.
  • Who do you admire and why?
  • Go to craigslist.org and find the "Missed Connections" section. Inside that section, you will find stories from random people. Use a story and write about it.
  • Your close friend or family member lost their home due to foreclosure. Tell their story through a poem or a short story.
  • You can't see in front of you because of fog, smoke, or haze. Write about your experience.
  • What has so much sugar in it that it hurts your teeth just thinking about it?
  • What numbers or any other figures are important to you and why?
  • What are some things that you dread doing?
  • Being scared - what scares you and how do you react to fear?
  • You see a closed door. What is behind it? Why does it stay closed?
  • Shadow someone for the day. Tell the story through shadowing.
  • What gives you good vibes and makes you happy?
  • Spending money is fun. Talk about how you spend money and what do you have on your wish list this year?
  • What teacher influenced you the most? Write about it.
  • Take a poem or even a short story and rewrite it using your own words.
  • Take a piece of your jewelry and write about it.
  • Give yourself an hour to just sit outside with no electronics. Listen to all the sounds around you. Write about the sounds.
  • There is always a conflict of some sorts. Write about the most recent conflict that happened to you.
  • Write some of your favorite phrases or write a poem and then frame it and hang on your wall.
  • You are putting a puzzle together. Write about it.
  • Step-by-step instructions on how to build a fire.
  • Write about drinking coffee, when to drink it? What do you like in it?
  • Someone you know just got their driver's license. Write about it.
  • Secrets - Write about a secret you are still keeping from someone or someone may be keeping from you, but you already know about it.
  • You are inside an old abandoned building that was once a warehouse. Write about it; what you see, hear, smell, picture.
  • You want to do something but you can't. Write about remaining silent when it would feel so good just to scream.
  • Have you been insulted by someone? Write about it.
  • What if you had a mirror that talked to you. What would it say to you?
  • Write a poem on the topic of getting muddy.
  • You enter a dark room and finally find a light switch. What do you feel and see?
  • Look up in the night sky. What do you see? Does it inspire you?
  • Write a poem about a joke.
  • Saying no to someone can sometimes make you feel more powerful. Write about it.
  • First, you see the sunrise, and then you see the sun setting. It's a never-ending cycle. Write about it.
  • Have you heard of memory lane? Take it up a step. What does this lane look like if you were asked to describe it? How would you give directions to it?
  • You see a movie that makes you cry or feel very sad. Write a poem about one part in the movie.
  • Write a poem about one of your diary entries in the past.
  • How did it feel to hold someone's hand for the first time? Write about it.
  • You see a picture that catches your eye. Write a short story or journal entry about it.
  • Write about setting your alarm clock and waking up.
  • What inspires you in the dark?
  • Do you remember a time that you felt renewed or refreshed? Maybe on vacation or sipping lemonade on a very hot day? Write about feeling refreshed.
  • You are holding something very fragile. Write about it.
  • Two of your best friends are fighting, and you are put in the middle. Write about it.
  • You make mistakes like everyone else. Write about your mistakes.
  • Name a spice that you absolutely love.
  • You hear a song on the radio. Rewrite the words and turn it into a poem of your own.
  • Take a phone conversation you had recently and write about it.
  • Use your name in a poem
  • You live in a dollhouse. Write a story describing life in a dollhouse.
  • Go to www.wikipedia.com and click on Random Article. What article subject did you get? Write about it.
  • Extreme sports or sports that someone makes up can inspire you to create your own game with your own rules. Write about it.
  • Your favorite recipe can be turned into a short story. Write about it. You could also write about something abstract, like feelings.
  • What is your favorite painting and why? Write about it.
  • When you were younger, you went to a special place. Now that you are all grown up, that place is not special anymore like it once was. Write about it.
  • Who was the last person you talked to and what was your conversation about? Write about it.
  • You get caught doing something really embarrassing. Write about it.
  • You get to interview someone that is either fictional or real. What questions would you ask them?
  • Write about how you feel about missing someone so bad.
  • Choose a country or a state that you have never been to but would like to go. Why do you want to visit?
  • Pick up your MP3 player or go to 8tracks.com or Songza.com and choose a song randomly. After listening to a song, write about the song you chose.
  • Everyone has a hero. Write a tribute to the hero in your life.
  • Walk down the street with your eyes wide open. Write about the people you see.
  • Write about a slogan you have seen in an ad recently that caught your attention.
  • What is your favorite book? Write a ten-line poem about that book.
  • If you had magic at the touch of your fingers, what would you do with it?
  • Use your favorite pen or pencil to write a story with.
  • Take your readers through your daily life; habits and routine included.
  • What does your muse like and what does she dislike? How are you inspired by your muse?
  • What is your latest experience with a convenience store or a gas station?
  • Choose one of the natural wonders of the world and describe it in a short story.
  • Using your latest Twitter or Facebook status update, write a poem. You can also use your friends status if you prefer. If you don't use social media, search online for one that may inspire you.
  • Write in detail about growing something.
  • Does your family share a family heirloom that has been passed down from one generation to another?
  • Write about an insect that you like or are afraid of.
  • Create a magic potion. Write a story about what is in it, what will it do, and create an antidote for it.
  • Think about a playground or tree house you have visited or would like to visit when you were a child. Write about it.
  • Write down the first five adjectives that come to mind. Use them to write a poem or a short story.
  • Take a fairy tale and rewrite it with a new ending.
  • Someone has a secret to tell. Write about it.
  • What makes you smile? Write about it.
  • What is your favorite season? Write about it.
  • Normal is different for everyone. What is normal to you? Is normal a good thing? Or is normal bad?
  • Rewrite something you wrote before.
  • Tell what you have in your closet and drawers.
  • Create a secret message from within a story. Use acrostic poetry using the last letters of certain words to create a message to decipher.
  • Where did you go on vacation? Write about it.
  • You are overheating. Write about it.
  • Write a spell. Do you use it for yourself? For other people? For mankind?
  • You are doing a jigsaw puzzle or crossword. Write about it.
  • You are taking a chance in your life. Write about it. What happened in the end?
  • Write a journal entry about going to a street fair or carnival in town.
  • Write about someone's first time in the city.
  • What questions would you ask the universe? Be sure to include the answers too.
  • Write about doing a task quickly.
  • Write a story about stairs.
  • Write a story about your neighbor that you can later turn into a poem.
  • Write about a time that you were hurt physically.
  • Write a poem about a saint that you know.
  • Write about a trip to the beach.
  • What shoes do you like wearing and where do they take you?
  • Write a poem describing your ex.
  • Write a short story in from the first person point of view.
  • Describe a day in the life of a stray.
  • Describe something that you could sit and stare at forever.
  • What is your bed like? Describe it in great detail.
  • Do you like the sounds of fireworks? Some people do, some do not. Describe how they make you feel.
  • Imagine that you could freeze a moment in your life. What would that moment be? Why?
  • Do you like alone time or do you prefer to have people around you all the time? Why do you think you like what you like?
  • What do you know a lot about? Write about what it is you like or know a lot about.
  • Have you ever made a promise to someone? If so, what was that promise? Did you keep it?
  • Do you like commotion or does it feel overwhelming to you? Write about how it makes you feel.
  • Create a poem using headlines in the news for today.
  • Write a very detailed description of an object that you have a close-up view of.
  • What is your favorite type of transportation? Write about it.
  • Create or invent something new. What did you create and how did it improve your life?
  • Create a love poem that is not so smooth.
  • Write a poem that uses ladders as the main focal point.
  • Because there is a holiday for almost every day of the year, look up today's date and see what holidays fall on it. Then write a poem you could put on a greeting card about that holiday.
  • Create a story using something you see on a favorite blog you like to visit frequently.
  • Describe the most recent mail you received in a poem form.
  • What have you shared with someone else lately? Write about it.
  • Think about a cactus. Write from the cactus point-of-view. You live in a dessert.
  • Describe a road sign that you have seen lately that is interesting to you.
  • Focus on a piece of furniture in your home. Write about it.
  • Write about one time that you failed at doing something. Did you give it another try or give up? Why do you think you did what you did? Do you regret your decision? Are you proud of it?
  • Are angels inspiring to you? Write about it or a mystical creature that you find interesting.
  • You have wings. Write what you would do with them.
  • What if you could see through something? A wall? Through people, maybe? Write a poem about it.
  • Using a voice recorder, record yourself saying something. Play it back and write down what you say. Revise your words into a short story.
  • Listen to drum loops or just music with a good rhythm but no words. Now create your words to the beat.
  • Do a search on color palettes. Write about a color that you find interesting.
  • Pick up your favorite magazine and write something based on the first five sentences you read.
  • Switch places with someone and tell a story about your experience.
  • Everyone needs motivation. Write something that will inspire others to workout and exercise.
  • Write about a heart, square, or maybe a circle; something that would take shape on a page.
  • Write about what happened on your last birthday.
  • Write a poem about aromatherapy.
  • Using onomatopoeia, write a poem.
  • Write about this moment. What are people doing? What are you doing? What happens normally at this time? Be sure to tell what time it is now.
  • Do you like to party? Or do you hate it? Write your thoughts about partying.
  • Write a poem using polite words, such as "Thank you" and "Please."
  • Take something that you could use a cliche in and rewrite it without using the cliche.
  • Going green. What is your concern?
  • Write about missing someone special.
  • You had to let something or someone go. Write about how it made you feel.
  • Feeling left out? Write about it.
  • You need to get ready for a trip, or you need to unpack after returning home. Write about it.
  • What do you think about elves, fairies, or gnomes? Write a story using them.
  • Write about the process of giving and receiving.
  • Close your eyes and try to imagine standing in front of a bakery. What do you smell? Write about it.
  • You build a secret hideaway or a treehouse that no one can see. Write about it.
  • Write about doing something risky.
  • Choose an acrostic word and write a poem with the first words starting with each letter in that word.
  • Find a crossword puzzle and use the clues in it to inspire your next short story.
  • Find something good in a bad situation and write about it.
  • You have a pair of gloves. Describe those gloves. What type of gloves are they? Are you wearing them or is someone else wearing the gloves? Why are they being worn?
  • Write a poem about something that is shiny.
  • Write a short story or a journal entry on jealousy.
  • Have you seen flowers growing healthy in unusual places? Write about it.
  • Write about what you may see or experience in a courtroom if you had jury duty.
  • Write about a present you got from someone or a gift that you gave to someone.
  • You are running away from something or maybe someone. Write about it.
  • What have you discovered lately? Let it inspire your next entry.
  • Have you got a complaint? Write about it.
  • Write about what you are thankful for.
  • Write a poem using your favorite element in the periodic table.
  • Write a story about someone who would deserve a standing ovation when they entered a room.
  • Think about your favorite older poem and use the last line in that poem to create the first line of a new poem.
  • What do you want to do really bad? Go on a trip? Try something new? Write about it.
  • Write a poem that would motivate someone.
  • Imagine you found the end of the rainbow. Describe it.
  • You get to visit a museum on your own one day. You can take your time and look through everything. Write about what you think would be most important and stand out to you.
  • What is your favorite cartoon? Write about it.
  • Take a line from a poem that was created by someone famous a long time ago. Use any line in that poem to create your own one.
  • You are standing on the top of your roof, and everyone gathers below to hear what you have to say. What are you going to say?
  • If you could go back in time, where would you go?
  • For one day, you can be someone else. Describe what happens.
  • Where do you like to go the most in your neighborhood?
  • You are on a pirate ship. Write about it.
  • You read an interview recently. Write about it.
  • When you were a child, where did you like to hide? Do you like to hide there today? Write about it.
  • You can change your hair color, buy new clothes, and completely change your style. What would it look like?
  • Write about compassion you may have for another person.
  • Write a poem using two things that are opposites.
  • You are bored. Make a list of things that you can do to feel entertained.
  • Do you remember feeling emotionally or physically strong. Write about it to inspire others.
  • You are hungry and have no at all money to buy food. Write about it.
  • You have money, power, and fame but you want more. Write about feeling greedy.
  • There is a volcano near you that is about to erupt. Write about it.
  • Watch a video on Vimeo.com or YouTube.com. Write something about that video.
  • What makes you sneeze? Write about it.
  • Is there life in outer space? Write about the possibilities.
  • Romeo and Juliet's story took place a long time ago. Write a modern version of this love story and keep it short.
  • What is your favorite font? Write a poem using your favorite font.
  • Find inspiration for today's writing in your schedule.
  • Remember a story about your grandparents. Write about it.
  • Cut out words in a magazine that catch your attention and use them to create a poem.
  • You are alone. What do you do during this time? Do you have to be around someone all the time or do you do well on your own?
  • Have you ever seen a waterfall? How did it feel? Write about it.
  • Talk about your first kiss in a short story form or a journal entry.
  • Have you ever found yourself in an ironic situation? Write about it.
  • Write a limerick.
  • You are in the grocery store. Write about your experience.
  • Find a style that you are in love with either in a magazine or online. Write about it.
  • What does it feel like to be close to reaching your goals? Write about it.
  • Write a poem about sitting at a bar.
  • Have you met a friend online? Write about your experience.
  • Do you have someone that you admire? Write about it.
  •  You are a garbage collector for a day. Write about your experience.
  • Find a piece of mail that you recently received. Write a poem about it.
  • You just got out of the shower. Write about it.
  • You have reached a low energy moment in your day. Write about how it makes you feel.
  • Write a silly poem that rhymes. Make up words to make it more silly.
  • You call in and get tech support. Write about your conversation.
  • You are working at a hotel. Write about your experiences. What will you see? What will you do?
  • Write about an underwater adventure you have.
  • Clear your mind with some simple deep breathing exercises. What is the first thing that pops back into your mind? Write about it.
  • Write a lie about yourself.
  • Using the latest obituary in the local newspaper, imagine that person's life and write about it.
  • Go through your pockets. What do you have in there? Write about something.
  • Write a Cinquain poem.
  • Use every letter of the alphabet to create a poem of your own.
  • Write something that was inspiring to you from a comedian.
  • Someone you know of is being unfaithful. Write about it.
  • Try writing a Sestina Poem.
  • You witness an argument between two people. Write about it from your perspective.
  • Visit social media websites and write about something you have seen that was interesting.
  • Write about what gives you inner peace and serenity.
  • What do you imagine seeing in the clouds? Watch the clouds go by for a day and put it into words.
  • Sit down on a park bench and look around. Write about what you see, the colors and the scenes. Write about all the emotions you go through while sitting there.
  • Try writing a sonnet.
  • Use the words would, could, and should in a poem.
  • Go through a simple step-by-step process on how to do something.
  • Write a poem using alliteration.
  • You are playing a card game. Write about it.
  • Write for five minutes. Write anything and everything that you can think of in those five minutes. It doesn't have to make sense, just whatever pops into your head.
  • Write about how you feel when you dance.
  • You need to raise awareness for a cause that you support. Put it in the form of a poem.
  • You have a magic trick. Write about it.
  • You find a box. You open it up. What do you find inside?
  • What has impacted your life in a positive way?
  • You lost your favorite childhood toy. Write about it.
  • What does your favorite gemstone mean? Write about it.
  • You can use your remote to fast forward or rewind to a point in your life. Write about it.
  • What has symbolic meaning to you? Write about it.
  • Remember a time in your life that seemed hopeless. How did you get through this time? Write about it.
  • You are a passenger on a train. Write about the cargo the train was carrying.
  • What do you think inspired the phrase, "Where there's smoke, there's fire"?
  • What words would you find on an office clipboard? Write about it.
  • You are stranded on an island after being shipwrecked. Write about it.
  • What popular quote do you like to refer to from a speaker? Write about how it has inspired you.
  • Form a mind map using whatever comes to your mind. Then write a poem or journal entry with the results of your map.
  • What patterns repeat in your life? Write about it.
  • You find a scrapbook. Write about the memories you find when you open it up.
  • Can you find a cure for an illness? Write about it.
  • Find the subjects in your email that you receive today and use it for inspiration.
  • What do you wish for?
  • Doodle for about ten minutes today. Look at your doodle and write something.
  • You are a student in a classroom. Looking at the chalkboard, write about what you see on it.
  • Write about something sticky.
  • You have one flashlight, and the room is extremely dark. Write about what pops up in your imagination.
  • You have traveled to a fictional place. Write about it.
  • You are living in the country. Write about your new setting.
  • Make a promise to yourself and plan to keep it.
  • You see a brick wall in front of you. Write about what is on the other side and why is there a brick wall in front of you to begin with.
  • You were once faced with a difficult choice. Tell about it in today's journal entry.
  • You had to repeat yourself because someone wasn't listening. Write about it.
  • Write about someone that may be an outcast.
  • You have monsters under your bed. Write about it. They don't have to be scary monsters.
  • What have you sacrificed before in order to make a difference to another person? Write about it.
  • Write a poem about beauty flaws.
  • You have a birthday. Write a poem about it.
  • Make a list of ten story titles and ten poem titles and then choose one to write for today.
  • You have a job interview. Write about it.
  • Someone you know is sick, and you can write a poem that will tell them to get better soon.
  • What does it feel like to get lost in a crowd?
  • Write about staying healthy.
  • What are you craving? Write about it.
  • Do some research on phobias and then choose one and write about it today.
  • You are in the present moment. Write about it.
  • You are merrily walking down a sidewalk. What is it that you are seeing?
  • Today, you will write about the sky and the stars you see. What does it mean to you?
  • You see an old abandoned farmhouse. Write about it.
  • Do you have clutter in your home? Go through a little bit of the clutter today and write about what you find.
  • Fly a kite and then write about the experience.
  • Find a channel on your television and write about the first thing you watch.
  • Write a poem about your favorite or not-so-favorite fruit.
  • Using your imagination, write about the struggles of a couple who are trying to keep up a long distance relationship.
  • Write about wearing glasses.
  • You have a robot. Write about it.
  • What do you find adorable? Write about it.
  • Remember your favorite movie? Try remembering your favorite conversation within that movie and write about it.
  • What comes effortlessly to you? Write about it.
  • Write about an idiom today.
  • Remember being a child on the playground. Write about this memory.
  • What are five romantic things partners can do for each other?
  • You are a rock star who is famous. Write about what you experience.
  • Objects are coming to life. Write about this experience.
  • You have met someone on an airplane. Write about what you would talk about.
  • Write a poem about what the labels say on the items you have in your medicine cabinet.
  • Write about being and feeling determined for inspiration to others.
  • Listen to instrumental music. Write a poem matching the beat.
  • You have to wait in line. Write about how that makes you feel.
  • What is your personality type? Write about what makes your personality unique.
  • Choose a decade and write what it is most popular for.
  • What beliefs do you have and why?
  • Write about something you lost.
  • You have a story that you want to tell to someone. Write it in a poem form.
  • Write a letter that you never send.
  • Tell an interesting story through someone else's perspective.
  • What did you learn the hard way?
  • You have a favorite recipe. Write about it.
  • Pull out an old receipt and write about it. What did you pay for? When? If you bought something, what did you buy it for?
  • Visit the bank and write about the experience.
  • Talk someone into something using sweet talk.
  • Something good happened through chance. What was it? Describe your experience.
  • How does it feel when you can't focus.
  • You will write about big business today. Choose a compnay that already exists or make up an ideal company you would like to run/work for.
  • What is the word of the day? Write a journal entry about it.
  • You need a pick-me-up. What is it?
  • You need to escape. Where would you go? Why do you need it?
  • What project have you started but never finished?
  • You were forgiven by someone. Write about why they needed to forgive you and how it went. Did you need to be forgiven?
  • What is your one great weakness?
  • You want to start on a project. Write about it.
  • Gears and moving parts on a machine. Write about the mechanical features of something.
  • You have done an act of kindness. Write about it.
  • You live in an underground home. Imagine what it would be like and write about it.
  • You love the classic rock love ballads. Pick one and rewrite it into a poem.
  • You stay up late at night. Write about what you feel.
  • What is it about magnetic attraction to someone? Have you ever experienced the feeling? Would you like to?
  • You are a part of a team with one common goal. What is it like to work together?
  • What are the ups and downs in your life?
  • Do motivational posters actually motivate? Write a poem about them.
  • Write about games that are being played literally as well as figuratively.
  • Write about a turning point in your life.
  • Write a spell for a witch.
  • Write about a special date on your calendar.
  • Do you play the lottery or casino? Write about what it would be like to win.
  • You are on a picnic. Write about it.
  • What do you see in a garage? Write about it.
  • Review your journal entry a month ago. Write about it in poem form.
  • You are a detective searching to solve a mystery. Write about your findings.
  • Go for a walk and bring your camera. Take some beautiful pictures. Describe what your photos look like when you get back home.
  • You are visiting a friend from high school or a family member. Write about it.
  • You trust someone in your life. Write about it.
  • You did it. You have written in your journal, created short stories, or wrote poems every day for a year. Now write about what this achievement has taught you and continue another year of writing these prompts every day. You will get different inspirations every time you use these as your guideline.

Few final tips to consider when you are polishing up your writing skills. First, try to practice free writing. Just take a pen and write everything that comes to mind. Sooner or later, you will see that your mind is way more creative than you could have guessed. And yes, free writing may seem silly at first, but it is an amazing way to take your writing skills to a totally new level.

Once you master free writing, try a more serious approach. As you should already know, any essay (including SAT paper) is based on the thesis. This is the main statement of any academic work, and if you want to ace your exam, you will have to practice creating compelling thesis statement s. Once again - no need to worry. It is easier than it seems at first. The best thesis is:

In other words, you have to create a statement that has actual meaning in everyday life - yours, your peers, or the society in general. It should not be too obvious; it should be something people can argue with. And finally, it should be expressed in a sentence - maximum, two.

If you are interested in scientific writing as well, follow research paper introduction page.

How to Quote Someone in an Essay

  • 15 Process Essay Topics That Everyone Can Relate To
  • History Essay Topics
  • How to Write an Anthropology Essay
  • How to Write a College Admission Essay
  • Easy Persuasive Speech Topics

best creative writing prompts for high school


Teach Creative Writing In High School With 10 Fun Activities

Creative writing is a meaningful aspect of literature that mandates you to utilize your expertise, ingenuity, and story to depict a critical message, emotion, or plot. It defies the traditional bounds of other forms of writing and is completely subjective to our preferences and experiences. In creative writing, it’s all about imaginativeness!

Using creative imagination and originality to convey feelings and concepts in a unique way is at the heart of creative writing. Simply stated, it’s about infusing your own ‘flair’ into your writing, moving beyond academic or other technical kinds of literature. 

In this post, we will explore the various activities which would be advantageous for a high schooler who wishes to indulge in creative writing!

best creative writing prompts for high school

What Happens When Creative Writing Is Put To Use?

Creative writing is any form of writing that deviates from traditional professional, investigative journalism, educational, or technological forms of literature. It is typically distinguished by emphasizing narrative craft, character development, literary tropes, or various poetic traditions.

Here are the few ways how high schoolers can benefit from creative writing –

1. Imagination

When you write creatively, you expand your imagination by creating new environments, scenarios, and characters. This way, you are also boosting and stretching your imagination, as well as “thinking out of the box.” This allows you to concentrate your energy on many other things and improve your ability to find fresh ideas and alternatives to problems you’re having. Whether you’re a researcher or a businessman, creative writing will increase your imagination and help you think more creatively, and push the boundaries.

2. Empathy and Communications skills

When you create characters, you’ll be constructing emotions, personalities, behaviors, and world views that are distinct from your own. Writers must conceive personalities, emotions, places, and walks of life outside of their own lives while creating universes with fictional characters and settings.

This can give children a good dose of empathy and understanding for those who aren’t like them, who don’t live where they do or go through the same things they do daily. Writers are better equipped to communicate when they have a greater understanding of other points of view. They can come up with creative ways to explain and debate subjects from multiple perspectives. This ability is crucial in both professional and personal situations. 

3. Clarification of Thoughts 

Creating structures in creative writing allows you to organize your impressions and emotions into a logical procedure. You may express both your thoughts and your sentiments through creative writing. For example, if you’re a marketing executive, you could create a short tale in which your clientele reads your promotional emails. You can guess what they’re up to, where they’re seated, what’s around them, and so on.

This enables you to focus on the language and strategies you employ. Alternatively, if you’re a technical writer writing on a new desktop platform, you could create a creative scenario in which a user encounters a problem. 

4. Broadens Vocabulary and gets a better understanding of reading and writing

You’ll learn a larger vocabulary and a better understanding of the mechanics of reading and writing as you begin to practice writing exercises regularly. Even if you’re writing a budget report, you’ll know when rigid grammar standards work and when they don’t, and you’ll know what will make your writing flow better for your readers. Exploring different ways of expressing yourself when writing creatively allows you to extend your vocabulary.

You’ll notice a change in your use and range of language as you improve your writing over time, which will be useful in any professional route and social scenario. You’ll be able to bend and break the rules when you need to, to utilize your voice and make what you’re writing engaging without coming off as an amateur, dull, or inauthentic once you’ve grasped the fundamentals of writing professionally and creatively.

5. Building Self-Belief 

When you write creatively, you’re actively involved in an activity that allows you to fully develop your voice and point of view without being constrained. You have a better chance to investigate and express your feelings about various issues, opinions, ideas, and characters. And you’ll feel more at ease and secure stating your thoughts and perspectives in other things you write as a result of this.

Writers who don’t write creatively may be concerned about appearing authoritative or trustworthy. They accidentally lose their voice and sound like drones spouting statistics by omitting to include their perspective on the topics they’re writing about. As a result, they miss out on using their distinct voice and presenting themselves as an expert with real-world expertise.

Creative Writing Activities That Will Strengthen Your Writing Skills  

Short spurts of spontaneous writing make up creative writing activities. These writing exercises push a writer to tackle a familiar topic in a new way, ranging from one line to a lengthy tale. Short, spontaneous projects are common in creative writing programs, but any writer should make them a regular practice to extend their abilities and learn new tactics to approach a series of stories.

These activities must be performed for ten minutes at a time, several times a week – by creative writers. They’re designed to help you improve your writing abilities, generate fresh story ideas, and become a better writer.

1. Free Writing

Writing is the first and foremost activity that is going to give your creative writing a boost. Start with a blank page and let your stream of thoughts and emotions flow. Then simply begin writing. Don’t pause to think or alter what you’re expressing. This is known as “free writing.” This writing activity is referred to as “morning pages” by Julia Cameron, the author of ‘The Artist’s Way.’ She recommends that authors do this every day when they first wake up. Stream of consciousness writing can provide some intriguing concepts.

Allow your intellect to take the lead as your fingers type. Or write a letter to your younger self.  Consider a topic you’d like to discuss, such as a noteworthy event, and write it down. Give guidance or convey a message that you wish you had heard as a youngster or a young adult.

2. Modify a Storyline – Read

Most of us like to read. However, just reading won’t really help augment your creative writing skills. While reading bestows insight into the deeper meanings of numerous things, you need a more concrete approach to better your aptitude. To do this, you can modify any storyline. Take an episode from a chapter, if you’re feeling brave—from one of your favorite books and recreate it. Write it from the perspective of a different character. Swap out the main character in this exercise to examine how the story may be conveyed differently.

Take Percy Jackson’s thrilling conclusion, for instance, and rework it with Annabeth as the primary character. Another way to approach this creative activity is to keep the primary character but switch viewpoints. Rewrite a scene in the third person if the writer has told a story in the first person. 

3. Add Creative Writing Prompts or Create Flash Fiction

Use writing prompts, often known as narrative starters, to produce writing ideas. A writing prompt is a sentence or short excerpt that a writer uses to start composing a story on the spot. You can look up writing prompts online, pick a sentence out of a magazine at random, or use a brilliant line from a well-known work as the start of your short scene.

best creative writing prompts for high school

Another thing you can do to accentuate your writing is to create flash fiction. Sit down at your desktop or pick up a pen and paper and write a 500-word story on the spur of the moment. This isn’t the same as just writing whatever comes to mind. With no fixed guidelines, free writing generates a stream of consciousness. All of the basic components of a story arc, such as plot, conflict, and character development, are required in flash fiction, albeit in a shortened form.

4. Create a Fictitious Advertisement

Pick a random word from a nearby book or newspaper and create a fictitious commercial for it. Write one ad in a formal, abbreviated newspaper classified format to require you to pay special attention to your word choice to sell the item. Then write one for an online marketplace that allows for longer, more casual text, such as Craigslist. Describe the item and persuade the reader to purchase it in each one.

5. Engage in Conversations 

Engaging in conversations with your friends/family – or simply communicating can help brush up your writing skills. Talk to your loved ones about their hobbies, career, views on societal issues – any suitable topic for that matter. This helps implement others’ points of view and expands your mental ability. Another useful thing that you can do is – make another person’s tale and create it by implementing your own thoughts. Then talk about it in an impeccable manner. Also, talk in complete sentences. This goes to show your Linguistic intelligence proficiency – and helps augment your creative writing skills.

6. Create Your Own Website/Blog

Start your search for blogging. There are a million writing suggestions out there, but they all boil down to the same thing: write. Blogging is excellent writing practice because it gives you a place to write regularly.

best creative writing prompts for high school

To keep your fingers and mind nimble, write a post every day. Like most bloggers, you’ll want to restrict your subject—perhaps you’ll focus on parenting or start a how-to site where you can tell stories from your point of view.

7. Participate in Debates/Extempores  

Participating in debates, extempores – anchoring for your school function, giving a speech, all of these activities help boost your creative spirit. These group events make you understand what other people are envisioning, which in turn helps you generate new ideas, approaches, and methods. Not only do they improve your articulation and research skills, but they also develop critical thinking and emotional control abilities. All of these promote a better creative writing aptitude.

8. Start a YouTube Channel or Podcast 

Starting a YouTube channel or podcast will definitely level up your creative game. YouTube is a never-ending platform, covering myriads of topics. Choose a particular niche for your channel.

best creative writing prompts for high school

Then do your topic research, create content, manage SEO, approach brands, talk to clients and influencers – do all the good stuff. Communicating with other influencers and creating content will take your creative writing skills to another level. Starting a podcast will have a similar impact. 

9. Love them? Say it with your words!

We have many festivals, occasions, birthdays, parties, anniversaries and whatnot! You can employ these special days and boost your creative writing skills. You can make a token of love for them – writing about your feelings. You can also make gift cards, birthday cards, dinner menus, and so on. So let’s say, it’s your mother’s birthday, you can write her a token of love, elucidating your feelings and letting her know what all she’s done for you and that you’re grateful. Do this for all your near and dear ones. This not only spreads positivity and love but helps you develop your creative aptitude.

10. The What-if Game

The What-If game is an incredible way to upgrade your creative abilities. You can play this game with your friends, cousins, relatives, or solo. Here, you need to find links to many interesting hypothetical questions. For instance, what if the sun doesn’t rise for a week? What if there’s no oxygen for one minute? Play it with your peeps, or ask these questions to yourself. It can be anything random but concrete. If you don’t know the answers to the questions, look them up on Google. This way, you’re training your mind to learn new concepts all the while enhancing your visualization process. 

We can conclude that creative writing encourages students to think creatively, use their imaginations, imply alternatives, expand their thinking processes, and improve their problem-solving skills. It also allows the child to express themselves and grow their voice. Besides, it enhances reasoning abilities. The principle behind the creative writing concept is that everyone can gain the qualities that are needed to become a successful writer or, rather become good at writing. Creative writing is all about using language in new and innovative ways.

best creative writing prompts for high school

Sananda Bhattacharya, Chief Editor of TheHighSchooler, is dedicated to enhancing operations and growth. With degrees in Literature and Asian Studies from Presidency University, Kolkata, she leverages her educational and innovative background to shape TheHighSchooler into a pivotal resource hub. Providing valuable insights, practical activities, and guidance on school life, graduation, scholarships, and more, Sananda’s leadership enriches the journey of high school students.

Explore a plethora of invaluable resources and insights tailored for high schoolers at TheHighSchooler, under the guidance of Sananda Bhattacharya’s expertise. You can follow her on Linkedin

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50 spring break writing prompts for high school students

March 8, 2024 by Richard Leave a Comment

50 spring break writing prompts

Here are 50 spring break writing prompts for high school students, designed to inspire creativity, reflection, and storytelling. Spring break is a time for relaxation, adventure, and making memories with friends and family. Whether you’re planning a trip to a far-off destination, exploring your hometown, or simply enjoying some well-deserved rest, these prompts will help you capture the essence of your spring break experience.

From writing about your ideal spring break adventure to reflecting on how spring break affects your mental health and well-being, these prompts cover a wide range of topics and genres. You might find yourself crafting a story about a group of friends on a road trip, creating a character who has a life-changing experience, or describing your dream spring break music festival.

These prompts also encourage you to think beyond the typical spring break stereotypes and explore new perspectives. You might write about a spring break volunteer opportunity, a learning experience, or a challenge that tested your limits and taught you a valuable lesson.

Whether you’re a seasoned writer or just starting out, these prompts are designed to be fun, engaging, and thought-provoking. They’ll help you flex your creative muscles, improve your writing skills, and maybe even discover something new about yourself in the process.

So grab a pen and paper, find a quiet spot, and let your imagination run wild. Who knows where these spring break writing prompts will take you?

Here are 50 spring break writing prompts for high school students:

  • Write about your ideal spring break adventure.
  • Describe a memorable spring break experience from your past.
  • Write a story about a group of friends on a spring break road trip.
  • Imagine you’re a travel blogger. Write about your spring break destination.
  • Write a poem about the sights, sounds, and feelings of spring break.
  • Create a character who has a life-changing experience during spring break.
  • Write about a spring break volunteer opportunity and its impact on you.
  • Describe your perfect spring break day from start to finish.
  • Write a story about a spring break romance.
  • Compare and contrast spring break at home versus going away.
  • Write about a spring break experience that didn’t go as planned.
  • Describe a place you’d love to visit during spring break and why.
  • Write a story about a spring break mystery or crime.
  • Reflect on how spring break differs now compared to when you were younger.
  • Write about a spring break learning experience, such as a workshop or class.
  • Imagine you’re a spring break tour guide. Describe your ideal tour.
  • Write a story about a group of friends who get lost during a spring break hike.
  • Describe your dream spring break party.
  • Write about a spring break experience that changed your perspective on something.
  • Create a character who has to work during spring break.
  • Write a poem about the anticipation and excitement of spring break.
  • Describe a spring break tradition you have with your family or friends.
  • Write a story about a spring break prank gone wrong.
  • Reflect on the importance of taking a break and recharging during spring break.
  • Write about a spring break experience that tested your limits or comfort zone.
  • Describe your ideal spring break staycation.
  • Write a story about a group of friends who enter a spring break competition.
  • Create a character who meets their idol during spring break.
  • Write about a spring break experience that taught you a valuable lesson.
  • Imagine you’re a spring break photographer. Describe your favorite shots.
  • Write a poem about the bittersweet feelings of spring break coming to an end.
  • Describe a spring break hobby or activity you’d like to try.
  • Write a story about a spring break treasure hunt.
  • Reflect on how spring break affects your motivation and productivity.
  • Write about a spring break experience that strengthened a friendship.
  • Describe your dream spring break music festival.
  • Write a story about a spring break time travel adventure.
  • Create a character who has to spend spring break alone.
  • Write about a spring break experience that challenged a stereotype or assumption.
  • Imagine you’re a spring break concierge. Describe your dream client and their requests.
  • Write a poem about the sights and sounds of a spring break beach party.
  • Describe a spring break destination that’s off the beaten path.
  • Write a story about a spring break scavenger hunt.
  • Reflect on how spring break affects your mental health and well-being.
  • Write about a spring break experience that taught you the importance of planning.
  • Describe your ultimate spring break adventure sports experience.
  • Write a story about a group of friends who switch spring break destinations last minute.
  • Create a character who falls in love with a place they visit during spring break.
  • Write about a spring break experience that challenged you to try something new.
  • Imagine you’re a spring break travel agent. Create the perfect itinerary for a client.

As you work through these spring break writing prompts, remember that there are no right or wrong answers. The goal is simply to express yourself, explore your thoughts and feelings, and have fun with the writing process. Whether you’re writing for yourself or sharing your work with others, these prompts are an opportunity to connect with your creativity and tell your unique story.

Spring break is a time for making memories, trying new things, and taking a break from the daily grind. By capturing your experiences through writing, you’ll not only preserve those memories for years to come, but also gain a deeper understanding of yourself and the world around you. Writing can be a powerful tool for self-discovery, self-expression, and personal growth.

So whether you’re lounging on the beach, exploring a new city, or simply enjoying some downtime at home, take a few moments each day to write. You might be surprised at what you discover about yourself and your spring break experience. And who knows? Maybe one of these prompts will inspire your next great story, poem, or personal essay. Happy writing, and happy spring break! If you enjoyed these writing prompts, we have many more on our site . 

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About Richard

Richard Everywriter (pen name) has worked for literary magazines and literary websites for the last 25 years. He holds degrees in Writing, Journalism, Technology and Education. Richard has headed many writing workshops and courses, and he has taught writing and literature for the last 20 years.  

In writing and publishing he has worked with independent, small, medium and large publishers for years connecting publishers to authors. He has also worked as a journalist and editor in both magazine, newspaper and trade publications as well as in the medical publishing industry.   Follow him on Twitter, and check out our Submissions page .

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All fun and games, "mirror, mirror on the wall. who's the ________ of them all".

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Look around you and pick an inanimate object. Write a story from its perspective.

Write a story from the perspective of someone older than you., write a short story about peer pressure, and how it affects all of the characters in the story., just overheard in the science lab: "are you made of copper and tellurium because you're cute.", you're in charge of coming up with the best and biggest prank that your school has ever witnessed in its history., set your story in the principal's office., write about a tradition that only your family shares., "no you can't sit with us", write a short story about a secret., write about a time when you overcame a challenge., describe a quiet place., describe a time that you made a mistake., describe a time that you failed., write a short story about your dream career., write a story based on these words: red, tree, needle, game., you just got transported into a video game. which video game is it, and what's your next move, "this. was. officially. the. worst. vacation. ever.", your rich aunt has just passed away, leaving you with an inheritance of $500,000. what do you do with it, set your story in study hall., win $250 in our short story competition 🏆.

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Top 10 writing competitions for high schoolers in 2024.

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If you’re a high schooler and have a passion for writing, writing competitions can be a great place to foster your talent and earn accolades and recognition for your work. Performing well in writing competitions also validates your talent, and provides you with a platform where you can meet like-minded students. In this post, we cover the top 10 writing competitions for high school students in 2024, including overviews, key dates, eligibility, and more.

1. Scholastic Art and Writing Awards

  • About : One of the oldest and most prestigious award programs for creative teens, the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards occurs annually and hosts numerous entry categories to compete in. These range from short stories, poetry, painting, to film and animation and many others.
  • Eligibility : In grades 7-12, age 13 or older, residing in the United States or U.S. territories, or Canada
  • Awards : Tier-based awards system; all students enter regional selection and top entries are awarded Gold Keys. These submissions advance to the national awards where students receive Gold, Silver, and Bronze medals in their categories. Special prizes and/or scholarships are given as well.
  • Dates : Submission deadline varies by region but typically falls between December and January. See here to find your local deadline.
  • Cost : $10 per submission or $30 per portfolio (for artistic works)

2. National YoungArts Competition

  • Description : The YoungArts competition is one of the most prestigious and well-known creative-based competitions in the world. Students may submit pieces of work to 10 disciplines, including (but not limited to) writing, visual arts, film, photography, dance, and classical music.
  • Eligibility : 15-18 years old or in grades 10-12, and based in the United States
  • Awards : Cash prizes from $250 to $10,000, receive artistic support and a network of peers and mentors, plus the opportunity to be nominated for a U.S. Presidential Scholar in the arts
  • Dates: 2025 application opens in July 2024; deadline for submissions usually falls in October each year.
  • Cost : $35 application fee.

3. Young Lions Fiction Award

  • Description : Established in 2001, the Young Lions Fiction Award is one of the most prestigious and well-regarded literary awards in the world. This competition is sponsored by the New York Public Library and awards a young writer each spring for a novel or collection of short stories.
  • Eligibility : Be aged 35 or younger
  • Awards : $10,000 in cash
  • Dates: Deadline for the submission falls on around September each year.
  • Cost : Free.

4. NYT Teen Tiny Memoirs

  • About : The New York Times holds the annual Tiny Memoir contest that challenges students around the globe to write a 100-word memoir that describes a meaningful experience from their lives. Students are graded on content, language, voice, and the presence of a narrative arc. See here for past winners.
  • Eligibility : Middle or high school students aged 13-19 based anywhere in the world
  • Awards : Publication on The Learning Network and being eligible to be chosen for publication in the print editions of the NYT
  • Dates : Deadline falls on around November each year
  • Cost : Free

5. John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Essay Contest

  • About : Sponsored by the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, this competition awards students with top essay submissions responding to the prompt, “Describe and analyze an act of political courage by a US elected official who served during or after 1917.” Essays are required to have 700-1,000 words and cite at least 5 sources.
  • Eligibility : U.S. high school students in grades 9-12 or U.S. students under the age of 20 and enrolled in a high school correspondence/GED program
  • Awards : $10,000 for first place, $3,000 for second place, $1,000 awarded to 5 finalists, and $100 to ten semi-finalists
  • Dates : Deadline falls on around January each year.

6. EngineerGirl Writing Contest

  • About : EngineerGirl hosts this annual writing contest that aims to recognize creative, STEM-oriented teens who see ordinary life processes with a unique perspective. Participants respond to a prompt and write a 1,200-word maximum essay. This year, the prompt was to “write a piece exploring the lifecycle of an object that you use in your daily life.”
  • Eligibility : Elementary, Middle school, and High school students
  • Awards : $500 for first place winners, $250 for second, and $100 for third
  • Dates : Closes around February each year.

7.  NYT Student Review Contest

  • About : Also sponsored by the NYT, this contest invites students to submit an original critique on any media or piece that falls within a category of creative expression. However, students must review works from the relevant year to be considered to encourage free discourse about modern events.
  • Awards : Publication on The Learning Network .
  • Dates : Deadline lies around December each year

8. Ocean Awareness Contest

  • About : This annual contest aims to bring awareness to the ongoing climate crisis and spotlight stories of those who have examined their “individual responses to our evolving world.” The competition emphasizes that these stories do not have to be catastrophic in nature, but rather invites discussion over how climate change impacts students’ everyday lives. Students may submit art, writing, performance, film, or multimedia to the contest.
  • Eligibility : Students ages 11-18 from around the world (Junior Division: Age 11-14; Senior Division: Age 15-18)
  • Awards : $1,000 first prize, $750 second prize, $500 bronze prize, $250 pearl prize, $100 honorable mention
  • Dates : Deadline is  June 10, 2024.

9.  The Adroit Prizes for Poetry and Prose

  • About : The Adroit Prizes for Poetry and Prose awards creative and literary excellence in the poem and prose categories. Participants are able to submit up to five packets for the poetry category and five for prose. Each packet may contain either 6 poems or 3 pieces of prose (up to 3,500 total words combined in fiction or nonfiction).
  • Eligibility : All secondary/high school and undergraduate students are eligible based anywhere in the world.
  • Awards : $200 prize along with publication in the Adroit Journal. Runners-up and finalists will receive a copy of the judge’s latest book.
  • Dates : May 1, 2024 deadline.
  • Cost : $15 submission fee. Financial assistance is available.

10.  NYT Informational Writing Contest

  • Description : This is one of the more quirky and fun writing contests. Also hosted by the NYT, this competition challenges students to write their own “how-to” tell-some for any sort of task (as long as it’s appropriate for a family newspaper). To be eligible for the contest, students are required to include one expert on their subject matter.
  • Dates: Submission period ends on around mid February each year.

Writing Competitions for High Schoolers—Concluding Remarks

In this post, we provided the top 10 writing competitions for high schoolers in 2024. Submitting to writing competitions opens up a Pandora’s box of benefits: practice for honing your craft, gaining support communities , recognition and outreach for your pieces, etc. Especially as a high schooler, winning writing competitions can be a surefire way to earn prestige and an audience for your works.

However, if your intellectual curiosity isn’t specific to only literature and writing, check out these 50+ opportunities in STEM in this curated, comprehensive guide. Remember, high school competitions can not only be beneficial to place on college applications, but can also provide students with valuable experiences and opportunities for growth . Best of luck in competing!

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