1001 Historical Fiction Writing Prompts

1001 Historical Fiction Writing Prompts

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Historical fiction is not easy to write. 

To create an effective story set in the past, you need to learn to write in a way that would be able to transport your readers to a time and place they may not be familiar with. You also need to do plenty of research to make sure your story is historically accurate. And more importantly, you need to know how to sync the thoughts, physical qualities, and actions of your characters with the period your story takes place. 

While this list of tasks may make you feel nervous, you shouldn’t let it discourage you from writing historical fiction. You can always to the writing prompts below to make your life easier and prevent you from feeling overwhelmed: 

  • In case A, a band of gangsters flees the city aboard a train bound for an unknown destination in 1916. Plot point B, a seasoned criminal mastermind goes about infiltrating the gang and stealing their loot of an unknown amount. Write the story of how the gang infiltrates the train as well as the robbery.
  • It’s 1791, and you have been chosen to perform as the lead dancer in a new ballet. It is called “The Burning of Troy.” Last week you learned that your mother lost her mind in the process of composing the music.
  • In 1843, decks overflowed with outlaws, land swindlers, and gold prospectors headed west aboard the famous paddle wheel, The Panama. Write a story in the point of view of a young cabin boy forced into servitude.
  • In the year 2011, write a scene in which a security camera captures the moment a computer – controlled drone missile makes impact with a Chinese military base.
  • Oh, Canada! Write a story where a fanatical Mountie adopts a bloodthirsty attitude of the west in order to bring in a notorious outlaw several years after the close of the Laramie Trail.
  • It is half way through the 20th century, and newly invented aircraft malfunction and fall from the sky like bombs. Write a chapter from the point of view of the first engineer who urges a president to destroy planes that have crashed without explanation.
  • Pretend to have been the captain of a doomed ship of colonist intent on finding a nearby colony site in America before a Native American ambush. Write a diary entry describing your feelings and thoughts in the hours prior to your ship’s ruin.
  • Write a scene involving a sin eater during fear-filled 1699 Britain. This individual eats the sins of dying people, thus alieving the grieving from their guilt.
  • Write a historical play script for an audience of Roman senators after their society has crumbled in the wake of the death of Julius Caesar. Write an introduction to the play and create a credibility and sympathy factor for the lead character.
  • A hungry pack of wolves attacks a tribe of Paleolithic humans when they are at their Shaman gathering.
  • It’s 1935, and you’ve just arrived to celebrate the 6th birthday of your father’s ayper who lives with her widower father in a small rural town by the sea. But when your trip gets derailed by an unforeseen event, you become involved in an adventure which changes you forever.
  • The characters find refuge inside of an icy cave in the near mountains of Scotland.
  • The elderly matriarch of a wealthy Rhode Island family is deceased, and her will contains a long list of bizarre generational requests.
  • It’s 1897, and huge diamonds are discovered in South Africa. Join a group of prospecting miners facing deadly weather and treacherous river rapids who flee deep into uncharted African territory in an attempt to begin a new life.
  • It’s 14th Century Ireland, and an integrated clan of Celts and Englishes are engaged in a battle over a set of monastic relics. Write a scene in which a female commander of the Englishes must make the unfortunate decision to either burn her own castle or forgo the sacred relics to protect her clan.
  • It’s 1942 Germany, and a concentration camp is descending into chaos with the first signs of a prisoner uprising.
  • Scenes from the Titanic, or from story events of the Titanic and/or from the world before the tragedy occurred.
  • It’s 1891, and the World’s Fair is opening today in Chicago. Just as you arrive in your new dress, you accidentally step in front of a train filled with coal. Write a chapter in the points of view of each of the people on the platform – the murderous engineer, the shy conductor, the red cap, and the homeless man.
  • It’s 1919 and Fatty Arbuckle becomes famous playing the worst movie character of all time in “Fatty vs. the Invisible Man”. Write a screenplay page of a famous actor in Hollywood versus an Indian spirit.
  • It’s 1863, and the Civil War is in full swing. Write a chapter on the battlefield in which the protagonist recently returned from the war in a wheelchair discovers that her house has been looted and a thief is hiding inside of it.
  • A gangster with two machine guns battles police agents in the 1920s.
  • During the California Gold Rush of 1862, two siblings got more than they bargained for after discovering a forgotten miniature settlement called Aurum.
  • You are on board a slave ship bound for the Americas. Write a captivity narrative fraught with resistance and escape to freedom. You need to be realistic with the proper details for this difficult time period.
  • The scene is 1740 and William Congreve just introduced 12-pounder 6-foot long cannons as the greatest weapon that England has. Discuss how this advancement in military artillery will affect the outcome of world affairs.
  • A young boy is on a vast set of peeling train tracks. Cornered by an oncoming Tasmanian Tiger. Write this desperate scene in an alternative reality where hunters took down all the tasmanian tigers.
  • Write about a famous explorer recounting his adventures in the South Pacific. He is surrounded by tired pirates anxious for their loot and a demure Captain who doesn’t take the job seriously.
  • Writers often fail to portray historical protagonists realistically. How do you fear you might fail with your protagonist? Write a one page journal entry where your character gets to vent.
  • It’s 1946, and you have been asked to spend the night as a guest of Thomas Edison in his vacation home on the coast of New Jersey. Write a diary entry where you visit his laboratory and uncover a secret workshop where a mysterious invention is being prepared.
  • It’s 1945, and the Holocaust has begun. Write an allegory of nature being destroyed by war.
  • Set in the time directly after the 7th Olympic Games, this provides the reader with a context to imagine. After a day of marathoning, what do the Greek competitors do to unwind and reconnect with themselves?
  • Give an exciting account of a duel written from the point of view of a bullet.
  • It’s the night before your wedding in a fictional small town. Write a first-person narrative in which you describe your thoughts and feelings about the event.
  • As the Ohio River flooded into much of southern Ohio, a young father, son, and his two siblings find refuge in a large warehouse that has been converted into a makeshift shelter by a southern-born career woman who is twice their age, but shares a deep connection with the father.
  • It’s 2252, and the Earth has become uninhabitable. Write a story in which a small group of humans set out in search of a new planet, second Earth, and any other inhabitants.
  • As a former slave, you rescue your young master from the wreckage of his hot air balloon after it catches fire in 1856 Kansas.
  • Plant an infectious disease microorganism into someone’s blood that isn’t supposed to harm them. All goes well until that one fatal day when it becomes known that they are now deadly carriers.
  • Writing Prompts – Other Genres
  • When the Romans took over England, they introduced many new things including money. Write a short piece detailing a slave stealing money to escape the grasp of the Roman government, only to fall into the hands of a member of the invading forces.
  • While it is being guided down a small New Jersey back road, climb aboard a stranger’s investigative mining van in an 18th century, copper mineral rich area. It is in fact the famous scientist George Washington Carver himself. Using Carver as a historical reference, write a story in which he and the inspector believe that the small town of Carversville, New Jersey might be the site of the first toxic chemical spill in the state.
  • It’s 1942, and Japanese fighter pilots have relentlessly attacked the USS Enterprise, severely damaging the ship. You’re the last fighter pilot still flying in the sky. Your mission is to protect the Enterprise until it is able to get in range of the Japanese fleet to bomb it out of the war. Take on the role of that pilot and write a scene where you are able to overcome incredible odds in order to succeed.
  • Write an opening paragraph for a mystery set in Ancient Egypt about a pharaoh’s missing queen named Hatshepsut.
  • Write a story in the point of view of a member of the Ku Klux Klan in modern washington D.C and his teachings on why black people should not have rights
  • A drifter stumbles upon a bank robbery, but is shot with a poison bullet before he can report to the authorities. Write a story about his final ride.
  • Saving a whale in 17th century America.
  • It’s 1941, and you’ve invented the world’s smallest plane. As you attempt to fly to America from Berlin, Germany, your plane is shot down. You face the immense task of walking 2,000 miles across the Russian Execution Zone to get to America. It’s your goal to reunite with your wife and make enough money to live on a secret island you purchased off the coast of South America.
  • It’s 1889, and the wild west gold rush has attracted people from all over the world. Some of these people are looking for gold. Others are looking for love…
  • Everything changes when you find yourself involved in an ancient Egyptian mystery.
  • Here in the modern age, robots are being invented, and you are a man with a particular interest in automatons. What mysteries would you like to uncover about artificial intelligence?
  • In 1510, the body of Dr. Rodrigo Lopez, a surgeon and former royal physician to King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella, was exhumed for heresy. Write a murder scene in which Lopez’s disciples commit the crime.
  • In 1661, England discovers that Charles II has fathered a number one son. Waiter, remove the king’s wig and bring new coffee.
  • Write a scene in which an English mathematician attempts to translate notes from the Golden House of Aristotle in an attempt to explain the laws of gravity found in the universe. He presents his conclusions at a scientific conference, where he is laughed out of the auditorium by his peers.
  • It’s the dawn of the 20th century in London, during the summertime. A man named Ralph Parker leaves his home with his lunch and umbrella. Little did he know that this would be the day that he would meet the love that he never knew he needed in Raymonde or that it would be the day that he would meet his demise.
  • It’s the 1930s and you’ve been chosen to perform in one of the first concerts to be held in Hitler’s Germany.
  • A young girl struggles to become a gift for her cannibalistic tribe, but only when she loses her eye is she considered highly valuable.
  • It’s present day 2011, and a mythical beast from ancient times appears to a young girl in New York City in the middle of Times Square.
  • It’s 1956, and a country girl heads off to college. Her father has accompanied her to the bus depot, and in a dark corner, he gives her a stout warning about the perils of college life.
  • The year is 1870, and one San Francisco trader hires an artist to catalog his extensive and morbid collection of 9th century Viking coins.
  • And make sure to leave enough time for revision. Five points, right there for the taking. And besides getting extra credit, you will enhance your own critical thinking and analysis skills.
  • Set in 1917, it’s been nearly two years since the United State entered World War I. Write a scene in which the German military sends a few innocent cherry trees home with fallen soldiers after losing ground to the Americans.
  • It’s 1883, and the city streets of Toronto are making way for the new, modern age. Write a scene in which a biologist accidentally unleashes an army of prehistoric souls from his shop.
  • It’s 5th century BC, and you have just discovered the last known refuge for the last remaining vestiges of the Spartan army on your native Greek soil after the Second Persian War. End the occupation with a powerful battle.
  • It’s the Great Depression of 1932, and you are ghostwriting the memoirs of an elderly American woman to be published posthumously. Torture as a means of punishment was common during those times— an iron maiden is, however, an old Spanish torture device where the victim was slowly cut into by sliding knives into all sides of the body. Write a scene in which you describe an incident when this instrument of torture could have come alive.
  • For Halloween, write about what it takes to be an immortal vampire.
  • It’s 1845 and Queen Victoria is on-board a luxury steamship en route to the World’s Fair in London. What ensues is a series of bizarre, historical murders.
  • It’s 1880 and your budding detective is on the hunt of an infamous serial killer. While using the 19th century streets of London as a setting, expand each of the killer’s MO’s around a specific letter of the alphabet. Start with “A” and end with “W” for a total of 26 unique killing methods.
  • Write a scene in which the daughter of the head chef of the palace learns to cook as she finds courage in order to shield her best friend, the princess, from the king’s advances will she risk her life by exposing the royal secret. This writing prompt should include food based details to make it more interesting to read.
  • Similar to the task of a writer, that of a consultant or therapist is to study the circumstances of life and piece together a solution for unfortunate situations. Write a scene in which a therapist is trying to pinpoint the problem at hand for their client.
  • -A room in a gothic manor is emptied of most of its furniture and filled with useless gifts, old suits of armor, and a gigantic area rug depicting scenes from the ancient world. The inhabitant of this room later shows her face, and it is a woman in her 90s who seems to have previously owned these goods. It is up to Mr. Beckett to discover why the room seems to be the home of a single occupant who is supposedly married to another.
  • As a famous Amazon explorer, you find yourself fleeing for your life after the death of your comrades in the African territories.
  • It is 1903, and you have been hired to help move two huge statues the size of humans over to their new home. Unfortunately the truck has broken down. What will you do?
  • You play a game with Death – grab a friend, set a timer for twenty minutes, start writing until the timer rings, and then switch and read what you’ve written. The story is over.
  • That devilish Pied Piper has risen to cause another problem after centuries of absence! Write an alternate history scene centered around Hamelin, Germany when the Mother of Dragons visits the city.
  • Write a poem about a Korean ship that comes upon an uncharted island of creatures so fantastic that the boat’s crew dedicates a shrine in their honor.
  • It’s 1865, and the American Civil War has just ended. Your task as the lead prosecutor for the US government is to capture and execute 40 soldiers still loyal to the Confederacy. How do you find and execute these renegades? Specifically, how do you find these outlaw veterans and bring them to justice? The federal government has just hired a group of rough and unscrupulous detectives known as ‘Pinkertons’ to find and arrest these fugitives.
  • Was King George still alive in July 1832? Write a scene in which a crucial appointment is made unaware that the king is still alive.
  • In 1348, the city of Florence was in the middle of a devastating famine. Write an out-of-body experience in which you witness the rise of a mysteriously charismatic merchant with a business model based on his connections with the Pazzi family. Although the Great Plague of 1665 has run its course, the insufferable stench of the deceased–stuffing the pockets of their shrouds, the mouths of their coffins, lines the streets. Write a scene in which a father and son take to the streets at night looking for the body of 17 year old Rebecca Collins who’s missing since her execution by hanging earlier in the day. It’s the year 2010 and the world of The Lost City
  • This 10 August 1972, Vietnam war is still in progress, a US marine Lt comes across a waterfall in the jungle after a long patrol. Inside the river a man pushed through the waterfall to do something in the cave down there and the water pushed him back … What he did in the cave?
  • It’s the 2nd century BCE, where Roman soldiers have just annexed Greece. Write about the interaction of the two cultures using a vignette.
  • It’s 1941, and the civil war in China is gaining steam. Your main characters are Union and Confederate missionaries caught in the flames of violence.
  • It’s 1871, and the United States has the western territories entirely under its belt. Someone has been killing AIM members.
  • “This is the verdict.” Now is your chance to expose the storyline of an intricate trial in a historical courtroom. What happens next?
  • One dark, sinister night in 16th century Venice, one teen girl stares into the mist that fills St. Mark’s Square. She begins hearing a strange thunder like sound that leads her to her doomsday. If you could rewrite any of Shakespeare’s tragedies from a different point of view in that particular period of history, what story would be your favorite to dream up?
  • Write a chapter in the point of view of a Victorian era scientist with a zombie apocalypse on the loose outside the windows of his lab.
  • It’s 1945, and New York City is still reeling from the effects of World War II. Write a crime scene where the investigation point of view is one of a future psychic investigator tasked to solve the enigma of someone who has been buried alive, still alive, right in the very beginning of their supposed death.
  • Tell the story of an Irish marshal who is sent on a mission to carry secret documents from Copenhagen to Sweden in search of Prince Christian… but it’s 1807, and the documents hold the whereabouts of a secret double agent…
  • Write the backstory of a heroic alumna in which she returns to her home 9 years after surviving a bullet to a femoral artery.
  • Just two weeks before the accident, a young business executive celebrated his 33rd birthday. Now, you need to write about his last two weeks while he spends time with his friends and family before his sudden death.
  • Prompts That Can Be Applied to Short Stories
  • The year is 46 BC, and the famous explorer Julius Caesar lands on the English coast, where he entrusts a young boy named Titch with his gold signet ring.
  • It’s 1945, and the United States has relocated to the city of Dresden shortly after Germany surrendered. Write a scene in which an American soldier interrogates a German citizen for suspicious behavior.
  • A soldier returning home from war only to discover things haven’t returned on time on the home front.
  • It’s 1995, and a woman walks to the bus stop. Learn her story.
  • You are a crime scene investigator at a murder scene who sees a face at the window every time you return to the scene of the crime. Investigate this apparition and submit your report before the entire building burns to the ground as the action erupts into chaos.
  • A policeman and a reporter collaborate to catch a serial killer hiding his identity behind Joseph Merrick’s most sensationalistic mask in Victorian London.
  • Yellow journalism has got the public all worked up over the arrival of a seventeen year old Italian boy named Vito on Ellis Island in 1885.
  • It’s 1969, and NASA has successfully launched the very first space mission to land a man on the moon. Write about the journey from lift-off to landing on the moon.
  • It’s 1945, and you have been captured by the Nazis as a spy working for the United States.
  • What would it have been like to live in the world of the French Revolution? Write a scene where your narrator is hiding something in their cupboard, and they must determine whether or not to admit that something exists against the will of the French people.
  • It’s 1917, immediately following a German bombardment of Archduke Ferdinand’s motorcade. Write a scene in which the lenders of finance in the banking industry predict the outcome of the Great War through the tapping of ash from their cigars.
  • It is the twilight of Paris’s Belle Époque. A famous Parisian artist has just died and hundreds of people are crowded around his Paris studio trying to get a last glimpse. Write a scene in which an artist who regrets not having met the famous painter sneaks into his studio.
  • It’s 1886, and you are a young girl being sent from Australia to boarding school in England.
  • Once, a killer robot escaped the National Aerospace Laboratories. Write a futuristic scene in which a young woman named Teena discovers the robot in a futuristic lithograph shop in Pittsburgh, Pa. in 2035.
  • Then write a letter from King Louis to his mother including his response to the attempted murder.
  • It’s 1956, and the biggest fight in the history of boxing is about to take place. Write how you will ensure that your reader is emotionally invested by offering one compelling point of view to govern their stance for the duration of the fight.
  • However, he accidentally kills the Queen instead and works with the French government to conceal her death from her son.
  • It is the 1960s and America is deeply divided over the war in Vietnam. Write a scene in which FBI agents discover a ring of black market dealer veterans in an apartment complex.
  • It’s 1950, and you’re in the middle of a music festival when a gunfight breaks out. The best way to escape the barrage of bullets is by scaling a nearby Ferris wheel. But as you reach the top and attempt to climb down to safety, you discover someone is Wile E Coyote-ing it and hovering directly in your way.
  • Is the name of the story The Murder Castle? No…it’s actually The Lantern Windmill! As the new caretaker of an abandoned house with an insane secret, you become an honorary member of the English avant-garde and accompanied by your new-found snooty friends, you throw a lavish party to ring in your 21st year at the windmill.
  • Write about an ordinary person’s extraordinary adventure in a prehistoric world.
  • It’s 1970s New York City, and you have won a contest to spend one week with your favorite rock band, who is currently at the top of the music charts.
  • The year is 358, and you have been drawn to a monastery high in the Irish mountains. The Abbott there explains that you have come to a place of great magic. As the story progresses, build and build the rumors of this great untapped power.
  • It’s 2013, and you have been diagnosed with a fatal disease. Write a scene in which you are walking down a quiet street, reflecting on your short and tragic life.
  • Homeless wanders the streets and you are put into contact with an exclusive double-dating group that reluctantly accepts you as one of their own. Develop a character who the audience can sympathize with and creates conflict with the leader of the pack.
  • Write the story of a female astronomer in the 1920s who quits her job so that she can be the first American woman to go to the International Moon Conference.
  • Never trust your boyfriend down the street. It could be the death of you! Another death of…”well, not as great as Romeo and Juliet…but entertaining” love. A teenager named Tierra finds herself in love with her new neighbor Tyler who just so happens to be the town’s local murderer, he uses crime to earn a living and to get her attention. But is love enough?
  • It’s 1938 and one of the first airplanes built entirely in plastic crashes outside the Chicago World Fair. Write a chapter set in the year of that event.
  • In 15th century Italy, a nobleman plans to overthrow the pope so that he can take complete control of the country. Write a scene that shows the impulsive nature of the nobleman’s son who frequently acts out of necessity.
  • It’s 1861, and a mysterious theater has just opened on the outskirts of a county in England. Write a scene that reveals the dark purpose for its gallows light outside its windows.
  • It’s 27 A.D. and you’re a follower of Jesus of Nazareth. Record this moment in history, in the form of a first-hand account from the gospels. It’s 1066 and you are William the Conqueror. Take readers through the story of overthrowing Saxon rule, culminating in your victory over King Harold at the Battle of Hastings.
  • The scene opens with a boy standing along the shore of a luscious Hawaiian island. The next thing he knows he is transported through time to 1980s Los Angeles.
  • It’s 1812, and a French soldier has been captured in a battle against Napoleon’s Grand Army and is being detained by British officers.
  • It’s 1445, and you have a choice to make. You can either plot revenge against a knight who wrongly accused you of a crime or join a crusade. What do you do?
  • That’s all for now. Particularly the historical fiction prompts above should inspire any historical writer. Wishing you much courage and many words in your own historical fiction!
  • The protagonist narrates an escape from Abbadon Prison on the island of Corfu, Greece, in 1823. Aiding him is charming scientist Theodius Makris. His goal is to reach the hideout of gangster Dimitris Ravina.
  • Write a scene full of detail describing a dinner which is set during Rome’s declining days.
  • It’s 1946, and Russian immigrants are starting to pour into Brooklyn’s tiny apartments. To deal with the growing demand, Soviet government officials plan to ship a fresh load of immigrants twenty-five miles across the East River each morning until the shortage is relieved.
  • A violent storm leads to the capture of a notorious and mythic sea monster in 1882.
  • That’s it for this week, please feel free to leave a comment telling us about a writing prompt that we didn’t include. Make sure to check back next week for more prompts!
  • There’s a light out on Elizabeth Street, and an employee of an electric company is sent to fix it. The woman on the other end of the line who called in the complaint, however, is holding a strange garment against her body… otherwise known as a strait-jacket.
  • It’s 1985 and you are out fishing with your father along the East coast of Florida. A dead man washes up on shore with an open diary next to him. When you and your father open the diary, it details the horrifying last moments of its owner.
  • It’s 1955, and it has been two years since Hurricane Diane hit the east coast of the United States. The main character is a mother desperate to find her son who was swept into the waters when their house collapsed.
  • For a prompt, think of a recent time in your life where you are faced with a life-altering situation. With a character’s belief system already established from previous pieces of writing, force your character up against a MAJOR decision – one which will shape the rest of your character’s future.
  • You are a member of the American expedition to the Egyptian pyramids. Uncover an untold portion of the discovery of an ancient artifact. You must fight to take the relic back, and you will learn things about yourself that will either cement or destroy your reputation. In which century will your novel take place?
  • This year, write about a future in which a worldwide flu pandemic wipes out the majority of the Earth’s population.
  • You are a veteran sailor, and you’ve been in a near-death situation before. Now, you are serving on board a ship in the summer of 1914, and you must face a life or death struggle with a mysterious creature in the middle of a foggy, and storm-ridden, Atlantic.
  • It is the 1930s, and you are an industry spy trying to uncover a plan for emperors of communism.
  • Create a scene in which a survivor of the Titanic boat disaster must somehow escape the freezing Atlantic.
  • Write a character study involving a fictionalized portrait of Leonardo da Vinci. This must be accompanied by a genuine painting created by da Vinci that reflects the entire story of your portrait.
  • You have been caught manipulating the market – now what? The following story will require some research!
  • It’s 1945 and World War II is over, except another full-scale war is right around the corner. The scene takes place at a local pub where a soldier revels in his fight to preserve a democratic society in France.
  • This 19th century miller goes insane as he comes to terms with the loss of his children.
  • Imagine a police officer in futuristic Tokyo dealing with the most terrifying day of his ten year tenure. It’s a cat and mouse chase with an invisible robot laced with biological weaponry that seeks to halt the director of a nuclear research facility speech.
  • Give your characters the voices of mythical Greek or Roman or Egyptian prototypes. Keep the basic traits of your characters intact i.e. what they think and how they perceive the world but change their surroundings.
  • He’s completing his fifth law enforcement certificate and it is now up to him to decide what direction he would like to venture into when it comes to a position at dodgy and criminal night districts.
  • What would happen if you introduced a severe and unpredictable blizzard to a significant battle scene in World War II?
  • It’s 1942, and you’re a Japanese-American who got caught up in the attack on Pearl Harbor. Write the chapter in which you received a draft notification, detailing the inner struggle you face as a loyal American who also happens to be a part of the Pearl Harbor community.
  • It’s 1800s California, and a girl with nowhere else to turn joins a Chinese immigrant family working in a remote gold mine.
  • The famous Harry Houdini wants you to write his autobiography. You know what you’re doing, but he keeps messing with the stitching of the binding.
  • Zombies from another dimension have invaded the south. Write a scene in which two zombie-friends get into a heated argument when one doesn’t communicate a message for the remaining human family members. It’s 1187 and Saladin has just defeated the Crusaders once again at the Horns of Hattin. Write a monologue from the perspective of a survivor who, after all of the madness, desertion, and perplexity, can’t help but notice how beautiful and peaceful Israel now seems to him.
  • Popular stories are written about a group of world famous explorers sent on an expedition to find a lost city in the center of an uncharted rainforest. Join them as they battle cannibals, rebel revolutionaries, and supernatural tribes.
  • It’s 1910, and your uncle holds a lavish summer party on a canal barge on the Thames during London’s glamorous Edwardian Age.
  • It’s the days of the Samurai warriors. Write a scene in which a mother is forced to commit seppuku for her daughter and must watch the ritual in advance.
  • It’s 1922, and the son of a British plantation owner goes in search of his parents’ murderer in the Australian outback.
  • It’s 2015, and the President has called for the first instate drone tests to begin. Write a political thriller chapter featuring one of the first test recipients, who is later found to be innocent.
  • It’s September 3rd, 2008, and President Barack Obama has just been elected to eradicate an uncontrollable outbreak of potentially fatal cases of swine flu. Write a dramatic scene in which Obama reports his final diagnosis to the American people.
  • Focus on a quarterback on the verge of a nervous breakdown as she prepares to lead her team against a rival high school for the traditional Thanksgiving Day football game.
  • It’s 1945, and three American veterans visit a Nazi death camp. Write a character sketch in which a former prisoner explains a heartbreaking aspect of camp life to the soldier guests.
  • Such is the intense cold of 1816 Russia that you partake in the ritualistic tradition of Nochee. Write a scene in which this tradition is disrupted for a scenario involving jealousy and murder at a Russian estate.
  • You are a 16th century Spanish conquistador stuck in the American wilderness during a blizzard. Write the story of one of your fellows who succumbs to the elements.
  • It’s 1895 and the esteemed Newton family of Rochester, New York serves as the primary characters of a dark and disturbing ghost story.
  • The year is 1966, and you visit the Toronto World’s Fair. With one diversionary announcement, your life is directed down a path it never expected to go. One written flashback is appropriate.
  • It’s 2025, and a horrendous flood has caused great destruction near the Niagara Gorge. Write a dramatic story from one of the victims’ point of view. The story should be written in a way that leaves the victim unaware of a fantastical presence that guides the individual to safety.
  • Why don’t historical fiction writers set their novels in familiar time periods? In this engagement you should take a familiar work of fiction such as The Great Gatsby and set it in a time period outside of the 20th century.
  • You’re on safari in the late 18th century and have spotted an injured white rhinoceros. You’ve only been given one bullet and you fear that if you shoot, you’ll miss and the rhino will charge.
  • It’s 1897, and a young Lionel visits Cork, Ireland, where he stands in the shadow of the Robert Falcon Scott tower during a particularly rainy day. Add something spooky and dark to this historical novel prompt.
  • During the Trojan invasion of 480B.C., write from the perspective of an elite Spartan warrior on the front lines.
  • Crispin Forrester, the members of the Knights Templar, and King Philip ruled England for over 200 years. It is the early 1300s in a small medieval English town where their decision to quarantine the wicked had struck a nerve. Write an alternate history thriller surrounding the oppressive actions of a woman who makes an oath alongside her two daughters to rule the world in secret.
  • Bluebeard invites you into his castle to spend the night as his number-one-and-only wife. After dinner, he shows you to your room, which is treacherous and holds more mystery than you can digest in one sitting.
  • It’s 1912, and Josephine and her pet monkey, Jams, are onboard the Titanic. When the ship sinks, write a story about how Josephine and Jams try to survive.
  • Just as the Santa Fe Transcontinental Railroad is about to be completed a devastating drought strikes the western United States. Provide a setting where the actions of a young child inadvertently cause the death of a heroic foreman.
  • The downtrodden postmortem narrator recalls a painful memory of a man and a mountain in Sicily at the turn of the century.
  • On a random day in the year 1951, the Chinese detonated a nuclear bomb on the border of India and China, packed with the remains of 24 Caucasian POWs.  On the same day, Pope Pius XII issued a statement to the world not to confuse the media and government exaggeration of the threat China presents. On this day…our world shattered.
  • Write a story in which one of Stephen King’s spending “lost weekends,” while being much younger than his present age, comes back to haunt him on his 48th birthday.
  • It’s 1793, and Marie Antoinette is on trial. Write a scene depicting her defense pleading her case with the reader’s sympathy.
  • It’s 1453 and Constantinople has fallen. Ahmet, a winged messenger, is tasked with delivering a message to Mehmed in order to save a young girl’s family from suffering the same fate as the captured Admirers of Greece.
  • Move to the northern United States in 1821. It’s been ten years since the American Revolution, and the people of this frontier town have only scratchings for grub while outlaws roam freely in the wilderness.
  • Trapdoor Ann has been falsely accused of attempting to kill her family in 1811. Escaping from the London police with the help of an old friend, Ann retreats into the grimy streets of Georgian London. Searching for clues leading to her innocence while staying one step ahead of the police, Ann discovers Waterloo is in her near future.
  • It’s 2008, and a ski trip to Keystone is part of a bonding experience for your protagonist’s extended family. A blizzard sets in, and everyone is lost except for two mildly estranged grandfathers and one little girl.
  • There is a dark dungeon beneath the stone steps in an ancient Egyptian pyramid. Write it waiting to be visited by a fearsome pharaoh or a mall tour guide. While in the dungeon, write a scene in which an archeologist discovers a stolen Egyptian artifact.
  • It’s 1974, and the Vietnam conflict is raging. Write about an uninterested soldier risking their life to save a fellow soldier from their own mistake.
  • Your science fiction story opens with the destruction of the space station Death Star by the heroic Rebel Alliance. Many plans fail, but a daring radio operator plays an important role in saving the day.
  • Tell of one day in the life of a civilian or soldier in a war-torn region of the world. Write the bulk of your writing from the point of view of an animal witnessing terrible events, expressing love, hate, fear, etc.
  • Beowulf has died, and his grieving tribe continues his quest to destroy Grendel’s mother. What sacrifices are needed to ensure vengeance is served?
  • It’s the Great Depression and you’ve been asked to meet Christopher Columbus on board his flagship, the Santa Maria. Show him what conditions are like on the upper deck.
  • It’s the summer of 1944, and an American General responding to the Normandy Landings finds himself trapped in a mysterious and somehow inviting castle in northern France.
  • It’s 1944 and Nazi Germany is on the attack. Write a scene detailing the hardships endured by a Jewish family crowded into a small coal-powered train headed for the concentration camps.
  • Troubled by the haunting memory of her deceased husband’s obituary in the local newspaper, a widowed woman writes to the deceased businessman to apologize for never telling him how much he meant to her.
  • What would happen if Davy Jones made a deal with the human world? How about a man who gets lost at sea? How about the Titanic, with Blackbeard on board?
  • It’s the 1970’s, and you’re at a Vaudeville show in a small town that happens to be the hometown of a currently popular comedian. Write a cartoon show in which the comedian recites a poem about the scene.
  • Lizzy Bennet gets a job as a secretary at Pemberley Publishers in 2017. What comedic problems does she encounter on the first day of work?
  • It’s the year 2348, and Earth has endured a third world war fought with weapons capable of burning the world to a crisp. One woman decides to set out on an ambitious journey to an Earth-like planet further out in the solar system—a potential paradise to help replenish the Earth’s population.
  • It’s 1996 and a severe drought is taking its toll on the farmers of Kansas. One afternoon, a heavy rainstorm forces a group of twelve year olds to go home before daylight, never to return.
  • When Alice appears in Wonderland, the Mad Hatter bids her a warm welcome in a chapter about his ongoing tea party.
  • It’s 1815, and a group of sword-wielding samurai is facing off against the Ming Dynasty armies. Write a scene in which one of the mighty attackers questions his loyalty amid a shadowy veil of doubt. In another scene, add on a mysterious note.
  • It’s the roaring 20s, and you are a journalist at the scene of an infamous and deadly circus fire. Write a novel about the fire itself, the drama surrounding it, and the aftermath of such a romantic tragedy. It reminds you of the tragedy that killed your sister sixteen years ago.
  • Usually called an intertextual or metafictional exercise, without any planning, let your writing flow as you make analogies to texts already written. Let your mind dream Jules Verne while allowing your hand to write Edgar Poe.
  • Write an exciting action scene from the point of view of a pirate or adventurer on a merchant seafaring vessel.
  • Tell the story of a Victorian castaway brought back from the dead by a ballooning scientist who creates a machine that keeps her intact.
  • It’s 1489, and you’re inside the castle of a deadly lord who plans to execute you and violate your betrothed bride.
  • It’s 997 during the height of the Vikings era. Write a scene in which a fierce warrior comes face to face with an escaped slave.
  • Write a story in which a naive Kansas farmer boards a train for the first time during the 1940s only to discover himself in an unexpected cross-country adventure.
  • Typhoid Mary – the first known carrier of the infectious disease spread by Salmonella bacteria – is found dead in her room in Hollins House Nursing Hospital. Write a death scene involving her silhouette and the weakness of her body.
  • Lonely under your Arctic hideaway lies a palace museum of a long lost civilization. Write a story that includes a guide to the museum, a guest of honor, an object from that lost civilization, and related pieces of information from that guide.
  • It’s 1945, and Hitler is hiding out one last time in a hollowed out mountain deep inside of Bavaria. Write the opening scene where the Nazi officers celebrate while hiding from the U.S. military.
  • It’s the spring of 1815, and the College of Cardinals gathers inside the Sistine Chapel to elect a new pope. You have been summoned to the Sistine Chapel to act as a temporary sketch artist. Write an opening scene in which the Cardinals argue amongst themselves during the election.
  • Four immigrant brothers that have recently fled their aria are forced to camp out in a strange, and beautiful, forest and wait until the gates to America opens.
  • Write a scene in which two siblings, whose fantastical imaginations are fueled by a nostalgic desire to play, find themselves unexpectedly immersed in their story of adventure.
  • Choose a timeframe, place or person from history, and embed a murder crime novel within their life or modern-day context.
  • What would you do if you found a time machine? What if it wasn’t working properly? Floyd Gilson, an American, has the chance to travel back to 1776 when America was thirteen separate colonies. His only problem is staying out of trouble while he is there.
  • Where does one belong? Write a story response from the point of view of a violinist in an orchestra that uses mechanical instruments against the will of a child of a folk musician.
  • It’s 1815 and Napoleon has escaped his exile in Elba. As British war ships sail off to battle, two neighbors trade stories of heartbreak only to discover they are in love.
  • Write a letter from your character to another character describing his/her hidden motives during a period of turmoil he/she faces in his/her life.
  • It’s the summer of 1774, and Mercy Otis Warren has searched for days for correspondence that was lost between her father and his friend that would incriminate the crown of England.
  • It’s 1961, and an astronaut crash lands on Mars. Meanwhile, back on Earth, the United States is locked in a Cold War with the Soviets. No one knows if he’s still alive. Tell his story.
  • Summon a guardian spirit to the underground ruins of Angkor Wat in order to help you navigate the vast temple as you search for a secret amulet believed to grant inconceivable powers.
  • The year is 1292, and a small monk has been sentenced to death for a dark heresy. Write a quick scene where he escapes his oppressors.
  • There’s an example of a historical fiction writing prompt right there!
  • Make the main character of your novel a detective and your first client the notorious Jack the Ripper.
  • It’s 1952, and you’re in the middle of a raging civil war revolving around a million-dollar treasure hunt. Write a scene in which the treasure is buried in the middle of a destroyed city and it is up to one brave person to stick their neck out for everything they love.
  • You are a cartographer employed by the Royal Navy admiralty in the 18th century. The King has asked for a specific map of Hudson Bay. Write a war story in which you describe an adventurous journey through the arctic.
  • It’s 1892, and the Aborigines have been tragically forced from their land for the sake of growth and prosperity. The city of Sydney is filled with bootleg alcohol. When the shadow hangs over the town’s finest yet corrupt mayor, is the mastermind behind the sinister crimes found among the alcoholic crowds… or is there a more sinister darkness lurking in the shadows?
  • It’s 1941, and you’ve been drafted into the military of the Third Reich. Write a scene in which you accept the accolades of Hitler, your German king, while a neighboring tank explodes into flames.
  • It’s 1996, and a team of unlucky treasure hunters sail their ship on a jagged reef, leaving one survivor, Eric Stander, to reconstruct where it all went wrong.
  • It’s 1949 in the small island town of Key West. Write a plot in which an American pilot returns home and has to cope with PTSD caused by fighting in World War II in Europe.
  • An ape living in the urban wilds of America has been shot by police, and agents are scouring the town looking for the bullet.
  • You live in a lucid dream where you are confronted with a conflict of loyalty. Write the scene where you must choose between your family, religious group, neighborhood, city, town, etc.
  • Write a first chapter that spans multiple continents and is literally stacked with three story arcs, each of which is set in the 17th or 18th century and begins and ends in modern times.
  • It’s 2012, and you are the only survivor aboard a commercial airplane about to crash into the side of a Boeing 747 on takeoff. What will you remember about your life?
  • What did the Saxons wear and eat on the first Christmas? Write a description of a holiday feast.
  • Come up with a New Year’s story in which your main character is determined to make this year different — but it’s going to take a lot of willpower to make that happen.
  • Without your parents’ knowledge, you’ve found yourself aboard a cramped sailing ship crossing the treacherous Indian Ocean.
  • In 1793, an impoverished artist finds himself arrested and guillotined during the bloody French Revolution. In his last hours alive, the artist reminisces about his personal struggles written down in his diary.
  • It’s 1974, and Jim Morrison is today’s famous rock star. Write a noir novel using his famous poem, “Riders on the Storm,” as your inspiration.
  • You are an 18th century French baker with a mean disposition, who has quite a knack in constructing anything from pastry, or so it has come to your attention.
  • Mozart suffered a stroke right before his 39th birthday in 1791. Convince me that it was murder by composing the scene in which Amadeo, his son, discovers the perpetrator and exacts his revenge.
  • He was a wealthy property owner much talked about for his eccentricities and exploits. Write a scene in which he convinces a local farmer that he’s Napoleon so as to win the farmer’s daughter’s hand in marriage.
  • It’s 1586, and Spain’s King Philip II has decreed the arrest of all Lutherans in the Netherlands. One man must outsmart Ana and get the news of John’s covert mission to William the Silent.
  • It’s 1901, and the death of the great Czar Alexander has shaken 19th century Russia. It’s up to you to write a biography of his life that will replicate his short reign.
  • It’s a political showdown in a large, sprawling capital city in Central America. Write a scene using dialogue that demonstrates pressing socio-economic issues that concern everyone and ultimately lead to civil war.
  • It’s the age of piracy in the 18th century Atlantic Ocean. Write a scene in which a group of unsuspecting pirates board a British merchant vessel and are met with a surprise ending.
  • It’s 1885, and you are attending the Great Exhibition in London. Your favourite time traveller arrives and warns you of a fire about to sweep through the exhibition. It’s your job to save history. Write the moment you realize how you’ll do this.
  • It’s December 28, 1941. You are a group of characters in the military deathly wary of Japan’s plan to attack Pearl Harbor. You are under orders to set up a camp to protect from a possible surprise attack, but you must do so without being seen or heard by the enemy.
  • It’s 1774 and you are a face painter on board a pirate ship. Write a dramatic scene in which one of the pirate crew accidentally kills a crew member. It is up to you to secretly raise him from the dead if you are to save him from the enraged crew.
  • Read Poe’s “The Masque of the Red Death” and write a short story in which a lord in 16th century France must recover from a serious fever before attending a masquerade ball at the Duke’s palace.
  • It’s 2090, and asteroid Eris has finally made its closest approach to Earth, yet many of her space agencies still ignore the potential catastrophe for simply not being a big enough threat…until four short decades later. Write the epilogue of the story, set in 2160.
  • It’s 1607, and the English monarchy is finding it hard to control the citizens of the New World. Write about a messenger ship that is sent to investigate reports of witchcraft being practiced on the God-forsaken island of Roanoke.
  • Write a short story in which you alternate between the points of view of the Model T engineer and the Ford Motor company as they are working to make their automobile more appealing to women.
  • It’s 1940, and the United States has just entered World War II after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. An FBI special agent responds to an attack by invading Japanese paratroopers.
  • It’s 1066, and England is at civil war. Write a scene in which a young man entering the political arena becomes aware that some of his own political allies cannot be trusted.
  • Take a moment in time and write a scene that does not take place where you currently live. For instance, a teenager living in New York writes a scene set in London while sipping a cup of coffee in the local starbucks, or a California girl writes an event that takes place in Madrid.
  • When you visit a quaint little alpine town and stop by the local bakery, you stumble upon a secret that puts your life in peril.
  • As a survivor of a shipwreck in 1857, you find safety on the shores of Japan. You will have to adjust quickly to a foreign land where the people only speak a language that you can barely understand, a language in which no one knows the English language.
  • Set within a California high school’s chemistry lab, write a story of a bright teenager juggling the plays and the girlfriends in his life, hopelessly in love with a transfer student who may not be what she seems.
  • A history book mentions a bizarre suicide ritual where the body is strapped to a wooden beam atop a tower. Write a story about a victim locked inside the room as he unknowingly stares down his own death.
  • He’s known for creating the world of Harry Potter. Now he challenges you to write a creative engrossing essay about the work of Lewis Carroll including all his well-known acquaintances at Oxford.
  • What if Romeo and Juliet had been born in the 1930s Depression Era? Would their curse become even worse?
  • Show how adults failed a young Charles Dickens in the pages of your historical fiction novel.
  • It’s 1963, and your son has just been beaten to a pulp by the police for attempting to participate in a sit-in protest involving the segregation of the café where he works.
  • On a dark and stormy night, a woman and her children arrive at what appears to be a haunted British mansion to seek refuge for the night.
  • It’s the end of the 19th century and the technological age is in the making. Write a scene in which a debate arises on the merits of pigeons versus bird dog technology on one of the North American Western frontoral hunting ranches.
  • It’s 1428, and a pirate stronghold steals aboard the latest Spanish trading vessel bound for the Americas. As a feeble attempt at a mutiny falls short, Captain Santiago de Rodrigo and crew must tame his rebellious new additions to their ranks.
  • This prop ship plays a major role in your latest novel. Write a biographical profile of the ship’s crew and its life as a merchant marine vessel before its service with the Royal Navy.
  • It is the beginning of World War II, and as tensions between the Americans and the Japanese begin to heat up, an American family relocates to a farm in California. When one of the daughters found a Japanese-American boy in the back of their property, she was changed forever.
  • It’s 2012, and an oversized spacecraft is about to crash into the Earth, which is up to the president to convince the nation it’s not an alien invasion.
  • In the Warhammer 40k universe, what would happen if a Chaos Sorcerer were to fall madly in love with a world champion Eldar Harlequin? How would this tragic love story unfold?
  • This Old English ghost was executed during the reign of King James I. In the dead of night, the apparition of the infamous scaffold can still be seen.
  • Is it the 1950s, and everything is perfect in Charleston, South Carolina? Write a scene during which prejudice spills over in your tranquil town as a local store write a black family a bad check.
  • According to the Greek historian Herodotus, in 480 B.C. a Persian messenger raced from the battlefield of Thermopylae with an urgent message for King Xerxes. Your task is to take that historical incident and bring it to life through dialogue.
  • It’s 16th century Russia and a popular group of minstrels have just arrived in town. During an after-party after their performance for the Governor, a beautiful captive from one of the villages meets a secretly gifted minstrel.
  • It’s April 1, 1865, and the Confederacy is down to its very last corgi, a mutt no less. Based on this clever writing prompt, expand the story surrounding Abraham Lincoln’s last rescue mission on his way to Ford’s Theater for the final show.
  • It’s the roaring twenties, and you’re a beautiful flapper named Ginger. Write an interior monologue where she reminisces on the jazzy era to herself through carefully worded descriptions of celebrities at hotspots like Chiquita’s, where they come and go.
  • It’s 1969, and Russian ships have blockaded the harbors of Cuba. In this story, a group of Cuban fishermen brave the blockade and eventually defect to the United States.
  • It’s the early 1700s, and a group of Native American hunters flee through the woods of colonial New England after killing a group of families.
  • It’s 2122, the resources of the Earth have been depleted. Inspired by society’s resourcefulness and ingenuity, write about a futuristic sports stadium/relief camp provided by the Post-Economic Collapse Administration on forklift floats.
  • Make it a most unpleasant family reunion. Write a scene involving a phone call from a troubled niece asking her uncle for help to break away from her meth habit.
  • It’s 1476, and Queen Elizabeth of England is on her deathbed. During a blizzard, she summons her handmaidens and confesses a dark secret before yielding her crown.
  • You just meet the best new man ever, but get caught up in a wonderful game of murder and identity theft that takes place during the Napoleonic Wars of the early 1800s.
  • Are you a rock star? Write a diary entry detailing the events that lead up to where you’re now a prisoner of a religious cult on a remote island chained to a rock for refusing to forsake your music career.
  • It’s 1949, and the Ku Klux Klan has begun a vicious campaign of terror against the black community. Write a chapter chronicling the KKK’s attack on a relatively quiet neighborhood, and how the neighborhood fights back.
  • The year is 1996, and you find yourself at the site of the infamous Roswell UFO incident. What does Earth look like today after the devastating alien invasion that followed?
  • It’s 1965, and hippies are crawling over the hills and out of the forests to get tickets to Mick Jagger’s solo concert. Can you really trust anyone around you?
  • From the point of view of the franchise’s owner, the author takes the reader around to some of the most successful Fritz’s Diners in the country to learn about their history while surrounding the Chill and Grill Company with problems and challenges behind the scenes.
  • It’s the late 1800’s, and you’re a trader on the foreign exchange floor. Write about a stock market scam that nearly crushes the market in 1929.
  • It’s 2026, and an earthquake has left Toronto in shambles. A man desperately seeks his friend inside of a local television station just before the building crumbles into a million pieces.
  • Fight scenes are an automatic source of entertainment during any period of world history when there was war or conflict. Although sometimes formulaic, fight scenes provide great opportunities for character development and action. What is the darkest series of thoughts before a battle where one is unsure of living matched with the greatest emotions felt by a warrior at imminent death?
  • There are thousands of ships out in the North Atlantic ocean during the middle of the age of exploration. Write a nautical scene in which you narrate the tragic demise of a small ship as it succumbs to its fateful fate with many of its unfortunate crew members still taking to the sea.
  • It’s 1914, and Europe is on the brink of World War 1. Add in a bit of romance between two characters who slowly begin to piece together the feeling of true love as the scent of impending war hangs in the air.
  • It’s the 1960s. Add an ironic twist to the writing plot or characters of a movie by breaking the fourth wall, in order to mock Hollywood’s inaccuracies.
  • Situate your story in a haunted mental hospital as the ghost of a famous writer describes how he came to die there.
  • Viking sailors have yet to discover the concept of writing, but they live to tell the stories of their conquests. Write a chapter from the point of view of an illiterate Norseman during the Battle of Hastings in England.
  • From the perspective of a young child, show how anarchy brings fear and fear ultimately creates anarchy in a futuristic, Cold War-era Germany.
  • You are a reporter who discovers that the community you are writing a story about is hiding a dark secret—who, what, and why.
  • A suspenseful story takes place on the day of the Great Fire in London in 1666. Craft a scene in which an arsonist murders an innocent woman trapped at the top of a 4-story building.
  • Write a scene where the symbol of Piranha is one of the most brilliant jewels in the ancient world. This must be explained in the text and written into the story.
  • It’s 1642, and Princess Elizabeth is forced to flee the English throne. To escape her pursuers she stows away on the pirate ship Rover the next morning to New England.
  • The Great Chicago Fire leaves three families homeless. Write a scene about how the families work together to overcome their tragedy.
  • Write a scene in which the main character is running away from home in the dead of night.
  • Your plane is alone in the sky on a bright autumnal evening, as a strange cruise sets sail towards your airplane. Thinking this is an ill-rehearsed theatrical, write a spoof on how the captain, who appears to be a little stressed out, desperately attempts to “sell” the show.
  • In the year 2018, a gang of space pirates attempts a heist on the most valuable planet in the galaxy.
  • He must save her because he swore only a year ago to protect her, his sister.
  • Once perceptive in the art of combat, an old swordsman now confined to a wheelchair is caught off guard by the robbery of his precious jewels. The thieves are aware of his condition, and with all eyes on the necklace, several more around the neck, chest, and arms, they silently roll away with the loot.
  • That warlock Faust is up to his old tricks again. Write a scene in which Faust and his disciple lose their heads in 16th century Germany.
  • It’s 1776, and you’re a British general stationed at Ft. Halton during the American Revolution. Locate a colonial soldier’s secret hiding place in the Fort while drawing plans of attack.
  • It’s 1795 in Paris and you are a tasteless and successful gambler playing at the Groom where all the players are arrested. What do you tell them?
  • A hopeless political fanatic, her politics and her writing is still very technical even contributes greatly to illustrate what changes have occurred in her country as a result of the democratisation of the country.
  • It is September 21, 1492, and thirty-five wooden ships have just appeared offshore from the Canary Islands. Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand are worried about a possible invasion, but their worst fears come true when the coastline is swarmed by pirates seeking gold.
  • It is 1954, and a devastating war between Russia and the United States has left the world in shambles. In an effort to prevent further damage, all people under the blood age of seventeen are evacuated to an underground city and raised without any knowledge of their previous life. Seven teens decide to venture out and discover the world they were born into.
  • It’s 1865, and the American civil war is at its end as President Abraham Lincoln watches General Robert E. Lee marching North into captivity. Write a scene in which a southern war veteran attempts to cut the shackles away from the General’s wrists.
  • It’s been ten years since the onset of World War II. An English spy is sent to an abandoned factory in Belgrade where she discovers that a Nazi scientist has been conducting genetic experiments.
  • It is the 1880s, and your family has just moved to the frontier of Wyoming. Write a scene in which your family stumbles upon a murder in progress, and is forced to save the innocent victim.
  • It’s 1959, and the Soviet Union launches an attack on the United States. Write a scene where members of a baseball team in Pennsylvania escape the onslaught by taking refuge inside of a major league stadium.
  • It’s March 1923, and 424 members of the Ku Klux Klan march down Pennsylvania Avenue to the Capitol where they renounce “Nativism” and advocate for a “Klan for a united America.” Readers will view this moment in time from the perspective of the female reporter who witnessed this change taking place, telling the story through her unique and progressive lens.
  • It’s the 1800’s, and California is being controlled by Native Americans. As a struggling white missionary in the forest, you become friends with a dying Injun who utters the name of an area settler.
  • What was the most magical and wonderful circus you had ever seen? Did you like the show that was going on? Were you ever a circus performer? Or Maybe you were the owner? How was your life before meeting the circus?
  • Find a historical event that is not widely recognized and educate others on this event through the medium of historical fiction.
  • In the midst of the Black Death, a group found a living cat who could catch rats and mice. Tell a story about animal training in medieval Europe.
  • It’s an average day inside of Spanish Inquisition-era Spain. In a tiny village, record an encounter between a savage wild dog and an unsuspecting peasant.
  • It’s 1863 and the battle of Gettysburg is upon you. Write a piece where a citizen of Gettysburg witnesses a civil war soldier as he lay dying on the battlefield during the climactic clash of the 1863 Civil War battle.
  • It’s currently the summer of 1972. You speed off on a cross-country trip from Tennessee to California in your ‘66 yellow Mustang 289 GT. There’s no telling what could go wrong.
  • Write a fantasy scene in which the world unfolds in accordance with God’s divine plan for a church congregation.
  • An ex-gladiator from ancient Rome seeks revenge upon the emperor for sentencing him to death.
  • A contemporary American woman moves to an American pioneer town in the West. Write a scene from the unknown perspective of an Indian squaw.
  • It’s 1942 and England is at war with Nazi Germany. Two teenage boys, living on the border of England and Scotland, secretly collaborate with Nazi spies. The boys give the spies inside information regarding the English troop movement. Write a heist story involving a small group of Jewish refugees trying to sneak into Cuba during the Holocaust.
  • Your character has been enslaved by the Aztecs and his fortune only grows greater when in the heart of the great temple. Write this scene in which he emerges with treasure and honor.
  • Trace the path of a lost Native American tribe as they search for their new home on the American plains only to have it taken by a Native American tribe loyal to the United States.
  • Creepy dolls are the horror genre’s latest hottest trend, so write a scene involving a porcelain figure that finds a way to murder the main character.
  • It’s 1529 and King Henry VIII is seeking a divorce from his first wife, Catherine of Aragon. Write a scene in which the King’s Chief Advisors attempt to persuade him against the divorce, despite their personal interests as to whether or not the divorce is granted.
  • Commissioned by the Ottoman Sultan, a Silk Road expedition discovers an isolated valley inhabited by goat-like humans. One of the soldiers befriends the creatures and forges a bond with an unlikely hero known as Azrekh.
  • It’s 1956, you are employed as a science teacher at Shady Grove High School, a private school hidden in the Louisiana Swampland. Your students have tracked down paranormal creatures but clients are reluctant to pay you or give you any actual compensation to capture the spawn of Satan.
  • What if Mark Twain had come across Dr. Josef Mengele during the hunt for Jack the Ripper? Write a story set in 1888 in which the two men speak to each other and discuss their careers and experiences in medicine.
  • As a child, you are heavily influenced by vivid dreams of a fantastic world hidden in the forest behind your house, and in your subconscious you determine that it’s a place you must discover. Write a chapter about your first steps inside.
  • It is the year 1775 and America has declared its independence from England. Imagine how an American settler would change his feelings about the English government when he finds himself on trial for tax evasion.
  • It’s 1605, and the infamous Spanish Inquisition is underway in a Spanish town. Write a chapter involving the one person who is able to save the town in spite of the Catholic Church’s tyrannical reign.
  • 1824, and the city of Boston emerges from years of unprecedented medical progress. Residents still live in fear caught within the grip of countless myths about the city’s innumerable contagions!
  • Choose a character from a famous mystery novel and write a plot in their point of view.
  • It’s 1303, and you have just witnessed a knight miraculously rise from the dead with the same mysterious military orders that you have just been given during a special gathering at the Vatican.
  • In the world of American baseball in the 1930s, write a scene involving con man, Shoeless Joe Jackson, and the events surrounding the infamous 1919 ‘Black Sox scandal’.
  • The middle of a war is no place for an infant. Write a scene in which a young mother struggles to find the truth about her husband’s involvement in the Resistance movement while raising their baby in Nazi controlled France.
  • It’s the year 1836, and freedom for the country of Texas means more to Texans than just freedom from Mexico. Write a scene in which a common soldier in Sam Houston’s army is reading a heartfelt letter by Sam Houston to the general population.
  • It’s 2003, and Deputy Andy Saunders, having just left his search-and-rescue training, is responding to reports of a possible body floating in a dam near town.
  • Inspired by “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” by Robert Louis Stevenson, write a short story in which someone other than Mr. Hyde murders Dr. Jekyll.
  • It’s 2047, and you are Christine Daaé, the once-famous and beautiful actress who was haunted by evil backstage whispers while at the Paris Opera House. Currently, you are imprisoned in an asylum for the criminally insane. Write a journal entry you would have written prior to your confinement.
  • Exploring a long-forgotten tomb in search of treasure, you can’t seem to find any but are forced to unearth a mummy who possesses a series of strange diseases.
  • Capture the moment when Robert the Bruce is half-carried across a narrow bridge guarded by William Wallace henchmen during the final battle between the two against the English in 1313.
  • Step inside the world of the Bard and write your inner monologue as your villain acts out one of Shakespeare’s tragedies.
  • This is a challenging novel writing activity. Choose any historical point in time you like and write a scene set in an underground cavern with a series of grooves carved into the walls.
  • It’s July 5, 1776, and you are a guest at General George Washington’s retreat in Harlem Heights during the Revolutionary War. Write an exchange between Washington and his subordinates about the potential for success against the British.
  • It is 652 AD and the Christian Queen of Ireland faces certain death. Escape your imminent execution and try to attack the Irish Catholic Church head on.
  • Write a page in the perspective of an American soldier fighting during the Battle of Britain. As he looks down from a moving train, he spies a beautiful English woman working in a field.
  • You’re alone in an abandoned ship, sitting in a rowing boat off the coast of northern Japan. Write about what you encounter. It might be a deep sea frenzy sure to kill you, or it might be something else entirely.
  • It’s 1842, and Amelia Earhart has set off to complete an around-the-world journey. Your scene should take place on one of the legs in which a malfunction causes eerie noises to come from the walls of the ship.
  • To the victor go the spoils, and that includes stealing the identities and treasures of fallen enemies. Write a scene in which an individual does exactly that while an entire medieval castle burns to the ground behind him.
  • You are Robert Dunn, an expert on the Martian language. Write a scene in which a scientist reveals a major breakthrough to the United States government in a hotel room.
  • In 19th century Lower Canada, write a scene where the protagonist attempts to avoid an unwanted arranged marriage to a man twice her age.
  • Two gangsters, Whitey and Capone, quarrel over the territory of a wire empire while getting drunk in a fashionable casino during The Roaring Twenties.
  • It’s 11th century England and the plague is sweeping across the country. Write a scene where a young shire-on-the-way woman has her destiny forever altered by the mysterious stranger working his way through town.
  • It’s 1848, and the French Revolution is in full swing. Right as they’re about to guillotine the Marquis de Lafayette, he has one more request…
  • It’s 2015 and the United States is in the midst of the Second Cold War. After a rash of social media postings and the seizure of a shipment of weapons from the West, terrorist group the Soul Vein hijacks an airship in the Delta. What is the media’s reaction?
  • Acorn & Silk Publishing is a community of authors, poets, readers, and publishers dedicated to providing aspiring and experienced authors a professional platform to showcase their work on the Internet.
  • The year is alone in the 1970’s, and everyone in a small community suddenly suffers from telepathy. Write a nonfiction article a newspaper reporter might write discussing the events of a strange event, but also the raw emotional and social toll of being able to read the thoughts of others.
  • It’s 1518, and the Ottoman Empire is invading Central Europe. Write a scene in which a mounted Hungarian soldier encounters an enemy envoy.
  • Arriving by train to New York City during the Roaring Twenties, a woman shop owner on the verge of failing business looks for a shopgirl with extraordinary selling abilities.
  • 3) Story maps
  • It’s 840, and you are a Buddhist monk deep in the mountains of medieval China, meditating in the solitude of a cave. Write a scene following your solitude and your practice as a translator of Buddhist scriptures stolen from the government.
  • It’s 1941 and you’re a young man looking to avoid the draft in World War II. Use historical figures as a setting and backdrop to a scene in which you hide from the draft board during the Pearl Harbor attack.
  • It’s 1945, and the clock is running out on Nazi Germany. Go inside the mind of a member of Hitler’s inner circle during the final summer of World War II.
  • Going back to the Great Depression of the 1930s, write a scene in which a child is just one step away from death from a brutal beating.
  • It’s 1889, and a group of scientists splices together dinosaur DNA and successfully completes their process forgence. Why did they succeed? What happens next?
  • It’s 1860, and you are writing on the scene depicting Abraham Lincoln delivering the Gettysburg Address to a vast crowd ahead of a Civil War.
  • It’s 1628, and you’ve just had an important breakthrough in the art of steel construction. Deliver a manual outlining the principles and mechanics of your new structures to a young American inventor.
  • Your protagonist is a desperate young man who has recently stolen a gold crucifix from a Roman Catholic Genocide. As he makes an attempt to escape his pursuers, he must decide whether to stay loyal to his beloved family or toss aside everything he has ever believed as a citizen of Rome. Write a scene in which the character makes this life-changing decision.
  • Captured as a slave ship, you and your crewmates escape by force into the Atlantic off the coast of Africa. Yet the relentless master sailor pursues you. Watch three desperate pirates aboard a pirate ship caught in a vicious storm in the Indian Ocean.
  • It’s the 28th year of the Ming Dynasty and one of China’s greatest warriors has been summoned to battle in the north. Write a scene in which the warrior looks back on his life and tells of his personal struggle of self-discovery.
  • What if animals didn’t just rise up, but they rose up and developed their own civilizations and even interacted with humans? Write a story about the societal and ecological challenges that would occur if lions or elephants or bears or fish couldn’t just be culled or hunted, but instead had to be dealt with.
  • In 1888, Mary Anne Nyborg was convicted of murdering her husband’s pregnant mistress. But was she truly guilty? Write a scene from Dr. Blollow’s point of view where he interferes with Nyborg’s “execution”.
  • It’s 1307 and Chaucer has just published The Canterbury Tales. Set a hilarious parody of “The Wife of Bath’s Tale” in the middle of the Black Plague.
  • Streets of San Francisco, 1968. Fictional Detective Bob Dawson obtains a lead on the next-big-thing crime on the peninsula only to trip across a half-a-century old cold case.
  • It’s 1167 A.D., and you have been left behind while the rest of your comrades are out on a routine military campaign. Write an intimate scene from the point of view of a wolf while it stalks within a snowy forest.
  • Head back to 14th century England for this writing prompt, as you watch the scheming Bastard in King Richard’s court take over as soon as he learns of the king’s death. It is up to his foppish nephew, who is still fresh and innocent he thinks, to defend the crown from the usurper.
  • This list pertains to literature, not historical events. Write a scene taking place in the time period after the crucifixion of Jesus directly after the resurrection.
  • A thief breaks into a biology laboratory to steal a rare plant. When he notices he’s not alone, he is faced with the choice of killing the harmless yet knowledgeable scientist in order to make his escape.
  • It’s 1945, and the island of Okinawa is under attack. Your goal in writing this scene is to describe an instance of warfare with as much detail as possible. More details will satisfy the narrator that more knowledge will provide.
  • Put yourself in Baudelaire’s shoes for an afternoon, only to realize you have been trapped inside the famous La Sincerite prison after being accused of murder.
  • It’s 1871, and the city is infested with a drug-resistant cholera virus. A pastor and his family barricade themselves inside of their house while a group of city bandits hold up in the local pharmacy. What follows is a natural struggle between the two parties and how they cope with each other.
  • It’s 1666 and The Great Fire of London sweeps the city. Write an action scene in which your main character is forced to make a desperate escape.
  • It is 1906, and the Titanic sails across the Atlantic to cast off on its maiden voyage. Write a scene in which one of its inhabitants is tormented about indecision regarding life, with no end in sight.
  • It’s 1930, and a wealthy heiress with celebrated wanderlust marries a powerful Mexican revolutionary. Write a gripping romance novel about the secret love affair between the two of them.
  • What if the moon landing actually happened in the 1960s or even back in the 18th century? How would the media and the people at large have reacted to the event?
  • It’s 1969, and you arrive on a “love boat” to meet your favorite rock star, but instead, you become part of his crazed mishap aboard ship.
  • You are a prisoner confined to your small, claustrophobic cell when a sick guard comes to your cell and either asks for help or questions your identity before he collapses from food poisoning and is left to die there by the other guards.
  • With the invention of smartphones has come the very real possibility of falsely incriminating yourself. Write a scene where the protagonist is in a stressful situation that could drastically impact his or her future.
  • What if Shakespeare’s original play, Hamlet, actually involved a different title character? Write your subsequent play’s opening scene.
  • Add a personification twist to the tale of Sleeping Beauty.
  • Waves that flood the coast of the eastern United States escape from the Bermuda Triangle and devastate several East coast cities. A committed newspaper reporter captures the wave’s aftermath, but is also diagnosed with strange occurrences that slowly but surely disintegrate her mind.
  • It is 1952, and you are a writer struggling to write your ninth novel, which happens to be your first hardcover. Write your thoughts as the pressure mounts from you being funded by a publisher, editors, and deadlines.
  • It is the 1600s, and slavery is legal in New York. Write a scene from the point of view of the house slave of an affluent Dutch family.
  • The year is 1771, and the notorious pirate, Captain Teach, is detained by the British. He is being held in the stockades at Black Ape Cove. Write a play in which various townspeople argue about what should happen to the pirate for his heinous crimes.
  • Ooooh…that stink just got ya, didn’t it? Drop something awful and disgusting into your favorite scene.
  • Together, they met in a hotel while Rome burned around them. Write a love story from the point of view of strangers who fell madly in love amidst the turmoil of a fire that wiped out an empire.
  • It’s the early 20th century and several wealthy family heirs have gathered for their relatives’ funeral. As a matter of respect and kindly tradition, each inhabitant is required to tell the group one animal/object/character that the deceased disliked. Write a section based on a series of flashbacks hidden within each of the fatalities’ stories.
  • In honor of the seven brave firefighters who died in the early morning hours of June 14 in Colorado, write a fictional account of their final moments based on eyewitness accounts and previous wildfires.
  • It’s the 1920s, and your main character sees his face for the first time in a mirror after waking up in a hospital. Bare bones description of your character, personality and goal. Be creative! Now brainstorm what the character would look like. Pick one detail from your brainstorm. Now, brainstorm how that detail is unique to your character. For example, if you said “buck teeth,” brainstorm from that detail. This will force you to brainstorm “What is so special about your character’s buck teeth?” You might come up with the detail that his buck teeth were shaped like a rabbit, or the fact that his buck teeth were made from gold.
  • It’s your first day at a brand-new school. All of the girls seem to be wearing corsages to honor their homecoming. Despite being new, you make fast friends with a nerdy science student named Elliot. The next day, the school newspaper publishes a bulletin to everyone. Elliot has been murdered.
  • It’s 1914, and Ireland is ravaged by a civil war of pro-British separatists and pro-Irish republicans, writing a scene in which one of the rebels is captured by a band of pro-unionist crusaders.
  • As a young journalist, you are to travel to San Francisco and write and expose on the infamous Barbary Coast.
  • It’s 1777, and George Washington and his strike force are struggling to maintain their alliance with France. Write an account of a pivotal meeting within a Parisian tavern that may ultimately determine the future of the American Revolution.
  • Ask your parents about your home and write about your memories of your childhood neighborhood or town. However, write about your memories of your town and don’t use real names for the people you remember. Remember that your character was about the same age as you are now.
  • 2. Write a scene where your main character is a Tiananmen Square protest in 1989. He sees a student below get shot dead by the guns of the People’s Liberation Army.
  • It’s 1884, and amateur photographer Ansel Adams travels to Yosemite for the first time to capture the West’s national parks. Write an adventure story featuring the budding photographer and challenged when Adams must run from a treacherous blaze he unknowingly started with his camera’s lens.
  • Through the power of alchemy, your main character travels back in time to the medieval era. Write a work of fiction where she tries to thwart a murder and return back to the future.
  • Your characters have been doing the same thing for years. Completely change the setting, location and the action, but maintain the personalities of the characters facing a major battle.
  • It’s World War II, and your entire family has been captured by Nazi soldiers. Write a heartfelt letter to your parents where you explain why you will never see them again.
  • It’s 1775, and you are a colonist in the prelude to the American Revolution. Complaints of Britain’s lucrative trade policies lead to open hostility at an illegal militia rally.
  • The year is 1462 and you are part of an armed militia during the 100-Years War in France. The French have surrounded and captured an English fort forcing a battle to break out along a muddy field saturated with rain. Write about your hero’s most heroic act to be witnessed by the King of England.
  • It’s the Laurie House Murder, and you’ve written the last chapter in your spine-chilling mystery featuring a private eye named Cooper Hale. Write a scene in which Hale and his Comic-relief sidekick witness the murder clandestinely while pretending to be working on the crime scene.
  • A man named Jane Austen travels through time from Victorian England to a dystopian version of the future, in an attempt to save real life Jane Austen.
  • Get to Know the Important Historical Works to Aid You in Writing Scenery Within Your Historical Fiction Novel
  • It’s a terrible winter outside and the only one who can tame the raging prairie fire is you.
  • It’s 1963 at The Sands Hotel in Atlantic City. As a newspaper photographer, you catch wind of a newsworthy fight on one of the casino’s boxing floors. What stories will unfold about this supposed “fixed bout?”
  • It’s 1955, and you’re seated at a long, rectangular hardwood table inside of a jolly cabin set deep in the heart of the Canadian wilderness.
  • It’s 1940, and you’re a poet living in Spain that’s battling between the Nationalists and the Republicans. What does this fight look and sound like according to your life experiences?
  • It is the year 1985, and Jerry Garcia and the members of the Grateful Dead are playing a secret concert in a compound outside of Moscow, USSR. Write a scene in which the KGB attempt to break in and capture Garcia.
  • It’s 1952 and Senator Joseph McCarthy has just died over a heart attack. Write a scene in which two close friends whose government careers were built from McCarthy’s political reign, discuss the changes in policy that will soon follow in the wake of McCarthy’s death.
  • There are many facets to your job as a curator at a feudal Japanese museum. Write an in-depth description of one of your most memorable shoes. It’s 1933 and you’re a diver working the depths of Lake, W.V. and you’ve come across a time capsule left by a diving society 141 years prior to the present. Write a scene of the divers at first sight.
  • It’s the 1900s. Your young adult character is British and a victim of a Japanese attack on Singapore. You must write a scene in which this character learns a terrible war secret involving her only love.
  • The beginning of the Great Depression opened the door for unprecedented entrepreneurial schemes. In your story, write about a couple who left their steadfast jobs and embarked on a seedy crime filled adventure in Las Vegas… and why they have just returned.
  • What would inspire one of the pioneers to defect from George Rogers Clark’s campaign against the British during the American Revolutionary War?
  • When an unknown diary in Miami, Florida is forcibly occupied by an elusive hacker, one man discovers his family has been blackmailed by a deadly man on the internet known as “JayR GAMEZ.” It’s up to him to convince the people inside that this is really happening. The following controversial, yet politically charged writing prompt is just one of the many examples of the type of narrative techniques and motifs used in this compelling short story and film screenplay.
  • Climb up a mountain on a stormy evening. Build a small campfire and write about what’s horrifying you the most from your current position.
  • It’s 1575, and the Spanish have invaded your small seaside port town. What was once a tranquil fishing village is now nothing more than a war-front. Write a dramatic scene from an innocent young sailor’s point of view.
  • Write the prologue of an epic historical fiction story ending with a young woman losing everything but her family and facing the unknown because of religious persecution.
  • You and your husband travel to Tibet by horse on an anthropological expedition during the 1920s. Your husband makes the devastating mistake of drinking water from a sacred lake. You are left alone in a foreign country. What do you do?
  • It’s 1982, and the town is rife with unpleasant rumors about the local village orphanage. Write a horror story that’s filled with an eerie sense of dread but ends with a twist of comedic relief.
  • It is 1888, and the inspector on duty at Scotland Yard is handed the case of a kidnapped girl by the leader of a notorious English crime family.
  • Several years ago you visited your extended family in a beautiful traditional Japanese fishing village. It is now a dying town because of overharvesting of a special fish. Describe a trip to the town as a runaway to see what has changed in your absence.
  • It is 1798, and England is at war. Write a romance story that chronicles the forbidden love of Lord Byron for a Greek mistress during his voyage of the Mediterranean aboard the “Falcon Brig-”
  • A small town girl must survive a terrifying night alone in the dense woods surrounding her home as a dark secret from her past is revealed.
  • It’s 1888, and you just woke up from a 24 hour coma in an abandoned bedroom belonging to a Meanie Sands, a mysterious lady who may be friend or foe.
  • It’s a cold winter night in 1912, and 1912 is Wolf year in China. A group of men with wolves on a leash ask to use your shed.
  • It’s 14th century England, and you are a knight. Write a verbal exchange with a British vampire you have captured.
  • It’s 1985, and the crew of a Japanese oil tanker is held at ransom by pirates off the coast of her native Japan.
  • It’s 1849, in the wild west, and you’re an outlaw on the run. You’re walking alone in the arid desert, desperately following the only star in the sky. You’re about to collapse with thirst when you find a mysterious bottle lying in the sand…
  • In 1792, the French National Convention abolished legal privileges of the nobility, and all their titles were wiped out. Write the story about one of these nobles who gives up everything to marry his love.
  • A woman-run brothel tells the tale of its founding in 1800’s South Carolina through its first madam, Sarah.
  • It’s 1720, and notorious pirate Henry Every has just intercepted the Qing Dynasty Fleet, plundering it for treasures that will later immortalize his name in history.
  • Write a scene in which a fortune-hunting childhood friend attempts to interrupt your marriage proposal to a well-off heiress. Write from the perspective of the woman in question and how she wards off her competition.
  • A goblin crash lands in New York City and gets a job at a convenience store, where he learns that life is hard for animal creatures living among human beings. In a transition from comedy to tragedy, the story explores how the goblin does not adjust well to modern day living.
  • While walking through the streets of Cairo in 1898, a British soldier runs into an old flame. Listen. It’s either a story of love lost or one last breath of romance…
  • One man struggles to survive in a mine shaft after a cave-in. When hope starts to dim, his only companion, a caged squirrel, starts to talk to him. What does the animal tell him?
  • Jupiter has been destroyed, and six teenagers are the only ones left alive. Write their story.
  • A naïve young woman has managed to travel all the way from China to San Francisco to embark on a multi-month ocean journey to Hawaii. On board the ship, she encounters an articulate young sailor who takes an interest in her. Write a scene that follows them on one of their first dates together.
  • Write a story in which one of the disciples of Jesus heads to the Underground Railroad to save runaway slaves along the Old Silk Road.
  • Write a scene where one of the detectives in Sherlock Holmes’ case falls in love with a suspect at Buffalo Bill’s traveling Wild West Show. It’s 1883, and the American frontier is filled with opportunity.
  • When a radio operator discovers a mysterious broadcast coming from the cosmos in 1937, what does he or she do? Write a science fiction chapter for a future radio drama. Write a storm gathering scenario in which a couple of friends find themselves stranded on a desolate mountain ridge over a raging jungle.
  • Write about a half breed Cherokee who rides alongside George Armstrong Custer during the stoic leader’s last ride at the fateful “Little Big Horn.”
  • Your grandfather begins to tell you a long, and ever so complicated, story of the haunted house on his street where he grew up in the 1930s.
  • Write about a 13th century explorer who comes across a tribe of Mayans in the darkest reaches of South America.
  • One man stands between Scotland and its absolute destruction. It is up to him to forge a treaty between the king and the rebels before the land is burned to ashes.
  • Cavern Life – Explore karst topography and write a story about the relationship between a female spelunker and her claustrophobia, her love interest, and her own dystopian fear of the wider world.
  • It’s 1605, and the great playwright William Shakespeare is hot on the trail of a romance between a secret spy and a Lord, the details of which must be kept private due to the discovery of a traitorous plan.
  • It’s 1815, and Napoleon has escaped from Elba. With a group of fellow freedom fighters, you make your way through a heavy downpour of rain to attempt to capture Bonaparte and exile him back to Elba once again.
  • Victorian England is shaken to the core by a series of gruesome murders involving prostitutes.
  • It’s 1937, and Hitler has just made a speech promising the annihilation of many of the Jewish people who were once citizens of Germany. Write the scene in which he discovers his own Jewish ancestry.
  • It’s 1810, and the colonization of Texas has begun. In your scene, conflict arises between the settlers as early Indian raids threaten their plans.
  • Journey into the heart of the Incan civilization to discover the origin of their secret watery cavern.
  • The damsel in distress can’t be saved this time! – An anti-romantic satire in which a future anti-hero steals a flame spitter from an evil surrogate parent.
  • A dollmaker has brought a figment of his imagination to life. Write a dramatic scene in which the dollmaker and his creation attempt to coexist.
  • The Internet has been cut off, and the only way to reach your destination is by writing a postcard to yourself. Predict what your characters will discover during your story and ask your audience to predict your ending.
  • Early 1800’s rural western North Carolina near Fayetteville. Write a story of a rebellious preteen girl who finds herself the most hated girl in school upon delivering a scathing rendition of “Dixie” in a moment of fury.
  • It’s 1789, and you have been captured by French revolutionaries. Write your escape by describing an elaborate con game in which you fool a band of revolutionaries into freeing you.
  • Justin Trudeau will happily write you a 25-page character analysis per novel, and he usually will only charge you $200.
  • It’s the year 2017, and a small town is swiftly becoming a war zone. A rebellion has broken out in Cuba, and since the uprising is so close to American shore, it threatens the ideal existence of the American way of life that millions have grown accustomed to. In this alternate reality where the affluence of American citizens requires the exploitation of other people and countries on other parts of the globe, one ordinary high school student is about to become a hero in an unexpected way.
  • Alexandre Dumas’ The Three Musketeers are your secret protectors. Write a story about how one of the musketeers saves you from an accident by jumping in the way and getting hurt rather than you.
  • Write a gut-wrenching and historically accurate slave story along the Underground Railroad. Describe the ending moment when the slaves were abducted right in front of their parents.
  • An English Lord has lost enough money gambling on cock fights to leave him with nothing to his name except for the clothes on his back. What might he do with his time as he heads to the university to live a life of poverty?
  • It’s 1942, and a newly married couple has escaped from the horrors of war. Transported to a tuberculosis clinic in the Swiss mountains, they must try to live out their final days in a peaceful, healthy environment.
  • Write a short paragraph in which a 19th century opening up a rock to mine?
  • Write about an aging painter living during the Renaissance as he attempts to recreate a masterpiece by a controversial artist he had a one-sided rivalry with.
  • It’s 1775, and two starving families are debating whether or not to trade their last horse for food. Write a friendly discussion about the topic, and then switch perspectives to their one faithful horse.
  • A young Pilgrim girl worries about her sickly brother as their family is about to depart the Mayflower for America.
  • Set a plot twist in a library in a current dystopian world.
  • A small group of Black crusaders plot a way to kill a band of rogue slave owners less than an hour before Abraham Lincoln is killed at Ford’s Theater in Washington. Write about these men.
  • Start with the following title, “Six Basque nuns hiding from General Franco during the Spanish Civil War.” Have fun with it from there. Write a few scenes from the point of view of one of the women.
  • It’s 1122 A.D., and you have stumbled upon a secret meeting of monks on the coast of Italy. What is their agenda?
  • It’s a meeting between Marie Antoinette and Cotton Mather. Write a scene in which Antoinette attempts to convince Mather that she believes Jesus is not an only begotten son of God.
  • It’s 1959, and a vicious snowstorm has reduced the United States to a state of emergency. While attempting to deliver provisions to nearby towns, an ill-tempered trucker accidentally leaves your hometown stranded in the snow, and the townspeople are left to fight for survival.
  • It’s 1789, and Romania is on the verge of the worst winter of the 1700s. Write in the point of view of a peasant woman who is unaware that ominous events are just around the corner.
  • It’s 1964, and California is enjoying the summer sun after a dreary winter. The town of Del Mar plays host to a prestigious horse race televised live by CBS for a national audience. During the broadcast, write a scene showing how a nearby gas leak released to the air has an ironic effect on the horses.
  • A pack of feral dingo dogs escapes the dingoes of Australia on a fiery hot summer’s day in 1885. Just as the hunt begins, a drifter emerges near the O’Farrell Hotel in Christchurch from a dust storm warning that all is not as it seems in Australia.
  • With your excommunication of choice from your favorite organized religion, you join a caravan of peddlers on a mission to cross the landscapes of nineteenth-century Canada. But once your group arrives at a small settlement, you begin to question whether you were the right person to make this journey after all.
  • It’s 1964, it’s election night, and TV stations are clueless who the next president of the United States will be. From a nervous newsman’s tell-all account, write a tense scene where each network news show tries to gain the advantage on who will be America’s next president.
  • With a local friendly witch, you stumble upon her spellbook . . . what if you were to randomly select a spell to cast? What happens?
  • It’s 1943, and a young German teenage girl accompanies a wealthy elderly German couple on board a transatlantic cruise ship. Meanwhile, a German U-Boat sinks to its watery grave in the middle of the night after being torpedoed by an Allied treach. Write a scene depicting her reaction to that horrific experience.
  • The 2nd century has come to a close, and the Roman Empire has been destabilized because of the bubonic plague. As a result, barbarians have entered Imperial territory. In a small town outside of Rome, Lidus, a fighter for the Empire, steals a sword from a barbarian burned by the plague. This causes the barbarian to order Lidus attacked.
  • It’s the year 2028 and Los Angeles’s homeless find shelter underneath a freeway bridge. A minor earthquake rips through a nearby government shelter housing the city’s subterranean residents. The surviving residents emerge to fight over resources.
  • It’s 1795, and you are an officer in the crew of HMS Beagle. Write a scene about how Charles Darwin first formulated his theory of evolution while shipwrecked on the coast of what is today the Galapagos Islands.
  • Travel back in time to Machu Picchu. Watch as an Inca boy struggles to survive under very dire circumstances.
  • The writing prompts listed here are intended to be developed into short stories and no real limit is placed on the length of each piece created. Short stories using these prompts could be written to a maximum of approximately 5,000 words, although tales of a lesser length could be ideal to help develop skills needed to write in this literary form.
  • It’s the year 1671, and Catholics and Protestants are at war. During the Battle of Gibraltar, a group of Spanish gypsies join the Muslims to fight off the European army.
  • It’s 1923, and the officer of a Spanish battleship is cut down in the middle of a mutiny. Throughout the confusion, he goes from praying the Hail Mary over the dying to wishing he’d never put on the uniform.
  • What if Oklahoma City’s 1995 bombing was about more than met the eye? Write a story in which an immigrant demolitions expert gets caught up in a plot involving the bombing, not realizing the threat that is made against his family under the suspicious eye of an FBI informant.
  • Without further explanation, simply explain why King Henry VIII killed himself and how it happened in two pages using historical details to support your plot.
  • It’s 1945 and the Second World War is drawing to an end in Europe. A group of armed German refugees crosses an isolated open field in order to cross the Oder-Neisse line and return to Germany. What happens?
  • It’s 1889, and the growing presence of newfangled telephone kiosks across London causes communication lines to malfunction, stranding one wealthy heiress on the edge of a cliff as she tries to send up a message for help.
  • It is 1812, and the area around Niagara Falls has been evacuated. Write a scene in which a young American couple accidentally drifts into the no-man’s land in person.
  • It’s a 16th century bilboquet. You’re playing in a tournament at the heart of the British empire. Write a match speech in which a frustrated competitor accuses you of breaking the rules.
  • It’s 1780 and New York City is suffering from a yellow fever epidemic. Write from the perspective of an epidemiologist trying to track and contain the mysterious outbreak.
  • It’s a horrible moment during the winter when a blizzard barrels its way through the mountains and is headed straight toward the cabin that you’re in.
  • It’s 1493, and Christopher Columbus is about to embark on a voyage to discover new land on behalf of the Spanish Crown. Write a piece describing the scenes of jubilation in the days leading up to his departure.
  • Write something you have never thought about before and come up with an origin story for your camera’s inner workings. What was the motive behind its manufacturer? What material was used to make such complex circuits? How were any of these concepts possible at such a limited time?
  • It’s 1889 and you’ve hitched a ride on a train traveling from New York to Sioux Falls. Write a scene in which a newspaper reporter has to give up important information about a crime to a bribed sheriff who is relentless in her pursuit to bring home sinister members of the Wyatt family. Write the rest of the story once you get to Sioux Falls.
  • A Buddhist monk on an airplane was the unwilling witness of an apparent terrorist act. Consequently, his faith was shattered. Write his first person account recounting the details of the event as each moment plays out in his troubled consciousness.
  • In Hurricane Katrina, perhaps the most devastating natural disaster to occur in U.S. history, several individuals—including a police officer, a jazz musician, a newspaper reporter, and a drug dealer—become trapped inside of a Best Western hotel before being forced to escape in search of safety as the flooding continues to intensify outside. Come up with a new setting for this historic event, or write an alternative scene in which no storm occurs.
  • As a plague survivor you flee into the wilderness only to end up in the middle of an inhabitant’s feud in Medieval Europe.
  • It is 1911, and the Rockefeller family has just moved into West Tisbury on Martha’s Vineyard. Write a short scene in which a local islander goes over to Saturday afternoon tea at Seven Gates Farm only to discover that his loyal rooster has already picked out the finest and most beautiful hen in the barnyard to be his new favorite.
  • It’s 1955 and a small, North Dakota town is shaken by the arrival of a storm that brings along lightning and tornadoes. In the midst of the storm, a young boy meets a wizard in the local library.
  • Listen! Listen! What’s that sound? It’s the snapping of a tree branch back at your campsite at the edge of the Grand Canyon. Write a scene about what happened.
  • This scene takes place during the great fire of London in 1666. A shop owner and her husband rescue a young bandit from the flames in the streets only to discover that the child is one of the notorious highway robbers. You may consider this to be the scene for a coyote and an opossum or a fox and an owl. The world is writing your future! For example, if you’re currently a senior in high school and wish to attend college, you may try writing a scene in which you overcome an obstacle to your college dream. For instance, the obstacle may include the absence of motivation, a stressful situation, or financial problems. However, if you’re already out of high school but have yet to obtain your college degree, the situation may be you’re busy raising a family and simply need more motivation and encouragement to begin. There are infinitely many examples of such obstacles to your future. Tell a story of a struggle going towards this desired future. Describe the setting in which the struggle takes place as well as the specific characters involved such as family and friends.
  • It’s the 1960s, and the threat of nuclear war is looming over the American people. Write a chapter in which young people throw a “Love-In” to spread peace and love throughout the entire generation.
  • It’s 1842, and there is an outbreak of a disease in a small mining town in Upper Canada. Write a scene in which a miner fights a water monster who emerges from a crack in the basin of a sick spa.
  • It’s 2030, and the United States is on the brink of war with China for eminent domain property located under the ocean floor. The Senate is forced to replace the president as the nation’s chief executive in a controversial 5-4 ruling. Write a short closing scene where the vice president and the Senate’s chief of staff leave the courtroom together to discuss the next steps for how to get the country back on track.
  • A man from the 19th century has fallen off of the edge of the Grand Canyon. Young Pomani, the last Native American troubleshooter of the Old West, is hired by a newspaper reporter to help bring the man’s body back to safety.
  • Why were August 26 and August 27, 29, and 30 the most miserable days in American history? Describe what it must have been like to be there.
  • It is 1949 in South Africa and a Dutch man is on trial for sabotaging the railroad system that transports most of the nation’s goods. Write the beginning of this story.
  • The sleepy town of Henley-on-Dream is lead to believe that the recent brutal murder was committed by the headless horsemen. But there’s more to this tale than meets the eye. Write out a possible confession letter the town’s deceased mayor could write for his investors regarding his deadly investment schemes.
  • Write an account of a soldier who crawled out from behind enemy lines to rescue a wounded comrade – or, is it just a dream?
  • It’s 1942 and the Japanese are attacking Pearl Harbour. Your main character, a sailor sent on shore, is swept up by a wave and finds dozens of crewmen from his ship washed ashore, severely injured and dying.
  • It is the 1880s and a murderer has come to town in your setting. This person has no care for life, but cradles a newborn infant in her arms. Pretend to be this baby, attempting to reason with the murderer, giving the story perspective from a young person’s viewpoint.
  • It’s 1915 and you find yourself embroiled in the French Foreign Legion fighting in the Fez Rebellion. Write a scene that demonstrates one of the uncomfortable realities that lie in this soldier and why they stayed for three years.
  • As a young girl, the only member of your family not burned at the stake for witchcraft by angry townspeople in 1692, you escape to the New World for a better life. It’s 1742, and you are about to make an incredible discovery.
  • Write a Western scene in which a wagon train family realizes they are lost in a thunderstorm as nightfall approaches.
  • It’s a dark and stormy summer night when a door-to-door insurance salesman steps out of his car to enlist the help of the last house on his checklist only to find himself stuck inside with a recently murdered client.
  • Write a romantic mystery set in 1895 about two young American women vacationing in Paris who discover a mysterious gentleman with a string of pearls hidden inside a velvet pouch.
  • On a dark night on the isolated plains of Iceland, a folklorist gets more than he bargains for while chasing a giant jackalope.
  • It’s 1928, and a bitter rivalry between two singers threatens the reputation of the Chicago Opera Company. Write an interview where the head of the Opera Company gives his side of the story to the reporter.
  • You have been tasked with writing a Western fiction story in which you describe the gas station pit stop of a local cowboy in a unique way.
  • To be or not to be…Write a scene in which William Shakespeare discovers one of his friends, actors from The Merry Wives of Windsor, carrying on a seemingly personal conversation. He approaches them to discover their identity. Is he Hamlet or finally the actor playing Hamlet, or is he neither?
  • It’s the 1970s, and you’ve time traveled to Vienna where Beethoven’s 9th just premiered. But someone has become the last to play the ultimate party-crasher.
  • As a US soldier stationed in post-war Iraq, you are responsible for guarding one of Saddam’s Palaces. What happens when you discover an ancient artifact during a routine inspection?
  • It’s 2016, but time has stopped. What is different about the present day now that history has taken a turn? Write a scene set in today’s time frames.
  • The Kennedy Administration had begun during this period, and Americans were starting to take to space with the Mercury program in 1961. Write a scene taking place on the launch pad, but something doesn’t quite go according to plan just as the countdown reaches zero.
  • It’s 52 BC, and Caesar’s child is born to noble Roman parents. Write from the point of view of Servilia, Caesar’s lover, who was born into aristocracy, and Caesar, who was raised by a poor but ambitious family.
  • Whatever time period you choose, choose a book of a similar genre to read. With the inclusion of the book, include a question in your prompt. Your answer to the question can reinforce your research skills while giving your word count a nice boost.
  • The year is present day, and a bus crashes taking you to a lavish celebrity-filled party set in the Hollywood Hills. It’s up to you to revive the bloody crowd with First Aid techniques you learned for a school play.
  • Written entirely in a character’s stream of conscience, it features “Ella, a young girl’s summer in death, Ivyland, a tiny unremarkable town where everything is not what it seems, and the eerie Dawney House, a supposedly abandoned Victorian mansion next door.”
  • It’s 1787, and you are living on one of the islands in the South Pacific. Write a scene where members of your tribe trade goods with visiting British sailors.
  • It’s the late 1700s, and you have traveled westward along the Oregon Trail caught in the middle of the vast “winter of 1846,” during which a group of pioneers tries to survive an unexpected attack by the Shoshone tribe and the harsh, foreboding wilderness.
  • It’s 1963, and you are an American nurse stationed in Budapest experiencing life during the racial tension overflowed by the Cold War. Write a scene from your point of view where riots spark in the streets.
  • A sixteen-year-old Serbian war refugee finds a sladko painting in a field and is compelled to uncover its past while also concealing the secret about her own.
  • It’s 1946, and Nazis are on the prowl in San Francisco. Write a scene in which an African American woman who plays the role of a telephone operator overhears a conversation while she is on duty. A baby is missing.
  • Set the final scene within a grand ballroom of a luxury ocean liner where a noble family falls into decadence and ruin under the care of a financially unstable Lord.
  • When you were a young girl in the late 1700s, your attic was used as a secret hiding spot for runaway slaves traveling north for the Underground Railroad. Use this voice to write a story involving one of the slaves. Expressing his/her thoughts and feelings will put the reader in the moment.
  • Send your second through time to the future. Interview someone from the present and write a report in the past tense as if imparting the findings.
  • It’s 1916, and the troops of all sides have retreated from the beaches of Gallipoli. In a scene set inside of a Turkish think tank, you must create a plan to establish an Egyptian kingdom occupied by Ottoman Turks.
  • The year is 1973, and Howard Hughes has died. Pen a scene where one of his fabled code-named projects, the “Spruce Goose,” is about to take an inaugural voyage.
  • Think “Dial M for Murder” for a period-appropriate setting. Build a nameless character out of the familiar letters of the alphabet.
  • Write a play in the style of William Shakespeare and write a biography about your favorite historical figure.
  • Clarence Thomas meets with a defamation counselor to learn how to best manage the fallout from his most famous Supreme Court case, a defamation action he unintentionally filed against famous avant garde writer, Norman Mailer.
  • Write an 18th century Jamaica based short story where the island’s sugar plantation owner encounters piracy.
  • In the year 1942, life in the mind of Adolf Hitler takes a surprising turn and he turns in his own generals to save Europe from further destruction.
  • First person point-of-view, describe an intensely magical experience with ayahuasca. The narrator is outside of his body experiencing a vision on the banks of a river in the Amazon originating from deep within a jungle located in a foreign country.
  • It’s 1974 and the president will not take a side on the Watergate scandal. One of his advisors must make a stand and speak out against the president to resume a panic-stricken atmosphere.
  • Young Charlotte is whisked away to the magical realm of Wonderland, where there’s no such thing as good and evil. It’s up to her to keep this all-enshrouding nightmare from spilling over into the world she knows.
  • It’s 1942, and America is heavily involved in World War 2. Write the final scene in a detective-at-war novel, where a stressed military officer, as well as a spy, confronts the crime boss who ultimately betrayed humanity.
  • It is 1574, and your ship is lost in the middle of the ocean. Write a scene in which the characters confront and untangle the tell tale clues to their whereabouts.
  • The year is 1895 and the east coast of England has suffered the outbreak of a deadly fever. Write a scene in which a vicious scientist hunts down each of his laborers who works in and around his estate, which is supposed to be free of the plague.
  • It’s 1861, during the opening months of the Civil War. The murder scene takes place inside of a gorgeous antebellum mansion in the deep, dark woods of the south where a family of wealthy landowners has gathered for a dinner in their honor.
  • It’s 1911, and you’ve been invited to attend the prestigious Gunpowder Club. Write a scene involving one of the members as he retrieves an old, dusty book from the library.
  • It’s 1917 and tension runs high between a French and German soldier on Christmas Eve. What happens when a lone English soldier walks into their barracks under the cover of darkness?
  • Write a chapter inside the point of view of an injured soldier during the darkest hours of World War I. Be creative with details.
  • You are thrown into one of the biggest therapy problems of the 21st century. Now, write a scene in which you have opened a counseling office atop one of the highest buildings in 2035 London.
  • Write a story where a modern-day pirate boards the sinking Titanic. The author may focus on the emotional struggle of the thief to withhold his respect for the legendary ship while stealing valuable jewelry.  The author can choose to also explore survival techniques and detail the sinking.
  • It’s 1899, and famed Danish archaeologist, Thorvald Sorenson has witnessed the eruption of Vesuvius first hand. Now, you decide what happens in the aftermath of the eruption.
  • It’s February 14th, and Marsha is celebrating the most anticipated day of her life–her birthday. However, things don’t go according to plan. She wakes up feeling strange. Something’s wrong with her hair, and it grows rapidly right before her eyes, making her face look crooked. She looks down and sees that her nails have changed colors. The eyes staring back at her in the mirror are unfamiliar, and the husky, alien voice that whispers “Happy Birthday, Mart” sounds as alien as the face staring back at her.
  • That same evening, you and a team of colleagues are shipped to a vast valley in search of an initial Viking settlement. Excited by this opportunity, your best friend becomes jealous and fears that you will replace him on the team. Overcome your weakness by writing a chapter that involves your battle for power.
  • It’s the Titanic in 1912, and your character has found an old memoir inside of a forgotten cabin. As your character reads the first few pages, it soon becomes clear that the writer was closer to the icy waters than he originally thought.
  • Bad weather forces you to stay overnight in a remote Scottish inn. Write the scene where you meet the innkeeper and spend the evening.
  • Tell the story of Joan of Arc from the perspective of a young peasant girl in 1428 France whose father works in one of the many nearby mills which supplies grain and flour to the royal houses in Paris.
  • Towns are known for having one of those old, abandoned cemeteries on their outskirts. Write a scene about a man who becomes obsessed with finding out who his ancestor was buried in.
  • What if George Washington confronted a traitor in his midst while he was encamped at Valley Forge?
  • It’s 543AD, and you’re the last survivor of a Saxon family murdered by foul means. Your brother’s killer has taken his crown and his wife. You’ve sworn revenge.
  • The Emancipation Proclamation is pushed into effect. Your story begins seven years later in Kentucky. A recently freed slave, who once escaped from slavery during the Civil War, faces a brutal winter turning free. They must return to living in slavery or die trying to escape.
  • It’s 1825 and you need to charter a boat that can carry your new invention to a prestigious New York inventor’s show, where you can win a prestigious award.
  • A fly-on-the-wall book that describes the day in the life of a 1930s vaudeville performer.
  • It’s 1974, and Watergate is in the past. In a racy, made for tv drama, a young reporter obsesses with a missing mink coat.
  • You’ve just arrived at the bus station in an unknown town en route to an extended vacation in the north. Suddenly, you get caught up in a missing person case, and it is up to you to become an amateur sleuth and discover the truth.
  • To save a Russian fashion designer’s reputation at a 1911 Parisian dress show, you find yourself searching for a rare four-leaf clover instead.
  • Like yourself, your main character lives in a town filled with strangers, so she introduces herself by writing their personal ad for the small town paper.
  • It’s 280 AD and the Roman Empire is in its dying days. Write a chapter in which a decaying prefect is ordered by the emperor to find the body of a recently deceased emperor and place him in a bridal gown.
  • It’s 1989. Two United States Navy ships, a battleship nicknamed the Missouri and an even larger, under-construction vessel named the New Jersey, collide during a blizzard in the Atlantic. How do the two crews survive?
  • Your character has been accepted to participate in The Wall Street Journal’s Spelling Bee. What literary character is going to bring her to her knees?
  • It’s 1846. A young woman is a veteran of the American West, now telling her grandchildren about her most famous gunslinging exploits.
  • It’s a steam-powered vessel in the 1880’s crossing the stormy Atlantic. People aboard the ship have begun to turn insane with fears of mermaids attacking from below the waterline.
  • It’s 1776, and the British Army has marched through Washington, D.C. during the height of the Revolutionary War. Write a scene in which a young woman was wounded during the march, and another character must take care of her.
  • It’s 1890 and the streets of San Francisco are crawling with Charlie Chan at the scene of a brutal opium den bludgeoning.
  • In 1848, the Atlantic Ocean stretched as far as the eye could see. It is a treacherous journey for those on a makeshift raft desperately searching for food and fresh water. Commit a piece of unplanned madness during the journey.
  • It’s 1937, and you are a young Jewish monster living in Germany with your family. Write a scene in which you go to a movie theatre that advertises free rearm and you and your friends intend on taking what you initially believe to be vastly too good to be true.
  • It’s 1941 and the Japanese have conquered Pearl Harbor. Write an operation from the viewpoint of a young Hawaiian teenager who has joined a covert band of Americans who strive to sabotage invading Japanese aircraft carriers supplied by the Judy Canova character. The Alamo is the shining star of a primitive Texas town in 1836. Write a morning training session where a defensive scout encourages a newcomer, Jim Bowie, a former gunsmith from Tennessee, to follow his future-revealed vision.
  • It’s April 1, 1616, and you are the apothecary apprentice working under the watchful eyes of your boss, Lord Robert Hooke. Write a chapter in which you poison the wrong man, and have to concoct an antidote immediately before leaving a will behind on paper.
  • Underwater divers east of Naples uncover an unidentified wrecked ship that dates back to 167 BC. What was it doing there?
  • Your family is being held hostage by a pirate on a derelict slave ship in the Caribbean. You must do exactly as he says in order to ensure their safety.
  • It’s 1942, and the city you live in is under heavy anti-aircraft fire. You’ve been providing smokescreens for your country’s fleet, but they’ve run out. What is your duty as a soldier?
  • A gentle breeze blew through the opening gates of the 55th World’s Fair in 1956. You walk in and get separated from the rest of your family. Panic slowly rises inside of you as you try to find your way back.
  • Brainstorm loose talking points to be used in a debate between George Washington and Benedict Arnold over whether or not to burn Richmond to the ground.
  • It’s 1925, and the Kennedy family has watched the movie The Phantom of the Opera. During the drive home, a terrible automobile accident lands their father in a persistent vegetative state. What if the Kennedy son decided to bring that movie character to life inside of the family mansion?
  • Imagine you are living in the California Gold Rush in 1850. In the clutches of the infamous Donner Party, you become a sacrifice to the mysterious forces hiding somewhere in the Cascade Mountains.
  • Undertake the challenge of writing a short story set during the Cold War, deprive your character of a familiar item to open up the possibility of unleashing certain information that they would have never dared divulge in real life.
  • It’s the 3rd century BC. One of Aesop’s fables will be performed on stage. Write a theatrical performance scene in which a main character’s inability to see or understand what is happening results in hullabaloo.
  • You have been named an heir to a 50 million dollar estate. However, only 600,000 dollars remain in the dowry. Write a letter, taking any situation that results from spending too much too fast, to your distant cousin begging for help.
  • What if an airplane fell from the sky in World War II and a Japanese spy was found unconscious on board? Write a scene describing how the spy and a fellow survivor work together to strike a deal with a Trapper in Alaska.
  • Storm of the Century. As a mysterious red rain sweeps the towns across England, local author Phillip Stamm sets out to uncover the cause of his wife’s mysterious illness.
  • It’s 1999, and the setting is downtown Chicago, Illinois. Write a scene where two detectives are conducting an undercover investigation in a public library, unaware that a string of murders are about to be committed.
  • It’s 1818 and you are working as the cabin boy aboard a luxurious sea filled yacht during the coronation of King George IV. Write a scene in which you encounter the infamous Lighthouse Murderer during the voyage.
  • Xena the Warrior Princess has prevailed in battle by eliminating all of her enemies. During a parade in her honor, an animal rights activist throws red paint on her armor, causing a lot of chaos. The reader should have a lot of fun with the character of Xena.
  • Abandoned at a young age, a young fiddler leaves the Midwest with a wild west show. Ten years later he pulls his beaten, blindfolded brother from the depths of a frozen-over canal on Christmas Day.
  • It’s 1927, and you have been hired by the US government to help build the well needed Hoover Dam. Write a short scene that involves the various crew members throughout one week of their lives.
  • An audience gathers at a video store for an amateur night storytelling contest. One by one, a handful of challengers rise from their seats, eager to tell their story to the amusement of the crowd. Each story is unique, well developed, and deliberate – except one. Choose any character of your choosing and write his or her ill prepared introduction that shatters the show. Write an ending that suits him or her.
  • It’s 1956 and Tobago has become an Indian Ocean base for 1954 revolutionaries. Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth II charter a yacht to Tobago in an attempt to negotiate peace between the Chinese Prime Minister and the uprising. Unfortunately, the trip quickly deteriorates into disaster when the ‘Blackburn Phantom’, which is most easily believed to be the ‘Phantom of the Opera’ becomes stranded on the yacht. It’s up to the Prime Minister to repair and execute the job before night and the Queen are killed.
  • This is what happened. It all started in Peru – Year 2012 – 1212 AD…
  • Roughly twenty years after the American Revolution, an apprentice newspaper writer and an apprentice physician meet at Mate’s Tavern in Baltimore discussing patriotism and the death of a patriot suspected of being a part of a conspiracy.
  • It’s 1967, and riots have broken out in the city of Detroit. The Lefty store Downtown is burning to the ground, your next door neighbor is dead, you are hiding in the back of your kitchen, and you know if you venture out into the neighborhood you’re going to meet up with those who would rather you were dead.
  • In 1839, the world received news that British soldiers had taken control of the citadel of Kabul during the height of British reign over India. Write an action scene in which one of the British soldiers badmouths the citadel’s leader in front of the British troops during a war council.
  • For Halloween, write a scene from the point of view of the last person on earth to realize an evil spirit has returned for revenge.
  • Use a male first person point of view in which a young man who has a family legacy of casting spells is torn between typical pursuits for an English boy/man and pursuing his family legacy.
  • It’s 2003, and the fighting in Iraq is at its worst. Write a scene in which an American soldier transfers heavy munitions from a storage depot.
  • It’s 2021 and scientists are near finalizing work on a made-for-Earth microorganism that feeds on carbon dioxide to properly manage the greenhouse effect.
  • A poetic monologue spoken by the Statue of Liberty as she yearns to know what it is like to live in the physical world. Write this from the idea that everyone in the physical world was once a person that had their life times ago.
  • Being the sole survivors of a crashed plane left you the only score witnesses to a bloody crime. Will you be able to save the next set of victims?
  • A quiet fishing village has been turned upside down with the arrival of a traveling group of photojournalists in the early 1900s based out of New York City.
  • In 1932, the world met at the Chicago World’s Fair. Write a story about a young boy who sneaks through the front gates and stumbles into the fantasy world of an old puppet master.
  • Fear grips the citizens of a small town in Kentucky where a century old crypt of a renowned abolitionist miraculously springs to life—this time harboring an evil soul.
  • It’s 1890, and you’re a reporter who’s off to cover Prince Harry’s wedding. What’s your novel about?
  • It’s 1974, and many crimes have taken place in the very last days of December. Write a mystery or suspense story dealing with a character in a snowstorm.
  • It’s 1906 in San Francisco, and two social activists are planning the biggest anarchist protest the world has ever seen. Write a story in which a sheriff and a judge plan a preemptive strike to stop the protest from taking place.
  • Pull out your steampunk clothes and set in the Victorian Era where many of the everyday people have created steam-powered – and often terrifying – man-made robots. It’s 1858, and a group of injured tin miners find themselves taking refuge inside of a dingy, underground tavern. Write a frightening scene detailing their encounter with a sinister robot bartender that no one has programmed in good working order.
  • It’s 1819 Texas and an orphan girl named Rosalie works hard to earn top status among the women in the unit of the famous Jim Bowie. Facing destitution, you meet a stranger on a train carrying gold bound for Lexington, Kentucky. He asks you to pose as his bride to help him evade pursuit by the law.
  • To publicize the new novel, “A Darker Shade of Light,” an aspiring horror novelist holds a book signing in a local bookstore. It’s 1875 in San Francisco, and the painter Jackson Pollock has begun a new project. Will he be able to finish it before he hits rock bottom?
  • It’s 1317, and you and your friend have been kidnapped by a medieval pirate lord during a fierce storm at sea. In writing your own pirate adventure story, make sure to use rich descriptive detail and historical facts about the era to make your story believable.
  • Animals are taking over. Humans must create three covenants to live in peace. Write a short story about your favorite animal in a future world where they govern all.
  • It is 1927 and Amelia Earhart has been missing for four days. Write an opening scene that takes place aboard her plane not long after takeoff.
  • In the aftermath of the Chicago World’s Fair, an isolationist reporter agrees to cover a series of strange murders in order to redeem himself in the eyes of his editor.
  • It’s 16th century Venice, and you, a nobleman in search of love and fortune, strike a bargain with the infamous Magistrioni family that could save you from financial ruin, or lead you to your absolute demise!
  • Are you on the right side of history? Write a scene based on the perspective of either one of the 3 witches chanting upon the heath of Shakespeare’s Macbeth or Lady Macbeth, pointing her husband in the right direction as to how to proceed with killing Duncan.
  • It’s the 1950’s, and an air traffic controller in Nevada has to clear a fast, incoming storm immediately and divert a jumbo jet from heading straight into it.
  • It’s 1959 and Weapon X captures your mutant ability to communicate with animals. As a test item for the Bolivian Mutate accords, write an angry Ruby and her heroine nemesis, Cinderella.
  • You and your best friend are on a backpacking trip out deep into the sandbox, when suddenly you lose them in a thick cloud of sand. You are now lost.
  • It’s 1665 and pirates have attacked a merchant ship called the “Guiding Light” off the coast of Jamaica.
  • It is 1950, and a woman receives a phone call from her husband, who served overseas in WWII, asking for a divorce. Write a scene in which that man’s children try to convince him not to go through with the divorce with a kidnapping or other act of mischief.
  • It is the year 2001, and the world is preoccupied with an alien invasion. One man must come to the realization that he is the chosen one to save his family.
  • A diverse group of essentially misdirected souls attempt to flee execution as they head west on the Oregon Trail in 1846.
  • It’s 1863, and the Civil War is in full swing. Inspired by the legendary H.H. Holmes, write an account of an alleged hotelier who uses his guests to add to his dinner menus.
  • It’s 1915, and a group of Italian sisters searching for their mother become part of the infamous healing art of trepanation.
  • Write a dialogue between two different slaves on the realities of running away during America’s civil war.
  • It’s 1827 and a mysterious sailor is found washed up on a deserted beach without any ships in sight. Write about the revealing of secrets and the convincing of others that the shipwrecked man was from another planet.
  • The day is December 7, 1941, and the Japanese have bombed Pearl Harbor. Write a program transcript between an English sailor and Captain on the USS Arizona.
  • It’s 1180, and The Third Crusade is in full swing. Write a fictional piece detailing a war council including King Richard the Lionheart.
  • The year is 1901, and gangsters are running rampant in Chicago. Write a scene where the vigilante struggles with moral dilemmas.
  • It’s the “Summer of Love” in 1967, and a long-haired hippie falls in love with a member of a psychedelic rock band on tour. This band is a backup band for Big Brother and the Holding Company.
  • In 1098, you are sailing home from the Crusades when your ship is attacked by pirates. Write the scene where your crew try to stay alive against impossible odds.
  • Describe what happens when a photographer snaps a cigarette out of Darth Vader’s hand during a 1977 Star Wars convention.
  • It’s 1639 and you are a sailor on an airship that is transporting armadas of convicted criminals to as yet undiscovered lands across the globe.
  • Run through the streets of Paris from the rise of the guillotine while being chased by the King’s Guard and the Secret Police in 18th century France.
  • It’s 12th century Japan, and your story takes place in the wake of a legendary fire at the Todosaka cathedral.
  • It is 1215, and Llywelyn ap Gruffudd is King of Gwynedd. Write a scene in which a young Prince, even as ruler, must obey his father’s desires, whether he be happy with them or not.
  • It’s 1688, and a Lieutenant’s servant carries a message that sparks vicissitudes between the British Royal forces and an Indiaman Whaling ship crewed by Dutch pirates.
  • In the 19th century, the French painter Élisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun teamed up with her mentor Nicolas Hayer to commit a series of thefts from the grand Hotels of Paris.
  • It is 16thcentury Japan, and you wake up from being lost on a hill of bamboo trees. You do not know where you are or who you are.
  • It’s the early 20th century, and you have dealt yourself into a game of Texas Hold’em with no money down. Deal yourself five aces. Now what?
  • It’s 1860 in Atlanta, Georgia, during the start of the American Civil War. Write a scene in which a country preacher attempts to offer spiritual guidance to a group of five Confederate secessionists who hatch the plot to burn Atlanta in an attempt to destroy General Sherman’s supplies in his battle to the West.
  • It’s The Great Depression, and corrupt bankers have disrupted the market by hoarding all forms of money. Write a story about an elderly farmer and her mentally challenged son who turn to a life of crime in order to survive the hardships in their valley.
  • It is 1958. You have just infiltrated a top-secret laboratory deep beneath the Nevada desert known to employ human subjects in cruel and inhumane experimentation where hypno-conditioned victims are unaware that it would be murder if they did.
  • It’s the 1920’s in Finland. You are a school teacher and must come up with a creative writing exercise in the form of a contest entry, where your student can win a thousand rupees for their writing. However, when you try to get in touch with your student, the police phone you instead to reveal some very unsettling information about the student’s parents.
  • Give the famous, historical queen Marie Antoinette a place in your heart, despite her apathetic-sounding, much-criticized responses to the ever-growing cries and criticisms of her starving people. And let these be the words of a woman who never saw a revolution coming.
  • It’s March 30, 1613 and the Santa Maria docks in the Caribbean island of San Salvador. The mutinous crew hoist the skull and crossbones over the Santa Maria and declare it the pirate ship Jolly Roger. Memories of that night are still ingrained in the minds of the island natives centuries later. Australian author Tim Winton jumps off the ship to land on the shore of San Salvador and tells the story of that night.
  • The year is 1791, and you have to solve a puzzling mystery about a priest and protect your reputation as a scientist at the world’s first criminology conference in Italy.
  • In the year 1202, a young boy named Michel makes one of the most difficult decisions of his life when he is enrolled in the Temple Knights. Later in his life, Michel faces betrayal by a friend that ultimately ruins a secret Templar expedition.
  • It’s 2015, and the city has hit rock-bottom. The infrastructure has closed in, making walking from one place to the next a journey to cover several miles. Today, you will go from the top of the hill to the bottom.
  • You awaken from what creates either a hangover or a major head injury to find your friend mysteriously murdered, and that you are the prime suspect!
  • It’s 1415 and the English army has besieged the castle. Write a scene in which a medieval peasant describes what he saw through his chamber window when the noble lord is accused by his opponent of betraying his king.
  • It’s 1889, and the Cold War is starting to heat up. A series of suspicious Russian techniques have led the British to enlist the help of the undecided Wallace and Gromit.
  • One of your private journal entries surfaces, and thousands of readers find themselves enthralled as the pages describe a secret summer from your childhood on a Pacific Island. However, it’s your “day in the life” descriptions that stir the most interest.
  • Claire, a woman in charge of managing a port city, comes across the outlaw crew of a Spanish privateer.
  • It’s 1893 and Martha Stewart has standardized the art of home management. Write an opening scene for a novel depicting a woman going about her daily duties with her 12 stereotypical servants and children.
  • A merchant sailor from 1844 wakes up in present day New York City and struggles to find his way in the modern world.
  • Another writing prompt is to take a hit off of your Lipton tea, cough, and then write an anecdote describing the contents of your next dream.
  • Amazonian Indians have disappeared somewhere deep into the western Amazonian rain forest. Write in the point of view of the tribe’s fearless leader as he searches for those who disappeared. Write this in a tense, action-filled setting of an obstacle-ridden land.
  • A first date turns tragic when your female friend and her husband drive over the edge of a poor man’s property and crash their new Mercedes. Not only do you have to pick her up from the hospital, but her husband is dead as a result of the crash.
  • It’s 1008, and the town magistrate of English abbey Selby sends his two eldest sons to bring inside the bodies of nine French citizens who recently died at the hands of the Vikings.
  • You are hanging upside down, tied to a tree in the middle of snowy Siberia. What do you say about yourself to the stranger looking in the window so they will think you are a French princess that needs rescuing?
  • You are a journalist in 1920’s America who stumbles into a haunted house in Niagara Falls where you are spied upon by a ghost.
  • What will happen 240 years from now? Create a futuristic piece depicting the future of a modern city.
  • In the year 3091 speak about a group of barn owner colonists.
  • It’s the early 21st century in the rural area of northern California. In an attempt to reconnect with nature one Saturday morning, you take a dirt bike out for a ride deep into the hills. But, after hours without cell reception and a run-in with some out-of-the-ordinary hunters, you are left with the unnerving feeling that you are not alone in these woods.
  • When Thor walked the earth and protected mankind, there was great evil in the mountains to the north. Write a story in which an aged member of the wandering tribes who escaped the destruction of that evil, tells about the end of times.
  • It is 1989, and President Bush has just launched Operation Desert Storm. Write the F-117 AC-130 Gunship’s Point of View during the first night of the war as they engage the enemy.
  • A riot is about to break out in Paris during the 1830’s. Write a conversation between the captain of the guards and the temporary commander of the guards about to face the crowd that they are going to scatter with sabres.
  • Your aunt returns home from St. Lucia with a strange, exotic gift. She invites you to reopen this present at her wedding. As you’re about to cut the last ribbon, you discover a disturbing content inside that changes your life forever.
  • When Lizzie Borden’s father and stepmother are brutally murdered, nobody is particularly surprised. After all, they certainly had plenty of enemies, but the case remains a riddle from beginning to end because Lizzie herself is acquitted by a jury of her peers.
  • It’s 1950 in West Germany, and your father has been kidnapped by the Red Brigade. Write a chapter in the point of view of one of the kidnappers with an ironic twist where it is up to one of the other kidnapped spy’s family members, who did not previously know the identity of the spy, to go undercover in order to recover their kidnapped loved one.
  • In the closing days of WWI, three men confine themselves to an underground bunker in no man’s land. Two are allied forces and one is the enemy.
  • Write a chapter in the point of view of a Chinese warlord during the Three Kingdoms era. Create a diary entry where the warlord writes about the unrest stirring up in his lands, and the relation to the Three Kingdoms era, and the possible future of China.
  • It’s 1831 and you are facing death by hanging for a murder you didn’t commit. Write the story of your life on the night prior to your execution.
  • It is 1864 and Canada is decomposing from not having a national government within its borders since 1840. Write a scene set in Quebec that depicts a struggle for democracy between Canada’s French and English populations.
  • It’s 1914, and the world is about to end. Write a scene depicting a frivolous stay-at-home spouse struggling to make her day memorable on the day that Europe went to war.
  • It’s 1960, and you’re in a police chase in a smoky, humid city on the coast of the United States deep in the heart of the turmoil of the unrest during the Civil Rights Movement.
  • It is the year 2017 and the Internet has become a location for otherworldly, alien beings which abduct the personalities of soldiers fighting in the Iraqi War. The point of view is from a soldier inside of a vehicle going back to base when a superhuman being jumps out onto the hood of the vehicle and demands that the soldier write his biography.
  • Write a scene in which a nun is suspected of murdering one of the most powerful men in Europe while hiding out in a forest near the snow-capped Swiss Alps in the mid 1600s.
  • It’s 1921. To enforce Prohibition, the government has hired some notorious gangsters. Take on the role of a sophisticated lady gangster during one of the gangsters most notorious bank heists as she attempts to gather as much money as she can before the FBI arrests the whole gang’s crew.
  • It is 15th century Florence, Italy. Write a scene in which a young boy holds up a sign for his family’s business and steals some money out of curiosity.
  • When you’re writing historical fiction, think deep and connect not only with the plot but the time period as well. All of your ancestors would be proud. Use the tips above to outline and even power through your historical fiction writing project.
  • It is 1998, and you’ve been admitted to the hospital for respiratory problems. Your brother stays by your side, and clandestinely goes through your belongings while you’re sleeping. Write the story of your brother’s escapades that take place in your bedroom while the world around you sleeps.
  • It’s 1865, right at the end of the Civil War, and you’ve been selected as the protector of President Lincoln’s missing son. What heinous events will you undergo to ensure his safe return?
  • Make the captain of the Titanic the main character and educate the reader by retelling what really happened when the ship scratched the iceberg. Tell how the ship sank, and perform a character analysis on the captain – do the heroics he claimed to have.
  • It’s 1798, and King George II of Great Britain charges Joshua Nunn with the task of finding swords of the Knights Templar for his own private collection. Nunn soon finds himself embroiled in a web of deception and murder, ultimately risking his life by going after the sword of Micheal Moris, a legendary knight who once navigated the Roman–Parthian Wars with confidence.
  • For your first scene, try tackling a flashback that does not have an ending to stay inside the realm of plausibility.
  • When it comes to prehistoric dinosaurs, everyone’s talking about Triceratops. Write a scene in which a hunting party comes across a huge flock of Microraptors.
  • It’s 1895, and Chief Dakota and his tribe have camped along the Dakota River. At eight thousand miles wide, the mid-section of the river is home to creatures of the deep. Write a fictional report of a sighting of a sea monster swimming down the river.
  • It’s 1899, and you’ve been hired as a writer for the Chicago World’s Fair. Write a scene in which you give advice to a struggling inventor trying to finalize the first automobile.
  • In a single day at the Christmas Eve dinner table, write a story about why each character seems to be sad despite the momentous occasion.
  • The year is 1906, and you have just been sold into slavery to work on the Hawaiian sugar cane fields. Write a scene that explains why you did not try to run away, and include two characters who were likely a part of this event.
  • How would you go about discovering who framed George Washington for treason in the late 18th century?
  • An aerial view of a deserted Civil War battlefield sparks a flashback in your protagonist reminding him/her of a grave sin that he/she buried there.
  • It’s 1945 and the world is on the brink of World War II. Write a deep dark wartime romance between two Russian spies during the early 1930s when tensions were high between the USSR and Japan.
  • The year is 9 AD, and the famous vacationing detective Nero Wolfe solves the murder of one of his obnoxious dinner companions during a trip to Rome.
  • Stranded alone inside of an abandoned research laboratory, the air loses oxygen at an alarming rate, and your only companion is a seemingly unfriendly AI laptop.
  • As two mysterious viking boats emerge over a sand dune, one viking rises out of the boat and stares at the remains of his friend . He has to make a difficult decision.
  • Ophelia is a Zen Buddhist healer who finds herself enrolled in 17th century medical school where she encounters a different type of poison.
  • This is a list of open prompts that should give you ample space to be creative and show your inner writer.
  • Write a paragraph in which you discuss the lives of ordinary people who were present in England during the 1348 outbreak of the bubonic plague.
  • What do you do when the body you buried in your neighbor’s garden thaws out 30 years later?
  • Remember those rash moments when you found yourself saying things in front of a crowded room that you instantly regretted? Write a scene in a setting like at a slumber party or at a family dinner party where someone says something that has a lasting impact after you get home that night.
  • It is the Great Depression of the 1930s, and you are Hitler’s personal secretary. Write a scene in which the Fuehrer recalls the events that led to his rise to power.
  • It’s 1723, and you are a resident of Salem during the witch trials. Boston is close by, and you have been offered boarding by a close Christian friend. Through this new relationship, you learn that your friend’s daughter has romantic feelings towards you. Write how you direct your close friend through the awkward family situation.
  • What role does justice play in the aftermath of the Civil War? Write a scene where a group of freed slaves clashes with Ku Klux Klan members in rural Alabama.
  • When a world-renowned painter’s masterpiece, a portrait of King Ethelred the Unready, mysteriously goes missing, Inspector Athelstan is brought in to investigate.
  • Write a labor union chapter of a hippie commune during the summer of 1967’s revolutionary uprising in a small community of North ——, USA.
  • How was life on the prairie in 1880? Describe it in a scene about a ragtag family seeking to homestead on the frontier with hopes of a better life.
  • During the Middle Ages, a lovelorn maiden is attempting to walk across the Great Moors to dispose of some love potion she has prepared. Unfortunately, the concoction has had a horrible side effect causing her to believe that a hideous ogre from the Black Forest is in love with her.
  • It’s 1963 in Mississippi and the KKK is going after a significant civil rights activist. Write a scene where the activist is hiding at the home of a supportive local family.
  • It’s 2005, and Gerald Ford is wandering around a college campus. Write a chapter about the directions he gets on where to go and what time a certain meeting will take place.
  • It’s three o’clock in the morning on Christmas Eve. An expectant new father repeatedly paces an attic, not wanting to wake his sleeping wife, pleased with the presence of his cats, and anxious about the man in a red suit on his rooftop with an ax.
  • A boy can dream. But what they dream of, and how it can impact their future, may be much, much different than they imagined. Write a scene in which a young man climbs a tree while lost in love for the first time.
  • It’s the year 1892 and your character has received a distressing letter from family at the Kapi’olani Maternity and Gynecological Hospital.
  • Throw a narrator into the scene of a surreal Japanese Noh stage performance and see how they navigate through it.
  • Set in the twilight years of a dying man stuck in the bleak, rural winter with the wife who has no longer the energy to abide by his every selfish whim.
  • It’s the year 2077, and the ice caps have thinned from the effects of global warming. Scientists manage to rescue a piece of plant tissue from one of the last existing trees on earth in a last hope to save the species.
  • You’re the official scribe for the British Royal Family and the year is 1830. Write a scene in which the monarch is furious at the English public for not taking the monarchy more serious than they do.
  • In 1830 a French trapper named Pierre, who’d journeyed west in search of furs, arrived in Missouri. He winds up trapped in a lethal game of love and betrayal between two women.
  • Or, write a historical fiction novel involving a Royal Family where a French or American heir to the throne is engaged in an affair during the reign of Louis XIV.
  • You are home alone, and when out of nowhere, somebody drives up and scopes out your place. All of a sudden chaos erupts as bullets start flying through your walls—literally. You are determined to survive this attempt on your life.
  • It’s 1899, and you’ve just purchased an abandoned house in your new hometown of Sleepy Hollow. Everyone says the former owner met with a horrifying death and they weren’t the least bit surprised to find the owner gone. They even claim the town’s only resident superstitious gravedigger is capable of resurrecting the dead.
  • It’s the Great Depression and, as a young boy, your family moves from town to town due to your father’s gambling addiction. Write about a historical character you hold close to your heart that was born during this time period.
  • Recreate historic first heard from the point of view of a famous inventor like Van Gogh, Da Vinci, or Beethoven.
  • A young man builds a magical flying machine just as World War II begins to brew. He heads off into the dark in his sky-machine to attempt reconnaissance, but is suddenly shot down by a Nazi flying machine and left for dead.
  • It’s 1914, right before the 1st World War that has engulfed Europe begins. You, a German U-boat captain, receive a distress call from the civilized English. The problem is, you’re under orders to sink every British ship you come across. A medical ship, on which lay ill children and adults is attempting to escape the clutches of the German navy, but they are quickly overtaken. What are the captain’s options?
  • Imagine you are psychic and you already know how your life is going to turn out. Now write an essay explaining what your major life decisions would have been, and how you would have acted differently.
  • Write about a small group of English thieves and their involvement with a small group of Native Americans in 1983 when Fort Knox was finally opened for the first time in fifty years.
  • While skiing down a hill in a Norwegian forest, you stumble upon a Viking museum. The owners can’t see you and invite you inside for the night. Write a dialogue in which they reveal the details surrounding a great Viking warrior’s final battle.
  • It’s the autumn of 1936, and Abraham Lincoln is preparing to address the nation on the topic of labor unions that are being chosen in various factories in the region.
  • Write a moment in which the technology board of 1888 comes to a mysterious, unexplained conclusion.
  • A group of teens who go to a private school to learn their “gifts” develop telekinesis. They use their knowledge to manipulate their schoolmates and faculty into oblivion. What if someone had one last cure only found in natural calamities of the past?
  • Your native village is set ablaze in the late 16th century. You, and your family seek an area for safety.
  • A man sits in his ship, full of wreckage on the shore of Montezuma, believed to be in the lands of the Aztecs, drinking sour wine, his crew busy taking care of the raft. Write about his sinking dreams for treasure.
  • What if you discovered a hotel key in your pocket and ended up inside a glowing, mirage-like hotel in the Middle East?
  • In the middle of the California Gold Rush, a young woman is on the trail of her missing fiancé. Write a scene in which she arrives upon a suspicious gold mine.
  • Some places such as Chicago’s Navy Pier possess a significant amount of history. Visit a historical landmark, museum, or landmark in your area and write about it from a historical viewpoint.
  • It’s 1879, and you are an African American boy who gets separated from his mother on their way to Kansas to head west. He happened upon a hanging, and now he is terrified to find his way back home on foot to save his mother before they’re both killed.
  • Write about a group of sailors who execute mutiny in an 18th-century sailing ship on its way to the war with Algiers.
  • It’s 1863, and bands of renegade Native Americans have been attacking the small town of Springfield in the California Desert. Write a scene between a small group of trash burning vagrants, who may or may not be affiliated with the Indians, and the local townsfolk who they have been terrorizing over recent weeks.
  • It’s 215 BC. You are a military commander in the court of Hiero II of Syracuse. Write a speech where you show off your credentials and promise the crowd swift victory over the Carthaginians.
  • It’s 1928, and you’re an antiques dealer who receives a call from an old acquaintance with a job offer. When you arrive at his cabin hidden in the forests of rural Austria, he hands you a very valuable artifact from the early 1800s…and a pistol. He won’t accept the artifact back or Caucasus t until you kill him in exchange for little over a million dollars.
  • Write a romantic short story. It could be about finding love too soon, finding love in strange places, or having all feelings of love extinguished.
  • It’s too quiet, 1898 South Africa. The Zulu warriors have gone silent and moved on to their next target. However, something more deadly than their battle rhinoceros lies in wait.
  • A series of murders occurred in Naples in 1809. A traveling detective y forces his way into the investigation.
  • It’s the Great Depression and you are working as a guide at a prestigious museum which has a secluded Egyptian tomb in its basement. When 4 individuals break in, write a scene in which you use your knowledge of the exhibit to turn the tables on the intruders.
  • It’s the final game of the World Cup. Write the story in which the captain of Cerezo Osaka kicks the ball to the top left corner of the net to beat the Italian defense in 1986.
  • Too many characters in too short of a period of time collide in the Forest of Arden in Shakespeare’s play, “As You Like It.” Use that as a backstory for your story.
  • Well-dressed and manicured men and women sip brandy and play cards at a turn-of-the-century gambling club in London.
  • It’s 1952, and the detective division of the Chicago Police Department is perplexed after the grisly murder of a janitor found disemboweled inside one of the department’s interrogation rooms. Based on the known facts, where will you begin your investigation?
  • In the painting American Gothic by Grant Wood, the farmer is holding a pitchfork in the right hand and a scythe in the left. Write a story through an interview with the farmer’s sister, who holds a pose very similar to her brother in the painting.
  • Another experiment I’ll play with. Write for yourself using lines of poetry as titles.
  • Write a chapter showing Mark Twain’s experience as a soldier aboard the Confederate gun-boats targeting Union vessels during the Civil War.
  • Mystery writing prompts. Write a scene in which a popular judge is found stabbed to death in his courtroom after making a controversial ruling. His widow is arrested, and her hands are already stained with the blood of her husband.
  • For now, start practicing with these short writing prompts. Good luck.
  • It’s July of 1955, and a white woman in Mississippi feels a sudden surge of fear while visiting the local library. In wondering why, reveal the true heart of the Jim Crow history in the southern United States.
  • Dive into this prompt and write an old-fashioned adventure story about a group of people who are abruptly stranded on a small desert island. Brainstorm the storyline and work on character development.
  • You’ve been kidnapped by a cult of witch hunters, and it’s up to you to survive one night in a dark forest and steal a witch’s sacrificial ingredients before midnight.
  • Moulin Rouge burned in 1899, and the fire razed the decadent cabaret to the ground. A valuable stolen bracelet must be secured inside of a safe, However, a notorious gang of thieves infiltrates the area and demands that the owner hand over the treasure.
  • A murder takes place in the cramped reservation rooms of the Big House, and it is up to the tribe’s lawman to find the guilty party.
  • It’s 1898 and you’re stuck in the Sahara Desert down the shore of Tripoli where an epic battle between the French Foreign Legion and Tuareg warriors takes place.
  • Settle an old score from the Old West as a band of outlaws overtake a train in the wild terrain of Montana.
  • It’s the year 1266 England. Write a scene in which Lady Morgause, William the Conqueror’s sister, tries to outsmart the future king of England while crossing the treacherous English-Scottish border.
  • On a quiet day in the 16th century, it had been up to you to test the limits of mother nature with your reckless flying abilities. The unexpected happens and you find that years later, the French government seeks revenge against you for your catastrophic actions.
  • When Jenn keeps a secret from Amy about her burgeoning writing career, the two friends go on a trip where Amy realizes how much her friend has changed.
  • It’s 1918, and Europe is caught in the grip of the Spanish flu. Your protagonist might be the nurse who finds herself stuck caring for eight VIP patients.
  • Do you know the charge of the Light Brigade? Write a scene in which two men lead separate but critical elements of the charge that cost the lives of hundreds or even thousands of people and changed the course of warfare forever.
  • Before Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin took the moon, a skilled ________ took the lead.
  • Contemporary time travel to Nazi Germany, and write about an outspoken family that suspects a girl from their village was sent to a concentration camp.
  • A young journalist in the 1920s uncovers a powerful secret society considered to be highly controversial in culture and in history alike.
  • You have been selected to invent a new musical for the king himself. Instead, you choose to write “The Star Spangled Banner.” What happens when you’re discovered? Who or what events prompt the king to call for your death? Write a piece of historical fiction in which both the major and secondary characters are at the center of the action in Paris. Using your own tragic personal story, rewrite the facts of creation to illustrate God’s pursuit of your life. In the year 1919, you have just delivered your daughter and you’re alone in the hospital room with her when a priest walks in. He tells you that you have until midnight tonight to name her before she is given her true identity. Write a scene in which two characters from the past face difficult or dull days and circumstances. Things begin to look up, and suddenly one character is faced with temptation and what they must do in order to embark on a journey and decide for themselves how to proceed. You’re on a perilous boat ride with history’s most famous powerful figures. Where do you sit? What happens next? You’ve discovered that you’ve got special powers that you must use for the greater good. Things get into your way and try to make you doubt yourself, including your spouse. What do you do? What happens next?
  • Write a scene illustrating the complexity, creativity, and craziness of Ezra Pound’s finest hours.
  • Using a minimum of 12,000 words, write a heartwarming, magical fantasy story in which a scullery maid becomes a fairy godmother.
  • The Beale Treasure. In the mid-1800s, a man named Thomas J. Beale buried a treasure in the Virginia mountains. If the money can be found and deciphered, it would be worth millions today. If you found a pocket watch outside of the Nevada Mine, and cracked it open, you would find a secret message. Why is it important?
  • Using the supplies left in your garden shed, write a historical fiction short story where your protagonist uses the garden shed supplies to plan and perfect the heist of a library safe or a bank.
  • Upstate New York, 1870. Pitch a scene where Loyalists and Patriots—who are at war with one another—unite and face a common enemy.
  • It is 1863 and one of the great military minds of the Civil War is shot down in the heart of the battle field. Write a fiction story in which the fallen officer can find peace in death as the battle rages around him.
  • Meanwhile, write the same chapter in the point of view of a France executioner who is charged with punishing the English spy.
  • It’s 1490, and your character is a noble’s daughter who was enticed by a parlor trick played by a young Leonardo Da Vinci just after he designed his helicopter.
  • It is 1154, and King Henry II is sending his most celebrated knight on a quest to retrieve an item that legend says will grant its keeper the everlasting soul.
  • What would be the most effective way for Dracula to kill in public while keeping his identity a secret?
  • You’re a sophisticated princess in Imperial China with extravagant tastes. Your charming servant hides a dark secret which threatens to ruin your reputation. Aim for dramatic tension when he confesses his love amid expectations of duty.
  • Three years after an alien invasion, a group of survivors launch a mission to reconquer the city. Write a scene in which the leader exhorts the remaining group members on the importance of the mission.
  • It is 1915, and the world is at war. A British Army ambulance driver attempts to drive through no-man’s land beneath heavy gunfire.
  • What if Obi Wan was not present during the Jedi Padawan’s battle with Darth Maul? Write a murder mystery in which your main character tries to make sense out of what would become the Sith Lord’s very first murder.
  • Write a historical fiction dramatic scene in which a widow queen’s governess places her hand dead center on her princess’ hand and declares that her daughter is never meant to match with a man.
  • In the year 2050, due to immense popularity of dine in settings, GoOgle is ranked as America’s second most popular restaurant franchise by market share behind McDonalds. Write a story set in a new dine facility located within Grand Central terminal, in which the main course is human.
  • The Big Time Travel Door
  • It’s the Moorish conquest of Spain during the 8th century. An escaped slave returns to liberate Al-Andalus.
  • William Shakespeare is trying to find inspiration for his latest play. One night, he ventures off from the theater only to become trapped in a mysterious medieval castle. You can only imagine what happens next.
  • You are a reporter during the Siege of Vicksburg during the American Civil War. Write a character study story about a young person unable to decide which side he or she supports in the war.
  • In the late 1850s, the owners of a crumbling old estate in England hired a governess to tend to their children. But the family holds a dark past deep inside its ancestral walls.
  • It’s 10 years after a nuclear war has annihilated life on earth. You play an ancient, radioactive vagrant wandering the Midwest in search of other survivors seeking shelter at the Amazon rainforest. It’s 1442, the year exploration began in South America, writing an opening scene in which an Italian sailor makes the world’s first contact with Machu Picchu.
  • It’s St. Patrick’s Day 1887, and you stand in the middle of a real-life murder mystery. Everyone in town stands a witness to the brutal slaying of the local sheriff. And you just might be sentenced to death for the crime the town intends to pin on you.
  • An English manor house is being held hostage by a medieval lord after several dissenters attempt to rise up in a nearby village.
  • In this page-turning side piece to your historical novel, write about an encounter between a homesteader and a gold miner during the California Gold Rush of 1849.
  • It is 1941 and Hitler has invaded the Soviet Union. Discover what the harsh winters would be like for the German troops stuck on the front lines as you write a chapter in the POV of one of them.
  • One of the fishermen living on the island of Noirmoutier off the west coast of France known as the Île d’Yeu is a descendant of a slave brought over from Africa’s Gold Coast. He betrays his own kind of memory of his slave heritage. Who could his victim be?
  • Curiosity kills—write a scene between a human being and an indigenous creature deep in the jungle.
  • It’s presently 1936, and the Spanish Civil War rages unabated. A young blind man finds himself trapped behind enemy lines stripped of his belongings and belongings.
  • You are a steamboat mechanic in 1880s America. Explain why you believe the need for steamboats slowed down as the United States modernized.
  • It’s 1327, and a queen in mourning must wear a suit of thick armor and show strength through physical domination as she competes in jousting competitions against her husband as he is urged to remarry.
  • How would you react if your greatest fear became a reality? Create a short story with a twist in plot where the protagonist suffers from a phobia.
  • It’s 1854, and Yellowstone National Park has just been discovered and named by order of President Franklin Pierce. Write a scene from the point of view of one of the members of the expedition.
  • Back in 18th century Venice, rival opera houses staging competing operas enraged composers and promoters. Write a scene about a backstage murder during an opera performance.
  • Write a steampunk account of Sigmund Freud’s arrival in Vienna. His trade specialty will include the diagnosis and cure of common yet socially unacceptable neuroses – his services are valuable but find him continuously enslaved.
  • It’s 1907, and Lord Charles Baikie visits a warrior tribe deep in the Congolese jungle. Write the beginning chapter of a novel in which Baikie makes a routine stop to speak with a strange African social personage.
  • It’s 1951, and Jackie Robinson is just beginning his career as an African American baseball player. Write a scene in which the insults and degrading language from the opposing team and their fans reaches its peak after Robinson knocks a line drive into left field.
  • It’s 1812 and Napoleon has captured the city of Moscow in an attempt to conquer Russia. In a twist on the Grey’s Anatomy maxim, one of the attending surgeons turns out to be a woman, and the emperor’s only hope for survival.
  • Little Jack Ripper, the world’s first serial killer, escapes from a sanatorium and walks the streets of Victorian London. Capture his madness in a twenty minute flash fiction piece.
  • It’s a rainy Sunday afternoon, and you decide to visit the library… Write a scene in which a frustrated narrator disobeys rules of society by reading a forbidden book.
  • What if the early years of the Great Depression America was plagued by giant bee attacks?
  • What would happen if a group of missionaries got stranded in the rainforest during the 16th century?
  • It’s autumn in London, and a lady in waiting is poisonously jealous of her mistress’ new gown. Describe her attempts to destroy it.
  • During the Napoleonic Wars, write a scene in which two French nationals attempt to escape persecution by the English on Napoleon’s orders.
  • With France at war, you are sent behind enemy lines to rescue a childhood friend of yours. Her brothers’ evil plan involves harvesting wildlife.
  • It’s June 21, 1969, and Neil Armstrong has just set foot on the moon. Write the historical moment in the point of view of one of the three astronauts on the Apollo 11 space mission.
  • A Barbie and Ken-like pair of teenage Americans travel to Paris to meet up with their minister father and fall in love with the mysterious young girl who lives across the hall from the hotel they are staying at.
  • It’s 1870, and the construction of an experimental submarine in Marseille, France, was regarded as a dredging of innovation in air travel. Write an expository or narrative story about a French writer who has decided to take his final experimental ride.
  • A daring chase by foot ensues through the streets of Florence, Italy as a poor teenager pursues a thief who stole his family’s prized heirloom.
  • It’s 1907, and the world is already filled with automobiles, but the man credited as being the first to put an engine on a bicycle is dying. He has one last moment to see his greatest creation. As the crowd gathers around this historic hill, he must convince them to finalize his greatest commission.
  • It’s the colonial era in North America, and a group of Native Americans invade a frontier farm. In the ensuing battle, a frontiersman is thrown in a lake where he experiences déjà vu. He is compelled to relive his near-death moments over and over again until he finds a way to escape.
  • Where are you when your entire village is suddenly sunken into the ocean? Write about survival from a first-person point of view.
  • It is South Africa in 1910 and two warring tribes are at war in a battle for their very right to drink from the Zambezi river.
  • It’s 1681, and you have been kidnapped and taken to a prison camp in the Netherlands. Write an inspirational historical short story in which you use the innate determination of the human spirit to succeed.
  • In 1665, the English were seemingly being terrorized by a series of mysterious wild fires that followed the plague on their heels. Write a chapter in which John Willis, a Royal-American Guardsman, searches for whoever released the rats that caused the disease in the first place.
  • You are trapped inside of a jail cell in the Old West. Do something profound to get yourself out.
  • It’s the 1990s, and Hasbro has asked the New York artist Xavier Jones to replicate the Mona Lisa using a game off the company’s board called Stratego.
  • What would it be like to lead a team of men who must fend off an island run by gorillas hostile to the outside world?
  • When it comes to military technology, nothing says 16th century exploration more than pieces of artillery. In the year 1521, a ship did not make it to port after a small feud with a native tribe. During the investigation that follows, it is discovered that the crew of the ship had lost its mind and killed each other to survive. Write this scene in the point of view of the chief of the tribal police.
  • As a fan of the game Clue, write the scene in which the mansion’s owner is murdered at the library by a secret agent inside the house.
  • It’s 1850, and you are living and working on the United States’ Great Plains with the Pawnee Native American tribe. The Sioux leader Red Cloud receives word that a peaceful treaty is to be signed and he grows furious that the United States Army still insists on confining them on a reservation. He desires to fight back against this injustice. What happens? Write the plot of a movie you would like to see or a book you would like to read.
  • You are a Viking warrior.  Write a scene in which you are asked to tell a legendary undiscovered story surrounding your Gods.
  • It’s 1940, and the country is in the midst of World War II. Write a scene in which an American pilot crashes behind enemy lines in Belgium.
  • In 1945, a lone American soldier ventures off into the debris covered streets of Berlin in search of an old friend.
  • Mix a busman’s holiday with a cross-dresser and follow them as he draws the town of Brighton into a web of deception.
  • Follow the story of Anne of Cleves, Henry VIII’s 4th wife, from the point of view of a young woman whose marriage to a nobleman had been arranged but was saved by Anne’s collapse of health.
  • In the year 1050, a young monk departs from his monastery to trek across Cornwall with a motley group of travelers.
  • Write an unusual tale based on a news headline from history. Determine the time period and setting required, and then invent a backstory that matches.
  • During WWII, a refugee from Poland becomes the caregiver for Anne Frank in her beautiful new home episodes before they are discovered”.
  • With the backdrop of 17th century France at the rise of the Sun King, Cardinal Richelieu is lusting for the hand of the queen for his illegitimate son so that he can have a position next door to the king. In a twist of royal fate, logic must prevail or else conspire for a dramatic blackmail.
  • It is the 23rd century, and the flaming seas of Jupiter have mysteriously disappeared. Write a chapter in which a team of Special Forces struggles to find out the truth as they follow a set of trailblazing coordinates.
  • A mysterious boy suddenly appears in your bedroom. You are terrified until he tells you a secret that no one else knows, laying bare to you, his agony that no one else can share. Everything he says becomes a story you must find time to write down, but he only appears at night and vanishes at dawn.
  • It’s 1803, and Napoleon has just been crowned Emperor of France. Write about an English family returning from London to the quiet countryside after their son receives a mysterious invitation.
  • As a young monk in 16th century England who explores the dark secrets of a hidden library, you discover a book that could prove to be the ultimate tome of pure evil.
  • It’s 1937, and the United States is on the path to a depression. Write a scene about an outlaw who robs a bank in a tense scene with nearby citizens who can see the robbery taking place.
  • It is 1797, and Napoleon Bonaparte is in the middle of his campaign in Egypt. Write a scene involving a meeting between a French soldier and Bedouin raiders.
  • Writing at the mercy of her personal demons aboard a cruise ship in the middle of the Atlantic, a woman begins a descent into madness while a storm rages outside her window.
  • It’s winter 1989 in the Soviet Union and the northwestern backdrop is in the midst of an invasion. Write a scene about a woman abducted by the military.
  • You are attending an afternoon tea party in London in the 1830’s. The guests begin playing an old parlor game and you figure out their darkest secrets.
  • It’s 1780, and you are a spy for the American war and intelligence forces attempting to gather information about the details of Benedict Arnold’s infamous betrayal. Write a covert scene in which you relay information about your mission to General George Washington.
  • When Bostick House, an English estate, is invaded by the German Luftwaffe during World War II, one of the maids who makes her way upstairs must escape with her charge across enemy lines.
  • As a crime scene photographer working in London at the height of the Jack the Ripper investigation, you are running out of time to capture on film incriminating details from a crime scene.
  • It’s 1848 and in a fictitious town called Emanicopah, the Mormons are creating a stronghold. Based on rumors told, write a scene in which several of the Mormons defend themselves from an uprising from the neighboring cemetery with their special Book of Abraham.
  • During your last year as a foreign correspondent reporting on the Vietnam War, you befriend a Vietnamese girl who worked in the underground railroad attempting to smuggle U.S. soldiers in distress outside of the country.
  • It’s 1579, and the Elizabethan world is one of skulduggery. Cardinal Thomas Cranmer suffers the vision of his impending death as he lies helpless in the face of Queen Elizabeth’s personal torturer.
  • During World War II, Winston Churchill uses paranormal investigators to uncover Nazi spies infiltrating the Royal Air Force.
  • It’s the sinking of the Titanic in 1912. The reader has his or her own view of the whole event.
  • Your famous detective is put on the case when a ghost uses QR code clues to point a cryptic message towards a past unsolved crime.
  • Endless dead walk the streets of New York City after a failed cure turns humans into blood-craving monsters. The protagonist is an ex-con looking to protect the ones he loves, but who’s got nothing on his side except guts and a combat crossbow.
  • A young female journalist goes undercover to expose gang activity among the prostitutes in New York.
  • In your story, the modern world converges with fairy tale reality.
  • It’s 1890 and a 15-year-old girl is falsely accused of murder in an inquest in China. Write the opening chapter in which the killer dies and the murder is solved through supernatural means.
  • As an interviewer, your job is to interrogate the last living survivor of a Parisian sweatshop fire where your sleuthing quickly reveals there is a lot more that the survivors aren’t telling you. In fact, there is more to this story than just some workers who died in the fire. It’s a wide-ranging and labyrinthine plot weaving conspiracy, lingering sadness and the rise of the Le Bataillon de Sapeurs-Pompiers of Paris. You will have to get creative to solve this one.
  • If you were stranded in Victorian London…write a diary entry.
  • It’s 1910, and a young woman planning on visiting a castle shortly after midnight in Scotland finds something unexpected in the front yard.
  • Between trails, you, the victim of a cold wind goatherd, eat a bowl of warm milk and conversate with your faithful old wolfhound on the widow’s watch, you exchange stories of adventure in distant lands.
  • It is the year 1865, and a nun by the name of Sister Ursula is conducting a 19th century version of a lie detector test to help exorcise the devil from an adolescent boy that she has recently kidnapped.
  • The crushing tick-tick-tick of a grandfather clock echoes throughout the grandeur of a wealthy New York City apartment living room. It is just before midnight. A mysterious man named Abraham has invited his club’s only gambling group, the Magi Society, over to his lavish apartment for a late-night card game. As the clock strikes twelve, the guests arrive to find their host already dead. Abraham’s wife has already vanished into the shadows, leaving behind a sea of questions. Good luck. And may the odds be ever in your favor.
  • It’s 1949, and the Benny Goodman trio has set a fresh performance standard in big band jazz music. However, popular legend suggests that the band’s guitarist, Lester Young, was the true genius of the group. Write a short story in which the guitarist finds himself abruptly compelled to inform a youthful Buddy Rich of the truth behind this popular legend.
  • It’s the fall of 1972, and Apollo 17 is the last manned mission to the moon. Write a chapter in the point of view of the most seasoned NASA engineer who watches a major technical glitch unfold during liftoff.
  • It’s 1838, and you’ve signed up for a Portuguese ship to take you to South America. Write an action scene in which your captain, a tyrant, threatens to murder you if you don’t fix the ship before you reach port.
  • Compare and contrast a bitter soldier’s war journal with a quiet and unsuspecting nurse in the Antietam field hospital near the end of the Civil War as they abide by the circumstances in which they cannot forget back home in their hometowns.
  • A boy in 8th century Ireland traps an element from the farthest reaches of the galaxy.
  • It is 1860, and you are new to New York. Write a scene in which you struggle to find the hidden entrance to an abolitionist gathering, and find yourself mistaken for an imposter.
  • It’s 1958, and Bobby Lewis is about to embark on his first mission for the CIA. Write a scene that unfolds inside the jungles of Peru where Lewis encounters a tribal war mage.
  • It’s 1775, and the thirteen colonies are declaring their independence from England. Your protagonist spots Benedict Arnold making something of a rendezvous with General Cornwallis’ carriage. This is her chance to report her suspicious behavior to General Washington.
  • It’s the 1960s, and the space race has begun. Write a piece in which members of NASA discover a puzzling clue on the surface of the moon that sends them off in search of a secret alien tech outpost in the craters on the dark side of the moon.
  • In World War 2, the Allies have developed an atomic bomb with the A-bomb to be dropped on German forces in France. Unfortunately for the three-man squad that pilots the plane crashes into the Alps and the bomb gets separated from the plane with two of the three men killed. The third, weakened, attempts to reach the bomb. From the first person perspective of the German soldier, write the story.
  • It’s World War II, and being dinner partners with your mortal enemy, Hitler, is required by the Fuhrer himself. What would you serve as an appetizer?
  • It’s 1935, and the Nazis have taken over Czechoslovakia. A small group of students stage an unsuccessful resistance movement.
  • It’s the 12th century and the story follows a female peasant who leaves home and joins the army to protect her family. You may also count on some humorous side characters who don’t want her around.
  • This prompt is a modern-day vampire story where the vampire victim is transported in time to a castle in Transylvania in 16th century Romania where certain, not-so-great decisions need to be made.
  • Take place in 1954 and take the role of a professional cyclist who is leading his cycling team into a race against the French. Create conflicts where your characters need to overcome both physical and mental obstacles.
  • Osprey, a young girl living off of the coast of Southeast Asia, swims out into the depths of the sea. She is adopted by a sea monster to become a legend.
  • To save your daughter’s life, accepted a quest to search in the jungle of Paraguay for the emerald of the ancients.
  • You are a professional ice-skater at the Olympics in 2022. You are competing against an old rival who is also a close friend. During an intense skate, you both slip, colliding into another volleyball net. Your friend sustains an injury that may jeopardize both of your careers.
  • We are in the apothecary shop of a young woman in 17th century London. She creates a tonic intended to conceal her client’s positive pregnancy test but stumbles into a mystery where the tonic itself has a strange healing power.
  • You’re writing about yourself at the age of ten. Convince the reader that your main character is an orphan.
  • A young Shakespeare is temporarily forced out of his own theater and takes up residence at a brothel next door.
  • As a sea thief during the time of Henry VIII, your boat sinks, forcing you to lay in your lifeboat the entire night watching the lifeless body of a man hang on a nearby island. He’s your enemy, but will you risk your own life to save him?
  • The year is 1485 and William of the House of Tudor has the throne at last. In response to his ascent, Henry, Duke of Buckingham, and Richard, Duke of Gloucester, organized a protest parade in London. Write an excerpt from a fictional planning session.
  • It is the ancient Roman Empire and you are a main character during the time of the great Roman Emperor, Nero. The emperor wants your skills for his court, but you are deep in a conspiracy that will alter the future of the empire. Would you choose to accept Nero’s offer, or destroy the empire from within? It is your choice to determine the flow of events in your story from this point on.
  • A boat load of 14th century mannequins from Florence wrecks off the coast of North America after a botched Monopoly game.
  • It’s 1912, and the Titanic is hours from its doom. You are Captain Smith, what will you do?
  • According to tradition, during the Celtic Druid religious practices, a sacrifice of a willing human has to be performed around a blood red moon. Write a scene in which a modern Druid must choose a victim.
  • It’s 1945, and thousands of people are transferring to a third world European country, seeking political asylum from one of the deadliest wars in history. Write a scene in which a mother and her children board ship for freedom.
  • It’s 1882, and a British inventor is trying to prove his newest creation—a vacuum cleaner—by showing it off to a committee of city officials. Something goes horribly wrong with the test.
  • It’s 1957, and the Cold War is out of control. The United States is in the middle of a stop-and-go nuclear arms race, struggling to stay one step ahead of communism. During one of the arms control talks, a Russian spy with connections to technology from the future steals a top-secret briefcase from the U.S. government’s highest ranked commander in the history of military science writing. On a warship in the Pacific, the U.S. defense team struggles to identify vulnerabilities of its own weapons systems.
  • It’s 17th century Rome, the Colosseum. Write a scene in which a foreign dignitary warns the Italian dignitaries of the sudden appearance of an unknown terror that anyways ends in bloodshed.
  • It’s 1895, and the track to the small southern town of Dibala is teeming with tourists from all corners of the United States. However, this gold rush is unlike any other. This time the finding of gold has brought with it a large group of very talented thieves. Write a story about one of these adventurous individuals and the consequences of their theft.
  • Write a scene wherein the Queen from Cinderella loses yet another slipper to a nobleman. Your plot should center on her wanting to avoid a marriage proposal. Write what you think will happen and justify your response in creating creative historical fiction.
  • You’re writing a diary entry of a convict aboard one of Britain’s most notorious vessels, the
  • It’s 1950’s Texas. The threat of nuclear war is looming, and a young mother realizes the only way to save her family is to invent a time machine.
  • It’s 1895 and you survive a Japanese bombing of Nagasaki during the Meiji Reformation when thousands were killed or wounded. Write a scene in which you search for help and comfort.
  • What does Paris look like on Bastille Day in 1889? Write a scene between two characters locked inside of the famous French Bastille as they wait for the unknowable prison doors to open.
  • Novels with historical settings are always fun to read! If you are considering this option for one of your short stories or novels, you may want to check out some of the writing prompts here. They will help kick-start your creativity!
  • The night before their wedding, a young couple is heartlessly double-crossed and brutally murdered by their trusted friends in 1860s Texas.
  • It’s 1888, Tenant farming is common to much of Kentucky as your family works the 600 acre tobacco crop on your landlord’s land. At dawn one morning, a band of violent mountain men attack the cabin, and kill your landlord. You’re taken hostage, and are told the girls have been taken into the forest to become brides of the mountain men. You set off on foot, following the mountain men’s freshly set trail with little more than a cold box end of a shotgun to defend yourself.
  • Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck is a sad yet powerful novel about two migrant farm workers who migrate from area to area following fruit harvesting season. Write a story about a young mouse couple who get pregnant and have to travel to escape a hostile cat-owned ranch.
  • During World War I, melodrama sweeps across the country. Characters seek entertainment at a cinema but an unexpected experiment turns the theater into a fighting-free zone.
  • It’s July 1st, 1929 and you walk into the Mens department of a New York City Macy’s. Write a scene in which a human resources representative finds you in the dressing room loitering in front of the changing room with an odd, unidentifiable object in your left hand. This was in the early days of air flight too new to commercial travel and you have lured him into the department store for the sole purpose of securing a ride in a plane as a pilot is in need. The representative misinterprets the situation and tries to overpower you. You must dissuade him from this interpretation and convince him that you are suffering from sudden mental confusion suffered during the capture of the spirit Bart Koskopp, the famous criminal. Afterward, find him in one of the restrooms, wash his face, and comb his hair, as you let him know that everything is fine now.
  • It’s 865 and the Danes have pillaged and plundered the English countryside for years. Write a scene where a young King Alfred philosophy student is horrified when he learns that the Danes led by their evil Viking leader have slaughtered his entire village and the head Viking demands he be brought before him and confronted to claim who the next king of England will be.
  • It’s 1969, and you’re a rock musician living in Germany. Write a scene depicting a major rivalry in the music industry between one of the top bands of the era amidst the escalating drug scene.
  • Takes place in a famous historic theatre on the night of Shakespeare’s death in sixteen hundred and something. Hamlet has just been performed to a weary audience. Will the ghost appear to Hamlet if the hero does not go back on stage, thus ruining Hamlet?
  • It’s an unseasonably cold February morning for Regency England. Write a gal-on-a-train short story where a girl is alone on the carriage going to her first ever London job.
  • In 1809, England and the Napoleonic Empire were at war. Write a battle scene in which an injured British soldier retreats back to his ship, while his comrades panic around him.
  • It’s 1949, and World War II has left behind an entire country filled with discarded military bases. Write a piece about a bounty hunter tracking down a racecar driver, who has outlived his glory by conducting daring raids through the base.
  • The year is 5th century B.C Greece. Athens is under siege by the Persians, and a hundred Greek soldiers have retreated behind the city walls. What happens next?
  • It’s 1863, and the United States has entered a Civil War. You have been speaking with a Union soldier named Abraham Lincoln about life during the war. Write a scene where he peeks this nose in a telegram that is about to change his life.
  • The year is 1522, and deadly war between Persia and the Ottoman Empire is at hand. Write a scene in which the Ottomans set fire to the winter wheat fields in preparation for a large battle with the Persians.
  • The infamous British prisoner, Anne Bonny, has escaped from jail and is hiding inside of a lush and exotic Jamaican jungle. Write a first-person narrative from her point of view as she waits for her lover, Calico Jack, to find her.
  • The US is in the midst of its second decade of war against Mexico. Write an excerpt that begins on an overcast day in the Mexican hinterlands as a group of guides helps a ragtag group of Texans through the harsh terrain.
  • What did the first humans on earth do every day? Create a story about what they get up to, and when you’re done, you might have an insight to how your writing will be received.
  • Give a fictional account of British bounty hunter Solomon Northup, as he outlines the horrors of slavery in his autobiography, 12 Years A Slave.
  • Overtaken with grief after receiving tragic news, a man has traveled to Savannah Georgia to visit the home of his deceased beloved. The only problem is, the home’s ghost story has made all previous potential buyers sprint for the trenches.
  • Are you a member of the African Wildlife Foundation? If so, write a short story in which one of the zookeepers who works with animals for the organization saves the world from an alien invasion.
  • It’s 1845, and the current boulevard revolution of Paris is in full swing. Write a time travel love story in which a revolutionary steps over from the past, bringing radical ideas that turn this revolution upside down.
  • A crazed motorist purposefully drives his vehicle into a crowded city square as an attempt to suicide bomb a lounge filled with as many civilians as possible. It’s up to a small child to stop the threat.
  • It’s 1981, the detective work is defined by scientific facts and logic. However, write a twisted tale wherein a gruesome murder makes the detectives rely on intuition rather than science.
  • Imagine you’re the first Becky Thatcher and there’s only one wolf to be seen so what happens if Tom Sayers can’t save the injured town from this vicious beast in 1850’s!
  • It’s 1763, and you must escape from Boston after your name has appeared on a list. Being driven out of America wouldn’t be a crime, it wouldn’t be a betrayal, but it would show disloyalty to your homeland. Write the scene. It would be barbaric to punish you for seeking a better life for your family.
  • You’ve been hired by the government to test out a new military robot fighting machine. Use your imagination for this one.
  • Draw parallels between the life and works of Vincent Van Gogh and Anton DeMattheis, a Civil War survivor and the painter of distorted, abstracted landscapes.
  • It’s 15th century Italy, and you have been asked by the city council to investigate the stories of two men claiming to be the politician Pandolfo Malatesta, the former ruler of Rimini.
  • During the last international World Cup event in 2006, an Ecuadorian player collapses on the field and dies. Several years later, the journalist who broke the story goes on a mission to discover the player’s true murderer in a jaded political system.
  • Check out these posts for advice on beginning writers. A must read for all.
  • What happens when a prehistoric giant ape enters a feline sanctuary and forces both species to band together to conquer a threat that neither species can tackle on their own?
  • A little girl reads her mother’s old diary in which the mother describes the death of a white soldier who had been killed by a drunkard Native American. The mother vividly describes the brutal scene.
  • I want you to think of a war where both sides were victims. Imagine that the war ends, but the hatred never does. Then write a scene that takes place ten years later where a child from each side of the war having feelings for one another in spite of the taboo between their families.
  • In the late 18th century, Mr. Benjamin Franklin does some dabbling with electricity and must escape from a guarded Parisian chateau before a series of switches are discovered.
  • It’s 1706, and your character Dara Mulcahy has been kidnapped and forced into an arranged marriage by an Irish pirate. Write a scene in which a young Anne Bonny seeks her revenge by creating a sleeping potion on board the ship.
  • During Elizabethan times, an Englishman drops Emily from a tower after raping her in the woods. She survives, and, in the end, takes her vengeance in the form of a gruesome torture. Write an account of the events leading up to Emily’s attempted suicide and its aftermath.
  • It’s Christmas, 1945, and a crippled World War II vet is staring at a dead eaglet in his hands. Write a flashback sequence for his backstory in which we learn how he acquired the bird before the events occurred.
  • What should be the third character in your story who ultimately delivers the climax? If you knew that person was going to show up, what important information would you tell them? Let that character make an appearance in your story.
  • You have been given a chance to secretly track Nazi officials during World War II. What happens when you discover their hidden activities?
  • A family car suffers engine failure in the middle of the desert, and a nearby dust storm kicks up, making it impossible to see. Think along the lines of Thelma and Louise or 127 Hours .
  • It’s 1914, and the world is preparing to enter the first World War. Your protagonist is an American university student who falls in love with and snoops on a suspicious German war traveler in a small Pacific Northwest town.
  • Anyone for tennis? Write a historical fiction fiction in which the future comes unhinged.
  • Write a scene in which a spy for the North battles against a devout southern general in the Civil War.
  • It’s 24th century space age, and a starship with a skeleton crew of creators inadvertently careen into an uncharted planet of breathtaking beauty–a modified alien satellite emitting a mysterious signal to unknown destinations.
  • Place yourself in a time machine and fast forward to 2015 in order to write about the evolution and functions of mobile devices.
  • Celebrate Valentine’s Day with your students by writing a romance story between a woman and a sailor.
  • It’s 1813, and America is at war with Great Britain. Write a scene in which General Andrew Jackson, his wife, and some of their friends are hiding from soldiers inside of a chimney behind a fake fireplace in their mansion.
  • You are one of the first individuals to pursue mechanical flight in the early-1900s. But shortly after your first human flight, your plane crashes in the Allegheny Mountains with a spectator who looks exactly like you from a previous century.
  • It’s 1902 and you occupy a cabin on the Titanic. What happens?
  • It’s 1750, and a wealthy landowner in her forties drowns after her clothing becomes swiftly entangled in the old mechanical wheel.
  • In 1882, write a scene in which a Canadian trapper uses his woodworking and inventive skills to build from scratch the temperamental Automaton of the Unmechanized World.
  • It’s 1882, and you travel alone into the Transvaal with the goal of discovering gold. The world sits on the verge of a gold rush, and the Transvaal is one of the last untapped regions on the globe. Unfortunately, the Native Americans living in the Transvaal region are never going to allow a bunch of outsiders to destroy their land and end their way of life.Write an edgy scene where a search party investigates the whereabouts of Will and Hannibal from The A to Z Mysteries.
  • It’s 2150 and mankind is still in love with the open road. While traveling down a deserted highway, a group of teens in their hoverboards are chased by two soulless intelligent machines from a nearby robotics corporation. Without warning, the teens are caught up in the middle of a robot war with a secret agenda. What they thought would be a quick road trip to the Atlantic coast becomes much more than they ever imagined. War has been declared―They are the first casualties. Who will survive and who will escape?
  • An American family is on a houseboat aboard the Amazon when their guide undergoes a near fatal encounter with a pack of jaguars.
  • Goodyear Blimp crewman, Rocky Santiago, finds himself lost in a conspiracy involving a famous aviator and the shady dealings of a private plane company in 1930s Alaska.
  • Write an ex suspense story in which the victim wakes up from the coma in the nick of time after a horrific car accident, but the killer still lurks in the hospital.
  • Sixteen year old orphan, Clementine, is transported by steamship to join her brother in California during the California Gold Rush in 1849. She must work hard to support her building and her brother’s relentless pursuit of money. Write an incident in which Clementine finds a gold nugget and subsequently gets robbed.
  • One hundred years ago in America, a notorious English pirate was buried at sea. Write a historical fiction of a journalist who breaks the story and demands to exhume the body.
  • This is a very busy street corner in New York City. Where is it located? What time of the year is it? What is the weather like today? What strange occurrences happen right before your eyes?
  • Set in the future, humans are living in the ruins of a late 21st century New York City and the Statue of Liberty lies toppled and crumbled in the Hudson River as a symbol of lost freedom. Write a story in which a ship’s captain and her crew search for her and go out into the city.
  • Create a character that dreams that he or she is inside of a famous cultural landmark, but the person cannot get out. Go through the mind-pain of the character as they try to dig themselves out.
  • It’s 2021, and you are an archaeologist that can travel back in time. You choose to time travel to ancient Egypt to witness the construction of the pyramids.
  • A landslide at a building site reveals the tomb Northumberland in the 13th century. Archaeologists violate protocol and begin to steal one of the artifacts. Write about their crimes and how King John’s evil spirit will come back to haunt them. It could also be written about a modern day archaeologist who violates protocol during an excavation and steals a piece of artwork.
  • The characters in Daphne Du Maurier’s Rebecca were sorted into either the ‘beautiful’ or ‘plain’ category. Write about a woman in the American South who feels unattractive in comparison to her beautiful sister, but goes to great lengths to conceal trail of murder she has left in her wake.
  • Saint Lawrence was the fourth century martyr who was roasted to death to death on an iron grill. His feast day is on August 10th, so make a scene about a pre-modern method of cooking on an open fire.

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