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Writing Prompts

Looking for fuel to get your ideas flowing? Try one of these proven prompts from our earlier “Tell Me a Story” High School Contests—plus, you can check out the winning works that these prompts inspired.

1. Where I’m Going: Write a piece that conjures a singular and distinct journey.
2. Dear America: Write about your perspective of America today, capturing your unique relationship with the country or the words you feel the nation needs to hear.
3. When Everything Changed: Write about a pivotal moment in your life or the fictional life of a developing character.
4. The Mistake: Write about a mistake that can’t be smoothed over, reconciled, or unmade.
5. The Choice: Write about a decision that altered the course of a life in some way, big or small.
6. Escape: Write about your version of escape—perhaps a physical act, an adventure, or a dream.
We love brainstorming with you! And in that spirit, here are a few other ideas to kick-start your writing.
1. Eye contact: Write about two people seeing each other for the first time.
2. Love: Write a story or poem that ends with “I love you.”
3. Doors: Write about opening or closing a door.
4. Strangers: Go people watching, and write about someone you see.
5. Form: Write a piece in which the same line opens and closes the work.
6. Truth: Write about a fundamental and/or unchangeable truth that’s been turned upside down.
7. Talking: Write a piece that exclusively uses dialogue.
8. Leaders and followers: Write a piece from the perspective of a leader. Write the same piece from the perspective of that person’s follower(s).
9. Objects: Select three objects that provide a window into your life or the life of someone else.
10. Sorry: Write a piece that starts or ends with “I’m sorry.”